A Call to Destiny - Chapter 8

The air was so clear, up this high. It was so freeing, it truly made you think that the world was at your hand. The sky was so perfect. It was an icy blue, clear as ice but full of so much promise, it made the heart soar. Bluer then a clear sapphire. If the sky was something to touch, it would freeze you cold, but it would be a honorable pleasure which would melt the heart.

The eagle's body was soaring high above the earth, taking all this in once more. Flying was a pleasure experienced every day, but to see things from up here, you couldn't help but to slowly drink it in each time. Oh, but the air, the sky! It was something to live for every time the eagle flew like this. Resting on the updrafts of rising warm air, lazily eyeing out the ground so far below. No evil thing could dare defile the winds up here, it was safe and relaxed. Every living thing under Manwë should experience life in the sky. The eagle kept gazing at it's surroundings below, still loving the sky, wondering if there truly was an end to the skies. How deprived that place would have to be!

Today was one of those perfect day skies. The kind maidens dream of and warriors rejoice in. Beasts live for days like these and evil flees from them. And eagles, eagles love them like none else, leaving their eeries to live for the opportunity of flying in them. It was almost a cloudless day but for the sparse clouds, splattered around the sky like paint splattered by the painter. Big and fluffy from the ground, but bright, damp and easy to fly through from the sky. The eagle liked to fly through the smaller part of the clouds. They were too easy to become disorientated in if you stayed in them long enough. The dew hidden inside the clouds left it's feathers slick to the touch, but it was the cooling sensation that flying through a cloud gave. It was like you were hidden from the rest of the world, yet you weren't really. You could do anything and no one would know. Clouds gave a rest from the heat of the sun, which could become fairly intense if not heeded. Some eagles would worry about the condensation on their feathers becoming a problem, but it wasn't something to worry about.

Once you left the cloud, the sun would dry the feathers almost as soon as you emerged from the cloud, warming you up instantly. Breaking through the mist before your eyes and emerging out back into that blue sky was more then anyone could ask for. Knowing that you raced the water and won, that you were still the lord of the skies and giving your best majestic call to sound off the mountains and reach the ears of all who were around. The light was always on your back, glinting off the water which the sun was drying off. The sun was your only limit up here, away from all the troubles of the Children, which would reach the ears of the lesser eagles now and anon. It was troublesome hearing the happenings, but those worries were always washed away when the sight of the glistening snow on top of mountains, leagues upon leagues away, reached your sight. The sun was the gage of life; it told the moon when to shine, it told the flowers when the open up, the horses to graze and the Children to wake up. It was the only seen stability on this earth, for the moon did not always shine forth, and evil's presence could be chased away. But the sun was enduring, and the eagle loved it as much as the air and sky which it glided though now.

Turning it's sharp eyes downward towards the ground, the eagle took note of where the air currents happened to be taking itself. There was a large forest which began to go sparse far up ahead. A few streams lay here and there, getting drier the farther north they went. They seemed to be the last source of water for as far as the eagle's eye could see. It was a hilly region, what looked like giant un-popped bubbles covered all over with trees, or simply grass. The eagle gave a few flaps of it's giant wings to get some more speed, and pass onto the next air current. It's eyes turned to the north, where it seemed to be headed. Much further up the simple hills began to become as bald as the earth surrounding them, some of them looking like they were unnaturally made. Some of the hills turned into clefts and cliffs, broken edges where a smoothness once was. There were craters dotting the earth, the grass became a memory of the past as mud, dust and dirt took a reigning position. An unexplainable darkness clung in that area. Although it didn't drown out the light from the sun, or the blueness of the sky, it held a menace that told it would if it could. This waste carried on farther then the eagle's eyes could tell, but thankfully it didn't start for many miles yet. The forest was still beneath it's wings, though upon a closer look, even the forest seemed unkind in it's presentation.

The wind had taken the eagle more north then it wanted to be; it would be better to turn back south and enjoy this day in the untainted realms of this world. Just as the eagle began to turn around against the air current, a bright glint caught it's eye. A ray of the sun gleamed off of something reflective, like a lake or metal. But there was no lake around so it had to be metal. Not the dark iron of evil creatures, but the fine tempered, polished metal of the Children. Why hadn't it seen this before? Another glint shot through the trees, and the eagle locked it's gaze there. The answer came as soon as the eagle shifted it's position to look closer. It had been flying straight on the same path which this glinting came from, and so it was missed. The eagle swooped a little bit lower to see through the now thinning trees. There was a group of Children marching northwards, an army many thousands strong and it was coming up behind them. It was their armor which shone and glinted so brightly. It was always mystifying how they never got over heated wearing metal like a second skin. But eagles were never meant to understand the ways of the Children, so the eagle dismissed the question and looked to see if there was a good place to come in for a closer look, maybe even ask a few questions. From the look of the armor, these Children seemed to be of the Quendi, but many Edain had Elven looking armor these days so it was sometimes difficult to tell.

Up ahead there was a clearing of the trees. Probably a once beautiful meadow, now just an over trodden piece of dead turf. The eagle would sweep down there, instead of trying to go through the trees. The branches had an uncanny ability to slap and sting the eyes, an experience the eagle tried to avoid if at all possible. Feeling the need to show it's poweress a little bit, the eagle climbed back up into the sky and dived into a passing cloud, flying low in it, so it could still see out of the bottom, hidden from the far reaching eyes of any possible Quendi. It began to pump it's wings instead of relaying on the air currents for it's momentum. It had come up from behind this army and had to fly faster then they were walking if it was to reach the clearing by the time the leader would. It's wings were large and powerful, shooting the eagle faster and faster through the cloud, over taking the leader of the Children quickly. It shot through the mist and gave a great call to announce it's arrival. A rabbit dashed back into it's hole at the sound, which was just fine. The eagle wasn't hungry right now, and the rabbit looked skinny and unhealthy anyway. Beginning to lower it's decent and lower it's speed, the eagle performed the large, sweeping circles, giving another call as it did so. As the eagle approached, it confirmed it's suspicion. These Children were clearly Quendi. They were light footed, even under their arms, and those who wore breastplates over chain mail showed protective devices of Valinor. Many did not wear their helms yet, and so their long pulled back hair shone in the sun, often revealing the trademarked pointed ear. None were smiling and all looked rather grave.

The sound of the screeching eagle reached the ears of the Elves, who all jerked up their eyes into the sky. Exiting from the sun's glare, a mighty eagle formed before their eyes, it's feathers reflecting the very essence of the sun itself. It began to swirl down casually like it had never seen them, but they all knew the difference. Eagles protected their city from high up, little escaped their eyes, and the existence of their standing city was proof of this. The sight of such a creature as this eagle lightened their hearts. They had been marching for many days, covering much ground in little time. Sights of the outside world crowded their mind, and there was little reminder of their home they had left behind. Despite the conflicting views on why the eagle was appearing, it was a glorious sight for them. A murmur began to rise up through the ranks.

"An eagle of Manwë! Maybe it brings good tidings for us and our King!"

"I tell you, this eagle will speak to us of the certain doom to which we march."

"It is Thorondor!"

"Nay, it is mighty, but not one of the great eagles, and not Thorondor."

"Perhaps it is just on a noon day flight and happened upon us."

"Eagles do not come this far north, not without a purpose. We should not be this far north. It has come to aid us in our troubles."

"It is a sign! A warning, a tell tale sign of victory!"

"Well is it a warning or a herald of victory Balain?"

As the eagle came closer to the ground, the Elves slowed their march, all eyes were pointed upwards, eager to find out the reason for this flight.

Circling ever lower and lower, the eagle began to identify which elf was the leader. At the head of the army many of the standards were flipping around freely in the slight breeze which made this day even more perfect then before. The devices on the flags were strange to the eagle, though it hadn't yet seen all of the standards there were to see yet. And the eagle was prohibited by the great eagles to see what they hid so diligently in the Encircling Mountains; where the eagle often flew around. It could be that these Elves were that hidden secret. The Quendi had stopped walking altogether and were talking amongst themselves. Back at the front, a single Quendi stepped forward and away from the rest. He was richly armored, proud and noble of face. His eyes never wavered, never left the eagle, and his sword was out of it's sheath, resting by his side. It was a safety precaution, especially since one never knew who had been seduced by the dark lord. The eagle had now come close enough to the ground where it was time to go in for a simple landing. It glided down and hopped onto the hard caked ground, the grass giving sway to it's weight. It righted it's feathers before it settled it's wings properly at it's side. Cocking it's head to look at this great Elven lord before him, it wondered how it was going to find out the answers to it's trivial questions, when it couldn't speak with words. One of these thousands should have figured out how to speak with the birds, another call should bring him forth. The eagle was cut off before it had the chance to give the call by the lord.

"Worthy eagle of the heavens, created to bless this earth and keep our lives, I am Turgon, son of Fingolfin, and am king of these whom I lead to war now. Speak! What is your business with us, for you do not look like a servant of Morgoth."

The eagle nodded to himself. Turgon he knew and had seen far off before, and knew of his hidden city. That is what must be kept secret in the mountains then. He spoke well, courteous yet careful and never gave to which city he was king over. The eagle eyed the sword still in Turgon's hand, wondering why it was still out if the eagle was thought correctly to be a friend.

Turgon noticed the attention given to his naked sword and sheathed it again. There was a loud screech from in front of him, and his head snapped back up to where the eagle was, his hand having not left the handle of his sword. Confused, Turgon looked around and into the sky. The eagle was no where to be seen.
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