Falcons of Narabedla
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by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Category: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Description: Mike Kenscott is having a really bad vacation. One minute he's camping in the Sierra Mountains with his brother Andy, and the next minute he's on a different world--or in a different time--or both. He's also in a different body. Now he's Adric, Lord of the Crimson Tower, of the Rainbow City of Narabedla. He has to cope with his fellow Narabedlans: the Dreamer Rhys, the mysterious veiled Gamine, the dwarf Idris, his brother Evarin the Toymaker (whose Toys are deadly), and Karamy, the golden witch, who is either his lover or his greatest enemy--with most of both his and Adric's memories gone, he's having trouble knowing what she is. Then there are the people outside the city, led by the man called Narayan. Mike/Adric knows that they are important to him, but he desperately needs to remember why.
eBook Publisher: Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust, 1964
eBookwise Release Date: July 2009
7 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [177 KB]
Reading time: 111-156 min.
I was lying somewhere in the dark I had no awareness of myself as Mike Kenscott; instead my mind was filled with a nightmarish fear and urgency. There was something I had to do, a warning I had to give.... and I was horribly afraid.
I stirred and around me the darkness thinned and grew paler; I could see, dimly, shapes and forms. I rose, with the fluid motion of movement in a dream, passed through a strangely arched door and into a dim-lighted corridor, burning with blue fluorescence. My own breath was loud in the silence, but I heard no footsteps. I knew I must be very still and keep to the edges of the corridors, and at the same time something angry and proud in me told me to walk fearless and unafraid.
The corridor was long, but I felt no fatigue. Twice I passed strange forms, feeling no curiosity about their strange cloaked and muffled shapes; I knew somehow that they could not see me. I paused before a bolted door, and the frightened part of myself stopped, feeling dreamish panic. Then I felt myself raise my hands, making curious gestures. The door slid noiselessly back and I passed through.
The room was dark and empty, with a great window opening on starred night. Here and there around the walls hung strange limp winged forms. Without hesitation I went to the wall and lifted down one of the things....
A cloak? A dead bird? I felt feathers, pinions, limp and lifeless; a curious fear sucked under my breastbone. Some tiny packed-away part of me screamed, What am I doing? But without hesitating, I drew the dark feathered thing over my head....
There was a strange, suspended, timeless moment when I floated, bodiless, a mere point of consciousness in space. Then, fumbling, I found my body again, moving the feet carefully to a low couch; supporting myself with my hands, I lowered myself and lay down. There was a strange pull to my body, an awful tugging as if the essential me was struggling to get out, to free myself from tangled heavy clothes. I knew somehow that I dared not yield yet to this struggle for freedom. Carefully, painfully, I lowered myself to the couch, straightened my body into a careful line, drew a deep breath...
And suddenly I was out and away, rising up with a great flapping of wings, soaring on the rhythmic beat of pinions. My arms--my arms were great wings, and all around me was empty sky and cold fresh winds.
Flying! The oldest dream of mankind--but this was no dream! I could feel the cold sting of the wind, laden with sprinkles of dampness. Dark as it was, my eyes swept down from the dizzy height and saw below me a vast tract of wooded country. Colors were filtered out in the moonlight, but far, far below me I saw a tower rising and the great black yawning window from which I had come.
Nightmarish haste beat at me; I felt my bird-body stretch itself into an arrow-straight line, felt the pinions extend themselves into regular beating. I was flying eastward, over the woodland, seeing below me little roads and pathways, isolated dwellings and farmland, feeling the wind in my face.
It seemed hours that I flew, but I felt no fatigue, and the time seemed strangely telescoped, so that it might have been minutes or days. I passed the woodland, flying over hills and valleys, until at last, far below me, a cluster of tents and dwellings showed like dark shadows in the fading moonlight.
I banked against the breeze, began to fly downward in slow spirals. The freshening breeze in my eyes, the strengthening light, told me that dawn was near, the bird-body seemed tireless, the heart beating as strongly as an insensate machine, but I--the intangible me--felt fear and exhaustion and dread. I knew that the dawn brought danger for me; but I was not sure why.
Down, and down. A red line of light against the horizon crept and strengthened, giving color to the green meadowland below. Now I could see the tents clearly, and the men who were moving around them, coming out into the dawn.
Too late! I cried out and heard my voice a high, eerie falcon-scream; I had been seen. Below me the forms of the men clustered, broke into groups, cried out and pointed upward,
"One of their accursed spies!"