The day started with a mild breeze that soon escalated into a roaring, tumultuous storm somewhere in the distance. The wind heaved vigorous gusts at everything around the pasture. The sun hid behind the clouds, and never peeked out. The dozen of men trod forward in silence. It wasn’t that they were particularly weary; their silence came from the lack of enthusiasm. A pointless journey left them slumped forward, ready to collapse from the weight of their armor.
The disorganized battalion of less than a dozen man was merely on a reconnaissance mission. Rumors surrounded the gloomy meadow which instigated the king to send them in. Yet the tempestuous weather was nothing unusual, even a common villager could tell you that. It was no secret. The murky horizon, the thick dunes of clouds, and the occasional roar of the sky was a familiar sight – an iconic symbol that every nostalgic traveler recognized on his way back home. Perhaps that’s why nobody cared much for the rumors, until gold was at stake.“Wings in the sky.” The encumbered knight whispered.
“What’s that?” A villager, the town’s history keeper, replied pulling his huge load behind him.
“I thought you’d be interested.” The knight pointed at a few drawing that were untidily sticking out of the man’s sack. While the pages were all jammed together, the knight instantly recognized the face of the Minotaur that was glaring at him from a torn page.
“I am indeed interested in everything and anything mythical. I draw so much I’m always running out of paper while on the go. However, the villagers said a lot of things. Merely some of them are true.” The villager nodded.
“You don’t believe in the ‘creature with a crown of white feathers’?”
The villager snickered. “I’m much less skeptical of the golden talons.”
An archer interrupted from behind, “Supposedly, whatever it is, its hands are so enormous it casts a shadow from above.”
“That would explain why we haven’t found any traces of battle.” The knight traced the pummel with his hand.
“What do you mean?” The archer came closer.
“If its hands are so huge, it would have no problem sweeping up a few man and taking them as trophies or something.” The villager explained, giggling.
The leader stopped abruptly. The battalion mimicked his lead, as it came to a halt and everything fell silent again. He gazed at the horizon, then back at his homeland and again. He sighed.
His second-in-command inquired. “Do you truly think we will find something?”
“A lion’s tail maybe but nothing else.” He mocked, as he padded his ally on the back almost ready to retreat. The leader was fuming at the idea of wasting time here while he could be doing something more useful. He took pride in who he was, and deemed running around looking for mythical beast simply below him. Their place is only in legend, he believed.
The clouds lead out a faint roar, before a cacophonous whistle shook the battalion. Then, out of nowhere a lone vulture glided across the sky oblivious to the battalion’s presence below. The leader gave the command, and the archer aimed at the sky. The arrow slipped out of his grip, flew across the sky, and hit the bird somewhere in the trunk. A weak thud signaled the elimination of the target. As the leader gestured to depart, he lingered, gazing at the sky. His smile had a triumphant edge to it. It wasn’t the accomplishment of the mission that sparked such an emotion, but the idea of being right on the topic of the rumors. “There was no mythical beast here.” He murmured in silence. As he finished his little ritual, he turned back ready to lead his battalion. He decided that his men needed a break. Shadows circled around him.
The villager was relaxing at a lone tree with the knight and the archer, talking about their homeland, when the ground turned unusually murky, and whatever light was fortunate enough to pierce the thick clouds had evaporated. An almost mute, yet rhythmical, clamor consumed his attention. He looked back. His allies did likewise. There was no one else just the three of them. The battalion was gone. The villager freaked out, as he tried to retreat, he tripped and fell. He felt something cold and metallic with his hand. Under his feet was a buried treasure chest. Only a single corner was peeking out of the soil. This time a heartier scream chased away the silence, giving him a boost of energy. He quailed, before using all his strength to stand up. The knight and the archer were gone. Someone lost a piece of armor which was now laying in the grass cloven.
Staring into the sky, he saw a myriad of shadow.A single one soared across the sky, before plummeting near him. Its wings seemed to envelop the villager who whispered.
“What lurks in the clouds?”
Thanks for reading,