The Falcon's Trail

Chapter 1

Prologue

by: Sycamore
"It's here!"

The cry filled the still, frosty night in the country of Chesque. Stone houses poured their contents out onto the streets, torches and lanterns burst from the darkness, the city quickly becoming a hubbub seldom even seen by daylight.

"Is it true?"

"Who saw it?"

"Which way did it go?"

"There! Over there!" With the cry burst from a husky set of lungs, torches waved desperately in the direction the eager finger pointed to.

"I see it!"

"The Silver Comet!"

"It's a sign! We haven't been abandoned!"

"The Silver Falcon... he has returned!"

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Over the nightlit cliffs of the jagged peaks of Silver Pass, a lone rider carefully, but with obvious haste picked his way along an invisible path. Sure determination and speed set his course, but with care, lest he and the beast plummet to their deaths some thousands of meters below.

He dismounted in front of a non outstanding rock beside a dead tree, tied the animal to said tree, and ran towards the side of the rock, hastily unearthing another, smaller slab of stone, and laboriously rolling it some inches to the side.

"A niche must be carved on the outside someday," he couldn't help mumbling between labored pants. He jerked a cord out from under his shirt attached to an egg sized stone which projected a dim blueish light into the hidden cove's darkness. He climbed backwards into the hole he had produced, and when the whole of him had disappeared from the view of the outside world, he tucked his gloved fingers into a niche carved on the inside, hiding the cove from the world's view once more with considerably less effort than it took to reveal it.

"Gwene!" he called in a breathless shout, running at a crouch, feeling along the bottom of the enclosed walkway for a hint of an entrance. Finding it, he then crammed his fingers into it, and slid it upwards.

In the glow of the dim purplish light from the lamps within, a girl sat at a small desk in the tiny room beyond, papers scattered across her work area and littering the floor. She turned and glanced up at the breathless figure with the blue beam, her fingers laced together.

"Is it time?" she whispered.

"It's here," his voice was sure and radiant, "He's here."

"Are you sure? We have been misguided before."

"The world saw him come," his voice remained breathless not from strain, but excitement. He moved to a block of earth that served as bed across from her desk. She turned to look at him as he spoke, "'Silver comet, from the east' exactly as the prophecy said!"

"Foretelling," The girl addressed as Gwene corrected.

He waved his hand, "Persnickety as ever. What difference does it make? This is it Gwene, everyone knows he's here!"

"If this is true, we must move swiftly." She rose, "Come Byron, lest he have a chance to interfere."

He rose, and followed her out the door.

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From a high tower of the Opal Palace, a tall, lean figure with long white hair gazed up into the night sky. His brows were knit together in displeasure, his mouth taut.

The sound of the soft clinking of chains and folds rushed towards him, but he paid it no heed.

"Sir..." from the voice belonging to the sound.

"He's here Jabel," the man interrupted coldly, "after all this time."

"Why?"

The man turned to glare at the newcomer, "To collect what is his."

There was silence, the man in robes squinting to glance at the last trace of the silver comet sailing towards the red moon.

"What shall the order be, sire?"

The tall man looked at him again. "See Era and Hannid are informed. Send one of them for Nega. And rally my Prisma Guard to the Underground Gate immediately."

"Nega... sire...!"

"I know what you would say. But she will be worse displeased if The Silver Falcon were to succeed with what he is trying to do. What?" The question demanded upon examining the expression on the robed man's face.

"Nega... no, it's nothing sire." One did not simply tell the General that they were leery of a crow with a woman's head and fangs, even if the reputation of said creature gave good cause for terror.

The General flared his nostrils in disgust, and strode towards the palace.

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"Which of us will you choose to accompany you tonight, sir?"

The voice, sweet as honey, came from one of two pretty young girls, clad in tight skimpy dresses dipping low below the cleavage and stopping short above the thigh. They were bedecked in bangles and fine jewelry, their faces carefully painted to make them more appealing.

He pushed his hood back and leaned forward, raking their figures with his crystal blue eyes.

"Both" he said boldly in a husky voice.

That sent them into a fit of giggles. The girl who asked the question slowly approached him, making towards his lap.

"Don't be selfish," the other one chided with a mock pout, standing directly in front of him as the other accommodated herself on his knees, slipping her hand into his cloak.

The door of the inn burst open, immediately provoking shouts and curses from the customers and the innkeepers.

"The comet!" The interrupter protested, shouting at the top of his lungs to make himself heard. "The Silver Comet! The one that's not been seen in centuries!"

"Somebody throw him out before I do," growled a bare-chested bear of a man, standing up and towering head and shoulders above him, three half naked girls clinging to his body, shrieking and giggling from the suddenness of his movements.

The hooded man's blue eyes widened. He shoved the girl from his lap, and pushed past the one who was slipping out of her dress.

The girls exchanged disgusted looks and sounds. "You're no catch, One-Hand!" The half-naked one shouted at his back.

"Not two seconds ago, I was Handsome Blue-Eyes," He couldn't help thinking wryly, not slowing his exit.

Outside he paused and stared into the night, catching the silver tail before it disappeared into the mountains below the red moon.

His heart was racing. For the first time in years, he was filled with euphoria, enraptured with the spot where the silver had vanished into.

His mind ventured far into his past.

"Gwene... I have to find her. I have to tell her. This is the sign."


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