Dynami is a war steed trained to the highest standards of the brotherhood of dark servants of the Lord of Night. His purpose in life is to fight the monstrous creatures of the Goddess of Chaos, the enemy of all things that live and enjoy free will.
His rider is a young priest determined to do his part in the war, but most Strazi die young. Dynami swears that they’ll be different, that they’ll beat the odds stacked against them.
Dynami comes under scrutiny from the Thezi high priest, who senses there’s something different about him, but different in A’filozenoi is rarely a benefit.
With war and chaos all about, will Dynami stay true to himself or will the cold hands of death cause him to fall prey to despair?
The first thing the colt knew was pain. Intense pain coming from everywhere. The pain lasted an eternity. Light flared, burning in his eyes. Cold air wrapped chill tendrils about him. He lay on the sand, a limp, wet puddle. Something coarse and warm pressed against him, pressed the fluid off him, pushed him about. The roughness of it stimulated him. He tried to move, only to get tangled in his own long limbs. He raised his head, only to have the coarse thing press it back down.
A large, solid object moved into his line of sight. Balancing on four long legs, her head was lowered to him. This was the source of the coarse comfort. His mother radiated warmth and love. He struggled to rise, and Tahya backed off a pace, giving him the space he needed. His first few tries didn’t get very far. It was difficult to get his legs to cooperate instead of tangle. But he did finally stand up. Victory was brief. His first step had him wobbling and crashing back down. His mother nuzzled him, offering reassurance. After a few minutes, he tried again. This time, he stayed upright on his splayed legs.
Tahya moved close, and the colt pressed against her. Instinct kicked in again and he sought her teat. Finding it, he began to suckle. The fluid was warm and rich. Taste exploded across his tongue, filling him with an incredible sensation, a pleasure and a comfort that equaled the pain he’d felt before and then surpassed it as his mother started to lick the fur of his rump clean. He didn’t know what love was, but as he pulled off his mother’s teat and raised his muzzle toward her warm red eye, he experienced it for the first time.
She walked away sedately and he scrambled to catch up, snorting in alarm as the center of his universe moved away. Tahya walked for a long time and the colt grew weary. When he slowed and would have sunk to the ground to rest, his mother turned and nuzzled him, offering encouragement. We don’t have much further to go, she told him, and then, we can rest. He managed to stay upright as his mother led him through a gap in a large, solid, black stone thing that seem to stretch beyond the horizons in all directions.
Two-legged creatures surrounded them, their dark fur flapping about them loosely as they shouted in high voices.
“Tahya, you foaled!”
“What a handsome colt!”
“He has the look of his sire, for sure.”
The colt was frightened of these loud creatures with flashing, challenging eyes. One of them stopped before him as others pressed close about them, denying him an escape route. Before he could panic, the creature laid a hand on his head. Warmth and love flooded him, and he stood there stunned as the human spoke into his mind, soothing him, comforting him and teaching him. His fear of the humans flowed out of him.
When the man pulled his hand away, the colt whickered, bumping the human with his muzzle. The man offered what he now knew was a smile and scratched behind his ears. Oh, what bliss that was. He could have stood thus forever, but his tummy was rumbling and his mother was being led away. With a start of fear, he scrambled to follow her, snorting with anxiety. The humans made no move to stop him as he pressed close to Tahya once more.
At the mare’s other side walked a different human. The man’s hand rested against her shoulder as he led them further into the stable. The man pulled away to open a half door, and Tahya ambled into a large, sweet-smelling box. As she investigated the contents of a basin set into the wall, the colt suckled once more. Then exhaustion overcame him, and he folded his legs with drowsy contentment, settling into the bedding with its sweet, clean smell.
* * * *
S’Rak’s gaze followed the colt as he walked with old Tahya and S’Nedhrik into the stables. Soothing the colt had been a matter of routine, of course, but there was something about the colt that called to him. It was obvious that he was Vyld’s get, with the larger frame of his war steed dam, but he’d seen many, many such foals over the years and hadn’t felt anything usual.
“Sorry, sir, I really thought there was a problem,” said S’Irvin. He’d asked S’Rak to take a look at Tahya, thinking there was something wrong with the foal she carried. They hadn’t expected her to foal for a week yet.
“I do not mind. I would rather you call for me in error than not call when I am needed.” S’Rak smiled at the young priest. “But, I want someone to keep an eye on that youngster for me and keep me apprised of his progress.”
“Sir?” S’Irvin looked surprised. It was usual for the high priest to track one single foal out of hundreds.
“There is something about that one,” S’Rak murmured. “Something... different. It intrigues me.”