Disclaimer: Surprisingly, any and all characters here do belong to me, though the setting itself does not. That belongs to White Wolf Publishing and the people who own that.


Wounded Bird

An Exalted-based story

By Nathan Huss


"Run little bird... run..."

And Thrush did run. Out of the room, away from the body that had once been his Master, and away from the demon that had slain him. His face displayed no emotion, but terror gripped his heart.

His Master was- had been a Prince of the Earth, a Dragon-Blood. Banished from his home in the Realm, the man had ever since been looking for a way to gain revenge on those that had brought his current status about.

For all his life that he could remember, Thrush had lived with his Master in a place of iron and heat and angles. It had been the only life he had known, but in spite of that (and his Master's speeches of how he had saved Thrush from being killed as a baby by his own mother) he always felt a sensation of discomfort and discontent, though he never voiced such.

"Too slow, little bird. Much too slow. You have to be faster than this, yesssssss...?" The sound of claws harder than metal clacking on the stone floor and dragging across the walls could be heard behind him.

Thrush had never been outside the manse, and indeed would have no idea what to expect beyond the outermost walls. But from years spent cleaning, searching, and performing other tasks in his service he knew every inch of the interior. Concealed passages, hidden doors, small vents, and more were used to try and escape the fiend behind him.

"Clever little bird. You finally make this at least somewhat challenging..."

Aside from those duties, he had assisted his Master in other ways, providing assistance with preparing spells and such, assisting with research, and similar arcane tasks. There were also his Dreams...

Though not often, or regularly, Thrush would Dream of things. Things that his Master said were from the outside world, though distorted and warped by Thrush's unconscious mind. All too often they would be of things his Master could not interpret or use to his advantage, but every so often some morsel of foreknowledge would come up that would send the Prince of the Earth into a fervor of action and plotting.

Thrush had had such a Dream just three nights before, which had given his Master cause to almost immediately make preparations for summoning a demon. This demon, which had...

A taloned hand shot out from a hallway, clipping Thrush across the shoulder. He immediately turned and ran back the other way, clutching a hand to the wound. He made no cry from the pain, nor did he flinch.

He had known that something had gone wrong. His master had been struggling with the demon far longer than he usually would have to. Sitting in a corner of the summoning room, Thrush had lifted the blindfold he was always made to wear when his Master was conducting feats of sorcery. The Dragon-Blood had been sweating heavily, his gaze locked with that of the demon.

The small movement somehow caught his Master's notice. He had looked into Thrush's eyes, and in that moment it was over. A growl, a sudden lunge, and a gout of blood sprang from his Master's chest. As the demon shook the corpse from its claw, it turned to face the young boy. It had spoken four words...

It was no use. Now the demon seemed to be in front of him at every turn, leering maliciously as Thrush would scamper off in a different direction to try and escape it.

Having no other place to go, he ran for the heart of the manse. The demon seemed content to let him do so, as they both knew he was only prolonging his eventual death. He reached the central room after several more minutes and close encounters. Thrush pulled the doors shut and crouched in a far corner away from the door, as he listened to the harsh scraping of the door. A pause, and then the metal hinges shattered as the portal was ripped open. The large crystal chandelier in the center of the ceiling cast an eerie glow across the creatures face.

"So the little bird has run out of room to fly," it said in a sickening voice. "A pity..."

It looked at him from just outside the room. "You did well enough... better than most, little bird... Should I reward you?" Its head twisted about until it was nearly upside down, before righting itself. "Yesssssss... a reward, but at a price." It grinned, showing row upon row of jagged teeth.

"Your eyes... Such interesting things... Give them to me and you shall live. Give me your right eye, and I will leave your arms intact. Give me your left eye, and I will spare your legs. Give me both, and you be left unharmed."

Thrush just tried to wedge himself deeper into the corner, as if he were attempting to sink into the metal and stone.

"Such a deal you will never again find, little bird... Give them to me, or I will take them and kill you anyway. Choose quickly," it said, as it stepped into the room...

"Wake up, young sir. We've arrived," a voice said.

He jolted up, and saw only darkness.

"You all right there?"

"Yes. I am fine. We have reached town, you said?" he asked in a monotone voice.

"Aye, that we have. You only paid enough to go this far, so I'm afraid you'll have to get off 'ere."

He nodded, and reached for his pack beside him.

"You sure you all right? You were mumbling and tossing something awful there. A bad dream, was it?"

"No, not a dream," Blind Thrush said as he hefted his pack. Adjusting the thick silk band covering his upper face, he groped for his staff. "Just memories..."


Author's Notes:

Blind Thrush was the first character I had created in the Exalted setting after purchasing the Player's Guide. He's wasn't meant for actual gameplay, more to just see how things could work out with the various additions and changes.

Somehow, though, he became one of my favorite characters. Since I knew I would never actually use him for anything else, I decided recently to do a story telling what would have been his backstory, as well as what I like to think would have happened to him.

Any who wish to try and guess what he is are free to. There might even be a small prize for guessing right.

In any case, read and review. Next chapter will be done... er... at some point.