35th Ymiden, 718
The lure was simply too great to resist. Winged horses...horses that could fly. To Lei'lira, it sounded as if someone had taken a creature out of her fondest dreams, and gave it life. She had first heard of the Scalvwing Steeds from Kura. Sort of. The politician had mentioned the name Scalvwing, but not told her what it was. But she was curious enough about why the woman thought she would like them enough to ask some of the people who lived near her in Beacon. That was how she had learned that the Scalvwing Steeds were winged horses. And that in turn had made it a goal in her mind. She was going to see these Scalvwing Steeds with her own eyes, and buy as many as she could reasonably afford if it was possible to buy them.
Fortunately, the people she had spoken to loved horses almost as much as she did. Because of that, they had found out about a ranch in Egilrun where Scalvwing Steeds could be found. That series of events had led her here, in the hopes of seeing the magnificent creatures for herself. And she wasn't disappointed. The sight that greeted her was a large fenced in pasture where several Scalvwing Steeds were grazing, their wings folded neatly on their backs since they weren't being used. Some of them were the usual colors you might expect to see in horses; blacks, greys, whites and varying shades in between. But she also saw some deep blues, greens, and purples mixed among them. It was as if someone had come along and dumped paint on some of them. But in a strange way, the colors seemed to suit them.
How are they able to fly? Lei'lira wondered as she watched them in awe.
Birds are able to fly because they have hollow bones that make them light enough that they can fly.
Lei'lira could remember learning that fact in class clearly. It was brutally hot because it had been in the middle of Saun. Even the pranksters of the class had been well behaved...if only because it was too hot for them to do anything. The teacher's voice had droned on, putting many of her classmates to sleep. But she had been fascinated by the lecture. Birds were beautiful creatures, even if they weren't as beautiful as horses. As a child, Lei'lira had loved watching them flit about the yard as they went about their lives. And even now, she loved listening to their songs. So learning about them in class had been especially interesting to her at the time.
As Lei'lira continued to watch the Scalvwing Steeds, it dawned on her.
These Scalvwings can't have hollow bones. If they did, their own weight would break their bones because of how big they are. But if their bones were lighter...less dense than a normal horse's bones would be...that, added to the size of their wings must be what allows something that big to fly! she realized.
An amused chuckling startled Lei'lira out of her thoughts. A man and a woman approached them. When Lei'lira tensed at the sight of the strange man, Teia rested her hand on her arm in a calming gesture. It helped. The woman looked familiar, and Lei'lira's eyes widened as she recognized her.
"Jayna?" she asked in confusion.
The woman nodded.
"And you're Lei'lira, right? Are those your kids, or your friend's?"
It was Lei'lira's turn to nod. She started to answer the question, but didn't get the chance to finish.
"I thought it was you! Are you still as horse crazy as ever?"
Lei'lira grinned at her former classmate, and nodded again.
"What brings you here?"
"Here" meant Scalvoris since the last time Lei'lira had seen Jayna was when they had graduated from school together. That had been many arcs ago, and back in Warrick, not here of all places.
"My husband and I moved to Scalvoris Town three arcs ago. Our farm hadn't been doing well for several arcs before that, and we finally decided that it was time for us to move on and try something new. We're both in the Elements now. And if "here" was supposed to mean this ranch, I was looking into the possibility of buying a couple of Scalvwing Steeds for Ridnar and I to use as mounts for work." Jayna explained.
Then she hesitated.
"And if I still know anything about you, you were trying to figure out how a "horse" can fly, right?"
Lei'lira simply nodded.
"Well, the first thing you need to know is that Scalvwing Steeds aren't horses. They might look like flying horses, but they aren't quite the same. More like cousins of a sort. One of the biggest differences is that their bones are less dense than a horse's are. Not hollow like a bird's, but definitely lighter. That's what allows them to fly. And to answer your next question before you ask, they are able to fly for extended periods of time, not just short bursts. If the latter were true, we couldn't use them as winged mounts for the Elements."
Lei'lira considered what she had learned carefully while Jayna completed her business at the ranch, and took her leave.