“It’d be better if I ask how you got here in the first place.” A large black crow flaps out of the leaf-shielded canopy and dives downward, sending a torrent of red pouring from the great crimson tree. The crow lands right in front of him and turns its head. Black beady eyes like volcanic rock stare into him, deeper than he thought a bird could. It opens its mouth as if it might shriek in Gideon’s face with a terrible caw, but instead a calm voice like the one he heard above comes from it. “Depending on who you ask you’ll get a lot of different names for me, but Zachariah is what most call me by and what I prefer to go by.”
Gideon almost couldn’t breathe out a response. “Y-y-you’re a talking bird?”
“Not really, considering that I’m not actually a bird, just someone who can turn into one.” The black crow before him gradually transformed. Black feathers melted and hardened to look like pale flesh and black leather. Those tiny, all-seeing black pebbles became larger and gained the blue of a vast cosmos, with just as much depth in those eyes as one. It grew taller and wider to have several inches on him. Hair sprouted from him like an emerging flower, silver hair stained in ebony. When the creature finished, it no longer looked like an animal, but a human.
He couldn’t have been older than late thirties. Hiding much of his body was a long, black leather coat, but with what could be seen, his body was muscular yet lithe at the same time along with broad shoulders. His eyes were like blue stars, deep and with a distant fire that emits a radiant azure glow that could probably light someone on fire if he stared at them long enough. Beneath his right eye was an odd-looking red tattoo of swirls and lines as if they were tribal markings. There were two faints scars on his face, one on his left cheek that curved downward into an artificial, oblong laugh line and another on his forehead going over his right eye like another crooked eyebrow. In his head of silver hair were patches of black almost like an inkblot test. But above all, the shapeshifter was handsome, handsome like a model rouge with too much experience or a veteran fairytale knight.
Zachariah finally spoke. “Care to explain what you’re doing in my home, Gideon?”
Zachariah smiled at him wryly.
Written by KnightofFellsia on 14 April 2018