But something is about to happen to Frank. Other beings have their sights set on him, and he is part of much more than he ever had imagined his life to be. First, a curse, then a way out, a way fraught with difficulty and confusion, all a part of his dark past he cannot seem to forget, all part of a future that he has no idea he has.
It was only a glint of gold, a spark of metal in the moonlight; but his keen, yellow eyes saw it instantly. Wrapped in a piece of darkness at the base of The Tree, the flicker of gold would soon be his.
The darkness posed no threat to him. Nor did The Tree, nor the forces of The Tree that were pressing harder now against his chest. His feathered wings still beat calmly, timed to the measured beating of his heart.
The mood had struck him to take this golden thing, and the wind that kept pushing him back had power only to slow him down, not to stop him outright.
The golden box, gripped by the muddy roots of The Tree, became easier to see as he swooped down upon it. The wind was howling into his ears, and it amused him to hear the forces protesting so angrily.
“Little good that will do,” he chuckled.
He grasped the golden object firmly, taking care not to damage its ornamentation with his claws. He lifted himself. He strained his wings against The Tree's tenacious roots. But the box would not budge. He pulled again. Again it remained in the grip of The Tree.
The old tug-of-war,” he said. “You never do let things go very easily, do you?”
He stopped tugging but squeezed his prize more tightly.
“Let me have it,” he ordered.
The wind was whining as he lifted himself again. Slowly, the golden box slid from its wet, wooden snare.
“Careful,” he reminded himself. “These things are delicate. We wouldn't want to break anything so early in the game.”
The wind's whining complaint became a yelping lament, but it was too late. The box was already freed into his iron-fast grip and was swinging below him, its thin gold chains trailing behind him as he flew.
“What mischief you can make with this, I don't know,” he commented to himself. “If you feel like mischief, of course.”
He turned his back to The Tree, to the forces, and to the wind, letting the forest swallow him again. When the mood would strike him, he would continue this game. As for now, he was content with what he held in his claws.
At The Tree, the wind moaned, the voice of the forces screaming sorrow and rage, vengeance and despair, covering the forest with curses and vows.
But the awful sound was only a ruse because the forces were always more careful than that. They preferred to plot and to simmer in the heat of their own collective being.
Moods could strike them, too. They often did.
And they never did let things go easily.