Pegiologos soared through the afternoon sky, tossing his mane and beating the air with his hooves. The news was rampant through the land that the Kablicans had executed another messenger. It was war they wanted. Pegiologos crested the highest ridge of the Ripan Mountain and spiraled down towards the earth in lazy circles. His massive, cream wings caught the updrafts and filtered them, guiding him downwards at a controlled pace. The small homesteads tucked into the grass, heather, and gorse only shared the breaks in the ground-cover with the large piles of crumbled stones. However a patch of trees was where Pegiologos had his eye trained.
In a half an hour the Pegasus had descended, and his hooves touched down upon the tufts of grass, not ten yards from the small wood. From here Ripan stood high above his head, and that of the trees, and the valley continued to extend beyond the grove and down for many miles. Between the swells of the land the river Gritle could be seen—a silver line beneath the gray skies.
Pegiologos neighed and stamped his fore foot, signaling his arrival. His flanks shuddered, and he folded his massive wings along his beige back. In a moment, there was a stirring in the wood.
A gigantic centaur strode out from between the trees.
“Ah, Pegiologos,” said the majestic creature, his voice deep and throaty, “Always on time. What news bring you from the east?”
The Pegasus bobbed his head, accepting of the compliment. “Modrentine. I come with dire news, I fear.”
Modrentine nodded his curly head, his beard mingling with the hair on his broad chest. His hazel eyes were deep in his roasted almond skin, betraying no surprise. He stamped his own hoof. “Is there any other kind of news these days?”
Pegiologos tossed his mane, “Perhaps not. The Kablicans have executed Dreft of Taison. Beheading. They cursed the Taison regency, and defied them to interfere with their nation. The Tais is sure to respond with force, though he is not yet committed to full war.”
Modrentine heaved a sigh like a heavy sack of flour, and trotted from under the eaves of the wood to gaze out over the valley. “Another nation, addled to action.”
“They cannot very well do nothing,” snorted Pegiologos. “It is both an insult and a crime.”
“It is true,” mused the centaur, still staring out beyond the distant Gritle. “With their barbarism they incite the world—this, a third mighty nation—and yet the west and north will neither bring them true war, nor leave the Kablicans to their own dark pit of private machinations.”
“It would seem the Kablicans do not wish to be left to their own plots.” Pegiologos trotted lightly beside the massive footprints of the centaur, coming equal with the seer. “What do you see?”
The centaur’s bronzed hands patted his chestnut flanks as though dusting them from a dirty task. He folded his arms across his barrel chest. “I fear my first visions were not correct; not completely. I had said that the Kablicans would either become the greatest power in the world, dominating all beneath them, or they would be our last hope against just such a dark nation, controlling all who opposed them; ironically, of course—the Kablicans would never have done it for anyone’s benefit but their own.”
“And now?” asked the Pegasus.
Modrentine unfolded his arms and twisted to look straight at the winged horse beside him. “Now? I believe it is the Kablicans who will solidify the nations into one single force, bent on the destruction of such dark idealists; and thereby ushering in the final government that will crush everyone beneath its feet of iron and clay.”
“Iron and clay?” asked the horse.
“It is a dream that I had… and do not yet understand,” replied the seer.
The two creatures were silent for a while. Then Pegiologos shook his wings and stretched them. “I must away. I must bring news of this tragedy to King Tellequot of Garansett. What should I recommend he do?”
“Do?” Modrentine stamped his massive feather hooves as he turned to watch the Pegasus. “Do what should always be done! Justice; mixed with mercy. But beware of terror and arrogance. The belief that we others are better than those, and the fear that our better life could be taken from us, is the irony that may lead to the greatest alliance of our time… and the destruction of liberty.”
Pegiologos shook his mane and reared. “I do not understand your words, but I will pass them on.” With that the fleet messenger galloped forward down the tumbling turf, and throwing open his mighty wings he lifted from the earth. The whap of aid cracked from under the massive pinions, and the Pegasus rose into the air. He wheeled, catching an updraft, and soared away from the stand of trees.
Modrentine lifted brown hand in farewell. “Pray that we never do,” whispered the seer.