Murder of Crows (Anne Bishop's Others Series #2)

( 73 )

Overview

Return to New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop’s “phenomenal” (Urban Fantasy Investigations) world of the Others—where supernatural entities and humans struggle to co-exist, and one woman has begun to change all the rules…

After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg ...

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Murder of Crows (Anne Bishop's Others Series #2)

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Overview

Return to New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop’s “phenomenal” (Urban Fantasy Investigations) world of the Others—where supernatural entities and humans struggle to co-exist, and one woman has begun to change all the rules…

After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.
 
The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murder of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard—Lakeside’s shape-shifting leader—wonders if their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or a future threat.
 
As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now, the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet—and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/13/2014
Bishop’s solid but unspectacular sequel to Written in Red has all the strengths and weaknesses of its predecessor. Meg Corbyn, a prophet who has visions when she bleeds, sees danger approaching the compound where she’s protected by the supernatural creatures of this alternate present-day America. Humans on the outside have gotten hold of a pair of drugs—“feel-good” and “gone over wolf”—that are wreaking havoc on both populations. The plot is adequate, but the worldbuilding that underpins Bishop’s story remains both illogical and premised on the blithe erasure of Native Americans; the continent is instead populated by brutal paranormals who reluctantly allow human incursion but maintain ruthless control. This only draws attention to the ludicrous development of contemporary technologies and social concepts. Readers willing to overlook the flaws of the opener will likely have no problem doing so again, while anyone who put down the first installment has no reason to pick up the sequel. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
Praise for Written in Red
 
“Near perfect…Written in Red isn’t just the best urban fantasy of the year, it may be one of the best ever.”—All Things Urban Fantasy
 
“A stunningly original yarn, deeply imagined, beautifully articulated and set forth in clean, limpid, sensual prose.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“Bishop has a way of making your heart wrench with joy and pain within a breath.”—Fantasy Book Critic
 
“An amazing novel…Aspiring fantasy authors could do no better than to follow her leads, and study her work to learn how to build a compelling story set in a seamlessly crafted universe.”—Fresh Fiction
Kirkus Reviews
2013-12-22
Second in the series (Written in Red, 2013) set on an Earth-like world, Namid, populated by a panoply of supernatural Others--and the humans who are their natural prey. On the continent of Thaisia, in the city of Lakeside, a delicate balance has been struck between humans and the terra indigene--shape-shifting wolves, raptors, bears, vampires and worse--thanks to Meg Corbyn, a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, who sees the future when her skin is cut. The Sanguinati, or vampires, have declared that no harm shall come to the "sweet blood," but for werewolf Simon Wolfgard, she is more of a problem, since he is developing deeper feelings for Meg than any wolf should have. Meg has escaped the Controller, a slave master who owns a stable of young cassandra sangue women; he's still trying to re-acquire Meg, his best prophet, since his other slaves are all foreseeing nothing but fire and destruction, and his rich clients are not pleased. But his real ambition is to put humans in charge by releasing two addictive drugs, contaminating meat supplies with ground-up bits of cassandra sangue, trapping vampires while in immaterial form and other acts of extreme provocation. Enraged, the terra indigene threaten to destroy entire cities; meanwhile, Meg's urge to cut herself and see the future grows all but irresistible, knowing that she is the key to determining whether humans and terra indigene can learn to work together in mutual trust. This one is less exquisitely controlled than the previous book, with a plot that functions only intermittently; despite this, it delves more deeply into characters' motivations, interactions and emotions, with the outcome even more compelling and wrenching. Technically less accomplished but nonetheless fully satisfying.
Library Journal
02/15/2014
Living among the shifters, vampires, and earth elementals known as the Others is a dangerous proposition for humans, but Meg Corbyn is no ordinary mortal. As a cassandra sangue Meg can see the future when her skin is cut. In 2013's Written in Red, Meg had just escaped from the compound where young women with her abilities are held captive and cut for the benefit of rich and powerful men. In this sequel, Meg has earned her place in the Others' Courtyard but still struggles with the urge to cut herself. Everything points to a violent confrontation between the Others, who control most of the world, and the smaller human population, who must never forget that they will always be prey to the powerful natives. VERDICT Bishop excels at creating irresistible dark worlds, but this series avoids some of the baroque excesses of her popular "Black Jewels" universe while still having that startling otherness and a touch of sensuality. Her alternate America in which the natural world belongs to the Others and humans are interlopers is fascinating.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451465269
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/4/2014
  • Series: Anne Bishop's Others Series, #2
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 100,840
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Bishop
New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop is a winner of the William L. Crawford Memorial Fantasy Award, presented by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, for The Black Jewels Trilogy. She is also the author of Written in Red, Sebastian, Belladonna, and Bridge of Dreams.
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Read an Excerpt

Nudged awake by his bedmate’s restless movements, Simon Wolfgard yawned, rolled over on his belly, and studied Meg Corbyn. She’d kicked off most of the covers, which wasn’t good for her since she didn’t have fur and could end up catching a chill. To a terra indigene Wolf, catching something meant you wanted it, and he couldn’t think of a single reason a human would want a chill, but apparently humans did and could catch one in cold weather. And even in the last days of Febros, the Northeast Region of Thaisia was plenty cold. Then again, if she started feeling chilly, she’d cuddle up closer to him, which was sensible since he had a good winter coat and, being a Wolf, liked the closeness.

If someone had told him a few weeks ago that he would befriend a human and care enough to watch over her at night, he would have laughed his tail off. But here he was, in Meg’s apartment in the Green Complex, while his nephew Sam stayed with his sire Elliot at the Wolfgard Complex. Before the attack on the Lakeside Courtyard earlier in the month, he and Sam had cuddled up with Meg to nap or even sleep through the night. But things had happened that night when men had come to abduct Meg and Sam. For one thing, Meg had almost died while saving Sam from those men. For another, something had happened to him on the way to the hospital, causing him to feel out-of-control anger. He had suspicions about what had happened, which was why Sam, who was still a puppy and lacked self-control, no longer slept with him when he curled up with Meg.

Meg told people her height was sixty-three inches because, she said, that sounded taller than being five feet something. She was twenty-four years old, had weird orange hair that was growing out to its natural black, clear gray eyes like some of the Wolves, and fair skin. Strange and fragile skin that scarred so easily.

She was a cassandra sangue, a blood prophet—a female who saw visions and spoke prophecy whenever her skin was cut. Whether it was a formal cut with her special razor or a gash caused by a sharp rock, she saw visions of what could happen in the future.

The Sanguinati referred to females like Meg as sweet blood because, even when they were adults, these women retained the sweetness of a child’s heart. And that sweetness, combined with blood swimming with visions, made them not prey. Made them Namid’s creation, both wondrous and terrible. Maybe made them something more terrible than the terra indigene had imagined.

He would deal with the terrible if and when he had to. For now, Meg was Meg, the Courtyard’s Human Liaison and his friend.

She began making noises and pumping her legs as if she were running.

She couldn’t hear terra indigene speech, but he tried anyway since he didn’t think this was a good chase-a-deer dream. Especially when he was suddenly getting a whiff a fear off of her.

Intending to nudge her awake, he pressed his nose under her ear.

In the dream, Meg heard the monster coming closer and closer. A familiar sound, made terrible by the destruction she knew would follow in its wake. She tried to shout a warning, tried to yell for help, tried to run away from the images that filled her mind.

When something poked her under the ear, she flailed and screamed and kicked as hard as she could. Her foot connected with something. Terrified, she kicked again.

Those kicks were followed by a loud yelp and a thump that had her scrambling to turn on the lamp.

Breathing hard, feeling her pulse pounding in her ears, she first noticed that the bedside table matched the image she had of it just before she went to sleep, except the small clock beside the lamp said three o’clock. Comforted by the familiar, she looked around.

She was not in a sterile cell in a compound controlled by a man who cut her skin for profit. She was in her own bedroom, in her own apartment at the Lakeside Courtyard. And she was alone.

But she hadn’t been alone when she turned off the light a few hours ago. When she’d gone to sleep, there had been a big furry Wolf stretched out beside her.

Grabbing as much of the covers as she could, she lay down and pulled them up to her chin before whispering, “Simon?”

A grunt that sounded like it came from the floor on the other side of the bed. Then a human head came in sight, and Simon Wolfgard stared at her with amber eyes that held flickers of red—a sure sign he was pissed off.

“You awake now?” he growled.

“Yes,” she replied meekly.

“Good.”

She had a glimpse of lean muscle and naked skin before he scrambled under the covers. She turned away from him, her heart pounding with a different kind of fear.

He never slept with her in his human form. What did it mean that he was human now? Did he want . . . sex? She wasn’t . . . She didn’t . . . She wasn’t even sure she could with . . . But what if he expected . . . ?

“S-Simon?” A tremble in her voice.

“Meg?” Still plenty of growl in his voice.

“You’re not a Wolf.”

“I’m always a Wolf.”

“But you’re not a furry Wolf.”

“No, I’m not. And you’re hogging the covers.” That said, he grabbed the covers she was clinging to and yanked.

She tumbled into him. Before she could decide what to do, the covers were around both of them, and he had her pinned between his body and the bed.

“Stop squirming,” he snapped. “If you bruise more than the hip you kicked, I will bite you.”

She stopped squirming, but not because he had threatened to bite her. Prophecies and visions swam in her blood, released when her skin was cut. Simon knew that, so he wouldn’t tear her flesh. But in the past couple of weeks, he’d figured out how to nip her through her clothes hard enough to hurt without damaging skin—Wolf discipline adjusted to dealing with her kind of human.

She’d stumbled into the Lakeside Courtyard seven weeks ago, half-frozen and looking for a job. Simon had threatened to eat her on a regular basis those first few days, which wasn’t his typical way of dealing with employees since most of them would have responded by writing their resignation as they ran for the door. But when the Others discovered she was a blood prophet on the run from the man who had owned her, they had chosen to treat her as one of their own. And protect her as one of their own, especially after she fell through the ice and almost drowned while leading an enemy away from Simon’s nephew Sam. Which was why, since her return from the hospital, she went to sleep every night with Simon curled up beside her, on guard.

She’d be less happy about the lack of nighttime privacy if that furry body didn’t make such a difference in keeping her warm.

Was that why her apartment was always chilly, so she wouldn’t make a fuss about Simon sleeping with her? It hadn’t occurred to her to make a fuss about it because he was a Wolf. Except now he wasn’t a wolfy-looking Wolf, and Simon as a human in bed with her felt . . . different. Confusing. Threatening in a way she didn’t want to explain.

But furry or not, he was still warm and he wasn’t doing anything, and it was still too early to think about getting up, so this was something . . . to ponder . . . tomorrow.

She started to drift back to sleep when Simon gave her a little shake and said, “What scared you?”

She should have known he wouldn’t let it go. And maybe he was right not to let it go. Her abilities as a prophet had changed since she’d escaped from the compound and ended up living with the Others. She was more sensitive now, to the point where she didn’t always need to cut her skin to see visions—especially if they concerned her in some way.

The images were fading. She knew there were already things she’d seen in the dream that she couldn’t recall. Would she remember anything by morning? And yet, even the thought of recalling the dream made her shudder.

“It was nothing,” she said, wanting to believe it. “Just a dream.” Even blood prophets had ordinary dreams. Didn’t they?

“It scared you enough that you kicked me off the bed. That’s not nothing, Meg.” Simon’s arm tightened around her. “And just so you know? You may be small, but you kick like a moose. Which is something I’m telling the rest of the Wolves.”

Great. Just what she needed. Yep, that’s our Liaison. Meg Moosekicker.

But the dominant Wolf and leader of the Courtyard was waiting for an answer.

“I heard a sound,” she said quietly. “I should know what it is, but I can’t identify it.”

“A sound from your lessons?” he asked just as quietly, referring to the training she’d received in the compound in order to recognize what she saw or heard in prophecies.

“From the lessons,” she agreed, “but from here too. And it’s not a single sound, but many things that, combined, have a single meaning.”

A moment of thoughtful silence. “All right. What else?”

She shivered. He curled around her in response, and she felt warmer. Safe.

“Blood,” she whispered. “It’s winter. There’s snow on the ground, and that snow is splashed with blood. And I saw feathers.” She turned her head to look at him. “That’s why I was trying to scream, trying to get someone to listen. I saw broken black feathers stuck in the bloody snow.”

Simon studied her. “You could see them? It’s not dark out?”

She thought for a moment, then shook her head. “Daylight. Not bright sun, but daylight.”

“Did you recognize the place?”

“No. I don’t remember anything in the dream that indicated where, except there was snow.”

Simon reached across her and turned off the light. “In that case, go back to sleep, Meg. We’ll chase this prey in the morning.”

He stretched out beside her and fell asleep almost immediately, just like he did when he was in Wolf form. Except he wasn’t in Wolf form, and she didn’t know how to tell him that having him sleeping beside her, looking and feeling like a human male, had changed something between them.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 73 )
Rating Distribution

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(61)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 73 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 3, 2014

    Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop is the 2nd book in her The Others

    Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop is the 2nd book in her The Others series. I love all of Anne’s books, and this series is not any different. The Others is a different and fascinating story about the terra indigene (non humans, such as wolves, crows, vampires, elementals, grizzlies, etc) who control most of the world, and the humans, good and bad who live in lands The Others allow humans to live on. The main storyline is a young woman, who is a blood prophet and lives among the terra indigene. In case you have not read my review of the first book, a blood prophet is someone who must cut themselves to see the future. Written in Red introduces us to Meg and her arrival in the Lakeside courtyard where humans were minimal, as we discovered more about her, and how the others learned to care very much for this human, and how far they would go to protect her as one of their own. Murder of Crows continues with these fabulous people we have become invested in. Meg, Simon, Nathan, Tess, Vlad, Winter, Monty, Merri, and so many more wonderful and new characters that Anne has created in this fantastic world.


    Though this is not a romance, Simon finds himself caring more and more about Meg, whom he cannot seem to stay away from; but it concerns him, since he is non human, and should not care about any human. They are just friends at this point, perhaps in the next book, this friendship will change. But in Murder of Crows the story is two fold. An evil group is killing crows or any other non human. The Others are determined to protect Meg, as well as stop the attacks; they concentrate on using Meg’s prophecies or clues to find the enemy. The story is tense at times, with all the threats and unrest.

    I cannot tell too much, since I do not want to give spoilers. Only to say I loved this book, and the entire series. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book, which is a year away. Just watching the others is fun, as you see them caring so much about “our Meg”; as well as learning some new and confusing things that humans do, which may or may not help them to understand humans better. This is so well done. Simple things like flavored cookies for animals (wolves, etc) or humans taking notes is pretty funny. It also helps the others form a workable relationship with some of the human police force to help find the enemies.

    Murder of Crows is a fascinating world, deeply complex, with a fabulous cast of characters. The story has everything, from fun, exciting, mysterious, tension and a wild climax. But it does have an ending to this storyline, that also addicts us to want to continue into the lives of Meg and The Others. Again I have to say I love everything about Anne Bishop’s writing, and Murder of Crows was great. I would suggest you to start with Written in Red, if you haven’t started this series yet, and do not wait.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Cool Premise - I'm interested...

    This is the 2nd in a series (1st is Written in Red)and it feels like Bishop is still figuring things out. But, its an interesting take on vampires, werewolves and others and I'm going to read the next one.

    Meg is naïve, but her background makes that plausible, but she's not a doormat. She's not the standard badass, warrior, leap without thinking heroine.

    I like it!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2014

    Over due

    I am sad today because the next book in the series will not be available for a very long time. Ms. Bishop can add another devoted follower to her rah-rah club.

    Murder of Crows was not the same adrenaline pumping ride into the unknown like Written in Red was. This novel let us see the hope for understanding between different people, namely the Others and humans. It also provides a twisted peepshow into human nature, greed, privledge, and extreme ideology....it mirrors so many fundamental truths from our daily lives...that if you changed the name of HFL to Teaparty
    ...you could be reading the newpaper or lisyen to the news.

    I enjoyed this novel and eagerly await the next one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2014

    Amazing read

    I could not put this book down. I hope there will be another installment soon.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2014

    Great!

    Great book! Can't wait until the next one!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 29, 2014

    Loved! Loved! Loved!

    I couldnt wait for this book to come out! I read it in one night and am now waiting for book 3. I love this author and I love this series. I like the developing relationship between Meg and Simon and seeing how all the characters are growing and changing. Come on book 3!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2014

    Loved it!

    The 2nd in the series is just as wonderful as the first. Truly enjoying this series and can only reread it again and again till the next book comes out.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2014

    Loved it, can't wait for the next one.

    Anne Bishop is one of my favorite authors. I buy everything she writes. She is an amazing storyteller, and this book is no exception.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2014

    Loved it

    This is the sevond in (the others) series, I loved the first one and right away preordered this one, Murder of Crows. I thought this one was great also. I can't wait for another book to come out. If you like books with people with special powers (which depends for me) you will love this book, I can be picky about some of these books so believe this when I tell you its worth rrading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2015

    An amazon second book! I laughted so hard at simon I had to keep

    An amazon second book! I laughted so hard at simon I had to keep rereading this book! Meg is wonderful
    and should always be a charater in a book. Though I have to admit I wish loran had more of a part in the story. 
    Still murder of crows is a great book and a clever title. Read tnis book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2015

    I love this series - this second book develops the characters ve

    I love this series - this second book develops the characters very well. Enjoyed it and recommended it to a friend who also loved it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2015

    Silvermoon's history( Crow was her old name)

    * She paded out of the twoleg den to meet Raven once more. They had gotton quite friendly and close over the past month * " Crow! "Raven purred and he nuzzled her " Hey, " she mewed and nuzzled him back . They walked through the forest climbing trees like kits smiling with out a care but Crow knew when she returned home she would be abused and when yhe sun began to set Raven offered to take her home ,They got back to Crow's place and her two leg inside was screaming and he noticed the two cats he then came running twords them he had a knife in his paw he dashed to raven and sliced the blade across his back and it left a deep gash " No! " Crow ran to find cobwebs to stop the bleading Crow.. " raven mewed weakly Crow dashed to his side and nuzzled him " i im sorry she wails softly " Crow no matter where i am i will always love you." Raven then raven went limp and crow burried him by the barn and she ran into the forest and never looked back*

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2015

    Imk

    Pretty good.

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  • Posted January 31, 2015

    more from this reviewer

    Alluring and utterly captivating, we are thrust back into the wo

    Alluring and utterly captivating, we are thrust back into the wondrous world of the Others in Anne Bishop's Murder of Crows.




    A new drug is ravaging through the human populations, causing them to spark violent outbursts against the Others. When the Others respond and blood is spilled, direr and unexpected consequences could cause wide spread panic. Some one is specifically targeting the crows, wild and Others, so when Meg starts having dreams of blood and feathers Simon and the Lakeside Courtyard become very concerned.




    The Others and the growing human population at the courtyard must come together to stop the danger facing them and the tenuous truce between all man kind.




    I once again, loved Anne Bishop's storytelling. You as the reader are literally immersed into the world of Bishop's imagination. In just two books, I am a devoted fan girl.




    I was granted the gift of an ARC of Vision In Silver so I know what is coming next...This series is a THRILL RIDE YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2015

    Love this series

    Im a huge Anne Bishop fan and have been since Daughter of the Blood was first released. This is my favorite series yet.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2014

    Great!

    Love it! Hard to put down !

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2014

    Awesome!

    Great story!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2014

    Gret job!

    Luv it! Continue! ~ &#10023 Hendi &#10023

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2014

    Second book

    Just as good as the first book. Rather sad the third won't be out until March '15

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2014

    A Murder of Crows ~ Prolouge

    Karasu watched in anticipation as the egg before her rocked gently. The nest of twigs and grasses swayed violently beneath her taloned feet, but her black eyes were fixated on the small beak that had chipped a pin-sized hole in the egg's pearly surface.
    <p>
    She held her breath as a glimpse of soaked black feathers were visble for a second before thunder deafened her ears and ligtening blinded her.
    <p>
    Bran landed lightly beside her, his midnight plumage speckled wth silver droplets. He nuzzled her neck feathers lovingly, his gaze worried.
    <br>
    "Big storm coming, Karasu." He warned, clacking his beak anxiously.
    <p>
    "Shh!" His mate hissed, almost bouncing with excitement.
    <p>
    Bran sighed and watched the boiling gray cloud nervously.
    <p>
    Karasu let out a truimphant caw, tilting her head back in joy. In the nest bottom before them, a helpless chick floundered blindly in the mess of fluff and moss.
    <p>
    Bran studied his chick, his chest puffing with hidden pride. "He did it." He croaked.
    <p>
    "'Course he did!" His mate sang, hopping down from the rim to greet their new arrival.
    <p>
    Karasu nuzzled the chick, the black downy plumage drying quickly under her warmth. "His name will be Bele," she cooed, snuggling against his small frame.
    <p>
    Bele trilled in response, cracking his eyes open slightly. The sight of sky blue met his mother's dark eyes.
    <p>
    "Look, Bran! His eyes are as blue as the river!"
    <p>
    Bran clucked happily, though unease rippled from his feathers like rainfall.
    <p>
    Karasu looked up, seing his discomfort. "Come, now, Bran. Come meet your first son."
    <p>
    "Beanna should have been here." Bran said softly, dropping his gaze.
    <p>
    "Is that what it is?" Karasu asked, "it's my fault, y'know. . . If I hadn't have left the nest. . ."
    <p>
    "Is not! If I had have come back faster, I could have stopped that snake!" Bran snapped.
    <p>
    Karasu shot him a sharp look, her feathers settling. "Lets not argue. Not tonight. . ."
    <p>
    Bran nodded in agreement, hopping down into the bowl of the nest.
    <p>
    As he reached out to tap his beak aganst his son's, a bolt of lightning flashed suddenly, hitting the largest branch of the tree in which they sat.
    <p>
    Karasu cried out in alarm, the rain beginning to pour down around them, though it did little to quench the fire that now roared, eating the dry pine needles like kindling.
    <p>
    The tree groaned from deep within, a streamline fissure opening in the center. Another groan, and the crack widened a claw-length.
    <p>
    Bran beat his wings furiously at the blaze, trying to kill it down, but his feeble attempts only brought the flame to a more glorious state, sizzling at his wingtips, filling the air with an acrid scent.
    <p>
    As the crack in the tree widened further, the nest tipped sharply, spilling young Bele out. He let out a terrified, high shriek, tumbling down to the forest floor, his useless wings beating the whipping, windy air like cotton.
    <p>
    The ground approached with blurring speed, his movements becoming in-sync with the raindrops. Finally, he hit the ground, only a stroke of luck allowing him to land on a patch of moss. His small form bounced once before lying still on the parched ground, the dusty soil soaking up the water like Bele's soft down.

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