To Fly Fast and Free
A Banner Story
By Nicole Robertson

 

Scotland, 1746

The large group of men surged towards the coastline, their way lit only by the light of the full moon. Purely by chance, their path took them within sight of the tiny village of Loch Larrenne. On seeing the village, the atmosphere within the group shifted. The men had already been excited in their pursuit of their quarry, but finding a possible hiding spot heightened their emotions considerably. Without hesitation, they changed course and headed into the village.

Within the hour, the entire village had been turned upside-down as the men searched relentlessly for signs of their quarry. When they found nothing however, the mood turned dark. They began to gather the villagers together in the marketplace in the center of town.

The leader of the men stepped forward and surveyed the scene. His lip curled in contempt as he watched the men comforting their women while the children wailed into their mothers' skirts. In harsh tones, he addressed the frightened people, demanding that they tell him where the fugitives were hiding. When the only response was the denial that the fugitives were there, he turned to his men and nodded.

While the villagers watched in shock and horror, two of the men took up large torches. Their intent was clear. Believing that the fugitives they were seeking were being hidden somewhere in the village, they were going to burn down the houses until they found them! The men of the village began to argue loudly, but they were badly outnumbered and defenseless against the well-armed invaders.

Although Loch Larrenne was only a very small town, its inhabitants were a merry lot, particularly fond of colour and decoration. They took a great deal of pride in their neat little village and had decorated it to reflect their love of all things bright and cheery. The most obvious of all the town's decorations were the large, gaily painted banners of material which hung around the market stalls. Eyeing the banners with a sneer, the leader of the invaders decided that they would make a good lesson to the people and ordered them to be the first things to go. As the torch bearers went to light their torches however, chaos erupted around the marketplace!

A whoosh of wind raced around the stalls and one by one the massive banners were torn free of their fastenings! As they fell on top of the invaders, causing confusion and distraction, a voice cried out to the villagers. "Run!" Without hesitation, the villagers fled past the tangled invaders and away to the safety of the hills behind the village!

Furious at the disruption to his plans, the leader of the invaders tore wildly at the heavy material until he was free of it. He glared around at the marketplace, disgusted with himself and his men when he found it deserted. Before he could begin barking orders however, a whoosh of wind raced right over his head!

The leader looked up and his fury was forgotten in the wave of fear which swept over him as the cause of the wind came to land on the other side of the marketplace in a blur of motion and feathers. As the figure turned, the leader instinctively stepped back, trembling. The figure was not human!

Standing a little over six feet tall, the figure had the lightly muscled and slightly awkward build of a gangly human teenager. He also had a face so handsome that at first the leader was sure he was looking at an angel. The long wings, feathered and shaped like a falcon's, added to that impression, but no angel ever had eyes of glowing green! The long tapered ears and small horns barely visible amid his shock of unruly dark brown hair confirmed, in the leader's mind, the stranger's demonic origins. He stood frozen in fear as the stranger stared at him.

"The ones you seek are not here. Leave this place now. Do no more harm and do not return." The leader blinked at the voice. He had somehow expected it to be deep and gravelly, not young and clear. It made the words no less recognisable as a threat though. Stammering agreement, the leader flinched as the stranger tensed, as though preparing to leap across the marketplace. Suddenly, the stranger leaped into the air, startling the leader so much he jumped back, his legs tangling in the torn banner at his feet. By the time he had righted himself, the stranger was gone. Hurriedly, the leader ordered his men out of the village.

* * *

Later that night

"I do not know what I am going to do with that foolhardy hatchling!" The Chieftain of the Gargoyle Clan of Castle Gryphon stormed from one side of the battlements to the other and then back again before turning abruptly to his fiercest fighter. "What was he doing there anyway? I thought I gave instructions that he was to be confined to the rookery until he came of age!"

The fighter nodded slowly. "You did my chief. But the lad was pining for the open sky. The Rookery Mistress requested that he be allowed a brief flight. I... I could see no harm in it." He winced inwardly at the hesitation in his voice.

"No harm? No harm?" The Chieftain glared at the older male, his voice rising as his anger grew. "That was for me to decide, not you and certainly not her! Am I not the Chieftain of this Clan? Or do you dare to challenge my authority?"

He lowered his head, hating himself for doing so but knowing that there was no other way to placate his volatile Chieftain. "You are the Chieftain. I make no challenge," he confirmed meekly. For a moment there was silence and he thought the danger had passed. But then the Chieftain spoke again, his voice soft and deadly and the fighter's heart sank.

"Nor shall you. By allowing the lad to fly you went against my orders. Had you followed them, he would never have been there and so would not have revealed himself to the humans. By doing so, he has placed us all in grave danger. You are as much to blame and so you shall share his punishment."

The fighter's temper grew beyond his prudence. "There is no danger! The villagers have always known about us and the strangers were so frightened they will never return! Down in the village they are hailing him as a hero! They have even given him a name!" He knew instantly that had been the wrong thing to say. He froze as his Chieftain whirled, eyes blazing like fire.

"Enough! You dare to mention names to me? What good are names to us? They are frivolous things used by humans! We have not used them since our kind first drew life and I will not hear of such things now!" His eyes burned with rage, but there was something else within them also. Something that made the fighter inwardly shake with fear as no enemy had ever given him cause to.

Madness. It had been growing within the Chieftain for some time, but never before had it been so obvious to the fighter. Not for the first time, he feared for the safety and survival of the Clan. But another fear quickly overshadowed that one as the Chieftain continued to rage.

"You and your names, you would have them all named if you had the chance! Oh yes, do not think I do not know! I have heard the whispers, the rumours, about your own name. What is it the humans call you? Oh yes, Warcry! Pitiful! Allowing the humans to name you! You should be ashamed to call yourself part of this Clan! In fact," the madness faded, replaced by calculating thought, "I do not believe this Clan should acknowledge you as part of it any longer." As the fighter gasped in dismay, the Chieftain smiled grimly. "I have put up with you and your insolence long enough! You are no longer one of us! Begone!" Turning, the Chieftain began to stalk away but the fighter was unwilling to leave it there.

"As you wish but what of the lad? Is he also to be banished?"

A cruel smile twisted the Chieftain's lips, making Warcry's blood run cold. "Oh no. He is to remain in the rookery until he comes of age. But this time, he will not fly again until then!" On that triumphant note, he launched himself off the edge of the battlements.

Warcry watched him leave, sorrow and pain mixing with fury on his face. It was not the first time he had been reprimanded, not even the first time he had been banished, but this time, he was not going to give the Chieftain the satisfaction of begging to return to the Clan. He had a different plan this time, but it would require a little preparation. With that thought in mind, Warcry left the battlements and soared away from the castle his once-Clan guarded. He did not look back.

* * *

Two weeks later

He woke to the feel of iron manacles around his wrists and heavy chains holding down his wings. He woke to misery, loneliness and the ache that had been in his chest ever since the Chieftain had ordered him to be chained. It was warm in the roomy underground caverns that served the Clan for their rookery, but still he shivered. He curled himself up as much as possible given his bindings and closed his eyes, knowing that only in sleep could he once again fly free.

He woke a second time to the distant sound of fighting and someone shaking him. Before he could speak, a large hand silenced him and a deep, familiar voice whispered in his ear. "Quiet lad, we are getting you out of here." As joy surged through him, he felt the manacles open and the chains loosen their hold upon him. He tried to get to his feet, but weakness flooded through him and he almost cried out at the pain. It had been so long since he'd last been allowed to move freely. Suddenly, he found himself being lifted in strong arms. Leaning weakly against his rescuer's chest, he almost cried in relief. He was free!

As they moved through the long tunnel that led to the rookery's hidden back door, the sound of fighting grew more distant. He frowned. It seemed to be coming from... He looked up with alarm at his rescuer. "The fighting, is it at the castle?"

His rescuer nodded grimly. "Aye lad. The human Clan Leader has been killed and before this night is out his clan will be forced to leave the castle or join him in death."

The boy was silent for a long time. The tunnel was growing lighter as they neared the exit before he spoke again. "It was the Chieftain was it not?" His rescuer nodded grimly and the boy closed his eyes and sighed heavily. "He really is mad then."

"Aye lad. The madness has been growing within him for some time now, but after tomorrow it will all be over. He does not understand the humans and what drives them." He didn't explain, but then he didn't need to. The boy knew as well as he did that with their Clan Leader dead, the humans would seek vengeance on the Gargoyles.

Although by night, the Gargoyle clan were fierce fighters against whom no human could hope to stand, by day they were defenseless statues of stone, and therefore vulnerable. Although it was supposed to be a secret, when Gargoyles and Humans shared the same castle it was a secret that was never kept for very long. Boy and rescuer both knew this, and they realised that once the sun had risen, the humans would return and would destroy any stone gargoyles they found.

"But surely the others will know the danger? Surely they'll know they have to leave the castle?" The boy's voice was a mix of worry and hope but the rescuer's grim reply took all hope away.

"They know. But they will obey their Chieftain and he will not leave."

Reaching the end of the tunnel, the rescuer carried the boy through the large cave and out onto the moor. A dark figure rose from the ground and the boy started in shock before realisation made him gasp in disbelief.

The Mistress of the Rookery hurried over to the two. She smiled up at the rescuer with a warmth the boy found amazing. She had always seemed so cool and detached to him, but she was anything but as she turned her gaze onto him now. With a gentle smile, she reached out and lightly smoothed his hair out of his eyes. "Oh my dear one, thank the ancients you are safe!" In the distance, there was sudden silence from the castle and she and the rescuer traded a grim look. "Come my dears, we must away. It is no longer safe here."

With the boy still in his arms, the rescuer launched himself off the ground. As he soared into the night, the soft beat of wings behind them told the boy that the Mistress of the Rookery was following. Confused, he looked up at his rescuer. "What is going on? Why is she leaving the rookery?"

The rescuer sighed and a look of pain crossed his face. "Because there is no longer a rookery for her to watch over." He refused to say any more.

They landed a short time later on a ledge outside one of the large caves that the hills behind Loch Larrenne were well known for. Inside, the boy was surprised to see that the cave had been carpeted with soft heather. His rescuer set him down gently as sounds from the ledge outside confirmed that the female had also landed. Moments later, her gentle hands were pushing him down onto the heather and her soft voice, filled with kindness, was telling him to rest. Confused and a little frightened by what his rescuer had said, the boy looked up at her. She smiled and smoothed his hair out of his eyes again.

"Do not be afraid young one. We will be safe here."

"I am not afraid. But he said..." The boy trailed off, not knowing how to speak his mind on this.

"I told him the rookery was no more."

Understanding dawned on her face and her smile became tinged with sorrow. "That is true. But then, it has been true for quite some time now."

The boy frowned. "I do not understand."

The female sat down beside him and sighed softly. "The clan's numbers have been falling over the last thousand years. As the Chieftain's madness grew, it began to affect the clan. He wanted to create a clan of powerful fighters, and over time, his wish became shared by most of the clan as well. As our clan grew in strength and fighting prowess however, the rookery became less and less important to them. For the past five hundred years, any hatchlings, and there have been precious few of them, have been sent away to another rookery at the Chieftain's command."

Seeing the question in the boy's eyes, she smiled and smoothed his hair again. "The night you hatched, something... unusual happened. There was a fierce storm and one of the tunnels began to leak. When I returned from fixing it, I found you had vanished. I searched the entire rookery for you without success. I was frantic, but then I heard shouts coming from outside."

She looked away, her eyes distant as though she was seeing back into the past. "In the height of the storm, you had somehow made it onto the castle roof. One by one, the strongest warriors of the clan tried to reach you, but the winds were simply too strong. They could not get near you. It looked hopeless, although you were laughing as though it was all a game. But then one of the younger warriors tried. He was not as strong as those who had already tried, but he refused to give up. He was nearing the roof, but he was tiring fast. You stopped laughing and then you spread your wings. The next thing we all knew, you were in his arms and he was bringing you safely down to earth once more."

The female looked back down at the boy and smiled gently. "By this time, even the Chieftain had come out to see what was going on. He was furious with me and was not hiding the fact. You wriggled out of the warrior's hold and suddenly you flew across to me. You flew faster than any gargoyle in the clan, despite your age, and when you reached me you turned and glared at the Chieftain! He was furious and I was certain he was going to banish you immediately, but the young warrior who had rescued you spoke up. He pointed out that not only had you shown yourself to be fast, but you had also managed to get up to the roof in the storm, something that even his strongest warriors had not been able to accomplish. Because everyone had seen it, the Chieftain was forced to agree that you would one day make a fine warrior. He agreed that you should stay."

She paused for a moment, then sighed. "Of course, once we were back in the rookery, he gave me different instructions. You were to remain in the rookery at all times until you came of age."

The boy had been following the story closely, but now he gasped. "But, all those times you let me out to fly..."

"I was not supposed to, but I could not bear seeing you so unhappy. I know how much you love to fly. As long as the Chieftain did not know, it did no harm. However..."

The boy closed his eyes in horror as he realised. "I ruined everything didn't I? It was my fault that I got put in chains." Suddenly his eyes sprang open and he turned to her. "What about you? You got into trouble too didn't you?"

The female smiled sadly. "I was told to remain in the rookery at all times, but that was not a real punishment for me since I had been doing that ever since it was first put in my care."

"What aren't you telling me?" the boy demanded. "There's something else, I can see by your eyes." The last he added softly as her eyes filled with tears.

"The Chieftain did not know about the flights because I made sure that I was the only one around whenever you left or returned to the rookery. He would have sent me to the rookery as well, but I angered him. I was banished, but that was my doing, not yours lad." The rescuer knelt down beside the boy and looked him straight in the eyes. "You did no wrong. The Chieftain took a dislike to you, but that was his fault, not yours. Never yours. It was wrong of him to do what he did." Standing, he strode to the cave entrance, his voice floating back into the cave. "But he will do no more harm to you from now on. Even if he survives this day, you will be beyond his control."

The boy looked up at the female. "What does he mean?"

She smiled and brushed his hair off his forehead again. "You will see child. But for now, you must sleep. Dawn is almost upon us."

He was dissatisfied with the response, but there was no time to reply. The first rays of sunlight touched the entrance of the cave and his rescuer moved further into the cave until all three of them were together. In the few moments between when the cave was lit and when all three turned from flesh to stone, the boy had his first real look at his rescuer and was startled by his identity.

As the sun rose over the village of Loch Larrenne, the defeated army headed back to the castle and the statues that waited there. At the same time, in the cave, three more statues waited for the night to fall once more.

The female was one of the rarest kinds of Gargoyle; small, slight and completely human in appearance except for the large feathered wings that grew from between her shoulder blades. Her beautiful face held a look as gentle and serene as though nothing untoward had happened during the preceding night. Even her dress was more human than gargoyle; a simple tattered shift that reached down to her delicate feet.

Beside her, the male made an intriguing comparison, as he was tall and muscular with long wings similar to those of a bird of prey. Although he was one of the human-esque gargoyles, those with human facial features instead of beaks or muzzles, he did have a pair of long, slightly curved horns growing from amid his shoulder length mane of hair. Unlike the female however, the male had the long, clawed feet of many of their kind and he wore a simple leather loincloth with a dirk hanging from his narrow belt. His face was frozen in a slight smile and was slightly turned towards the boy.

The boy's face was caught in a look of shock and astonishment, his eyes wide and mouth open in a silent gasp. He had been frozen at the moment when he had realised the truth about his rescuer. During the female's story, he had dimly recalled the day of his hatching. Although he could not recall his flight up to the roof, he had a vague memory of the male who had flown to fetch him down. The same male who had rescued him that night from the rookery!

* * *

By the time the sun slipped below the horizon once again, the three in the cave were the last of their clan. The warrior's brief reconnaissance confirmed it. There was nothing left of the other except for small piles of broken stone.

His strength regained during the day, the boy stood restlessly at the mouth of the cave, looking out into the night. The other two joined him there. "So, what do we do now?"

"For centuries, there have been tales of a clan across the sea in the land King Arthur once ruled. They say most in the clan have special gifts, not unlike your own, lad. I have heard of one who can call the very stones themselves, and another who is said to have wings of fire. But above all else, it is said that the clan welcomes all who would join them."

The boy looked up at the warrior gazing into the distance with a look of hope in his eyes. He turned and saw the same look in the female's eyes. He smiled.

"That sounds like a good clan to belong to."

* * *

England, three months later

The magicked storm swirled high above the castle, an eye of malevolent grey against the night sky. In the meadow beyond the castle, the Mage responsible for it sneered at the group of Gargoyles approaching him on their powerful wings. He moved one hand gracefully and the winds whipped up around them! They tried, but even their great strength was nothing against the might of the Mage-winds. Exhausted, they were forced to land, but even on the ground, the winds persisted to howl around them, forcing them back towards the castle. The Mage laughed.

Suddenly, a small form surged upward from the castle battlements! The Mage gestured again and frowned when, despite the powerful winds battering him, the young male continued towards the eye of the storm. He made another gesture and the enhanced winds finally proved too much for the brave youngster. With a cry, he began to spiral towards the ground!

A second small figure streaked across the sky, its form no more than a blur as it flew on wings moving impossibly fast. As the Mage watched in astonishment, the second figure swooped down and easily caught the falling Gargoyle before turning and soaring back up to the battlements. Moments later, the second figure soared once more into the sky. This time however, it aimed for the storm.

The Mage sneered and made his gesture. The howling winds buffeted the stranger as he soared unhesitantly towards his goal. Frowning, the Mage repeated his gesture but the stranger flew on as though the winds were nothing more than the gentlest of breezes! For a third time the Mage moved his hand and the winds bellowed out their rage as they whipped around the stranger. For just an instant, the figure slowed and the Mage grinned in triumph. But then the stranger's wings began to beat again, even faster! As he rose towards the eye of the storm, the Mage drew back his hand to cast his spell again.

From behind the Mage, the piercing cry of a bird of prey rose above the storm's great howls. The Mage moved his hand just as a massive form struck him around his waist, knocking him to the ground and into the realm of unconsciousness. But the spell had been cast.

The winds kicked up and the small figure slowed once more until finally it stopped completely and simply hovered in the air, clearly giving it everything it had just to remain aloft! The rapidly beating wings began to slow and the winds began to press it back.

Then a beam of golden light shot from the battlements towards the stranger, cutting through the winds with ease! Upon reaching the stranger, the beam expanded until it was protected within an orb of light. Within the orb, the stranger's wings began to beat faster and it surged upwards, towards the eye of the storm!

A moment before the orb reached the eye, it began to fade, but its task had already been completed. It had kept the winds from the stranger. With one final rush of strength, the small figure reached the storm and hurled the small box it had been carrying directly into the eye! It's strength completely spent, the stranger's wings stopped beating.

As the small figure fell towards the ground, tossed about by the winds like a marionette on a string, the eye of the storm began to glow. As the small figure picked up speed, beams of light began to emerge from within the storm cloud and the winds began to die down. As the storm cloud burst apart with a brilliant flash of light, a second figure soared into the air. By the time the cloud had completely vanished, the small figure was safe and sound in the arms of its rescuer as it was carried back to earth.

* * *

Later that night

Darkskies, leader of the Ravenstone Clan struck his favourite statue pose. On either side of him, his beloved mate, Hazel, and their son, Raven, also struck their poses for the day about to dawn. As Darkskies looked out over the battlements, his eyes wandered to where the three newest members of his clan were preparing for the day's silent vigil. He smiled. They had proven to be a very surprising trio but they were also most welcome.

Without their help, Nargoth the Mage would have destroyed the castle. Darkskies shifted slightly so he was in contact with his son as well as his mate. He knew how close it had been that night. Raven had almost been lost. Despite the enchantment his mother had cast upon his wings, it had not been enough to get past the Mage-winds so he could throw the spell-box into the eye of the storm. For his son's life alone, Darkskies was thankful. For the rest, he could not help but wonder what he had done to be deserving of gaining the trio as part of his clan. A boy with incredible speed, a male with impressive warrior skills and a female who was not only one of the rarest of all Gargoyles, but one with a very special power of her own. One with the legendary power known as the Shield of the Angels was now part of his clan. It had been a good night.

On the other side of the battlements, the three newest members of the clan were also reflecting on the events of that night.

"It feels strange to use names."

The male laughed quietly. "You will soon get used to it. As Darkskies said, you can choose whatever name you wish."

The boy looked up. "So can you two."

"We already have names," the female explained. "They were given to us a long time ago."

"What are they?"

"A human army once knew me as Warcry. It is a name I bear with honour."

"I am named from a time in my past. I am Vigilis."

The boy considered. "I like your names." He looked out into the distance, over the green fields and forests of his new homeland. "I have been trying to think of one for myself, but nothing I come up with seems... right."

Warcry smiled slightly. "Well... there is always the name the humans of Loch Larrenne call you by."

The boy blinked and looked up, awe in his eyes and voice. "They... they named me?"

Warcry nodded and leaned over to whisper the name.

The boy smiled. "I like it."

As the last remnants of night began to flee before the first tentative advances of dawn, Warcry looked down at the two in his care and made his decision. "You know, it is not only the human custom of names that this clan has adopted."

Vigilis nodded, her eyes meeting his before she looked at the boy standing quietly at her side. "Yes, they keep records of family as well. Hazel told me it is because gifts are often passed from parent to child so they decided it was something they should keep watch over."

Warcry hesitated then took a deep breath. "As you were the Mistress of the Rookery..."

The boy turned to the two adults. His eyes gleamed with a look of mischief, which had been showing more and more frequently since they had left their old home. He grinned as he looked at the two he so closely resembled. "Are you trying to tell me that you are my parents by any chance?"

The sun rose.

* * *

Present day

A whoosh of wind raced through the underground caverns of the rookery. Disturbed from her rest, Lannessa looked crossly down from her eyrie. "Gargoyles!" the Harpy muttered, conveniently forgetting that she had chosen one as her mate.

The whoosh of wind raced past the egg chamber, drawing Rory's attention away from the egg he was carefully polishing. He sighed wistfully, envying his friend's freedom when he was stuck with Egg Duty. "Wasn't even my fault. How was I supposed to know the goat would eat Strategy's pants?" he complained to himself as he got back to work.

As the whoosh of wind passed the hatchling's chamber, it slowed slightly to reduce the noise. Although it barely made a sound as it passed, the two adults inside immediately looked at each other and sighed. They quickly finished tucking the hatchlings into their little beds and then hurried out of the cave.

Phoenix sat up in bed. "I wonder what's going on? Do you think it's that mean hunter?" Her gold eyes flashed with excitement.

Amy sat up too. "I don't know. I'll ask Daddy tomorrow. He'll know," she assured her friend.

Flashfire and Flight both sat up as well. "Maybe we should go and see?" Flight suggested.

Flashfire looked down at the alcove beneath hers. "What do you think we should do, Shard?"

Shard groaned and pulled the covers over his head. "No. We should just go to sleep. We'll find out sooner or later." Hearing Phoenix sigh, he added, "It's not the hunter, they would have sounded the alarm if it was."

Content with that, the four Gargoyle hatchlings and one Human child snuggled down in their beds again.

In the small cave that served him as an office, Shamrock had just completed his accounts when a familiar whoosh of wind rushed through the door. Landing lightly on the ground, the cause of the wind quickly burst into speech. "Shamrock, you have to hide me! He's out for blood, preferably mine!"

"What did you do this time?"

"Why do you always assume that I'm guilty? Isn't it just possible that I'm innocent?"

"Because you always are and no it isn't." Shamrock grinned at his young friend, also referred to as the bane of most of the older members of the clan.

"Well anyway, you're the Master of the Rookery and it's your job to protect the innocent hatchlings in your charge. So since I'm in your charge, you have to protect me!"

A burst of laughter came from the doorway. "Since when have you been an 'innocent hatchling'?" Warcry asked with a grin as he leaned against the door.

"Besides which, the only reason you're in my charge is because you get Egg Duty so often you're rarely out of the rookery!" Shamrock added.

"Aha! So you admit I'm in your charge! Good! Now hide me! Quick!"

"You might as well tell us what's happened. You know we'll find out sooner or later." Vigilis leaned against the opposite side of the door from her mate and regarded their son with fond exasperation.

Banner sighed as he looked from his father to his mother to his friend. He sighed again. "Oh all right. I... kind of... borrowed Highland's sporran."

Warcry traded glances with the other two adults. "And?"

Banner shifted uneasily and hesitated. In the distance, a rather loud voice could be heard shouting something. Banner looked towards the sound and swallowed. "And... I... sort of... um... I sort of... er... hoisted it... up the... um... flagpole.

Warcry blinked and looked at Vigilis. "Since when have we had a flagpole?"

Vigilis chuckled softly. "I suspect since our son decided he needed one to hoist Highland's sporran up."

Shamrock shook his head. "Honestly, you two are almost as bad as he is." He managed to hold a serious tone, but one look at his face gave him away. He could barely keep from smiling! Finally regaining control, he looked at his young friend. "All right Banner, so what exactly is the problem? It's not like this is the first time you've done something like this after all."

"No, but it is the first time I've been caught in the act." Banner winced as Highland's annoyed voice echoed through the rookery.

Shamrock sighed and sat down at his desk. He pulled out a piece of paper and began writing on it. Banner regarded him with alarm. "What on earth are you doing?"

"I'm just writing a note to Raven. He'll need to know that I won't be needing any more volunteers for Egg Duty until... oh I'd say at least the next hundred years."

Banner groaned. "I'll go get the egg polish."

 

The End