This is Fairy Tales canon. Bowman is 14.

Reading Time: ~5-10 mins

Bowman couldn’t sleep, and usually when he couldn’t sleep, that meant his wings twitched and he tossed and turned for hours before giving in. Tonight, he wasn’t going to do that. He lay in his bed and almost glared at his window and the serene light that broke through it. The moon cast its cool, sharp glow upon the village of Wellwood in shining bars that mimicked the golden light of its sky sibling.

Moonlight might not be quite as refreshing as the sunlight, but Bowman knew that flying through it was just as peaceful, just as liberating.

He sat up in his bed, the oval-shaped basin in his room, and stretched his wings carefully. Why deny himself a little flying just because his aunt and uncle told him it was too dangerous to go out at night? Their warnings had never been frightening enough to keep him from it. He had to practice to be the best in the village one day, after all.

His spry green boots were hastily pulled on, quiet motions that Bowman was getting more and more used to. At fourteen, he’d been sneaking out some nights for almost a year now. He knew what he was doing.

He crept through his warped doorway and into the winding hall. Passing Rischa’s room, he noted the way she had kicked her blanket away in sleep. Her little wings, only recently uncurled, fluttered once in sleep and she rolled over with a little sleepy whine.

Bowman couldn’t help but slip into the room to tug her blanket back over her. “Shh, Birdie,” he whispered, and she curled up with the blanket and let out a heavy sigh. Bowman smiled.

After taking care of little Rischa, Bowman made quicker work to the door of their home, and out onto their porch. He opened his wings wide and spread the fingers in them as far as they would stretch. His wings fit his body, and since he wasn’t quite as tall as he would be when he stopped growing, they weren’t as big as he wanted them to be one day.

That didn’t mean he wouldn’t practice. With a silent lunge forward, Bowman leapt off of the porch and into a graceful dive. He had practiced his dives many times before; over and over he would speed toward the ground with his wings tucked just right before they flared open to sweep him along and avoid colliding with the hard earth.

When he pulled out of his glide tonight, Bowman almost wished someone else could have seen it. The change in direction was smooth and flawless, like a leaf twisting through a gust of wind to drift along at its own pace. Bowman could feel the air brushing past his sensitive wings, just like his uncle had taught him to do.

With a look of concentration, Bowman tucked one wing closer and then the other, before leaning sharply to the side. His body spun and he veered from his straight path with the roll, but he didn’t knock himself out of the air. A grin broke over his face, laughter stopping in his throat. He didn’t want to get caught now!

He banked towards the Big Oak, in its circular clearing. Bright, soft moonlight caressed the trunks of the trees surrounding it, and Bowman could see its leaves glistening. He soared past the wild rosebush that marked the path into the Spirit-made circle of trees.

The sight that greeted him almost knocked Bowman from the air. He stared up with wide eyes at a moon that was so much bigger and brighter than he’d ever seen it. The white-and-grey orb hung over the Big Oak, the oldest tree in the forest, determined to light the night sky as if it were day. Bowman couldn’t believe he hadn’t noticed how big it was tonight until he flew to the clearing; it had to be at least three times its usual size.

He flew upwards in a tight spiral until the whole sky unfolded around him like a dark, glittering flower with that moon at its center. Bowman knew it was a bad idea to fly above the canopy, but just this once he didn’t care.

All that mattered was this sight he would not have seen if he hadn’t given in to his urge to fly.

In the distance, he could see one of the red, blinking fairy lights that sometimes crossed the sky high above. No one knew what those red fairies were looking for among the stars, but no wood sprite could fly high enough to find out. Maybe one day I will be the first, he thought ruefully.

The moment broke when he heard a distant voice. Bowman grinned sheepishly as he recognized his aunt calling his name. With a sigh, he leaned back and let himself plummet in freefall back into the safety of the trees, before his wings angled open to carry him lazily towards home. He was already caught out of bed, so there was no point in rushing to end his nighttime jaunt.

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