Thursday, November 09, 2006

Friend or Foe

After three minutes, the falcons descended around me with a flutter of wings. Elsu landed on my shoulder, Shea disappeared into the top of a nearby tree, and Gavin glided down into a hopping landing in the middle of the trail. I could feel them all watching me as I continued to hold Brone motionless and listened. The forest sounds returned, rustling and scampering. A boar passed by on the left with a grunt. Brone twitched impatiently, taking a step before I hushed him again with a hand on his neck. That was when I heard it. The silence behind was interrupted with a distant whinny. Brone’s ears perked at the sound.


Shea and Elsu took the clue from my unusual behavior and joined me silently. They perched side by side on the branch over my head. Meanwhile, Gavin settled himself in the exact center of the worn rut of brown against the green mossy forest floor and began to preen. I whistled to him, but he ignored me and continued his hygiene routine. His ruffled white feathers stood out sharply against the backdrop of rich green and earthy brown.

So much for surprise. I tightened the bow string, slipped a shaft from my quiver, and steadied myself against the trunk of the tree. The arrow was notched to the string, but I didn't have time to draw it back before a scruffy-looking black and gray stallion emerged from the trees. On its back, a roughly dressed man with a familiar face regarded Gavin with curiosity.

“And who are you?” Arthus asked.

Gavin continued to straighten his feathers. Above my head, Elsu croaked out a conversational cry and Arthus whipped his head in our direction. Before he found my face, I had the bow drawn and the arrow pointed at his chest.

Chapter Three of Wren Romany's story


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