Karda Chapter Nine

Altan picked up the heavy pack, carried it to the nest as close as he could get without agitating the babies more than they already were. How could he calm them enough to accept his touch? He'd have to handle them a lot, and it wouldn't be gentle if he were to get them off this narrow mesa. He started singing a song his mother sang when he was little. They watched him; heads cocked at the same angle.

But as soon as he approached the nest they scrambled to the other side, stumbling and climbing over each other. They snapped at him with shrill, agitated cries.

"Ok. I know I’d starve if I had to sing for my soup, but I’m not that bad."

~Keep singing, perhaps it will help calm them. They’ve never seen anything like you,~ spoke Kibrath. ~They are too young to understand when I talk to them, but I'll comfort them as well as I can.~ 

Altan pulled small pieces of the soaked meat and vegetables—which they weren't too sure about—and toss them into the fledgling's mouths, moving a step closer each time. They squabbled and pushed at each other like "me first, me first." He ran out of the soaked morsels and couldn't cut more fast enough. Are they ever going to be satisfied? I don’t think I brought enough. Each toss a little shorter, he coaxed them closer and closer. There was little left when they approached close enough he could touch them over the sides of the nest. They let him scratch their heads, fingers gentle in the soft feathers. They butted against him, knocking the side of the nest trying to get closer, wanting more food. I wonder if they think I am a crippled Karda with no wings and not enough legs.

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Karda, Chapter 7

The dining hall at Toldar Keep was more welcoming than the one in Restal Prime, Marta thought as she looked around. Polished red granite walls, paneled above in rare pale bleached walnut, glowed in the golden light that streamed at a low angle from the tall windows on the far side of the room. A steward lit bronze oil lamps in ornamental brackets on the walls. Several large round tables with chairs stood in no particular order around the room. No head table on a dais separated the "important" from the "unimportant." It was a room designed to make people feel comfortable, not to impress or intimidate as Guardian Roland's hall in Restal had been.

The boy manning the door was as awkward as Marta felt. He blushed as he asked her name, though she knew she was the only Mi'hiru invited for tonight. It was her introduction to Toldar, to Guardian Me'Gerron, and probably at least some of his Councilors. Certainly Altan Me'Gerron, heir and Commander of the Karda Patrol, whom she hadn't met yet. She'd only arrived four days before. They were more prompt to welcome her than had been the case in Restal. She hoped it was indicative of better relations with the Karda. The boy stumbled over his too large feet as he led her to a table at the far side of the room and introduced her.

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