I perched on the branch nearest the entrance to the interior of the great oak. The first part of the storm was
passing and the eye would soon be here. I could already sense fear growing throughout the area. Souls disturbed
by the storm and needing guidance. We would have to move swiftly during the relative calm of the eye to find
them all.

Other members of the clan began exiting the oak, stretching their wings and waiting. Most of us had taken shelter
in the ancient oak growing in the center of the oldest section of the cemetery. The magic that was part of this
place protected the oak and it protected us.

The winds slowed, light filtered through the clouds, and I saw others coming to join us. I trilled, calling everyone
together, and the others, here at the oak, joined the call. Any humans who saw us would probably panic at the
sight of so many of us in one place. They would be right to do so; but not for the reasons they believed.

Humans have long associated us with death—believing if they heard us call three times it meant we were calling
their soul and they would soon die. The truth is, when we issue the spirit call it is because the soul has told us
they will be leaving the mortal body and we are binding ourselves to the soul so we can locate and guide them
across the veil to their next existence. We are not the harbingers of death; we are the guides to the next life. For
those who are not ready to pass through the veil, we guide the souls to safe and protected places until they are
finally ready to pass through or fade away.

The storm finally broke and the eye was on us. As one we took to the air beginning our search. This storm was
one of the strongest to hit the area in many life times and we all felt the pain and fear in the spirits who had been
disturbed. On silent wings we split apart and begin our search of the cemetery. We would first find and assist
those already in our charge. Then we would begin our search for the lost ones—souls who died suddenly and
were not bound to a guardian or guide. Souls unable to pass beyond the veil because of the circumstances of their
death. These were the ones we, and others like us, would be searching for during the days after the storm passed.

Soon the air filled with the spirit call as members of the clan located wandering spirits and lost ones then guided
them to safety. I found myself drawn toward the main building of the Eternal Escapes cemetery. The pain and
fear I felt almost overwhelmed me. I beat my wings furiously, fighting against the strengthening storm winds
desperate to reach the building. I soon had several other members of the clan flying with me.

I could sense a deep darkness, radiating from the building. Unseen by normal eyes. it was something created from
the depths of despair, anger, pain and loneliness. But, in the midst of the darkness there was also a bright soul:
Lieke, the current director of Eternal Escapes. To mortal eyes it only appeared she might have fainted or only laid
down on the carpeted floor of her office. But, to my eyes and sense, her soul was being drawn from her body
toward a shifting smoking form made of darkness. Her soul called out to me. As soon as the spirit call flowed
from my throat I felt the magic shift slightly. Where the song normally wove a thread of power between myself
and the spirit this was more like a net being cast. A blanket, warm and protective to surround the soul and guard
it. A shield to prevent the darkness from continuing to drain Lieke’s soul from her.