The Princess, The Tiger & The Pear

Chapter 5

The ogre’s lair was nothing but ashes.

The orchards, a smoldering ruin.

The barrier that had hid this foul estate for many years, dissipated, burned away by the fires of Aline’s rage. All of this had been burned away by her rage. The rage of a young woman seeking freedom, collecting the light of one who loved her so much.

And overhead in the clouds, a raven, somber and as dark as rotted licorice, quickly flew by. It was scanning the area, looking for details and drawn to this site by some unhearable calling. Now, it seemed to be hunting for a scent.

It’s curiosity had brought it firstly to the remnants of the ogre’s shack. From the air, it payed attention to the way the soft breeze that was rushing through this place was rustling the thick layer of ashes that lined where poorly made floorboards had once been. With it’s sharp eyes, it soon spotted the outline of Aline’s deep prison.

Yes, yes! Something powerful resided here, yes!

It then caught an updraft that lifted it up smoothly, without it having to make the exertion of having to flap it’s wings. From there, it’s head seemed to take notice of an invisible trail that meandered through the burnt branches of the orchard. It then hurriedly proceeded to follow that trail.

Then, it ran through here. Whatever it was, it ran through here!

The trail took it out of the husk of an orchard and into the deep forest. Through the leagues of deciduous shade it darted, flying through the thick expanse with skill and speed that only a predator is capable of. It was getting closer, it knew, for the trail was thickening, congealing into a more solid form.

The trail brought the bird to a certain calm forest pool, it’s surface pleasantly littered with petals and leaves. There on the shore, it landed with a sickening pitter and a patter. On the ground, it hopped around like a large bug as it’s eyes followed and traced traced a lingering outline, an impression that was left in the moist dirt.

A person-no, a girl-person lay here. I can tell, it was a girl-person!

Then, it fluttered and hopped, cawing in shrill excitement. It had spotted the flat and square impression of where a small and heavy chest had been. From this spot was a brilliant glare, and the raven was turning it’s head as if having to protect it’s dark eyes.

Yes, yes! The power, the power! The power had been here, yes!

It then flew with renewed energy straight up to a spot high in the darkening, twilight sky. Refocusing it’s gaze, it followed the trail which was now more powerful than it had ever been before. For many miles it followed this invisible yet hotly blazing path. For in the raven’s eyes, the trail wasn’t invisible, but dotted with the pulsing sparks of a powerful magic. The raven was cawing in a way that sounded like pain inducing laughter; it was going to find the treasure, tonight and for sure!

Then, it stopped.

In it’s tracks, between the cool of a lingering cloud.

For though the path was clear, where it was taking the raven, it had not expected. For there, not too far in the distance, was a settlement. There were many simple houses, those that belonged to villagers, many of whom the raven could see were retiring for the night, calling in their little ones and closing their doors. Some were making final checks on their livestock, and a few of the houses had smoke pluming forth from there chimneys. A few young men and women were making their way back from the village tavern, from which loud accordions could be heard when the door opened. Additionally, from the taverns halls, bawdy and cheerful laughter could also be heard-which seemed to be painful to the raven.

The beastie turned it’s attention away from the village and to a grander sight. Up on a nearby hill, overlooking them all, was a tall and mighty chateau. Its towers and windows were high, outlined with a blue frame. It was large and it’s craftsmanship spoke of finery, it’s tiled roof the sort built to keep warmth in despite the bleakest cold. But above all else, its ramparts and walls said that it was capable of strength and military defense. And patrolling its walls, carrying small lanterns, guards could be seen patrolling, carrying swords and muskets. Despite the setting sun, their eyes were bright with alertness.

The raven screamed and fluttered in piercing aggravation.

No, no! I was so close! There will be too many guards for me!

The raven was thrashing about, swatting at the clouds, lashing and viciously stirring at the air with it’s small but sharp talons. Eventually though, its fit had ceased. Its chest began to not puff out so much.

Still, still. I know where the power is. Yes, yes. I know where it is!

The raven’s eyes suddenly glowed an eerie brightness, a color indescribable and that spoke to mischief most vile. And then, a spiraling flame spewed from it’s beak with a shuttering cough, flying before it in the air. At first, the flame was a chaotic mess. But it then formed into the shape of a window, all the while glowing the same strange light as the raven’s eyes had but a moment ago. A window whose purview bespoke of a place frought with ill intentions and wickedness.

Oh, Matthieu will be most pleased with me! Yes, yes he will.

The raven then flew into this portal, disappearing suddenly. The flames quickly dissolved, as if neither flame nor bird had ever been there to begin with, leaving only the wisps of clouds to bear any witness.

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The The Princess, The Tiger & The Pear by EmptyPoet, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.