Yeah. Just went and saw Maleficent and it was great.

Magnificent even (haha)

I think everyone's favourite character is Diaval next to Maleficent. Understandably so.

Hope you enjoy this sort-of character study :)

Skin Deep

He feels it, always, the shapes fitted just under his skin.

He's a Raven—always will be, no matter what shape he takes, and it shows when he's bodily other, but he doesn't think his Mistress quite knows how much room a Raven has underneath.

So he's a Raven, was a raven before he was nearly bludgeoned to death, and then he was a sort of Raven-man.

And then he was a Raven-man with a Mistress.

His Mistress's magic has a particular buzz under his feathers, the sudden largeness of man, the ungainly heaviness he feels set in his bones made somewhat bearable, somehow, and soon he's able to shift between when he wills.

He doesn't make the decision himself often, as when he's a Raven in Raven shape he finds he misses the voice to speak, the ever-tactile fingers and thumbs, and when he's a Raven in Man shape he longs for the air, finds the heaviness of this form oppressive.

So he is Raven-shaped when She needs him to be her wings.

He is Man-shaped when She needs him to be a voice more than a listening ear.

But he does not think she knows how much space he has just under his skin.

At Her will he is more than a Raven and more than a Man, at Her will he is many things; a dog the worst of things, a horse only slightly better, and even a dragon—

Oh such a strange sensation, to have his frustrations pour from his maw as flames, to have great leathery wings and the knowledge of flight paired with an even heavier body. Dragons fly half by will and half by magic, as everyone knows, and as She made him into a Raven in Dragon shape it felt as though every feather—scale filled with magic beyond Her own as the whole world followed her Will to Make Him So, and he feels his talons—claws flex on stone, it is almost too much.

He is only a Raven, after all.

His annoyance at being turned into a dog is the grungy, dirty feeling of paws and barking and growling and baying and the thought of how easy it is for those in this shape to steal eggs from nests too low to the ground, how easy it is for those with a mouth like this to crunch wing bones between. He did not like it because he was a Raven and he did not want to feel a dog-shape under his skin.

Horses were interesting in their perspective, his Mistress even larger, somehow, while in this shape.

She is hardly a weight on his back, just a feeling of contact on top and either side, and he can move fast as he can fly, but on the ground, and if he could do more than snort he would urge her to give him size and wings so that he could get them to the castle sooner. No more hills and valleys adding distance, only the required weaves in flight—the feeling he gets under his skin from the horse-shape is at once too large and too small, the smell of grass and hay and manure, the longing for an open field…

But Man nor Dog nor Horse Shape under his skin feels like such a commitment as the Dragon.

It is large and pokey and heavy and sharp and so greedy for possession, for any sort of claim to cling to—

And the link to his Mistress is there, even after he saves Her from her own bludgeoning, even after the net is thrown from her body, even as his debt is paid back in full with his own flames tickling his sides.

The spears and swords are decidedly less ticklish.

As a Dragon he worries for his Mistress, for Aurora, and for a moment he debated changing…

With feathers, he dies. A Raven is a most noble creature (he should know), but in a set off fire and iron and stone he would not be able to help.

As a Do—no. As a Horse, a being of muscle and hooves and fur, this too is a path to death.

He hears a man scream under his fire, the crinkly-gurgling-crunch of an armored man underfoot.

As a Man, he will be killed.

As a Raven, he is Her Eyes and Wings, as a Dog he is a flash of her Fangs, Her Growl, as a Horse he is her Mount, her Speed, and as a Dragon...

As a Dragon he is her Power.

He feels it when Her stolen wings are returned, Her magic within his breast leaping from his mouth in molten flame, but Her magic called the world to Make Things So, and he remains a Dragon for the magic called beneath his skin.

He is a Raven but he is also, to a lesser extent, a Man, a Horse, a Dragon…

And, yes, a Dog, but unless His Mistress wills it, he will never voluntarily wear ones shape for all that it lurks beneath his skin.

He does not think she knows all the shapes that shift underneath. A hint of Himself is in every Shape, from the quills that show under his Man-skin, the feathers in his mane, in his scruff, in the shape of his scales, to the rich darkness of his hair/fur/hide…

The darkness he watched gather round his Mistress is gone, the last of it turning to wisps in the wind with the thorn wall, and he has new duties.

In both Raven and Man-shape, he preens her feathers, takes nearly two decades' worth of dust and cobwebs from Her beautiful wings, and he's her flight companion.

She will always be his Mistress, and he is glad She has not voiced their paid debt as he thinks it would be much harder to justify staying close otherwise.

One day, Aurora finds him to say, "Did you know a flock of Ravens is called an 'Unkindness of Ravens'? I suppose it's a sight better than a 'murder of crows', but I do wonder at their choice of words!"

He smiles as his Mistress laughs and Aurora blushes.

He has his Mistress, and Aurora, and he supposes the Prince-boy figures him for a friend, and sometimes his Mistress catches the looks he gives Her wings and smiles…

He would take his Mistress, kind or not, over an unkindness of ravens any day.

WOO sappy end lines! Hope you enjoyed. Don't think there's much else I could add to this. If anyone has any thoughts, let me know :)

Sorry for grammar and spelling mistakes, this was not edited. I quite literally saw the movie like 3 hours ago (didn't take me this long to write it, I was doing other things), and after this is posted I'm going to bed.

Thanks for the support!