The Dawn Patrol


“Baldred.” Cerlissa called out calmly, confidently. They weren’t exactly alone, but well enough that no one was likely to hear them from the other side of the wagon being pulled by Redshirt and Kenny. Baldred rode on Rachni, a tall, leggy horse that couldn’t figure out if it was black or brown. Cerlissa, riding her great white Tauntaun, trotted up next to him.

“Cerlissa,” Baldred smiled a little when he saw her. It didn’t touch his lips, but his eyes took on a bit of the light that it used to, before he was injured and saddle-bound. “What can I do for you?”

Suddenly hesitant, Cerlissa stared at him a moment. She wasn’t expecting to see him smile at her like that. Even if it was vague. Baldred was staring levelly at her now, though, expecting her to say something. His rage and resentment boiling through again.


Baldred turned away from her and looked forward, evidently content not to humor her lack of vocal skills. He grew more bitter every day now, and seemed to care less and less. Cerlissa knew that feeling, and it was his gift that had helped her return from that bog of self-recrimination.

“Baldred,” Cerlissa called again, less sure this time, “Please, I want to ask you something.”

He didn’t look at her, only made a wordless sound of relent.

“I was wondering what your plans were,” Cerlissa felt very silly asking him, having so much anxiety about his answer, “You know, after… this…”

He turned again toward her with a look that was equal parts resentment and suspicion.

Cerlissa’s mind reeled with the effort of trying to understand how he could give her a glimmer of a smile and a deadly glare all before even beginning the conversation. Her heart started to pound a little in a flavor of fear she hadn’t felt since before she’d left for Blackfeather. A very personal, paralyzing fear of rejection.

Finally, Baldred shrugged and said, “I liked Tuari.”

“Oh!” Cerlissa said, trying to make it sound like she was okay with it, but it came across as a little too loud. “Um…” She didn’t know how to ask him anymore, the conversation wasn’t quite going as she’d had imagined it. A thousand times.

“Not like I’m much use to the Dawn Patrol, like this.”

Cerlissa rocked back into her saddle. Tauntaun sidestepped a little. On a smaller horse, it would have been to keep its balance. With Tauntaun it seemed more like he had forgotten he was carrying anything. This was not part of her imagined conversation.

“Baldred, I…”

Without waiting to hear her finish, Baldred clucked Rachni into a trot and began to move away from her.

Cerlissa panicked.

“Come with me to New Turath, Baldred!” Face flaming and eyes wide, her hands twitched like they wanted to make that nervous flapping motion she was training herself to stop. The one that Baldred had noticed and told her about.

Rachni wheeled around and showed her Baldred’s face. He looked like he was in physical pain as he took in a breath to say something. Something angry. Something he’d been wanted to lash out with for days. Weeks.

Cerlissa didn’t let him.

“Come home with me and help me win the rest of this war.” The rest of the patrol started to notice the exchange, and Cerlissa felt as though her heart would seize and make her fall off her horse in the most embarrassing show of girlish stupidity ever witnessed. “I need…” She closed her mouth around the word with an audible click and started over. “I want you to…” There were supposed to be words after that. A definition of what, exactly, she wanted him to do in New Turath, but she lost it.

She broke eye contact with Baldred, whose anger seemed to have drained from him and he only looked shocked. Cerlissa felt as thought if she didn’t get this into the open now, she’d never forgive herself, even if she’d misread everything he’d said and done with her for the last several months. Twirling Tauntaun’s mane in her fingers, radiating self-consciousness, she took a breath to continue, and promptly forgot what she was going to say. In the absence of new ideas, she repeated herself.

“I want you to.”

Baldred wasn’t ever a man of many words. He mostly got his point across with his actions and expressions. He often led by example and simply scowled and refused to participate in the things he disagreed with. Because of this, Cerlissa wasn’t surprised that he hadn’t said anything. She knew that his answer to her offer was written plainly on his face, but she couldn’t bring herself to look at him to find out. She just fidgeted and stared hard at her hands, still fiddling with Tauntaun’s mane.

She could hear Rachni begin to walk back toward her, and she cringed. She didn’t know when everyone had stopped, but the racket of movement that she had counted on to hide her quiet conversation had grown silent, and she could feel the stares of her companions as she tried to become very small while sitting atop the largest mount in the land. It was silent for so long that she even thought that she might even begin to cry. Rachni’s hooves moved steadily toward her until the horses were nearly touching eachother, side by side, head to flank.

Baldred’s unwounded knee touched Cerlissa’s, and he reached out to take her hand from Tauntaun’s mane.

Cerlissa looked up to see Baldred’s eyes filled with the same shocked, watery fear as she was feeling. He moved her hand around his side and pulled her into a warm, delightfully familiar hug.

“I would like nothing better than to return with you to New Turath.” he said quietly, so that only she could hear.

They stayed like that for a few moments, hiding their embarrassment in eachother. It wasn’t a long hug, but it carried with it all the acceptance that they both needed so badly ever since the Battle of Thrones. As they pulled apart and situated themselves in their own saddles again, being awkward and suddenly very aware, again, of the entire patrol and all the auxiliaries staring at the exchanged.

Grakkus, wordless for only a moment, took in a breath and pointed at them, only to be cut off with a firm, ‘friendly’ punch in the face from Vicorin.

“Move it, lizard.” Vicorin grumbled over his other hand, holding a flask of unknown alcohol to his mouth.

Grakkus motioned to say something else, only to be shoved forward and glared at, prompting the rest of the patrol to follow suit with long, significant looks at eachother.

Baldred’s smile, though still faint, lit up his whole face as they rode to meet the Norscans.

Hold on to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home


Arikiba Kissarai

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.