Airwing looked so beautiful at night. The town of high altitude was arced with lights and lined with streamers, bedazzling the scene. Tonight was the annual celebration of Airwing’s founding, lead by the goddess, Airian. Legend has it the Airian and Gariad, goddesses of the sky and ground respectively, had once cooperated to create our share of the land. Putting land where waters once flowed, and people where life was extinct, they had made an ideal place for birth. But after an argument about the unbalance of humans and plants, the two goddeses went against reason, and went off to create their own worlds. Arian believed that human life was most important, and created her own land in the sky. Gariad, believing the opposite, stayed on solid land and grew plants, rather than humans. Now, each land celebrates becoming independent. Whichever land you grow up in is the one you worship. Human or plant, it is the one you stay in forever. However, there is one human boy who owns an opinion of no one else. Such an opinion, that would call him deceased if one found out. His belief is the one thing both goddesses and their land agree on and despise.
Wolfgang sat on a white bench overlooking all the decor. Not the coiled-up streamers launching through the air, not the floating red lanterns filling the sky, not even the waxing crescent moon illuminating his face with silver light could distract his thoughts. No.
Wolfgang thought back to his early childhood, when the grown ups would tell the tales about the goddesses, how they fought, and how, apparently, Airwing was the dominant land of the two.
“But how do you know?” Wolfgang would always inquire.
“Oh little one..” his father would say in a gentle accented voice. But the tone of his voice didn't matter.
“Go on, go on,” Wolfgang would express with his young, awed eyes. But the grown-ups never would respond with words, only an aggravating smile. He couldn’t be the only one! Wolfgang knew he should never question his elders, but he was determined to prove them wrong. What exactly made Airwing better? Who told you? Have you ever even been to the land below us?
Getting up from his seat, Wolfgang turned around to the sky collecting the floating lanterns. Peering down the platform he was standing on, he could see the land below him. It was blended with trees, powdered with dim-colored leaves. Wolfgang pondered questions containing the answers he’s always wanted to know. Questions such as “What was it called” wheeled around in the boy’s head. Looking at the land below him, Wolfgang was confused to see an absence of lights and decorations which Airwing boasted. The only thing visible besides the greens was darkness itself. Suddenly, a surge of rage and realization spread through Wolfgang’s body. This was all nonsense! Believing there were two goddesses! Believing they fought and created their own lands! If Clouding was having a celebration, why wasn’t the Gariad’s land having one? Didn’t they both found their land at the same time?
“What other reason would have the adults ignored my question for? It was all nonsense! Every last bit of it!”
“Wolfgang! what's wrong with you? come and have dinner!”
Wolfgang tuned back into reality. He was clenching his fists and veins were popping out of his arms. Feeling his once pale face, Wolfgang was hot and flushed with anger.
“Coming mother!” He forced himself to say. He already worried his mother. He couldn’t let her see him like this.
As he stepped inside the stone cottage, Wolfgang felt the familiar warmth of the fire his father tended every night. He could see the sillohette of his father turning the wood his father chopped during the day with his silver axe. Small sparks of embers shot out and the small flame grew into a fairly large fire, spreading its warm light throughout the room. His father stepped out of the shadows.
“Hey! Happy Airwing Day,” He said cheerfully.
“Thanks,” Wolfgang responded in a low-pitched voice, as he took a wooden stool to the dinner table.
“He’s feeling a bit ill, that’s all,” His mother cooed.
“Sure, that’s it,” Wolfgang thought to himself. His mother placed a teacup lined with pink and gold flowers holding a serving of warm chamomile tea.
“If you don’t feel better, you might have to skip the ceremony,” Wolfgang's mother said, frowning. The ceremony was always the same. Everyone brought food to a statue of Arian, prays, and signs off by singing songs about how Airwing is the “best place to live on Earth.” Wolfgang used to think both lands were equal, but now he believed there were no gods, and that none of the tales were real.
“Oh come on! it’s the ceremony! It only happens once a year!” Said his father from the other room. Wolfgang sunk inside. He couldn’t argue with his father anymore.
The ceremony always took place at the marketplace, where the statue of Arian was. Vendors were everywhere, selling things from fresh fruit, to golden harps. There were samples of a thick green drink, and storybooks for children, educating them about the founding of Clouding. As Wolfgang peered forward, he saw a large crowd gathered around something. After some quick maneuvering, he saw it. The statue of Arian. It was made of pearly-white marble, and decipted a tall woman with closed eyes, holding a town in both palms of her hand. She had detailed and textured hair that was tied back, and she wore magnificent flowing robes. Although still upset, Wolfgang was awed by how the carving was so detailed. The robes looked lightweight, but they were made of hard material. Her headdress was...
Something had crashed in from the ceiling.
Everybody gasped and turned around. Surrounding everyone in the marketplace were two dark creatures with textured brown skin, in black robes. The monsters were barefoot, and their feet looked like twigs. In each of their bark-like hands were two iron swords. Everything was frozen.
An explosive noise scattered everyone like mice, going every which way. Dust spread throughout the area, and swords pierced and swung through the air, followed by loud screams. The celebration of Clouding had turned into a bloodbath. More tree-creatures came with even sharper knives. Wolfgang struggled to get to the exit as a pointed dart nipped his ear and struck a man in the back. Where was his mom and dad? What were these Peculiar beasts here for? Were the myths of Gariad controlling plants real?
The last thing Wolfgang saw when he escaped the building was the marble head of Arian, lying on the cold ground, separated from her body.