Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 38
“The falcon is the symbol of our kingdom, and of our Royal family,” MacGil boomed. “It is a bird of prey, of pride and honor. Yet it is also a bird of skill, of cunning. It is loyal, and fierce, and it soars above all other animals. It is also a sacred creature. It is said that he who owns a falcon is also owned by one. It will guide you on all your ways. It will leave you, but it will always come back. And now, it is yours.”
The falconer stepped forward, placed a heavy, chainmail gauntlet onto Thor’s hand and wrist, then placed the bird on it. Thor felt electrified, having it on his arm. He could hardly move. He was shocked by its weight; it was a struggle just to hold still as the bird fidgeted on his wrist. He felt its talons digging in, though luckily he only felt pressure, as he was protected by the gauntlet. The bird turned, stared right at him, and screeched. Thor felt it looking into his eyes, and he felt a mystical connection to the animal. He just knew it would be with him all his days.
“And what shall you name her?” the King asked, in the thick silence of the room.
Thor racked his brain, which was too frozen to even work.
He tried to think quickly. He summoned in his mind all the names of all the famed warriors of the kingdom. He turned and scanned the walls, and saw a series of plaques with all the names of battles, all the places of the kingdom.
His eyes rested on one particular place. It was a place in the Ring where he had never been, but which he had always heard was a mystical, powerful place. It sounded right to him.
“I shall call her Estopheles,” Thor called out.
“Estopheles!” the crowd echoed, sounding pleased.
The falcon screeched as if in response.
Suddenly, Estopheles flapped her wings and flew up high, all the way to the apex of the cathedral ceiling, and out an open window. Thor watched her go.
“Don’t worry,” the falconer said, “she shall always return to you.”
Thor turned and looked at the King. He had never been given a gift in his life, much less one of this stature. He hardly knew what to say, how to thank him. He was overwhelmed.
“My liege,” he said, lowering his head. “I don’t know how to thank you.”
“You already have,” MacGil said.
The crowd cheered, and the tension in the room was broken. A spirited conversation broke out among the men, and so many knights approached Thor, he hardly knew which way to turn.
“That is Algod, of the Eastern Province,” Reece said, introducing him to one.
“And this is Kamera, of the Low Marshes…. And this, Basikold, of the Northern Forts….”
Soon, the names became a blur. Thor was overwhelmed. He could hardly believe that all these knights wanted to meet him. He had never felt so accepted or honored anytime in his life and he had a feeling that a day like this would never come again. It was the first time in his life he had a feeling of self-worth.
And he could not stop thinking of Estopheles.
As Thor turned every which way, greeting people whose names flowed by, names he could hardly grasp onto, a messenger hurried over, slipping between the knights. He carried a small scroll, which he pressed into Thor’s palm.
Thor rolled it open and read the fine, delicate handwriting:
Meet me in the back courtyard. Behind the gate.
Thor could smell a delicate fragrance emanating from the pink scroll, and was puzzled as he tried to figure out who it was from. It bore no signature.
Reece leaned over, read it over his shoulder, and laughed.
“It seems my sister has taken a fancy to you,” he said, smiling. “I would go if I were you. She hates to be kept waiting.”
Thor felt himself blush.
“The rear courtyard is through those gates. Hurry. She’s known to change her mind quickly.” Reece smiled as he looked at him. “And I’d love to have you in my family.”