Birds of Prey
Two beings inhabit The Dome.
They are Barciro and The Wikler.
‘His horns were a bit pointier back then,’ The Vultress reflects pleasantly, though Hilaetos could not care less if he tried. ‘They’ve dulled with age, though his mind has only grown sharper.’
She tells many more tales like this – how the hawks once stalked the vultures, how the vultures managed to lose them, how the vultures began to stalk the hawks and clean up all the half-picked carcasses they’d left around, and once all her tales are told, she tells them again, and again, and then again. When the burning edge of the great shine begins its slow descent behind the mountains, The Vultress is claiming for the umpteenth time that the red-tailed hawks deserve to starve for the sheer amount of food they’ve allowed to go to waste over the cycles.
If the osprey has to hear her repeat herself one more time, he’s going to… well, he doesn’t know what he’s going to do, but it won’t be graceful. Not at all. Not even a little bit.
Finally, when The Vultress starts in on that dreadful story about the backwoods pond with the turtle in it for the umpteen-and-a-halfth time, Sea Hawk Lord Hilaetos of The Sticks flaps his eagle’s wings wildly, kicking up a crosswind. The few small feathers still a’sprout from The Vultress’s head shimmy about, and one of them falls out. Neither make a move as it slowly drifts to the surface of the Reservoir and lands without making a wave.
‘Hilaetos, why have you–’
‘ Highest Vultress,’ the osprey pleads, ‘the day is late and my mind grows hazy as the fog. If I am to meet with the witch doctor tonight – which we both know I intend to do – I must have ample energy.’
‘I don’t see the problem,’ Vultress sends innocently enough. ‘If you mean to send something then send it, do not circle from above like my flock does to deaded meat. You’re no good at it, you don’t have the plumage for the act.’
The osprey is taken aback. Why would he even want to circle over deadmeat, why would any self-respecting Bird of Prey wish to denigrate themselves to such a level where they would actually prefer meat without a pulse, meat with blood that does not flow but rather coagulates into a gross, thick, jelly-like… just why? But, at the same time, ‘And just what’s wrong with my plumage, Highest Vultress? Are my flecks not regal enough for you? Does the white of my chest and arms contrast too vivaciously against the earthy brown of my flight feathers? Please, educate me. I beg it of you.’
If only the Vultress could laugh. ‘No’no, nothing of the sort, Sea Hawk. My flockers are feathered black as a bear is furred, while you are white as bones with the wings of an eagle. You’ve quite the beautiful plumage…’
Upon receiving this, Lord Hilaetos damn near falls off the branch.
‘… but scavenging is not the life for you. The eagles perhaps, but not you.’
‘I cannot help but agree,’ as he anxiously adjusts his footing. ‘Do you know of what the witch doctor wishes to send during my palaver with him tonight?’
The Vultress gives something of a smile – as close to a smile as a turkey vulture can manage – and sends, ‘I do indeed know. Just like you do yourself.’
Hiletos displays confusion. Vultress drops her gaze to the still waters. Not a single wave churns. The surface is a mirror; the Birds of Prey are perched on a lone branch caught between two deep, infinite skies.
‘Even if you will not admit it to yourself, Sea Hawk, you know it as well as I.’
That sent, The Vultress flaps wing and gains altitude before settling into a gentle waft. She glides back to The Sticks alone, deep in thought.
This has been the end of the ninth subchapter of the second chapter of The Monksville Chronicles. Here is everything you need to know about it:
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