AN: ok, new story, and it's mostly complete too, which is a first for me. the time setting is a little bit after the Owl trilogy, so expect a few of the characters from that series later on. i'm going to post it in small chapters every few days, so i'd appreciate a few reviews. /grins hopefully\

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of the Heralds of Valdmar Series, or the idea of bondbirds or anything else from that series. But I do own Nightheart, Skyee, Issac and this plot. So there. /sticks out tongue/

She hadn't seen the sun in days. Their captor knew that if they could just get outside of the sealed wagon, they could easily escape. But then, their captor was used to dealing with exotic creatures like themselves. In this caravan alone, there were eight other wagons, a total of nine, with all but one wagon containing a prisoner of their captor's exploits.

The wagon itself was smelly and dank, with just a small window for light, and a thin slit under the door for food. Even with her sensitive eyes, she could barely see anything.

A rustle in the corner drew her attention. It was her bondeagle.

:Skyee? What's wrong?: She Sent.

Skyee ruffled her feathers again. :Am bored. Want hunt. Want fly:

She "heard" the giant eagle sigh, a sigh which she echoed wistfully. Carefully crawling over to her bondmate, she reached out and gently scratched her crest.

:I know, love. I do too.: She raised her eyes to the tiny window, the only source of light they had. :I wish we were back home, in our nest.: The thought of her nest brought tears to her eyes again. That nest was hers. She'd built it on her own, the only help coming from Skyee.

Skyee's mantling gave her a warning, just before the door rattled. Sunlight flared through the door, forcing her to cover her eyes. The blare faded, and their captor stood before them in their prison.

She glared at the large man. "What do you want this time, Issac?" She could feel Skyee's rage, and did her best to hold the large bird back from launching herself at him. Holding her mind was all she could do, however, since Skyee could easily overpower her physically.

Issac smiled behind his beard. "Oh, come now, Nightheart." She cringed at how he drawled her name. "Can't we just be friends? After all, you're a human girl living alone. People will worry that you're not being taken care of." To the unaware person, he would appear to be a genial man, interested in her wellbeing.

Nightheart knew better. He was the ringmaster of a dark circus and his signature was exotic displays. Issac wanted Nightheart and Skyee to become his star attraction. Or so she believed.

"You know better than that." She snarled. "We will never join your pathetic show."

Issac's eyes hardened and his arm twitched toward the whip at his side. He glared at her for a moment, before he closed his eyes and chuckled.

"My dear Nightheart, I'm afraid you seem to be quite confused. As much as I would love for you to be in my show, I fear that you have been spoken for by another."

Nightheart's confusion must have shown on her face, for Issac's chuckles deepened. "No, dearest, something else entirely is you fate."

He turned and walked out. Moments later, two plates of food were pushed through the small gap beneath the door. They were, of course, drugged with a sleeping potion, but that was unavoidable. Unless they wished to starve to death, they had no choice.

Pulling the plates over, she placed the one of raw meat in front of Skyee, and sat back down with her own of cooked meats and vegetables, something she hadn't had since she was a child. As usual, Nightheart shied away from the faint memory. She didn't actually remember what had happened to her as a child, and she was in no rush to recover her memories.

Skyee glared at her reproachfully. :Has sleep stuff again.: Despite her inability to send full sentences, Skyee wasn't stupid. She'd figured out days ago that only some of their meals had the drug, and she could now tell which ones actually had it.

:I'm sorry, dearheart, but there's no other choice.: Nightheart sent back, scratching her chest feathers. :You need the meat to stay healthy.: She didn't enjoy remembering the time when they'd refused to eat for several days, and ended up ill. They intended to escape, but in order to do that, they needed nourishment and energy. And the perfect opportunity.

Skyee heaved a sigh, but bent down to eat her meat. Nightheart did the same. Whatever else he was planning, at least Issac was keeping them well-nourished.

It didn't take long for the drug to kick in, dragging them both down into oblivion.


AN: so what do you think? it's not too bad, if i do say so myself. so, go ahead and click the little button that says "go" /grins/ it'll help me lots. /nods/