Ok, so this has to be the most random thing I’ve ever written 😀 It’s also a bit long, and I went over my fifteen minute time limit for the writing exercise!
Still, it was fun to write so I thought I’d post it! It was inspired by this picture- http://www.pinterest.com/pin/535858055636581739/
Hope you enjoy it! (It’s an unedited piece, sorry).
Falconry was for men.
That was what Katherine had been told each time she’d taken an interest in it. When her gaze would falter from her needlework to her brothers in the grounds, sending their falcons soaring into the clear blue summer sky, the sun glinting on the birds wingtips, her governess would scold her and yank her back to her more feminine pursuits.
How Katherine wished to be that bird, to be free to fly and glide over the world without any worries. She cared little for the world of Court or of finding a suitable husband.
No, what she wanted was to fly.
One chilly October morning, when everyone was sleeping, Katherine snuck up to the round, stone building where the birds were kept. The roost was a large hut and the magnificent birds fluffed their feathers and cast their sparkling eyes upon her as she entered.
Just once, she told herself, just once she wanted to try.
Grabbing a thick glove from the side, she pulled it on without looking,, grasping a bucket of half rotten rats they used for training with a little difficulty as the large glove kept slipping from her slim hand.
Then to pick a bird.
Glancing over the selection, there were some she’d never seen: falcons with white tipped wings, others with a sheen to their feathers, and even a snow white owl. Her chest tightened at the sight of the birds tethered to their nests, and realised maybe they were as caught as she was.
But that morning she would give one of them a moment’s freedom, before they both returned to their captivity once again.
Katherine took a step towards a delicate falcon which had a collar of lighter brown feathers around its neck, contrasting the dark brown covering the rest of its body. She came to a stop when a shrill call came from her side and a bird ruffled itself, as though it sought her attention on purpose.
When she turned, her eyes widened. It was not a falcon or an owl, but an eagle, one that couldn’t have been native to her lands. Its white head cocked, seeming to examine Katherine, and upon satisfaction of its inspection it straightened itself, fluffing out its strong wings.
The bird was huge, far too large for Katherine to manage on her small arm. Yet, as she turned away, the bird called again, this time more shrill and desperate. Glancing back, the eagle stared at her, its large eyes gleaming in the early sun.
It needed freedom as much as she did.
With the shaking fingers of her un-gloved hand, she untied the bird’s tether, and the eagle stepped onto her arm. She almost buckled beneath the weight of it, having to use both arms to keep it up. When they were both settled, they headed out.
A misty fog clung to the expanse of grassy grounds before them, the early sun spreading through the mist like a golden glow. The eagle gripped tighter to Katherine’s arm, as though excited by the sight, but it did not take off.
Standing beneath the naked branches of a gnarled, old oak tree, Katherine swallowed hard, knowing the trouble she would get into if anyone found out. The eagle shifted its weight, its head turned towards her, the glint in its eyes making her forget her sudden worries.
“Are you ready?” she asked, feeling foolish for speaking to the creature. Yet, it turned its attention back to the dull sky and lowered itself.
Katherine thrust her arms upwards and the giant eagle pushed itself off, its wingspan nearly the size of herself. With three great beats of its wings that made Katherine’s curls scatter over her face, it took off into the grey morning sky, a magnificent sight against the dreary morning skyline.
It circled above Katherine, its head to the wind that sprung up around them, its feathers vibrating against the breeze.
It was a sight she would never forget. She closed her eyes, spreading her arms, and for a moment she was that eagle, wings out and face to the sky with no cares or feelings except the freedom the sky brought. She smiled as the a gust of wind blew over her, her skirt fluttering around her legs, the velvet like feathers against her skin.
The high-pitched cry the eagle gave matched Katherine’s enthusiasm, before a few minutes later it tipped its great body and glided back towards her.
It landed with heavy grace upon her arms and she bounced her knees to take the weight.
The two headed back to the roost and the eagle jumped onto a perch obligingly. Katherine ripped off her glove and threw it on the table, making a couple of the birds squawk in surprise. She turned to leave, a smile on her face and then she halted and turned back.
“Thank you,” she said with a nod of her head. The bird spread its wings, fluffed itself to twice its size and then returned to its original state.
For many years Katherine would remember the moment she and the eagle had shared in freedom, and every time it made her smile.
Kind of random, but still, there you have it! 🙂
*This is a scheduled post and won’t be able to reply to comments or emails until Monday! Have a brilliant weekend everyone 🙂 *