Thunder and Stars

         The night had grown darker as James perched on his branch. Even though the stars offered a brilliance of white pinpoints that specked the sky, the light they gave off wasn't enough to help his eyes scan the horizon. Well this was stupid, he thought, even if I spot an attack I won't be able to reach the camp before the first bombs fall. He was never able to plan far enough ahead to predict future problems, something he could never seem to improve on. Find the tallest tree, climb it, and then watch. That was his plan. It was working quite well, but he hadn't the slightest idea of what to do when something actually appeared. Running face first at the enemy with a positive outlook was how he'd always done it, and it hadn't failed him yet, so why stop now? It was also the one thing that made his archery skills so remarkable. He focused on one target, aimed to kill, and never hesitated; waiting in the heat of battle was a straight path to death.

         With nothing of interest happening in the sky, he collected his feet beneath him and slowly navigated down the tree. Approaching the bottom he noticed a faint glow of white coming from the direction of his camp. Not walking on the ground, and staying within range of the tree tops, he knew it had to be Jeremy. Or at least, he hoped it was. He didn't think one of the Ranen would keep so low to the ground, they preferred to linger at high altitudes so the watchers didn't detect them. His feet sunk into the soft decay of the forest floor as he made his way towards the glowing white blob. It soon took on the shape of a long gliding oval, and then was a pair of white mountains separated by the vague figure of a man. As he came in for a landing there was a faint rustle of leaves and wind. "What goes on in the realm of James this fine summer night?" Jeremy folded in his wings until they were snug against his body. James was always astonished how such massive limbs could compact so tightly against a mans back. "Nothing much, just figured I'd keep a look out while you slacked on the job." Jeremy raised his eyebrows and gave him a shrug, "Geez, I didn't know there were rules against sleeping, I guess I have to ask to take a piss now too?" He grinned at James and felt around on his harness. "How did you find me here anyways?", James asked. "Oh, you know...tall tree, good vantage point, where else would you be? This grove must be a good hunting spot too, I found some large tracks over there by the lake." His hand reached what it was looking for and he untied a small pouch on his side, handing over a shapeless gray mound of heavy objects. "These are for your arrows. I know you normally use wood and metal, but they've got some serious weight to them. Maybe you could sharpen it and make a special one or something." James felt them drop into his hand, cold and smooth to the touch. He rolled them around a few times, noticing they really were heavier than they looked, and carefully slipped them into his bow sling pocket. "Thanks, they might be a little heavy, but they'll do some serious damage if I can make them small enough." Jeremy looked pleased with his find, and they began padding back through the forest towards the camp.

         Stillness surrounded them when they reached the now awakened circle of men, and the night seemed to have gotten impossibly thicker. There wasn't any wind, and if the animals were awake, they did not stir. The general feeling was one of uneasiness. "Well, I guess there isn't anything planned for tonight then, huh?", asked Mike, the only one still wiping sleep from his eyes. Jeremy walked to his yawning companion and slapped him on the back. "Nope! The Ranen have decided to party at their own place tonight, guess we're just not interesting enough." Suddenly all of them became aware of the stars blipping in and out of existence, turning the black forest and sky into a single abyss. The brightest source of light was now Jeremy's fluorescent wings. "Great, who turned out the lights? I can't see shi-" There was a deafening clap of thunder in the distance, along with a sudden glow of red and orange. A column of smoke soon rose from the direction of Potluck. This isn't going to be a good night, James thought, not at all.


The End

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