The Curse of 13: a re-telling of the 12 brothers part 10

The siblings spent the first leg of their quest getting as far away from Rabenreich as possible. Their well-meaning parents would have sent out the army as soon as they realized they were missing. If the Princess was found (the brothers being birds provided them with some disguise), she would be imprisoned in the castle for the rest of her life, and there would be no hope of the curse ever being broken.

As they traveled, they spent their time relearning how to communicate. At first, they tried to write short messages with their beaks and talons, but this method had its limitations. This system relied on having ink or soft earth present to write in, and the process was difficult and time consuming. Instead, they devised a series of calls to stand in for important words. A short, single note caw for “Yes”, two for “No”, A long squawl for “Danger!”, and two soft coos for “all clear” or “safe”. In time, a full system of coos and caws was developed to mimic the alphabet, and with practice, Felicie could plan with her brothers without much difficulty.  

“Your original plan was to separate and try to dig-up information in other kingdoms, but that will be difficult now.” Felicie said as they poured over a map a half-day’s walk from the forest’s edge. 

Raol was an unwelcome guest in most kingdoms, which increased the secrecy of his movements. He could be hidden away, supported by a devious duke or an unscrupulous count who wished to use his powers for their own ends, or laying low in disguise, waiting for revenge. No one in Rabenreich had seen a hair or heard a whisper from Raol since Johannes’s ceremony- that is, until Felicie’s birthday. 

Her comment was met with nods of agreement. They were willing to go their own ways as men who had been trained in combat, but they wouldn’t leave their sister’s side as she ventured into the world.

“But we do need information, somewhere we might overhear hints of his whereabouts- so a city, but which one?” 

“Coo, caww, caww, coo. Caww, Caww, Caww. Coo, Caww, Coo. Caww.” Emil answered and peaked gently at a spot on the map.

“Port?” Felicie asked, examining the spot his beak had indented. He nodded excitedly with his brothers, as they quickly picked up on his reasoning.

“Oh, a port! Port Centrum, of course! You’re a genius, Emil!” 

Port Centrum was so named because it was the cornerstone of international trade. Perfectly centered between continents, almost all goods and news came through the port at some point. If there were rumors of Roal, they would be found in Port Centrum. 

“It’s a long way to Mundie,” Felicie said as she carefully rolled the map and packed it in her bag.

“The journey will become even more dangerous once we leave the forest, and I admit that I’m afraid.” She held out her arms and six of her brothers perched there, their presence offering comfort. 

“But, I have my brothers with me.” 

Together, they started on the long road out of the forest and across the continent to the World’s grandest port.

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