The Firebird XV

Birds in Flight 001


Somehow or other the red star had reappeared, burning a hole through the curtain of rain and darkness.  Bigger, brighter, and closer it grew until I no longer had any doubt as to what it was.  I recognized it as the Firebird returning.

I bit my lip as tears began to run down my cheeks, mingling with the flowing raindrops.  “There must be another way!” I cried, craning my neck to look at the small gray bird.  But the small gray bird had disappeared.  In his place I saw three different birds occupying the spot of ground where the three ladies had so recently stood:  the first, a raven; the second, a rose-red dove; and the third, a little brown sparrow.

“Use your cloak,” said the raven, and off she flew.

“Use your lamp,” said the dove, and she too fluttered away.

Use your apples – and use them wisely,” chirped the sparrow as the wind bore her out over the ocean.

I looked up just in time to see the Firebird stooping down upon me.  I fell back a step, expecting to be snatched up in its powerful claws, as its hot breath swept over me.  But it passed me by like a whirlwind of flame and flew circling out over the valley of the Watchers.  I spun around to face it.  Bending into a steep dive, it bore down upon me again.  Nearer and nearer it came.  I cowered, stumbled backward, and then I was falling, over the edge of the cliff, down through the swirling mists, straight into the terrible darkness of the crashing sea below.

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