Now, a bit about my week.
It was a nice week, doing schoolwork, reading books, writing stories, making random and completely useless inventions...my usual week. But to go into more detail...On Monday I finally finished reading Airman by Eoin Colfer, I say finally because I was putting off reading the end because if I read it...it would be finished...there'd be no more...and that'd be rather sad. As you may have guessed I really enjoyed it...you can read my review on Goodreads. But you'll hear more about Airman and the inventing next Monday.
Just after I finished that wonderful book, Clare started reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I hadn't read that yet (although I really wanted to) because I am 'forbidden' to read them before Clare. So when she started reading that book I decided not to wait around for her to finish it and I started 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' because with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets she took ages to read it. And naturally when I start a nice long book, she goes and reads it in one day! (and half the night) Now I have to wait for Myself, how annoying. (Myself should just hurry up and finish Sherlock Holmes so I can read Harry Potter) If only I could read a different book than what Myself is reading...
And speaking of reading I must say I didn't do much of it yesterday (Thursday) as I spent mostly all day writing Dusty Red. I was having difficulty ending it and so this instalment is by far the longest yet. It's 1,908 words including the 3 options, quite a bit longer than my usual one thousand and maybe one hundred. I hope you enjoy it as I'm not planning on doing it again. I might do something nice and long for instalment 100...But that is only happening in 2017 (the fifth of May I think) so I don't think I have to worry about that yet.
And now, before you start reading I'll warn you. There is loads of random fantasy creatures in here. Heaps of them. No, they (Flicks and co.) didn't world travel, but through the passage is a world full of all the magic creatures that used to live in Rocos and the surrounding counties. Now the magic things only venture out occasionally and then generally only the dragons are brave enough to do so.
A tangle of huge tree roots filled the large cavern, forming an underground forest. Along the twisting wood, hundreds of candles flickered, lighting up the web of roots.
Flicks took a slow step inside, looking around the candlelit room, her companions following behind her. The green dragon twitched its tail and leapt off Flicks’ shoulder, flapping its bat like wings. It settled on a tree root several meters away, fixing its orange eyes on Flicks.
Skilf tilted her head to one side. “Do we follow it?” she asked no one in particular.
Flicks shrugged. “We can’t very well go back while the storm is…umm… storming. And we’ve come this far we may as well keep going.” She walked over to the dragon but it took off again, stopping beside a candle set in the twisted roots.
Flicks jumped in surprise and whirled around as the bang echoed through the cavern. The door was shut. Flicks tried to quiet her thumping heart, it was just the door, everything’s fine, just the door. Old Ron walked to the wood and iron door. “There don’t be no ‘andle as I can be seein’,” he said, turning back to the four watching him. “I guess we be goin’’ on.”
Kendal snorted softly, “There’s not much else we can do. I say we shouldn’t have followed the dragon in the first place, but it’s a bit late now.”
Flicks returned her gaze to the Seodín and moved towards it, stepping over a few entwining roots. Old Ron came after her, behind him, Nainsi and Kendal took their places silently. Skilf again took up the rear, only just managing not to measure her length on the ground as she tripped over a protruding root.
The Seodín led them through the tangle to a clear path which they were all thankful for, as face-planting on the rock and clay underfoot wasn’t the most pleasant prospect. On the track the going was much easier and the Seodín, satisfied they were heading in the right direction, settled itself on Flicks’ shoulder once more.
It was only a short time until Flicks emerged from the forest of tree roots and into what seemed like a completely different world.
There was light everywhere, not just from the candles, it appeared to come from no particular place, simply lighting up all around the five travellers. And now they stood among trees, tall trees with vines and creepers spiralling up the trunks. And from the trees came a constant whispering like that of leaves rustling together in a breeze, only the air was perfectly still. Flicks and her companions regarded the strange place they’d entered, wondering vaguely if they’d just world travelled again.
Skilf took a few steps forward, advancing along the trail, her eyes on the trees and plants around her. “This is an odd place,” she murmured, kicking idly at a twig lying on that path.
Instantly the twig leapt up and shrieked, jumping up and down in what looked like a furious anger. Skilf yelped in shock and jumped backwards, landing hard on Flicks’ foot.
“Ow!” Flicks grabbed her foot, hopping on the other, nearly knocking the Seodín from her shoulder. But she stopped quite suddenly when the whisper from the trees became a screech and the leaves and twigs detached themselves from the branches and came hurtling down towards the two foreigners in the center of the path.
Skilf and Flicks had no time to move before the strange creatures reached them. It was like being caught in a whirlwind in autumn, leaves and twigs flew everywhere. Flicks batted them away, but they just kept coming. The dragon on her shoulder wasn’t fairing much better, and it flapped its wings in an attempt to knock the attackers aside. It’s uncertain what would have become of them had it not been for the intervention of the Woodsman.
The first Flicks and Skilf knew of him was a loud voice calling through the clouds of leaves and sticks. “Leafits and Twigins! What do you think you’re doing?”
At that the whirlwind abruptly subsided and Flicks blinked in surprise to find a tall manlike creature standing nearby. He was just as strange a thing as the Leafits and Twigins now standing silently on the ground around Flicks’ feet. He didn’t look like a tree, but more as if he was made up from bunches of sticks and small branches all joined together somehow. His sky blue eyes rested on the crowd scattered around on the dirt path.
“You know you must never do that kind of thing. It is a disgrace to our realm to have visitors welcomed in such a manner. I am ashamed of you all.” the Woodsman admonished.
The small critters hung their leaf and twig like heads in shame, shuffling their tiny feet like disobedient children. One Twigin spoke up in a squeaky voice, “We are disgraced, Master Woodsman.” All the heads nodded in agreement.
Woodsman turned to the Leafits, “And you?”
“As are we, Master Woodsman,” one Leafit replied.
“Very well, return to your trees now,” Woodsman instructed.
The green Leafits and brown Twigins departed quickly and the Woodsman looked at Flicks and Skilf, who stood on the path not a little bemused by the goings on.
“Never mind them,” the Woodsman said. “They do that often.” He clapped his wooden hands together, “But you must be the visitors the Queen is expecting. I shall take you to her immediately.”
“The queen expects us?” Nainsi said. She, Kendal and Ron had been far enough back that they hadn’t been affected by the leaf and twig fight going on in front of them.
Flicks pulled one last stubborn Leafit from her red hair, it shook a tiny fist at her and struggled in her grasp. Flicks released it and the leaf like figure wiggled its pointy ears at her and shot up towards a tree, the Seodín looked as if he considered flying after it but must have decided against it, preferring to stay perched on Flicks’ shoulder.
“Where are we anyway?” Flicks asked the Woodsman curiously. “Are we still in Rocos or…somewhere completely different?”
The Woodsman tilted his head thoughtfully. “We are…under Rocos…we call this place Esueño. I think I shall let the queen explain further.” He turned and began tramping along the path, looking back once or twice to make certain they were following him.
“Does this kind of thing usually happen around here?” Flicks asked Skilf, who was busy avoiding all the fallen sticks and leaves that lay on the path.
“Not as far as I know,” she replied. “This is the weirdest day of my life. I think through the passage it’s, not a different world entirely, but more a different realm. A realm of magic perhaps. Maybe this is where all the magic things live, and they come out every now and then,” she paused. “Although I’ve never seen a Twigin or a Leafit before, just dragons really and the occasional Imp-goblin. Never seen a thing like Woodsman either.”
At this Woodsman turned again, as if hearing his name. He beckoned them to follow and continued on his way. Fairly soon the surrounding forest became more sophisticated looking, with tall lantern like flowers on either side of the widening road and more people hurrying along past.
Flicks noticed that not all of these people were strange creatures, in fact many of them looked like perfectly normal people but for the fact the every one of them had a dragon balanced on his or her shoulder. The other occupants of the road were stranger, Skilf pointed out several Imp-goblins -- short men with leathery skin, pointy ears and a mischievous grin -- and there were other things she couldn’t identify. Flicks almost laughed when she saw a rather funny looking mushroom man strolling along the street, but she sensed it would be a mistake and so smothered her mirth.
It seemed all too soon for Flicks that they were brought to a halt by two guards, both with a dragon companion, standing in front of two large doors of glittering white, with opal coloured swirling engravings around the edge.
“I have the visitors the Queen was expecting,” Woodsman said. He turned and spoke to Flicks, “You will be escorted to see the queen presently. As for me, I must leave you now and return to my duty.” With that he stomped off back the way they’d come.
One of the guards, a brown haired young man with an orange dragon, stepped forward and addressed Flicks, assuming that since Woodsman had spoken to her she must be the leader, “I am Lieutenant Hákon Dragontíre, guard of the Queen of Esueño. I shall escort you to a place where you may await the queen’s bidding.”
Flicks nodded a little uncertainly, “If you say so.”
He turned on his heel and pushed lightly on the doors which swung open silently. Flicks and the others entered the room, staring around them in wonder. The door swung shut silently behind them. The walls of the castle were as white as the main door, and the opal blue was also present in the beautiful swirling designs that wound along the walls, floor and ceiling.
The guard led them to a smaller antechamber. Motioning for them to be seated on the chairs, he walked through a door on the far side, leaving them in silence. Flicks looked at her hands, feeling uncomfortably dirty in such a clean and spotless palace. She began to have doubts, she’d never seen a castle before, let alone spoken to a queen. What if she said something wrong?
The young guard re-entered the room. “The queen is ready to see you. But only the two red-haired ones are permitted, I am to show the rest of you to rooms where you can repose, eat and wait.”
Nainsi, Ron and Kendal all protested at this but the guard was firm. “It is the queen’s order,” He replied to their complaints. Eventually they subsided and the guard led Flicks and Skilf through the door and into the great hall.
The room was styled the same as the entry hall, but for the blue design on the ceiling high above them. It wasn’t a random pattern of swirls but a picture. Flicks could make out a dragon and some kind of bird, perhaps a phoenix. But she brought her mind back to the situation at hand and turned her eyes toward the end of the room, to where the throne was situated. Then something rather strange happened...
Now, your options. And trust me, no matter what some have said, you do make the decision, not me. I simply write the story. (This I say with a look of utmost innocence on my face.)
1. Flicks noticed a small table by the throne, and her attention was caught by a glowing stone resting in a shallow woven basket.
2. Just then there came a flurry of movement and a guard rushed in through a side door and ran to the queen’s side. His voice was urgent as he addressed the queen, “Apologies, my lady. But there is an enemy in the castle. ”
3. Flicks looked at the throne. It was empty. She frowned, but then shrugged, the queen will walk in presently, she told herself. But then the guard stepped forward, staring around the empty room, he turned to Flicks and Skilf, “My apologies ladies. The queen was in here just seconds ago. I’m sure she will be back soon. If you will just excuse me I shall find out the reason for her sudden departure.”
I must say, I quite enjoyed creating thing like the Woodsman, Twigins, Leafits and all the other things. It was rather fun. I hope you had just as much fun reading about them. I await your comments eagerly.
Fare Thee Well.
~ Jane, Misty Maiden
Fare Thee Well.
~ Jane, Misty Maiden