Into the silence rise shifting sounds. Flutters. Feathers rub against feathers. Claws scrape against wood. In the Above stir the Ones.
The council has already begun. The bodies in the trees turn, heads tilt, beaks click softly every so often. Beyond those sounds of life there are no words. The Ixion have no need of them, although they can speak when they choose. It is rare. They have little need. All they survey is theirs. At least it should be.
The cattle below, those things that call themselves Centaurs, have invaded. They are yet new to the forest. Oh, not by their reckoning. They are short-lived creatures, foolish and childish. They war, they attack. Foolish, foolish creatures.
When they first arrived they had spoken to the Ixion, the Ones. In return, the Ones had replied. They had accepted the new presence in their forest, so long as the centaurs accepted one rule: the artifacts belong to the Ixion.
For a time, the centaurs had listened. For a time they had been pleased to learn at the feet of the Ones. But it was only for a time. Then came the day they asked about the artifacts. The Ixion had refused to answer, had refused to explain themselves to the centaurs. Those children of the dirt would not be able to comprehend the true value of such things.
This refusal was taken incorrectly, however. The centaurs mistook the refusal in their foolishness for greed. They interpreted the acts of the Ones in light of their own frame of reference and determined that the Ixion were simply unwilling to share such precious articles. They were certain the artifacts were items of power, items of great worldly value.
They were, of course, correct. In a way. Not wholly.
So the Ixion meet now to determine what they shall do about the newest artifact. It has become clear that the centaurs will not soon recognize the error of their ways. In the meantime the artifacts are not tended as they should be. It cannot be allowed to continue.
Something must be done.
Perhaps it is time to teach the centaurs a proper lesson. They have not learned on their own. As with naughty children, perhaps they require chastisement to show them their error.
Dissent. A rustle of feathers, scraping of claws. Beaks click.
The artifacts must be protected. That is the primary purpose of the Ixions.
The sounds of dissent lessen, although there are still soft noises, still those who are unwilling to accept.
It is the sacred duty. It is why the Ixion were created. It is to the benefit of the centaurs to be taught not to meddle with things they do not understand. There is a time for patience to end. The newest artifact must be rescued and protected. It is time.
Agreement, albeit reluctant.
Wings flap, bodies lift. Leaves flutter, twirling slowly to the ground. Only a few remain in the trees, awaiting the result, guarding the artifacts. The remainder fly on a course for the centaur camp.