Hawk held Koori’s lifeless body in his arms for
what seemed to be forever. All their hopes and dreams of living the
rest of their lives together, raising healthy children and even being
grandparents gone in a matter of minutes. Hawk kept his head against
Koori’s neck, hoping futilely that somehow she would come back from the
After a long while, it became cruelly real to Hawk
that Koori was indeed dead. Her body was already becoming icy cold
to the touch. He would soon be forced to take Koori’s body back
for burial in the Valley of Eagles to lie beside her parents and the rest
of their flock. Gently gathering up her body, Hawk made his way out
of the old mystic’s cave.
Before Hawk left, the Llamajuna placed a hand on
Hawk’s arm. “I am sorry for your loss. You must understand
that the spark of Koori’s existence was about to leave her body just as
she entered my cave. The flesh of her body was already beyond my
power to help and I was cradling her spirit as it strained to leave this
existence. Koori was living in spirit and realized that her
continued existence would only be an illusion. She knew that she
would never be as she once was. To be able to run with you, Hawk,
fly with you, hold you in her arms or bear your children.”
With tears in his eyes, Hawk placed his head
against Koori’s and said to the Llamajuna. “Living in spirit,
she and I would be together, but also apart. Koori would not have
wanted me to suffer through the rest of my life with that fate. I
understand that now.”
“You are right in that both of you would have
suffered,” said the Llamajuna sadly.
“You took away her pain in her last moments.”
With a tear stained face, Hawk said to the Llamajuna at the cave’s
entrance. “Thank you for trying to save her, Elder.”
The old man could only bow his head as he could
see Hawk’s intense grief in his face. Standing to one side, the
mystic let Hawk pass and watched the last of the bird people of Throm
leave his cave with his mate’s body wrapped in her cloak.
Buck had been sitting on a rock, waiting, praying
and hoping that they had gotten Koori help in time. He had gone back
inside just in time to hear Koori speak her last words to Hawk before
going limp in his arms and saw the birdman put his head against her chest
and watched only a minute as Hawk began sobbing heartbrokenly.
Leaving Hawk to be alone with his grief, Buck quietly turned around and
Glancing up from where he was sitting, Buck saw
Hawk coming down the path to the mystic’s cave with Koori in his arms.
The limp way her head lay against Hawk’s shoulder told Buck that all
their combined efforts had been in vain. He had hoped Koori would
survive her wound, but it was not to be. She had lost too much
blood to live. Buck realized right then and there that he had seen
Koori die in Hawk’s arms.
“Hawk …,” began Buck.
“She died in my arms, human, if that satisfies
you!” Hawk snarled at Buck as he went past, not seeing the look of pain
in Buck’s face as the human quietly offered up a prayer to whoever was
listening that Koori’s soul would be allowed to rest in peace.
Buck wisely kept his mouth shut. It was
clear that any offer of consolation from him would not be welcomed by
Hawk, and could very easily result in him getting either a punch in the
face or worse. The look on Hawk’s face clearly showed that he and
Koori had shared a deep and profound love and the loss of that was
heartbreaking to see.
As he watched Hawk gently carried his beloved mate
away from him, Buck felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to see the
Llamajuna standing beside him. The old man followed Hawk with his
eyes as the birdman walked away from the cave and then turned his
attention back to Buck.
“You must go after him. You and him have
unfinished business,” said the elder quietly.
“I know, Llamajuna. I just wish that we
could have gotten Koori medical attention in time. I am partly to
blame for what happened to her,” replied Buck.
“You had no foreknowledge that the talons of
Hawk’s ship would pierce the hull of your ship and that Koori would be
injured as a result. You must not blame yourself for the events that
you could not know would happen,” softly said the Llamajuna as Buck
turned to him in surprise.
“How did you …?” asked a stunned Buck.
“I have many ways of knowing things,”
explained the Llamajuna. “You must understand that Koori’s body
was already beyond my power to help. I was cradling her spirit
as it strained to leave this existence just long enough for her to make
the decision whether to continue as she was or leave this world behind.
Koori chose to leave Hawk rather than continue an existence that would not
allow her to be as she once was. For her to continue to be in this
world, she would exist in a state of illusion that would have only brought
sorrow for both of them.”
“Llamajuna, if we had gotten medical attention
for Koori a day sooner, would she have lived?” Buck asked softly.
“That is a question that only the universe
itself can answer. All that I know is that when it is one’s time to
leave this existence, there is nothing that can be done to prevent one’s
passing. Be comforted in that it was an honorable thing for you to
do you to at least tried to save her,” replied the Llamajuna.
“I understand now. Thank you, Llamajuna,” Buck sadly replied.