Laughing, I reverted to my favorite form, the falcon.
Leaping into the morning sunlight, I soared upward, its
welcoming rays lingering on my feathers. Rising on the light
breeze, I caught a thermal and rose yet higher within an
instant. Far below, Malik stood amid his soldiers, gaping
upward like a landed fish. “Catch me now, meathead,” I called.
Below me, Malik and his cronies fell away quickly. I pushed
my wings into working hard, seeking the sun. Climbing high
and fast, I left the stench of the street, the Ass, and the piss I
fell into far behind. I always loved flying. When I flew, I
imagined the world far away, where I was no one and nothing.
I had no past and no future. There was no present, no cares,
no sensations save the whisper of the wind beneath my wings,
the cool breeze tickling my beak.
In my falcon body, I rose high, swift, my wings taking me
away from the grief, from Malik, his patrol, and his crisis. I saw
them with my keen raptor vision, far below, shading their
eyes to see me better. Ah, Malik, my brother, you forgot who I
am. You called me the best. And so I am. Go away and leave me
I reckon I forgot who he was.
Just then, twin manacles of dark pewter fastened upon my
wing joints. Like malicious tentacles, they bit deep and no
amount of fighting on my part would or could shake them
loose. Damn you, Malik. You can kill me with these bloody
Only one magic in the known, and unknown, world
prevented a Shifter from changing forms: those dark pewter
manacles. The power of the Old Ones, the magic the Centaurs,
the Minotaurs, the Griffins, the Faeries all called their own,