Rule of 3 (part 3 of 4)
Here are the original rules at Damyanti’s place. VERY IMPORTANT! There are also links to all of the other writers taking part in this shared world of Renaissance. Hop over there (or to Stuart‘s, Lisa‘s, or J.C. Martin‘s) to see how the other folks are imagining this place.
Here is my part 1: Prince Ivan, the Grey Wolf, and the Firebird
The Water of Death, the Air of Life, and Something Like a Mayor
“What do you mean, bringing these things into my town? Wolves? Giant birds? As the duly elected sheriff, I’m here to clear you out.” The man striding toward them had tall brown boots with jingly metal stars at his heels, a low-slung belt with curious curved metal things hanging from it. Perhaps they were for throwing. A metal brooch in the shape of a circled star hung on his breast, its dull finish bright against his dark clothing.
The grey wolf flattened her ears and felt her hackles rise. “I thought you said he was a mayor,” she growled.
The man Taregh bowed his head in a way that made her want to nip him. “He has just identified himself as such.”
“Unless the word for mayor in Chagatai is the same as the Russian word for sheriff,” asserted Prince Ivan, “then he is a sheriff. A constable,” he added helpfully. It was those oblivious, sincere remarks that endeared him to the not-wolf. “Did he say ‘giant bird’?”
“I’m going to count to three,” said the mayor-sheriff, placing his hand on the curved metal thing at his waist.
“You are on my nest,” said the bird in the cage at the not-wizard’s feet. Although just a moment ago its laugh had been delicate and gentle, its voice was surprisingly harsh, familiar even. The grey wolf swung her gaze down to look at the golden creature. Not only was it no longer quite so golden, but she saw that its head looked nothing like a bird. It sounded familiar because it was like the wolf’s own voice. The simurgh’s head was that of a dog, silver hair, bright ears, sharp teeth. “You are on my nest,” said the bird again, and the wind here in the center of town pushed more strongly at them.
“One,” counted the sheriff-mayor, who was a woman now. The grey wolf hadn’t noticed the change. The person hadn’t thrown herself against the ground the way that the wolf did. That was when the wolf noticed the people of the town gathering in the square. “We’re not going anywhere,” swore the mayor, who was definitely a mayor now, though still a woman, a ceremonial sash across her torso.
“I believe I see,” said Taregh, and bowed his head. “The problem is not you leaving your town. The problem is your town leaving this place. You do not belong on her nest. Not for long, at least. And you are past your time.”
“We like it here!” called a man from the crowd, and the grey wolf recognized him from their passage as the merchant who sold statues of little fat babies with wings. “It doesn’t hurt!”
The wind stung their faces as it picked up speed. “You have trapped a creature of wind and water. That is how you stay here on my nest,” said the firebird-that-was-a-simurgh, who was quite a bit bigger than when the wolf had glanced at her last. She didn’t have time to wonder where the cage had gone.
“Wind and water!” cried the prince to the wolf. “If only you had not swallowed the water of death and the air of life, we could have removed this creature and freed the nest!”
“There is a way,” said the simurgh, which was now as big as the wolf, who was quite large herself.
The wolf’s heart went cold. “No,” she said. “Please.”
“Two,” said the mayor.
“Yes,” said Taregh. “Prince Ivan, you must cut off her head.”
Word Count: 584
Character: The Grey Wolf
Prompt: Betrayal is in the air