“I have not willingly planted a thorn in another man’s bosom. I shall do nothing through malice. What I deal with is too vast for malice.”
Nut climbs Areth to her highest bough. The crows, all one hundred fifty, assemble below. They, and their mates, are ready to fly the world. Nut looks for Kick. She is near, sitting on Nell’s back. Nut grimaces. Then smiles, waves. Kick gives him a wave. Nell caws. All of Areth comes alive with the call of the crows. Nut nods, raises his arm. He hears the click as the birds close their beaks. He lets his arm fall. Nut feels a blossom of sadness. The crows open their wings. The tree is covered in a swath of black. Then they leap into the blue. And go.