SkyFall (Taken on the Wing Book 2)

BOOK: SkyFall (Taken on the Wing Book 2)
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SkyFall

 

By Elizabeth Munro

 

Copyright
©
2014 by Elizabeth Munro

All Rights Reserved

 

No part of this book may be
reproduced, scanned, distributed or stored in any form without the author

s written permission.

 

This is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, incidents and dialogue are either products of the author

s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Any resemblance to actual events or persons living or deceased is entirely
coincidental.

 

Blue Swell Books

Nanaimo, B.C.

Canada

 

First eBook Edition: June 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9919759-0-7

 

www.elizabethmunro.ca

 

By Elizabeth Munro

 

Taken on the Wing

Wingspan

Skyfall

 

The Chronicles of Anna

Deadly Expectations

Deadly Deceptions

Deadly Redemptions

 

Chapter
One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Epilogue

GLOSSARY

 

 

Chapter
One

 

Master Sky crouches in the center of her Memphis sparring chamber. Her lion haunches and taloned forelimbs tense beneath her
powerful wings. Shift-blackened eyes frame the hard curve of her hooked beak.
As she lowers her head, a single, sharp claw draws in and digs a narrow channel
through the dirt floor. Three hundred pounds of muscle, feather and death stare
down the privileged few gathered to challenge her.

A feline growl strains from her feathered
maw.

Cloud

s throat closes at the sight of her
terrifying friend and mentor as she remembers to breathe. She forces a dry
swallow and fills her lungs, trying to find calmness and slow her pounding
heart though it continues to race.
It

s an honour
. Cloud clings to the thought but
instinct screams danger almost loud enough to override her still exterior and
she's sure everyone can hear the pounding in her ears.


Third-years,

Hunter scans the semi-circle of students
and settles his eyes on Cloud.

You will face our mentor,
Master Sky. This is the first of three afternoons we will spend with her and
focus on keeping our asses in one piece."

He adjusts his stance and ties on his
scabbard and dulled training dagger. The surrounding students follow suit,
unified by clicks and cinches in the dim light. As one of Sky

s most advanced students, the young
gryphon earned offers from several eyries to serve in the guard. Cloud suspects
he only remains in Sky

s Memphis Eyrie to torment her
with his attention.

Hunter faces Sky as if he were made to
take on the fully shifted gryphon. In a way, he is, since the infuriating jerk
is her grandson.

Cloud keeps her eyes on him rather than
let Sky

s battle form rattle her. The
other students watch Sky, their soft growls amplified by the rounded stone
ceiling high above. Cloud anticipated today

s lesson as much as anyone but once Sky
shifted and her scent changed, apprehension ravaged her
.


When taking on a fully shifted gryphon,
your priority is survival. All other goals are suicide.

Hunter turns and smiles earning a couple
of nervous snickers because he

s popular even when he isn

t funny. Although this exercise
challenges their psychological strength, many third year students receive near
fatal wounds from even the most experienced and restrained Master. It takes
centuries before a gryphon can shift beyond mere tail and wings on their human
form into a fully-shifted beast armed with talon and claw and protected by a
thick muscled body covered in feathers and fur.

Cloud feels Sky's pure black eyes focus
on her though the absence of surrounding whites offers no clue as to where Sky
looks. Sweat beads on her crawling skin, moistening her homespun clothes. Even
thicker garments offer little protection from the chamber's chill.


Master Sky will slash. She will growl.
She will do everything but kill you.


And she does not promise you won

t be hurt.

His eyes settle on Cloud again and he
winks, appearing oblivious to Sky who makes no sound as she circles around
behind him.

Hunter's stupid sideways grin disarms her
every time.

For a moment, she lets her mental guard
down and smiles in return maybe because he looks so much like his brother. But
he isn

t Soar. That jerk hasn

t spoken a word to her in three years.
Didn

t even say good-bye when she
left for Sky

s mountain.

Hunter sidesteps, just in time to
disappear into Sky

s shadow. The soundless
predator pounces and consumes him in a blur of muscle and feathers.

Bloodlust ripples through the students,
drawing them toward Hunter and Sky in the center sparring ring. Cloud inches
away and eyes the exit then she catches sight of jerk number two.

Soar stands on one of the upper shelves
above the tunnel, arms crossed, and watches his youngest sibling wriggle out
from beneath Sky

s massive body. Hunter jams
his boots into her abdomen and shouts into the darkness as he pushes the giant
gryphon off balance. Sky gracefully braces herself with her wings and
keep
s her beak out of the dirt but
can

t use her sharp talons on him with them
sunk into the ground. Hunter twists up onto his feet and Sky faces him head on.

Hunter

s lips snap back exposing teeth in threat
then straighten in concentration. Sky doesn't give him time to move more than a
foot. The beast's massive haunches twitch her forward and she pivots and stabs
a clawed hind leg to his throat in a flash of sprayed dirt and filtered light
that shouldn't be possible for something so large.


Hunter...

Cloud breathes and her
free hand moves to her own neck. The dirt beneath grabs at her feet and she
stumbles on rubbery knees. She's taken on every challenge thrown at her but
this one has nothing to do with her physical training. Sick fear, a stranger in
her gut, moves in and begins to settle throughout her body.

The few glimpses she gets of Hunter show
him not only embraced in Sky

s talons but using his arms
and legs to stay as close to her as he can. If she gets a hind foot between
them she could rip him in half. Screeches and dust outside the sparring ring
must be as intense within it as the chamber has filled with both.

Hunter's thick, pained voice cries out as
the pair rolls then he digs his wooden dagger under Sky

s massive wing. She shrieks, leans in
Hunter

s direction and drops the
wing, giving him the opportunity to land a well-placed boot on her throat. The
restrained blow shouldn't move her jaw but Sky reacts as if he

d put all his force behind it. Her clawed
hind legs come up in defense and flick him away.

Hunter

s head snaps back into the soft dirt
before he can tuck it sideways and summersault over backwards. He

s as smooth as Soar even when thrown and
comes up in a crouch with his dagger drawn and his eyes on his target.

The three scratches marking his outer
obliques aren't deep enough to be dangerous but each leaves a crimson stain on
the waistband of his trousers.

Cloud doesn

t realize she clutches her own scarred
side until she feels the ridges of thickened skin through her tunic.

On the terrace above, Soar ignores her
and watches Sky shake her feathers and prepare for her next student. His hands
tighten around his biceps in response to Cloud's stare.

She scans the other shelves for her
adopted sire, Master Talon, in the hopes he

s come along but Soar is alone.


Juniper,

Hunter shouts as he stands and points at
Sky
.

Cloud.

She glares to see what the heck he wants
but he tilts his head toward the center of the room and Sky in the main
sparring ring.

Not yet,
she moans.

Memories flow in dark currents around
Cloud's weak knees. A small den lit by a fire. The warmth of home and family
soothes her spirit. A female with dark hair lies prone before her. Her splayed
wings bear the same unremarkable brown as Cloud's own feathers. A word reveals
itself in Cloud's head:
Dame.
Dark
feathered forms snuff out the fire then yield to a black, fully shifted gryphon
pacing the tunnel outside the darkening den, its talons dripping blood. That
female's black wings and fur were rare and she stares at the striding beast.
The scent of an aggravated, fully shifted gryphon will never be forgotten and
her nose twinges.

"Cloud," Hunter motions her
forward.

Growing dust swallows the silver wall
lights as she leaves the relative safety of the chamber's perimeter. Grit coats
her throat and sticks in the layer of sweat between her palm and the handle of
her small, wooden dagger.

Juniper

s cry gets Cloud

s
attention and she whirls, ready to flee whatever danger she

s found but the female rolls to her feet
a dozen paces from Sky. Juniper allows a grin as she stalks forward, enjoying
the thrill of battle. Cloud doesn't feel the lust for combat, only the nearness
of death risen from the depths of her past. She embraced every task put to her,
many in this very room, pushing herself to master every weapon and face every
opponent no matter how obvious the mismatch.

BOOK: SkyFall (Taken on the Wing Book 2)
3.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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