A Wooden Cave – The Monksville Chronicles #45

A Wooden Cave

The vulture flock hordes tightly around the pair eagles and smothers their shivering bodies in heated feathers and wings. When the last two survivors of the Red Hawk Flock’s massacre finally begin to warm, they are allowed to see the light of day.

Having wasted no time since their fleeing of the old nesting grounds this past autumn, the vulture flock has transformed the once unclaimed South Cove into a safe haven for any Bird, of Lake or of Prey, who happens to be a’wander across Monksville. Many trees still stand, but some have been strategically felled – Pecker and Woody of the woodpecker flock helped with this, as did Buc’Toof the beaver – in the formation of a wooden cave just past the shoreline. It looks almost as if a giant had built the structure, the resemblance to their early lean-to shelters is utterly uncanny. Outside the snow is piled up high, but beneath the roof is dry earth. Frozen earth, with patches of mud suspended in miniature spires of ice, but dry earth nonetheless. The snow continues to fall, now in flakes, no longer in clumps.

At the mouth of the wooden cave The Vultress waits, the channel comfortably open.

‘Welcome to our sanctuary, highest pair eagles. We’re honored to have you among us.’

Lysander bows without sending a thought. Lysandra thanks The Vultress profusely, then joins in the bow.

‘Up, up! There’s no need for such formality, those days are past us now. My hunters should be returning soon with the means to have a Rite of Renewal. Please, join us pair eagles. You must both be very hungry.’

They are indeed, so they stay. The feast is ravenous and quick, even the bones are consumed.

‘‘Tis a true shame my dayguard fell on this day,’ sends Choridae with a beak full of gull breast, ‘but I am thankful some landed on the Reservoir’s shores.’

Following the meal, the eagles perch at the mouth of the wooden cave with The Vultress. Inside, High Choridae entertains the greater vulture flock with stories from his days as a seabird, detailing past dealings with giants who made raised roadways out of wood along the beaches and small mountain lions who would take refuge under these platforms. It was decided that Choridae would flock with the vultures until his wounds properly heal and he can fend for himself; whether that time comes in the spring, the summer, the autumn, or a cycle in the distant future matters not. They did not see it firstwing, but the vultures are all aware of the bravery the mighty seagull displayed when the Red Hawk Flock came flapping. He’s a welcome addition to their flock, as would be the high pair eagles, the expert scavengers they are; would be, that is, if staying was a real option.

‘That’s… quite unfortunate,’ sends The Vultress.

She gazes out across the meadow of frozen cotton that stands where a Reservoir may flow come the spring thaw, her mind heavy with the perception of many trillions of potentialities. From every new passing moment branches infinite possible futures, each of these outcomes birthing hoards of viable timelines while simultaneously bringing an end to just as many; what may once have been and what may still come to be are fickle things, The Vultress knows it very well, and for the longest she’s had a clear perception of what she believed was her destined future: to rule over her flock until an untimely death at the jaws of a terrible monster, one not inherently evil but cursed with life all the same. Upon her death, her flock would be handed over to the pair eagles and they would quickly claim perch over all of Mother Monksville, ushering in a new age of avian prosperity that would bring Birds both of Prey and of Lake to an equal footing with the giants – where things would continue on from there was always clouded in fogs of uncertainty, a few moves too far ahead for The Vultress to see, perhaps. But now, everything is foggy; those visions never included the gull Choridae, his survival of the Red Hawk Flock’s massacre at The Sticks was an unprecedented, unpredictable quirk of Existence, a metaphorical flap of a moth’s wing to veer off in pursuit of the moon rather than being engulfed by flames in its desire for light. The future of her flock is now up in the air; The Vultress doesn’t like it one bit.

‘And you’re both sure your staying here with my flock is impossible?’

‘Yes, High Vultress, I’m afraid it is,’ sends Lysandra. ‘We are eternally grateful that you took us in and fed us, we wouldn’t have survived the worst of the storm without your sending of thought up through the Northern Leg. But Lysander and I, we want to start a family. The Hatching comes each and every spring and we’ve never been able to participate, The Sticks was never large enough for us to build a nest suitable for raising eaglets.’

‘We need something big,’ sends Lysander, seamlessly continuing Lysandra’s thought stream. ‘A fortress similar to what your flock has here but up in the trees, ideally just below the canopy. We shall be invisible from the sky and inaccessible from the ground, and our chicks will be safe from whatever may seek them out, whether feathered or furred.’

The Vultress takes a moment to feel all this out. ‘And you’ll remain on Monksville?’

[to be cont’d]

This has been the beginning of the ninth subchapter of the third chapter of the book The Monksville Chronicles. Here is everything you need to know about it:

The Monksville Chronicles

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

The Hillside Commons has a Facebook page. Here’s that.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. From this day on, we move forever forward~

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