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Life's Lessons

Solarius never knew why Vagan was sullen; the first time he saw the little bronze-silver Falcon-Head, the toddler was walking around, muttering to himself with a cross look upon his face. They were incoherant mutterings, as far as the golden patriarch was concerned, but they seemed to make complete sense to Vagan. As he grew older, the mutterings became more pronounced, forming actual sentences that shocked his brothers in arms and distanced him from them even more.

"Vagan," Solarius said to him quietly, as he caught him once again swearing, "where did you pick that up from?"

The little bronze-silver shrugged and continued sharpening his talons on a nearby boulder, already heavily scorred from use. "I asked you a question Vagan."

"Ei'va shirak," came the reply. Solarius' head went back, his crest slicked against his skull. "Vagan, come with me," and the Phoenix Lord held out a wingclaw.

Vagan looked up at his lord with narrowed charcoal eyes. But, to his commendment, he reached up and hooked his tiny wingclaw through Solarius' proferred one. Together, the giant golden Phoenix and the much smaller child wandered off into the woods.

Solarius led him to a small secluded glade, where wild flowers bloomed, their heady scent all around. He led Vagan to a noll and sat down on it; using one black leg as an anchor, he held out the other, his foot nearly as long as Vagan was tall. "Climb on up, my son."

Vagan looked at him as if he were ready to spit acid. But, once again, he complied, scrambling up onto the foot and perching there, his wingclaws supporting him on Solarius' thick ankle. Softly, the golden male began to move his leg in an eternal paternal motion. Vagan's eyes slitted and he started to rumble about how childish this was, but Solarius paid him no heed. He continued to bounce the tiny Falcon-Head on his foot -- and when Vagan suddenly tipped forward for loss of balance, two giant wingclaws were there to support him. Vagan gripped them with his own, instantly aware of how large and dangerous Solarius could be.

The Phoenix Lord met his wide eyes with a smile. "I shall not let thee fall," he said softly. "See, I hold thee tight." Realization dawned then, and for the first time, Vagan smiled back. Solarius moved his foot back and forth, bouncing Vagan high and sweeping him in arcs that caused the Vahazayi child to laugh out loud. That laughter stayed locked within Solarius' heart all of his days; it was pure and full of life.

They stayed there for hours, endless laughter pouring forth from the tiny beak of the sullen child. As it grew dark, and Vagan grew tired, Solarius slipped him off his foot and gathered him in the crook of his massive wing. Sighing in contentment, Vagan nuzzled close.

"Hye orth kareyah, father," he murmured. Warmth flooded Solarius' heart then, for he knew that Vagan's own was not closed to emotion. "I love you too, my son."

Little would he know that he would only hear Vagan say that one more time; but he would be pleased to know that far into the future, he would say it again -- and often.

Copyright Melissa A. Hartman
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