To recap, last week you were hired to track down the Westbrook boy, who was probably kidnapped by the Eastbrooks. The man who hired you wants the boy back before the Princes’ birthday, which gives you three days. Since you’re familiar with the Eastbrook castle, you debated whether they would hold the boy in the dungeons or the tower. Now you’ve decided to search the tower first.
Let’s see what happens next:
Shape Changer Option A: Tower
Although the Eastbrooks are haughty, they rarely disrespect a person’s station. It would be beneath them to throw the Westbrook boy in a dungeon and forget about him.
Settled on checking the tower first, you shoulder your pack and hug your cloak tight against your sides. This pulls your pack, with all its weapons and tools, snug against the hollow of your spine.
Wind howls, swirling around you, and the night closes in until even the bellow of the wind is only a muffled murmur in your ears.
The change happens in an instant. To an outside person you blur and emit soft light and then, with no clear outline until the change is complete, the shift gives you feathers and talons in place of your human flesh from a moment before.
To you, it’s fire that melts from your head slowly down your body until it reaches your toes. When it’s finished, you give a screech and launch into the air.
The wind catches under your hawk-like wings and lifts you high.
Most shape changers such as yourself work as assassins or spies. You decided long ago you weren’t thrilled with those two options and so you created a third. You retrieve things for people. Usually stolen items but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes people just drop an item in a lake or over a cliff and, although you’ve never killed someone in your work, the stigma of what you are still frightens people. They only come to you when the situation is dire.
Which works in your favor because by then, they’re usually willing to pay well for whatever item they’ve misplaced.
The usual day trek to the Eastbrook castle is quickly done within a few hours. You circle over the tower as the light of dawn starts to turn the shadows into gray sketches. There are no lights burning in the tower but at this time of day, that doesn’t mean anything.
Finally satisfied that everything is quiet, you land on the windowsill of the highest window in the tower. Bars cover the window, spaced too close together for your hawk’s body to slide between. You peek inside. The room is a small circle with a wedge cut out of the floor for the stairs down. Other than dust, there’s nothing else inside.
You fold your wings tight against your sides and fire melts from your head to your tail feathers.
Now a mouse, you slip between the window’s bars and scamper across the empty room to the stairs. Little puffs of dust, kicked up by your tiny feet, tickle your nose and you pause to give a petite sneeze.
From beyond the door at the bottom of the stairs comes a yowl of interest. There’s a scratching as a cat paws at the door.
You squeak and scamper back up the stairs just as the door down below creaks open.
“What do you hear, Longtail?” asks a deep voice.
You’ve only moments before the cat shoots up the stairs. Changing into a dog would not be a good option. Most dogs don’t sneak into strange rooms to be found later. A cat might, however, have wandered up here for a good nap. Or a smaller bird might have flown through the bars into the room by accident.
Vote in the comments for whichever option you’d like to explore. Next Thursday we’ll see where the popular choice leads you. =)