The Witch and the Fledgeling [Peregrine & Reveuse]

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Reveuse, Jan 3, 2014.

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  1. Dawn painted a tableau of pinks and azure in the frozen sky as Miran prepared for his Initiation on the cusp of the Mating Season. The air was crisp and the wind sharp as always as the whole Roost headed by the young birdman's grandmother got ready for this stressful but momentous trial. The young fledgeling's feathers, both on his delicate head and on his powerfully build arms, had been meticulously groomed by many a beak and been dispossessed of any wayward impurity in it's immaculately white down. Today he would leave the Roost for the first time, and would learn to stand on his own two taloned feet, making him a fully fledged adult in the eye of his people... at least if he survived...

    The last thought was merely a faint nagging in the arrogant youth's mind, however, and the prideful boy merely soaked in the praise and reassurance of his relative, his ego swelling with each ingratiating coo he heard. The wind slightly ruffled his golden feathers and the sun warmed his dusky skin as Miran preened and strutted down the series of caves and grotto making his native roost, seeking reassurance and praise in his still juvenile looks and abilities. He was ready, he could feel it, and he would prove to all that 'Cowardly Miran' was no more that a childhood impasse. He would show them all how resourceful and courageous he could be !

    Preening once more, his silvery beak flashing blue briefly in the awakening sunlight, the bird-boy finally made his way to his grandmother's residence, the woman getting on in years and needing for all to visit her should they require her counsel. Flying up the sheer cliff he had called home for the fourteen years of his life, Miran batted his powerful wings and stirred his flight into the warmer current, making his flight effortless and ascendant, all the way to the snowy top of the peak, where his venerated ancestor dwell with her retinue. The clouds were like a see under the horizon here, and cloudy shapes of pink, blue and white mimicked the snow far bellow. Landing gracefully in the makeshift room where lounged his grandmother and her eldest daughters, Miran fanned his wings in a show of vanity and ostentatiously bowed to the gathered female, a taloned feet crossed behind the other, barely touching the stone floor in a show of balance.

    « Well, met, Grandmother ! I stand before you today to receive my Initiation garments and your blessing on my approaching trial. » He crooned, his gaze fixated on the regal bird of prey before him, the bird-woman's wrinkled form and graying feathers doing nothing to lessen her fearsome features that earned her the title of Eagle of the Frozen Peaks, the title given to the most capable of all of the region's matriarchs.

    Inclining her impeccably preened head, the ancient bird-woman gestured for her eldest daughter, Syrin and also notably the young Miran's mother, to gather the garment of blues and browns stored in the confines of the imposing grotto and to give it to the young Miran, her piercing cry only heard in the battlefield nowadays. As she was wordlessly obeyed, the ancient crone stood from her makeshift perch and flew down on her youngest progeny, grooming him one last time as Syrin outfitted her son in the ancestral clothes of their people. The whole thing was made with gravity and reverence, and both women knew that this may be the last time they ever say Miran.

    The whole Initiation would take three days and three nights, and would test the youth's ability to survive and thrive to the fullest. Both women were worried about their progeny's cockiness, but could only hope that such an ordeal would make him grow into the fine man they both know he could be, and so, it was with a hopeful but still heavy heart that they sent their little fledgeling to his first and greatest adventure.

    With a last cocky goodbye to his Roost, Miran took flight once more, flying over numerous cliffs and low peaks as he took in the feeling of freedom and pride that took hold of him. He had finally done it, he was to become an adult in less than three days and he would finally be respected enough to be able to find his own mate and start his own nest! It was a long way coming, but here he was, happy enough to let out a piercing cry of triumph and his sharp yellow eyes looked for a suitable base for the next days. He would only take the best spot, and would only gather the best materials in practice for the real thing once he would be out of his Grandmother's clutches. His finding a suitable mate depended on his nest-making skills and hunting abilities, after all!

    So excited was he at his future triumph that Miran did not see the fast approaching blizzard, nor did he feel the change in the winds nor even saw the darkening of the sky as he dived straight into his doom. Inside was utter frozen chaos, with sharp hail mingling with bone-chilling winds and blinding snow as the poor fledgeling was manhandled over great distances, the occasional meeting of his fragile body with a cliff-side stunning and bruising him, his hollow bones being rattled and broken in the sharp meeting of the two forces.

    It was a pain, a fear that Miran had never experienced before, and the terrified and injured youth could do nothing but hope for his survival, his young mind not comprehending how a day that started so well could turn into such a nightmare. Before long he lost consciousness and was thrown into oblivion, his body left to enact a terrible ballet in the uncaring gales as the tempest raged on for an hour, leaving the poor Miran barely alive, just upon the steps of a singular grotto where the smell of death permeated.

    As Miran finally came back to consciousness, he was greeted with an ancient face and immeasurable pain before he once more embraced oblivion, leaving him in the tender mercy of the Witch of the Frozen Peaks...
  2. It was a day as white as the sun, if nowhere near as bright. The back of her den was secured from the white flurries that covered her doorstep, and a small, smokeless fire cast out a golden glow on the dark stained walls and simple furniture that decorated the floor. She moved from point to point with a slow, aged grace, first to the fire where she stirred a pot full of a heavy broth, over to a low table where a sharp stone knife and various ingredients lay. She carefully chopped the items laid out before her, old hands firmly clasped on the knife despite her malformed and heavy joints, and watery blue eyes only just out of focus.

    When she had a handful of finely chopped ingredients she cupped them up and carried them back to the pot. They dropped into the stew with an almost ritualized slowness, slipping between her fingers and into the hot water. When her hands were empty she shuffled her way over to a herb-rack, carefully mounted on the wall. She brought her face close to the herbs and took a deep breath, before reaching out and plucking a single dried leaf from one of the bundles. Back at the pot, she ground it between her fingers carefully, sending a fine powder cascading into the water. It was starting to bubble slowly again, but would still need at least an hour for all the flavors to steep together.

    The storm may not physically reach her corner, but there was nothing able to keep out the noise. Water was a light thing, but when it was hurled violently against the side of a cliff it still managed to make quite the racket. But she did not begrudge the noise. There was nothing to keep her company in these deep caves, so it was up to the wind, water, and mountains to provide a little bit of dialogue. She never took their curses seriously.

    When the wind began to abate a little, the old crone worked her way towards the edge of the cave. There was nothing like watching the first traces of sunlight touch a world that had been newly covered in a blanket of snow. The cold flung itself violently at her, digging in though her layers of shawls to touch her core. She laughed lightly at it, voice cracking, and uncrossed her folded arms. The wind burrowed into her clothes for a few more seconds, but once it was firmly entrenched into every nook and cranny of her garments it lightened up, and consented to be warmed by her.

    There was a chance that she might not have noticed the little feathered one if it hadn't been for the blood. But when a world was made up of white and grey and blue, such vibrant colors stood out to the eye. It only took her a few moments to notice it, but it still took several minutes for her to decide what to do about it. Creatures got caught in the sudden mountain storms frequently, and if they couldn't survive the wind and the fall they would die. It was the harsh reality of the mountains, and there was no alternative. Often, they were too broken to be able to be nursed back to health, even with her careful attentions. And then she was left to bury their small corpses, alone again.

    But that was a rather large blotch of red, for a small corpse. There were only two animals in these mountains that she knew of that could safely bleed that much. And the white tigers that roamed the foothills were never foolish enough to get caught out in one of these blizzards. That left the little bird-people, those who set up their little roosts, and every year sent their young ones out to grace the world with a trial of survival. This one was not doing so well. If it had been flying in that storm its light body would doubtless be broken, and in desperate need of aid.

    With a weary sigh, the witch stumped a few feet out into the snow. The light powder greeted her narrow feet with little welcome, and she sank in almost up to her hips. Letting out a sharp huff, the witch focused her attention on the white tigers that graced these mountains. Long ago, she had called one friend. And it had considered her one as well. Its form was as familiar to her as was her own, and it only took her a moment to slide into the patiently waiting skin. She left the shawls crumpled at the door in a neat heap, and padded out onto the snowfield. Even the soft powder wouldn't sink under her wide paws.

    She drew close, and patted some of the snow back with careful swipes of her massive paw.As the snow relinquished its covering, she saw that its eyes were still partially open. It was doubtful, even in its critically wounded state, that it would welcome the appearance of one of the "sacred" tigers. With another low huff she turned around and bounded back to the entrance of the cave, where she gathered her shawls together, and carried them out to the bird-child.

    Quickly re-clothing herself, the witch leaned in over it, reaching out gently probing fingers to assess the extent of the damage. It, he, was in critical condition, but it was still damage that could be healed. She gathered him into her withered arms, and pulled him towards her. For a moment she met his gaze, and she tried to reassure him with a small smile, but it was doubtful he saw before falling unconscious again.

    It was a long tromp back to the entrance of the cave, but the witch was strong despite her withered look. Besides, the bird-children, meant for flight, did not weigh that much. She did her best not to hurt him while transporting him back into the warm depths of her cave, but these were not injuries to be taken lightly. She carefully deposited him in her own bed, tucking his legs so that they would not extend over the edge of the bed. Her stew was boiling, but she only offered it a quick stir to make sure that the items in the bottom of the pot weren't burning. He would get some of the broth later. It was doubtful he would be able to take solid food for some time.

    She shuffled her way all over the cave, gathering herbs and clean bandages, needles, thread, and materials to make a splint. She worked her way up and down, before finally heading over to a corner, where a small puddle of water had formed in the bottom of a stone bowl. Even as she moved over, another small drip came down from the wall, clean, cool water filtered and purified by the rock itself. She sopped up a small amount with a clean rag, and rung it out so that it wouldn't drip. After that, she shuffled her way back over to the bird-child, and pulled a bench over to the edge of the bed. Neatly laying out her mateials, she leaned over to him. She dripped a little bit of water into his mouth, and then set about tending his wounds.
  3. White hot flashes of pain inter-spaced with chilling darkness were Miran's world as he floated into an inescapable abyss of pain, numbness and approaching death, his lifeblood trickling down pale feather and dark skin as numerous gashes made by sharp bones and rocks let out rivulets of the precious liquid into the snow, the once pristine ground being tainted crimson. Was that his end? Before he even had the chance to prove himself to his people? These thoughts haunted his mind, as distant from his battered body as it was, and filled him with despair beyond anything he had ever felt.

    That despair slowly changed into denial and rage, however, as his last bout of adrenaline, one he distantly knew to be his body's last desperate struggle to live, prompted his eyes to open and glare at the cruel world that continued to weighting him down. That was when he saw it, and that was when he truly thought he would die; a white tiger, ancient and powerful, was crouching upon him. His mind, still young and in shock, could not cope with death and shut down, bringing the young bird-boy back into the cold oblivion.

    Hours passed as the youth was cared for, with bouts of strange feverish dreams showing colors in the like Miran had never seen before inter-spaced with confused awakenings, where he was forced to drink potions after potion and lived in a world of pain and too sharp sensations. He was recovering, at an amazing rate, even, but the process of time was not something he was able to comprehend in his state, and soon he was back into unconsciousness.

    Night fell as the tiny body of the fledgeling stirred once more, a fine beak of sharp silvery angles and duller plane issuing a drawn-out and pitiful chirp to announce its owner's pain. Slowly, but steadily the young Miran came back to the world of the living, not daring to open his eyes as he thought about where he could have been, for he felt far too well to be dead, and even more to be dying, and so something must have happened. Was he saved? Was he, by some miracle, whole and well, even after that nasty storm and that faint memory of that fearsome tiger?

    Knowing that he would have to eventually and still dreading it, the boy slowly opened his vividly yellow eyes, the two orbs swiftly focusing on the ceiling of what seemed to be a cave and his beak detecting the cloying smell of medicines and, strangely enough, meat stew. Trying to be as quiet as possible despite the lingering pain in his bones, the youth sat on his makeshift bed of furs and looked around his surrounding, only to gasp in fright as he was met with a shadowy figure leaning over him, a fact that he had failed to take into account in his confused state.

    Trying to stand yet failing miserably in his weakened state, Miran issued a cry of warning, strident in the small grotto as he glared at best as he could at the istrangely smelling being before him.

    "Who are you? Where am I? Answer me!" The fledgling screeched, his terror rapidly turning into fury, as was usual for a cornered creature in his current state.
    #3 Reveuse, Jan 3, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2014
  4. The fledgeling was young, and responsive to her careful touches. He would heal, maybe even soon enough to return to his tribe and be received as a full member. She couldn't help but explore his body as she tended to his wounds. He truly was a gorgeous creature, made for both land and air in a way that no other animal could understand. Birds were meant for the sky, but they never got to learn the pleasures of soft summer grass under their feet. The tigers roamed the land with ultimate power and authority, but could only stare longingly towards the heavens. he was perfect, young and strong. Curiously, she ran a tongue along his arm, before spitting indelicately.

    She was jealous of his form, there was no doubt of that. It was a mild jealousy, focused more on the beauty of him than any true ugliness of her. But it was a jealousy, and it heated her soul in a way that it had not been touched in a very long time.

    There was a chance she could take his form, if she wanted it. She could take it the same way she took the form of the white tiger, and the white falcon that she had once called friends. But the price would be high. The witch had grown used to her loneliness, and she used it as a shield. For that was the curse in her gift. She could take his form, but not before she called him friend, and he her. When that moment came, he would taste sweet, and that would be her one chance. She could kill him, then and there, devour his flesh and forever more preserve his form inside of her. She could devour her friend, and become him.

    A single tear of memory rolled down her cheek, but she shrugged away the painful thoughts and leaned back towards him. She had not noticed him sit up, and she received almost as much of a shock to see him up as he received from her presence. He shrieked loudly, and the witch brought up her old hands to cover her wrinkled ears. When she was quite sure he was done with his caterwauling she removed them, and frowned at him.

    "You are going to hurt yourself again if you move to much," she scolded, ignoring his questions and placing a hand in the middle of his chest, one of the few unwounded places, to try and get him to lay back down.
  5. The small boy's heart thumped frantically beneath the witch's wrinkled hand, making Miran's terror evident to the woman as he looked at her with wide, dilated yellow eyes and thrashed some more under her grasp. The still weak bird-child's struggle gradually lessened as time passed, the young fledgeling's mind catching up to the fact that he would not escape this time. Tears gathering into clear eyes at the hopeless thought, Miran reached deep into himself for the strength to look at death fully in the eyes, for this woman could be nothing but Death itself, couldn't she?

    “What do you want from me?” He asked, a slight tremolo in his high pitched voice, common to his people.

    As he waited for her answer, Miran looked at his captor, finding her lack of beak and her massive amount of wrinkles strangely fascinating, as neither were known of himself as age took far more time to reach his tribe than the danger of the alpines, which swooped down upon the unsuspecting... Like him. As he inspected the face before him, he noticed the tear trail, and wondered why she would cry as, in his mind, hadn't he more ground to drown in his sorrows? But still, he did not speak anymore, and awaited the answer he sought and, perhaps, a small, dark part of his mind intoned, his death.
  6. He was trembling as bad as a pika under the gaze of a tiger. Was she really that scary looking, or was it something else that scared the little one? He must know that, by all rights, he should be dead. That storm had severely wounded him, and the cold had sapped his strength. She waited patiently for him to calm down, a restraining hand placed firmly on his chest. Eventually his struggles lightened, and she felt safe to lift her hand away. Of course, if he tried to rise again, her hand would go back in place. If he tried to move too much he would rip his wounds back open, and much of her work would be undone.

    She heard his next questions, and it caught her somewhat by surprise. So he was afraid of her. What stories had they been feeding this fledgeling through his childhood, that would make him fear someone who was saving his life?

    "I want to save your life," she replied, somewhat huffily. "I believe you would like to be well enough to return to your roost in two days? Or should I have left you out in the snow to die?"
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