Day 98 of 100 Word Prompts: Electric
Judah stood under the opening of the roof with anticipation. His eyes locked on the rim of the opening as his wings vibrated so intensely he thought they might fly off without him. He wanted nothing more at that moment than to feel the wind beneath his wings and see what preparations the other villagers had done in the night for the Harvest Festival set to begin in two days.
“Just a minute more,” Judah muttered as he flapped his wings, lifting his feet off the floor. “Father said when the light-”
The very top edge of the lip suddenly flared with the golden hue of the morning sun, and Judah lost every thought in his head, letting his wings flap furiously as he darted straight up into the sky. The cool autumn air ruffling the feathers on his face felt nice in tandem with the sun warming his beak. Below him, the canopy of the forest, spread nearly as far as the eye could see.
“Judah!” he heard his mother, Fallah, call out.
With a laugh, Judah took off eastward, toward Kriak’s house at the edge of the village. Opening his wings, he glided through the air with the level of true freedom he found only in the sky. It took less than five minutes of flying to reach Kriak’s home and drop through the opening in the roof into his bedroom.
“Get up!” Judah said, kicking the padded nest tucked into the corner. “It’s morning. We’ve got to go!”
“I see Judah’s already here,” Yala, Kriak’s mother, said with a chuckle as she came in through the roof as well. “That didn’t take long.”
“I was up before dawn,” Judah admitted.
“Did you give your mother the letter I gave you yesterday?” Yala asked.
“I did,” Judah said, nodding emphatically before returning his attention to the finch slumbering away in the nest. “Come on, Kriak! We’ve got to get going, or we’ll miss it!”
“Five more minutes,” Kriak protested, tightening his wing around his head.
“One, two, five,” Judah said, tugging on one of the small feathers near the top of the wing.
“Ouch!” Kriak yelped as his wing retracted instinctually. “Don’t do that!”
“Sorry, not sorry, buddy,” Judah said, winking at him. “Get up and get moving. Even Yala is here.”
“Good morning, dear,” Yala said, setting two rounds on the table next to the nest. “I’ll just leave these cakes here.”
Judah watched Yala fly out and over toward the common area before disappearing from view.
“Don’t make me do it again,” Judah threatened.
“Alright!” Kriak said with a yawn, “I’m up.”
“Hardly,” Judah replied.
“Do you want to go alone?” Kriak said. “I know as the Chief’s son, you are used to the royal treatment, but here you’re just Judah.”
“I do not get the royal treatment!” Judah protested, feeling his feathers stand up.
“I was kidding,” Kriak said, standing up and stepping from the nest. He opened and closed his wings experimentally a few times as he plucked a cake from the plate on the table. “That one’s yours.”
As if in response, Judah’s stomach growled loudly.
“Sorry,” Judah said, picking up the cake and taking a bit of the moist, earth flavored breakfast. The hints of grass and mealworm were enough to make him close his eyes for a second. “I’m just so excited to see the marketplace set up. Do you remember last year? There were elves and dwarves everywhere! I think I even spotted a halfling.”
“I wonder if there’ll be humans there this year,” Kriak said, taking another bite of his cake.
“I doubt it,” Judah said. “Father never lets them come here.”
“I wonder why,” Kriak said.
Judah shrugged and finished his cake before flying up to the opening in the roof. Kriak followed suit, though his wings were much smaller and beat significantly faster. In the thrum of their combined wingbeats, they could feel the electric charge in the air. Like something big was coming. Everyone knew it, and everyone worked towards it.
Arriving at the market, Judah could barely believe the progress already made in the night. The eagle clan had brought more than enough bamboo and rope to build fifty stalls, but the crows outdid themselves with their ingenuity, hanging some of the makeshift shops from the large boughs of the trees nearby.
“Slow down!” Kriak called after Judah as they flew through one of the hanging shops.
Judah came to a stop at the northern edge of the island and looked down into the clouds below, his eyes widening as he saw the tiny specks of movement signifying people making the journey from the mainland below.
“What is it?” Kriak asked.
“I can see the eagles bringing merchants up already,” Judah said, turning perfectly horizontal in the air as his friend joined him.
“I can’t see anything,” Kriak huffed, “but you know where the majority of the traders are coming in this year, right?”
“No,” Judah said, turning vertical once more. “Where? I thought they normally came through the Undermountains.”
“Normally, they do,” Kriak said, fluttering closer to him. “This year, though, they are coming up to the southern edge of Dostra. I heard that the elves invented some contraption to make the trip without the eagles’ help.”
“I don’t believe it,” Judah said. “There are only a handful of creatures that could make it up this high of their own volition. Even something as old as elves couldn’t make the trip without wings.”
“My dad said that they had magic,” Kriak replied. “He said that they could start showing up even when we aren’t over land during the Fall Festival. He said that we could have traders here all the time pretty soon.”
“I think your dad may be listening to a few too many rumors at the tavern,” Judah said.
“It’s not his fault that people come in with them. He heard it first-hand from one of the engineers last week,” Kriak said. “Hand to Akadi! I swear it! There was an elf in the tavern last week!”