The clouds were bitter cold as Ayumu felt the millions of floating water particles brush against the skin on his face and started to collect minutely in his thick clothing. When they cleared the clouds however, the warm sun could be felt as well as seen in full. It seemed to Ayumu that he found himself in some other world, and he gazed around at the masses of cloud that looked like low swooping hills in awe. He didn't need to shield his eyes too much as the sun was on his back, yet it's rays were still bright enough to lightly sting his eyes if he opened them fully for half a minute or so. It wasn't long before in the distance there rose a tower of rock and minerals. It was a mountain that pierced the heavens, it seemed. Ayumu could tell that it was their destination as when it came in view Raiden veered his course towards it. The blue avian then continued to flap his wings so as to gain more altitude, until they were about a couple hundred feet above the clouds, and more or less ninety feet higher than the mountain peek they flew towards. Raiden then made a down-angle with his body, gliding with ease and gaining a great deal of speed with the momentum. The mound of rock got ever so closer now, and an opening could be seen on it's side. Avian sentinels came in view peering at the thunder-hawk and the formation of the other birds behind him. The sentinels gave the incomers a low cry in challenge. Raiden himself was the one to answer, also in a low tone. Soon after giving the returning cry, the sentinels turned round and went back to their posts further in the cave like structure. Ayumu's heart was racing again, as Raiden was gliding at such a high speed in the direction of the rock. The boy clenched his teeth over his bottom lip as the blue hawk continued diving until he was just below the bottom edge of the cave. With natural skill, Raiden then thrust his wings down at the last minute it seemed to bring his angle upwards to control his momentum in order to slow down as he flapped his appendages further to bring himself to a halt about 15 feet inside the cave.
"And here we are!
" said Raiden after moving to the side of the cave to allow room for the rest of the hawks to land. Ayumu had a slight trouble seeing at first as his eyes had to readjust to the dimmer light since they had gotten used to the bright of the sun. He had no trouble noticing the several different hawks that were staring directly at him. A nervous frown came on his face as he then released his grip on Raiden's feathers and slid off his back. "Try not to mind their looks. You're the first human to ever visit the Hawk Sanctuary directly... aside from a few Yuuma clan members at least.
" the thunder-hawk stated to the boy, who then shrugged before shoving his hands into the pockets of his coat. Then Ayumu turned his glance at the mouth of the cave to watch as the rest of the kettle*
of hawks entered the cave much the same way that Raiden did. Taio, the green hawk flying with Misake in tow entered before the others, respectively. As soon as the bird landed, and the girl was visible to the cast*
of hawks inside the Sanctuary there was a slight clamor of murmuring amongst many of the birds.
"To be honest, I'm actually breaking a law by bringing you two here. Especially the girl, as Yuuma have been expressly forbidden from setting foot here.
Instantly Ayumu's face froze in a look of shock as he looked up at the hawk.
"You definitely had every right to tell us that before you brought us here.
" he said in a harsh, yet quiet tone of displeasure.
"Augh. Don't worry yourself over it. As a Raiden and future King by birthright I also have every right to overlook, and in some cases completely forsake certain laws within my best judgment... It's a fairly old law anyway.
"Older kept laws usually are the ones with the worst punishment.
" Ayumu stated under his breath as he then gazed at Misake. The clamor was beginning to rise as one of the older of the hawks in the cast along the back of the entrance cave burst out,
"That's a Yuuma
on Taio's back, that is!"
The Inaba boy began to run through as many ideas of how to defend his new friend if the need should arise, as the need seemed to be fairly imminent. He was coming up empty though, as he heavily doubted it would be a good idea to involve any of his own summons against such potential foes. The rabbits and hares at his disposal were most likely not adequately prepared for a sudden fight for survival against their natural predator, especially while on their own turf as well. Then again, he could try distracting the birds as best as he could long enough for Misake to make her own clever way of escaping danger, like she did several times before. Of course, Raiden XVI only needed to give a look to one of the sentinels who then came off from it's perch and gave a harsh cry in the direction of the cast. Silence immediately followed the cry of the sentinel, and Ayumu even found himself having trouble saying anything after that. He gazed at the apparent peace keeping hawk, and remarked at it's dark grey plumage riddled with specs of black and white. Over it's beak was a metal attachment which looked as though it would be murderous if used as a weapon(which is what it actually was, anyway). The sentinel then approached the rabble-rousing hawks a few paces, and they began to disperse and go about their business.
"Ain't that awlways th' way? 'Caun't anyone remembah who's en chaurge these days? Hmgh!
" said the bird as it came beside Raiden.
"Well put, Norio. As usual.
" replied the thunder-hawk.
"Wuhy thank you, sir. 'Supposin' I should escort you and yourh, uh, guests?
"That won't be necessary, thank you. I couldn't think of dragging you from your post and have you share in any of the punishment I might get from my father.
"It is rauther curious 's to wuhy you brought humans to th' Sanctu'ry. Theough yourh ruight in guessin' there'll be a haursh wurd er two from him because of this, a'right. Suit yourhself, then. Best of luck as well, in comin' back oaut of th' Innah Sanct'm in one piece!
Norio the sentinel hawk then gave a respectful bow before walking back to his assigned perch. Ayumu couldn't help but stare at the bird for a moment. Raiden lowered his head between the boy and the sentinel in order get his full attention.
"Right! So by law, you aren't normally allowed here. With that said, you and Misake would do best to stay by me as we make our way to the Inner Sanctum... as well as for the rest of the time you spend here. Both of you should probably be presented to my father, Raiden XV. Keep in mind that he is a King, so be on your best behavior... And telling him any lies at all would prove to be very unwise, if not fatal.
Ayumu sighed through his nose a little and then shrugged his shoulders as he looked at Misake.
"On we go! This way.
- (look under "hawks" through link provided)