By Tamara Clay
Copyright© 2012 by Tamara
The warm sun caressed Ajala’s face as she flew across the Astral River. As she traversed its glittering expanse, the girl leaned round to look behind her. Nakshatra was urging his crys-bird on trying to catch up with her. Ajala grinned at him and looked forward again. Her own crys-bird fitted snugly against the contours of her body, and its warm body thrummed deliciously with power between her legs. She sent a psychic command to its mechanical brain through her thought-stone, and it surge forward in a burst of energy, widening the distance between them and Nakshatra.
She heard the boy yell out, but his words were snatched away on the wind. Ajala bent forward, focusing all her attention on the far bank of the river. She had to win the race at all costs. There was a blur of movement in the corner of her eye, and suddenly Nakshatra and his bird was at her side again. Ajala scowled and dug her bare heels in to her mount’s feathery sides.
Faster! She commanded mentally. Faster! Faster!
Her crys-bird responded, its multi-colored body glittering in the sunlight, and tried to outpace Nakshatra. Not to be outdone, the boy managed to stay level with them. He turned and gave Ajala a triumphant grin. “You can’t win!” he called out.
“Can’t I?” Ajala retorted. With fresh determination, she urged her mount to go faster. The strain on the creature’s body fed back in to her thought-stone sending waves of burning pain through her. Ajala ignored her own distress and that of the bird, her concentration centered on the shore. Nakshatra melted away, unable to keep up and her vision was filled with the lush green of land.