((So sorry for the long wait guys! But here's the next chapter. Thank you for all your support thus far :) ))
After the first exhausting day of panicked travel, Revere's energy was too frayed to do much at night but find a place to hide and sleep. In the days that followed, she got lost a couple times. Another time, she nearly died when a stray Skywing attacked her.
When she neared the island, the dull ache of fear and sadness within her flared into dread. Her limbs felt numb and weak, trembling. She didn't do anything to help Mire, even though that was her job. She would be in trouble, wouldn't she? Would she be allowed to go on missions anymore? Would she be banished for not being brave enough to dig Mire out of the cave and fight off his attackers?
And worst of all, she was freaked out, not...crying and all that stuff dragons were supposed to do on reflex whenever a friend died. This whole thing was terrifying, but why were fear and weariness looming in her head so far above her grief for Mire?
'If everyone knew what I was thinking, not only would they see me as a coward, but they would also think I was selfish and evil...' That was how dragons responded to those that did not mourn for the dead, right?
A cool ocean breeze drifted over her scales. The sun glared into her eyes, and they drooped in response. She began to fold her wings in so she could dive toward the shore and crash to the soft sand and surrender to the forgetfulness of sleep.
No, no, that was bad, wasn't it? Didn't Mire say they had to fly in a certain pattern around the island before they landed? Revere stopped, flapping her wings steadily. Flight pattern, flight pattern...what did Mire say the flight pattern was?
Would she have to stay hovering here forever until she remembered? Maybe she should just turn back, then she wouldn't have to deal with all the complicated things that would happen if she landed and faced everyone...
“Revere!” A voice whispered frantically.
Revere glanced up, eyes widening as she realized Nimbus was hovering in front of her.
“What's going on?” he asked, quietly yet urgently.
Why couldn't he hover a little more to the left, so she could maintain eye contact with him without having the sun in her eyes? She squinted at him. “I...I forgot the flight pattern thing, so I didn't know what to do.”
Nimbus's brows furrowed, and he lowered his head to look at her. But explaining further was too tiring. She'd flown all day non stop, without anything to eat or drink. Her eyes started to drift shut again. But the moment she landed she would probably have to deal with everyone else and all their questions about how useless she had been out there in the desert...
Finally, Nimbus sighed. “Come on, Thorneater wants to see you.”
Revere practically tumbled to a stop on the sands before him. She landed in a colorful heap, panting and limp.
Deathbringer's eyes widened marginally as his daughter drew her wings closer to her sides. She seemed ready to fall asleep at any moment, but he couldn't allow her to rest until he had some idea of what was going on.
Especially since she arrived here without Mire.
Death lowered his muzzle and nudged Revere gently. “Revere...I know you're tired, but where is Mire?”
The child shuddered. “I...” her words trailed off in an indecipherable murmur.
“Revere?” Death prodded her gently.
Revere shifted, lifting her head slightly, but didn't look his way. “He's in the desert, dead. Wind was acting all upset like he didn't even want us there. Wind told us to wait in the cave while he caught prey for us. Mire said everything would be ok, but when I went exploring Wind was talking to some other dragon. I went to warn Mire but the cave collapsed into a storm of rock and sand and buried him and I couldn't stop it I'm so sorry!”
Death blinked, not expecting a tirade from such a tired dragon. Revere's words ended in a ragged sob, and there she lay, trembling, her talons digging into the sand. So Mire was...gone? Death's ears folded back, heart pounding. Why did something like this have to happen when Revere was so young, and when he couldn't offer her the comfort a father would normally give? He had to hide the fact that she was his child, after all. And maintain his ability to react calmly in the face of these tragedies.
But in spite of Revere's current state...she made the journey back here alone, instead of getting killed by an enemy or lost in the vast lands of Pyrhhia. She brought back vital news of Mire's death. She tried to warn Mire... She had nothing to be sorry for, yet she was piling guilt on herself.
“Nimbus, take her back to her den and let her rest. I'll speak with her again this evening.”
Soft breezes brushed through the palm fronds. Revere's eyes drifted open, seeing a faint orange light reflecting off the small tidepool outside the den.
Oh. It was sunset. And everything felt off. It was far too quiet, and all her energy and joy were gone...
Wait. She was home. But Mire wasn't, because he...
Revere sat up, and a twinge of soreness shot through her wings and shoulders. She sat stiffly for a moment. The soft, familiar sand felt good between her toes...but it was the same as the desert's, wasn't it? The only thing nice about this sand was that the wind didn't blast the island's sand in her face.
Wind. Wind. Wind. That dragon helped cause all these weird emotions inside her. If it wasn't for him, then she wouldn't have been in a situation where her incompetence could harm Mire. Why didn't she just...
“Revere?” Thorneater's voice whispered softly.
Revere looked up and saw the black dragon leaning his head down in front of the den entrance. “Yeah?” she replied.
Thorn sighed and lay down outside the den, perhaps so he could maintain eye contact without having to bend his head so low to peer into the den. “Revere, can you tell me what happened, in greater detail?”
Revere lowered her gaze to rest on the stone wall beside her. “I guess.” Then she told him everything. Every shameful detail of it...except for some of her feelings. Thorneater didn't need to know that she felt more afraid than sad right now.
Thorn was silent for a moment, then sighed. “Revere, you did well on that mission.” He took a deep breath. “Far better than most would at your age. I see that I didn't move you high enough in rank. Tomorrow, you will start training with Nimbus.”
Revere blinked and stared at the ground. “What are you talking about?”
“You suspected Wind right away. The moment you saw proof of his treachery, you sought to warn Mire. When the cave collapsed, you fought to save him, though you didn't know what to do. On top of all that, you survived the trip home by yourself. You deserve all the training Nimbus can give you.”
Revere didn't stop staring at the ground. “Oh...are you sure he'll have time?”
“He'll make the time.” Thorn replied.
Revere hazarded a glance in the older dragon's reaction. He was watching her carefully. But he looked sad too. Was this conversation just a nice way for him to say she needed to train with a better mentor so she could get rid of her incompetence? Maybe. How could anyone say she did well when she felt like a mess the moment the cave collapsed and swallowed her mentor? How could anyone say she deserved good things when she had careened away from the whole thing like a startled bird?
But Thorneater seemed insistent, and whatever decision Thorn made in response to her failure, she would accept.