My Mate had defied me. She had carried the young miscreants away to safety. I could see her, far above me, carrying the three young ones who I had marked for death. Their rebellion could not be tolerated. My mate knew the Law. She knew what I would do. Yet, she defied me. She and I were far from being young, but were still both strong and vital. The young ones could not yet fly far, so she bore them up, above the clouds, her strong wings straining. She dared to take them far away, but my keen eyes saw her, and I resolutely flew on, gaining on them quickly. As I neared I saw her look back at me, and she released her burden. The young ones fell. I watched her, confused for the moment. These she tried to save were not her own, yet her compassion compelled her to do this thing. And now… now, she assigned them to death by falling to the earth far below. I watched them fall, satisfied that their rebellion against my Authority would soon be answered.
Suddenly, I saw a form dart out of the clouds below. I could tell by her feathers that she was an older matron. She caught the young ones and disappeared into the cloud. I had caught up to my Mate, and our eyes met. “Who is she?”, I demanded. My mate, coasting on the cold air, replied, “She is an old friend. She will see them to safety.” After all the years we had been together, it had come to this. My anger flared, and I drew my short sword. She was gliding on the wind beside me, a look of resignation in her eyes. I reached out with my blade and cut off half of her right wing.
In that instant, as we locked eyes, a look of pain, and yet love, was in her eyes. My Love fell, tumbling, spiraling down, her glossy feathers throwing back glints of the sunshine at me. My heart nearly burst, and I found myself diving after her. I willed myself to gain all the speed I could, and soon caught her in my arms, tears flowing back off my face in the wind. We fell. She looked into my eyes, and smiled a little. Hurt, yet understanding. I held her tightly, and told her that I loved her, as I had always loved her. Over the wind she told me the same. We fell faster, bound together tightly. “We will die together, as we lived together”, I said. She nodded, and kissed me.
The earth rose up to meet us. We were falling into a watery area scattered with small islands. Due to our wind-slippery feathers our death would be quick, even while impacting on water. We clung to each other and closed our eyes.
Water. We were under water.
I felt like my entire body had been slapped by a huge hand, but we were not dead. We were, in fact, not even injured by the impact. I pulled us to the surface and looked to my Love. “What happened?” she whispered. “I don’t know”, I replied, “The only thing I can think of is that the Creator is not through with us yet, and has softened the blow!”
We made our way to shore, where we could dry out and where I could tend to her wound. My Love would never fly again on her own, and I would never leave her side.