Wish Carriers

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Liffon Foxglove, the youngest in the Foxglove line, travels to Greenbrook to become a Wish Carrier. Upon arriving, he finds his father, the famous Fens Foxglove, has gone missing on a very important mission. Where has he gone? It's up to the young hummingbird and his new friend Lissa Gentian to find out what's going on. What they find may even be a threat to the Carriers, let alone Greenbrook and perhaps all of Herald itself.

Please feel free to comment. I have divided the chapters up according to basic word count, so they are rather long. When I totally finish everything, it will probably look a bit nicer.

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11. Angry Mother

 

          She lead him into an alley that sent shivers of apprehension up Fens' spine. He gulped, but kept flying, the weight of his bag reminding him why he was doing this.

          The raven came to a stop on a street sign, fluffing her feathers against a slight breeze. She looked both ways as if trying to avoid being seen and took flight again without even waiting for Fens.

          What a strange character, Fens thought as he followed her in silence.

          Finally, Lucinda came to a stop on the grating of a fire escape in another alley behind an apartment building. She waited for the tiny bird to catch up, smirking at his efforts. When Fens finally reached her, he was winded.

          "The falcon lives on tahp of this building," she explained, gesturing to the roof of the apartment next door. "She leaves the nest at sunset to go get some food, so there's yer chance."

          The feeling in Fens' stomach made him feel sick. He knew this was wrong, but maybe Procne would forgive him if she knew why he was doing it.

          The falcon soared over the opening between the buildings and Lucinda nudged him. "Now's yer chance!" she hissed.

          The hummingbird hesitated. He had never done anything like this before and he wondered if he could even carry an egg from a bird ten times his size. In his mind's eye, he conjured up images of home, hoping they would give him the boost he needed.

          "Well, what ah you waitin' fer?" Lucinda urged him with another nudge. "The color purple?" Fens didn't answer. Instead he fluttered skyward, his bag and his guilt weighing him down.

          The nest was atop the roof, perched right next to an air-conditioner vent. A single egg sat, its speckled-brown shell turned bronze in the setting sun. The mother falcon was nowhere to be seen. He gulped and approached the nest, fluttering around the egg trying to gauge the size.

          The egg was much larger than he expected. He tried picking it up, but it was so heavy, he had to set it down again. He fluttered around it, anxious to get it moving. He mustered all of strength and plucked the egg from the nest, flying sporatically. He quickly got his balance, but it wasn't quick enough.

          The cry of a falcon made him turn quickly and he almost dropped his load. The dark speck in the distance grew by the second and Fens' heart leaped to his mouth. Without thinking, he shot down the building, ignoring Lucinda's cries.

          "Hey stupid! Over here!"

          Thanking his stars that he was an expert at maneuverability, he swooped about, his feet aching from the weight of the egg. The falcon was right on his tail, but she wasn't having as much of an easy time in the narrow alleys.

          He swooped down one, adrenaline pumping through his veins. A large wooden fence greeted him, but he didn't stop. She swooping right through the hole near the latch and shot skyward. He didn't even stop when he heard the combined sound of a slam and a falcon's angry cry.

          He did, however, slow down when he heard the sad cries of a mother that lost her only child. He felt a lump rise in his throat. He would repay her somehow.

          Huffing and puffing, he lugged his prize back to where he thought Lucinda was. But, much to his dismay, she wasn't there. He felt a wave of anger sweep over him as he set the egg down on the fire escape. He was about the just take the egg back when the familiar Boston drawl of the raven shook him out of his mood.

          "You gaht it!" Lucinda exclaimed, alighting on the grating next to him. Without even so much as a thank you, she began devouring the egg. Fens gagged, trying to not thing of the poor falcon chick inside.

          "So, uh, what about that train?" the hummingbird asked.

          "Oh, that," she said between bites. "I'll tell ya tomorrow."

          He waited for her to speak more, but when she didn't , he glared at her.

          "Whaat?" she demanded, her face covered in yolk. "I said I'll tell ya tomorrow!"

          He gave her one final glare, and fluttered off, vowing to hunt her down if she broke her promise.

 

          Heading back to the park to find a spot near the warmth of the fire grate, he yawned, wishing things would have gone better. He had a feeling the raven wouldn't tell him anything, and he felt like kicking himself for listening to her.

          His self-pity was interuppted by the cry of an angry falcon. Having nearly urinated on himself, he shot off like rocket.

          I knew this was going to bite me in the tail feathers! He grumbled to himself as he flew through the canopies of oaks and magnolias along the perimeter of the park. The cries of the angry falcon drew ever closer, and he prayed to Procne he would live through this day.

          Suddenly, the park ended and he was face to face with a semi-truck. Quickly adjusting his wings, he sped toward the sky, but the updraft abandoned him. He tried to catch himself, but the weight of his pack threw off his balance, and the next thing he saw was the foot scales of a very angry mother falcon.

          "Why did you kill my baby?" she demanded, tears streaming down her face. Fens was too frightened to answer. He simply stared, wide-eyed, at his captor. "I should kill you right now!" she screeched, here eyes red from crying.

          "P-please don't," Fens begged. "I have a very important task to do!"

          "Does it involve stealing more of my children?" she demanded. She landed on the roof of a building, still grasping the small bird in her talon. She pressed him up against the roof and glared at him. "Give me one good reason I shouldn't eat you now!"

          "P-please! I was asked to do it by a raven! She promised to help me find a train to get home!" Fens cried. "I just have to get home!"

          "A raven?" The falcon blinked. "What was her name?"

          "Lucinda! Lucinda Blackfoot!"

          The falcon's expression changed from one of grief to anger. "Her! I have been hunting her for ages! She's stolen my eggs twice before! Lead me to her, or I will eat you!"

          Fens was glad for the weight of the massive claw to be gone. "Alright, but then how will I get to the t-train?"

          "Lead me, hatchling!" the falcon demanded. Fens gulped and nodded.

          Fens felt a little strange leading the giant to the one bird that might help him find a way home, but it was either this, or the stomach of an angry mother peregrine. It was getting dark, so Fens hoped this wouldn't take long. He hated flying at night.

          First he lead her to the alley the hummingbird had carried out the dirty deed. The raven was nowhere to be seen of course. Then they checked the park where he originally met Lucinda. She wasn't there either.

          What Fens found amusing was that the pigeons around the fire-grate still hadn't moved. The falcon approached them and demanded to know if any of them had seen the raven. Initially, they all scattered, but on being threatened with pursuit, one volunteered that she was in the attic of the bakery because she liked to steal the crumbs people dropped in the morning.

          "Take me there!" she demanded of Fens, pointing a sharp claw at him. He gulped and gladly obliged.

          The raven was perched on the open window above the store. She was just dozing off when a force struck her. She hit the floor behind her and finally got a glimpse of the feathery hunter. Her eyes widened in utter fear.

          "Why did you eat my baby?" the falcon demanded, her eyes blazing.

          "I didn't eat anything!" Lucinda protested.

          "Liar!" the falcon bellowed. She lifted a talon to stike her quarry, but Lucinda saw an opening and rolled sideways, escaping her grip. The window was the only thing in her sights. Fens moved aside just in time to avoid being smacked by a large black wing. The falcon screeched and shot after her.

          Fens, not knowing what else to do, simply perched on the window opening. He looked around, trying to catch sight of the pair. The sound of screeches and caws echoed across the nearly empty street, causing a few humans to do the same.

          Then, everything became silent. Fens wondered if he should just leave seeing as he now had no idea how to get home. He sighed, realizing he was going to have to start at square one all over again.

          The falcon screeched victoriously.

          "I guess that's my answer," the hummingbird said to himself. He set off, fluttering just across the street to a decent-sized tree, hoping he wouldn't run into anything bigger than himself again.

          Unfortunately, his wishes were shattered when the mother falcon alighted on the branch right next to him.

          "I would like to thank you," she said, much more calm than before. She turned to look at him, a slight smile on her face. The street lamps casts shadows across her features, but it didn't make her appear as menacing as he expected.

          "I-it was no problem at all," Fens replied, trying to remain calm.

          "No, I acted too harshly. You were lost and desperate," she said, fluffing her feathers against the evening cool. "I know that desperation." She paused for a few seconds, then spoke again. "I am Felicity."

          "I'm Fens...I-I'm sorry about your baby," he stuttered, his voice laced with guilt. He was too ashamed to look at her. "I wish I could repay you."

          "You've already done that," she nodded, tears filling her eyes. "I will mourn my lost child, but now I will never have to deal with that horrible raven again. All of my future children are safe from her. Please allow me to thank you."

          "I hardly think I deserve that..." Fens protested, raising his wings in an apologetic gesture.

          "Do you still need to know where the train is?" she asked, ignoring his protests.

          "Yes," he said simply. "Yes, I do."

          "Then meet me at the fire-grate tomorrow when the sun rises." Without waiting for a reply, she took off. But before disappearing into the darkness, she called back. "Don't get used to this. Not all birds of prey would help a little one like you, even if you are a Carrier!"

          Fens didn't reply. How do you reply to something like that? So instead, he puffed himself up, willing sleep to come.

 

          The next morning greeted Fens with a slight rain. He hoped to Procne it wouldn't get any worse. He fluttered off at an easy pace, glad when the sun began to peek through the gray clouds.

          The fire-grate was surrounded by plump pigeons once again as if they never moved. He perched on the tree above the scene and waited.

          He didn't have to wait long. The sound of the the she-falcon's screech was enough to clear the whole flock. Fens looked up and watched as she soared closer, silently praying she hadn't changed her mind and was now coming to eat him.

          "Good morning, Fens," she smiled. Her eyes were still slightly red, which made the hummingbird thing she had cried for much longer after she had left. But, he didn't blame her; she had just lost her chick.

          "I'm really sorry," he said automatically.

          "You have nothing to be sorry for. You were simply trying to get home," she replied. Her voice cracked, and she cleared her throat. "Now where is it that you have to go?"

          "Well," he said after a pause. "Atticus told me that Herald is near Cleveland."

          "Atticus?" She tilted her head. "Oh, nevermind. That means you need to go north first. Follow me."

          "But, Atticus said Cleveland was west," Fens tried. But she didn't answer and took off, leaving him to follow.

          She lead him to a noisy section of the city, soaring high above the buildings. He wished fervently that he could keep up with her on his tiny wings, and was glad when she decided to soar more than flap.

          The train station was packed with humans. All of them were getting, apparently preparing for work.

          "Take this train until you get to a big building with many more trains," Felicity explained, landing on top of the silvery roof of one train. Fens landed next to her, watching as she explains. "Then get on a train that says 'P-H-I-L-I-D-E-L-P-H-I-A,'" she spelled out the human letters carefully, making sure Fens remembered them. "Then get on the train that says C-L-E-V-E-L-A-N-D"

          "Sounds complicated," Fens admitted. "But if it will save me time, then all the better." He turned to her. "How do you know all of this?"

          "I pick up things," she nodded. "I traveled all over the land before coming to this city."

"Thank you very much," the hummingbird nodded, extending a foot, but then thought better of it due to her size.

          "It's the least I can do," Felicity nodded. "I wish you luck, and be careful. Not all falcons are friendly."

          As she flew off, Fens watched her, happy to finally have a way home. He fluttered into a sliding door the train offered him and clutched onto one of the empty luggage racks near the roof of the car and prayed for an easy journey.

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