“Nouveau!” the entire Murder of Crows called out. Some took to the air to scan the surrounding area as the Clowder of Cats spread out also searching.
Cawkin stood still as all about him searchers called out to the Rag Man. “The Gypsy Girl,” he turned to Starter. “Did anyone get her name?”
“Yes,” Starter replied. “And you aren’t going to like it I’m afraid.”
Cawkin stepped up to stand in front of Starter. “Is it,” he hesitated, “Runa?”
Starter moved in closer to Cawkin to conceal his voice, “Yes. I recognized her from the air, but—”
“Shit,” Cawkin kicked at the earth with his right foot. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Well—uh—I didn’t think it mattered just then.”
“Mattered? Runa didn’t matter?”
“I found some rags,” a voice called out.
Cawkin stared into Starter’s eyes. “Please tell me that they are not going to where the pond used to be.”
Before Starter could answer a startled collection of voices called out to one another, “Where’d this pond come from?”
“I don’t recall this pond being here before,” someone said from on wing above.
“Nor the river. Look at how blue and clear the pond is.”
Cawkin turned as did Starter and both shouted, “Stay away from the pond.” But it was too late, several had moved to within a few yards of the sparkling yellow sand that surrounded it.
“The ground here is very warm and I hear bells,” the closest crow called to its wing-mates.
“There are rags in the water,” another crow called out.
“And over here on the bank,” another responded.