Genesis Scrolls Round 3: (Birdsongs for Ser Anthony)

Name/Pseudonym: {Thomas Radio}
Contact Info: {Discord : Thomas Radio#0749 | Twitter : @Thetrueastwest}
Ethereum Wallet Address: {thomasradio.eth}

Ser Anthony Hawk relaxed. Perched high above the royal gardens, lounging across the parapet. He had spent years scaling the side of the tower, looking for handholds and avoiding loose stones. Climbing freed his mind from the troubles of the grounded and liberated himself from the crushing pressures of his Noble parents. He would put as much distance between himself and the ground. He’d do anything to fly and truly be free.

Now, he rises with ease. The wind carries him wherever he chooses, with the slightest twitch of a finger. Rather, a feather.

Ser Anthony, as he was dubbed on the day of receiving his knighthood, had done nothing of note to deserve the title. His father, Ser Antony, had done nothing to earn the title, and his father had done nothing to deserve it. The only Ser in the bloodline that is worthy of note was Ser Anthony’s great-great-grandfather who was a no-name commoner who rose to the rank of general and was called the hero saviour of the fourteenth regiment in the War of Queens. The reason Ser Anthony grew up within the castle walls was due to his ancestors’ merit. In fact, his father was kind of a bum.

Growing up with generational respect without any of the wealth or character that comes with it made his father into that of a hock. He would rub elbows with other nobles, oil the boots of royals, and shmooze with anyone with twinkling stones hanging from their person. Ser Anthony’s mother was especially disdainful of his fondness for precious jewels… and those who wore them.

This, amongst other distasteful aspects of his childhood, is what led Ser Anthony to want a total escape. And from what he saw, it was only the heavens that would ever be far enough.

He was knighted at thirty and sent off to partake in a group of controlling officers. They were sent to the land of the Noctii. It was the first time Ser Anthony experienced magic besides the time the Explorer came through the Realm, head to toe in Loot. The magic permeated from the adventurer. It enthralled Ser Anthony.

The dark lands opened his eyes to everyday magic. And on his shifts, Ser Anthony would wander the streets, peeking into shops, and tasting brews out of still bubbling cauldrons.

He met a rouge troop of entertainers, all from distant lands, that had gotten too rowdy for the tavern. The bells were sounded and Ser Anthony arrived on scene with his troop of soldiers. Immediately, the entertainment started, they danced and sang and dropped their hats on his unit’s heads. They made fun, made wise, made water, all in a whirling jamboree. And then, as a finale, one of them, a woman, morphed into the most beautiful bird he had ever seen. Her feathers were a purple so deep they were blue and shimmered as if with glitter. Her magnificent tail had patterns and designs in a green like emerald and she soared around the town clearing. She perched above Ser Anthony’s head and sang a song of love.

The soldiers were having too good a time to remember why they had even come, but for Ser Anthony, a new purpose rose. He would find out how this woman became this wonderful bird.

He followed the troop as they stumbled away, drunk on the excitement of a well-executed impromptu show, as well as the spirits that had gotten to. He followed at pace, but kept a distance, not wanting to spook them. A man in a soldier’s uniform can be quite daunting to face.

The merriment wandered out of the city limits to a rack of horses and carriages just on the outskirts. A fire was already going and someone tended meats and vegetables cooking on large flat rocks. Ser Anthony kept to the shadows, peering out at the travelling cabana, seeing them settle in and begin to recount stories only heard by the others thousands of times.

“You can come out you know,” the avian woman calls out. The rest of the troop fell silent. But Ser Anthony remained behind the wagon. “Suit yourself.”

When the hour grew late, Ser Anthony grew weary, his legs grew tired, and his stomach rumbled, he revealed himself.

“Ahh finally, the hidden figure appears!” A stocky fellow with a round bellow and bellowing voice exclaimed.

“You must be weary, tired, and hungry, come sit,” another member said patting the stone next to them. Ser Anthony did just that.

“It must have been a good show, to have the audience follow you home,” the cook said with a grin. He served Ser Anthony a hot plate of grub.

“It was magnificent, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Ser Anthony said between bites.

“She’s quite the gamebird isn’t she?” The stocky man ribbed Ser Anthony who almost choked on the ale he drank.

“oh hush, you” the woman smirked, “or I’ll peck your eyes out.” The troop roared with laughter.

“How did you do it?” Ser Anthony asked, putting his empty plate beside the fire.

“Secrets! He wants to hear the secrets!” The other member of the troop feigned interrogation.

The woman moved an accusatory finger out of her face before answering. “For me, it was simple. I was born the bird. It’s the human you see before you that is the trick.”

Ser Anthony said nothing, although felt a crushing blow. His wish may be beyond even magic’s reach. The troop exploded with laughter once more.

“He believed you!” the stocky one rolled off his rock onto his back, howling.

“Be nice, he does not smell like magic,” the one who had pointed at the woman gave Ser Anthony a sniff. “Smells a bit like cheese.” And the troop roared some more.

“So there is a way?” Ser Anthony asked sheepishly.

“There is always a way, dear. Believe it, and you will find it. You must study your bird, and ask its permission.”

Later, Ser Anthony lay on his cot, unable to sleep. By dawn, he was gone, and so were the caravans that had been parked outside the city.

Ser Anthony travelled with the troop, his eyes glued to the skies. There were so many birds, his desire to fly became a choice of utility. The raven, the Herald of messages both good and bad, jet black, clever and a sharp beak. A commendable choice. There were too few eagles along the way, it discouraged Ser Anthony greatly that he could not assume the form of the King of the Heavens. Pigeons, he did not care for much.

While he came to his decision, the Lady of Paradise, as he had taken to calling her, would walk him through the application of transfiguration. Without the faculties to execute, they had conceptual lessons. And discussed what it meant to be free of your natural form.

“The bird I am cannot fly on its own. I rely on gliding, and air streams if I want to travel by air,” she said to him one night, at the top of a sturdy tree." Her skin would ripple and flutter as hints of her feathered features peeked through. Her control was expert and Ser Anthony was in awe.

“Once you discover who you are, to exist as both become effortless. But you must truly know yourself, as man and bird.”

Ser Anthony continued to wonder who he might be, and what place he had amongst the clouds.

The evening Ser Anthony earned a title he was proud of he was helping the cool with trapping. They had installed several snares around the woods, anticipating a hare or rabbit. If they were lucky, Stocky and Lean (monikers Ser Anthony had nicknamed the duo) would bag a buck. The hazy summer day wheezed on with barely a breeze. Ser Anthony grew lethargic in the light of the sun. He shifted from prone to upright and disturbed the brush just enough for a creature small and fast to burst from the leaves. Into the clearing, it ran and in an instant, it was struck by a raptor. Within two arms reach of Ser Anthony, a red-tailed hawk now feasted on its lunch. Breathless he watched as its fine beak and sharp talons clawed at the rabbit’s flesh, tearing it to ribbons.

He’d have been sick if not for the feeling which crept up on him. A familiar aura he once felt when a stranger swept through his town. The bird had finished its meal. Ser Anthony was locked in place. He thought the bird would up and leave, the way he only wished he could.

Instead, she turned to him and bowed. Ser Anthony returned the gesture.

The winds picked up and whirlwinds formed tearing at his clothes. His hair was pulled and he felt the gusts ruffle through his feathers. His eyes opened and so too did the world around him.

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