Wings of Silver

Icar, a Steller's Sea Eagle sets off with a small group of friends in search of his kidnapped little brother after the island he lived on was attacked by the Society. Icar hopes to finally bring the Society's reign of blood and terror to an end, but he can't do it alone.

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Chapter 1

A large sea eagle gracefully crested a wave as he glided on the thermals tossed up by the sun-warmed surface of the sea. He scanned the water for fish, his keen eyesight watching for any movement besides the to and fro sway of the ocean as it slid up the sides of a weathered cliff and sank back into itself. It was not entirely natural for Steller Sea eagles such as himself to hunt in open oceans, usually his species stuck close to rivers and estuaries where salmon spawned and lived, it was easier, and Salmon was a loved food. However, since the rise in the number of animals joining The Society, Icar and his family were forced to move away from the fighting that was constantly taking place between animals after the downfall of the human race. They had moved to this relatively large island a few miles from the mainland, out of The Society’s current jurisdiction. When they had moved to this island, they had found it already occupied by other animals, which called themselves Free. They weren’t under the rule of The Society, and had never been found by them. There were many different animals, some which were considered food in outsiders’ eyes. It was strange to see so many animals living together peacefully while in other places they’d be killing one another. The family of Sea Eagles had been welcomed and Icar’s parents had since then hatched another brood, a female and male. Icar’s little brother Iver was watching intently from a small crevice in the face of the cliff. Icar was teaching his little brother how to fish in the ocean, as he had fledged only days ago. His sister, Narcissus was also learning how to fish, but from her parents. Icar’s little brother had insisted that Icar teach him. The eagle crested another wave and suddenly brought his massive talons forward swiftly, plunging them into the rolling blue-green water and flapping his long wings hard to gain height as he pulled the fish from the water, he fanned out his tail feathers to catch as much of an updraft as possible to get him free of the waves. He slowly gained height and made his way towards the cliff, catching a thermal straight up to the crevice where his brother was waiting excitedly. He folded his wings and dropped onto the edge of the crevice, hopping awkwardly deeper with the fish still clutched in the talons of his left foot.
‘See here how I caught it.’ Icar said, holding up his left foot for his brother to inspect the way in which he held the fish.
‘Try to catch it just behind the gills, then it can’t get away, and if it’s going in the opposite direction, do the same, though it might also help to stick a talon in its mouth, unless the fish has teeth, of course. It’s safer to go for the gills.’ Icar said.
‘Is that how Dad lost one of his talons?’ Iver asked.
Icar chuckled, ‘Yeah, he was teaching me how to fish and decided to show off, he ended up teaching me how not to catch a fish.’
‘Is it easier with those serrated bone claws?’ Iver asked, pointing with his beak towards the small bundle in the back of the cave that contained slip-on bone claws with serrated edges, one for each talon. Icar and the other fighters of the island used them in battle or to catch prey, especially fish or eels, since they were so slippery.
‘It’s easier if you know how to carry them.’ Icar nodded, ‘But try catch a fish with your own talons first, hm?’
‘Alright, but promise you’ll let me wear them to catch my next fish.’ Iver said, staring up at his elder brother.
‘Oh alright.’ Icar rolled his eyes good-naturedly, ‘Just don’t lose them, they’re not easy to make, old Boris won’t be too pleased if he has to make me more.’
Boris was a bad-tempered old wolverine who makes weapons to assist birds and the other island hunters and fighters.
‘I’ll fly out there with you, just in case you get caught in a wave.’ Icar said
‘What?’ Iver scoffed, ‘I’ll be fine, you don’t need to hold my talons the whole way.’
‘What’ll I tell our mother if you end up coming back to the roost completely waterlogged?’ Icar asked
‘That it rained?’ Iver shrugged his wings, Icar tilted his head up to gaze skyward,
‘Iver, there isn’t a cloud in the sky for miles, I don’t think she’ll believe that.’ Icar chuckled
‘Oh fine,’ Iver huffed, spreading his wings and leaping from the cliff, his elder brother behind him. He was a little wobbly at first, getting used to the boisterous thermals and the wind tugging him in all directions from the motion of the ocean.
Icar hung back, gliding above his brother, watching him closely. His little brother flew low over the waves, as Icar had, scanning the surface of the water for fish.

They flew this way for about ten minutes until finally Icar spotted the silvery glimmer of a fish beneath the surface, his little brother had seen it and pumped his wings hard, gaining the speed necessary to get to the fish, he brought his talons forward and in one fluid motion plunged them into the water, feeling his talons catch in the fish’s gills, he brought it from the water, the long silver-scaled fish thrashed erratically. Iver struggled to keep a hold on the fish and it slipped from his talons, Icar watched in amusement as his little brother fumbled with the fish in midair while still trying to keep from getting sucked into the ocean’s tossing waves. In the end he got a firm grip, puncturing the side of the fish with one talon once its struggles grew weaker. Iver flapped his wings quickly to clear the waves, the siblings flew back to the cliff, where Iver chucked the fish in the corner of the small cave with Icar’s.
‘Well done.’ Icar said warmly, Iver was panting from the effort of his catch.
‘Thanks.’ He said, ‘Can I try again?’
‘Sure, we need to catch as many as possible to help feed some of the animals in the camp.’ Icar said, the two brothers set out across the ocean again, cresting the waves in search of food. Every capable animal on the island helps hunt for fish and meat, to help feed the young, injured and old. There was also a sizable amount of herbivores on the island, they grew small areas of crops, and full of different kinds of fruits, vegetables, herbs and every other kind of plant they liked to eat. The island population consisted mostly of carnivores, though. The two brothers finished collecting fish and made their way back to the camp, in their talons carrying a large basket each, woven out of flax leaves, the baskets were laden with fish. They caught a tunnel thermal across the island; it lessened the strain on their wings to stay in the air while they were carrying heavy loads. Iver was struggling only a little, this was his first time carrying a heavy weight while flying. They angled their wings so that they gracefully descended into the clearing of the camp, carefully depositing the baskets into the fish pile. Iver flew off to a group of his friends, and Icar settled on the thick branch of an oak tree. Suna, a northern Hawk owl, glided silently past the food pile and alighted beside Icar, the two birds worked together a lot, and were best friends. They nodded a greeting to one another and Icar swung his head around to survey the camp.
‘I’m glad the Society haven’t found this place yet, we’re thriving here.’ He said, inclining his head towards a small litter of foxes and wolves playing together, their parents engaging in friendly, relaxed conversation.
‘I agree, dear friend, but I cannot help but feel this won’t last long, what with the rate the Society are expanding their territory, we’re not far from the mainland, it’s only a matter of time.’
Icar blinked slowly; despair beginning to seep into his heart.

The camp was crawling with many different animals. The clearing of the camp was mostly coated in a tan coloured dust, underneath that; clay. There were dens dug into the ground by burrowing animals to accommodate the animals that enjoy sleeping in such places. Thick undergrowth and tall trees surrounded the clearing, some animals made their homes amongst their roots. There was no absolute leader of the camp, but most animals looked up to the old greying Black Panther that spent most of his time below in the largest cavern. The camp was peaceful. Icar watched his little brother mock fighting with one of his friends, using artificial claws created from leaves, so that no damage could be accidentally inflicted on his opponent. Icar opened his beak to call encouragement to his brother, but he was interrupted by an ear shattering screech from the skies, a male magpie plummeted out of the sky, he landed roughly, looking ruffled and tiny, his black and white feathers had completely flattened in fear, and his beak was hanging open, panting with exhaustion. The camp had gone silent, animals that had heard the screech cautiously came forth, Icar swept from his perch and landed before the terrified magpie.
‘Sol, what’s wrong?!’ Icar asked, extending his wingtips to brush the fearful songbird.
‘T-the Society, they’re coming!’ Sol screeched, ‘I heard a couple of foxes speaking of the Society’s plans! They know about us, and they’re coming to destroy us!’
‘How can you be sure they know?’ A female wolf asked
‘I know what I heard, it’s my job.’ Sol replied, his voice wavering, and his wings drooping slowly with exhaustion. The soft flutter of wings told Icar that Suna was beside him.
‘We must hold a meeting.’
‘There isn’t time!’ Sol replied, now shivering frantically, ‘I saw them on my return, a cloud of birds, carrying something in their talons, they’re here to kill us!’

The End

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