FOREVER KNIGHTS: #14 Broken Birds

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Ebony Guides The Fallen

Nora finished her creamed tea with Anna and proceeded to the index manuals and found where to locate what she searched for.

Touring expertly through the aisles she found the book indicated in the manual. Her eyes trailed up the high shelves and she groaned when she glimpsed the book, she sought high on the uppermost shelf.

She can’t reach it. Rhyers noticed as he peered through the books in the next aisle to see her stretching. He moved to assist but saw someone else heading for her.

Ebony approached her with a stool in hand. “Looked like you could use this.”

Nora sighed. “I sure could.”

“Name is Ebony Marshall of Mane Country.”

Nora lowered her head in greeting. “Miss Bishop of Grier.”

“It’s that book up there, that you’re after, is it not?”

Rhyers casually strode past their aisles. An open book cradled in his hand. A quick glance at what they reached for revealed what it was.

A parchment record of obituaries.

Why does she want that?

“It is.” Nora stepped atop the stool to reach. Upon rising to her toes, the stool teetered.

Ebony leaned over and stilled it for her.

Thoughtful.

“Thank you.” Nora murmured. Pulling the ancient thing off the shelf. Backing down the steps precariously. Walking to the table and flipping through the pages, she waved away the puff of dust and ignored the stench of stale binding. Searching for a particular article.

Ebony peered over her shoulder. “Falacia Black?”

Ah, that’s why she wanted it. Rhyers slid a book back on the shelf on the next aisle. That’s who she was when she died in 1482 atop Meadow Mountain.

Before Bast built the stronghold.

Both women were reading how she’d died.

Stuck in the makeshift cabin in Elk Mountains with a broken leg when the four-day blizzard blew in.

On day two of the blizzard Radix had come with Sarabis. Though Rhyers knew it was written as a mauling by wild dogs.

Surprising she can even read it. That ink has to be so old as to be nearly indiscernible on the worn parchment.

The mauling had been reported by a friend of the woman, Lucien Sabias.

“Lucien?” Nora choked.

She recognizes Sabias’ name?

“This isn’t right.” Nora murmured to Ebony. Breaking into Rhyers’ thoughts.

“What’s wrong with it?” Ebony gestured. “Other then the obvious, of course. The article is an atrocious story.”

“That’s not what happened to her.” Nora peered at it. Rereading it before shaking her head.

“What happened to her?”

“I-well…” Nora cleared her throat. Leaning back over the pages she skimmed to another page.

“Sarah Black?” Ebony asked. “Family of yours?”

“In a sense.”

Ebony’s face scrunched up.

She doesn’t like mystery in the way of answers. Rhyers knew firsthand.

The record documented her death walking home with a group of ladies, when she was attacked by an unidentified animal. Her throat turn during assault.

“It wasn’t an animal.” Nora choked. Turning she peered through the books to the next aisle to meet Rhyers’ green gaze. “Was it?”

“It was a Cimmerii.” He admitted reluctantly.

“What’s a Cimmerii?” Ebony frowned. “You know him?” She pointed to Rhyers.

Say no. We’ve never met.

“I know of him.” She said.

Rhyers frowned.

Ebony glowered at him.

I’ll be hearing about this again. He was very sure. It’d be accompanied by stomping, yelling and possibly tears.

Though in fairness, she hasn’t done that in years.

She had matured.

He strode around the aisle to stand next to her. Hands linked behind his back. “And Anastacia?”

Nora stared at him pensively before spinning back to look at the book with him. Her eyes roving the pages. Thicker and darker than the older pages.

In 1701 Anastacia Black had died on the eve of her wedding. In her bedchamber with her husband.

The Captain.

“Oh…” Ebony breathed. “How dreadful! I can’t imagine anything worse.”

Nora held a trembling hand over her mouth.

Rhyers was watching her with a sympathetic expression.

“It says her heart stopped beating.” Nora said.

“Let me guess,” Ebony supplied. “Not how it happened.”

“Not at all.” Nora’s shaking hand touched her pounding forehead.

Awash with images it looks like. Rhyers had seen that pained look on her face in other lifetimes. It said the death had been reported to the constable by the husband’s friend, Lucien Sabias.

“Again, Lucien Sabias…”

How many was he mentioned in? Rhyers worried. That was an error that we should’ve been more attentive to…

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