Gregori’s body bent first, feathers shimmering iridescent in the moonlight. A six-foot wingspan spread, and he glided to the high branch of a nearby tree, razor-sharp talons digging into a branch. The owl’s body went motionless, blended into the night, simply waited. Aidan was next, a peculiar golden color, powerful and lethal, just as silent. Byron’s form was shorter, more compact, his feathers a mantle of white. Mikhail’s solid form wavered in the shadows, and he launched himself into the night sky, the other three following.
As if in perfect understanding, they soared higher, shimmering feathers beating strongly as they raced silently toward the clouds high above the forest floor. The wind rushed against their bodies, under their wings, riffling feathers, brushing away every vestige of sadness and violence left behind by the vampire.
In the air they wheeled and banked sharply, four great birds in perfect synchronization. Joy erased dread and the heavy weight of responsibility in Mikhail’s heart, lifted guilt and replaced it with rapture. The powerful wings beat strongly as they raced across the sky together, and Mikhail shared his joy with Raven because he couldn’t contain it, not even in the owl’s powerful body. It spilled out, an invitation, a need to share one more pleasure of Carpathian life.
Think, my love. Visualize what I put in your head. Trust me as you have never trusted me before. Allow me to give you this gift.
There was no hesitation on her part. With complete faith in him, Raven gave herself into his keeping, reaching eagerly for the vision. The slight discomfort, the strange disorientation as her physical body dissolved, did not faze her. Feathers shimmered, sprouted.
Beside her, Jacques stepped back, allowing the smaller female owl to hop onto a tall stone angel before his own large frame compressed, reshaped. Together they launched themselves into the night and soared high to join the other four powerful birds circling above them.