Title: A Murder of Crows Author: Jasmyne "Shion" Johnson

In the Castle of Black Bird, by the Never-Ending Forest, King Night and Queen Gale lived. They had ten daughters and six sons, all of different ages. One daughter, named Moon, was very depressed. She wanted to roam about, but princesses aren't aloud to leave the castle walls until they are ready to wed, and Moon was only twelve. Her arranged husband was a boy from a castle far, far away, and she did not like him very much.

Soon Moon thought of a plan, ever so great and very dangerous. That very night she packed fur, claws and scales in a sack and ran from the castle. She went to the Never-Ending Forest, her beautiful pink dress getting muddy as she ran. The castle had no guards in the back, since only fools go near the Never-Ending Forest. It wouldn't be until morning that the King and Queen would find her gone, and they would not dare go into the forest to find her.

Once in the forest, a crow came down to her. "I am Caw, are you from the castle?" The crow asked. Moon nodded, and Caw offered to guide her to a safe spot in the forest, if she could give him three items. Moon agreed. "First I need the Truth Stone." Caw said. Moon was perplexed, having no idea where the stone was, or even what it looked like. Then the shivering fox came up to her.

"I have the stone." He said quivering, he handed her a beautiful blue stone. Moon was overjoyed, and thanked the fox with the nice warm fur she had. "Thank you, I am no longer shivering!" The fox trotted away proudly. Caw took the stone and lead Moon into the forest. A ways in, he asked for the Gem of Wisdom. With that, Moon was again puzzled.

But the Soft-Paw Bear overheard Caw, and came up to Moon. "I have the gem." He said, handing her the green gem. Moon was once again delighted, and thanked the bear with sharp claws. "Thank you!" The bear exclaimed. "I am no longer simply soft-pawed!"

Caw took the gem and led Moon much further until she was very tired. Then he stopped and asked for the Staff of Hope. The naked snake slithered into the conversation, the purple staff in his jaw. He placed it down before Moon.

"You can have the staff," The snake said, "But I too want a gift."

So Moon gave the snake her scales.

"Ah, thank you very much! I no longer am naked!" The snake hissed, then slithered away. Moon gave Caw the staff and he led her much further. Moon was very, very tired now. But up ahead was a small clearing.

"Here it is!" Caw exclaimed. "The middle of the Never-Ending forest!"

Moon gasped, seeing eyes all around her. Caw flew up to sit with the other crows, the gem and stone in his beak and the staff in his claws. All of the crows swooped in on Moon, who screamed as they began to eat her flesh from her bones.

When she was nothing but a scratched skeleton, Caw took the marrow from her bones, the Stone of Truth, the Gem of Wisdom and the Staff of Hope and recreated her.

After awhile the crows began to nibble at her again, and slowly she etched away once more. As they pecked at her, the moon in the sky slowly faded from view, until it was gone. Then it would come back, again, slowly. Moon still lives in the Never-Ending forest, her parents never able to find her. Though she is forced to stay in the forest as the crow's forever feast, she is happy.

She can play with the animals, as long as she stays near the clearing, and she can tell great stories to the crows. She remains twelve, not aging a day since she was first eaten.