Moriba, the Lady Raven, Second of the Three Queens of Time, Ruler of the Realm of In-Between, was not inherently evil. Nor was she inherently good, as she had just made evident. No, she belonged to the grey area between the two extremes, where most everything and everyone resides. Perhaps she was on the darker side of this spectrum, but she had been known to do a good deed every so often--a couple of times a century, perhaps. She wasn't evil, not really. Immortality, however, had grown tiresome, and any means of breaking the monotony was more than welcome.
She alighted on a high, bare branch and shuddered the rain from her feathers, preening back the rumpled patch on her wing where the mad blond human boy had managed to grab her. The Lady Raven had not intended to set him lusting after her. She had, in her eagerness to feed, forgotten that the group consisted of three males and that one of them might take interest in her femaleness. It was an unusual lapse on her part, but not entirely unwanted. It made things a bit more interesting, more fun, and that was what she had desired, wasn't it? Anyway, she had only lost a feather in the process. Let him keep it as a calling card. It didn't matter particularly to her.
There was another thing that had occurred for which she had not planned, and that was the possibility that the other human boy, her prey, would have a seizure while she was clamped down on his neck. It had surprised her, nearly enough to cause her to tear through a couple additional blood vessels. She had scarcely managed to hold her position without accidentally killing him. That would have greatly upset the Aechyed, and it had been tempting to let Seoc die so as to feed off of Seymour's heightened grief, but she had given her word that the human boy would live. Moriba was not one to go back on a deal.
After a bit of contemplation, she spread her wings once more and flew away over the denuded treetops, their branches like twisted bones protruding from a decaying flesh of autumn leaves. If her elder sister, Viviane, had the spring and summer, and if her younger sister, Mortua, claimed the winter, then this was Moriba's season. The season of the In-Between , when the darkness crept slowly over the land and the green of life became the red of flames before fading to the ashen hues of death, when the creatures of nightmare emerged from their burrows and barrows to stalk the lengthening night--yes, autumn was hers, and always would be.
She flew back to Waelyngar and alighted on the roof of the citadel tower. She liked the view from up here, and anyway, just as autumn was her season, Waelyngar was her city. In ancient times, it had even been named for her. Anyway, one only had to see the city's exterior beauty and note the horror beneath it in order to notice the parallels. In the more recent past, the people of Magramland, of which Waelyngar was the capital, had taken to calling her Beinnhe Waelyngar, which in their language meant not only "The Waelyngar Woman" but "the Lady of the City of the Weeping Cliff," and with two letters different (Beinnhe Waelengad) it translated to "The Lady Raven," which, coincidentally, was the name by which she was known in Brysail.
It was interesting how such things happened, wasn't it?