Zakariah liked hearing stories about old things, just like I do, and this reminded him of how much he was going to enjoy training under his Uncle. And just then, out of the Blue, as if he could hear Zakariah’s thoughts, Uncle Ezekiel said, “Now before we get started... You should know that my next delivery will be my last as a Bringer. But you’ll receive the best training accompanying me... on your first day of training... Before I retire.” Zakariah panicked and his whole life flashed before him. A life never having become a Bringer. He pictured himself as a plump old Stork eating dead Frogs in a stinky muddy marsh and, Burp!, belching.
“I can’t do this forever, Zakariah... I don’t want to be an old belchy Stork,” Zakariah mumbled.
“I’m not belchy. Who told you I’m belchy? Your Mother?” his Uncle asked. “No, Mother didn’t say you were... belchy.” Zakariah was not going to tell his Uncle she had said farty. Zakariah asked him, “Who am I gonna train with?” Uncle Ezekiel scratched his head and said, “I haven’t figured that out just yet, I’m sorry to say.” Zakariah remembered the girl Stork he had seen with a Bundle and said, “I saw a girl Bringer my own size and age! Who taught her?”
“Oh,” his Uncle pondered, “that must have been... Athena. She comes from a family of Bringers that goes so far back that...Well, they don’t have to train anymore. Bringing has become second nature to them. It’s in their blood.”
I don’t care if Zakariah is a stork I bet he got goose bumps at the thought of himself as a big old farty Stork who never became a Bringer…
An Elder came out of the shadows behind Zakariah and scared the heck out of him and put a Bundle at Ezekiel’s feet. “It has always been and it shall always be,” it said and disappeared back into the darkness. Uncle Ezekiel repeated the saying but added: “Thank you, Master.” The feathers on the back of Uncle Ezekiel’s neck always stood up when he was ready to take flight. He lifted the Bundle with his beak, spread his wings, ran with a waddle and flew through a stone archway into the sky.
“Wait... Wait! This is it?” Zakariah shouted and ran after his Uncle, tumbling out the archway just as dumb like he did when he flew in.
Zakariah caught up to his Uncle in the air and asked him, “Where are we going?” “Anywhere us Bringers need to be,” Uncle Ezekiel said, “from The Mountain of Victories to the four corners of the world! Most of these journeys are a long way off, so you might find yourself talking to your Bundle after a while. But they aren’t too talky, if you get my drift.” Uncle Ezekiel gave Zakariah a wink and the next thing he knew he and his Uncle were lifted high on the warm air beneath them.
“That’s the thermal waves under our wings. We can coast on them without flapping our wings for fifty miles!” Uncle Ezekiel said.
“Wow!” Zakariah yelled, “I never even knew these had a name!”
Later on that day, they rested under the shade of a Dragon Blood tree with the Bundle. A captivated Zakariah listened to Ezekiel explain the ways of the Bringer. “It’s not something that is taught but more of a learning, you understand? The power of the right now is in the Bringer’s favor. We trust our instincts and see the signs in front of us, see them for what they are. Sometimes it might be a slight nudge of the wind, like we had. Other times it might be a passing stranger’s description of a hut you have seen in a dream. You have to be ready to be inspired.”
Uncle Ezekiel stood up, wobbled, and then fell back on his butt. Zakariah stood up, worried. “Uncle Ezekiel!” he yelled, trying to help his Uncle stand.
“I’m okay, I’m okay,” said Uncle Ezekiel, waving him off. “Just let me sit here for a moment. Blood rushed to my head. Got up too fast, that’s all.” “What can I do?” Zakariah pleaded.
Uncle Ezekiel wearily rested his wing on the Bundle and said.
“There is something you can do, Zakariah... You have to complete this Bringing on your own.”
“That’s impossible. I haven’t learned anything yet,” Zakariah laughed because if he was the only option they were in big trouble.
“You can learn on the fly, if you get my drift,” Uncle Ezekiel reassured him, “Now, now, I’ll be fine... It’s like a spark just went out in me. Poof... Just like that... I want to go further but I don’t think I can make it.”
Zakariah stood there speechless and numb and sick to his stomach, probably like waking up to having flies in your mouth while you’re sleeping. He had no idea where he was and no faith in anything he had ever done let alone delivering.
“Once a Bundle has left The Mountain of Victories it can not return,” his Uncle warned.
“Well, there goes that idea,” Zakariah mumbled, “Not that I know the way back anyways but I’ll get this Bundle to where it belongs,” Zakariah kind of promised. He looked to the horizon for an inkling of inspiration to guide him. He would have been happy with a familiar shape in the clouds. “Good! You can find your way,” his Uncle assured. And as a warm wind blew through Zakariah’s feathers, a bright star peeked up over the horizon and moved oddly. Excited, Zakariah yelled, “Uncle Zeke, you ever seen a star that bright and move like that before?” His Uncle squinted his eyes. He recognized his nephew’s enthusiasm, “I don’t see what you see, but you got the tiger by the tail, Boy!”
Zakariah hugged his Uncle and said, “As soon as I deliver this Bundle, I’ll be back before you can say, ‘Catch my drift’!”
“Go! Go! Don’t you worry about me, Zak! Get going!”
Zakariah took the Bundle in his beak and took off towards the moving star. Zakariah wasn’t sure if the sparkling Star was pulling him towards it or if his own instinct was driving him to the Star. I think it was both. Either way, Zachariah said, “I’m here before you with my Bundle, Star. The three of us must trust in each other... I feel that if we keep each other company, never lose sight of each other, we can make it... So please, wandering Star, take the lead... We’re chasing you!”