"Starwind, you needn't go so fast!" Savil called, half-laughing. Looking back at her with an almost-smile, the Tayledras reined in his palamino slightly, so it was only a half pace ahead of Kellan.
"I have always loved the speed of a gallop." Starwind said, as their mounts broke the treeline of the sparse forest and emerged onto a mountain plain. "With eyes closed, one could almost imagine they were flying."
Savil watched Asheena flying beside Starwind, and when she heard those words, she realized just how fitting a companion the gyrfalcon was for him. She could hardly think more, much less reply to his statement, when he once again spurred his mare into a faster gallop.
"Come, fly with me!"
She grinned. :Let's catch them up, Kellan.:
The Companion did not reply, but sped up and soon drew level with the palamino. Starwind was smiling – as much as he generally did. Slowly, he rose in the saddle, standing on the stirrups of his mount's soft leather saddle. He looked at her, holding out his hand. His icy eyes were flashing.
Savil needed no words, verbal or Mindspoken. She rose also, blocking out Kellan's grumbling. The wind whipped through her dark hair, roaring in her ears, making her squint. At first she felt unsteady, afraid to fall at any moment. She knew that Kellan would not let her. She threw out her hand for Starwind's, laughing, exhilarated. He grabbed for it, but they both missed. Savil laughed harder, and now Starwind was laughing too. She grabbed again, almost unbalancing herself, and managed to catch the tips of his slender fingers, but they slipped from her grasp.
They stretched towards each other, leaning as far as they dared. As their fingertips touched, a lone tree in the plain separated the mounts, and the two riders both drew back just in time, shaking with elated laughter. Soon they were stretching again, and Kellan obligingly pulled closer. Finally, they caught each other's wrists in a firm grip.
Adreniline pumped through Savil's veins as the ground disappeared beneath her. She held tightly to Starwind's hand, and as she glanced over at him, she saw him pull out the clip which held his hair back. He smiled at her again, then he rose even straighter in the saddle, raising his arms on either side of him as though they were wings. The wind made his long hair stream behind him in a silver banner. Asheena soared beside him, and screeched as Starwind arched his back and closed his eyes.
The Tayledras looked nothing short of in rapture. His falcon's cry was one of freedom, of triumph. Without thought but for their joined hands, Savil joined him, releasing Kellan's bridle as he had released the palomino's, and closing her eyes.
They could have been flying for eternity, or seconds. Savil opened her eyes as she felt Kellan start gathering underneath her, as if to leap. Her hands flew to the bridle, pulling out of Starwind's grip to do so. They had reached the opposite treeline, and there was the trunk of a large, long dead fallen tree in their path.
"Starwind!" She called to alert him, as Kellan leapt the obstacle. She looked over her shoulder to see the palomino scream and rear, Starwind falling off.
:Kellan, we have to go back!:
:I know, milady. I'm turning.:
Kellan wheeled around at the first suitable spot, and they returned to the treeline to find Starwind on the ground, flat on his back, laughing fit to burst. Asheena, perched on the offending log, looked for all the world to be laughing with him.
"Starwind, are you alright?" Savil asked as she swung herself down from Kellan's back.
Starwind was already getting to his feet, though it was obvious he'd been bruised. He was still laughing, and his eyes shone. "Was that not wonderful?"