Others, 25

She didn’t feel the cold wind as she flew south, flew home. The wind was always cold, and there was no point in feeling it, so she didn’t bother. She had more important things to worry about than the wind. The wind would always be there, until it wasn’t any longer, and when it wasn’t, Zmnatch’gykldyra’djdzarkyln would have larger problems than nostalgia for a breeze that no longer blew.

This was her territory, hard won. Humans called this region the Cliffs of Angels, but they were called the Blood Cliffs by those who lived in them. Long ago a battle had shaped these cliffs, between two factions of former humans. Zmnatch’gykldyra’djdzarkyln and her offspring had intervened in that fight because it threatened their territory, and had claimed the cliffs as their own after the humans had retreated. Now Zmnatch’gykldyra’djdzarkyln had claim to all these cliffs and the lands beyond, and protected them zealously. Few had dared to impugn on her sovereignty of late.

Others saw her as she flew and she them. She paid them no heed, satisfied that they banked in all directions, eager to be clear of her path. Zmnatch’gykldyra’djdzarkyln had no time for petty challenges and pettier attempts to earn favour, and for the moment, it seemed that her petty challengers and favour-curriers had no time to be beaten.