Honor, Courage, Determination, and Resolve

Long fingers traced the rim of the wide brim of a crystal goblet.  Her eyes closed, lids concealing cool gray eyes.  She changed her grip on the glass, her sharp claws tapping out a rhythm before tightening her grip and bringing the goblet towards her mouth, pale red lips parting to take a long pull of the dark red wine.  Her ears twitched, the golden furred appendages pushing through her black curls as she listened to the small crowd of men before her.

“This day is lost.  We MUST retreat.”

“It was a mistake to believe this was a battle we could win.”

“This is what comes from listening to the advice of those not of our own kind!”

At those words, her temper snapped.  Snarling, baring her sharpened teeth at the weak, sniveling fools who knew nothing of honor, courage, determination, and resolve.  She threw her goblet of wine at them, chuckling darkly at their yelps of surprise and jerky movements as they scattered.

“No.  This day is not lost.  I will not retreat.  I will not be defeated.”  She stood, glaring at the weak-willed men before her.  “And you are fools if you think the advice of me and mine is given lightly to those outside our own circles.”  She held her arms out to her sides, stretching lightly, the light glinting off the cascade of dark metallic blue feathers.  Without speaking, without taking her narrowed eyes off those in front of her, instead calmly looking each in the eye as she systematically checked both her long daggers were at each side, her nimble tail reaching for the wicked curved dagger at the table and wrapping around the specially made handle.  Lastly, she picked up the long staff that rested by her chair, finally dragging her eyes off the men, her gaze turning almost lovingly as her hands caressed the weapon, low murmured whispers falling from her lips, too low for the men to hear.  Gripping the weapon as if it were a simple walking staff, she walked around the table she had previously sat at, walking past those staring at her incredulously.

As she drew even with them, her hands moved impossibly fast, twirling the staff around and around, over her head and around her back before ending with a sharp movement, the sharpened end of the staff aimed right at those men.

“I only stayed behind to provide protection for those too weak to protect themselves.  The old, young, and infirm have been evacuated to a safe location.  All that remain here are needed for warfare.”  She stared at them from the corner of her eyes.  “You will be here when me and mine return.  Otherwise I will hunt you down.”

Without another word, she left the room, taking a few quick turns and going up stairs until she arrived at the top of the battlements of the castle.  Luck was on their side, the enemy was fighting facing the setting sun.  Whipping her staff behind her and into its sheath on her back, she turned her gaze up, to the shade of the crescent moon that could already be seen in the fading sunlight.  Closing her eyes, she whispered a quick prayer.  “Maiden Moon, Mother Moon, Crone Moon, please watch over your favored children in this battle.  Let your light shine on our faces as we rejoice in the cycle of life, in the celebration of life and death.”

Opening her eyes, she gazed at the scene of the battle below, held out her arms, and dove.  Her wings caught the airflow, and she followed the currents to the battlefield, her gray eyes glittering in anticipation.