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“No. Ye can’t go.” The Shadowsong pleaded with me, stiff and eyes wide with terror, much more brilliant than I was used to.

I sighed, and tried to reassure the panicking Irishman. “I have to. You know I do. Who else is going to find them? Trust me…I know what I’m doing. I have my ways.” I laid a hand on his cheek, made difficult by the fact that he was a full twenty inches taller than myself, and smiled. It did nothing to reassure him, and he bowed his head, scrunching his eyes shut, shaking in his efforts not to crush me to him. I caught tears running down his cheeks and felt his fingernails digging into my shoulders even through my crimson leathers, made fire-proof to stand my heat when I fought. What was he seeing? This was not normal for him…

“Ye can’t go. Ah’m not to be carin’ what me brother’s to be sayin’! Ah’m not to be carin’ tha’ he be rankin’! Ah not to be carin’, ye’ll die! Ye…ye can’t do tha’ to me. Not…not now… Don’t ye see tha’ it be a trap set fer ye? Wha’ about ye kids? Ye goin’ to risk them?” His tone was accusatory now, but his eyes were the same, the same pleading terror.

“No…no, I’m not. I’ll be fine, Shadowsong…trust me. I know what I’m walking into…I’ve laid precautions. I’ll be alright…I promise you.” I smiled at him again, and pulled his head down to me so I could kiss him on the cheek. My poor dear friend…I’d seen him worry over me when I fought, but never like this. I could only pass it off as the stress of the war he was second in command to.

I had been set to do a somewhat dangerous reconnaissance run. There had been written information stolen, and I had tracked it. I had been tasked with retrieving it, as I could not successfully describe the location I had tracked the papers to. It was suspected that there was more that we could use than simply the papers that had been stolen from us, and so I had additional orders to return the favor so gracefully bestowed on our commander. Had I found these papers one day before, it would have been Shadowsong to make the call, not the Brown, and I would not be going. But it was not…and so my closest brown-winged friend was the one to look at me with heavy deadened eyes as he gave me my orders. I remembered the moments from just a half hour before Shadowsong had intercepted me far too clearly as I stroked his hair in attempts to call him.

“Firedancer…I need to you to do something for me.” The Brown had called me over from the healer’s tents, where I was performing in dance for some of the small children we’d rescued and were healing. I turned mid-spin, and nodded, to the amusement of the children. I bobbed an impish curtsy and grinned,  flouncing off to him, to the sounds of high pitched giggles. “What do you need?” I kept up the flouncy façade for the kids, but my tone and face had changed from frivolous to business.

He sighed, and bowed his head, walking with his hands clasped behind him under his wings. We walked slowly that way for a few minutes, until I and then he noticed the wary and confused looks of the officers close-by. He sighed, again, and took my arm, the same as he did the day I’d met him several months before. We walked behind the building closest to us, to a small naturally made clearing in the woods. I was sitting on the ground, he leaning on a tree, watching me carefully. I kept my expression level, if inquiring, sensing he needed to see strength enough in me for what he wanted to ask. Satisfied, he nodded, and replied to me. “I want you to get my papers back.”

I looked at him, jaw slightly agape, eyes wide…

…And then I saw the Shadowsong again, watching me. His face was tear-streaked. He had been crying…and now, as I came back to myself, out of my memories, I saw him smile, just a fraction, and he placed his hand on my cheek in return. “Ye come back…come back to me…us…damnit, ye to be hearin’ me? Don’t to be makin’ me to be losin’ ye agin…not agin.” He crushed me to him in an uncharacteristic bone-cracking hug, and I felt his face pressed into the top of my head in my hair. I blinked in confusion, despite my face being crushed into his own beloved leathers. What the…“again“? I’d have to ask him what he meant later.

He released me, despite my silence, and nodded, voice hard. “Go.” I gave a sharp nod, half a smile, and turned without a word. The last thing I heard from him, as I shape shifted into my favored form for heat, endurance and speed-an Arabian mare-was the muffled sound of wracking sobs. I let a whinny float back to him, and my comrades, as I galloped off. I cringed, suddenly nervous where before I had not been. I hoped to gods I would not be forced to break my promise to him.

**This entry was written for LJ Idol**
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