The wind shifted towards the west, ruffling the deep purple feathers. Soft moonlight cascaded down on to the hills surrounding the lake. Sitting atop the small building, Tindomiel stared down at the water. But for the ornaments and the oddly glowing eyes, she would have appeared to be an average, pale purple raven.
The instructor next to her nodded. “Very good my dear. A raven, interesting.” His form blurred into that of an azure owl. He stretched his wings outward. “Now, extend yours and feel the breeze on your feathers. Feel how they move in the air.”
Doing as she was told, she felt the feathers ruffle and flutter in the wind. She moved the wings a few times, trying to get a sense of them. “And you are certain I can do this?” She seemed so very nervous.
“Tindomiel. Once you learn to fly, you will no longer fear the heights.” He nodded reassuringly. “Now, in order to fly, you need to move the muscles in your chest. Don’t think of it as flapping your arms. Think of it like moving your arms through deep water.” He moved his wings, lifting up off the roof just a bit, as she watched the motion. “Try.”
Making a few attempts, she managed eventually to get the movements right, her talons scraping as her feet lifted up. She giggled happily. “I did it!”
“You did. Now. The rest of the group is already across the lake. It’s time for you to follow them.” He encouraged her gently, giving her a nudge towards the edge of the roof. She pulled back a little, old fears roaring back at her.
“I don’t know…” Looking out over the lake, she saw the others. Many of them much younger than herself. As she scanned through them, his silver hair glinted in the moonlight. He was standing apart from the rest, watching for her to come floating across the water.
“Just focus on your friend there. Remember what he did.” With that, he gave her a not so gentle shove from the roof. She started to tumble, falling to the water. She frantically waved her arms. No wait..that’s wrong, she reminded herself. What did he tell me? The water was coming up to greet her quickly as she scrambled to remember his instructions.
“Like you are swimming! Tindo! You’re all right! Like you’re swimming!” Forosuul’s voice cut through her fear. She looked over and saw him, flying downward alongside her. A white raven with a splash of red on the back of his neck at the tip of his large curved beak. He curved around her, exposing the brilliant red feathers on his chest. His eyepatch over his right eye was just barely visible amongst the shining feathers.
He’s a raven too? she thought to herself. She took a deep breath and pushed her wings down and around, creating the soft, gentle circles their instructor had shown her. It took her a few tries, but she slowed her descent. She managed it a few yards before hitting the water. Her heart was slamming against her chest, but she started to feel in control as she slowly rose.
“Now…give it a few really hard flaps of your wings and you’ll move forward. Once you have momentum, just keep them out and glide. Like this!” Foro circled around her once. “Come on. I’ll see you on the shore.” He flew upward and watched her for a moment before gliding away.
“A few really hard flaps…all right.” She copied what he had done and let the wind catch under her wings. Drifting on the air, she floated down till she came to a gentle landing at the edge of the water. Everyone clapped and a few of the others gave her a pat on the back. As she looked around for him again, he was no where to be seen. At least not at first.
A few leaves slowly drifted down from above her. Gazing upward into the trees, she spotted him. He was seated on a large limb, feet dangling. He looked down at her, grinning from ear to ear. His single golden eye shone as she met his smile with her own.
For the first time, she was no longer afraid.