“So, where are we going?” Sunfire asked as the quartet glided. Silver Moon was fast asleep in her arms.
“I do not know,” Shadows replied. “The other gargoyles could be anywhere. We must seek them out.”
“I hope they’re friendly.”
Skydancer was silent. She had been in deep thought since they took to the sky. Her dream weighed heavily on her mind. She had a feeling that the next one they would find would be male and that there would be friction between her and him. She didn’t know why they would fight or that she would definitely lose. She would just have to let the future unfold.
“Skydancer, are you okay?”
She blinked and looked over at Shadows, who had spoken. “I’m sorry, what?”
“I asked if you were okay. You were very quiet.”
“Yes, I’m fine. I was just thinking.”
“Shadows, I think I see someone!” Sunfire suddenly called. She pointed to a shadowy winged figure moving across the dry ground below.
“Let’s take a closer look,” Shadows declared as he angled his wings for descent. The two females followed in his wake.
Shadows landed a few feet from the figure and looked up. It was a male gargoyle who seemed to be a young adult. He had assumed a combative pose. His wings, which looked like folded fans, were completely unfurled and his arrowhead-tipped tail twitched in apprehension. A small scabbard with a knife in it hung from the belt of his loincloth.
Shadows put his hands up. “Easy, my friend. We won’t hurt you.”
“How fortunate for you. If you had attacked, I would have struck back and it would have gone very poorly for you,” the male responded.
He’s so certain that he would win, the gray leader thought. But, is he all talk and no action?
Out loud, he said, “My name is Shadows. I’m the clan leader. What is your name?”
“Arrowknife. Why are you here, Shadows?”
“I was told by the Hopi chief, Deer Runner, to unite the gargoyles of this area into one clan.”
“Ah, so you know Deer Runner. But, how?” Clearly, he was still suspicious and no one blamed him.
Shadows explained how he came to Arizona with the un-hatched Silver Moon and how Deer Runner found him after having a vision of meeting one another.
Arrowknife nodded and his posture relaxed. “I know you speak the truth. I would like to be a part of your clan.”
“Welcome, Arrowknife. I would like you to meet Sunfire, our crafts artist, and Skydancer, our sorceress and second-in-command.”
“Second-in-command?” Arrowknife repeated. “Her? No way. A martial artist like myself should be the clan’s second.”
“But Skydancer’s already been named the clan’s second,” Sunfire protested.
“Then I challenge her for the right to be second-in-command.”
Skydancer’s first impulse was to refuse. Shadows had told her that if she took the position, no one else could claim it- even if he or she felt more suited to it than she was.
Her silence prompted Arrowknife to sneer, “Are you afraid to face me? Are you that much of a coward?”
Her eyes narrowed and a faint red glow appeared in them. No one called her a coward! “Fine!” she declared, her wings flaring out in anger. “I accept your challenge!”
Shadows stood on the sidelines with Silver Moon and Sunfire. Truthfully, this match wasn’t necessary. Fighting over the position of second-in-command wasn’t why he was allowing the match to go on. This was a matter of pride now.
Arrowknife bellowed a challenge to Skydancer, who returned the call. As he headed toward her, a sense of déjà vu came over her. This was almost just like her dream! Of course, some actions were different, but that was to be expected.
Arrowknife then leaped at her and she sidestepped the charge before bringing her leg around and connecting with the male’s back, knocking him down. With him down, she landed on his back and pinned him to the ground. She smiled grimly. Perhaps that kick hit him harder than she thought- or he wasn’t the martial artist he claimed to be.
Suddenly, his wings shifted and then flared, sending her skidding across the ground. She cursed silently. It was a feint. That was clever of him, she had to admit. She stood up to counterattack, but Arrowknife didn’t give her the chance as he launched a kick to her mid-section. She felt her book fly out of her hand as she hit the ground again.
Her opponent landed on top of her and assaulted her face and body with rather vicious punches. She had to fight back. Her dream vision had ended here and now was the time to make her own future. She curled her legs toward her body, planted her feet on Arrowknife’s mid-section and pushed as hard as she could.
The move sent the blue-skinned male backwards a few feet before landing on his back. He popped to his feet and found his opponent also on her feet. She was good, he would give her that. Had had gotten careless and paid for it by losing the upper hand.
Panting slightly, he brushed back some of his spiky black hair as he said, “You are good, sorceress.”
“You are very good, martial artist. I am impressed.”
“As you should be. I would be honored to follow your lead when you’re left in charge.”
Skydancer gaped at this announcement. “You accept that I’m the clan’s second?”
“I do. Our fight was more for our pride than who would be second-in-command. I guess you could call it a test.”
Skydancer blinked before saying, “You are an odd male, but I like you.”
“Likewise, Skydancer.” He walked up to her and held out his hand, which she clasped in her own.
“All right, then,” Shadows spoke up. “Now that that’s settled, let us continue looking for the others.”
“I know where one of them live,” Arrowknife spoke up. “I can lead you to her.”
“All right, my friend,” Shadows replied. “Lead the way.”
Arrowknife led the others to a cliff where they launched themselves into the sky, toward their next clan member.