They had captured her while she was sick with molt-fever and locked her in a tower. Day and night they demanded she sing, but she would not, could not. Now she had been here for two seasons and it seemed they had tired of her silence. That suited her, for she had finally managed to pry the window open.

She slipped into the thin air, snapping open wings too weak to hold her. Wind caressed her skin, filled her eyes, her lungs, tore her pinion feathers till she left a fluttering trail of black behind her. Straining muscles too long unused, she managed to turn her free fall into a wide spiral.

Even though her wings continued to disintegrate, the pain wasn’t enough to keep her from singing. Liquid notes filled her with light until she glowed from within and left streaks of amethyst and crimson in the air behind her.

The sun burst over the horizon, painting her in golden brilliance. She sang in joy, in thanksgiving. She gave away each breath as a gift.

It wouldn’t last, but it didn’t matter.

She was free.

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