Skyward: Gabriel's Return

After Hailee and Zander find themselves in Gabriel's grasp. They know he is much stronger than they imagined. Forgetting themselves, who they are and what they ever knew, how will Trevor and the others get them back? And how can they fight Gabriel? Find out in the second book of Skyward. Copyright © 2013 Hailee Reynolds.


18. Fire Clan

Hailee had no idea how long she had been walking for but she felt uneasy. It was like she was being watched in these damned woods and she hated it. Knowing what resided in it though, chances were that she was being watched. She could feel winter coming as the air nipped at her, turning her nose pink. The leaves were changing more and more as each day past. As much as she loved fall and everything that came with it; she hated winter if it stayed too long. 

She stopped walking when she heard a rustle coming from behind her. She turned around fast and saw a figure disappear. Hailee unfolded her black wings and shot up into the sky. It was even colder up here. She scanned the area and found the figure hiding in a tree like an animal. She dove down on it and tackled the figure. The figure shrieked as she was taken from her hiding spot in the tree, to almost kissing the dirt.

"Stop!" The girl pleaded. She looked a bit young, maybe sixteen or so. 

"Why are you following me," Hailee demanded, letting the girl go. The girl looked up at Hailee.

"It's not everyday a goddess come here, I guess you could say I was curious," She said quietly.  Hailee noticed that this was the same girl that was staring at her during the feast too. Same jet black hair, red coloring on the bangs, and fair skin that looked like it glowed slightly in the moonlight. There was fear on her face now, Hailee noted.

"I remember you from the feast, who are you?" Hailee questioned, grabbing her hand and pulling her up from the ground.

"It's Kristal, Kristal Kerry," She told Hailee.

"What's your power, Kristal?" Hailee asked as she started her walk again out of the dark woods. Kristel spoke up as she walked next to Hailee,

"My power is a mix of fire and air, I can't fly like most air hybrids can but I can summon things to make traveling a bit faster," Kristel smiled.

"Show me," Hailee said curiously. Kristal let out a low whistle and a stallion made from fire and air was before them, neighing and shaking its head.

"This is Archer," Kristal introduced Hailee to the stallion.

"Why is he called, Archer?" Hailee questioned.

"Because he's as fast as an arrow of course," She smiled. She ran her hand down the fiery horse and gave him a pat on the butt, letting him run off to wherever he came from. "The air that I use helps to boost the fire power I have, of course that makes my fire abilities stronger then the air ones so I ended up in the fire clan," She told Hailee as they exited the woods and into fire territory. The moon was high in the night sky it lit the ground for them in moonlight. 

"That's rare for a hybrid to have two elements to work with, how did you get gifted with that?" Hailee asked Kristal. 

"My mother was from the fire clan and was very good at mastering each ability that she developed as she grew, of course and she came here for refuge from the mortals, joining the fire clan. My father came for around the same reason and he was born with air talents. A long time ago there was a big dispute between the air and fire clans making it dangerous for anyone in either to talk to one another. My parents fell in love during the games and broke those rules though, they hid the fact that they were together and then had me," She said with a shaky voice, as if what she had just said was something she didn't share to just anyone.

"What happened to them?" Hailee asked softly.

"They were found out, I was given to the dragon kin to be raised and my parents disappeared but I'm sure their leaders had something to do with that," She said quietly. Kristal took a breath, "Well now you know me, so I can ask about you. Why did you decide to join the darkness clan when you had an open pass to the fire clan?" 

"I belong there, it's in my blood," Hailee stated. 

"It's not an easy clan to be in, Goddess, sometimes people in the clan disappear if they mess up and no one knows why," She said quietly, looking back at the distant forest they were just in. Hailee remembered the boy that had died in her arms hours earlier. "No one even knows how to get into that clan," Kristal added.

"Maybe it's for the best, I mean you're right. It is not an easy clan to get into," Hailee told her, trying her hardest not to give away any information about the clan. Hailee wasn't going to betray her clan or Tyler that quickly. 

"Some say that the people in the darkness clan are murderers and criminals. They say their leader is one of the most skilled, cunning, and cruel of all of them," Kristal added. Hailee looked straight at her this time when she spoke,

"Kristal, I don't know. I have only been here one day," Hailee laughed. 

"Sorry, I'm just curious. No other clan has such secret ways about getting in," She told Hailee. They reached the fire clan's base and it was clear they were not hiding their existence here. It was magnificent. The tree's had bark that was a blackish color grew leaves that were red from the autumn.

The main house for the hybrids was placed on a tall hill. It wasn't big enough to be called a mountain but it was still fairly tall. The air seemed warmer up here and the smell of burning fire wood filled her nose. Cherry blossoms grew up here too. The base looked like a Japanese temple that had a pillars to the entrance. The base was made to fit a lot of people, Hailee noted.

"Welcome to the fire clan," Kristal smiled at her, patting her shoulder. She turned to walk up to the base. Hailee followed slowly behind her, running her hand along the wood of the temple. Kristal opened the door and warm air spilled out of the temple. The main floor was filled with people of all ages. Adults were sitting at what looked to be a bar and drinking, laughing about something the bartender had said. Others were talking or eating at the surrounding tables. Two fire places and torches were the only sources of light on this floor it seemed but it worked well. Looking over to one of the fire places she spotted someone familiar, sitting at a leather couch.

When people had turned to see who had entered, people fell into a low whisper, hushing others. She guessed it was a combination of her being the new goddess and wearing a robe of blood. Gabriel turned to look at her and smiled, moving from his seat and meeting her at the door. 

"I'm glad you made it here safely, I thought you were lost," Gabriel told her. 

"No, no a nice girl named Kristal showed me the way," Hailee said with a smile. 

"Well welcome to the fire clan, I hope you choose to make your home here," He said. Everyone started to return to their own conversations and it seemed as though they forgot she was there. Gabriel went into a whisper now as he spoke,

"You went to the darkness clan, didn't you," He questioned.

"Yes, I felt like I am welcome there," She replied. He took her hand and led her back to the leather couch where they were alone.

"That's why there is blood on your clothes then," He said mainly to himself.

"Yes," She replied again. 

"Listen to me," Gabriel whispered and his face was grim. "You can be with the darkness clan, in fact I encourage it but they don't listen to the other guilds and they especially don't listen to me. They listen to Tyler alone. I feel off about him," He told her. She shrugged. 

"He seemed fine to me," She said to him. 

"Of course he does to you, since you belong there. He doesn't take kindly to outsiders," Gabriel told her," sometimes he won't even talk to the other leaders just out of spite," Gabriel warned her.

Hailee rolled her eyes as she spoke, "Why is everyone afraid of his clan anyhow?" She told him. 

"Because of the tactics he uses, he breaks you back down and builds you back up the way he wants you to be. He's a strict leader and a horrifying opponent to challenge. I just want you to be careful is all," Gabriel told her. Hailee nodded that she would be careful and Gabriel pulled her into a hug. Hailee didn't realize how tired she was as she let out a yawn and her eyes felt heavy. 

"I bet you're tired from everything that's happened today, my room is upstairs on the top floor you can't miss it," He told her and she thanked him heading upstairs to his room. 

As she headed up she started to hate how tall this temple was, she just wanted to go to sleep. When she reached the top she knew why it was hard to miss; it was the only room on the floor and it was huge. She slide the door open and stepped inside. She didn't really take the time to look over the room before she found the bedroom, crawled into bed and fell asleep, the first real pleasant sleep she had in a while 




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