Flocked JP 30
Ryan Watt
(11 reviews)
Once Upon A Time... kingdoms in trouble had to wait for a wandering hero to come along and save the ... Show More
Adventure, Comedy, Cross-Genre, Fantasy, High Fantasy
Fairy Tale, Guild, Magic, birds, curses, Champions

The Vulture Husband

              Cyril! Taree shouted.
He grabbed for a rock on the ground, to try and hold himself away from the pull of the black aether tendril the humanoid Buzzard King was trying to snare him with. He wanted to pull his sword, but he couldn’t do both.
Suddenly, the tendril wasn’t pulling as hard. He chanced a look back.
Hanuel, transformed to human, had stabbed a short blade into the tendril. Cyril spun, drew his sword again, and slashed through the tendril. It hissed, or maybe screamed.
“Thank you,” he huffed to their new friend. Hanuel nodded. Cyril felt tired. He had drawn the blade fairly quickly after it last reverted. He knew better, but he needed to be armed more.
Cyril surveyed the scene quickly. Oleg fired aether arrows into the black aether mess, but it seemed to do little good. The Buzzard King was just finishing up vomiting up the aether he had been carrying around in his stomach. As he did, he coughed, and then began gesticulating at the puddle. It reacted by exploding into a swarm of shades of all kinds. Two of the shades attached to his shoulders, forming massive false wings. They lifted him up a head height into the air.
Hanuel rushed forward, stowing the dagger and drawing a short sword. He slashed towards the Buzzard King, whose wings whipped forward and struck the man away.
“Bring as many of you curselings against me as you want. My father has taught me enough to know how to deal with you.”
“You,” Cyril said, turning to the farmer trapped in the vulture body. “Don’t you want your body back? Fight for it!”
“Ugh, so hungry,” the former man said, head wobbling.
The hovering devil-born cupped his hands in the air. A ball of fire formed in the middle. He promptly through it at them.
“Fermament!” Oleg called. The air compressed into a barrier. The flame bounced off of it, flying off into the distance. “Cyril, do you have spare metal I can borrow to make the shield stronger?”
“Here,” Hanuel said, tossing his short dagger towards the dirt near Oleg. The mage picked it up and recast the barrier. As the Buzzard King hovered around them, trying to find a new angle for his fire spells, Oleg repositioned the barrier.
“I can’t keep this up for a long time, not if I am to be of any help offensively,” Oleg said.
Cyril groaned and surveyed the area. They needed a plan. How do you disrupt a powerful sorcerer with unknown abilities and armed with a rather large external source of magical power? If he could think of a strategy for he and Hanuel, he could leave Oleg on defense. Otherwise, they would need Oleg to do something big and drastic early on that could turn the tide of the battle.
“Oleg? Any chance of severing his connection with that dark aether?”
“Sorry, Cyril. I wouldn’t even know how to begin a working like that. It might only make things worse… Fermament!”
“By the Powers! What do we do then?”
I could dive through him like Friday did.
“No!” the boys shouted in unison.
“Taree, we don’t know how he even survived that,” Oleg said, gritting his teeth. Cyril looked at the blade. It seemed to be steaming, they needed to do something quick.
The battle froze as if a winter frost had swept in.
The black tar-like wings flowed into one mass pool beneath the Buzzard King’s feet as if they were his shadow as the feet touched down. “Wife?”
A woman walked up the hill from the direction of the nearest farmhouse.
She’s not your wife! She’s mine! The farmer cried out from his buzzard prison. He took to the air and flew at the being who had taken his body. The Buzzard King began walking towards his wife, and without looking at his would be attacker, he flicked a fireball at his old body as if he were flicking a mosquito off of his arm.
“Husband? What is going on? Who are these people? Were those wings on your back?” the woman asked as she reached the group.
“Ma’am,” Cyril said, stepping between them. “I am Sir Cyril, a Champion of the Order. This man is not as he appears. He is a devil taking possession of your husband’s body. That vulture there, is your husband, transformed.”
She stopped walking, as did the Buzzard King. She looked at the vulture, now circling overhead. “How? When?”
I am sorry, my dear! I simply wanted a break from all of the work you were having me do! he called. Cyril translated.
She snorted. “Oh, that explains why you have been so productive the last few days. I am indebted to you then, Mr. Devil.”
“Please, call me your husband,” the false husband bowed. To Cyril’s horror, the woman blushed, and fanned herself.
“Ma’am, please. This being is a devil. He has kidnapped woman, imprisoned them, eaten other humans…”
“We all need to eat, Mr knight. And this man has done more to provide me a chance to eat than my previous husband has lately.” She folded her arms.
My wife! What are you saying? You can’t mean it! I will change. I won’t be so lazy.
“Frankly, if it takes a devil to provide me with the security in life I need, I’ll gladly take the devil over the man,” she continued, oblivious to her husband’s cries overhead.
I’m sorry! You have to hear me! he called out, while out loud he pierced the air with his cry.
You have to make her understand! Taree chirped, trying to fly up closer to the vulture.
Stay away! he shouted back, nipping his beak at her. She continued to fly circles around him. This is the end for me. She doesn’t want me. I can’t possibly win.
No! Don’t give up. She can’t hear you like this. Don’t let her go. It will haunt you forever if you do, Taree pleaded.
“Please, your husband is saying right now that he loves you and wants you to take him back,” Oleg also pleaded.
The wife looked at Oleg like he was crazy, but looked up to the sky at the circling vulture. “No, my former husband. No. You can stay that way forever, for all I care.”
The vulture cried out again, and began to fly away.
“Where is he going?” Cyril said.
“Nowhere good. Look,” Hanuel replied. He pointed to the nearby forest. Flames licked through the trees and smoke poured from the canopy. “One of the errant fireballs…”
“What is he doing?” Oleg said.
Cyril’s instincts told him at once. “Stop him. Stop him!” he shouted, the same words he had once shouted out to five of his brothers regarding the sixth.
Oleg and Hanuel transformed at once and flew off. They did not get close enough in time. The vulture cried out once more, tucked in his wings, and plunged into the flames.
“What did he?” the wife gasped, placing her hand over her heart. Cyril, while his own burned, was glad to see she had some kind of heart.
“Hah, he was dumb enough to fall for it,” the Buzzard King laughed. “My wife, I told him that vultures find their food by locating places where the forests appeared to be steaming. I planned, once I knew you were the one for me, to dispose of him so there would be no hope of us changing back.”
“You what?” she said, pulling away from his offered hand.
“No, you monster,” Cyril growled. “That was not a cry for food. That was a cry for pain. He killed himself, but you have his blood on your hands.”
The Buzzard King spread his hands wide. “Your point?”
Cyril’s body reacted on instinct as soon as he saw the opening. He plunged the blade into the monster’s stomach. “Right here.”
“Husband!” the wife called, catching his tumbling form.
As his victim fell, Cyril’s blade slid out of him. Cyril released his grip and let his wing reform. His hand trembled.
“Didn’t think you had it in you,” the Buzzard King gasped, blood trickling down his chin from his lips.  
“Don’t die. I will not lose two husbands in one day,” the wife said, shaking the bleeding body.
Cyril, he is gone, Oleg reported as he and the other two birds returned. Oleg transformed. “Cyril?”
“Oleg, can you stabilize him?” Cyril said eagerly.

“Are you… sure?”
“Yes, please.”
The Buzzard King laughed as Oleg knelt down. “Don’t bother, curselings.”
Undeterred, Oleg began sketching out a roughly human shape in the dirt. The Buzzard King grabbed his hand, from which, brown feathers began to sprout. He looked up at his wife.
“You were a nice wife. Nicer than I’ve had. I’d ask you to kiss me, but I know that wouldn’t fix this. You don’t love me yet. So I guess it’s time for me to -hnn- move on.”
Oleg quickly stood up, pulling his hand away, and backed up. “Cyril, his aether is building.”
Bones cracked and lungs moaned in pain. His skin seemed nearly to liquefy, allowing features to rearrange. Eyes slid more to the sizes and changed shapes. Upper arms slid back closer to the shoulder blades. More feathers burst across his body, shedding his clothes, which would have no longer fit him as he once more took on his vulture shape.
“Oleg, bind him!” Cyril commanded as he reached to grab hold of the bird. The shadow leapt up from the ground, deflecting Cyril’s hand, and allowing the buzzard to take off.
“Well that was a learning experience,” he said, taking to the air. Oleg fired off an arrow quickly, but it bounced off of the air before hitting the vulture. “Brought me closer than ever before. Next time I will be more careful with my selections. And next time, curselings, you won’t attack me unprepared. I will be very prepared.” He flew off at a rapid pace.
I will follow, Hanuel offered, extending his wings.
“No!” Cyril commanded. His hand still shook, though he tried to hide it from them. “We have to return to the Adytum. He is planning his next attack. We have to be ready, do what we were Called to do, and end this.”

Log in to add a comment or review for this chapter Chapter updated on: 7/2/2017 3:50:55 PM
  • Jennifer Flath commented on :
    7/12/2017 11:31:40 PM
    That wife was a pretty amazing addition to the tense situation. Somehow she made things more horrible and darkly hilarious at the same time.
    • Ryan Watt Hah! Glad you like her. She came out of my want to have different perspectives for women than fairy tales usually have. She isn't a victim here at all.
      7/12/2017 11:37:04 PM
  • J.A. Waters commented on :
    7/4/2017 4:02:14 PM
    This is the first time I've realized that Cyril becomes unarmed when he takes up arms... But yikes, so close, and yet so far. This buzzard king just doesn't quit, does ... Show More
    • Ryan Watt The wife hated her husband in the end, but she didnt want him dead, so the death destabilized any chance Buzzard King had with her really. As for his reversion? Sort of all of your theories are valid to some extent. - And yeah, Cyril's sword is great, but it's sword or hand for him. Plus, he can never pull an Inigo Montoya and reveal he's secretly been left handed all along.
      7/4/2017 5:13:45 PM
    • Ryan Watt Thanks also for all the votes and comments on Flocked yesterday! Truly, thank you!
      7/4/2017 5:14:06 PM