Temptation

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Temptation

By HaziHeeler

Prologue

The full moon shone down on a wide valley, casting silver light across the river that cut through the forest. A small waterfall cascaded over a low cliff, adding fizz to the river.

A shape loomed from the darkness, standing over the edge of the river. In the dark it was nearly impossible to see their features, but the milky silver moonlight reflected off of two large, feathered wings and a hooked beak.

Another figure stepped out of the trees, following the first. This one was larger, and in the moonlight it was visible that they were older.

“What do you see?” the smaller one asked, turning its head towards the older figure and sending its feathers rippling.

“I see the downfall of every Clan,” the older creature said in a more rough tone. They stared into the river. “Every night I see the same thing. The downfall of all of us.”

Moonlight reflected off of the first creature’s eyes, making the fear in their gaze visible. “What do we do?”

“I can do nothing,” the older one said, turning its entire body towards the smaller creature. “But you must find the prophesied one.”

The smaller creature opened its mouth to reply, but was cut short by a long, low rumble that filled the night air. It sent many small birds shrieking from the trees.

Both creatures lifted their heads to look up at the sky. Dark clouds were assembling above them, gathering like an army that was about to attack. Lightning flashed, leaping from cloud to cloud.

“I don’t know where to look for them,” the smaller creature protested, turning its head back to look at the older one again. They were already heading towards the trees, tail sweeping after them. They paused, looking over their shoulder. “Trust your instinct,” they said, before turning and padding into the trees. Just as their figure disappeared from view, a white bolt of lightning shot down from the sky, striking one of the trees that the older creature had just passed beside.

The other creature was blown back from the jolt of power, and the world began spinning. ‘The downfall of this world’, a voice breathed into their ear, the words ringing in their head.

And then everything went dark, and they collapsed in a patch of wildflowers as the forest was set ablaze.

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