Fyskar: Ch 26

Fyskar: Legend of the Bai book 1 by Chapel Orahamm, antler and crow on pile of skulls with ember and storm

“My father will not be amused. We should be in the hall waiting for his arrival. Is the bird necessary?” Mirza motioned Eoin, Seonaid, Fearchar and the servant through one of the many rooms leading away from the feast. “You and your flock.”

My partners are essential to this. If you’re going to let me take my rightful title of Righ through my own ritual ceremony in front of your father, I will have my teachdaire anam. It does no good to announce my position if my people in the Forest are not informed of the ascendancy.

“Tau refused to allow anyone else, including me, to take care of your menagerie. I have raised raptors since I was old enough to wear a glove.” Mirza pointed to a door that led them through a series of prep rooms and kitchens. Women skittered away from the group, bowing as they passed through.

A young woman in a plain brown dress waved meekly at Eoin. You’re back, Niloofar!

Good evening, Sarai. He greeted her. He turned his following comment back to Mirza. I must remember to bake Tau bannock when I get the chance to infiltrate the kitchen this week.

“You’ve used the kitchens?” Mirza paused to stare in horror at Eoin, flicking a glance between the physician and the woman.

What? I’m a respectable enough cook. I miss my food some days. I may not have the same ingredients here as I am familiar with, but I can make passably customary meals when I need that taste. Eoin pressed through to the remaining door and opened it onto the stables and smithy.

“And you know the staff?” Mirza’s voice darkened. He flicked his wrist, sending the servant running to the stables and the aviary and mews beyond it.

Eoin walked further into the shadows, away from prying eyes, before pulling the giant to the wall of the stables. “Don’t go alluding to things you know I have not done. I’ve lived here for five years and have to communicate somehow.” He opened the memories in his void to the early mornings spent sitting in the palace kitchens teaching the young girl how to cook his native foods and speak to him. Theirs was a platonic relationship of teacher and apprentice. She had taken up with Amina to learn how to care for Eoin’s medicinal garden as a supplement to her cooking. Eoin dropped the prince out of his void and let go of him.

Mirza bowed his head. “I’m sorry. That was unfair of me.”

Since my husband and wife died, you have been the only one I took up with until I returned to my homeland, and you know it. I must find ways to communicate with the staff if I am to achieve anything in this palace. It’s easier to work with those interested in learning, and the young tend to be it. Now, where’s Qasim? Eoin pulled on his leather gloves, cinching the wrist tight with the button.

“Where you last left him. Tau has joined me on my hunting trips to let Qasim stretch his wings. He has been a boon. I am thinking of having him shifted from working the gardens to managing the aviary.” Mirza followed behind Eoin. Eoin stalked into the aviary at the far outer corner of the stable walls.

Ask him what he wishes to do. He is my family, and you have left them to me. He will be given the freedom to choose to leave if that is what he desires.

“As you say.”

He was a good chief. He managed the garden staff well up to now. Taking him away from people to handle animals may not be something that he will excel at. Having the diversion from the tedium is probably why he has been so good with the birds.

“And you brought a new one back with you? When did you have time to capture it?” Mirza sent the servant to obtain a pair of perches and furnishings the bird would need. Eoin stalled the fleeing servant, signalling for a doubling of the materials.

I captured her as an eyas eighteen years ago. Eoin glanced into the mews, searching for his charges and checking on the other tenants.

“Tau put it opposite of Qasim’s.” Mirza pointed to the offshoot in the mews where Eoin kept his precious charge. “You said her. Does she have a name?”

Vanora. Eoin handed a spare gauntlet and hood to Fearchar.

He fumbled, catching it before it hit the ground. “Laird? Vanora’s never taken to me.”

“Was transporting her back difficult?” Mirza asked over his shoulder.

The Daleroch, when they took the property, kept the mews. I don’t know what they did to the poor thing. She has been badly mishandled. I’m honestly surprised she has survived as long as she has with those bastards. The months getting back, even for travel, have improved her disposition tremendously.

Eoin stopped in front of the stall opposite of the one Mirza was peering into. He whistled low to the perched bird. The creature’s head went up, its eyes dilating as it searched out the familiar noise. Eoin clicked and whistled a set of short quiet notes. The bird ruffled its feathers up and let them fall down before sidling along the stick it was perched to until it was next to the bars. Eoin rested his head against the bars to look down at Qasim.

“He responds to your whistles.” Fearchar moved closer to Eoin to admire the golden eagle. The beast was smaller than Vanora, but not by much. Eoin nodded, a nostalgic smile touching his lips.

“I thought you needed the female?” Mirza protested as his physician slid into the stall. Eoin raised an eyebrow at Mirza. There were times when his hands were bound. Mirza quieted at the look as Eoin commanded the bird through a series of whistles and clicks until it was safely perched on his hand. He motioned Fearchar to ready his hand. Fearchar squared himself, offering his arm as a perch. Eoin whistled once more. Qasim shifted and ruffled his feathers before collapsing them and launching from his owner to the redhead. Fearchar stole himself from flinching as the massive creature sailed to him and landed. He rolled his hand up until the bird balanced on his thumb. He mimicked what Eoin had done with Vanora many times and slid the hood over Qasim’s head, leaning over to draw the accordion braces with his teeth. The hood on, Qasim settled on Fearchar’s hand.

Seonaid waited at Vanora’s bay with Mirza. Eoin motioned Fearchar out to wait as he situated his eagle on Seonaid’s glove before motioning them out of the aviary. They emerged and took the direct route through the servants’ quarters to the formal halls to wait outside the throne room door.

“What are we doing with the birds, Laird?” Fearchar asked, checking the tethers once more.

I must have a messenger for my rights. It will take my tale to those in the Woods to let them know of the news that a new Righ has taken the throne of the Fyskar.

“I don’t think I understand. This is your heaven, yes?” Mirza asked.

You could think of it in such a term. These are my way of communicating with the dead of my clan. They are integral to every clan gathering, marriage, birth, death, and the ascendancy of the throne. I will fly them tomorrow after my family’s burial to take the messages for me.

Two pairs of servants and Eoin’s guard rushed into the room with materials in hand. The guard carried his massive antler crown. One team of servants carried a tray of meat, candles, a knife, and the seagull wings. The other held Qasim and Vanora’s perches.

“Ready?” Mirza asked, motioning the servants and guard into place. The servants with the food and paraphernalia were first, followed by the servants with the perches. The guard, followed by Eoin, Seonaid, and Fearchar with the birds behind him.

No. Bile rose at the back of Eoin’s throat. He’d be sending a message to his father that he had finally taken his rightful place amongst the Fyskar. It was not an easy feeling.

“Do you have everything?” Fearchar whispered, touching a free hand to Eoin’s naked back.

“All I have are stories of how this was done for my father. Bernard never explained all the intricacies to the wards. I will make do with what I can remember.”

Mirza left them to enter the chamber with the deed and a sheet of Eoin’s formal title and meaning of the titles. He greeted his father. Eoin shifted nervously as he listened to the man describe him to the court. The doors opened to the glitter of candlelights and faces. A space had been made at the foot of the throne for the ceremony. Eoin stepped through the threshold to take his place as Righ of the Fyskar.

Chapel Orahamm (C) 2022-2023. All Rights Reserved.

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