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XXIX. Injured
Posted By Scott at 2/29/2020 4:16 PM

Old Crow tried to stand; his legs betrayed him. He crashed down into his nest, now filled with his own withering feathers.

The burning in Ghost’s chest grew. He felt stronger than he ever had since first meeting Old Crow.

Perhaps he’d fly free, for the first time in as long as he could remember.

Or perhaps he’d stay by Old Crow’s side; watch the energy slowly drain from him as Ghost grew stronger.

Perhaps he’d crush Old Crow like a bug.

Had Old Crow smiled just then?

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Posted By Scott at 2/28/2020 4:14 PM

As Old Crow grew weaker, Ghost found his memories returning, though foggy and fleeting.

He’d been asked to accompany a caravan through the fresh trade routes.

Ghost had missed his young wife badly. He kept one of her hair ribbons with him on all his journeys.

He’d sat for a moment on an oddly shaped rock. It looked as if it had been carved to resemble a twisted spirit, but the elements had taken the edges from it long ago.

An old man approached Ghost. He spoke with him for a bit, though the conversation escaped Ghost.

At the end, the old man asked, “May I join you?”

“I need you to give me permission” the old man added.

Ghost saw no reason to refuse. The caravan was making its way back to the city, and the Emperor had made a point of welcoming all.

Everything went dark after that.

“Ask me about my true face…” Ghost heard Old Crow say as the memory faded.

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Posted By Scott at 2/27/2020 4:11 PM

Old Crow looked around him. He was surrounded by caricatures of himself; a parade of mockeries.

He was a meek spirit, bound to no more than a rock in the woods, waiting for a passerby to feed him.

He was a trickster poet, seducing the maidens that left bundles of sticks at his feet.

He was alone, cold and shivering, no matter which way he shifted or pulled his blankets over him.

He was emboldened by the fresh trade routes winding their way through his forest.

He saw a young soldier, sad and pitiful, clutching a dull red ribbon in his hand.

The soldier sat upon his rock, and Old Crow had known then what he must do.

That was the first change Old Crow had known.

Fevered and weak, he knew another was soon to follow.

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XXVI. Dark
Posted By Scott at 2/26/2020 4:09 PM

Ghost had awoken in the pitch black of night.

Old Crow was asleep, or at least he appeared to be. His feathers were matted and missing in places. His breathing ragged and uneven.

Ghost had never felt better. Whatever sickness was overtaking Old Crow was steadily weakening the bond and he and Ghost had.

A single star shot across the night sky.

Ghost smiled at this.

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XXV. Tasty
Posted By Scott at 2/25/2020 4:07 PM

Ghost awoke to a dull, wet crunching sound.

Old Crow had woken early and been hunting. His beak covered in gore.

“Why so nice of you to join us!” Old Crow preened.

Whatever the fever had done to knock Old Crow down, it seemed the fresh kill had restored.

Ghost felt that same lingering hopelessness snake its way back into his mind.

“I am bound here, forever chained to this creature” Ghost thought.

“Now Ghost, there’s no need for so much melancholy” Old Crow replied, though Ghost had not spoken a word.

Ghost shuddered.

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XXIV. Dizzy
Posted By Scott at 2/24/2020 4:05 PM

Old Crow wobbled side to side. Whatever fever had hit him had broken in the morning, but recovery was not as quick to return.

“Where are we headed next?” Ghost asked.

“Somewhere we can smile I think.”

Old Crow was still speaking in nonsense and riddles.

“Eventually they’ll wipe us all out. I’ve watched it happen to so many before us. They take and take, then lament that there’s nothing left to suck dry.” Old Crow muttered. He looked sickly. Tired.

Ghost felt a tinge of heat across his chest.

Something had changed.

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XXIII. Ancient
Posted By Scott at 2/23/2020 4:04 PM

“I oversaw the birth of Kings. I remember the river when it was pure and monuments were built to me!”

Another fever had overtaken Old Crow. They were coming quicker now. 

“Gold and spices in abundance!”

Something was changing inside Old Crow.

“Death was just a step in the journey, not an end. What was built still stands!”

Or something else was trying to get out.

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XXII. Ghost
Posted By Scott at 2/22/2020 4:00 PM

Ghost wasn’t quite sure where Old Crow had gotten to, just that he had to be close.

Always close.

Time had been slippery, memory more so, since Old Crow had tricked Ghost.

Ghost couldn’t recall how he’d tricked him. He just knew he had once been free, but now he was bound to Old Crow, unable to stray far away. Forever tethered.

Once Old Crow had gotten so mad at Ghost for trying to flee that he’d made it so no creature could see Ghost; that none of his loved ones would remember him.

Eventually the creatures came back around, but Ghost wondered if his loved ones remembered. Did he have loved ones?

Memory had been slippery.

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XXI. Treasure
Posted By Scott at 2/21/2020 3:58 PM

“Why are we here?” Ghost asked. Old Crow said nothing.

Ghost watched the ravens Old Crow was so intent on visiting. They didn’t appear to fly more than a short distance. They were corralled and gawked at by passers by. The grounds were pristine and well kept; overlooked by crumbling buildings and towers.

It was the first time Ghost had seen something resembling pity on Old Crow’s face.

“I know what it means to be bound to a place.” Old Crow finally spoke. “To be unable to escape, no will of your own. These ones are imprisoned for superstition, to preserve traditions. Helpless. My prison was much more sinister.”

As Old Crow flew away, Ghost knew all too well, as he was helpless not to follow.

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XX. Tread
Posted By Scott at 2/20/2020 3:55 PM

Old Crow appeared before Ghost as another bird.

Another face. Like a change of clothes, or a fresh coat of paint.

Ghost wondered how many times Old Crow had done this. Did he gain something new from each of his new guises? Or worse, did he lose something of himself?

Was there anything of him left?

From what Ghost has seen, if there were any of him left, it was pitch black.

Seething and twisted.

Dead, but still moving.

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XIX. Sling
Posted By Scott at 2/19/2020 3:53 PM

The humans sat in silence for a brief moment. “They appear to be honouring their dead.” thought Ghost.

Old crow picked at a bone he’d been gnawing at for several minutes, oblivious to the reverie.

Ghost hated Old Crow more and more as his time with him went on.

He wondered if Old Crow knew of honour. If he knew of sacrifice.

“I know of wars fought in the names of the rich, and the bodies left behind all for naught.” Old Crow quipped suddenly.

Ghost was shocked. Had he spoken out loud? Were his own thoughts not safe?

Old Crow continued to gnaw at his bones.

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XVIII. Misfit
Posted By Scott at 2/18/2020 3:50 PM

“What if you couldn’t fly?” Ghost asked Old Crow absentmindedly.

“Hatching a plan are we?” Old Crow purred, his eyes narrowing.

Ghost regretted the question. Ghost knew he was bound to Old Crow, until one or both of them perished, and maybe beyond that.

They sat in silence for a long time.

Ghost could hear the wolves again in the distance.

“I’d make sure they remembered me.” Old Crow finally answered.

A sharp yelp came from the woods.

“It’s easy to fit in the pack. Weaving in and out of the crowd. No one taking notice. It’s much harder to forget the misfits.”

Old Crow flew off toward the sounds of distress.

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XVII. Ornament
Posted By Scott at 2/17/2020 2:07 PM

Tradition was a concept Ghost had a hard time teaching Old Crow. Mostly Old Crow had a hard time learning anything that didn’t interest him.

“So they just hang these trinkets on the tree? To what end?” Old Crow asked bewildered.

“It’s after my time, but I think it is comforting to them. The decoration is the tradition.” Ghost offered.

A look came over Old Crow that sent chills through Ghost.

“They don’t look like ornaments to me. They remind me of offerings.”

With that, Old Crow flew from the barren tree lit dimly by the window’s light. Ghost had no choice but to follow.

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XVI. Wild
Posted By Scott at 2/16/2020 2:04 PM

Old Crow slept for a long time.

Through spring, through summer and into autumn.

His dreams seemed fevered and unrelenting.

When he finally stirred awake, he turned toward Ghost and simply asked “Shall we carry on?”

Ghost would never get used to Old Crow’s ability to shed the past like an ill-fitting skin.

An orange maple leaf tumbled from the tree where they were perched.

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XV. Legend
Posted By Scott at 2/15/2020 5:14 PM

“I am worshipped as a messenger. Death speaks through me!”

Old Crow was wild with fever now. It was rare, but Ghost had seen it before.

“Others named their people after me!”

Old Crow’s eyes flitted wildly. For a brief moment it appeared as if another set of eyes had been trying to peek out.

“They fear me!” Old Crow spit, his head raised to the sky.

Of this, Ghost had no doubts.

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XIV. Overgrown
Posted By Scott at 2/14/2020 5:13 PM

Time was a slippery thing for Ghost since he’d began travelling with Old Crow.

He’d look away from a clearing for what felt like but a moment, and that once empty field would be flush with trees and littered with undergrowth.

Of course it was made more alarming watching things returned to the earth; a fresh kill reduced to bones and rot in mere minutes.

In the end he supposed they were the same thing.

How quickly something could become overgrown or food for the worms.

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Posted By Scott at 2/13/2020 5:09 PM

“Long ago the humans would burn those who thought differently alive at the stake” Old Crow mused.

He’d watched it happened, perched as ever in his tree. Curious at the folly of it all.

“They’d do much worse to me if they saw my true face.”

Ghost felt a heat rise in his chest, flushing his face. He’d wanted to ask the question; he knew he’d regret the answer.

All he knew is he’d been tied to Old Crow since he’d met him.

His disdain for his predicament grew with each passing year, and he’d long ago lost track of how many years it had been.

Ghost said nothing.

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XII. Dragon
Posted By Scott at 2/12/2020 5:06 PM

Old Crow found it amusing the fables and whispered stories that the humans carried with them.

Bone simple facts ignored, shrugged off as fake, but the fairytale writings of generations long dead held up to a staggering standard.

Old Crow was happy to leave them tilting at their windmills and slaying their dragons.

He grew stronger the blinder their eyes became.

What real fight could one put up on their knees, their hands folded in prayer?

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XI. Snow
Posted By Scott at 2/11/2020 3:44 PM

The snow fell deep and heavy now. A bitter cold wind whipped and whirled across the barren field at the edge of the forest.

Each year the winter grew shorter, but more violent. A beast knowing its end is near; lashing out at all around it unwilling to accept what is next.

The humans had done this to themselves. Not a single warning heeded.

It wouldn’t be long now.

Mother nature was lumbering slowly across the lands to snatch them up and wipe them from the earth.

Old Crow smiled at this. Ghost shivered in the tree next to him.

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X. Pattern
Posted By Scott at 2/10/2020 4:07 PM

Ghost had been a soldier before he’d met Old Crow.

He remembered wearing his armour proudly, keeping his blade sharpened and always following orders.

Old Crow had brought him mischief. Old Crow had whispered poison in his ear and kissed death on his lips.

He imagined his armour had long ago rusted and rotten.

It had been quite some time since he’d watched the cherry blossoms bloom from the window of his home.

Old Crow had taken that from him.

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IX. Swing
Posted By Scott at 2/09/2020 3:35 PM


Old Crow and Ghost watched the axe swing high, pause ever so slightly, then come crashing down.


Old Crow had watched the humans do this for hundreds of years.


Sometimes to the trees of the forest; the sound a sharp crack as the wood splintered and scattered wide.


Sometimes to each other; that sound wet and dull.


That sound was much harder to forget.


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VIII. Frail
Posted By Scott at 2/08/2020 2:58 PM

Old Crow landed next to Ghost. Ghost shivered; his wings bristled.

“Scared you did I? You’re as frail as an eggshell, aren’t you?” Old Crow teased.

Ghost thought about plucking out Old Crows feathers, one by one.

He hoped he’d one day have the chance.

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VII. Enchanted
Posted By Scott at 2/07/2020 2:50 PM

Ghost flew wide over the cliff’s edge.

The water was cool and clear. Through the faint shimmer of the waves he could see hundreds of sea shells.

Each one a different shape or pattern of colours, pockmarked throughout the shoreline.

As the waves past over them, they appeared to be dancing.

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VI. Husky
Posted By Scott at 2/06/2020 2:44 PM

How long had Old Crow been dreaming? And where had Ghost gone?

In the distance he could hear a faint howl.

He hoped it might be a team of dogs, but his better instincts told him it was wolves.

It was time to move on.

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V. Build
Posted By Scott at 2/05/2020 2:06 PM

Ghost watched Old Crow as he slept; twitching and shivering. He shuddered himself at the thought of Old Crow settling down with a family of his own.

“I’d even built a nest!” Old Crow had told him once proudly.

Ghost had seen the many faces of Old Crow.

Some of them snarling and snapping. Others shy. Other coy. Others still bent and twisted mockeries.

All of them hiding something.

Ghost has yet to have built up the courage to ask Old Crow what had become of his family.

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IV. Freeze
Posted By Scott at 2/04/2020 2:02 PM

Old Crow stirred against frost covered rocks.

His dreams were feverish. He has been many birds over many lifetimes. In his dream he is small and fragile, fighting for scraps in the far north.

He remembered being so panic-stricken to find food he’d gone feverish and mad.

Digging deeper and deeper in the snow in hopes of a crumb of seed.

Deeper and deeper…

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III. Bait
Posted By Scott at 2/03/2020 1:57 PM

The heron plucked a fish from the water. 

“No snail for her tonight” thought Old Crow.

“I wonder how long until winter arrives?” Ghost asked Old Crow.

Old Crow could feel the chill in his bones already. 

“Not much longer now.”

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II. Mindless
Posted By Scott at 2/02/2020 11:57 AM

“Heavy is the head that wears the crown.”

“A burden they happily die chasing” thought Ghost. “A burden they happily kill for.”

A cool breeze blew through the fields and across the old dead tree Ghost and Old Crow were perched in.

They said nothing for a long time.

A heron flew wide of them. She knew better than to engage them in conversation.

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I. Ring
Posted By Scott at 2/01/2020 11:43 AM

“What is it that you’re doing” Ghost asked Old Crow perplexed.

“Picking at these baubles. The humans are positively obsessed with them. No feathers to preen I suppose, so they adorn themselves in medals and jewellery”. Old Crow held a ring up, the sunlight catching it and blinding Ghost for a moment.

“That one’s been dead for a bit I’d imagine from the smell. Another empire fallen.” Ghost said squinting.

“Then he won’t be needing this, will he?”

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