When Messengers Fall (pt12)

Orifiel’s head leaned back, bare skin touching the tree. Orifiel’s mouth opened, then closed.

“You know each other?” Bri was aware enough of the atmosphere to keep her voice quiet, waiting for Malak’s judgment.

“Orifiel… has never seen the present before.” Malak’s explanation stuck in their throat. Those eyes which now shifted, black pupils contracting smaller than they had ever been, colour threatening to blossom over the whites around them. “Orifiel, do you hear me?”

“…Malak…”

The recognition held no feeling within. Malak did not feel dread, hadn’t felt such things since their fall. Discomfort, however, had become a regular companion. “Orifiel, what happened to you?”

There was no answer forthcoming.

Emine (pt 15)

“What do you want for your birthday?”

Emine hadn’t known anyone here knew her birthday. She shouldn’t have been surprised Sanni did, but she felt it nonetheless. Her birthday. Eleven years old. A year since her parents cast her out.

Sanni’s expression went from a measured amount of excitement to some concern. “Emine? Is something wrong?”

She shook her head. “I… No, nothing is wrong. I wasn’t thinking about it. I don’t know.”

“Surely there is something you want.”

Sanni sat down on her bed and Emine, after a moment, went to sit next to her. Sanni did something her mother used to do, which was put her arm around her while she sat next to her. Emine barely remembered it though, because she had been very young when her mother had done so.

“Yes.” There were quite a few things she wanted. But a birthday was when you asked for something you didn’t think you could ask for during the rest of the year.

“Tell me about it.”

Emine’s mind raced. What did she want right now that she might not get the rest of the year? Surprisingly, her mind settled on something quickly. Something Sanni couldn’t give her. But Emine wanted it nonetheless.

“I want to fly on dragonback.”