On Love’s Wings

On Love’s Wings copyright c. 2016 T.A. Chase

Part Fifteen-

A little while later, Ari touched Miataga’s hand then pointed to a break in the forest below them. Miataga could see the smoke from several fires drifting into the air. It was a fairly large sized village compared to some of the ones they’d flown over on their journey.

“We’ll be landing the village square. It’s the biggest spot for us. Once we’ve gotten our packs and unharnessed Vikex, he’ll leave. He spends his time in the forest since his presence makes them uneasy.” The phoenix shot a quick glance back at them and Ari chuckled. “Also, he doesn’t like them any more than they do him. He’d rather be alone then with the village folk.”

“You do realize that nothing you’ve told me so far makes me want to meet them,” Miataga pointed out. “It all actually makes me wish I told you to leave me at the last village and pick me on your way back through. I should be more scared to meet a flock of phoenix then come face-to-face with your family.”

Ari sighed. “I know. I’m sorry. It’s probably not going to be as bad as I’m making it out to be.”

Vikex’s screech could be taken as a snort and Miataga laughed. “I don’t think he agrees with you.”

“Most likely not.” Ari leaned forward to pat Vikex’ shoulder. “Let’s land then you can go.”

Angling to the right, Vikex began to descend in long sweeping circles. By the time they landed, a group of people stood on the edges of the village square. Miataga took a deep breath then climbed off. He wandered far enough away for Ari to jump down before tossing him their packs. Watching over them, he waited until Ari finished unharnessed Vikex.

“You can go now,” Ari told the phoenix.

Vikex stretched out his wings, brushing the tip of one over Miataga’s cheek before launching himself into the air. Standing there for a second, Miataga watched Vikex fly away and wished he could be with the phoenix. Ari joined him then touched his arm.

“Come on,” Ari said. “Let’s get this over with.”

“All right.” Clinging to Ari wasn’t the best way to meet his family for the first time. “I can do this,” he muttered.

“Yes, you can,” Ari whispered before leading him to a group of villagers standing a little apart from the others.

Studying them as he approached, Miataga could see the family resemblance. Yet there was a marked difference and it wasn’t just the scars marring Ari’s body. It had more to do with the set of Ari’s shoulders and the darkness in his golden eyes. Confidence shown in every inch of Ari’s body. It held his back straight, made him believe he could anything he put his mind to—except convince a whore to accompany him on a journey. The darkness came from the battles and bloodshed Ari had witnessed over the years he served in the army. It made him harder than the family members he left behind.

While the villagers looked rough around the edges compared to the people Miataga interacted with at the Loving House, they were clean and innocent in how they saw the world. The only thing that mattered to them was family and the land they tended. Which was the reason they couldn’t understand why Ari left to find his destiny with a bird.

Miataga snorted silently. Oh what a bird Vikex was. Unfortunately, Ari’s family and friends couldn’t see how special the phoenix was. All they saw was a giant bird.

“Father. Mother.” Ari nodded to the older couple in the middle of the separate group. “This is my friend, Miataga.”

“Sir. Ma’am.” Miataga bowed slightly as they stared at him in shock. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

The woman inclined her head, but Ari’s father ignored him. Miataga was used to people acting like he wasn’t around. Didn’t matter one way or another as long as Ari didn’t toss him aside.

“Ariste, why do you only come for your mother’s birthday? You never visit for any other reason.” Ari’s father complained as he grabbed Ari’s arm to drag him away from Miataga.

He was willing to let Ari go, seeing how it was his father and all. Ari wasn’t having any of that. Miataga found himself stumbling in their wake as they left the square because Ari wouldn’t let go of his hand. Mrs. Dosterta followed behind them.

“Our packs?” Miataga glanced over his shoulder.

“Don’t worry. One of the boys will get them along with the bird’s harness,” Mrs. Dostera told him. Flashing a smile at her, he said, “Thank you, ma’am.”

“I’ve been fighting a war, Father. They don’t give leave out while we’re at the front lines. This is the first time I’ve had a chance at a vacation in a year or more.” Ari gestured in the direction Vikex went. “Vikex was injured in our last battle, so I stayed around to nurse him back to health. I’m not going to apologize for not coming sooner. I’ve told you before I can’t just come whenever you want me. I’m answerable to my superior officers now.”

Mr. Dosterta shook his head. “Foolish. They could let you come for the harvest at least. We could use another set of hands out in the fields.”

Miataga bit his bottom lip, holding back a reply, even though the man hadn’t been talking to him. It looked like there was a bunch of kids running around who belonged to Ari’s family. He doubted they really needed Ari to help with anything.

“Father, the others are still here,” Ari pointed out. “How are you doing, Mother?”

It was obvious Ari didn’t want to discuss his absence any more. Miataga got the feeling it was an old argument between Ari and his father.

“I’m fine, Ariste. It’s nice of you come and to bring your friend?” Her voice lifted at the end in a question.

“Yes, Miataga is my friend. I hope you both will treat him with respect.” Ari stared at both his parents.

2 Responses “On Love’s Wings”

  1. Oh man, a father that doesn’t like when things go differently then he planned. I’m sure he’d still complain if Ari came home monthly!

    Loving the story 🙂

  2. josexpressions says:

    Lovely! Thanks, T.A. Have a nice weekend. 🙂

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