by Niere

A short story for Gwaihir Day

What price do you place on a life? Especially when it is your own? I remember well the arrow which almost took mine.

*Searing Pain* My flight faltered when the arrow hit. Out of control, I circled downwards. The whipping of the tree branches was painful as I crashed through them, but they slowed my tumbling body. I lay where I had landed, battered and bruised. I don't think anything is broken, not that it matters. I can feel my life slowly draining out through the hole in my breast.

A gentle touch rouses me. A quiet voice is speaking. What are you saying? My pain is so great, it is difficult to focus. A sudden agony.....then all is dark.

I awaken slowly, confused. What has happened? My body aches. There is a deeper pain in my breast. I open my eyes. I remember my first sight of you, my friend. You have not changed in all these years.

I think of our first meeting as we fly together once again. You have offered to make this final flight payment in full of my debt to you. Such a small return for the care you gave to me in my time of need.

There they are! I have spotted your small friends. My brother and I gently lift them from their perilous location. Swiftly, we bear them to a place of safety.

"Thank you, Gwaihir," you tell me. My debt to you is now discharged. I no longer must answer to your call. Maybe so. "Call on me again, should the need arise," I say to you. "I will respond," out of friendship.

I watch you hurry away toward the small ones as I lift off. I have seen how you care for those you think of as your friends. It is an honor indeed to be considered as such.

'Till we meet again.