The night was gentle and warm, the kind of night that you can feel on your skin and that feels soft. The air swirled lazy and light across grass and around trees. Night animals conversed amicably and the moon hung heavy and low in the sky. Azazeal flared his nostrils and paused in the moonlight. Still enough that a mouse emerged from her burrow, ignorant of the large paw not two steps from her door. Azazeal flicked his tail and the mouse fled. He was not hunting for his dinner. Dinner he could find when he needed it. He had a more important task.
He half closed his eyes and emptied his mind, falling easily into visions of the future. He watched as he, a large dark and gold tabby, wandered the hills. Wandered past boulders and streams, a badger’s burrow and a lark’s nest. He opened his eyes. He was not close enough yet. The future was rarely an aid to the present, but it had been worth a look. It would be better to rely on his own sight to find his target tonight. Leaping straight onto a nearby rock, he landed and glanced around, plotting his course. None of the night creatures could appreciate his liquid economy of movement, flowing off the boulder up the hill, in easy leaps and bound. Oh, how he missed dance. For just a moment, he indulged himself in the memory of the sun shining on blades whirling around him, of standing straight and tall as a man. Then he twitched his tail and was a cat again.
Faint lights rose over the edge of the next hill. Slowing to an easy walk, Azazeal crested the rise and found his prey. A circle of old stones stood in a ring. Faint lights, what were once called wisps, danced among the dark grey of the stones. Azazeal settled onto his haunches, wrapped his tail around his front feet, and watched the stones. Green eyes wide, he sent his gaze into the future, watched himself enter the circle. The image fractured into segments, the earth falling in, a rain of stars, the flash of blades, a woman’s laugh, a man’s sobs, and a single gemstone in the center of a rose briar.
He’d found him.
While the thief lord is away, some of us still play. I stole this line from Kathryn over at Nine Pages. See what she wrote tomorrow!