FOREVER KNIGHTS: #14 Broken Birds

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Going To Shift

Meralee rode until she had to rest. Dismounting to lean against the stallion in order to steady her legs.

He tilted her way to balance her.

Good beast. Lucien was already missing his horse. Knowing she’d chosen his apurpose. It was marked on the saddlebag with his coat of arms.

She knew he was mine.

In the distance was the rumble of water.

She led the horse to the drizzling creek. Giving him time to drink, she patted his thick sides before backtracking to the edge of the clearing. Hesitating when she heard the voices. Following them through the trees until discovering another part of the creek. Seeing movement, she ducked behind a tree. Only peeking around, to watch them.

Two men were there, the breeze ruffling immaculate white cloaks. The fabric shimmered in the fading light, like silk. One man crouched over a set of tracks pointing in the direction she’d just come.

She crowded the stallion further into the dark under the trees.

They’d caught up to her. And now she knows it.

Hopping onto the mount, Mera heeled him toward the trees. Her shoulder snapped a low branch. She managed to stay atop the beast, but the sound caused shouting from the creek.

They heard her.

She hadn’t seen any horses but excited hoofbeats behind her indicated otherwise. Biting her lip, she kicked the stallion harder.

The stallion lunged forward into a headlong gallop.

Hold on.

Clutching his mane, she prayed he would not falter again. So immersed in fleeing, she was unaware of the shadow parallel to her.

His fluid movements were barely the shape of a man but running at an inhuman rate, in stride with the stallion. My stallion.

Lucien watched from the distance.

Branches cracking underfoot drew his attention.

There was a man below. Clearing fallen trunks and heedlessly tearing foliage.

Lucien smiled and shook his head. Recognizing the man below. She won’t hear him over the stallion’s hooves and breaths.

He was right.

One clawing branch ripped the other man’s shirt and raked open a sinewed forearm. And the man’s opposing shoulder.

The flesh parted, and a gaping wound began to seep.

He didn’t acknowledge the sensation. Within moments the drop of blood withdrew back into the cut and the wound whispered closed. Sealing itself. His breaths came in rhythmic huffs like a racehorse. He leaned forward to pick up the pace.

He’s going to shift.

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