Willow set her fork in her lap and balanced the plate on her knees. She leaned forward to inhale the steam wafting off the rosemary garlic chicken before stirring her peas into its bed of rice. She placed a spoonful in her mouth and smiled as the sweet pearls popped between her teeth. But as much as she hungered for food, she truly relished a moment’s peace away from the tournament with its high-collared diplomats and insincere small talk.
Her stomach growled, a reminder that she hadn’t actually eaten all day. She set the fork on the plate and tore the chicken’s leg off with her fingers.
“How ladylike of you.” Bohren appeared to the side, holding a bottle of beer in one hand and his own heaping smorgasboard in the other. A fruit tart teetered between the legs of an entire, stuffed hen. Its sides had been piled high with potatoes topped with crumbled cheese. An ear of corn floated in a puddle of mushrooms and gravy. The edible mountain was topped by a half-eaten beef sandwich.
He placed his plate on the grass and sat down next to her. Willow cringed as he finished the sandwich in three gulps.
“I don’t think you have the right to question Willow’s manners.” Rivek sat down to Willow’s other side. She noticed he didn’t have a plate. Instead, three bloody dormice hung from his fist.
“What are those?” she shrieked.
“Dinner.” Rivek laid the mice on his knee and reached over Willow’s lap to grab Bohren’s bottle. He took a swig and picked up one of corpses by its scruff. Willow cringed as he placed the skull between his teeth. It popped like a pea in his mouth, and he proceeded to suck the juice from its neck.
Bohren took his beer back. “I’m not sharing with you after that.”
Rivek shrugged and swallowed the body. The next mouse he ate whole, cracking the bones between his teeth. He played with the tail that dangled outside his lips.
Unwilling to watch this process a third time, Willow punched Rivek in the arm, launching the last mouse into the grass, “That’s disgusting!”
“Says the girl eating a bird,” Rivek winked before getting up to retrieve his dessert.
Willow whined as he dusted it off on his shirt hem and popped it in his mouth. She closed her eyes until she heard him slurp up its tail.
“Just wait,” Bohren laughed. “It gets better. In a few hours, he’ll vomit up its skeleton.”
- 087/100 Themes.
As a Shifter, Rivek maintains shares certain physical traits between falcon and human forms. Some are useful, such as increased speed and enhanced eyesight. Some are drawbacks, such as a lighter skeleton and inability to build muscle. Others are just weird: like the ability to consume raw meat and cough up pellets later.More Art/Writing Featuring These Characters:
Bohren Tabirian, Willowren Solan, and Rivek Ailinar belong to Grace Fong,