Story the Crow
Story dipped his left wing into the warm afternoon breeze, circling around while he descended to the dry tan grasses below. He saw field rodents run in every direction to get away from him, not realizing he wasn't a hawk. He knew the hawk and did not fear her, however Tesser only tolerated him merely because they flew in the same air above the fields. It was advisable to stay away from Tesser when she was hunting, she could get very grumpy when Story chased the rabbits away. Still, Tesser had nothing to fear from Story or the other crows, because usually they kept to the tree tops and flew low over the fields looking for nuts to break or other tasty morsels.
Some field rodents didn't run, recognizing his shape and darker color. In particular the field elder waited for him below, stolidly standing his ground on two feet. Just a few feet off the ground, Story ended his lazy turn, flew straight then turned sharply on a wingtip and bounced to the ground in a comical parody of grace. This was not his best landing, but it had been a long flight from the beaches.
Reja the gray haired mouse sniffed and wiggled his whiskers. "How fareth thee Story?"
"The winds are light but the flight was long Reja." He dipped his head a little and looked at Reja with one eye and waited patiently. Reja may have been the most intelligent mouse, but he was also bound by his kind's obtuse need for protocol.
"Good to hear thee hast fared well and returned to us with speed. I have awaited thee all day my friend. Art thou thirsty?"
Now Story was freed from protocol. It was a great honor to be called friend by the field mice and anytime Reja used the term, it meant that the ridiculous protocol was done for that conversation. Story wondered if he should be so harsh in condemning the field mouse ways. They had little capacity for thought and this formality allowed them to communicate clearly with other animals when they panicked - if they could manage to remember their protocol when they did. It had apparently served them well for many generations.
Story cocked his head and squawked. "No thank you Reja, I will fly to the stream soon. I bring news Field Elder."
"Speak on then Story." Reja dropped to all fours, then leaned back on his haunches as Story had seen some young field mice do when their elders were about to tell them a tale. In fact, Story did not have a name until he met a mouse one day who bravely asked him for news from the sky. Her children had run far away and Story told her everything he had seen that day as he tried to remember if he had seen her children. They were found close at hand but she was still grateful and from that day on, the field mice named him Story.
"Large wooden leaves carrying the two legs different from the two legs here came to shore. They have shiny things, beautiful things that capture the sun like water but more shiny. They have other things. I am not sure what they are, but they are different. They also bite the trees and make large low tree things out of them. They go in and out of them."
Reja contemplated Story's words and asked, "What art the things they go into and out of?"
"They sleep there Reja. It is like a tree that I sleep in, or a hole in the ground that you and your people sleep in." Story blinked and hopped to face away from Reja, but he was not finished. "I think they are coming here. Some of them walk around and back to their fallen tree houses and then go out again, not going back. They bring the tree biters with them, but they sleep under the trees instead."
Reja got up, "I grow older." This meant he was done and had more important things to do.
"Wait Reja, I think you need to move your kind. They burn and change the ground. If they come, you will be in danger."
"We art always in danger Story, thou knowest this."
"This time it is different."
"Very well, I shalt think on this. I Thank thee my friend."
Story hopped closer to Reja, one leg closely following the other for an uneven bounce and landing. "Have you seen Tesser?"
"I carest not where she flieth." With that, Reja turned and disappeared into the grass, tired from the long conversation with another kind. It was the end of summer and Reja was truly becoming old. He was a winter mouse, a rarer breed among his people as most were born in the Spring. He would die in the summer before most of those born to his generation died in the Fall.
Story sighed. They wouldn't know where Tesser was even if she was close by since she had learned to hide in the sun. He dreaded the thought of talking to her, but with the coming of the men from the wooden leaves on the water, he needed to seek her council. More likely than not, she wouldn't care and merely hunt farther away from the two legs if she felt she was in danger.
He flapped his large wings and lazily ascended into the sky. On the ground he wouldn't know where to find the stream that ran from the mountains that came from the from the clouds, but in the air it was easy to find and fly to. He rose higher than his usual place above the trees to search and kept an eye out for Tesser. Hopefully she wasn't hunting, but usually she was. It didn't matter, he had nothing better to do, the two legs were coming.