As the day waned on towards supper time, Cerys and the others began to hear the calling of eagles high above. “There are so many of them!” she called out, glancing upwards.
James cast his eyes up to the skies only briefly. Then he grumbled to himself, as though cursing under his breath, and did not slow down in the least. “Keep moving!” he yelled back to them. “You cannot slow down!”
Judging by his tone, Cerys knew that she ought to be frightened. “What is wrong?” she asked him, trying to get her horse to speed up and ride alongside him.
“They are just eagles,” Bayani added.
“Do you really think he would take off like that if they were just eagles?” Peter snap at his boyfriend, despite knowing that he really should have.
“They are the closest thing to eagles that Summerlay has,” James called back, “but not normal. They look normal sized, but that’s because they are so far away. Those ones are gigantic, and not at all friendly like the ones you might have read about about. You cannot tell from this distance, but they aren’t colored like eagles either. Whatever you do, don’t slow down!”
“What happens if we do?” Himeko asked.
“Just don’t do it, dammit!” James yelled at her. He refused to answer any further questions.
Around them were expensive fields of grass blanketing gently rolling hills, hardly perceptive full changes in the height of the landscape. Far from the road, they could see there were animals grazing on the grass. Big animals, something similar to a buffalo, but not exactly buffalo. This was not Earth, after all. Cerys supposed that they were what somebody might imagine in their mind when a buffalo was described to them, except that they had only ever sen oxen before, and they could not help but think of an ox with the traits of a buffalo as they were explained.
They were much slower than the horses. As Cerys raced her horse after James’s, she held tight to the reigns, but her eyes were on the large animals out in the fields. Far above, one of the eagles broke formation and began a slow glide downwards. At least, it seemed slow at first. By the time it was low enough that that she could tell exactly how big it was really going to be, it was moving at a terrible speed. The eagle let out a raucous cry, which sent the herd of large animals into a frenzy. When a second eagle descended and let out its own cry, the animals they following went into an outright stampede.