(c) Lucy Monroe
The raven flew high above the earth, her keen vision spying five Donegal hunters in the forest below.
The red and black of their plaids peeked through the trees, leaving no doubt to the true number, but she could only hear three of them. Two were silent as they stalked their prey. Even her raven hearing honed sharper than her talons could not detect the sound of their movements.
They had masked their scents as well, showing they had better control of their Chrechte nature than the others. These two Faol of the Chrechte were dangerous.
No wolf could be trusted, but one who mastered his beast was one who must be watched most carefully. He would not be easily taken in by the tricks of the Éan. It was good her raven family had set her to this task. Another, less seasoned fighter, could fail too easily with wolves such as these.
Sabrine had been protecting her people since her fifteenth summer, a long seven years past.
She circled lower, preparing for her landing. This had to look natural, but she did not relish taking human form merely to fall through a few tree branches. She was still a good distance from the men, though closer to the earth when an agonizing pain pierced her left wing.
Her first instinct was to pull her wing to her body, but she forced herself to keep it expanded so she could coast lower rather than spinning out of control. She would not die before saving her people from the wolves’ treachery.
As she neared the earth, she let her raven fall away, taking on her fully human form, just as she had planned to before the foul arrow had pierced her wing. Tree branches scratched at her body as she tumbled toward the ground.
She ignored the minor pain for the larger purpose. She would use the wolves’ thirst for blood against them. Their own actions would make way for her to find welcome in their clan.
As a helpless human female.
Dark amusement rolled through her with the pain of her landing. She grabbed the arrow, broke off the tip, gripped the other side, and yanked it from her arm.
As her world turned black around the edges, she threw the offending weapon as far from her as possible.