Tamora Pierce owns Trickerster's choice though this fanfic from my head. Enjoy and please review!


"The kudarung came willingly to our queens and when Sarai is on the throne they will fly in her honor."

Everyone in knows winged horses attended the raka queens since the days of old. The raka know, the luarin know, and the kudarung never forgot. Not when the creatures were locked in the divine realms; not when they were released and found pale faced men sitting on the thrones for bronze colored queens, and certain not when those that had the last remaining bits of raka queen's blood in them shooed them away reeking of fear.

The kudarung never forgot. They refused to do so; not when they owe so much.

Everyone knows the kudarung attend raka queens, but few remember why. The winged horses know that mortals lives are short and their memory faulty so they forgive them for forgetting, but when a kudarung has finished it's first meal the mother tells the tale of the raka queen that saved them all.

The world had once been kind to them. They nested throughout the land. The world had been new at this point and they were only two immortal races that could fly. Dragons stayed away from them if the winged horses avoided their lands, which worked for both races. It was a time when kudarung only feared the dragons and the rare human arrow as they flew through the sky. Humans thought they were lucky and praised anyone who gained their favor.

It was a time of freedom and plenty for the kudarung until it vanished. The humans call hurrocks cousins to the kudarung, but they are more like bastard children. Born from mortal dreams of winged horses that could be productive in war the meaner, stronger creatures drove the kudarungs away from their nests and took them for their own. Griffins soon followed. The truth-makers refused to share the northern skies with their winged brothers and too drove them away. Stormwings, flying apes, immortals of stronger, faster, fiercer nature than the kudarungs drove them west. Many died trying to find safe nesting grounds and eventually they came to an island. They took refuge in the jungles along the coast, but even those weren't safe. Broken, starving, and few in number all hope seemed lost for them.

It was then that a human girl stumbled upon them. She saw past their loud warnings, pawing hooves, and beating wings to frightened eyes, weak legs, and empty stomachs. Unafraid, she approached and offered up her food to them. The starving creatures snapped it up and then retreated. The raka girl, queen-to-be actually, was undisturbed. She left, but returned the next day. This time with more food better suited to horses than humans. Soldiers also came with her. They were nervous around the kudarung, but did nothing more than keep their hands on their weapons.

Months past, or perhaps it had been years. Never the less, the raka girl kept coming. It may have been for only a few moments to sneak them some apples or to arrive when the sun rose until it set. It was her that slowly and cautiously led them out of the flat lands where predators lurked and it was impossible to hide up to the highland jungles where shelter of man made canopies would keep them dry and safe and food was easy to find. She grew on all the winged horses until she became known as The Kind One; the one that saved them.

Still, the kudarung did not leave their new, precious, breeding grounds. Not until one day when the Kind One did not come. At first they thought nothing of it. They were no longer weak or needing food. It was fine if she did not come every day. Then another passed without her presence. The young ones, who knew only that their funny looking playmate had not appeared sulked, but did not worry. It was on the fourth day that the herd feared that something had happened to the Kind One. The oldest whispered of humans withering like grass deprived of water, of coughs that never stopped until the heart did, and some sort of magic that made humans not remember things that happened. The younger ones worried and demanded that they be allowed to search for the Kind One. The oldest refused to let them leave, but went themselves.

She was easy to find. The Kind One was resting in the strange wood nest that she usually inhabited. The other raka tried to shoo them away, but The Kind One insisted that they be allowed into her nest. The kudarung were distressed when they saw her instead of set at ease. She walked like a newborn foal and was gaunt as they had been in the days before her kindness. They huddled around her, nudging her with their heads to stand up straight. The Kind One laughed and gently moved their heads away before presenting them a tiny raka. The small child was a girl only a few days old.

The kudarung did not understand the words that the Kind One spoke to them, but the crows that lounged around the strange nest were willing enough to translate. She was asking them if they would watch over her daughter. The request surprised them. The Kind One had never asked anything of them before, but they did not refuse. How could they to one that had done so much for them?

A kudarung left to tell the rest of the herd while the remaining two found places for themselves in the human nesting grounds. It did not take them long to come. The herd gathered around the weak Kind One and sniffed her child. Memorizing the girl's scent and the blood that had passed from mother to daughter.

It was a good thing that they had for as the sun rose the next morning the Kind One was dead. Her strength taken from her while giving birth. The kudarung did not leave though. They did not leave when the daughter grew into a woman and fought her own people. Nor did they leave when a new daughter was born and the foal of the Kind One died or when in turn that daughter gave birth and died.

They years past then centuries, but the kudarung continued to watch over those daughters that had the Kind One's blood flowing through their bodies.

They would never forget their promise.