The Beginning

The Shifting World Part 2

Nova was dreaming. She sensed open space and wind soaring high above. The sky was cloudless and starry. The claw-pricks of light scattered above her. She stared at them in wonder for they were closer than normal. She stretched her neck and raised her snout wishing that she could touch one. She kept her paws firmly planted in the sand. She was an adult meer, a leader now that her father was gone, she didn’t want to look silly reaching for the stars. She felt a sudden warmth spread through her and turned to see her father settling next to her. “Father.” She breathed in awe and wonder.

“Nova.” Star smiled. He seemed content. “Welcome to the Starlands.”

Nova pressed her snout into his glossy pelt, expecting to inhale his familiar scent. It was present but very faint, covered by the smell of the breeze and fresh sand. “We miss you.”

“I miss you, too.” He brushed his cheek past her shoulder. “You are doing well, my daughter.”

Nova pulled back so that she could meet Star’s gaze. “If that’s true then why did you summon me here?”

Star blinked at her, his expression open and sincere. “Must it mean you’ve done something wrong for me to want to visit my daughter?”

“Star,” Nova sighed, not appreciating her father’s humor. “It’s been almost a season since you died. The meer are scared. Many of them hate leaving the burrow, even to forage! Bringer is still roaming the desert, doing whatever he wants. Rumors have spread that he is trying to gather the cobras of the desert. We still don’t know why. Neither you nor Comet have dream visited Galaxy, who is the healer of First Family. Can you blame me for assuming I’ve done something wrong? It’s not like I have any idea what I’m doing.”

Star chuckled. “That’s just it, Nova. One of the most important parts of being a leader is admitting when you need help and guidance. It sounds to me like you’re doing just fine.”

Nova relaxed into her father’s side and smiled, revealing white canines. She closed her eyes, aware that this precious time with Star would not last forever. “Why come to me and not Galaxy?”

“Galaxy is a good healer, but he isn’t the leader of First Family. You are.”

Nova nodded without opening her eyes. “Yes.” Nova murmured, her voice thick with grogginess. She was falling asleep. The dream was fading.

Star lowered his muzzle to her ear. “Nova, the black fox is returning. He is the only one who knows how to defeat Bringer. He will share that with you. Make sure that Galaxy is present when Listener …”

His voice grew quieter and quieter. Nova awoke to darkness some heartbeats later with her brother Galaxy curled at her side, asleep. She nuzzled him, her fur standing on end as a new sense of hope filled her.

“What?” Galaxy yawned; his voice laced with irritation. He refused to lift his head. Dawn was still far off.

“Get up.” She nudged him again, her voice a whisper so as not to wake the rest of the family. “We must prepare. Listener is coming.”

This time Galaxy’s tail twitched, and his eyelids flickered. He was listening.

“He’s going to tell us how to kill Bringer.”

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