Enter the Snowflake's lair... Circulation: 194,748,823 Issue: 791 | 28th day of Swimming, Y19
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The Year 2123: Part One

by ikomoki


      Motlay's gaze narrowed when he heard a brush rustling to his left. Slowly, and silently he took a side step, then jumped to a low-lying branch. Quickly he ascended to twenty feet off the ground. Then he waited. Out of the brush came a tumbling baby black Bearog.

      A sly grin made its way upon his face.

      Following closely behind was a slightly bigger black Bearog; the two began to wrestle on the forest floor.

      Suppressing his laughter Motlay continued to watch them.

      Such wondrous joy to be found in a place so grim as this… Slowly Motlay's smile faded. Just when something was cheering me up, I am the one to bring me down.

      Motlay was positioned to start climbing down when a sound all too familiar pierced his ears. He whipped his head back to where the Bearog pups were only a moment ago, but saw nothing, only a few drops of scarlet. His stomach gave a small flip of nausea, but this quickly passed as Motlay began to instinctively climb higher up the tree.

      When he was at the middle of the tree he began hopping from branch to branch. Using his amethyst wings to help ensure a soft landing on the thinner branches to avoid drawing attention to his abscond.

      After awhile Motlay felt as though he could relax, though he decided it best to stay up in the trees for the time being. The forests of Lutari Island were a special place for Motlay. The forests were dense, and few people had ever lived on the Island. Though, that didn't mean they hadn't tried to escape to the lesser-populated places. But even then, few dared to come to Lutari Island. Even some Lutari's feared coming home.

      Motlay at first had been timid; the abandoned homes of the Island gave it such an eerie feel that he had the chills for a week straight. After that the noises of unseen creatures became part of his breath, they breathed in, and he breathed out. He felt a connection to the Island, maybe his senses were becoming more honed, but sometimes he knew when danger was lurking. Many a times he would return to look upon the carcass of a defenseless petpet where he had been only moments before.

      Motlay finally felt as though he could relax. He couldn't sense anything nearby, and he most certainly hadn't heard anything. But then again, I didn't hear anything by the Bearog's either… A small wave a panic went through him, but instantly he calmed himself, this wasn't unusual. It had happened before. But he was on the middle ground right now. He could descend or ascend freely, and escape the Island if need be.

      Finally settling down on a thick branch, he wriggled as close to the trunk as possible and crossed his legs. He reached inside his blue militia's jacket and pulled out his Pan Pipes from the inner pocket. Exhaling he brought the Pipe's to his lips, then in a soft breath he began playing to the sounds of the Island. Matching and mixing the familiar tones of the creatures living in the Island's forest.


* * *

      Motlay's ears twitched.

      Wake Up.

      There was than instinctual voice again. Motlay roused from his slumber. How odd. I don't even remember falling asleep.

      Motlay's Pan Pipes were already in his coat pocket. He looked around puzzled. Before he had sat down he had ensured no one was around, and yet, he had dozed off and slept for what seemed like the whole night. I haven't slept a whole night on this Island ever. Even more so, I haven't fallen asleep without my knowing in over five years…

      Panic was slowly rising in his chest. Was he losing his touch? Had he grown too weary over the last five years? Is this what it came down to? To die on the only place where Refuge had seemed conceivable?


      Motlay turned again, but no one was there, but off in the distance he saw trees being shook like rags, the ground beneath him began to quake softly. Without a moment of hesitation he was racing on the tree branches. Swiftly jumping from each branch, each jump he went to a higher branch. He didn't bother moving quietly, he had one goal in mind: Flight. But the dense forest was no place to begin a rapid ascent; to do so would bring a greater challenge of navigating the twisting thick branches to rise. Climbing could make a safer and more maneuverable ascent to the tree's tops.

      Within moments the branches were thinning out and Motlay was using his broad wings to help support himself to breaking through the foliage. With one last push he leapt into the air and broke into the hazy skies of Lutari Island. Not daring to look back, he made himself as aerodynamic as possible and raced to the southern part of the Island.


* * *

      The quaking hadn't stopped for two days straight. Motlay would fly away from the noise, only to be jostled at the soft beating he heard in the distance. But even then it was only a matter of moments before, what he believed, would be certain disaster.

      But he never came too near to the disaster, at every turn he would be guided. Every flutter of his wings seemed to be instructed. He would escape each time, and then would have an hour to eat, drink, or even catch a power nap. But most of the time he just paced atop a tree branch. Waiting.

      Just when you think you're done waiting for things. You somehow end up waiting again. I am a creature of pure habit. Nothing has changed. Even now, after five years, nothing has changed.

      Motlay sat down. He pulled out his Pan Pipes'. He raised the Pipe's to his lips when he realized the forest was silent. Quizzically, he tilted his head, hoping to pick up a scant noise.

      There was nothing.

      Motlay returned the pipe to his coat pocket. He leapt into the air and began to soar. These past few times he had chosen spots that were closer to the shore line so he could quickly fly and not have to waste time getting out of the forest.

      There are a few small Islands to the Northeast; perhaps I can go there. Whatever is chasing me surely can't swi—

      Motlay's thoughts were interrupted when a dark shadow plunged down upon him. Letting out a short cry of surprise but Motlay quickly equipoised himself. He stood hovering at his altitude and glared and the form that was beginning to strike again but from below.

      A wave of memories flooded Motlay. Pterilisea …" he cooed softly.


* * *

      When do you think this war will pass?" whispered the hooded figure.

      You can never be sure of when war will end, it never depends on the ones actually fighting. It is always about the ones who quarrel." Motlay silently responded.

      The two sat in the shadows outside of the encampment of their friends. An hour passed before Motlay's friend spoke again. "How often do you dream of home?" Rilis's eyes shone in the moonlight as she stared Motlay down.

      Motlay turned away first, "Every second I have to spare. I can't ever forget what I'm really fighting for out here. You?" He gazed at her from the corner of his eye.

      You know I have nothing to dream of returning home to.

      With that the conversation between the two died for that night.


* * *

      The figure below Motlay was almost unrecognizable. But the scar that was ever present on Rilis's beak was hardly mistakable. Motlay took a deep breath, he always knew that he would run into people from his past, but he had never imagined seeing Rilis again.

      Something inside his chest stirred, I thought you were dead…

      Rilis was on the offense and fast approaching, now that she had regained her bearings. You're dull; you aren't the sharp woman I met five years ago. Motlay quickly began dive-bombing toward her. The infection stole all of you; you're nothing but a shell. Let me put you out of this never-ending reality.

      With one swift movement he tucked his wings down his back and flipped so that his claws came clashing down upon Rilis. A shrill cry was quickly snuffed as the shell of Rilis began tumbling down to the ocean.

      Motlay spread his wings, "Dear Fyora, Protect Pterilisea." A crash was covertly heard in Motlay's ears, he wiped the tears from his eyes and turned to face Lutari Island for one last time. "Perhaps one day I shall return, my companion." He gave a curt bow of his head and then turned toward the islands to the North East.


* * *

      The fog of Lutari Island began to thin out and Motlay squinted his eyes at the change in light. His eyes scanned every which way. The spirit of Lutari Island was still with him, he felt himself being guided. From this height you wouldn't have ever known that there was a deadly pestilence in the world below. But after what Motlay just went up against, he knew it was no small feat as to some of the tougher things that could be out there. His mind wandered to Lutari Island once more, what was chasing me? How did it always find me? Am I being hunted?

      Motlay shook his head as he began his descent on the small Island just in front of him. Scanning the small island he saw a decent sized cave that could house and protect him for the night. He tipped his right wing slightly and began his short flight to the cave.

      Once he touched down at the mouth of the cave Motlay realized how much the past few days had left him weary. He crawled into the cave, and found a nook off the ground. Curling up into a ball he began to close his eyes, but he swore that just before he closed them he saw a purple haze fill the cave.

      Must… be… the… sleep deprivation…




      To be continued…

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