(Sneak preview...seeking publisher...excerpt...send links to friends...by Daniel J Hay.)
...Smoky grey wisps curled in gentle waves as great wings beat through the clouds with each resting stroke slicing through vaporous layers.
Far below, along the mountain trails, keen eyesight would have noticed a speck in the sky. Only a speck. In dawn’s glow or evening’s dim the speck would seem to be muted hues floating through the clouds. Obviously a bird of prey circling overhead. An active mind would have wondered about how high in the sky the bird was, as it would appear to be far, far, above the highest mountain tops. Most birds of prey would find it hard to stay above such a high mountain peak, but then, most observers wouldn't have been aware of the distance between themselves and the creature just barely in view. More rightly, most viewers, not having keen eyesight, wouldn't even know that Kaliac was above them - the distance so great that human vision would fail.
And then, in the bright of day or the dark of night no human eye would ever discern the wings, talons, or the great feathered tail, as it slithered up and over roiling couds. Each dive pulling apart the vast billowing clouds to drift unseen below.
Kaliac watched the trail through Trader's Pass with some interest. The movements of humans would spook the grazing markhor. Despite being both more massive and more agile than domestic goats the markhor would bound higher and further from the lower grazing trails seeking solitude in their efforts to protect their fawns. Each doe swiftly guided triplets away. The bucks would fan out looking for danger and family groups would disappear up thin winding trails. Elusive creatures. Few hunters saw markhor even though the downy wool, superb hides, and massive spiraling horns were considered valuable. Soft downy fur, pale white and muted amber in individually unique patterns were sought by the wealthy. Sheer crags, deep ravines, plunging trails and finely tuned senses kept the markhor far from most people.
Movement was good. Exposure. Dinner. Suddenly, with speed like lighting, Kaliac plunged. Wings and talons pulled far back he plunged beyond sight of the humans, feathers wind-plastered to face, head, and body. A twitch of tail, and in owlish silence he veered across the face of the mountain and struck with killing momentum. The buck died before realizing he had taken a stance upon a high rock that exposed him to the silent death. No mere mouse; and then they were gone. Kaliac shifted the slight burden to one taloned foot and soared into the clouds before heading home into the far reaches...... (the rest is hidden in the book...)