Written by Bonnie Watson
Copyright © 2008. All Rights Reserved.
He heard the snapping of bone, though he felt nothing. Wind whipped by. Then hard earth met his fall. When his eyes finally opened, a cloud of ripped feathers landed gently across his body.
Rusha listened to the wheezing breath forcing its way through his lungs. What he should have felt, he speculated shock had replaced. His body lay facing up. Wings sprawled in who-knew-what direction from beneath. Yet there was no fixing it. Rusha understood the moment a spear had punctured his snowy wings.
Now as he lay, gasping certain last breaths, he sensed a presence and flicked his weary gaze to the shadow looming above. Relief washed over him, and he tried to say something.
At the hint that he was needed, the Healer approached. A hand reached down as if to touch the broken wings. Only magic could heal them now, though that hand paused a finger-length away from the soothing healing that was sure to come.
Rusha waited, perplexed when a thin smile ran across the Lo-ans'rel leader's face.
"How noble," Chronicles bent so the White Wing leader could hear, "taking a hit meant for me. I cannot thank you enough for your...usefulness to me."
Rusha stared. He had always known the Healer to be snide. But this? He tried to understand, even as the cold feeling of death began stealing his remaining life-force. The White Wing held his breath -- still no feeling.
"I know your thoughts," Chronicles continued. "And now know mine." He let his hand lift away from the wing. "Just as you would never let humans enslave your kind, I would never let humans attack mine as they've done in the past. No, instead, I used you. You take the blow while we take the land. And for that... I thank you."
Rusha's final breath released a word, but by then the Healer had moved silently away. The dying 'Keyarx stared after, his thoughts at last relaxing on the one thing he cared about most, the one thing he should have tried to protect more, against humans, against his kind, and now...about all... the Lo-ans'rel.