Ten Thousand Tiny Hammerblows

The queen of pigeons and the queen of crows are at war.

Oldeye Onefoot, pigeon queen, stumps forward on her withered leg, beads Queen Crow with a rheumy eye. “Ye are charged, and it’s I that charges it, ye are charged with cruelty most cruel and greedliness most greedly. It’s a hard world, O Queen Crow, hard and spiked and twinin, and it’s you who’s made it worse. You!”
Noguff Stonebeak, queen crow, laughs and laughs. “You know nothing of cruelty, my coddled cousin, no, nothing of trouble and trial. We have seen you, all your state, cuddled close together on your statues and your eaves. We have heard you crying in your witchhoards and hazels, a lamenting voice echoing through a kindlier Canaan!” She sneers in the tilt of her scornful head.
Knives out, and circling. They stamp through impatient rain, beat heads against brick and wings against wire. Their many-faced courts look on, or not, as the mood takes them, indifferent to these games of power.