The Path of Kings

Birds of a Feather

“Friends of yours?”, the woman asked with an almost feline voice as she appeared from around the tree.
The young man looked away from the carnage, for a moment not hearing the squawking racket the ravens were making as they were fighting over the juiciest cadavers. Despite the hollow feeling gnawing at his soul, he couldn’t look away from the woman, a lithe creature, her long hair a dark shade of jade in the dawn, she walked nonetheless with the grace allowed by great power. Her eyes gleamed like rubies as she grinned bare her sharp canines at the dishevelled youth.

“The birds are, I called them here.”, the boy spoke in spite of himself, compelled by the woman’s voice. “I can talk to animals, and they talk back. And obey…”
He shook his head in sorrow and looked back at the scene, the embers of the campfire still glowing dully as the flock of birds hopped from one corpse to the other, dragging out intestines and chewing at pieces of flesh.

She rested a slender hand on his shoulder, her long fingers squeezing with surprising strength as she whispered in his ear.
“I know, I know what you can do, boy.”, she purred with delight as she saw the goosebumps appears on the youth’s arms.
“E-emrys, Emrys is my name.” He stammered, the presence and the scent of the woman nearly overwhelming him. The smell of soil and fresh leaves mingled with something more primal.

“Shhh, that doesn’t matter now…”, she put a finger on his lips and looked into his eyes.
“You called upon Nature to avenge a death. Death has been dealt and now a life is owed.”

He involuntarily clutched the pendant around his neck, a simple thing, woven from the first hay of the year, a lover’s charm.

“She is gone now, and so are the men that defiled her.”, she pulled the young man to his feet and as she spoke the pendant turned to ashes in his hands.
Too stupified to act, the young man didn’t resist when the woman guided him into the forest and out of his old life.

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