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Gliding Night

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991 A.D.

Alba stared sadly at Prince Alexander. The prince was kneeling down packing a small rucksack with a smile on his face. With a soft grunt, he got to his feet, turning to his nocturnal friend. His smile soon fell seeing the forlorn look on her features. They both knew they probably would never see each other again. It was bittersweet for him, yet for Alba, it was just painful. Alexander was her closest friend, the thought of him leaving her behind hurt. 

It had only been a year since their arrival to Castle Wyvern and they had been through much. Alba was still struggling to find a place in her new clan. She was the same age as the last generation, however, she had more in common with the younger trio. She was an adolescent in the knowledge of almost everything outside of her original clan. She had only enough combat knowledge to barely defend herself, yet her tactical knowledge was unparalleled.

As strange as it was, she was never really trained to fight. Most of the gargoyles observed that this was because of how oddly built she was. Alba was lithely built, not the normal muscular like other gargoyle women in the Wyvern Clan. Her wings were abnormally large and longer than those who would be her size. These disproportions made it very awkward for her when fighting, having to angle her wings away from harm. Because of their large size, they would end up underfoot, causing Alba to trip on them.

When she was placed in sparring matches it was easy to see how she managed to save as many of the villagers as she did even with her limited skills. She didn't need to overpower her enemy, nor outfight them. All she had to do was outthink them, taking down some of the stronger gargoyles with ease. Unfortunately, she was easily overpowered if she was cornered, which was quite a bit in the Wyvern clan spars.

The defeats had begun to weigh heavily on Alba, the feeling of failure floated about her as some of the other gargoyles would look at her like she was damaged goods. Many would try to bond with her, get to know her. She couldn't help but feel that it was either out of pity or out of obligation because of Goliath's decision. Most would give up on trying to know the melancholic female as some found her passive nature and sad eyes unnerving. 

It was an unspoken consensus among them that she needed time to fully mourn, not just about the loss of her clan's eggs, but the loss of her clan as well.

During the worst of her depressive bouts she would go and see Alexander, he was a familiar face, one she had known for some years. Seeing him would lighten her mood considerably. Alexander had basically taken her under his wing, teaching her how to read, write, and in the last few months, he taught her how to play the lyre.

“Music is the voice of your soul and what heals your pain.”

He would always tell her as the two would play.

She had to admit, she would always feel better after she played. Now though, she didn't think she would be able to do so. Her friend was leaving for Tir Na Nog, the land of Youth, along with the rest of the villagers she had saved. The very thought of being left alone without the familiar face of her dear friend filled her with apprehension. 

Alexander stopped what he was doing and made his way towards her. The gargoyle nearly jumped out of her skin when the human prince hugged her. It was warm, comforting, something that she need. She hugged back tightly, allowing herself to enjoy the kind gesture. Her eyes grew watery, and it took everything in her to hold the upcoming tears back.

“Must you leave? I am sure your father and sister would be welcome to you staying..”

Her voice was soft as she forced herself to pull away, meeting the frown on the human's face. Alba was quick to look away as he stooped to grab the packed rucksack. After standing he made his way to the door of his room and waved her to follow him. The two walked in silence as he lead her to where those that were coming with him to the island were waiting.

“I must leave, Alba. The adventure calls to me in my very bones! I'll return and come for you so we can once again play together.”

It eased her pain knowing that he would return, she just didn't know when that would be.

Alba stood to Goliath's left watching as boat after boat left the small harbor far below the castle. Their lanterns twinkling brightly against the dark surface of the water. One by one they left, following after Alexander's much larger boat ahead. She stood tall and watched, trying to stay strong as one of the last of her friends left.

Steeling herself, Alba resolved she had done enough moping around. It wouldn't bring anything back other than sorrow, she needed to move on. Looking around Goliath she caught sight of his second, another female gargoyle and one of the fiercest warriors of the clan. She slowly walked to her after everyone dispersed for the evening when the lights were no longer visible.

She lightly tapped her on the shoulder taking a deep breath as the other turned around.

“Please train me to be a warrior like you. I'm tired of feeling like a failure.”

The second stared hard at her before smiling.

“We will begin next evening, I can be particularly harsh. Are you still willing?”

Alba nodded, completely serious.