Morning Star Manor – Part 2

Zoe watched Mr. McEwan’s lapis-blue eyes light up the moment he saw the key she was holding. “I don’t imagine you’d remember how to get to the garden?”

“Not remember! No lass, if there’s one thing this old man can nae forget, it’s that garden. That wee key has been in your family for three generations.”

“So nana told me, but I never had the chance to hear the stories. Dementia stole her away from those she loved.”

Mr. McEwen set his teacup down and stood. “Well then, if you would allow me, it would be an honour to lead you to your family’s most valuable treasure.

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Morning Star Manor – Part 1

Zoe pushed her fiery-red hair back behind her ear a moment before she turned down a familiar winding driveway. The once pristinely maintained road resembled more of a track now, overgrown with ferns and nettles, while untrimmed silver birch trees formed a domed canopy. The interlocked leaves created an eerie dimness as they blocked the bright sunshine.

It felt like a blink of time passed since she stood as a twelve-year-old girl beside her grandmother, soaking in the surrounding beauty. Nana had an innate affinity with nature, and Zoe was the recipient of that gift, though she didn’t understand it completely. Dementia stole her nana’s memories before she could finish teaching her granddaughter. Papa became her caregiver until his passing when Zoe was twenty and too busy with college life. Nana was lost in her own world in a nursing home for twelve more years… until last week when she’d joined Papa.

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The Welkin

Edel landed on the ledge and Halley slowly dismounted. Every bone in her body ached. Two turns ago, at first light, they had taken to the skies with their WatchWing. It felt like two cycles ago.

Time does not change, though I too am weary. My poor wings feel like we’ve been in battle. Edel sounded dejected.

You’re still a juvenile—I am wondering if they assigned us too soon.

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The Welkin: WatchWing

Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash 

Kyrie granted the new Welkin pair half a turn to tighten their bond. Halley discovered her Aigle’s needs and wants as they established the routines necessary as a linked pair. She rode comfortably in the notch of Edel’s neck. Auger checked-in discretely from time-to-time and reported back to her instructor. 

I’m hungry.


It’s been over two daybreaks and light falls… I’m growing!

Halley entered the cavern dressed in her Welkin uniform. Edel was not on his platform in the cavern. Instead, he stood on the edge of the ledge, waiting.

I was only teasing… I am here now. 

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The Welkin: Linked

Photo by Omer Salom on Unsplash

The next half turn passed by in a blur for Halley. Silon and Antel’s behaviour in training was not as overt as it had been with Fargo, but that made it easier to conceal.

The three faced their last test. Halley knew her individual maneuvers were flawless as she exited out of them and caught the updraft to join Antel in the middle of the air, while Silon caught the downdraft to do the same on the other side. She regulated the speed of her ascent to synchronize with the speed of Antel’s descent as they pulled up level with Antel in unison and switched to a floating position. The last move was executed in perfect unison as they regulated their speeds to a controlled descent until they were half a body length from the ground. 

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The Welkin: Challenge

Photo by Tevin Trinh on Unsplash

Fargo’s fear was tangible as he disappeared down the stone stairs. 

Halley registered his retreat, but Auger was gazing at her, and she was in complete awe. She had never seen an Aigle. As a Fledgling, she’d read the legends and fables, but seeing the real thing was something else.

You make stories up about us?

The voice was in her head! She felt it reverberate through her entire being. She was deciding how to respond when Kyrie moved between her and Auger.

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Photo by Susan Karl on Unsplash

The Welkin: Freefall

The other Novices disappeared quickly, confirming Halley’s suspicion that their parents were from the Air. Fargo stood a little off to her right, looking as confused as she felt. 

“Novice Halley, you will follow me,” the Elder ordered. As she rushed to catch up, she glanced over her shoulder and noticed that Fargo was following Kyrie.

Once they had left the big chamber, she found herself climbing down two more flights of stairs carved into the rock. Her footing wasn’t sure until she reached a path that master hewers had created. Halley began making mental notes, picking out landmarks so she could find her way back to the big chamber if that was the common meeting area.

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The Welkin: Chosen

Photo by Bhumil Chheda on Unsplash.

“It’s almost time.” 

Halley took one last look at her reflection in the shiny kettle on the old wood stove. Her thick auburn hair lay in one braid down her back. She wore a simple navy blue dress with a small white collar. 

The dress touched the floor as she walked toward the front door. Her mother had gone ahead with Halley’s pack, which contained only her brushes and undergarments. The rest of her clothing would remain in the house until someone from Supply came to get them. 
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The Music Box

Savannah wiped her sweaty brow with the bandana holding her long, thick, raven hair back. She was four hours into her move and it felt like a year had passed.

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Mosaic Heart

The alarm sounded, dragging Laurel out of yet another nightmare. She forced herself to take slow, deep breaths as she turned the alarm off and turned the bedside lamp on. It was a small room, holding a single bed, a bedside table, a dresser with a mirror, and a desk.

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