Birds of Prey
Two beings inhabit The Dome.
They are Barciro and The Wikler.
It is now the bald eagle who fluffs her mighty wings. ‘You send so, Lord Hilaetos, and I do receive your thought, but you so quickly assume our hunger comes down to our own incompetence.’
‘Would you send differently?’
Lord Hilaetos no longer faces the hungry bald eagle. His eyes scan the surface for stray lakebreathers in hopes of making a second demonstration.
‘I do, lord osprey. You know just as well as I that the lakebreathers have thinned out considerably over cycles of late. You cannot possibly ignore it any longer.’
But he does, and does so with silent oomph. ‘And the landwalkers?’
The bald eagle blinks thrice and debates dunking the Lord of The Sticks to teach the pomp fool a lesson, but in truth she never would. Lord Hilaetos has done much for the pair eagles; when they first came to The Sticks (back when the keep was more than a jungle of shinebleached skeletons), The Vultress threatened to end their lives on the spot, but the Sea Hawk flapped in. He didn’t need to intervene, and perhaps if Lysandra knew the osprey only did what he did because he wanted avian company who didn’t have repulsive vermillion domes like the buzzards she would feel less gratitude towards Lord Hilaetos, but the Great Spirit works in mysterious and often deceitful ways, so no wingflapper is tossed to the drink.
‘Why do you ignore the famine, my lord? You must be ‘ware of it. Ever since the flare fell from the great starpool above many cycles ago the food supply in The Basin has been short and regrettably not stout.’
‘Has ih–’ the osprey begins to send. He’s cut off by the eagle’s will.
‘The greater Reservoir is on the decline, Hilaetos; the gulls feel it, the owl feels it, even the vultures must feel it.’
‘The buzzards feel nothing, Lysandra! They’re fiends who live off grizzled death, they’re wingflappers of The Void come to wreak havoc, they–’
A raspy, guttural squall booms from deep within The Sticks, shaking the hollow wing bones of the conversing Birds of Prey. They both shudder, as does Lysander, who watches unseen from high in the forest’s canopy a short eastbound flight from The Sticks. He does not trust the osprey no matter how his soulbride may feel toward his lordship. Any lord who bows to the whim of another is not a lord but a mere pawn, a peasant bestowed with a fat allowance in exchange for meek subservience. Lord of The Sticks. Indeed.
No thoughts are sent nor received for a moment, a moment that stretches on mercilessly into infinity. In the distance a sole gull, exhausted by the look of the half-hearted flap of his white wings, returns to The Basin and attempts to land on the bridge. He misses his mark and falls to the water’s surface; the struggle doesn’t last very long. Bubbles take his place, then a broken white feather floats to the surface. It’s given nervous glances as it floats there daintily, the tide pulling it towards the rocky shore.
‘Has she been receiving this whole time?’ Lysandra sends after an eon of unease, looking nervously into the osprey’s brilliant golden eyes.
‘I believe so, though there’s no way to know. There aren’t many who flock to this crescent lake as wily as The Vultress, sh–’
Another deep squall booms from The Sticks, this one woven with vicious whines. She’s involved the troops.
‘I must go to her.’
‘My lord, I don’t believe we’re done he–’
‘Silence,’ sent with direct eye contact.
Lysander prepares to take flight and rip those eyes out of the osprey’s inflated head, then changes his mind. By the sound of that squall, The Vultress may be preparing to do the same.
Lysandra furrows her white brow then and stands up straight, towering over the measly osprey, scenting the fishy aroma drifting from his gaping little beak. ‘You dare silence a starving eagle? You’d be wise to receive these thoughts, Lord Hilaetos. You’d be very wise indeed.’
Without faltering, ‘I’d be wise to answer the call of The Vultress, High Lysandra, as you know her wrath has no bounds.’
‘And why do the mystics both call out to you on this day, Lord Hilaetos?’ sent with more than a suggestion of suspicion. ‘It is rare for the mystics to make any noise at all, let alone issue a summons… yet both of them request your council today…’
In answer the osprey leaps from the scored branch and glides out over The Basin, shreds the surface with his talons, then flaps high into the air. The channel closes as he circles back and takes flight deep into the marshlands. Lysandra watches him go.
She’s joined by Lysander shortly after. They share a look. Many feelings are exchanged without the need for thoughts to carry them across the channel.
This has been the end of the second subchapter of the second chapter of The Monksville Chronicles. Here is everything you need to know about it:
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