Winter: 16 years at the Monastery, Summer, six weeks after first flight
The cold of a summer pre-morning prickled Sunar’s skin as he sat, eyes closed, atop the gazebo at the height of the Four Peaks monastery and meditated on his place in his family, his community, the world, and the many worlds beyond. He had come to understand what Master Ikthan had told him – shocked him with – that day on his recovery bed, after his first ill-fated attempt to fly. There was so much out there, so many things to learn, so much to understand, so many ways to test himself and discover his limits, and so many ways to surpass those limits and become more.
Part of him never wanted to leave, to stay in this safe… no, not safe, he never cared about safe… comfortable. Part of him wanted to stay here, where everything was comfortable and familiar, where he knew his place, and the place of everyone around.
A tiny breeze carryied the sharp scent of still-frozen snow from the mountaintops to tease his nose. Soon.
He knew he couldn’t stay. Not and reach his potential, not and continue to grow as he needed. Some could gain the knowledge they needed by reading books, or from the ‘net, or looking at pictures. He needed to feel the rock and sand between his toes, to feel the air of other worlds rush beneath his wings.
The deep black of his eyelids began to shift, the tiniest glimmer of dawn had begun to reflect off the mountain peaks, and those rays had reached his closed eyes. He uncurled his tail from his feet and let it dangle across the gazebo’s shingles. Almost, but not yet.
No, not yet. He had more to learn, that he knew. The time approached when he would take that Final Walk through the Entry Court and lift the brazier aside, but he had things to learn yet. Patience would reveal the lessons; he just had to let them come to him, and to master them when they came.
A warmth touched the top of his head, began to push back the chill of the pre-dawn. The tiny bit of warmth moved down his head, and finally lit his eyelids with dawn’s first light. He opened his eyes and looked out; down the side of the mountain, through the hills at the mountain’s feet, across the plains beyond. The world waking, stretching, preparing for a new day… just as he had slumbered, and now began to wake, to prepare to stand on his own in the light of the world Outside.
He flared his wings, tensed his legs, and launched himself into the light. Dawn’s chill air bit at the leading edge of his wings, and prickled as it flowed under his wingsail. He brought his wings up once, twice, and a third time, pushing against the invisible ether which held him aloft.
He had gained some height already, and looked down. The gazebo, awash in the sun’s first light, shone like a beacon at the division between light and darkness, between morning and night, between sleep and activity, between preparation and action, between the past and the future.
Sunar dipped one wing, cupped it slightly to hold the air, and started a lazy turn over his monastery, over his still sleeping home. A warmth spread in his chest, for all the years it had given him – a childhood of shelter, kindness, lessons, and love. His circle brought him back to face the saddle between the peaks, and the world beyond, the word which had begun to awaken, as he had.
Resolution filled his mind. ‘I am Sunar Dawnsflight. Prepare yourself, world, for I make myself ready, and soon I shall emerge from this slumber and we shall test each other. Be ready, world and worlds Outside, for I shall be!’