It was the time of leaving, when all the males of the Cloud must go forth into the world. A world full of danger, especially for him. His smaller twittering brothers hung in the surrounding leafless branches and limbs waiting for the moon to rise. He closed his eyes and drank in the night. Under the great tree, a family of foxes yipped and howled, racing through the leaves.
The queen landed on his shoulder and scuttled to tenderly rest against his neck. “It is time.”
“Too soon. It doesn’t feel right, Mother. I can’t be one of them. My home is here with you.” He sighed a frosty breath.
“You must go with your brothers to find your place, to make your place, to grow the Cloud and spread its glory. It is the way, always and forever.”
His brothers, feeling his sadness, flew to him, crawled to him and covered him in a Stygian quilt of love. Their warmth was his warmth. His love, their love. As always, his family made him strong.
“The tallest tree in the darkest forest will always be your home, and we will always be your family ... but we are not your kind. You must find your kind to survive, my odd bitten, my special son.” And with that, his mother lovingly nipped his ear and flew into the crisp autumn breeze.
None stirred. All waited for the moment. The wind rocked the great tree gently, quietly. They all swayed with the wind in joyful anticipation.
Suddenly, the moon soared over the great tree. The stars vanished from the night sky, so magnificent was its radiance.
They exploded, filling the night sky with swirling, twisting, twittering joy.
He, the biggest brother, dove through the moonlight, his wings full and powerful. He glided through the night, comforted by love, determined to make the Cloud proud, content to find his place in the wide, wide world.
In the distance he heard, “Come, brother. We have found a special place for you to sleep.”