richardstorry would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

A Looming of Vultures

By richardstorry All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Adventure


While an ugly war with its neighbouring realm continues to rage, the insulated members of Ruritania’s upper class laugh and dance their way through their superficial lives. Some people, increasingly disillusioned by the pointless conflict, start to consider how the King might be persuaded - or forced - to end it. Meanwhile, an increasing number of items of great value are going missing from those attending these high society gatherings. At whom will the finger of suspicion point? Who can be trusted? With so many competing, yet intertwined, agendas, what will be the outcome of this looming of vultures?


It was completely quiet.

Quiet and still.

High, high up above the clouds, the glorious setting sunlight sparkled and glinted as it reflected and refracted from the nebulous shapes of cumulonimbus calvus and pilius, which appeared to be motionless and poised. Cast in a pink glow from the gradually disappearing celestial orb, these elegant and majestic sentinels faithfully guarded the gateway which separated the earth beneath from the heavens above.

But this apparent lack of movement was an illusion.

The clouds were, in fact, in constant motion, drifting slowly, so slowly as to make their subtle movement almost imperceptible, sailing with serenity through the atmosphere, gradually changing shape, never assuming the same one twice. Gently, so gently, rolling and twisting, following their random yet beautifully crafted pathways, being both unaware of, and unconcerned by, whatever may have been happening down on the surface of an odd little planet called Earth, far, far below.

They neither knew nor cared.

What mattered was to billow, slowly.

Slowly and exquisitely.

This was what they were made to do.


Quiet and still.

Then, without any form of announcement or ceremony, the stillness was suddenly broken, though the quietness remained.

Through a small gap in the clouds glided a lammergeier.

This bearded vulture was a massive bird. Its huge wingspan enabled it to travel for a substantial distance before it was necessary to deploy a single flap. This lion of the skies, with its bright red and orange plumage, had evolved to expend the minimum energy to remain in flight. With wings spread wide, it was happy to go with the flow, and be taken along on the prevailing current of air, whilst all the while watching the ground from its high vantage point, alert to the possibility of any suitable live prey, or the remains of carcasses which may have been left behind by other predators.

Still with the same lack of effort, the great bird slowly began to descend. Little by little, the vast carpet of green gradually distilled into individually discernible treetops. What had been thin grey lines, between indistinguishable irregular squares of land, became dry stone walls, separating verdant meadows.

Now the lammergeier was flying over country lanes and thatched cottages, whose inhabitants were hastily attending to their final chores of the day. They were hurrying now, keen to complete everything before the light vanished altogether, when they would, once again, have only the gentle flames of tallow candles to guide them through the dark hours which lay ahead.

But the bearded vulture, with its large, dark wings and red eyes, did not concern itself with the activities of these simple country folk. It gave barely a second glance to the landmarks in this small village. It glided on, ignoring the picturesque gardens, the tiny church and the hunting lodge on the outskirts of the Great Forest.

Its attention had been arrested by the aroma of barbecuing meat. At first, the smell had been barely detectable, borne on the gentle breeze across the gently undulating landscape, and upwards towards the clouds. However, as this regal feathered creature continued on its effortless way, and once it had soared over the roof of the Chateau von Tarlenheim, it drew nearer to the edge of the capital city, and the fragrant incense of seasoning and spice became much more pronounced.

Typically, the lammergeier would avoid being in close proximity to humans; but, for the last few days, hunting had not yielded the necessary sufficiency and he was now sufficiently ravenous to take a few risks. So it was fortunate for him that his hunger pains coincided with the annual garden party, hosted by the Lord High Chancellor, Erich von Berenstein, in the grounds of the Royal palace of Strelsau.

The starving vulture reached the boundary of the palace gardens and perched on the high brick wall which encircled the stately abode, eyeing keenly the immaculately turned out royal guards, lining the avenue from the main gate to the palace itself.

The delicious smells from the variety of cooked meats were much stronger now. However, hungry as he was, the bearded vulture knew better than to try and obtain his much-needed provender with all those people milling about. Later, though, after they had all gone home and the clearing up operation was in process, then there would be plenty of rich pickings available.

The vulture knew this, and he was patient, with the acquired wisdom of years. He folded his wings and, from his observation post on the wall, he watched.

Watched and waited.

Quiet and still.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

Giuliana Cassetta: My face is full of tears, I never cried like now with a book or even a movie. I loved every single chapter. I truly don't know what to say, I'm out of words and my eyes hurt from crying. Such an bittersweet story, it's so wonderful. One of my favorites for sure. Keep it up!

nikole carr: After starting and stopping several books tonight, this book caught my attention from the very beginning and i stayed up until 6 a.m. to finish reading. The plot has many twists and the sexual scenes keep it interesting, too. im a florida native so the Caribbean location is fun to read about. th...

Erin Crowley: The concept here is really strong, but the execution is definitely lacking. Tenses, grammar, etc are all off, with at least one or more errors per 'Page' on my phone. The writing style is almost broken- sentences move into each other awkwardly, and are filled with an excess of "filler words", lik...

littlebunnypoopoos: Omg this was so amazing! The ending was a little bad and predictable. But otherwise, I need a second book or I'll die :DThe character development was excellent and the whole romance, action, and suspense was superb

NancyRichFoster: This second book of the Anmah Series was as awesome as the first story, I disagree with spare runner. The names were ordinary names with different spellings, which I for one loved. I am now going to read the third book in this amazingly awesome story!

rachelrainford6: This probably has to be one of the best books I've read on here. I read it quite quickly and I'll have to say the story took a turn towards the end that I did not see coming. The topic discussed in this book such as life really gave me a new insight and I realize that it is taken for granted.

dd1226: I love reading about other countries and I think this story about Cambodia after Polpot creates awareness of the tragedy that happened there and the actions of the U.N. to hold elections. The heroine of the story is easy to relate to, a modern, middleaged woman looking for an adventure, wanting t...

Rachel Mc Donald: This was an awesome book a real page turner couldn't put it down . The characters all had a good back story . I love these kind of books and would read it if you decided to write a follow up book . Excellent work

harry142018: This story was gripping and very professionally written. With lots of twists and slight of hand tricks, the author deceives the reader until finally showing their cards at the end. With several subplots all intertwining to create the main plot, this really is an interesting and engaging read.

More Recommendations

kim: This is great! Maybe it could just be a little more specific. One of the keys to great writing is describing things in detail. I think you're off to a great start. I wish you much luck.

Kevin Brand: My overall rating: 4.8/5 starsLoved. Every. Second. Everytime I came back to continue reading I got this overwhelming feeling of getting hooked on the first sentence... Over and over and again!The only things that were missing for me include more descriptions on what happens when Reuben touches s...

rudyoxborough46: An action-packed, mystical adventure awaits anyone wishing to read this novel. I’m amazed at how well you’ve managed to flesh out the characters in this book, and I hope to read more of your work.I’ve read books about goblins and elves and all that mumbo-jumbo before, and most accounts of these c...

aoifecollopy22: I loved how the author had the conflict come back later in the story. Also how they passed time without going over anything. That really helped move the story along. This kept my up for a few hours. YOU SHOULD READ THIS

{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.