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Edition 3: The Raptor and the Lion by Larry Ivkovich

flag USA centuries old battle exists between the Raptors and Lions. But these are the last of their kinds, tired of killing and the stench of death. Can such a powerful spell be broken and their peoples be freed? SY

Drunken Sacrifice

The Raptor Marceeka emerged from the shadows like a giant, demonic bird-of-prey. A long, pointed beak extended beneath glittering eyes; a thin, rangy body stood wrapped in voluminous, leathery wings.

She laughed to herself as she anticipated what the lone umana in the square was thinking. The wings—a cloak, of course; the beak—a long-nosed mask once worn by physicians during the Black Plague and thought to protect against the hideous outbreak. A very early morning Carnevale reveler, no doubt! Yes, even though the yearly festival was six weeks past, it was obvious the umana was drunk and would conjure up anything in his drink-befuddled mind to explain what he thought he was seeing.

Marceeka drifted back into the nighttime shadows cast by the Campanile, the tall bell-tower backlit against the full moon. The Piazza de San Marco was devoid of life at four in the morning. Even the ubiquitous pigeons that haunted every inch of the city were asleep at this hour. The umana, his heavy frame wobbly with drink, moved on, stumbling across the enormous stone-tiled square.

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