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.


14. The House On The Hill

As Hailee looked the place was huge. This was no guild, it was a nation. The massive grounds each element held as their own would take days to cross on foot. She sucked in a breath.

"Amazing isn't it?" The man who drove the horses spoke as he hopped of the wagon. 

"That's one word for it," She said in awe.

"I am Peter Storm, I rule the sea tribe," He said with a slight bow. He pointed a finger and Hailee turned to look at a sea with lit up houses and the tips of a castle poking out of the water.

"It's magnificent, Peter," She told him. She meant every word she said. It looked like it took centuries to make it. He smiled, still in his bowed position.

"Thank you, Goddess," He said.

"Please, call me Hailee," She told him. He nodded. Gabriel came to her and wrapped his arms around her waist. 

"Thank you for escorting us, Peter. If you will excuse us we need to get ready for the feast. Go on, tell your people," Gabriel commanded him and he hopped back onto the horses and sped off. Hailee took a moment to really look at the place. In the center of these clan's, or rather nations, was a meadow grassland area that seemed to hold all the elements in it. Earth held the ground and the nature. Air held the sky and the cold breeze that would occasionally send a chill down Hailee's spine. Fire held the lights and warmth of the area as A huge lodge resided in the middle of the meadow. Water held the creek that would weave its way through the earth and a fountain was placed near the lodge. 

Spreading out from that she could feel where she would make her home. It made her hairs stand on end and a pleasant chill ran down her spine. A forest of dark tree's with red leaves spread out at the bottom of the mountain but as it reached the top the tree's scattered into cherry blossoms. A Japanese temple was at the top of it. She imagined what it might look like but this proved to be beyond her expectations. She couldn't see who all lived there as it was too far away to tell but she would find out soon. 

Branching out from that she felt something sinister coming from it. It's like the evil inside of it wasn't even trying to hide itself. Mangled tree's and dead branches intertwined to make dagger like shapes. She couldn't see a base in this one but she knew what group held this place as their home. She could feel the same thing in her too wanting to make a home there. The darkness called to her and beckoned her towards the forest. She looked away before she became too entranced in it.

She noticed the Earth realm next as the nature here was bright and vibrant. The base here was tall but only the roofs made it so. It was a beautifully designed mansion home and from what Gabriel had told her on the ride over, it descended many, many stories underground. Some parts of the Earth's territory was desert and dead land.

Water separated Earth and Air as the land seemed to go and then drop away into a canyon. Clouds where there and bridges extended to attach everything together. It was magnificent. The castle was white, or rather clear and you could see people milling around there. A big Roman style arena floated among the clouds too. 

"You can look at the clan's homes later Hailee, for now we need to get to the lodge," Gabriel said, taking her hand and leading her. 

"Why are we not going to our home?" Hailee asked him. He knew she meant to the fire clan's home.

"Because your arrival shall not go unnoticed, the leaders of each element and I have planned a feast for you tonight," He said with a smile. Hailee hesitated, tugging his arm. "What's the matter?" Gabriel asked her.

"I-I don't know. That's just a lot of people, and I don't know any of them," Hailee stammered.

"You will be fine, goddess, they all love you, especially me," He smiled and gave er a slight kiss in the forehead. They continued on up the hill towards the lodge. It seemed to loom over them in height. Hailee wanted to capture this moment, the wind was blowing a cool autumn breeze and the sun was almost about to set, putting light on the fall leaves. As they entered Hailee could smell the appetizing smell of all kinda of smells. One that stood out was freshly baked bread and meats being cooked over an open fire.

Gabriel led her to the end of the big room. seats seemed to be laid out in order but stairs led up to tables that represented each element. Hailee noted there was a lack of a darkness element up here. Gabriel nudged her as they took their seats at the fire clan's table.

"Each clan should be arriving now," he said, and almost like they heard him. Each clan entered. The air clan was first, some of the air clan's members flew in and others seemed to float. They all took their seats on one large row of tables. They next clan that came was obvious as the ground seemed to thunder as they got closer. Kids and adults alike stormed the lodge, giggling and hooting they jumped on their own table and, eventually, took their seats. The next was the water clan and they entered waking. some carried in water with them which made Hailee smile. They talked in regular voices and took their seats much faster then the earth clan. Hailee also noted that the water clan seemed more native than the rest of the others. Then the fire clan entered, being almost as rowdy as the earth clan. Some were shooting fire from their lips and joking. Hailee noted one of the members throw a small bit of flame at a water girl, making her shriek. 

"That should be it right?" Hailee asked Gabriel. He shook his head.

"We are waiting on one more clan," He told her. 

Then they entered. Everyone seemed to stop their conversations and hush the crowd in the new presence that had entered. In unison, people in blackish crimson robes entered in silence and took their seats. They moved silently and seemed to grab everyone's attention. But they seated themselves, like the rest of the guild and remained silent. The leaders of each clan walked up to the raised tables that Hailee and Gabriel sat at. Again, no clan leader presented itself for the darkness clan. Hailee needed to talk to them, to figure out who they were. Something inside of her said she needed to be a part of them.

"Attention everyone," Gabriel called out. There was hushes and then the room finally fell silent.

"I called you all here today to announce the arrival of the Goddess of fire, Hailee," He told them, they applauded and some gasped. "I would like you all to welcome her to our guild," He said and again, they applauded. He dismissed them and fairies came through the doors along with other hybrids bearing food for each table. The crowd seemed to draw their attention away from her and towards the food. 

"You look uncomfortable, why don't you walk around and meet some of the people you will be training," Gabriel told her. "Victoria should come get you soon to show you our clan anyhow," She nodded and left her seated. Walking down from her table she went to walk towards the fire clan's table but something made her walk past them. Heading instead, of the darkness clan's table. 

As she approached the table there was a hushed silence from them.  Her eyes went from hazel to all black. As she stopped a man at the head of the table stood and spoke.

"What brings you to this table goddess," He spoke in a deep voice. She couldn't see his face. 

"I want to join you, or rather, lead you," She told him.

"Some are appointed as leaders, others win the right. Some are born with that right," He told her getting closer to her. Hailee took this as a challenge and stood her ground.

"Do you think you have what it takes to be a part of us?" The man asked. Hailee nodded.

"Then you will know where to find us tonight," The man said before sitting back down. Hailee felt a hand on her shoulder.

"Goddess, you should come meet the clan you will help lead," Victoria said steering her away from the dark clan and towards the fire clan. Sitting her down at the head of the table some heads turned to gaze at her. She turned around to see Gabriel watching her with patient eyes. Hybrids of all ages sat before her. She noted how some of them looked strong and trained in their powers; others looked like they were meek and unable to use their power right. Her eyes settled on a girl that looked to be 19 maybe. She was sitting alone mostly except for a guy and a girl accompanying her. She had jet black hair with one side of her bangs dyed a bright red. She had light, fair skin and when Hailee looked into the girls eyes, her gaze fluttered away.

"Goddess," A man called to her.

"Yes?" Hailee asked him.

"What sort of fire powers do you specialize in?"  He asked her. Hailee smiled.

"Well I can do everything that has to do with the fire element. Gabriel specializes in holy fire though, where I specialize in hell fire," Hailee told the man. He smiled to her response and started a new conversation with someone else.

"As leader you will need to train these people as best as you can. You train your first group tomorrow morning," Victoria spoke up.

"Alright I will be there, who will I be training?" She asked Victoria.

"Beginners, mostly." She told Hailee. People bean to get up and leave as the feast ended. The sun was just starting to disappear below the ground for the night. She knew she had to get the dark clan before she lost them. She got up and moved fast around people to get outside. The flow of people let out towards the bottom of the hill, she unfolded her black wings, a few people gasping at them, and flew off towards the dark woods she saw when she first arrived just as night fell.

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