The Creation Part 5
The day beyond the cavern was hot but inside the stone walls the meer of First Family were cool. Star lazed beside his mate, Wing, as a young subordinate male groomed his shoulder. This burrow had been a lucky dig. The group had set about on a rocky slope earlier in the season and their dedicated digging led to this find. It was an accident really, that Thorn had dug a hole through the tough soil ceiling of the vast space. After some poking around they’d managed to find a way to enter the cave from one of their tunnels. Now, at least until fleas and ticks infested it, the Cave Burrow was the family’s home.
Star was proud of his family’s hard work, especially the small hole in the roof that allowed in a trickle of sunlight. Since they were below ground no one had to be on watch and everyone was relaxing, most sleeping. It had been three fruitful seasons since The Gang’s demise. Not one of those who’d chosen to remain at the burrow had been seen since.
Just as he was dozing with Wing’s flank pressed to his voices carried from the side of the cavern. He blinked open one eye, recognizing the voice of his young pup Comet. Rising slowly so as not to disturb Wing and the subordinate male who’d fallen asleep on his other side, Star picked his way over towards the voices. He halted when he came to a crease in the stone and peeked around it.
Comet, fluffy fur sticking up in all directions, was balancing on a small ledge. “It all started when-” She began.
“When Star was born, yes we all know.” Nova, Comet’s sleek furred littersister rolled her eyes.
“No.” Comet’s inky gaze glowed. “Star wasn’t born in the usual way.”
Galaxy, Comet’s big litterbrother who was the spitting image of Star, lifted his blunt pup snout. “What do you mean?”
“Star was born from a star. Duh.” Comet wrapped her tail over her paws proudly and Star stifled a chuckle as he watched. “A star fell to the desert one night and created a large tunnel. The next day Star emerged.”
“No way!” Nova huffed, shaking her paws out like a cat. “Our father did not come from the stars.”
Comet lifted her little round nose. “He did. It’s a fact.” Star clamped his jaws to stop a hefty laugh from escaping.
The fur along Nova’s scruff pricked but Galaxy interrupted her. “Tell us more, Comet. I’ve always loved a good story.”
“Well,” Comet preened at the comment, but Nova glanced at the ground, pouting. “Our father was the last Firstblood born. It was Storm who first winged into the desert, held in the grip of the mightiest of storms. The rainbird flew through the tempest without fear and when she found open air desert sands sprawled before her.”
A scratching shrieked as Nova ran her claws over the stone. “That is not how Storm came to be in the Darklands.”
“Hush.” Galaxy scolded as he scooched to his littersister’s side. He placed a calming paw over her own and the scratching stopped. “It’s only a story.”
Nova rolled her eyes but did not interrupt again as Comet continued. Star’s whiskers twitched with amusement to see his pups getting along. “That very same storm struck a tree with its tongue of lightning.” Comet widened her gaze and stood on the ledge. “When the flash receded, a feline shape was hunkered in the shadows. Thus Claw, the clawbeast was born!”
“Oh, come on!” Nova hissed under her breath but a nudge from Galaxy shushed her. Star sat on his haunches and pressed his mottled brown tail to his side, content to listen to whatever wild tales Comet could spin.
“From another burst of lightning a fire sprang up. Gliding through the flames was a huge-winged raptor. Great Wing himself! As the fire died and the storm passed a black shade with big, swiveling ears and a pointy snout arose from the soot. It was Listener!” Comet waved her tail for emphasis.
“What about Bringer?” Nova wondered, her gaze round with curiosity as she was swept into the tale as well.
“Bringer, he was born after Star. He surfaced from the same hole.” Comet’s face grew shadowed and even Star leaned forward to hear better. “He came from the darkness that the fallen star left behind.”
Galaxy frowned. “Is that bad?”
“Not necessarily.” Comet whispered as she sat once more. She peered at her siblings with an ominous expression. “They all took an oath, the Firstbloods as you know. But oaths… they are made with the knowledge that someday they will be broken.”
As Galaxy and Nova exchanged a frightened glance a shiver rolled down Star’s spine. He couldn’t believe what his daughter was suggesting. That one of his friends, the fellow ‘Firstbloods’ as Comet referred to them, would harm another was unthinkable. It could never happen. But somewhere in the deep dark recesses of Star’s mind, where he kept the memories of the brutal Gnash and that fateful day when the burrow had caved in under the feet of giants, he acknowledged that anything was possible. Only time would tell if the six friends remained companions for life.
Springing to his paws, Star paced from his hiding place to nuzzle Galaxy and Nova. “No one’s going to break the oath.” He assured them as the cold uncertainty left his limbs. He nudged the pups to their paws as Comet jumped from her perch and pushed them towards the rest of the family. “Go take a nap or you’ll be cranky later.”
Muttering, Nova and Galaxy padded off. As they vanished around the corner, he turned to face Comet, halting her with his tail as she went to follow her littermates. “Where did you come up with that tale?” He asked her seriously.
The pup, whose head didn’t even reach his knee, shrugged. “I thought it would be fun, to give you and your friends a story.”
Star blew out a breath. “Alright. Just don’t go mentioning oath-breaking. It’ll make everyone nervous.”
Comet’s whiskers shook. “Of course, I won’t!” She yipped. “It was only a story. No one would ever break the oath.”
As she trotted past Star, he couldn’t help another sliver of doubt pierce his heart at her surety. Was it foolish to trust creatures who would normally prey upon meer? Was it foolish to take them into his confidence?
No, Star assured himself, Greatwing, Bringer, Claw, Listener, and Storm, they helped raise me. They would never betray me. Shaking off the nagging questions, Star picked her way back to Wing and slumped at her side. Soon he was sleeping again, and in his slumber, he forgot all about the story Comet had concocted. In the following moons though, Comet added to the creative tale and soon the whole family and beyond had been regaled with the story of the birth of the Firstbloods. By the time Star took his last breath, most of the desert took the tale as fact.
Thus, the legend of the Firstbloods was born.