Photo by Birgl
After unwittingly sleeping in the nest of an immense bird named Aviar, Zack Dore found himself pinned down and scrutinized.
“What in Uol’s creation!” the creature pulled back, then twisted his head the other way, and leaned in again. A look of recognition crossed his immense face. “Keldubar’s tail feathers!” he roared, causing a small avalanche nearby. His great gray-blues eyes stormed over. “How did you get here?”
“Did the Tinkurs send you?”
“Answer!” The creature’s beak reeked of greb, the human-sized rat it had eaten. “And how did you learn Sheyaran?”
“I…I don’t know.”
“You don’t know? You don’t—Uol’s giblets! If you lie again, I swear by my pinfeathers I’ll cut you into…” Unable to contain his rage, the building-sized bird seized Zack in his beak and began to squeeze, causing Zack’s ribs to compress and his skin to purple.
Zack managed a strangled, “Noooooooooo, pleeeeaaaaa…!” as the last bit of air rushed from his body. Just as he was beginning to feel the beak cut into his skin…
The creature loosened its grip and said, “Buh he desers oo die, Lor! Hrrrrrrrrrmmmmm!” He dropped Zack with a cold crack onto the frozen sod, and with one effortless flap flew to the top of a boulder fifty feet away. “I know!” he argued with the sky. “But the manlet…I don’t…and here in your Sacred Eyrie! I could kill him quickly, mercifully, Lord. Hrrrr-errrrmmmm!”
Just as Zack was starting to gather the strength to crawl away, the creature flew back and pinned him under its claw again.
“It is forbidden!” the bird said with disgust. “’Uol will have mercy!’ That’s practically all the Prophets ever say. Kah! And when the Dark Tinkurs destroyed The Three Hundred Eggs—was that mercy? Well, was it? Answer me!”
“I…I don’t know anything about—”
“Of course you do, manlet! You’re Gerdan, aren’t you? You’re probably proud of your great Gerdan superiority!” He picked up the remains of a tree with his beak and hurled it into the sky. It disappeared from sight.
“N…no, I’m not proud of…I mean…I don’t even…”
“So how did you learn to speak Sheyaran? And what did you come to steal?”
“I…I didn’t come to steal any—”
“Enough! No more lies! Wing or talon?” He glared menacingly, his eyes full of avian bloodlust. “Well? Choose, or lose them all! And if you ever come here again, by Uol, I’ll tear out your crop and paint the rocks with your gizzard—Prophets or no Prophets!”
“Wing or talon! I’m not allowed to kill you, but I can and will send a message to your masters. Now…wing…” He encased Zack’s arm in his beak and rolled his great blue-gray eye at him, then let go of the limb and said, “Or talon!”
He took Zack’s leg in his beak and squeezed.
Thoughts: Have you ever been at the mercy someone who was in a rage, and yet at the same time struggling to do the right thing? (Matthew 5:7)
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