Yotej found it frustrating to work on his speed where Gaquliv could monitor his every move. A storm of taunts always followed. Dark clouds seemed to form in his mind after every encounter, it soured his mood for the rest of the day and it was becoming noticeable.
Kpuzaf called Yotej into his chambers. “You are distracted, and snippy which is not the behavior of a Golden Messenger, perhaps the council was correct in that you are too young for this position?”
“Please Lord Kpuzaf I am not too young, I wish nothing more than to prove this to you and the Elders.”
“To me? To the Elders? Or merely to Gaquliv?”
Yotej lowered his head just enough that spoke volumes to Kpuzaf. “I see, this is not acceptable. You will go and present yourself to Lady Bewhrom of the City Holdings and see if you can be of service to her. If you fail there you will loose your place. Is this understood?”
“Yes Lord Kpuzaf.”
“You will go at once.”
It would not have hurt any more if an arrow were stuck in his back, it was difficult to breath. All he had hoped for all he had dreamed of was to stand proud in the council, to please his family. The shame of loosing position tore at him. If he also lost his rank he might as well pull large boulders down on his head and die of embarrassment.
He packed his small sack, the elegantly woven bag with the fine colorful stitching. His family saw him off including Gaquliv, which he could have done without. But it was nice that his parents and his sister blessed his journey with kisses and small honey cakes.
Of course Gaquliv couldn’t let him go without comment or jibe. He boldly walked up to Yotej and handed him a newly minted gold coin. From anyone else it would have been a generous gift.
Yotej walked towards the platform Gaquliv on his heels. Once out of earshot he smiled his smirky smile. “That is so when you finish bashing your wings against the buildings you can take your coin to the Lowveldians and buy a pair of decent walking shoes. But do not worry cousin, I will be expecting you shortly and will keep an eye to the valleys so I can drag you up the mountain with out you having to put any effort in to that part of your journey at least.”
“You are all too kind. Why don’t you keep it. I am sure you will need sturdy shoes far sooner than I ever will.”
Gaquliv chuckled. “We shall see oh wingless one.”
Yotej gripped the coin rather than toss it at his feet. He couldn’t afford anymore demonstrations of his temper.
He stepped off the platform and let himself drop. The air rushed at him, he kept his wings tucked letting the speed increase. Pointing his head upwards and spreading his wings he set his course towards the city and to his shame. This is one trip he was not in a hurry to make. In fact any distraction would be nice at this point to delay walking into the City Holdings in his current condition. Nothing he flew over held his attention long enough to delay his arrival by much, of course if Gaquliv was here he would go on and on about the grass growing from seed to great weeds choking out the tall tress or some lame babble. Why couldn’t he just keep his thoughts to himself. It would make life so much easier.
Lady Bewhrom had many task for Yotej from sun up to sun down day in and day out. It was a pleasant demanding routine not allowing him much time to think or stew. After one such long day he entered his chamber in the high tower of the castle that spanned across several of the Lowveldians city buildings that seemed to touch the sky if looked on from below. He fell face forward on to his elegant silk bed covering and slept almost instantly.
Up again the next morning he went about his task as usual. He loved running errands as he spent that time practicing his speed, far away from Gaquliv. He whipped around a corner and than another he flew down low to gain momentum and shot back up to the building heights he avoided a flock of birds, or so he thought, a stray one alone was too hard to dodge when it didn’t register until a heartbeat before he hit it face first. He felt like his head had been snapped off as his nose, mouth, and eyes filled with feathers, than searing pain as he slammed his right shoulder into something very hard and unmovable. He tumbled and rolled, the sound of glass breaking. Dizzily he wiped at his eyes removing the white feathers. The room spun, his arm hung limp white feathers floated around him like a small cloud. He was in an unusual room. He pulled himself with his left hand towards the balcony and the way back out.
On the floor was his gold coin, Gaquliv’s gold coin. Why he carried it with him he wasn’t sure, unless it was so he could give it back once he mastered speed. Now it just lay there mocking him much like Gaquliv would have.. He didn’t bother to pick it up. When he stood on the balcony he stretched his wings making sure they were functional. The pain of his dislocated arm caused him to not want to move his wing. He looked over the edge of the balcony. He looked up. Somehow he had to get to the Holdings. Painfully he climbed higher than glided to the next building, it hurt, but at least he could do it. He repeated this several times before he landed on the Holding landing platform.