The sun scarcely tinged the sky in the east and already Vorlando was going towards the Nest, where the Olds of the Guild of Flyers would have sieved, that day, his right to the wings.
Vorlando shivered a little while at a whiff of cold air he felt his wings fretting to the desire of the sky, but yet he did not dare trying the ways of wind without the favourable vote of the Olds, neither he feared to fail his first fly, in his genes was atavicly impressed every rudiment, and he knew well that when it would be the time his wings would have captured the wind and the clouds would have heard his ancient poems of the old world.
Vorlando relished the bracing air of the morning while he was going up to the fortress that leaded to the Nest, but in the middle of the bridge named Brina suddenly he stopped, downstairs between the rocks painted in red, immobile, a body standed out, immediately he turned his head in the opposite direction, he knew well the reason, downstairs there was someone - maybe of the same brood of his own - who the Olds had denied the right to the wings. He shaked his head, it was a hard law, but it was the law of the Guild, to the rejected flyer would have been amputated his wings and no one of the rejected had got the courage to show to the public mockery his poor stumpes where time before soft bronze wings standed out, Vorlando too would have done the same thing if he would not be accepted, seeing his smiling friends flying while he was condemned to the rocks, it was enough for a flyer, he feared the exam of the Guild, but he knew that no one of his clan had never failed the test, so he would not have failed!
He drawed a long sigh and entered the Nest carrying his head high.At the entrance two winged ones with folded arms dressed with the kilt which ritual colours belonged to the Guild of the Guardians barred his way.
«Who are you who dare enter in the Nest without having on your front the band of the winged ones?» asked the first.
«I come to ask the Olds the right to open my wings.» answered Vorlando.
The second shaked his head and whispered «Not the right, little foolish, the gift, yet you have no right.»
Vorlando startled, he was hardly entered and already he failed an answer of the rite, with a feeble voice he repeated the same question and now was the second to put in a word.
«What do your wings have to deserve such gift? Are they softer, have they bronzer feathers? Answer!»
«I am son of Flyers and since twelve broods no one of my clan returned from the Nest without wings.»
«Excellent - nodded the first - but this make you worthy of this gift?»
Vorlando humbly shaked his head and talked again «The dignity of my Ancestors make me no worther of the Gift, but if refused I will jump from the Bridge of Brina in order that the dignity of my clan would remain intact.»
«Then enter, the Olds are awaiting you to decide what to do of your wings, if to let them open or to cut off for unworthiness.»
They shifted aside at the same time and the second, with skewed smile raised a border of the feathered curtain opening in front of the youngís eyes the secret room of the Olds.
An old with wings white as snow, but flabby due to the years pointed him to the meeting «Winged brothers, we have a new petitioner, he is Vorlando of the Vortex clan, ancient and trustworthy origin of Flyers, have we to give also to this chick the right to the wings? Winged brothers do not be impressed by the name of the Clan, judge without fear, this young petitioner - he made an affected pause then he continued - this young who talking with some of his friends has dared to contest the right of the Olds to assign the Gift of the FlyÖ»
Vorlando suddenly turned pale and he stared, dismayed, all the members of the meeting and amongst them he noticed his own father, how the olds could know that foolishness of about 2 two years before? He didnít deny his peopleís law, he was misunderstood, he would have fly immediately when his wings were ready, not waiting for other two years, he contested the useless wait of the major age, he agreed on the judgement, but not on a waiting that at that time seemed useless, but now that he was grown, he could understand the waiting, not distracted by cutting capers amongst the clouds he jumped into study head-first in order to make drowsy his desire to fly and today - first of his class - he was ready to take not only the Gift but also a worthy place in the society, was it possible that an imprudent phrase of so long time ago could destroy all of his dreams? Fortunately - he plucked up courage - his own father was sitting in the meeting and surely he would have found the way... but suddenly his own father got up to speak.
«I am the chieftain of the Vortex clan - he started with calm voice - in my clan there were no rebels to the Law of the Nest, judge freely this Vorlando who shield himself with the name of my own clan in order to not undergo the right punishment for his rebel words, in my clan I know no one called Vorlando, here is only a criminal who deserve an exemplary punishment.» then he sitted down neither looking the young.
Vorlando was petrified by the astonishment, his own father condemned him, how was it possible? He with tears in his eyes neither did attempt to revolt when two grey hooded executioners came to take him, all he was able to think was that his wings never would have hurled in the wind, that never his bronze wings would have became wet passing through a cloud, that in few time he would have been on the Bridge of Brina, ready to reach in that single fly without wings the unlucky one who had preceded him in the same morning.
The razor of the executioner glittered to the light of the torches and Vorlando closed his eyes in order to did not see, biting until the blood starts to flow his lips while the razor was cutting his tendons with a fluid and unfailing movement. The pain was fierce, but more torturing than the physical pain was the pain of the soul, he was not worthy the Gift of the Fly, he would never ever flown with his mates of brood, what sense could the life have for a outcast like him? Proudly he held on the tears, proudly he held on the cry of desperation when the executioner started to eradicate his other wing, then they sprinkled his stumps with an useless healing powder, and they went out leaving him alone with his shame.
His wonderful wings were laying on the floor, useless and bloodstained, he sweetly caressed them and a little gold and shiny feather remained between his fingers, his most wonderful dreams were vanished. On a chest of drawers the executioners had put a gray tunic, the tunic of the outcast ones, in order to hide the torn back, sadly he wore it, the last time he had covered his back it was the day before that the two humps of his forming wings would open, nearly ten years ago, after that the splendour of his wings were not hidden neither by a cloack and now... and now he had returned to the tunic, but the difference was that he could never ever dream of a future as flyer. Humbly he returned in the Councilís room to hear the final verdict of the old flyer.
This one was talking with the father of the young, when Vorlando entered in the room, the two man continued to speak with studied indifference and his father loudly laughed at the witticism of the old one, then with annoyance pretended to notice only then that Vorlando was again in the room, he turned his steps towards the reading-desk, he skimmed through the Book, then he judged, «This Council judges the clanless Vorlando unworthy of the Gift, unworthy to belong to a clan or a guild, unworthy of generating heirs or to build up a very own clan, unworthy to speak or to address someone that is not outcast like him, unworthy to walk down the streets of this city, unworthy of the name that he carries that will be available for a more deserving chick. Since the moment that he is unworthy of the Gift he has been deprived of the wings, since the moment that he is unworthy to procreate he has been sterilized with the same healing powder used on his stumps, since the moment that he is unworthy to live in this city two are the possible choices: the banishment or the fly without wings... - then he addressed directly to him with malicious sarcasm - I highly recommend you this last choice, at least you could try what you have lost...» he laughed and the Council with him, and his own father laughed with the Council.
The old one showed him the door and with other six counsellors - amongst them his father stood out - he accompanied him to the Bridge of Brina, then mockly he continued «you loved so much talking, then do you want to tell us your choice? Or must we choose it for you?» he pointed the parapet of the bridge, like it was natural for him that the outcast would have choosen the fly without wings, then Vorlando uprised, for the underwent injustice and for the contempt he saw on the faces that were surrounding him and in spite of he was impaired he chose to live in order to revenge a day - if ever a day like this would have come - he raised his head and defiantly he addressed everyone and gazing his father with pride «I never speak against the law of the old ones, I have undergone an unfair punishment without that a proper fault can justify it, I choose to live - an incredolous buzz raised through the old ones - yes, to live and it is not necessary that you banish me because Iím leaving you, your cruel and silly laws, your haughty presumption, your stupid pride...»
«Make that abortion to shut up!» his father barked, but Vorlando shaked his head and leaving them he told the meeting «One day I, Vorlando the Wingless will fly higher than you, Iíll fly there where neither the more skilful of you could never hope to arrive, beyond the highest mountain, beyond the farthest cloud, Iíll fly amongs the stars!»
They laughed, at the beginning softly, then higher, without any reserve and he went away embittered, his words had obtained only derision but he knew well how his menace was without foundation, it was only a proud outlet, without wings he could have neither reached the top of the shortest tree... reaching the stars, oh well... what an absurd idea!
He walked silently for all the day, trying not to think of his misfortune and at the end of the day he reached a little hill where he decided to rest for some time. He was by now far away from his village and in the doziness he felt a strange sensation that one day his rash words would have come true, he did not know, he did not imagine how nor in which way he would have flown amongst the stars but in a not clear way he knew that that day at last would be arrived.
This chapter, written in February 1991, remained for a long time without a sequel and it constitutes the first chapter of a second novel still to be finished.
Music in background is Lothlorien by Enya from Shepherd Moons,
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