I do not own The Phantom Stallion series.

That right belongs to Terri Farley.


Prologue

Flames rose up like a towering wall of death, thousands of ember sparks littered the darkening sky as they rose and fell with the winter breeze, from a once modest white ranch house. A home once alive with human activity was no more as it slowly burned to the ground, forever lost to the flames.

Golden eyes missed nothing, taking in all the destruction laid out before them; heavy black ears flick back and forth listening, for any sounds of movement. A groaning crack sounded out from another burning structure off to the left, golden orbs turned to look as half the building collapsed in on itself unable to fight off the flames.

Ash, smoke, embers and the rancid odor of burning flesh burst forth from within its walls, the scents hung heavy in the cold evening air along with the scent of death and split blood. Black rimmed lips curled back, revealing glistening white fangs, in distaste. Snorting with disgust, powerful jaws opened slightly to taste the air, checking for any signs of life. Finding none, a rough pink tongue exited to swipe at a pale furred muzzle to rid its mouth of the lingering flavors.

A piercing shriek cut through the freezing air, startled, a massive tawny head swung up toward the crimson and purple sky. It spots a Red tailed hawk circling above the bloody scene.

Reddish black fur rose along the animal's neck and broad shoulders as it turned its body to keep track of the hawk's movements.

Hawks carry the hopes and prayers to the sky spirits, then bring back blessings. That's what the old ones say.

The animal flinched at the unwanted thought, snarling softly to itself, it turned away from the hawk and quickly padded forward, neatly sidestepping a frozen puddle of blood and gore. Massive paws were silent on the icy ground as it made its way to a large bloody corpse, leaning over to gently sniff along the torn flank.

It was a horse, an old blind female.

Blinking with sympathy the animal moved away to go and investigate another body, from a far more sinister creature than that poor blind mare.


The Red tailed hawk let out a rasping cry and made two more circuits around the burning nests, before descending down to a tall smooth half broken no-branch tree that marked the entrance to this once active No-Feather's nest. With a few quick flaps of her wings she alighted down on the top of the Smooth-Tree. She let out another cry before tucking her wings in against her sides. Reddish-brown irises zero in on the larger animal that was slowly circling the bloody remains of from what it appears to be a once proud horse.

Bobbing her body up and down once, while flicking her head from side to side the hawk concluded that she had never seen such a strange yet familiar animal, in all her seasons. It remained her of those Mountain-lions, that will on occasion provide her with an easy meal, but this strange-lion was far larger and much more powerful. Its fur-pelt was red and black, she had never seen such a bright pattern before, and even those arrogant horses paled next this strange Red-lion.

Glancing back at her own bright red tail feathers, she blinked. Feathers fluffed up with jealousy, it did not matter how red this lion was, its pelt could not compare to her own beautiful tail plumage. Shuffling her flight feathers, wings extended out an inch or so from her body, she prepared to take flight but paused to stare curiously at the Red-lion.

It had abandoned the horse to investigate another corpse, the remains of a beast more abnormal than those No-Feathers. It was a lizard, a very large black-green scaled lizard.

The hawk knew she should leave this sad place; this place was no longer good. It was a bad place, from the movement those black-green lizards showed up. But the Red-lion was now prodding it with a front claw.

How strange is the Red-lion for all its strength, stupid?

Shouldn't it know that the bodies of those creatures should not be approached, yet alone touched right?

Wait what! What is that Red-lion doing?

With long sharp front claws the Red-lion dung them into the underside of the scaly creature's neck, and proceeded to drag it towards the Red-hot.

What a strange lion. First it touches the creature of death, and then it doesn't seem to fear the Red-hot!

It's acting like a No-Feather.

The Red-lion, careful to keep away from the sharp horns that grew along the lizard's back, braced itself on its haunches and flung the creatures body halfway into a dying nest. Nothing happened for a moment, then the half that was submerged in the Red-hot burst into Red-hot. But not just any Red-hot but into monstrous green Red-hot! The other half of the body remained untouched.

The hawk's body trembled and her feathers fluffed up with fear. These creatures were not normal. No animal would cause Red-hot to turn green, and what about the Red-lion, it didn't seem to faze it. It was just standing there staring into the Red-hot. Then the strangest thing happened, the lion then used its claws to slash an opening into the scaly neck of the creature, black Wet poured out onto the ground. Then the Red-lion placed its muzzle close to the fresh would before breathing into it.

The monster burst into green Red –hot!

The hawk froze. This lion was not normal either.

What kind of animal spits up Red-hot?

Is this Red-lion from the same place that these black-green lizards are from, these monsters that have been terrorizing her desert homeland as of late?

The hawk continued to watch for a while more, watch as the strange Red-lion gathered more of the black-lizards and toss them into the dying nest or to spit Red-hot with its own breath at them, when it could not push the whole body into the Red-hot. After the last black-lizard had been placed into the Red-hot, the Red-lion stood off a ways to watch the bright green Red-hot.

The Red-lion turned away from the green Red-hot, and broke out into trot towards the entrance of the ranch yard, it passed below the hawk's perch. The hawk's keen eyes followed the rapidly retreating back of the Red-lion. It then approached a large pile of fresh Cold and dropped onto its side and started rolling around in it like what a coyote or horse would do.

How strange. It acts more like a dog than a lion.

After rolling around and leaving dirty black Cold behind, the Red-lion shook itself and burst into a bounding gallop, leaping over big piles of Cold and plowing through fresh sandy Cold. The hawk glanced back at the destruction one last time before spreading her wings and launching herself into the air and with a few strokes of her wings and she was air born. Looking down she scanned the vast Cold covered desert below for the strange Red-lion, another stroke of her wings and she found what she was looking for. The Red-lion had slowed down to a fast lope and was heading north; soon it passed another abandoned rock-pelted No-Feather's nest off to the west.

The hawk could not understand why such strange events were happening and where all these strange creatures where coming from. It had only just started getting worse, at times you could see the large black-lizards hunting in flocks, there was less cattle and rarely any No-Feathers out in the desert. Often times the hawk could hear many loud cracks or thunder when the Light was in the sky. It was strange times right now. And she had a feeling it was only going to get worse in the moons to come.

The Red tailed hawk looked down at the strange Red-lion again, gave out one last rasping shriek before catching an ascending air current and disappearing into the dark winter sky.


Please review.

Let me know what you think as this is my first story. So please be nice. Thanks.

I finally had the time to write down one of my ideas I have been chewing on for months.

I have another rough draft written on paper for another story but I need time to type hopefully life gives me time to do that soon.

-crimsonheart