Author´s Note: Woot! A Silverwing fanfic (TV Series :P)! I first tried to write this story about three years ago but it died and I removed it from the site, but its back now! (just moved this from another account...)
Chapter 1 – Time Races
It was already heading into early morning, but several hours of darkness still remained and no one was thinking of heading in yet anyway.
Amiticia had already completed her hunting for the night and was no longer hungry, but there was still a great expanse of woodland around the summer roost and she would have considered herself daft if she did not take advantage of this. After all, the colony only had a few days left before their migration began, and every remaining minute was not time to be taken lightly.
She and another were hurtling through the forest, almost wingtip to wingtip, and somewhere above them followed a third, periodically cheering and shouting down at them. Amiticia wasn't paying much attention to the third bat though, her mind was focused on overtaking the other, Nettle, it was a race to the finish line and neither of them were keen on letting up.
It was irresponsible what the three silverwings were doing. Racing through the forest was fine as long as they didn't knock into anyone, but the handicap they had decided to throw in on top would have made any respectable mother silverwing fluff her fur up in rage.
Audacia, the third bat with them, not actually partaking in the race herself, had two younger brothers who were still to make their first migration, newborns. Audacia had put the idea forward that her two younger brothers could be the handicaps. The race wasn't just who was fastest, it was who was fastest while carrying a clinging newborn on their back; regardless of the safety of said newborns. Not that the newborns minded in the slightest, if anything they enjoyed hurtling through the forest with no guarantee of their survival.
Amiticia winced as the newborn clinging to her dug his claws in too tightly as she rounded a sharp corner, she saw Nettle do the same out of her peripheral vision and then she vanished out of sight.
"Miss Amiticia, I think I'm going to be sick!" abruptly cried Haud, the newborn clinging to her.
Amiticia grit her teeth and tried to fly faster. Trust Audicia to give her Haud, the more sensitive of the two newborns! Amiticia was so close to the finish line now that she wasn't in any mood to stop.
"We're almost there, wait just a moment, we're going to win!" she told the newborn, she could see the tree just up ahead, and somehow it seemed to be getting taller and taller before her very eyes.
It took a moment for Amiticia to realize with horror that it wasn't the tree going up, it was her going down. No matter how hard she pumped her wings she was still going earthbound, if she wasn't careful she would hit the forest floor. Should she cling on to a nearby tree? Just any tree to escape falling further, or she supposed she could also just drop Haud. But both actions would disqualify her from the race, and Amiticia hated losing.
With one final burst of speed she just managed to reach the tree, landing on its lowest branch, horribly close to the ground but safe as far as the race was concerned.
She shrugged off Haud as soon as she had landed, terrified that the newborn was still going to thrown up on her.
"And the winner is Amiticia!" shouted a bat somewhere above them before gliding down grinning, it was Audacia.
She landed beside Amiticia and her little brother, looking them over as if she was surprised they were there, then she let her gaze stray to the forest floor below them and she frowned.
"I've never been this close to the ground before, do you think it's safe to be here?" Audacia asked.
Amiticia shrugged, too tired from the frantic race to actually say anything.
Audacia grinned in response before turning to Haud, who had fallen strangely silent. "And how is my precious little brother?" she cooed.
"That race was awesome!"
"He said he was going to be sick, when we were flying." Amiticia warned her, it was Audacia's turn to shrug.
"Meh, he's alive, who cares." She said grinning; Haud didn't really look like he cared either. "Hey, where could Nettle be? She is normally such a fast flyer. I was certain she was going to win, hmmumpth, I lost a bet."
Amiticia was just about to retort when there was a squeal and she turned just in time to see someone hurtling towards her, she leapt out of the way instinctively and in the process fell off the branch, and down to the ground below before she could even think of opening her wings.
There was utter silence, then laughter broke out above her.
"I can't believe you just did that, Nettle, seriously mean, couldn't you have just pushed Amiticia off the branch instead?" Audacia said in a tone that sounded accusing but it was actually brimming with laughter.
Amiticia was aware she was lying on her back now, stunned into silence at the sudden turn of events. She wasn't alone for long though, Nettle got over the joke quickly and swiftly flew down to check that she was okay; meanwhile Audacia preferred the safety of the tree and was content to watch things from above, still cackling.
"You okay? Not sprained any joints or anything?" Nettle asked, it took a moment for Amiticia to realize that they were both on the forest floor. "I didn't mean for you to fall off the branch, I'm sorry."
"I'm fine, let's get off the ground before anyone sees us." Replied Amiticia, scuttling towards the closest tree, there was thick foliage at its base and she temporarily disappeared from sight, and not a moment too soon.
"Young silverwings!" shouted a dreaded voice, it was the elder Santana.
Amiticia froze on the spot, luckily hidden from sight underneath the foliage, certain that she had escaped any punishment for landing on the ground. She would have started grinning to herself if Nettle hadn't been caught out in the open.
"You have broken a sacred rule!" boomed Santana. "Never may a bat land on the ground, it is forbidden, did your mothers not tell you this when you were youngsters?"
The elder had perched on a branch above Audacia, and she had just caught sight of the newborns. "And how could you involve these younglings, do you know how impressionable newborns can be?"
Audacia grinned nervously, shooing her two younger brothers away. Haud and Rhapsodious knew better than to stick around and quickly took off.
"You two." Santana told Audacia and Nettle. "Shall be punished justly for breaking one of our sacred rules, do you have anything to say for yourselves?"
"Lady Santana, I was never on the ground." Audacia spoke up.
"Do not lie, I saw two silverwings on the ground today, not one!"
Hidden, Amiticia held her breath.
"Oh, I'm sorry, it was me." Audacia told the elder, but she sounded anything but sorry, her tone obviously mocking Santana as Nettle flew up to land beside her.
"Your mothers will know about this, as well as the rest of the colony!" spat the elder, taking to the air and swiftly disappearing through the trees.
"That was very brave, Audacia." said Nettle after a moment's silence in which they waited for Santana to be completely out of earshot. Amiticia had by now summed up the courage to climb up the tree to their branch and was perched beside them.
"Heh, anything for a friend." Said Audacia grinning slyly. "You owe me, Amiticia."
"I can't thank you enough." Amiticia replied quietly, horrified at the close call. "I don't know how I would have handled that situation if you hadn't taken the blow for me, Santana seriously hates me."
"Meh, always give so you can take, that's my motto." Audacia said, laughing as she took to the air. The other two took off after her.
"A pity you couldn't have saved my hide too." said Nettle as they found a higher more comfortable roost near the top of a fir tree, closer to their summer roost.
"Even I can't do the impossible." said Audacia flashing another grin. "As amazing as I am, I have yet to master the power of wiping elders' memories. The old hag saw you; there was nothing I could have done about it."
"Old hag?" chuckled Nettle, finding it hard to not grin in amusement.
"She isn't here, who cares?" replied Audacia, then her eyes widened and she looked around frantically. "Where's Haud and Rhapsodious? Mom will kill me if she finds out what happened earlier." She took to the air and began to fly away. "I'm going to go looking for my bratish brothers. Catch up with the two of you later!"
Nettle chuckled again as she turned back from watching Audacia flying away.
"Talking about old hags, you do know that's what Audi's two younger brothers think of us?" she asked Amiticia.
"What? Why would you think that? We're not that old, it's only going to be our second migration this year!"
"Face it Amiticia." replied Nettle smiling calmly, she was no longer laughing, her gaze focused on some spot on the horizon. "By this time next year the three of us will probably have our own newborns to take care of, and I mean ours by blood, not like Audacia's occasional babysitting days when her mom dumps the brats on her. All newborns will just see us as boring old moms, we'll be no different from the next."
"So our exciting young lives, just gone like that? You don't have a very optimistic way with words, do you Nettle?"
Nettle finally gave her a grin, the first she had given that night.
"No, but it's kind of funny if you think about it. Imagine if everyone could just remain young forever, the world would be in chaos."
"Elders wouldn't exist, so Santana wouldn't either, it wouldn't be all that bad."
The two shared a small laugh at the thought.
It was nearing midday; outside the cave many animals small and large were wide awake and going about their daily business as they did everyday, but inside the cave almost everyone was sound asleep, almost everyone.
Amiticia had been asleep; she had been very happily asleep, but now she was only half asleep. She had been rudely awakened by Audacia around an hour before. It was not the first time Amiticia had been woken up by Audacia, and she was sure it wouldn't be the last. In defending her right to remain asleep, Amiticia had managed to cuff Audacia rather roughly across the face, she did this practically every time Audacia decided to wake her up but she never seemed to get the message.
Besides Audacia, Nettle was also perched nearby and a small distance away after that were Haud and Rhapsodious, but Amiticia was finding it very hard to even remember where she was for more than a few seconds at this time. Half asleep, feeling almost dead, Amiticia couldn't even tell whether or not Audacia was actually talking to her, but as uncertain she was of this she was also certain that Nettle was asleep and had been for quite some time.
They were conversing quietly, or rather Audacia was since Amiticia found she didn't have to say anything at all. But not everything was calm and quiet unfortunately, despite the time the twin brothers were hyper awake and Audacia was having trouble controlling them. Every so often she would stop mid sentence to hiss at them to be quiet, but the two could hardly sit still.
"I know, it's not like it's the end of the world just because Nettle landed on the ground but her mother won't let her hear the end of it, keeps saying it's a bad influence for the entire colony and all." Audacia was saying to her; at this stage though Amiticia was currently unsure if she herselfwas even awake let alone comprehend what Audacia was talking about. "Of course my mom's not being any kinder, especially not since I was suppose to keeping an eye out on my brothers at the time. But what can you say? I'm use to it by now. Rhapsodious, what is it?"
The newborn, who had been poking his older sister quite insistently for some time now grinned at the fact that someone was finally paying attention to him, he said nothing and instead pointed towards a distant high point of the cave where the elders were roosting, he was stifling a laugh.
"Yes, that's very interesting." Audacia replied, barely sparing the elders' roost a glance. Amiticia had noticed that at some point before Haud had disappeared, but in her tired state she didn't think this really mattered.
"I have a plan to get back at the evil elders." Rhapsodious whispered quietly, but Audacia wasn't paying any attention to him anymore. "It's very awesome; I came up with the idea myself!"
Audacia swept one of her wings back abruptly, almost knocking her younger brother off his roost.
"Brat, go away, we're having a serious conversation here! Aren't we, Nettle?" Audacia asked, but Nettle just snored. "Wake up, Nettle."
Amiticia watched as her friend poked at the other sleeping bat, but Nettle didn't stir, it seemed she had fallen into such a deep sleep that she didn't even flinch at the repetitive pokes.
Amiticia noticed at this point that Rhapsodious had also vanished from sight, then in a fit of sleep induced stupor she realized that the two missing newborns were perched above the elders' roost, scrabbling frantically at the dry earth bank, seemingly trying to uproot something. If she had been fully awake, Amiticia might have been concerned, but in this state of mind Amiticia wondered for less than a millisecond at what the two were doing…then her brain decided to spontaneously die and she fell asleep. Audacia didn't immediately notice either and carried on talking to her.
Suddenly there was a screech, to Amiticia though it sounded horribly far away in the black fog that was her sleeping mind, the sound seemingly amplified tenfold.
She awoke instantly and she looked up just in time to see the elders' roost being engulfed in a plume of rock and earth, Haud and Rhapsodious both rapidly flying away from the crime scene as fast as they could, screaming all the way.
"What on earth just happened?" Audacia demanded. "Haud, Rhapsodious! What did you do?"
The two young silverwings didn't pay their older sister a second thought as they shot past, disappearing down the tunnel towards the deadly day lit world.
Cursing Audacia shot after them, leaving Amiticia's poor tired brain to try to figure out what exactly had just happened. Beside her, Nettle had finally begun to stir. She opened her eyes blearily and looked around at the cavern they were roosting in, all around them the colony had begun to wake up and the screaming had just begun, already the word was that there was a cave in and mass panic was spreading like wildfire.
Like a monster out of a newborn's tale, Santana suddenly swept through the settling dust and towards them. Any fatigue that Nettle may have felt seemed to immediately evaporate, her eyes widening in horror; she did not want to be confronted by the elder again.
"Every bat for themselves." She whispered to Amiticia, then she immediately dropped from her roost and beat a hasty retreat. Amiticia was about to follow after her but found her way blocked before she even had the chance to open her wings, it was obvious Santana was deliberately targeting her and she looked angry.
"No…you're the wrong one." Santana hissed as she came closer, circling. "Where is that nuisance Audacia?"
Santana was old, as was expected with any elder, and her sight was poor but this wasn't because of age, it always had been. Amiticia realized that from a distance the elder had mistaken her for Audacia.
"She is probably roosting with her mother, Lady Santana." Amiticia lied. "You know how frail with sickness her mother has become."
"Yes I know of Lichen's sickness, it is also for this fact that I know Audacia is in charge of keeping an eye on her younger brothers at all times, hence what happened is her responsibility. I know what I saw, no lies! There was another bat with you only moments ago, I saw them!"
"Lady Santana, that was Nettle, and she just went to find out what happened. And…" she knew taking the fall was the only right thing to do, especially since Audacia was in enough trouble as it was. "I took responsibility of caring for Audacia's brothers for the past day, to help a friend you know, Audacia cannot look after them all by herself."
"Then it is you who is responsible for this the downing of the elders' roost!" replied the elder too eagerly, taking the bait immediately. "The elders' roost is completely destroyed and for that you shall answer before the council!"
"Amiticia! Thank Nocturna you are alright!" called a bat suddenly appearing beside them, he landed and wrapped a wing around her, effectively blocking the elder by ignoring her. "I don't know why but I just had this crazy thought that you were somehow involved in that cave in, and that somehow you might have been hurt!"
"She was involved." stated Santana blandly, it was only then that the new bat seemed to notice she was there.
"I'm sorry Santana, I did not see you there."
"I am sure, Laqueus." Her tone sounded deadly dry.
Laqueus was Amiticia's father, only he was not really Amiticia's father, he was her father's elder brother by several years and was old enough to be, and was, the colony's scout and messenger. Laqueus had taken her under his wing in the absence of her parents.
Bronze, Amiticia's father had been lost the winter before last, before she was even born, she had never met him and all she knew about him was that he had died from the cold, lost during a storm. Ficcus, Amiticia's mother had also been lost, but more recently, at a time recent enough for Amiticia to actually remember her, just before Amiticia's first migration.
Ficcus had fallen victim to an owl attack, unprovoked but unquestioned by the colony out of fear. Owl attacks on this colony were not uncommon, especially by a large owl known by the bats as Scarface, his real name was Hercules but this mattered to no one within the colony, his beast like temper and unpredictable mind made it impossible to form any sort of understanding between the colony and the local owl population for Hercules was their leader in this area. Owls were not supposed to harm any bats before the sun had risen above the horizon, but most of the owls under Hercules' rule didn't care.
While Amiticia knew little of Laqueus´and Santana´s history, but as far back as she could remember there had always been a very tense atmosphere when Laqueus and Santana were near one another, it wasn't quite hate but it wasn't far from resentment and she knew the elder highly disliked being anywhere near her father, and in turn for some reason she also hated Amiticia.
"Bronze's daughter was in charge of looking after Lichen's newborns for one evening and the two completely destroyed the elder roost, you yourself must have been nearly suffocated in the avalanche they caused!"
"Why would you be responsible for the actions of Lichen's children?" her father asked her, he sounded disbelieving, he wanted a different answer, he was also deliberately ignoring the daughter remark; he was her father whether related directly or not.
"I promised Audacia that she could have some time off, just so she could rest, I lost track of the two newborns, she was not at fault."
"Well I must say I am very disappointed with you Amiticia, you are a young adult now, what if they were your newborns next year?"
"I do believe you will take an appropriate course of action, Laqueus, I can trust you can't I?" said Santana dryly. "She is to see the council of elders as soon as night falls, I trust you will not lose track of her before then."
Santana took wing and flew back to join the other elders, now searching for a new roost. It was still late in the day and despite the commotion, everyone was eager to return to sleep.
Laqueus said nothing as he signalled for Amiticia to follow him and they flew near to the entrance of the cave, where outside sunlight could just be seen flickering off the walls. There was certain boundary upon which no silverwing could cross during the daylight hours, it was just to the edge of this that Laqueus led Amiticia.
"Stay here." He instructed her, looking dissapointed. "Amiticia, I know you are not the sort of bat to cause havoc like what just happened, and it is brave of you to defend your friends, but this is just too much. I will try my best to reason with the elders, but please look after yourself in the future; I will not always be here."
Amiticia watched until her father was out of view, and then she tried to imagine that nothing had just happened. She tried to fall asleep, but the flickering light on the wall demanded attention and wouldn't let her rest.
"Hey, you okay?" Nettle came gliding over to roost beside her. Amiticia nodded and closed her eyes, still trying to ignore the flickering shadows on the cave wall. Nettle sighed and made herself comfortable on her new roost, getting ready to go back to sleep. Amiticia found herself opening her eyes again, she looked out towards the forbidden sun lit world, how strange it was that the world was no different outside yet it was completely unthinkable to leave the cave at this time. Were owls out at this time, she wondered, they got to fly in the sky whenever they wished, no matter what the time.
Abruptly something came hurtling into the cave, but it wasn't an owl or even a bird, it was Audacia.
"Audacia! Were you just out in the sun?" Nettle cried in alarm as the third bat began to circle rapidly around them.
"It's Haud and Rhapsodious, they disappeared and I don't know where they went!" Audacia wailed. "They just flew out of the cave! I tried to follow, despite the sun but I just couldn't find them! What if the owls get them? Should I tell my mom? I think the shock would kill her!"
A/N: I´ve actually written 8 chapters + of this story but they aren't ready for publishing yet...