Wings

Katie was never the adventurous type. She preferred to stay at home and finish her English essay or clean her room. Her whole world shattered when her mom told her that she was to visit her grandma in Australia, where on almost every corner there was a creepy crawly waiting for her. She faces many dangers and has to make some decisions that will change her life.

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6. Welcome

   Katie propped herself up onto one elbow.  She was in a small cot, that was probably stuffed with down feathers.  The covers were incredibly soft, and appeared to be made of thin animal pelts.  The only pieces of furniture in the whole room beside her bed were a small bedside table and a sofa near one of the windows.  The room was a pyramid shape, with ceilings that seemed to continue on forever, and windows that stretched almost the whole length, and out of these she could see the landscape of a dense forest, and an afternoon sun low on the horizon.  The floor had the patterns of the sunlight that streamed though the vast windows.  Looking down, Katie realized that two men that she had heard earlier were standing above her, concern etched into their handsome faces.

   One was taller and had a powerful air about him, but Katie could see permanent lines of cheerfulness were crinkled around his mouth.  He was dressed in rich magnificent robes of oak leaves and falcon feathers and had tall black boots strapped onto his feet.  His hair was dark brown and was speckled with bits of gray.  An amazing golden crown studded with emeralds was resting upon his head. 

   The other appeared younger, and he was wearing a loose bone white shirt with a short piece of brown twine used to tie up the neck.  His pants were made of oak leaves.  His shoes were plain soft leather.  He had sandy blond hair and wore a faded green cap on his curly locks.  Katie guessed that one was a noble and the other a peasant.

   Katie rose to greet them, then thought better of it and flopped back into bed.  Every single muscle in her body ached, but her leg felt much better than it had previously.  As she lifted the covers to take a better look at her injury, she saw that she had the same exact outfit as the young man standing before her.  The only difference was that she had a fluffy brown skirt over forest green leggings instead of a brown pair of pants.

   When she had mustered enough strength to stand on her own two feet, she rose and smiled at the two men.

   "Hello," she said with a cautious smile, "My name is Katie."

   The older man laughed a hearty laugh - one that reminded her of her father.  She tried to focus and swallowed the lump in her throat.

   "Very pleased to meet you, Katie.  My name is King Burten.  I am the ruler of the Island of Wings.  And this here is - "

   "I'm Mattheo.  I am a page."

   King Burten looked at Mattheo in surprise. 

   "Sorry, my lord, but I - ," the young man apologized, already red in the face because of his outburst.

   "There's no need for apologies, my good boy," the king said heartily.

   "Anyway, Katie," he continued while turning to face her.  Katie was standing up without leaning on the bed by now, and was trying to do so much straighter than before since she was in the presence of a king.

   "I have to tell you that I am very interested in the story of your journey to our little island.  Humans - er - outsiders do not usually venture here.  I would very much like to know how you found our humble island," he prompted with upraised eyebrows.

   "Well, I didn't try to find your island," Katie began, while thinking, Why did he call me a human and then correct himself to say "outsider"?  "I actually was on a plane to visit my grandma in Australia.  And everything was fine until it crashed in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  And now here I am!" she concluded while throwing both her hands in the air.

   "That is an interesting tale.  I will have to think about this, but now - "

   King Burten was interrupted when a small sky blue bird swooped in from the open window and perched on his shoulder.  It began to chirp rapidly in his ear, and the more it "talked" to the king, the graver the king's expression became.  The bird stopped abruptly when it saw Katie.  Then it chirped again, louder this time, and gestured at Katie with one small wing.

   "Um, King Burten?" Katie asked, her hands nervously fidgeting with her uneven skirt hem.

   "Yes, Katie?" the king replied impatiently.

   "Is everything alright?" she asked him shyly.

   "Yes, yes.  Everything's fine," he assured her absentmindedly. 

   The bird resumed its persistent chatter, then waited, as if for an answer from the king.

   "Go and tell them that I will send twenty of my best knights to aid them," King Burten said, stroking his chin thoughtfully.

   The bird chirped once more and Katie could've sworn she saw it nod before taking to the air and disappearing out the window into the vast sky.

   "Katie, stay here.  I will send food and servants to your room.  I would like you to change into the clothes that they will also bring you, because you are going to be sharing your story with the Head Council in an hour.  I will see you there.  Matthew, come with me," the king ordered, turning to go.

   "Yes, sir!" Katie said cheerfully, but inside she was nervous.

   Head Council? she thought once the men had left, That doesn't sound friendly.  But they might be able to arrange for me to get back to California.

    Her anxious thoughts were interrupted by a timid knock on the strong wooden door.

   "Come in?" Katie rose to greet the servants at the door.

   Three girls about her age walked in the room.  They were all blonde and wore green sundresses with brown aprons.  The servant girls bowed.

   "Hello!" said Katie.

   The girls moved soundlessly across the room, laying out five dresses on the sofa while one of them carefully placed a tray of delicate sandwiches on the table.  Once they had finished their tasks, they stood at attention in front of Katie.

   "Hi!" Katie said again, "My name is Katie.  What are yours'?"

   "I'm Melodia."

   "Tiffana."

   "And my name's Cristala."

   Katie nodded each time, but she could tell that Tiffana would make a great friend.  She made a mental note to try to get to know her later.  Now, it was time to get ready for the Head Council meeting.

   "Well, it's nice to meet all of you!  Now, um, are those dresses for me to try on for the meeting?"

  Tiffana nodded her head.

   "Okay then, let's get started!"

 

   Twenty minutes of trying on dresses and twirling in front of mirrors later, Katie had picked out a long sparkly dark blue dress that reminded her of the deep ocean during her fall from the plane.  The servants were giving her etiquette tips on what to say and how to act during the meeting.  She had been right, too.  It turned out that Tiffana and her had gotten along greatly.  They already had found many things that they had in common, and Katie was glad for someone to relate to on an island of strangers.  It turned out that Tiffana's cruise ship had sunk a couple of years ago, and she had been the only survivor to wash up on the shore of the Island of Wings.

   Katie stood nervously in front of the great carved wooden doors of the Council room, and she was anxiously fiddling with her gorgeous blue gown.

   What if I mess up? she thought, What if I say the wrong thing and they decide to throw me in the dungeon or something? What if -

   And then the door slowly groaned open, and Katie was suddenly standing out in the open, blinking in the sudden bright light.

   "Welcome, Katie of California, and please, come in," King Burten called.

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