Autumn, Year 761 of the New Age
Oakfern, the Warren
Well, nearly three years.
Nearly three years since she'd been on the surface. Oh, she'd been close
to the outside again, when she was exploring with the other fawns, or patrolling with Urs, but it she had lived underground now for nearly three times as long as she had lived above and it still made her sad. Lanny tried to stay happy about it, and she still told
herself that she'd go outside again one day, but the King had made it very clear that only the guards should ever be going outside, and normally only the Fawntakers, and even though Lanny was definitely going to be a Guard as soon as she turned five, she didn't think she would ever be a Fawntaker. The Fawntakers she had met were too cold and too unfriendly - they didn't want to play, or explore, or have fun. They were devoted to Gealach and killing Oathbreakers and nothing else. Lanny didn't want to spend all her time looking for people to kill. It sounded too sad.
The filly still spent a lot of her time wandering the tunnels, looking for unguarded exits. She knew a lot of the tunnels now - some of them were too small for the guards to scurry down, but because she was still little she could sneak through the cracks in the walls or the narrow channels where the underground streams flowed and then she could follow the smell of the forest and the sound of the wind and try to find her way out. So far they were just dead ends, or they rejoined the bigger tunnels further down, but one day she'd find a way. She'd have to do it soon though, because she was getting bigger now. It was good, because it meant that she was going to be a grown up soon, but it would mean she wouldn't be able to get through the narrow gaps any more.
She'd got her magic not that long ago too, but she didn't like using it. Using the magic made her think of the times when she was above ground with her Mama, and it made her sad, and it made her angry. She wondered sometimes if walking on water would make exploring easier, because she'd seen some places that she could've got to if she could walk on water, but she still didn't like to use her magic.
She was thinking all of these things as she meandered through a new tunnel, her head held high as she followed the fruity scent of jungle air. She was near an exit, but she was trying not to get too excited because she'd been near to exits before. She'd thought she would get outside before but there had been guards on the tunnels, or she'd never found where the jungle smell was coming from. So she was distracting herself by wondering about magic, and wondering if it was worth learning it or if it turn her into her Mama and then trying not to think about her Mama because that still hurt...
And suddenly, she saw sunlight.
It was so bright and so shining that her eyes hurt and she stopped in her tracks. There was the smell, the strong hot smell of the jungle. There was the sweet smell of flowers and of fruits, and the chirrups of birds and the rustling of the trees... but no way out? There was sunshine, but no way out of the tunnels.. but there was grass at her feet, and little flowers, and there, there
, up in the roof was the sky. She had found the sky.
She wasn't outside, but she could see the blue sky above her and there was grass under her hooves.
One day, she'd be outside as well.