This was nothing new, of course. Jax was dying all the time, and he usually got over it. This time he was dying a little more seriously, though. Multiple bullet wounds in the chest kind of dying. He wasn't handling it well.
'I don't want to d-die like this,' he sputtered through blood-flecked lips. 'I mean, what kind of man brings a gun to a sword-fight? That's cheating!'
Jonathan Phrase's voice came a from a little ways away, outside of Jax's field of view.
'Outrageous,' he said. 'Now stop talking. Hoo! And try to bleed less.'
'I'm dying! I can talk all I want! And shouldn't you be cradling me in your arms, and telling me that I'll be alright?'
'Would you like me to cradle you? Hoo!'
'Not... really. What the hell are you doing over there, dude? What's with the hooting noises?'
'You'll see in a minute. And don't call me dude.'
'I'll call you whatever I want, brah. I'm dying!'
'So you mentioned. Hoo!'
Jax began to speak, but a sudden buzzing filled his ears, and dark, smoke-like spots grew in his vision. 'Heuuurgh,' he said as his brain shut down. The last thing Jax heard, as oblivion closed in, was the flapping of wings.
The first thing Jax heard, as oblivion scampered off, was the snapping of fingers. He made a hooting sort of groan and slowly opened his eyes. Jonathan Phrase was leaning over him, a concerned expression on his weathered face. He snapped his fingers in front of Jax's eyes.
'Did it work?' Jonathan asked. 'Are you in there, kid?'
Jax tried to nod. His head made a bobbing motion. He frowned. 'What,' he began, but cut himself short when it came out 'Whoot'. He frowned again. 'What,' he said in a strange voice, 'Is going on?'
Jonathan straightened up - he seemed very tall - and cleared his throat. 'You're an owl,' he said.
There was a long pause.
'I'm a what?'
There was a longer pause.
'I'm an owl!?' Jax screeched and scrambled to his feet. At least, he would have done so if he wasn't an owl. As it was, he ended up rolling around on the ground in a tangle of feathers, flapping his wings madly and doing owl somersaults while screeching and hooting in outraged panic. 'WHY AM I AN OOOOWL!?'
A feather settled on Jonathan's shoulder, and he casually brushed it off. 'I had to transfer your essence to another living vessel, and an owl was the only thing available. Side effects may include nausea, headaches and a strong desire to eat mice.'
Jax just rolled, flapped and tumbled further into the forest, leaving a trail of feathers and hooted curses in his wake.