Chapter Snippet

It was the stench of rot and decay that pulled Everest into a dive. Wings folded around her, keeping the wind from lashing against her skin as she pierced the canopy like an arrow. She dare not open them until a break in between limbs, but she knew this forest well. That, combined with a smaller build, allowed her to better evade her sisters. She hunted with ease and with practiced stealth, by both day and night. Now she used it to silently make her way closer to where she thought the humans might be.

Flawlessly, she turned her body to fit between a tight group of young saplings. Their thin trunks stretched toward the sky, finely drawn leaves soft and easily breakable. And yet, not one was touched as she passed, feathers pressed in tight. She eased up on speed after that, flaring all feathers instead to slow herself into a landing position, but did not stop for rest. The next wide trunk merely served as a boost. Closing her wings in a fade, she was content to hop from one tree to the other, ever drawing closer to the vial Phine had shattered. Its potent contents permeated the air like a thick cloud. The closer she got, the stronger it became until, descending, she saw scattered shards of broken vial.

Everest checked herself. Though she moved with skill, her talons still produced a slight scrape along the bark. If any one of her sisters were near, they were sure to recognize it. Her head crest raised, along with a few along the sides to better channel in sounds. The faintest whisper turned her back in the direction she had just come. Carefully, she felt her way along the branches, hopping from one to the other, until she was directly overtop where the three humans still crouched.


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