aik Greenbark was a normal
Brownie lad. He played with his friends, listened to his parents, and when it
suited him to the Cunners as well. However, there was one thing in which he
would not listen to anyone, and that was in his use of his Lleeterrs. He first
started using them when he was barely five, and flew with them every day since
then. At the time of our story, he was near his Choosing Day, so he had flown
with his Wings for near on ten years.
At first his parents found nothing wrong with his pastime. After all, many
Brownie children liked gliding along, even if most of them started at a somewhat
later age. However, pretty soon Taik was looking for more challenges. He wanted
to glide the farthest, start the highest, perform the best tricks, very often
neglecting his own safety. No matter how often his parents urged him to take
care, he would always look for the next challenge, the next opportunity to show
his neck-breaking skills. It worried his parents, certainly after he fell and
broke his arm once. But still nothing would stop him, and as soon as his arm was
mended, he was gliding along on his wings again, dreaming that one day he'd be
able to really fly.
Then one day, he realised that he had ignored the greatest challenge he could
set himself. If he was looking for ever greater heights from which to descend,
why had he not started from the top of the highest tree in all the Vale? So that
same day, the very day before Choosing Day, he bound his Leeterrs on his back,
and starting from his home in the middle of the Council Tree climbed up. And up,
and up, and up. By the time he reached the very top of the Tree, at its 117 ped
height, the sun was just setting behind the tall mountains surrounding the Vale.
At this height, even Taik had to swallow slightly – it was so very high. He sat
on the highest place that he could find, and deliberated. Should he take his
Wings and dive? Should he stay, and climb down the way he had come? But where
would be the glory in that? No, he should just jump. But it was so very... well,
The next day dawned bright and glorious. All the young people would today choose
the profession that they wanted to excell in. The Tree was alive with happy
murmurings, like a sea of small noises, speculations on what tests they would
have to undergo, well-wishings from all the family... except in one household.
Taik's parents woke up to find that their son had not come home; had not even
slept in his bed. They searched for him everywhere, involving more and more of
their family and friends in the search; but to no avail. Taik was missing, and
he could not be found. Many conjectures were made as to what might have happened
– did he run away? Did he dive from some high place and fell to his death? Maybe
he had glided into the forest with his wings and been eaten by a fox? So many
possibilities there were... But one thing was certain. From that day, they never
saw their son again.
Now, you want to know what really happened, don't you? Well, I'll tell you. As
Taik sat there, in the very very top of the Council Tree, he had a dream, even
though he was wide awake. In his dream, he saw the most beautiful Lleeterrs he
had ever seen. They seemed made almost of silver and stars, so brightly they
shone. And he knew, he just knew that with these Wings, he would be able to fly.
Really fly, not just glide from a high place to a low, but take off from the
ground and soar upwards, ever upwards.
He even instinctively knew how to find these Magic Wings. He stood up, unbound
his Wings from his back, and without thinking about the distance to the ground
anymore, took off westward, towards the setting sun. Ever westward he went, and
every time he reached the ground, he'd climb up in a tree again and go on. His
way was only lighted by the stars and the full moon, but before morning he
reached the very western edge of the Vale, where no more Brownies live. Still
guided by his dream, he found a small cave – small even for a Brownie – and went
in. The passage that he followed was only barely big enough to allow him and his
Wings to pass through. At one point he even got stuck, and he almost thought he
would have to break his wings or leave them, in order to pass, when with a bit
more wrenching he managed to pry them loose.
After what seemed to be a long time, the darkness of the passage gave way to
some light, which grew brighter as he progressed. And there he found them; the
Magic Wings from his dream. He took them outside with him, eager to try them
out. As soon as his arms were secured, he forgot all about his life in the Vale,
Choosing Day and his friends. His thoughts were wholly occupied by these
wonderful Magic Wings. He was standing on the ground when he put them on, but he
had only to jump to launch himself into the air, and in the air he stayed. He
could hover, he could salto, he could do anything and everything that he set his
mind to. And if he hasn't landed yet, then I'm sure he's still flying.