The eagle rested on the gauntlet covering Tanchvil’s forearm. Caecilia sensed the creature’s power—how his talons gripped the leather; the cruel curved beak; and the potential of his folded wings. It was the bird of Tinia, king of the gods. In Rome, Jupiter held it dear. The raptor could ascend above the storm, and carry the soul of the mighty into the presence of the divine. Today, the priestess would send him forth to become the messenger of the gods.
Antar shifted, causing the holy woman to brace herself to bear his weight. The bells on his hood jingled. He was impatient to be free.
Tanchvil carefully removed the hood. The eagle’s head and breast were flecked with gold, his dark plumage shiny. If he chose to flap his enormous wings he could break free even before his mistress had loosened the leather restraints. And what was to prevent him turning and ripping her face with his beak?
The hatrencu lifted her arm to send Antar skyward. Caecilia felt the swish of air as the eagle rose, his pinions extended, seeking the thermals. Holding her breath, she waited to see to which quadrant of the heavens he would fly. His wings stretched in perfect symmetry, the raptor spiraled higher, gliding over the south east of the city before heading north east. Then he hovered for a moment before diving and swooping upwards again.
Tanchvil raised her arm and called to the eagle. The priestess’s cry was piercing, mimicking that of the bird. The winged herald circled then flew with great arcing flaps to thump down once again upon his mistress’s sheathed arm.
“Antar was summoned by Laran, the god of war, but then headed towards Uni’s realm. The war will continue but Veii’s mother will continue to protect us.”
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