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Silver Hawk
The Eagle
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ISBN-10: 1-77115-324-5
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Dark Fantasy
eBook Length: 121 Pages
Published: August 2016

From inside the flap

Two young warriors, Silver Hawk and Morning-Owl, have to leave their people, and begin a journey of great peril. Their grandfather, White Feather has taught them magic. It is time for that magic to be tested. The tests will be many. The greatest of these tests will come from their enemy, Dark Night.

Silver Hawk knows that magic surrounds him, but he is still learning about it. This magic is powerful, frightening. He doesn't understand it at all. He can feel the ancestors are close, as if they are waiting, expecting something of him. Can Morning-Owl, his twin sister, feel it too? He can't shake the sensation that not only are they being followed by the ancestors, but something dark and powerful.

Once Silver Hawk fully accepts his magic, he is able to make use of it. Many forest creatures help him, as does his sister. Together they face their fate and the fate of their people.

Silver Hawk (Excerpt)

Chapter One

He could clearly see a pile of snow white feathers laying in the centre of his lodge. They glowed oddly, despite the darkness of his lodge, as if lit from within. They lay like a winter topped mountain, in a well formed cone shape, natural in configuration, yet far from the norm.

He narrowed his eyes and focused hard upon what he was seeing. There were countess feathers, each perfect in configuration, each glimmering with the shimmer and presence of magic. In their own way they were beautiful, even if they were gone from whatever bird had once worn them. He frowned, for so many feathers would have not come from a single bird. What would a pile of enchanted feathers signify? Why were they laying in his normally sparse lodge? Why so many? He shivered just as he would have upon leaving his lodge on a chill morning when the lake lay solid and frozen, only this shiver came from deep within him, and had nothing to do with the weather.

Silver Hawk tensed in his sleep. He knew he was dreaming, and he also knew that magic had somehow taken control of his dreams, at least he hoped so, for such unexpected and unusual magic was troublesome. Magic normally lived in the realm of day, when the energy of the sun gave it life. Magic was part of the power of the sun, made of light and heat and the energy that spun through the world. It was the stuff of thought and directed consciousness. Nighttime and dream time magic was unheard of, his grandfather had told him so. Only a very few Medicine men had ever known of such magic. It had been whispered about and passed down from ancient tales as old as the earth itself. Few men knew of such magic, less had ever experienced it. Surely he was not to be counted among them? He was but a novice, a man yet unschooled in such things. Yet in the part of him that knew the truth, he could not deny that a powerful magic had been spun into his dreams. Had he somehow tapped into the ancient, forbidden real, or had someone else done so?

He glanced across the room, momentarily removing his eyes from the pile of feathers. His grandfather slept there, snoring lightly, unaware and unaware. He closed his eyes and turned his head back to the apparition that had brought him partially awake. Perhaps it had been but a dream and the feathers would be gone. Silver Hawk held his breath and ever so slowly opened his eyes. The feathers remained.

He sighed deeply and a wind began to stir, gently growing in strength and presence. It took him a moment to realize that his breath had inspired it. His still dreaming eyes went wide when he noticed that the breeze had begun to stir what lay uninvited within his lodge. It breeze raised the smallest feathers first. Then as it grew in strength, the larger heavier feathers rose, spiralled and spun up towards the darkness above him. They rose high within his lodge, so that he could barely see the white drift of feathers as the floated above him, then suddenly they disappeared. He blinked to clear his eyes. All of those countless feathers were gone. Even the glimmer of magic had been swept away by the strange force of wind his own lungs had inspired. That enchanted wind had also disappeared, gone in the moments between heartbeats.

His lodge was incredibly silent and still now, so much so that he could hear the beats of his own heart. Silver Hawk glanced towards the spot once full of snowy feathers. It should have been empty. For he knew all the feathers had disappeared, he had seem them go with his own eyes, eyes that had never tricked him before. He blinked to make sure his vision was clear. He studied the centre of the room with clear and certain eyes, cast his glance intently upon the space where the feathers had once lay. As he had feared it was not empty.

Something had been left behind, a body. It lay like a vulnerable new born infant, curled up, with limbs curved to protect the fragile human core. Long dark unbound hair cascaded across the floor like a spill of black paint pigment. He traced the contours of naked female flesh with his eyes. He noted the curved line of hip, the flared aspect of buttocks, the lean long branches of arm and leg, bound tight as if invisible cords held them fast. She would be nearly as tall as he, should those long limbs unfurl, he realized. Then he noticed the light that surrounded her. A brilliant shimmer danced along her female skin, as if alive. It held the aspect of fire without heat, and stained her flesh in an eerie golden glow. The magic was back, bringing with it something new. Until now magic held little if any light, more a dim glow, an inner fragment of sun brought power. That magical light borrowed its marker from either the sun or a well built magician's fire. The sun had long ago set, and the fire in his hearth had gone out.

A shiver wound through him and left him trembling. He was a powerful man, a brave, a warrior, and yet he trembled like a child. Such was the power of magic. Even beneath his sleeping robes the chill knowledge of its presence prevailed, like a wind that had found its unwelcome way inside. He was more than half way awake now, yet still trapped in the dream. He struggled to move, but his body seemed pinned to the earthen floor of his lodge. He could blink and breathe, think and understand, but he could do little else. He tried to call out, and though a scream tore at his throat, he made no sound at all. His was a silent opened mouthed unutterable terror. This must be what a snared animal felt like he realized. Helpless, small, at the edge of doom.

Magic had, never before, come to him like this, intruding into his sleep time, his time of rest and renewal. Magic normally came to him when needed, or summoned, and only ever during the day, when there was plenty of light to give it strength. Fear spun icy through his veins, as a winter's rain would find the places beneath a hunter's robe to invade and make uncomfortable. He crinkled his eyes tightly closed and tried to steady the beat of his heart. Magic had invaded the night, a magic meant for he alone, for his grandfather's snores continued rhythmically across the room.

Silver Hawk knew such an invasion could not be good. This was a magic not of his construction, or of the light. It was unwanted, unwelcome, for it had come from somewhere out beyond his understanding. He decided the only way to deal with this invasion was to face it head on, like a brave should. He slowly opened his reluctant eyes. Sleep had fully left him now.

He studied, with wakeful eyes, what was revealed by the now gone feathers. A woman, naked as birth, lay curled up tightly in the centre of his lodge, this was a certainty. Her flesh shimmered with a magic now highly agitated, this too he was sure of. She turned ever so slightly. Slowly she opened her shuttered eyes. He swiftly cast his glance away from those enchanted orbs. Looking into such magic could be a trap. No, it was best he be circumspect, best he study this strange magic with care, avoiding the eyes of it. He took another slow breath for his lungs had begged for it. Once he had inhaled enough to fill those nearly empty lungs, he began to study what lay in the centre of the room.

He again traced the limbs, the hips, and cast his eyes upwards towards her face, mapping her lips, her brow, her forehead, keeping his own eyes away from hers. His belly went tight, for the face was familiar, a visage that would not mean danger to him in any way, yet he was reluctant to look her directly in the eyes. Though, at last he did so, holding his breath captive within his lungs until they begged for release. Nothing happened. He remained a master of his own soul. He had not been drawn into those eyes, or enchanted, of this he was certain.

Slowly he exhaled. Her eyes were unblinking, vacant. He may not have been enchanted, but she was. Quickly he lowered his eyes then murmured a quick warding spell. Silver Hawk raised his eyes and looked closely at the woman before him, and found himself staring into the visage of Swan Woman. Her features were indistinct, for the magic shimmered all over her like a wandering mist, yet he easily recognized her, for her face had been carved into his soul. He had not lay eyes upon her in years, yet her face had haunted him day and night ever since that one and only meeting. She was beautiful. She was unusual, she was unforgettable. The strange glimmer intensified, undulated and peeled from her flesh like a mist chased by the early day sun.

He blinked as her rosy flesh began to turn grey. Then right before his eyes that same flesh began to crumble and fall away. His breath got lost within him as the skeletal remains were revealed. The arm and leg bones then slowly gathered together and arranged themselves into a messy pile, framing the stark reality of the ribs.

"This is but a dream," he told himself, but his pulse still went hasty and hot through him, and he knew he was awake, wide awake, there could be no denying it, for his eyes worked as they should, as did his mind. He was aware of everything in his lodge, his nearby grandfather, his weapons, his medicine bundles. He should be trying to gain his elder's attention, yet he focused fully on only what lay before his eyes, should he dare move or cry out, the vision would vanish, he was sure of it. His grandfather had spoken of visions before, told him how rare and important they were. Silver Hawk never expected to experience one, or recognize it should it come, but recognize it he did. He shivered once more.

Across the room and in the shadows lay his slumbering grandfather. His snores a gentle reminder that he was not truly alone.

Silver Hawk turned his attention back to the magic that had entered his lodge. He studied the pile of bones. Why had they arranged themselves in such a strange and unnatural way? Why had the feathers floated off to reveal them to begin with? He inhaled a long sigh for in truth the bones were reminiscent of the feathers he had seen earlier. Each white, each stark, each shimmering with the power of magic.

What had once been beautiful had gone ugly. The lovely Swan Woman had been reduced to a pile of desiccated bone. Such a sudden and macabre transformation could only bode ill. His pulse went swift. His grandfather would know what to make of this? He tried to call out but his voice remained mute. Silver Hawk cast his glance towards his elder's pallet. His grandfather continued to sleep, his soft resonant snores deep and rhythmic. He was alone with this magic, a magic he had never seen before, a new strange magic, one made of the dark and light-less air. His body convulsed in a shudder. Silver Hawk suddenly felt like a little child far too vulnerable to the unknown elements around him. He silently reminded himself that he had seen and dealt with unfamiliar magic before.

"What does it mean?" he asked himself. "Why has it come?" He knew nothing happened without reason, even dreams, especially ones that survived the transition from sleep to awake. If this was a dream it had done well in that journey. No, this is a vision he reminded himself, at least he hoped it to be the case. For if it was magic then it was a power far greater than any he had previously known. He studied the shimmering light seeking clues. Perhaps an answer lay in the vision or magic itself, or to be more exact, in what if had left behind.

He scanned each bone, recognizing rib from pelvis, arm from leg, by the length and shape of each. The smaller bones of finger and foot lay like beads, fringing the whole arrangement. Centre to it all were the ribs. He narrowed his eyes for within the heart of the rib cage lay two dark and distinctive shapes. Each had a rounded thick end, each tapered to a fine thin point. Each had a distinctive and identical edge. His breathing grew tight. Perhaps he was being given a clue here he had hoped for such, but truly did not expect it. His lungs went hungry for air, as hungry as those of a man who had sprinted too far. Yes, he was sure of it, the pair of dark shapes that lay within the cage of rib bones were significant.

As he gazed upon the two dark shapes, his body seemed to separate from his mind, and float right into those ribs, and there before him lay two perfectly napped arrow heads. Each arrow head had its elegantly fashioned face carved with a distinctive cypher, one he had seen countless times before. Two-Bows had carved those arrow heads, both of them. Yet, he sensed this magic had not come from Two-Bows, rather its source was from a more malevolent soul, Two-Bows', brother, Dark Night. A brother most thought dead. A brother long mourned, and seldom spoken of, for he had engaged in dark magic, forbidden magic. He shivered as if winter had descended upon him in a fierce and sudden snowfall. He, a mere novice in the arts of magic and spirituality had been given his first vision, and he alone had deciphered it. It was also strange to know that he was both in hos body and right in the very core of the bones. Could a man be two places at once? It certainly seemed so.

Silver Hawk swallowed his astonishment at what he had discovered. Dark Night, his old dead enemy had somehow fashioned these magic arrow heads and had placed them within his lodge. But how, and why? Could the dead do such a thing? He himself had seen the great chief perish. His own magic had seen to it, yet somehow Dark-Night had managed to breech the realm between those living and those not. Somehow he had turned Two-Bows hand towards an evil end. The message was clear, Swan Woman would soon perish, and Dark Night had named himself the murderer.

Silver Hawk glared at the pair of arrow heads. Each bore the distinct mark of his friend. A friend who, he was sure would never betray him, or kill the woman of his dreams. No, these arrow heads had been placed there by an evil soul wishing to poison a young medicine man against his friend. Well, it would not happen. As he made the thought strong, the arrow heads vanished, a sure sign he was right. The meaning of what he had seen must be further considered, and any hidden aspects unravelled. It would be a time consuming task, this he was sure of, but worthy of the effort, or so his grandfather had assured him.

His soul trembled. He inhaled deeply and with a sharp jerk he came back fully into himself. Sweat beaded his brow and began to chill his skin. He glanced to where the bones had once been, the space was empty, the bones like the arrow heads were gone, gone too was the evil magic that had shimmered around them. For a heartbeat his belly roiled and his head swam. He took several breaths to restore himself. The room stopped its spinning, his belly settled.

Silver Hawk glanced across the lodge towards the corner where his grandfather slept. His elder no longer snored, but was evidently still asleep. How the old one still slept was a mystery, for the whole space around him was bathed in a dim incandescent blue light. A new magic had entered his lodge. Silver Hawk felt his pulse flutter. Magic was far too common tonight. He longed to cry out, waken his grandfather and gain his guidance, but he could not. His lips seemed sealed against it. So he stared at his grandfather, willing the old one to wake. His mind was screaming for it to be so!

Silver Hawk swallowed another gasp. One that threatened to choke him on air alone. For his grandfather was now fully bathed in a blue light, one similar to the blue that danced at the tip of a flame. He knew now that the blue light came from his elder even though he had never seen it before. This was another, new magic, one to follow the first, he suspected, one of great power, a counter force perhaps? The blue light suddenly changed, transmuted and tightened and became distinct.

An incandescent blue orb floated above his elder's body. It hovered just over the old one's chest, where it coalesced and grew larger. It pulsed from light blue to an almost black blue, and his grandfather's chest seemed to be feeding it. Then, between his own over loud and hasty heart beats, the orb turned and swiftly flew right at him. Silver Hawk instinctively ducked, but not soon enough. The orb smashed into his chest.

A strange heat filled the hollows within him. For an instant he could not breathe and his heart went towards panic, then a sudden peace claimed him. He could not keep his eyes open, nor his body erect. Silver Hawk slumped back into his bedding and promptly fell asleep.