Our goal last time was to hone our skills in shapeshifting
Now we have a new challenge, that of learning to fly
Featuring Quoth, Joe’s raven, as our flight instructor
Or at least that was the plan.
On returning to Agnes and Joe’s cottage after the successful attempts to shapeshift, we spoke to Quoth about learning to fly. On the drive we had talked about the next challenge we should take and we had decided to go on a short trip, as birds, to the Yorkshire coast. Quoth was sceptical about the whole affair and when Joe described his first attempt it took us a full half hour to calm Quoth down from a fit of raucous giggling. He said he would accompany us just so he could have the joy of watching us, like the graceless creatures we are, flounder. I swear that Quoth was my old Physics teacher in a previous life. I had a feeling this was going be a battle into a headwind.
To make sure we were all at the same level of ability we decided to meet up at the new moon to practise solo shifting and leaving the protection of the circle. We invited Quoth to join us in the hope that he would be more enthusiastic about our abilities once he had seen the ease with which we performed the shift.
New Moon meeting
We’re all set again and I take the lead and shift into the form of a panther once more. Joe follows and shifts into a raven and lastly Agnes shifts into the shape of a wolf. We have decided that if we can, we shall wander around the woods for a while outside of the circle’s protection so Agnes chose the wolf form so she was less open to attack from the local fauna. We shift into our forms and proceed to exit the circle, I go first, Agnes follows and Quoth and Joe take up the rear…. on clawed feet rather than wing.
Agnes and I catch the scent of a fox immediately on leaving the safety of the circle. We were wise to avoid becoming prey. The fox catches our thought surprisingly and is startled by the strangeness of them. We turn to face the fox, a vixen. She appears recently pupped and is looking rather gaunt. Agnes is saddened by the vixen’s poor condition and wants to see if we can help, as a group we agree and catch the surprised thought of the vixen once more. The vixen is anxious at our presence and the strangeness of our thoughts and our grouping, it being nothing that she has seen before. On an impulse I decided to try to shift to the shape of a fox too, I quickly study her form and focus my will, no thought crosses my mind of a need for a talisman.
My gamble pays off and I approach the vixen and sit on my haunches, a mirror of herself in form but non threatening in posture. How is this thing done? she asks of me and I tell her I do not know how to explain the concept as it is the concept of a few of mankind. The others with you, can they do this thing also? I reply that two of the others can as they are also part of mankind in their true form. She licks her muzzle nervously. You are man-things? Those beasts that walk on their hind legs only? Those who trap and ensnare us and hunt us with beasts like the other she in your group? I pause before I answer. How cruel we must seem to her, hunting her kind for sport and entertainment while she herself struggles to find enough food to survive and to feed her cub or cubs. How should I answer this? We are meat eaters so technically we are hunters, I myself bearing the name of Hunter. She senses my struggle but she is not yet ready to trust me. “We are the same animals as the man-things but we are not the same. We do not hunt your kind, our food are the beasts kept by man-things in the hills. We do not take pleasure in killing for killing’s sake. We kill for survival not for pleasure. Your kind, meat eaters, are not suitable for our stomachs.” though perhaps not strictly true most humans rarely eat fellow carnivores preferring instead to take the docile herbivores that we domesticate and slaughter quickly en masse in abbatoirs the world over. “One of the ravens, the feathered creatures, feeds on insects, creatures without bone and the meat of carrion. He is not a man-thing, he is in his true form and is companion to the man-thing that is the other raven.” I hope this explains us, I want her to trust us so we can find a way to aid her in her struggle for survival.
She appears to relax a little, having heard my thoughts directed to her and catching the the odd thought I was thinking to myself. “I understand your thoughts and your difficulty to express them. I understand you think that explaining how you changed your shape will be difficult. I felt power, like the heat of the yellow thing in the sky during the bright time and the white thing in the sky that changes shape at the dark time, when you changed from the giant cat-thing into the thing that is me. Would you change to your man-thing shape, perhaps I can discover the method as you perform it?” She had felt the power, perhaps her senses are more acute than a humans, perhaps she may well be able to understand how we change. I agree to her request and try to slow down the process so she can follow it more readily. I hope she can still perceive my thoughts once I am back as myself. But Joe and Agnes are still in their animal forms so they can translate if the need arises.
I feel my power rising and focus my will, rather than saying my name I focus on my normal shape and visualise myself melting back into that form. I feel ethereal as the transformation slowly proceeds. the shape is there but it is not becoming solid, I relent and speak my name and the transformation completes. At least now we know that the word is as important as the power of will and that a talisman is not. I sit back on my heels, my head bowed, the least threatening position I can assume without prostrating myself completely.
The vixen cautiously approaches me and begins sniffing around me. “You smell of meat that has been touched by fire. You smell like the man-things that hunt my kind and yet different. You smell of strange things. Flowers, roots and leafs. Your fur smells sweet, but only of flowers, not plants or roots or leafs. You are strange amongst the man-things who stink of sweat and smoke, blood and rotting things.” I am surprised that I can still understand her let alone pick up her thoughts. This is not an ordinary vixen, she cannot be, if I could hear her I should be able to hear Quoth. “You are most perceptive for a human, perhaps your training and my guidance has proved worthwhile after all. I hope so, for I have a task for you Arin, child of Diana, and for Joseph, son of Pan and for Agnes, child of the heavens….”