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Old 11-07-2006, 12:38 AM   #249
Child of the 7th Age
Spirit of the Lonely Star
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Frustrated and impatient, Aiwendil pushed the end of his staff into a soft pile of sand, leaning his body against the heavy stave as he intently scanned the horizon to the east. Despite the passage of several hours, there was no sign of his friend Rôg or the band of slavers. Aiwendil had not known exactly when the attackers would come, but he had expected Rôg to be waiting for him at their chosen meeting place. The young man, however, was nowhere in sight. The istar reached inside the folds of his robe and found the small pigeon still nestled in his pocket.

The falcon had returned with several of her companions. They were gliding peacefully overhead awaiting the minute when Aiwendil would give the word to attack. Cupping his hand to his mouth, the old man called out to the same bird he had spoken with earlier that day, “When will the storm come? Can you tell?”

She had swept down and nodded, “Not long. When the sun touches the tops of those rocks over there, the great winds will begin to blow.”

Aiwendil’s eyes followed in the direction the falcon had indicated. The sun was already inching closer to the plain. In just about an hour, it would dip down into the boulders. If the slavers were coming, it must be now. He could only hope that the band had already left camp. Otherwise, their leader would see the bad weather and turn back.

A small swirl of dust and sand appeared in the distance, an indication that a group of riders was moving across the plain. About twenty-five heavily armed fighters were cantering slowly towards the west. The head falcon responded with an excited “kek, kek, kek” as Aiwendil gave the birds the signal to fly free. The istar cried to the departing falcons. “Scratch the flanks and withers of the beasts. Attack the men about the head and eyes only if it is safe. Then return home with my thanks.”

The old man watched from behind a boulder as the birds swooped down amid the riders and began darting in and out, clawing at the horses’ flanks. There were angry curses and swords drawn from sheaths as the slavers slowed their mounts in response to the attack. Several horses had deep scratches along their sides, while two of the men riding in the front had blood streaming down their faces from cuts and gashes near their eyes.

Catching a glimpse of Rôg who was returning with some interesting companions, Aiwendil reached in his pocket and drew out the bird, binding a small scrap of parchment to her leg. Then he raised up his arms and, facing west, released the pigeon into the sky.

Last edited by Child of the 7th Age; 11-13-2006 at 01:21 AM.
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