Gilda had never been so happy in her short life. The diminutive eaglet sat in her family living room, wearing a party hat and surrounded by torn wrapping paper, various new toys, and a few educational books, which were largely ignored. Her joyful, golden eyes shining with excitement, the little griffon looked up to her mother, Estelle. "Thank you so, so much for all of this! You're the best mommy ever!"

The large, tawny-colored griffon nonchalantly flipped her styled head-feathers as her trilliant-cut ruby necklace bounced with the motion. "Only the best for our little seven year old," her mother replied, beaming back at Gilda. "You know we love you very much."

"I love you too, Mom! You're the greatest!" Gilda stood on her hind legs, making her barely tall enough to hug her mother around the shoulders. Estelle craned her neck downwards slightly to make the job easier for her daughter, smiling all the while as she returned the embrace.

Their brief huge was interrupted by a sudden noise, and both griffons hesitantly turned to look at the archway leading into the room with hesitation. A grey-bodied, muscular griffon with scattered scarring across his chest slowly walked into the living room to join his wife and child, opaque drink held firmly in his claws. Gilda quickly let go of her mother, standing at attention as her father moved through the doorway with a slow and purposeful gait.

The male took a quick drink, sloshing the liquid around in the glass before holding it back out in front of him and beginning to speak in a gravelly voice. "You would not believe how difficult some of that stuff was to find for you, Gilda. I hope you appreciate the trouble we went through hunting across all of Canterlot to get what you wanted."

"Oh, Jericho, stop with the drama." Estelle sauntered over to her husband and gave him a playful backhanded thump on the chest. With a reassuring smile, she turned back to her daughter and added a little sweetness back into her tone. "Really, it was no trouble at all, dear."

Gilda ran over to her father and hugged him around the foreleg with all of her might, extending her wings back behind her as she poured all of her effort into the squeeze. "Of course I appreciate it, Daddy! I know how much you do for me, and I'm super grateful for all of it. Honest."

The diminutive girl looked up to see her silent father staring down at her, his usual poker face in full gear as he furrowed his brow. Jericho sipped his drink, considering the tiny griffon clinging to his forelimb, her weight barely registering as a sensation at all. "Well, these things aren't all you're getting tonight, Missy." With a drawn out sigh and another look at his spouse, the large male ruffled his feathers before turning toward the door. "You ready, Estelle?"

Estelle's features lit up, her deep blue eyes shining with excitement as she leaned down to Gilda's level and gave her daughter a light nudge with the side of her head. "Of course! Come on, let's all head outside and see what there is to see," she said with a wink at her husband.

Gilda let go of Jericho's leg, thoroughly confused by her mother's cryptic words. Her young mind raced, attempting to process what her parents could possibly be hinting at.

Are they… hiding something from me in the back yard? In truth, she had not been outside to play since arriving home from school, and her short route home brought her directly to the front of the house.

Immediately upon arrival, Gilda had hurried to busy herself with homework after hastily greeting her parents. She knew from experience that having all of her homework and chores done would result in receiving her presents more quickly, and nothing was more exciting to a seven year old than presents and birthday cake.

Jericho took another long, slow drink, finishing his glass before regarding it with a furrowed brow. "Why don't you lead the way outside, Gilda? Tell us if you see anything…unusual."

Gilda's muscles involuntarily tensed, and her heart skipped a beat. Her father was many things, but he was never vague. Jericho was known for his directness and being unafraid to say exactly what was on his mind- a trait that Gilda most definitely shared.

"A-alright," the hesitant eaglet said, beginning her short walk to the large glass door that lead to the deck. Gilda stepped out onto the old wooden surface, her talons and hind claws clicking as she slowly walked its length. With her thoughts still swimming with wonder and concern, she gave a sidelong glance to the walls of her massive home, its russet, mud-brick walls absorbing Celestia's brilliant sun and letting off visible steam in the afternoon air. An adobe was a rare sight in Canterlot, and one that frequently drew strange looks from passerby on the street. But to Gilda, the structure was home, and the little girl knew that there was no place else she'd rather be.

Suddenly becoming increasingly intrigued by what awaited her, Gilda clambered down the steps and onto the lawn of her back yard, her parents following slowly behind her. As the griffon rounded the corner of her house and made her way farther along the grass, her breath caught in her chest as she tried to process the sight before her.

It took a few moments of staring for Gilda's brain to register just what she was looking at.

A… a tan wall? A tan, circular wall? Gilda ran over to the structure, tail twitching from side to side in excitement as she examined it curiously. She stood up on her small but strong lionesque hind legs and hooked her talons over the top of the wall, peering inside and smiling as realization dawn on her. Filled with… FILLED WITH…

"A POOL? YOU GUYS BOUGHT ME MY OWN POOL!" Gilda's wings flared with excitement as she let go of the pool's outer wall and sprinted as hard as she could across the grass, jumping into her mother's forelimbs in what Gilda thought was a bone-crushing hug.

Estelle couldn't help but giggle a bit at her daughter's exuberance as she spun little Gilda around in the air by her forelegs before bringing the girl back to the ground. "Indeed we did. We know how much you love to swim, so we decided to get you a personal pool to practice in." The classy griffon gave a happy smile as she turned to Jericho, or… at least where she thought Jericho would be standing.

Estelle gave a derisive snort, looking slightly disgusted. She knew exactly where her husband was, and her countenance quickly changed to showcase her distaste with the situation. The furious griffon let go of Gilda and turned around, walking up the steps of the porch while adjusting the large ruby hanging around her neck, held in place by a gold chain. Even when staying at home all day, Estelle had always been one to look her best, her head-feathers heavily stylized and a fair amount of makeup applied to her face.

Gilda, feeling slightly deflated, moved over to the foot of the steps to watch the oncoming scene. Her wings drooped down to her sides, and a sinking feel filled her chest as she realized exactly where this was going. I hate this. I love both of my parents, but sometimes I just… I just…

The sound of a sliding glass door interrupted her thoughts as Jericho stepped out onto the deck with a freshly-poured drink in claw. His brows elevated a fair bit as he was met with his wife's scowling face mere inches from his own the very second his legs hit the wooden surface.

"Again? And on her birthday? You know what this does to you, and you know how I feel about it. You didn't even get to see her face when she found the pool! I cannot believe you!" Estelle about-faced and walked back to her daughter, who cowered like she was about to be slapped.

"Now, now, dear. You know that there's nothing to be afraid of. I'm just… frustrated with Daddy right now," she crooned in her most reassuring voice. "Tell your father what you think of the pool, Gilda."

"I LOVE it!" the little griffon said, eyes wide and showing her renewed excitement. Gilda quickly sidelined her previous misgivings about the situation and ran up the steps two at a time. She once again wrapped her forelegs around her father's leg, but the reaction she got was not one she had anticipated.

"Hey! HEY! Stop with the grabbin' all the time!" her father yelled. Gilda immediately let go in fear, cowering down to the wooden boards as she stared at Jericho with wide eyes. Her party hat tumbled down to the floorboards, but Gilda was too shocked to bother collecting it as she scooted backwards and away from her father. "You're gonna make me spill my drink!"

Estelle glared daggers at Jericho, walking back over to her daughter and protectively wrapping a clawed leg around Gilda's midsection. Estelle pointed forcefully to the glass door with the talons of her other foreleg. "Go back inside, dear. Gilda and I are going to go and enjoy the wonderful new pool."

"But I d-"

"Now. You and I will discuss this later. Alone. Do NOT ruin this for her." With that, the pampered griffon spun her daughter and herself around and began to guide Gilda across the porch. Estelle's voice regained its sugary quality as her warm, motherly smile returned. "Let's go, Dear. Not long before sunset now, and I know you want to get a little swimming in."

Gilda looked up at her mother, completely unsure what to make of the situation. Though inexperienced in the ways of the world, Gilda still knew many things. She knew that whenever her father drank that odorous liquid, his mood could change at the drop of a hat. She also knew that her mother would have none of it, and this often lead to fights. Fights that Gilda hated. Fights that caused Gilda to retreat to her room out of fear.

With trepidation and a wavering voice, the eaglet decided to voice her suspicions before giving in to her mother's suggestion.

"…Mommy? Is Daddy in trouble?"

"Oh, don't you worry about that right now, Dear. He's… in time-out for a bit. Now come on, let's get back to enjoying what is left of the day."

Gilda broke the surface of the water with a splash, her head-feathers falling in front of her face and obscuring her vision with a curtain of white and purple. The tiny griffon spluttered a little and brushed the offending feathers out of her eyes with a giggle, feeling completely overjoyed and filled with excitement.

"This is totally the best present ever! Everyone at school will be so jealous!" Gilda declared with a smug look upon her face.

"Now, Dear," her mother admonished, "you know that you shouldn't think that way. Focus on your own happiness, and share that with your friends. There is no need to gloat to those less fortunate than you."

"…you're right, I'm sorry," Gilda replied sheepishly. She looked past her mother, who was only about waist-deep in the pure water while reclining with her back to the wall of the pool. Estelle's brown fur seemed to blend in with the earthy colors of the adobe behind her, which was decorated here and there with traditional griffon symbols painted upon the window shutters and doors. As the elder griffon stretched her wings, the view of the house was blocked out, and Gilda found her attention being drawn back to the rippling water below.

The sight of her distorted reflection brought a smile to Gilda's face as she began to contemplate her life thus far. She was a rather lucky young girl, born into enough money to live in the pony-dominated, high-class city of Canterlot. With the best education, the best housing, and, in her opinion, the best mother in all of Equestria, the little griffon was quite content.

"Enjoying your new present, I see. How's the water, Gil?"

Gilda whipped her head around only to spot their live-in housekeeper, Script, leaning on the outside wall of the pool with her forelegs crossed under her smiling face. The light grey earth pony had worked for Gilda's family for quite a while, keeping up with household cleanliness and providing support as best she could while not at class. Her studies usually came last, a travesty that Estelle often joked went against her cutie mark of a sheaf of parchment. Though the college-aged pony had never been a fan of children, Gilda developed a special bond akin to that of sisters with the pony after the first few awkward weeks of living together.

"SCRIPT!" Gilda yelled, unable to contain her joy at seeing her friend back at home. "I thought you couldn't come back until really late tonight!"

"Yeah, well, I skipped my last class to come see you, Squirt. History lectures are boring anyway." Script blew her long, black mane out of her emerald eyes, letting it fall back in front of her glasses, rendering her efforts futile. "Besides, if I came home too late, I wouldn't be able to… oh, I don't know… give you a little something to celebrate your big day before you went to bed."

Gilda froze, not even having considered that Script may have gotten her something for her birthday. Script knew Gilda and her interests better than anyone, pony or griffon. If someone could possibly get her a present on par with a pool in Gilda's mind, it was definitely the pony smiling smugly down at her.

"Well, that sounds intriguing," Estelle replied, leaning back with her neck hanging sideways over the pool's edge. "Why don't you go inside with Script and see what she brought you? It is getting rather late…"

Gilda looked up to the sky briefly, seeing the massive sun begin to set on the horizon. "Yeah! Of Course! I can't wait!" Gilda pulled herself up and out of the pool, shaking her fur and wings dry upon making contact with the ground with an enthusiastic full-body spasm.

"Well aren't you just a little bundle of joy tonight?" Script smirked and casually got back down on all fours. "Follow me, kid. It's in my room." Script began cantering toward the deck, Gilda eagerly following right behind the slightly larger pony.

As the multitude of ideas of what the present could possibly be swam through her mind, Gilda felt an involuntary grin creep up the side of her beak. "Is it… a train set?"

Script couldn't help but smile at her favorite griffon's impatience. "Hmm… nope."


Script stopped mid-step, and replied with a deadpan tone. "…like your parents would let me give you one of those. Are you crazy?" Script reached down and ruffled the feathers on Gilda's head with a light touch. Gilda huffed in indignation, bringing her talons up to shape her feathers back into the forward-spiked arrangement she preferred.

"Well then… how about a pretty saddle?"

"…griffons… don't wear saddles, Gil."

"Oh. Right."

Script slid the glass door open, making her way into the dining room. The muted red of the clay walls gave the room a calm and friendly ambiance, one that Script found relaxing and Gilda found somewhat boring. The pony trotted around the oaken table in the center of the room, pushing in one of the four chairs that had been left out after dinner as she passed it with a huff.

As she resumed her leisurely trot down the hallway, the pony passed the doorway to the kitchen, where a grey adult griffon was placing ice into a freshly-mixed drink. "Hey Jericho, how was work?"

Gilda stopped a fair distance from Script, remaining out of sight of the kitchen upon hearing her father's name. Please, please don't get angry. Please don't get angry. Not today…

Jericho turned and faced the pony, raising his glass and tilting it in her direction. "Eh, 'bout the same as always, I suppose. Fuckin' boring, pushing papers around and sucking up to business partners."

Script's eyes widened behind her squared frames as a look of shock became evident upon her face. The mare mouthed "Gilda" at the confused male, nodding her head behind her in a desperate motion.

"Oh, sorry. Didn't know she was there." Jericho turned back around, deciding that the conversation was over and returning his full attention to the bottle on the countertop.

Script, now a bit frazzled, motioned to Gilda to follow her, and sped up to pass by the kitchen as quickly as possible. Gilda noiselessly followed, unsure of what just happened or what her father had said. Despite not knowing all of the words, she couldn't help but assume that whatever he had said wasn't good.

The charcoal pony stopped just in front of a purple wooden door before turning and flashing a smile, her ebony tail swishing behind her in excitement. "Now, close your eyes. I'm gonna open the door, and I want you to walk in. Don't open 'em until I say so. Got it?"

"Got it!" Gilda replied, closing her golden eyes shut and bringing up one of her forelegs to bury her face into it. The creak of the door echoed down the hallway as Script pushed it open, and Gilda slowly walked inside, unsure of what she would find.

As always, the room smelled faintly of old books and wet ink. All of the books would be neatly shelved, of course, so there was no real danger of tripping over anything. Even so, Gilda moved only a few feet into the room, afraid of bumping into the studious pony's desk, or worse, her present.

"Now, open your eyes and look to your right. I hope you like it," the Earth pony said while wrapping a leg around Gilda's back.

Gilda slowly lowered the claw covering her face to the violet, plush carpet, and then opened her eyes. Thoroughly confused, the tiny griffon cocked her head to one side. A stand for paper? …I don't get it.

The eaglet slowly walked over to the strange wooden frame that had a new sheet of parchment spread across it, held in place with clips at the top and sides. On the floor next to the stand was a small jar with several brushes, and a large set of colored paints. The varied hues reflected the soft light of the room, bringing a smile to the griffon's face as she stared at the small pools of color.

Gilda's eyes widened as understanding dawned upon her. "Script it's… it's awesome!" The girl ran over to her maid-turned-sister, and gave the smiling mare a quick hug. "What do you call it?"

"It's called an easel," Script replied. "You use it to prop up a surface to paint on. Have you ever painted before, Gilda?"

Gilda shook her head vigorously. She had always wanted to try painting, but knew that supplies were expensive, and was afraid that she would waste them. Though her family definitely had money and wasting paint would not be a huge concern, Gilda always felt horrible whenever she wasted anything.

"Are… are you sure I'll be able to? It looks… kinda hard. I don't wanna mess up. 'If it isn't perfect, it's useless', right?"

Script was taken aback by the comment, letting one brow raise in question. "Who… who told you that?"

"Daddy. He said that anything that isn't the best isn't worth anyone's time."

Script's expression twisted into one of disgust. The pony had heard similar statements from her least favorite griffon of the household before, and this time, she wasn't about to let it stand. "Gilda… I want you to listen closely to what I'm about to tell you. Never forget this, alright?"

Script was almost never completely serious about anything, but Gilda knew that when the pony acted this way, she meant business. "Um… okay?" The griffon leaned a bit closer to her older friend, trying her best to commit whatever the pony had to say to memory.

"Messing up," Script began, "making mistakes… going about things the wrong way… is one of the best parts of life. As long as you learn from what you did wrong and keep that in mind for the future, you'll end up stronger and better because of it. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, kid. Some of the best things that have ever happened to me started out as mistakes. And when it comes to something like this", she said while tapping the paper stretched across the easel with a hoof, "making mistakes is how you learn to do well in the first place."

"But… Daddy said th-"

"Gil, when did he tell you this?"

"A few nights ago, right before I went to bed."

The pony sighed. "Was he drinking beforehand?"

"Yeah. Lots of that smelly stuff."

This little griffon is too cute for her own good, Script thought. "Just… don't always take everything he says to heart, ok? You can do anything you put your mind to, and no one gets it on their first try."

Gilda understood, or… at least she thought she did. With a well-meaning nod, she looked up at the lone window in Script's room, seeing Luna's moon just beginning to appear in the darkened sky. "I think I want to go outside for a little while before bed."

Gilda sat upon her haunches out on the deck, alone. Jericho had retreated to his study for the night on the third floor of their home, and Estelle had permitted Gilda to spend some time outside. After all, it was Friday, so there was no concern of being too tired for school the following day. As far as Gilda was concerned, she had all the time in the world.

The eaglet had brought her new easel and paint set outside with her, and sat there in silence, staring at the strange device. She looked up to the sky, where the splendid moon was bathing all of Equestria in a muted light, the stars assisting in its endeavor. Gilda turned her head to gaze out across the streets of Canterlot, seeing all of the lights that lit up the houses throughout the city and smiling at the dull glows coming from the windows. In a way, they reminded her of the sky itself.

It's so pretty here at night. I want to try to paint the sky, but I don't know if I can…

Remembering her pony friend's words, Gilda hesitantly picked up the blue paint, but quickly set it down, favoring the black instead. No, the sky isn't that color, silly. It's like…

Gilda shifted upon her haunches a bit as she struggled internally to decide where to start her first painting. The moon? The stars? The sky itself? The little griffon found that she had absolutely no idea what to do. Sighing, she dipped her brush in the black paint, and slowly began to paint what she thought would look like the night sky.

Here we go…

Script had been watching the hybrid child paint from the dining room table for close to an hour when she saw the griffon stop suddenly. The pony couldn't suppress her smirk as she witnessed the tilt of an eagle's head, the flick of a lion's tail, and finally, watched as Gilda rose onto all fours and slowly backed away from her painting.

Sliding open the door, Script stepped out onto the wooden floor to see her friend's work. Haphazard splotches of black and blue gave way to little white, yellow, and orange dots, with a large cream-colored circle taking up much of the canvas. It was… well, absolutely nothing like the sky at all. However, the pony found it absolutely adorable.

"That's a great start, Gilda."

The griffon whirled around, surprised to see the pony standing there. "Do you… really think so? I tried really hard, but I don't know. I don't want anyone else to see it."

"That's alright," the earth pony said in a comforting tone. "Your art can be for yourself until you're ready to share it. Personally, I think it's beautiful. I can tell you really put your heart into it."

Smiling, Gilda once again hugged her friend. A yawn escaped her beak, and she let go of the pony's shoulders as she rubbed at her eyes with balled claws.

"Looks like it's time to get you to bed, Kiddo." Script wrapped her leg around Gilda once again, slowly guiding the exhausted eaglet inside. I'm sure that somewhere, Luna is smiling down at that painting, Script thought. This kid is gonna go far, she just needs a little encouragement.

After being tucked in by Script, Gilda lay silently in the dark, her mind swimming with thoughts about the events of the day. With all out the lights out in her room, there was basically nothing else for her to do but think until she fell asleep. This was the best birthday ever. I just hope… Mommy and Daddy didn't fight a whole lot tonight. Was what happened… my fault?

As if on cue, Gilda heard noisy footsteps upon the clay floor, moving near to her room. The footsteps stopped, and the silhouette of a massive griffon became barely visible in the doorway. Gilda held her breath, silently hoping that the approaching figure would turn and leave. Why am I so afraid of him? He's never done anything bad to me…

The large shadow stepped slowly into her room, before unceremoniously flopping his forelegs and chest onto her bed with a loud noise. Gilda's eyes widened at the impact, but she didn't dare speak. Not until she knew he wanted to hear her talk. His breath smells so bad… it smells just like those stupid drinks…

"Did'ja have fun today, Missy?" the older griffon slurred. Jericho lethargically moved one claw to pat his daughter's body from atop the covers, staring with confusing as Gilda tensed at the contact.

"Um… yeah. It was really great, Dad. Thanks for everything."

"Well, you rest up now, you know your real party is tomorrow. You'll need all of your energy for your friends." With that, Jericho dragged himself off of the comforter, rose to his feet, and stumbled out of the room.

Gilda let out a breath, content that her father had just stopped by to… do whatever that was. He was right, after all. It was griffon tradition to have a small party with only family the night of an actual birthday, and a party with friends the day after. Gilda settled into her blankets a bit more, sighing as she thought about the coming day. She couldn't wait to share her new toys with her friends, though she remembered her mother's words and promised herself that she wouldn't be a showoff. Her mind now content with her father out of the room and something new to look forward to, Gilda fell into a comforting, dreamless sleep.

Later that night, Script sleepily walked into the living room, where Estelle was reclining upon a forest green sofa, attention barely held by the quiet television set at the far wall. Estelle greeted her with a small smile and wave without breaking her attention from the show, though her true focus was elsewhere. Suppressing a small yawn, Script found herself briefly studying the griffon before her, noting just how much Gilda looked like her mother. Other than those bright blue eyes, Gilda might as well BE her mother. Just… without the jewelry. Or spray in her feathers.

"I miss anything important before I got home?" the pony asked while taking a seat in the rocking chair across from the distinguished griffon.

"Oh, you know, the usual. Jericho got started early tonight, despite his promise not to touch anything with alcohol today. After that, I took Gilda outside to play in the pool and then you came along. I haven't spoken to Jericho since earlier today. I'm hoping to avoid a screaming match tonight if at all possible."

Script removed her glasses, blowing onto them and rubbing them down her with mane in gentle circles. "I worry about you two, you know. He is a good father most of the time, but… I've seen how angry he gets. He doesn't… you know… act on that anger, does he?" she asked hesitantly.

Estelle looked over at the relatively young mare, letting out a rueful sigh. "No. Other than yelling and turning into a forgetful idiot, not much happens, though I fear it may not stay that way given some of the things he says. I appreciate the concern, but I can handle him. Don't worry yourself over it." The griffon shifted slightly, her attention focused back upon the TV set. Despite the finality in Estelle's tone, Script couldn't help but note the worried glint in the griffoness' eyes.

With an uneasy look, the pony rose from her chair and gave an exaggerated yawn to break the tension. "If… if anything does go wrong, I want you to know that I'll take Gilda out of the house for you if need be. She really is a wonderful child, I would hate to see something bad happen, especially something she didn't bring upon herself."

Estelle blinked, wondering if she should be more concerned about Jericho's recently developed habit and her daughter's safety and well-being. Even so, her eyes never left the screen before her. After several seconds, Script moved to leave the room, afraid that she may have overstepped her bounds due to the sudden silence from her companion.


The mare immediately stopped walking, listening intently for her employer and friend's next words.

"…thank you. It is comforting to know that you care about my daughter as much as I do."

Nodding once over her shoulder and giving a small smirk, the earth pony walked through the darkened house and up the earthy steps. Turning the corner, she allowed herself a small peek into Gilda's room, finding the young griffon quietly sleeping, beak open slightly as she breathed in the night air.

Script secretly hoped against hope that she and Estelle could shield Gilda from everything bad in Equestria, and give the child everything she could ever want. A foolish, vain hope perhaps, but to Script, that little griffon meant more than anything else.

She had no idea when she had become so attached to the girl in the past eight months, but their connection was undeniable. Content in the knowledge that her charge was safe for the night, Script turned around and made her way back to her small room to settle in for the night.

Sleep well, kiddo. I'll always be here for 'ya.

(Original Author's Note preserved just for hilarity, since it was the first one I ever did in August 2011): I don't even know. Here is the beginning of my first Fanfiction, and I hope you enjoyed it. It's probably a little dry and the events may seem frivolous for now, but I hope that at least someone was entertained by this chapter. I have big plans for Gilda, and the story will begin moving at a much more rapid pace in the coming chapters. Currently, the plan is for this tale to shed some light on Gilda's past, up to and including the Junior Speedster Flight Camp, meeting and befriending Rainbow Dash, and the two parting ways once camp is over.

A lot is going to happen between now and then, and I hope I can adequately paint a picture of why Gilda is the way she is. I found it fairly difficult to write for a child, and Gilda's age will be going up soon, with the initial few chapters jumping years at a time between them. If Gilda seems out of character, that's because she is. I didn't want her to be the cynical griffon that we all know and most of you probably hate right off the bat, and I feel that she needs to grow into her personality from the show over time. Here's hoping I can pull it off convincingly.

Feel free to let me know what you think thus far, and I openly welcome any comments and constructive criticism you may have. Additionally, I reread this chapter 4 or 5 times trying to catch any grammatical or spelling mistakes, so if you spot any in this or any story I write, feel free to PM me and I'll correct the errors as soon as I can. Hope to see at least some people along for the ride, it's going to be a long journey.

New Author's Note (third version of this story, March 2012): Alright, so here we go. This is the third FULL edit of The Endless Sky, for a few reasons. The biggest is because this was my first story, and half a year later, I'm still not happy with how it turned out. The sequel, and really the main event, Crossroads, has already started, but I'm not continuing it just yet. I want to redo this story and make it into something much better than it originally was, so that I can give Gilda the backstory that I feel she deserves before covering Griffon the Brush-off and beyond in Crossroads.

I'll be editing/removing the other author's notes from here on in, so just know that this is likely the final version of this story, and I really, really want it to be as good as it can be. For those who read the original two versions, I'm not changing any events, just trying to improve the flow and writing style. If, for some reason, you're re-reading this to see the new version, I really hope that I can make it worth your time. So… onward!