The sun was strange overhead. After years of seeing it through choking smog and grey mornings, it was unnatural in a proper shade of blinding white.
The bird-man hopped down next to me, bobbing down on his nimble clawed feet. “And we shouldn’t stick around this place for long. The fey are drifting through, looking for more slaves.”
I stared at him incredulously, then tapped the side of my head. Omoi scanned the birdman. No name detected. No name registered on the device he was holding.
“How’d you get that pocket com?” I asked, pointing at him.
The bird blinked his black eyes, barely visible against the shade of his feathers, and pulled a small watch like device out of his pocket. Clicked it open.
Omoi pinged it as being the source of the signal, redundantly. “I’m a scout by trade,” the bird explained. “Having an electronic map is only useful.”
“Do you have a name I can call you?”
“You can call me anything you like,” he dismissed, stopping in front of me. This close, I could see every strange feather etched on his face, and feel the slight breath and disturbances in the air from his passage. “It just won’t be my name.”
“Jay,” I decided. “I’m calling you Jay.”
Jay’s feathers puffed slightly, and he turned away, looking towards the sky. “Jay, then. Warden, we really must be going.”
I hesitated, staring at him. “It really won’t get better if we stay here,” Jay said, again, then turned away to look into the forest.
Jay pointed with a taloned hand, out to the distance. To the building rising high above the forest. “Prime nest is there. Let’s go.”
Then he ran off ahead of me, shooting me a glance.
What the hell did he mean by the fey?
A cloud drifted over the sun, shrouding the forest in almost darkness. I could just see him, waiting for me, but his feathers twitched impatiently.
No need to get rid of my guide that quickly. After a moment, I ran after him, feeling the tiredness that seeped into my bones. I could sleep another time.
Cryo-sickness might not wait that long, but there were answers to chase after, and they were stuck in the form of a birdman.