|Cover art for my DreamKeepers original story: "The Wayward Astronomer"|
The Wayward Astronomer: Chapter 11<Chapter 11>The Wayward Astronomer: Chapter 11 by Kafelnikov
Hal doubled over, leaning heavily on his cane, feeling as if he had just been kicked in the solar plexus. Marcus was quite possibly the last person he expected to see in front of him.
Hal's brother turned from the window to face him, a wide smile stretching across his face. It was a smile Hal had not seen since before their family was murdered.
Marcus, like Hal, was a feathered raptor of the same height and build. Though they were technically twins, they were not fully identical in appearance or personality. Marcus' scales were a deep blood-red crimson, covered with brilliant white feathers. The color difference stood in stark negative contrast to the green and black coloring of Hal. Marcus' eyes were dark gray with brilliant yellow irises, somehow managing to look both muted and keenly sharp all at once.
The largest difference between the two brothers, however, was their tails. Whereas Hal had a single semi-autonomous snake-head tail, Marcus h
The Wayward Astronomer: Chapter 10The wind howled at Hal, spraying a hail of lunarous snow into his face and eyes. His feathers ruffled madly in the gale, each one hardened into a heavy black icicle that dragged in the wind and pulled him back. He squinted into the fury and forced his way forward through its resistive pull, fighting to put each foot in front of the other.The Wayward Astronomer: Chapter 10 by Kafelnikov
He could hear Miri's voice echo through the wind from somewhere up ahead. Steeling his resolve, he put his head down and continued to march forward into the night. The darkness of the gully draped heavily on top of him like a fog, narrowing his perception and blurring his focus. The jacket he pulled tightly around himself did almost nothing to cut through the desolate chill that left him feeling brittle to the core.
Hal stopped and looked upwards. In front of him stood a sheer rock face that looked to be well over 100 meters tall. The surface of the canyon wall was sharp and slick, threateningly looming down on top of him. Ha
The Wayward Astronomer: Chapter 9[Chapter 9]The Wayward Astronomer: Chapter 9 by Kafelnikov
Before setting off into the night, Hal took a few minutes to change into some fresh clothes that had fewer bullet holes in them. Though he was feeling quite weary after a difficult day, just the simple act of wearing something clean and fresh gave him a second wind of energy. He opted for an older but comfortable leather jacket that blended well with the background of the nighttime city streets, and made sure to clip a small knife to his belt that was covered by his clothing but easy to reach at a moment's notice. His large raptor feet and claws made it impossible to wear traditional shoes or boots, but he wrapped his lower legs with some heavy-duty cloth to protect his scales from the grime and debris of the city streets. His tail continued to look out the window attentively as he prepared himself.
He stood from the edge of his bed and retrieved his cane, steeling himself for the walk ahead of him with a few deep breaths. Jonny ran an illegal gambling racket from the back