Raven sat under a young aspen in a grove on the Nuba River bank. He was just outside the city of Mora, a place that was not home. He just couldn’t bring himself to think of it as home, despite living in Mora’s outlands. This cluster of trees seemed more like home to him, and this tranquil, natural existence was the way life was supposed to be.
Peace of heart and mind. He felt it in the cool early autumn breeze, in the lyrical flow of the river, in the rustling of the aspen’s golden leaves. The new color that autumn had given it and its sisters had arrayed them like children of the sun. Maybe this was how his father felt about the whirling sands of his homeland of Vardica in the southern desert. Whenever he spoke of it, a light came into his eyes and a note of pride into his voice. But while Raven had inherited his father’s black skin, he had no such love for sand.
He much preferred trees, grass, and loam, all of which could be found where he was now. Every morning as the sun rose, his father gazed toward the southwest, vainly seeking a glimpse of Vardica’s red sands. But this was Anassia …. Raven glanced back at the city behind him, just visible through the trees. Its blue sandstone walls seemed less like beautiful, more like a mockery of the sky to him. Mora. Anassia. Cities. Hang them all. This was where he belonged, here among the swaying aspens. Somewhere among them, a nightingale was singing.
"Nevermore," it sang. "Neverrrrmoooooorrrrre!"
Raven reflected that the chief drawback to spending time in the aspens was the nightingales, who loved to mock Raven's name in relation to some hack writer. Well, that would come to an end today. He took out his gun and tracked the bird as it flew from one tree to another.
Poets. Nightingales. Boom.
Hang them all, he thought, and fired.
Opening: Brett Wade.....Continuation: Stacy