He couldn’t tell how long he had been bound in the darkness. It must have been a long time. He was hungry, terribly hungry, for a while. No one fed him, but after a while his stomach quieted and he began to miss other things, simple things: the warmth of the sun, the feel of grass under his feet, and, more than anything else, light. He tried not to think too much of the others, whether they still walked and ate together, free in the light, whether they thought of him. Tried, also, not to think what had happened to him and why. He had lived just like all the others, working, traveling, hiding when the flyers passed above him. He had always known that the flyers could kill him if they found him. He had not thought they would do this. The worst of it was that he couldn’t even remember them doing it—he went to sleep in the sun and woke up bound.
Now it was the certainty of his own body that he missed. He was tied so tightly that he could no longer feel his legs, and was troubled by the irrational conviction that they were no longer there. The pain in his back was no longer a collection of sore muscles but one large misshapen ache.
Light burst into his eyes, merged with the pain in his back, spread, solidified into two great arcs of color that hovered delicately to either side of his shoulders, quivering. He had his legs again, too; there were only six of them, but they held him fast to the grass-stem in front of him. He loosed his hold and let the wind sweep under his wings and lift him into the bright world from which the flyers came.