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This time Danny didn't stop to take anymore breaks or impromptu rests, realizing that the only place in the whole mountain or valley was at the top with his adoptive kin. Nothing below that would care for him or treat him as much more than a convenient meal. The tip of the mountain loomed by torchlight in the distance, the sputtering golden flames illuminating the landing area quite well even from a good distance below. He wasn't able to see any other pegasi flying about, so it only made sense that the porch lights had been left on for him til he got back. His thoughts already turned towards a nice bath to soak those sore muscles and get the dirt out of his fur. Normal horses thought nothing of cleanliness in that way, though they did appreciate the occassional roll in some dust to rid themselves of any parasites hooked into their coats.


The ache in his wings and shoulders seemed to gradually intensify, though he dared not take anymore breaks on the way up for fear of meeting more unpleasant creatures of the night. He was getting close enough to smell the sweet roasting meal wafting downards at his perceptive nose. It was a savory scent and far more palatable than a simple apple tree. There were things amongst the wood smoke that seemed uncannily similar to things that might come from Earth. It was the best thing anyone could've used to motivate him, as he found himself ready to fill his belly again after emptying it out all over the plains only hours before. Somehow, the prospect of dinner allowed him to put an extra bit of speed into his flight.


With the scents on the wind growing stronger, he managed to find new strength to urge weary wings onwards unril the alabaster rim of the landing pad greeted him from about ten feet away like a big shiny silver coin with thick scuffed chipped edges. The pit of his stomach did a somersault when Night/Danny got a cramp in his left wing and realized that he was not only losing altitude, but wouldn't be able to keep himself from plummeting backwards against some very wicked looking crag outcroppings. Thankfully, he wasn't alone as a hand, strong and firm covered in silky caramel fur, reached out of the amber torchlit precipice for him.


In a fit of desperation, the black mare put out one last burst of speed despite the sharp burning ache of pain from a protesting wing bending at an unnatural angle, his delicate feminine fingers grasped by the strong reassuring paw of someone in full authority of any given situation. "I'm going to guess that your first lesson of reconditioning was a success or you wouldn't be here, now." The flightmaster grunted out casually to hide the strain of lifting up another pegasi with only one arm. Night was tired and trembling from random cramps in his wings by the time he'd been pulled along the cold smooth stone ground, forgetting all about his appetite and just wanting to sleep off the exhaustion hanging over him.


In two ways he was relieved; that he was safe, and that reconditioning simply meant learning/remembering during some high stress exercises instead of an actual brainwashing regimen. "The owl was most instructive when I was beset by the giant spider." From there he rolled onto his side to face the open sky on the opposite side of the tall walls of the mountaintop fortress. Although the other mountains were much narrower, the stars and moon didn't appear to be any closer up here than they were down on the grasslands.


It was hard to breath or talk with the constant panting from his ordeal, but his mind was simply too frantic with wonder to simply stay silent. "You saw an owl" Jarvi's observation seemed to linger on in a silence of confusion before he formulated a proper reply to his overt astonishment. "I wouldn't believe you, if I thought you were you coached by others and supposed to know what to expect from the vision of flight. Nobody's seen an owl on their virgin flight quest. That just doesn't happen. You should've see an eagle, or sometimes a magpie." He snorted in confusion, shaking out his mane and frustration as a breeze howled by strongly and set Night's skin tingling from the chill.


Since he was an outsider, he had no clue what to expect from anything, only that he had to get back up to the tower at the peak. "What does it mean? What does any of that mean?" Night was almost too cold and worn out to care, and yet he remained perplexed by this notion that even someone as wise and seasoned in their craft as an ancestral path Flightmaster had been left reasonably flustered. It was a strange possibility to contemplate how Jarvi might be just as confused as the mare, perhaps moreso since he seemed so much more certain of this new world than a certain fish out of water named Danny.


Just when he thought he might be left guessing over the significance for his whole life, Jarvi did come up with an answer, but even then, it had no certainty behind it and sounded more akin to speculation than anything else. "The eagle is the sign of the warrior; those who go outside the walls on patrol. The magpie is the sign of the defender; hoarding and protecting those things it finds most precious. But the owl? Who's ever seen something like that in the last thousand years? Getting visions of other fowl is very very rare. If you are sure of what you saw, then this is something a soothsayer needs to hear," the flightmaster took note of his charge being at the last flagging dregs of their strength and sighed with a loud bluster that blew a long butterscotch mane out of his eyes, "when you've had yourself some rest, of course." At that moment, Night couldn't agree more and finally let the dreamless sleep of exhaustion take over a limp body full of inflammed muscle and tendons, finally grateful to be done with the first step of his journey.

Written by FluffyPony on 31 December 2016

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