A mere millimeters from it she felt an icy cold creep through her fingertips, slowly due to reluctance she retracted her fingers into a fist, feeling ethereal warmth once again as she had more distance between her fingers and the feather. “I have a bad feeling.” she sighed turning to Ghony that was watching the entire time. “There are more feathers up ahead.” the Naga nodded down the path, slithered ahead, Elenora a pace or two behind her. With each passing decimeter the number of feathers rose, until behind a tree the two discovered a body.”We should leave!” Ghony had returned to the bay, landed directly in front of Jeethina and Venia, who had been in the process of planning the fortifications of the camp when their fellow Naga arrived with a hint of terror in her eyes. “And we should leave now.” “Slow down!” seemingly annoyed Jeethina attempted to calm the distraught Naga. “What happened?” Venia looked up the ridge, again worries for Elenora grabbed a hold of her heart and mind. “We found the body of one of our attackers, death by lightning bolt, but you’d be surprised what we found.” Ghony tried to be calm but the words squirted out of her like a fountain. “Tell us.” “Better yet, show us.” Venia couldn’t hide her worries for Elenora any longer. Shyly the Naga glanced over to a group of Albin, previously aboard the other ship, an elderly man was among them. He always had made the impression to know a lot of the upcoming conflict, back at the staging area. “Orthlan! Would you mind accompanying us?” After he had agreed Jeethina slung her arms around the man, propelled herself with the elderly Albin into the air. Normally she did not have to carry men around, the sweetwater Naga used different methods for procreation than the lethal saltwater Naga. Still she felt and proved to be quite able to carry him to the ridge. Anxiously waiting in cover, Elenora had almost fired a magical discharge at the group landing close to her, relieved by Venias presence she led them, together with Ghony, to the site of the corpse. Fascinated the Albin stepped closer, but as Elenora before him he noticed the ether devouring effect of the body. Seeking for help he looked around. “Let me do this.” Venia gently pushed him aside. Unlike her first assumption the body really was feathered. The creature had a beak and large eyes, long, boney fingers at the end of the skinny arms. “They are Birdpeople alright.” she mumbled, originally hoping to find a human in a feathered robe. “Looks like an owl.” Orthlan couldn’t hide his fascination and admiration. “Are they the Sphinxes you had warned us about?” Ghony couldn’t help but sound almost panicking.”No, look,” he sighed pointing at the face of the dead archer, as a broken bow lay near him. “A chimera wouldn’t wear a birds face, plus they have wings, not arms with hands.” he poked the body of the owl. “Also I am given to understand that they are enormous in size, whilst this fellow is as tall as you or me.” Ghonys composure grew less tense. Elenora too relaxed a little after hearing the relieving news. “However, they might be related to them, since they seem to be devouring, or blocking the ethereal.” he continued without averting his eyes from the fallen owl archer. A cold shiver ran down both Elenoras and Ghonys spines. “Would you be so kind as to bring this one to the camp?” he turned to Venia, the fire of an explorers passion lighting his eyes from the inside. “No.” Venia retreated from the corpse. “We already have determined that we are hostile towards one another, we don’t need to anger them further. We know nothing of their customs for the dead, they might be very upset if we desecrate their fallen comrade.” Jeethina was impressed and a little envious, she might have done what Orthlan requested in Venias place.”Wise decision.” Orthlan admitted also retreating from the owl. For a moment the four stood around the corpse and stared at it, all the while Venia asked herself how she didn’t see the bright beaks during her assaults on the owls, but she figured that in the fast paced heat of battle details like these beaks might be obscured from her sight. After all, all she saw was their silhouette, stabbing at them with dagger or stinger, and immediately retreating afterwards. From the fallen archer she had learned that their backs were covered in feathers, but the rest of their body was almost human, safe for the beak.”Maybe the poison on the arrows is made from ground up feathers?” Elenora had managed to get a feather stuck on the tip of a stick and lifted it up. “Or worse.” Venia added, feeling the need to disinfect her wound again. A few moments passed before Venia and Jeethina returned to the beach with Orthlan, leaving Elenora and Ghony to their guard duties once again, they would soon be joined by a human, a man without magical capabilities, flown in by one of Jeethinas Naga. In case any more corpses or even survivors might be found, he could touch them. Three days passed without any incident, changing shifts in guarding the ridges above tbe beach, and building fortifications around the base.

Advertisements