By: Manna (Kitten Kisses)

No matter how far away she was, how long she had traveled, or how quickly she moved, they seemed to follow, screeching in her ears and sending chills up and down her spine.

It had started on her first night with the small group of people who had gathered to fight against the Black Fang.

After she had been reunited with her sister, and the battle against Uhai had ended- with the proud man's death- she had laid out on the ground with the stars sparkling faintly above her, half covered by the fog. A warm woolen blanket covered her that night, and it had still been cold, but there were not any extra blankets, and so she had watched the stars, fighting back the tears, praying for the sleep to come and take her away on angel's wings… even if it would only be for a few short hours.

She had been honored to have the command of a unit of Pegasi Knights, but honor was not what she had felt as she flew away from the bloodbath as a coward flees from danger.

They were dead or dying- all of them- and she could not do a single thing.

Live, her mind had commanded. You have to live.

And she had. Her mount, as well as she, had only suffered minor injuries, and they had been treated. She had remembered the wailing and crying of her knights- the people under her command that had trusted her fully. People that she had let down, people who had died.

She had fled from the battle, and the screams echoed in her head. She could see them if she closed her eyes and thought about it, they went down in a whirlwind of white and red, the colors swirling until they blended together. Feathers had flown through the air as the soft white fur of the pegasi and the pristine uniforms of their riders had been coated in a sticky red.

She had seen their eyes rolling back into their heads before they fell from their mounts, hands grasping uselessly at arrows that protruded from their chests, their equines screaming in agony as they felt their wings shattered by a volley of arrows.

She had lived. Her hand had found its way to her heart, and she could hear the soft beat easily.

Ba-dump, Ba-dump, Ba-dump.

Straining her ears, she had listened for them- the screams, and she wasn't disappointed. They were in the distance, quiet to most, but they resounded through her soul, echoing in her mind for hours, days, weeks…years.

It was not the sound of a dying woman, or her dying mount. It was the sound of a Pegasus who had not fallen in the battle, whose life had been spared… but for what? A rider and her mount were one, to be separated by death alone, as lovers should only be.

As her eyes had fluttered shut with the weight of her burden, she could picture it in her mind.

A fallen rider lays, dead on the ground, eyes staring sightlessly at the full moon overhead as a snow-white pegasus stands over her, its blue eyes cloudy with confusion. Its small hooves make no sound as the creature comes close enough to push her muzzle against the dead woman's hand, to no avail. She tries again, and again, each time getting no response. Brushing her soft white nose against the woman's chin, she pushes upward, but the dead rider's head only falls back into place, her eyes still not seeing the moon.

The once proud, noble creature walks circles around the woman who has not moved, watching her the entire time with lidded, understanding eyes.

A warm, salty tear tracked its way down Fiora's cheek, which felt suddenly numb in the night air. She knew- had known since she was a girl, actually- what happened to a fallen rider's pegasus. Why so few women were willing to take on the duty of a pegasus knight. Why it could be hard to become attached to an animal that was so loyal.

She cringed as she heard the scream again.

Slowly, the pegasus ceases her movement and sounds of mourning and ignores the blood and death all around her as she kneels beside the woman who had been her companion for many years. Lying beside her, the equine rests her head beside her friend's, and unfurls the wing that is between them, using it to cover the corpse beside her. She will wait… For a few hours… a few days…

She whickers gently, the sound reaching only her own ears, but she means for it to comfort her rider, also. I am on my way, she tries to say as she blows air out of her nose and nuzzles the head of the one person who had always been there for her.

Fiora sighed and turned over, burying her face in her hands so that the others cannot see her. The sounds had stopped, but only because the rider-less animal had ceased to mourn after several hours. People underestimated pegasi, sometimes. Soon, she knew, the pegasus in the forest would go to join her rider, and a loyalty like that was nearly impossible to find anywhere else.

She would dream of that time often during her travels, but when she slept that night, she saw only a clearing in the forest with the full moon shining on a beautiful pegasus who had her snow white head on the ground beside a dead woman. The animal had one wing over the corpse, and her blue eyes were half-open, watching the face of her friend, and waiting. Waiting for death… Waiting for life.

Author Notes:

Well, that was weird, wasn't it? Nothing ever turns out how I want it to, but hey, whatever. I still remember reading stories about dogs that stayed at their Master's grave for years and years, only dying of broken hearts. Some even died just days after their Master.

I don't know about you, but if I heard the screams of a bunch of women and pegasi, it would probably haunt me for quite some time. I think that's what I was trying to portray here.

This is actually my second attempt at this- the first one ended up with a rather…insane Fiora, to say the least.

Thoughts and comments (as well as constructive criticism) are very much appreciated! Thanks for reading!