Flight of the Raven Part 2
Corbie ruffled his feathers against the morning chill. Opening one eye he could see a hint of morning light coming through the narrow window. Weary from his long flight he shifted in his nest and closed his eyes. He had been on the verge of dreaming, or was it remembering, but then something had woken him. Slumber returned and Corbie was back at Chief Einar’s village. He flew down into the central hall descending from the top of Seal Rock. The stone walls were illuminated with hundreds of shiny discs, greenery hung in patches and the sound of trickling water filled his ears. It had been many moons since he had been here, but the village still smelled of stone, smoke and water.
Flapping his wings he circled above the dwellings, then aimed for Koli, a descendant of the Ancient Ones. Next to Koli was his daughter Disa, whose hair was as red as the setting sun. Swopping down he perched on Koli’s shoulder. The old man touched his feet and suddenly the air seemed to shift uncomfortably around him. Corbie blinked, trying to peer through the darkness and then Koli’s hand appeared before him. It held a glowing orb. Corbie reached out with one leathery foot and enclosed his claws around it.
Flashes of visions surged through him. Children of the woods screamed in terror. The mystic narwhals lied on the beach with their horns cut, dead and bloated. Frightened Selkies ran from the beaches and hid from the oceans. A deep sense of dread filled him. Darkness crept up his claw, into his foot and his body. With one quick movement he released the orb and the blackness left him. Tilting his head he noticed he was no longer on Koli’s shoulder. He was in a small cavernous room sitting on a small stone alter. A single ray of light cascaded down into a shimmering blue pool. Inside the pool was a small creature moving in the water. Disa, the red haired one, was at his side, she touched her round, protruding belly.
“Raven, it is time,” Disa said.
Corbie nodded and flew through the opening into the bright sky. So bright it blinded him.
Corbie awoke to find the rays of morning light hitting his eyes. He blinked, untucked his wings and stood in his nest testing one food and then the other. His body seemed to have faired well from his long flight. He was grateful Soriayana had let him rest, as he had flown for days without stopping since he left Seal Rock.
Corbie scanned the wooden tables laden with herbs, grinding stones and parchment. Soriyana’s other small birds, his family, put their heads up and tweeted their good morning to him. Corbie let out a soft warble in reply. He glided from his nest, which was tucked high in the wall, and headed for Soriayana’s room to retrieve the Raven Stone. Yesterday, Corbie had wanted to show her his visions, but he knew he was too weak to spark the stone.
He took one sweep around the room and saw the obsidian stone set on a metal raven’s claw. He grabbed it and landed on the edge of Soriayana’s bed. He warbled, trying to coax her from sleep. She turned, pushed the covers down and looked at him. Her double pupils adjusted to the light and as smile spread across her face.
“It is good to have you back friend.” Soriayana looked down and noticed he held the Raven Stone in his claw. “Is everything ok, Corbie?”
Corbie said nothing. He did not want to lose the visions in his head. He held out the stone and Soriayana sat up immediately. Together they grasped the smooth black stone. Corbie closed and flooded Soriayana with his memories. Soriayana’s head jerked back, her breath quickened as the images flowed into her mind. When the last images left, she collapsed on the bed. Corbie pulled the stone away and prodded Soriayana’s hand with his beak. He knew once her breathe steadied she would wake.
Corbie tucked himself into her side and waited; his eyes never left her face. Seconds later Soriayana’s eyes fluttered open. She brought up one of her pale arms and wiped her dark hair away from her cheek. With her bright green eyes she gazed down at him, stroking his back. Corbie ruffled his feathers into her warm palm.
“You have done well, my friend. You bring good news for us all.” Soriayana sighed and looked towards the window. “Soon a Seer of Ancient blood will be born.”
Corbie flapped his wings with excitement. The eagle had told him the Ancients were meddling again.
Friday Flash Fiction Series
This is part of a flash fiction series I am doing for side characters in Pearl of the Sea (previously The Vanishing Island – rethinking the title) with Emperor Wei Shu and Aine the Selkie. Check my other flash stories – The Revenge of Emperor Li Long, The Escape of Wei Shu, Kail’s Sorrow and Flight of the Raven Part 1.
The top raven picture is by Fabio Niewelt. Not sure why it won’t show up.