Above, in the sky, a falcon circled, calling its challenge to all that could hear. Below, on the earth, a leopard stalked, staring upwards suspiciously. It was as if they were both waiting for something.
Suddenly, as if that signal had been given, the bird dropped like a stone with an ear splitting screech, and the leopard leapt up with a deafening roar. Neither animal seemed affected by the other's sound, for in a split second they had both attacked and returned to haunting their respective domains. Another bout of attack and the beast's claws swiped at the bird, scoring a hit and knocking off more than a few feathers. The bird, though, its dive true, scraped the leopard's back with sharp talons and attacked its flank with a menacing beak. The leopard growled angrily, tossing and turning to try and get a hold on the bird with its teeth. The falcon fell with a screech and flapped back into the air. The cat, though, jumped at the last moment, catching the falcon's tail feathers in its teeth. The falcon screamed, coming to an abrupt halt, wheeling around to try to peck the great cat in the eyes.
Both animals were aware of noises echoing in their ears – all around them and yet only in their minds: the screams of horses, the cries of men, the twang of the bowstring, the clash of steel against steel. Battle noises.
The fight between the two entities raged on. By now, both the bird and the beast were weary, blood-covered by both their own and their enemies. Each animal was panting desperately, but they still fought on, the wild glint of battle present in both beasts' eyes. Occasionally there would be a stalemate, when both animals would freeze, disengage and begin their onslaughts again.
After a time, it seemed that neither animal was winning. The falcon seemed worse off, flying in a lopsided manner and bleeding profusely in at least five places. But the leopard wasn't clean and healed, either. It was limping badly on its back paw, and one of its ears had been almost torn off.
However, after a moment, both beasts came to attack again. The leopard misjudged its leap, landing none too gracefully on its side. The falcon flapped its wings as hard as it could to gain height, then – knowing there was not much time for it to act – came plummeting down towards the leopard's exposed belly.
The end came quickly.
The falcon stood triumphantly over its prey, calling to the barren, blood-streaked land that it had won. It leapt into the air, wings unfurled, head up, and froze.
The banner fluttered in the wind, the emblem of the falcon, wings outstretched; looking as though it was alive and could take off in a moment. The standard bearer gave a shaky salute to his superior and slid down of his horse, trembling with relief and with delayed reaction from the fight.
Somewhere on the battlefield, the man who led the triumphant army gave a cry, which was quickly taken up by the remaining soldiers.
"We are victorious!"