Black Moon Draw (Four, page 2 of 3)

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"Message, sire!" a cry rang out from behind him.

He rose from his crouch to see who spoke. One of his most trusted messengers, a man with the head of a mule, ran from the forest nearby.

"From whom?" his second asked, meeting the messenger.

"Scout at Blue Star Bridge."

The Shadow Knight strode forward, reaching them in two long steps, and snatched the satchel the messenger held up. He opened it carefully and pulled free the messenger bird from its depths. The golden finch perched in his palm, its black eyes darting around.

"What story do you tell, little bird?" he whispered the typical greeting of the messenger bird corps, a rare, elite breed of bird capable of transporting messages and delivering them mentally.

At his words, the finch began to sing, conveying short, excited bursts of information.

Witch at blue bridge.

The message was repeated over and over.

"Ah." The Shadow Knight nodded in satisfaction. It was yet another sign he was meant to triumph at Brown Sun Lake, now that his battle-witch had appeared. "Wolf, fetch our horses. We return to the bridge now."

His second sprang away. The bird began to sing a new tune and the Shadow Knight tensed.

Taken by white trees.

"I knew he was planning aught!" Handing back the messenger bird, the Shadow Knight trotted to his weapons and strapped them on quickly, prepared to claim his battle-witch no matter how deep into White Tree Sound he had to venture. A war with his neighbor wasn't in his plans, but he was known for his brutality and lack of predictability in battle.

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