I can hear it moving, I think. It’s hard to tell with the other noises. A car whooshing by sometimes. Some cat moving through the bushes outside. A neighbor went to the bathroom a few minutes ago. I jerked when I heard the sound of the water moving through the pipes. If I squeeze my eyes shut and focus, I think I can hear it breathing.
My name is Perry Verdilay. In a single act of reckless desperation, I changed my perception of the world. And maybe gave myself a condition, a curse, a burden that I may not be strong enough to bear. I can see things that others can only feel or imagine. I’ve been this way for about nine months now. And something happened recently that made me doubt myself, made me doubt what I’d been seeing. That made me think it was about time I asked for help. That was an easy decision. The hard decision was choosing whom to tell and whom to ask for that help.
In the land of his own making, the one that abided in his heart and his head, he was a bard. In truth, he was a rice man, one of the best in Trilenkary, the kingdom of his birth. And he had earned the chance to sell his wares to the royals themselves. There was to be a feast. The celebration would honor a special guest who was visiting the royal capitol, but according to rumor, the five princes would likely usurp the event and the feast would honor them instead.
That day, I was outside with my mom admiring the flowers in her garden when I spotted it, or them actually. Two ships in the sky just under the cottony clouds. The strange ships were next to each other and seemed to be separate and yet joinable, like modules. They were so low I could see details, markings on the hull. I thought I should go get my brother and show him. He’d appreciate the awesomeness of the sight far more than my mother. When I pointed up at the sky, she merely shaded her eyes and looked up, acknowledged with a half-hearted mumble, and went back to her watering. But I knew it would happen. By the time I ran into the house and got him outside, the ships were gone. I don’t know why I had made such a big deal about it. He went inside right before the next sight in the sky happened. I kept watching as the clouds that had been above the strange ships condensed and spread and contracted until they made a single shape, a five-pointed star.
There are only three now.
Once, there were nine hundred and nine.
They were the army of the gods. They were vengeance on black wings. They were scourge and nightmare.
They were fury.