I thought it would be nice to post a couple of excerpts from Carol Mayers RAVENWING.
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Ravenwing was escorted through the tent and into the courtyard behind it. She knelt in front of the ring of stones and bunched the dry grass into a tepee shape. She opened the small bag that held the stones. She removed the geode, tiger-eye, and malachite, and set them on the ground beside her. Bob padded up to her and sat down, and his whiskers twitched in anticipation. It was almost as if he knew what happened to Ravenwing when she travelled, and he accompanied her.
“I light my smoke in the manner of the old ones,” she intoned and ceremoniously struck the flint on the pyrite. The sparks hit the grass and began to smoulder immediately. The weak tendril of smoke grew. Ravenwing sat back on her heels, and picked up the tiger-eye with one hand and held the knife in the other. Dramatically she raised her arms as the smoke began to snake around her body. Her head tilted back and her curtain of ebony black hair caressed the ground; her face began to glow with an unearthly aura. The smoke began to curl around her; it wound up her arms and vanished in the air. She could feel herself separate.
Ravenwing looked down and could see Bob still sitting at her side, but looking into the heavens. Mark was sitting on the grass, and she could just make out the figures of the Captain and the tall man just inside the tent. The tall man was more visible now, and Ravenwing could see the long black overcoat he wore and his black beard. His facial features were rough and sharp with piercing eyes.
The knife began to talk to her; it drew her away from the encampment. She floated, letting it direct her. She could view the landscape as it passed beneath her…a large patchwork quilt; rivers, valleys, small towns, and a couple of large cities.
“I travel,” Ravenwing said to those around her in a slightly husky, disembodied voice. “I see towns and cities. I travel over a great river. I am over some army camps, but they are different than this one. The uniforms of the soldiers are a different color. I am crossing another large river now. The knife draws me. The knife wants me to go down. It calls me down into a large building on the riverbank. I travel inside.”
Ravenwing paused, and drew several deep breaths. Mark looked at her anxiously, and the tall man moved restlessly. After a few moments Ravenwing seemed to gather herself and she continued.
“I see a strange thing. I think it is a boat, but not like the canoes of my Indian friends. This boat is hard, like the blade of a knife. It is shaped like a fish with a long nose. It has a small tower on the top, and there are many holes on the sides. There are men talking, so I will go down closer to them so I can hear what they are saying.”
She paused again, and her body shuddered. She was aware of Bob staring up at the sky at her and then he pinned his ears back and hissed.
“The man’s name is Captain Forrest. He is showing the boat…it is named CSS Virginia…to another man, a General…I think. He says that this boat is more than 275 feet long, and over 38 feet wide. She will travel at 9 knots. She will carry rifles, smoothbores, and 2 howitzers. Her hull is 24 inches of oak and pine, and overlaid with layers of iron plating angled to deflect any Union hits. Most important…she has a ram. Captain Forrest is very happy that the Merrimack’s destruction was not carried out properly. The Confederate army now has an ironclad that can destroy the one the North is building.”
Ravenwing stopped, lifted her head and stared straight ahead. She began to breath very fast as if she had ran a great distance. Her eyes widened, and she flung out her arms to fend off an attacker that could only be seen by her. She heard Bob back away from her and howl a mournful call, and she could see Mark searching frantically for something only Ravenwing could see.
“There is someone else here,” she said, her voice quavering. “He sees me. He knows I am here. He is angry…NO!” She screamed, and her body was lifted in the air by unseen hands. She scratched and fought with an invisible enemy. Her breathing was ragged, and she clawed at her neck as if she was being strangled. Huge welts appeared on her arms, and blood ran from a cut on one cheekbone. She was spun in a circle, and thrown to the ground. Her body jerked, as she was being punched and kicked again and again; over and over she rolled.
She could see Mark and Captain Remey stare helplessly…there was no one to defend her against, no one to take up arms against.
Bob, however, could sense her assailant, so hissing and snarling he attacked the intruder, his claws ripped into what seemed like air, but magically blood spurted from unseen wounds.
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