The Broken Oath Part 4
The wild cat crouched in the shadowed gully of a shallow trench. Her dark striped pelt twitched as a fly buzzed about her head. She ignored it; her pale green gaze focused on the hare. The dun-colored rabbit picked through the grass at the top of the trench. She waggled her haunches while keeping her tail still, preparing to leap. She had watched a leopard execute this strategy on an impala the day before and was eager to try it herself. The rabbit took a step, its ears twitching. It was now or never. She gathered her paws beneath her and leapt.
“Claw!” The shriek of a rainbird frightened her prey. Claw’s outstretched front paws swiped empty air, her hind paws churning the earth. Wind whipped her pelt as Storm alighted beside her and folded her elegant wings against her body.
The clawbeast turned on her friend with a hiss. “You cost me my meal.”
Storm rolled her eyes. “We have more important things to worry about then hunting.”
“I assume you mean what happened to Star’s daughter.” Claw stated with a twitch of her whiskers before beginning to groom her paw.
Her flippancy aggravated Storm who shook out her feathers. “This is serious, Claw.”
Claw didn’t lift her head as she responded between licks. “Of course, it is. Star lost a daughter, he’s mad with grief. He’ll come to his senses soon enough and realize that you had nothing to do with it.”
Storm let her wings sag. “I’m not so sure.” Her voice welled with doubt.
Claw rubbed her cheek against her friend’s downy belly and wrapped her flexible tail around her back. “I wouldn’t worry, Storm.”
“I would.” A grating hiss sounded from the tall grass and the two friends glanced over to see a long figure slither from the stocks. Bringer lifted his ebony hood as he approached them, his shadowy scales glinting under the sun, suspended high overhead.
“What did you find out, Bringer?” Storm leaned forward, her body tense. Claw glanced at her and tilted her head to the side in question. “I asked him to check in on Star and Greatwing for me.” The raptor clarified.
Claw rolled her eyes. “Isn’t that spying?” She pointed out. Her friends ignored her.
“Yes.” Bringer answered, his tone grave. “And the news I bring is not good. It appears that Star is forming an army. I saw him rallying his whole family, talking about a battle. A greatwing representative was there. He agreed with Star and announced that his father was training them in aerial combat. Star said that he demands retribution.”
Claw’s fur fluffed out in surprise. She stepped back and regarded the cobra in shock. “No, that cannot be. Star would not break the oath. Never.”
Storm narrowed her eyes. “Are you certain?”
“I am.” Bringer nodded while meeting their gazes with solemn eyes. His head bobbed as he spoke.
Claw shook herself, her tail lashing. “I don’t believe it.” I refuse to believe it.
“Do you think I’m lying?” Bringer’s tongue flickered out of his mouth, he sounded crushed.
“Of course not.” Claw softened her mew. “I just never thought Star was capable-”
“Well start believing!” Storm snapped; her intense gaze trained on Claw. “Star and Greatwing are preparing to attack. My brood will not be able to fight them off. Greatwing will tear me apart.” She stared at Claw, her eyes round with desperation. “Will you stand with me?”
Claw’s pelt prickled with unease and her claws dug into the soft sand. She glanced from Storm to Bringer. They were obstinate. She felt something inside her shatter. Star was willing to break the oath for revenge. To trade peace for retribution. She could not allow innocent creatures to get hurt and she didn’t believe for a moment that a rainbird was behind Comet’s death. She gave Storm a definitive nod. “I will stand with you.”