“Sir? Are you at home?” Murra asked, peeking inside the front door.
Three sets of beady eyes regarded her from a branch of the oak tree that grew up through the middle of Three Ravens’ home.
The ravens croaked out the words from right to left, just like always.
“May I come in?” She asked.
Cam Pendy’s daughter stepped inside her teacher’s home, and closed the door. Even in the dim light inside Three Ravens’ home, a thousand lights glimmered, reflected from shiny objects, and mirrors, he’d collected over the years. A human being would have described it as being inside a disco ball.
The left-most raven turned to the one in the middle, tapped it on the head with his beak, and vanished. The middle bird, now only one of two, repeated the gesture with the raven on the right, and vanished.
Murra often wondered why there was no grand sound to accompany Three Ravens’ transformations, because she felt there should be something to announce the amazing change from three birds into one, rapier-thin, person. When the silent morphological miracle was complete, Three Ravens stood up, and brushed the dust off his ivory skin.
“To what do I owe a visit from my precocious apprentice today?” His voice had the music and harshness of raven vocalizations.
“You might want to sit down for this, Sir.”
Three Ravens blinked his beady black eyes, cocked his head, and sat on the wooden stool at the base of the tree.
“Am I to take it that your troublesome kin have been troublesome again?”
“That could be an understatement, Sir.” She said, and sat down on the ground in front of his feet. “Etty found a husband, and one of the artifacts. In that order.”
Her mentor sat up perfectly straight and blinked.
“Who is the mate, and what is the object?”
“Her husband is a mortal, named John Frost. The artifact is the Rose Thorn Ring.”
Three Ravens stared at his student, without blinking, not even appearing to breathe, for some minutes. Murra fidgeted, unsure of what to do in the situation. She waited, silently, for some sort of communication, and when it came—he cawed like an angry raven—it startled her so much that she nearly levitated in place.
“Your parents allowed her to marry a human? Have they lost their minds?”
“Well, I’m not sure.” Murra started to feel slightly defensive. “He is a nice person. Truth be told, she didn’t give us any choice. She wed him moments after meeting him: there wasn’t any time.”
Three Ravens stood up on his spindly, white, legs, and paced back and forth across the room.
“Tell your father and mother this: I order them to kill the husband, and bring Etty to me. I say this in my capacity as a full member of the Enhusa. If they refuse, then it falls to you, as my apprentice, to carry out my will.”