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14
First Flight

Written for the R Like a Radiant Radagast prompt for the 2007 BRMEM. Revised from the original posting on the HA list-now 500 words.

MEFAs, 2007:
2nd Place-Times: Mid Third Age: 2851 - 3017 TA: Other Fixed-Length Ficlet


~~~

"Master Radagast! Master Radagast!" the two Eaglets called gleefully, as the scruffy wizard descended from their father Gwaigil's mighty back.

"You came!" Landroval screeched piercingly, and Radagast winced. His mother Gwaenaur gave him a chiding shove. "Remember your manners, chick, and don't disgrace our nest."

"How could I miss this day?" Radagast said with a smile, being careful not to look down. Most of the mountain was beneath him, and it was a tall mountain. Gwaigil took the back of his shabby brown robe most delicately, with just the tips of his deadly beak, and gently hauled the wizard to safety away from the edge. Then the Eagle gave his sons an indulgent look.

Have some tolerance, my love, he told his mate. Do you not remember how impatient you were to fly for the first time?

I was never so impatient about anything that I forgot my manners! Gwaenaur replied a bit huffily. Radagast decided that a change of subject was in order.

"Here, let's have a look at that wing, Gwaihir." The young Eaglet shuffled obediently forward, and stretched his right wing out, so that Radagast might examine it. He had broken it several months back in a scuffle with his brother that had resulted in him falling off the ledge. At the wizard's direction he twisted and flexed the limb. "Hmmmm, looks like you have the full use of it. And you've fledged out well."

"Thank you, Master Radagast," Gwaihir said with solemn courtesy, his mother giving him an approving look. Landroval bobbed up and down with impatience.

"I want to fly! I want to fly!"

Radagast chuckled. "Then by all means fly, young one, and Manw's blessings be upon you." Gwaigil launched himself into the air first, that he might supervise his fledglings' first flight, and no sooner had he done so when Landroval tumbled off the ledge after him. A squawk of alarm sounded from the plummeting Eaglet; then he found the way of using his wings and caught an air current, flapping awkwardly up to join his father circling above.

Mother Eagle and wizard then turned their attention to Gwaihir, who shuffled over to the edge, looked down, looked up at the sun, and then just sat there for a moment, eyes closed as if scenting the breeze.

"Are you all right, son?" Gwaenaur asked, concerned. "Is your wing paining you?"

"I am well, Mother," came the calm rejoinder. "And the wing is fine. I am just thinking." Another moment of reflection, then his young wings suddenly unfurled and Gwaihir leaned forward as if laying himself upon the breast of the wind. It was the graceful departure of a grown Eagle, and with three strong, sure downbeats, he joined the others in the air as if he'd done it a thousand times.

Gwaenaur gaped in astonishment. Radagast, pleased at the success of his healing, laughed aloud, his face alight. "Oh, you had the foresight when you named that one, Gwaenaur! 'Wind-Lord' he is indeed!"

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