Days 96-97-98

“A river?” Silverskin mused aloud. He had gone pale from overexerting himself and his long pointed ears drooped.

“Worse than a river,” Digitalis tsked. “There’s a gorge. If we keep going, we’ll fall right in.”

“But they’re still sniffing our backs,” Silverskin replied. He grit his teeth and blinked his eyes rapidly as if he had temporarily lost his sight.

“You can’t fly us, Silverskin. Remember? You said you’re not that powerful yet,” Gabbie said. She held onto his arm with both hands.

“I can give it all my might. Kind of like a running leap. I can’t back out, either. If we stop, we’re Bull Fist fodder.”

“Then take off your packs. We need to lighten ourselves up as much as we can if we want to do this.” Digitalis fumbled around and dropped the pack full of provisions and medical gear from sub-queen Faeley. Gabbie followed her example and flung off her pack before realizing that she had just thrown away a Fire Gem. She inwardly cursed. That could have been extremely useful. Regardless, without the burden of so much weight, Silverskin was able to speed up considerably.

“Here we go!” The elf boy screamed.

Gabbie closed her eyes, not necessarily keen on watching if they did end up plummeting down into the gorge and straight down to the churning river. She felt Silverskin tighten his muscles as they flew over the gorge. She squeezed her face onto his shoulder, and felt the ground smash against her right side. A rock stoped her from skidding farther. Gabbie knew that the impact must have broken a couple of ribs. She felt the instant pain constrict her chest and restrict her breathing.

“Did it,” Silverskin moaned.

“Cool beans,” Digitalis dryly said.

Gabbie opened her eyes. She saw that they had indeed crossed the gorge. Silverskin sported a gash along his face that stretched from his forehead to his chin. It bled freely and dripped into a puddle below. Digitalis was treated the same way as Gabbie. Blood soaked through her tunic on her left side and she tenderly held her chest as if touch alone would heal the injury.

Behind the three were the remaining Bull Fists. At least five or six of them did not see the gorge or were too focused on capturing them because the beasts had fallen headfirst to their demise. Gabbie heard their screams and the inevitable splash so far below.

“Yeah! Take that!” Gabbie yelled.

“Exactly, you ugly, chapped buggers!” Digitalis joined in.

“Shouldn’t…antagonize them,” Silverskin moaned. It was clear that there would be no more soaring in the foreseeable future. The elf boy had dark circles under his eyes and he appeared skeletal as if using his magic so extensively had drained his strength and the substance from his body. He pointed to something behind Gabbie. “There’s…there’s a.” He couldn’t finish. He laid down his head and closed his eyes, immediately falling asleep.

“A BRIDGE!” Digitalis yelled.

“You mean we could have used,” Gabbie started before she put two and two together. She turned and saw that the Bull Fists had done the math with her. They clambered the ten or so feet it took to reach the poorly built wooden bridge held together with frayed rope. “No. No, no, no!” Gabbie scrambled around her belt and got to her feet. Her ribs ached with a merciless fervor, but she put that pain aside. She retrieved the throwing knives she kept in her pockets and tossed one to Digitalis.

“Take this. Help me!” Gabbie didn’t have to explain her plan. Digitalis caught the knives and clambered over with the girl. They arrived at the bridge the same time as the Bull Fists. The bridge itself was precarious. There were no rail guards and it looked like one wrong move or a sudden gust of wind would spell out the demise of the crosser. The Bull Fists were fully aware of the danger. They tentatively filed onto the bridge, taking their time. Gabbie took to sawing at one of the ropes that kept the bridge in place. Digitalis focused on the other.

It was a race against time.

“Cut, cut, cut!” Gabbie told her knife. Her blade was made to stick into her enemy’s flesh, not to saw. She had to do this with what she had, and all she had were the knives. The first Bull Fist made its way to the middle of the bridge. It had a good fifteen more feet to cross. Gabbie tasted the salt from her sweat as she licked her lips. She shouldn’t think about the Bull Fists. She had to cut. Cut. CUT! Her blade tore through a bundle of the woven rope, and then another. Just…a few…more.

Digitalis cut entirely through her side. Three of the Bull Fists at the very back fell from the sudden lack of support. The last two had the foresight to hold onto the side of the bridge to keep from joining their falling comrades. The beasts snarled and doubled their speed. Faster and faster still until they were just a couple feet away.

“YES!” Gabbie screamed as her rope finally was cleaved in two. The Bull Fist behind the first howled as the bridge disappeared from beneath its large fist. It careened down.

“Not. Yet.” The remaining Bull Fist hissed. It kept and caught the crumbly ground’s edge.

Gabbie let out a primal yell and flung herself at the beast. She angled her throwing knife at the tender joints between Bull Fist’s knuckles. The girl plunged her blade over and over into the beast’s flesh, hitting the bones and vessels repeatedly. Digitalis followed and attacked the other hand. Brown, sticky blood caked their fingers and blades and yet they persisted. If they stopped, they would die.

The Bull Fist relented and let go of the cliff. It fell and Gabbie watched it until the very end. The river ate the Bull Fist like the beast would have eaten them, and all Gabbie could feel was and horrifying nothingness. She couldn’t cry or think. She just stared at the water.

“Gabbie.” Digitalis held out her arms. Gabbie thought that Digitalis looked even more pretty than usual. The Bull Fist’s brown blood spattered along the Lived Being’s cheeks and hands made her bronze skin seethe with a hidden, coursing energy. Gabbie wanted thought that her eyes sparkled like gems, but scrapped the idea. She scoffed at the eye-being-gem-description in the fantasy books she read before. Maybe her eyes looked like comfort. Greens and browns and the shades of the world cast into the darkness of night. Gabbie let herself be hugged by the Lived Being. She felt Digitalis’s soothing warmth envelope her as the Lived Being rubbed small circles along the girl’s back.

“Feeling a little better?” Digitalis asked. Her voice cracked and she cleared her throat to ask again. “Better?”

“As much as I can.”

“We should check on the elfling. He overextended his power, the fool.” She parted from Gabbie and wiped something off of the girl’s face with the pad of her thumb. “And we were saved because of his overconfidence.”

They used each other as support as they hobbled over to the sleeping figure ahead. Neither of them noticed that their skin began to knit together. The blood upon Silverskin’s face no longer covered split skin. The ribs broken, sealed back. The injuries, taken away.

Ginger ignored the tingling sensation on her right shoulder that usually meant Gabbie was in trouble. Ginger never used to have this odd sixth sense back on Earth. She was told time and time against that twins knew what the other was thinking. If one felt pain, the other did, too. They made up languages. They did everything together. They were inseparable, or in the rarer case, driven mad by each other. Ginger once read about twins who had become insane from feeding off of one another’s negative feelings. The women both climbed onto a highway and jumped in front oncoming traffic. They did survive, but, well…stuff happened after that that gave Ginger the willies.

She never wanted to be bound to someone so completely like she was expected to do with Gabbie. Sure, she loved her sister and brother. She’d even love the new the baby her parents were planning on adopting next spring. Ginger did not want to be tied down, and being a twin made her feelings complicated.

Now that she was in Soielle, there was an undeniable magic that bound her completely to her twin. At first, there were drops of unfamiliar emotions sprinkled within Ginger’s mind. They splashed her back in the Kitsune Wood, but the more time went on, there more the gentle sprinkle became a raging rainstorm. She could feel when Gabbie felt angry. She could feel when Gabbie was tired. She could feel everything about Gabbie. Ginger couldn’t feel who she was underneath the torrent of the ocean of Gabbie.

The best she could do was attempt to ignore everything, even if that meant ignoring herself. That was until the sub-queen of Rockestel bent down and whispered something into her ear, changing absolutely everything.

“Well, this is nice,” Ginger said. She gripped her throwing knives tight, unable to make a move. “I like being trapped.” Ten or so Bull Fists had at last caught up with them. Instead of popping them into their mouths for a salty snack, they formed a formidable circle. Somewhere in the back of Ginger’s head, she could feel that Gabbie was terrified. That she was unconsciously calling for help. Ginger shook her head, clearing the clutter away.

“Why haven’t they done anything?” Alastair said.

“They’re waiting for commands.” Tipper scanned the waiting Bull Fists.

“You’re quite intuitive,” someone said from behind the wall of beasts. “Too bad she doesn’t want you.” The Bull Fists parted. The woman in her ratty yellow dress sauntered in.

“Did she say something?” Tipper glared at the woman with distrust.

“Yeah. She said your brilliance is wasted,” Ginger said.

“Ah, ah!” The woman swooned. She held merrily held her hands together and twirled. Her soiled dress, patched and embroider with dull green flowers on its edges, swirled around her bony legs. The woman was tall and gangly. Taller than Tipper with Perceval on his shoulders. Her straw-like hair was tied into a low ponytail and was the color of the sky at dawn. She had only one eye. Just one. It was set in the middle of her face where her nose should have been. The iris was aquamarine with flecks of dark purple, and her pupil was a hazy red. Her mouth was normal, or as normal as it could be. Her lips were full and a sweet shade of pink. Really, she would have been pretty if she had not just set Bull Fists onto them.

“You really are humans! Oh yes, my dears, I thought I smelled you!”

“How?” Ginger asked before she could stop herself.

“How what, lovely?” The woman’s voice was as tender and as kind as a school teacher’s. She sounded like she cared. Like she was a mother.

“How can you smell us? You don’t have a nose.”

“Ginger,” Alastair hissed.

“Oh no. Oh, no, no, no, dear child. I do not mind.” The woman walked closer to Ginger. The girl could smell the rot of roses invading her senses and forced herself not to cover her nose. “I can smell your magic. Not through traditional means. Ha ha! Ah, no.” Her tone lowered and Gabbie felt chills scatter down her arms and back. “I can smell your weak human bodies through my skin. I can taste you. Your, power. Your, magic. You’d all be mine. Mine and my children’s if she had not ordered your capture.”

“Alright, I don’t know what she’s saying, but it’s not good.” Tipper put his body between the woman and Ginger. “You leave these kids alone before I roast you to a crisp.”
“Child of the Kitsune Woodssss…” The woman mused. “Oh, how I used to feast on your kind’s flesh. Soft and buttery. Aaah. How I miss being young. Taking what I wanted. Eating the human warlocks and those with magic crafts.” The woman wrapped her arms around her shoulders as if she were cold. “But then he forced us into this, this valley. Nothing but scraps. Nothing but what we’re given.” She spat on the ground. “I am Malefa! The Bull Fist matron!”

“So, That didn’t sound like she was going to leave us alone with a pat on our backs,” Tipper concluded.

“No!” Ginger and Alastair said as one.

“What do you want to do with us?” Ginger asked.

“Aaaah, yes! I will take you to her.” Malefa nodded triumphantly. “And I will let my children consume your non-human friends. They aren’t needed.”

“Can you stop with the pronoun game? Who is ‘she?’ And who was ‘he?’”

“Never-you-mind. What use would such information be for prisoners and food?”

“Fine. I got what I needed to know.” Ginger nudged Alastair hard with an elbow. “Do it.”

Alastair furrowed his brows. That all he did. Ginger did see anything else happen. Alastair furrowed his brows and everything else besides Alastair, Tipper, and her, stopped. So this was why Ginger felt Gabbie’s confusion when the Lake God was freed. She understood now.

“I think your pocket is what’s helping you,” Ginger pointed out.

“Really?” Alastair dug around and pulled out his silver watch. It glowed an endearing pure silver, and for reason, that glow made Ginger hungry.

“I saw your pocket glowing and thought that must be it.”

“Cool,” Alastair held the watch tighter. “Go get the monsters, now. I don’t really know how long this stop-time-thing can last.”

Ginger got straight to work. She quickly aimed and threw her knives at the closest Bull Fist. Her two knives landed and snug tight into the beast’s eyes. She had six knives left and used all of them on three more Bull Fists.

Tipper, lacking a substantial weapon, settled for conjuring his black flames and letting the Bull Fists roast. He took out four in total with his diligence.

Alastair hesitantly unsheathed his sword. The Bull Fists were too tall to reach with his weapon, and so all he could do was slash and hack at the last two’s knuckles, If he could hobble them enough so that they could no longer walk when they woke up, he’d make it easier for the other two to fight the beasts.

Malefa watched. She was completely frozen. Her arms were locked tight. Her knees sewn together. She could do absolutely nothing from her side of time. All that could be done was witness the destruction of her brood and her own impending death.

“We have to kill her, too!” Ginger barked when all of the Bull Fists were incapacitated or killed.

“No, we shouldn’t,” Alastair argued. He pointed at Malefa. “She may have tried to capture us, but she’s unarmed. The Bull Fists were weapons in themselves. Malefa has nothing.”

“Remember when you tried to help her before? Whoops, turns out she was the mastermind behind herding us all along. Now we’re separated from the others who for all we know might be dead!” Her voice cracked on the word, dead. “We have to take out Malefa now!”

“We don’t have to kill her,” Tipper offered. “Just a tap on the back of the head. She’ll be out for a few hours.”

“And then she’ll come after us again. We’d be putting everyone in danger.”

“Valid point, dear one.”

“Thank you.” Ginger took a moment and then groaned.

“After what you’ve done to my children,” a very in time Malefa snarled, “I would hunt you all to the ends of Soielle. Never mind orders! I’ll tear your puny fingers off one by one, then your hands, then your arms, and feet, and legs. When I have you down to stumps, I’ll stick you onto a spit and eat you alive one bite after the other, up from your bellies to your chests, to her nose. I want your last sight to be me as I consume you all.”

“That’s mighty pleasant,” Ginger sniffed. “How are you going to do that? If you haven’t noticed, we have swords, knives, and fire. Your just have your hands.” Ginger knew that mentally poking and upsetting Malefa was dangerous, but she had to know what she was dealing with. Malefa just wore a dress. There were no weapons along the belt at her waist. Nothing woven through her silken hair. How could Malefa have so much bravado?

“Ginger, I can’t use the watch! I’m out of watch mojo!” Alastair pointed at the silver watch dangling on its sparkling chain. “I also feel whoozy. Please poke less.”

“Whoops…”

“I think I may enjoy gnawing on your bones for the next month or two!” Malefa threw back her head and laughed. Her laughter attacked her entire body. Her rib cage cracked and expanded. Her long, spindly arms grew and expanded. The soft grays of her skin thickened into large plated scales. Three spiraling bone horns grew out of the crest of her forehead, growing as long as Ginger’s right arm. Her bottom jaw dropped down and clicked into an underbite. Fangs the size of cat tails scissored out from Malefa’s mouth, and her eerie grin at last matched her newly formed oversized fists. Malefa was at least four sizes larger than just one of her children.

“Now that you’re out of tricks you should be easy pickings,” Malefa somehow said between her crooked teeth.

“We aren’t out of tricks!” Shouted Alastair. “We can always…RUN!”

Tipper, Ginger, and Alastair ran past the fallen Bull Fists and did not dare to look back. Malefa roared with the pleasure of the hunt.

“The lady just lost eight, no, ten of her kids and she’s having fun running after us?’ Ginger panted. “How many more kids does she have where that many didn’t shake her?”

“I don’t like thinking about that while running for my life,” Tipper answered.

Day 64


“So, there’s hallways on the inside?” Gabbie asked. These hallways were different from the one Sannier took the party through.

“Yeah. Everything is way up here. There’s only two ways in and out of Rockestel. The outcropping where you guys met me, and then the one in the back.”

“Why’s that?”

“Rockestel was built a long, long, looong time ago. There were a lot of wars and stuff, and so my people built Rockestel to keep intruders out. If intruders did somehow get into the moutain, they still wouldn’t be able to get up to our houses. Only rock elves have the power to move the rocks.”

“Woah, woah, woah. First, there are more than one type of elf?”

“Huh? You didn’t know? There a whole bunch of elves. Water, fire, air, electric, yadda, yadda. There’s not many, but there’s enough.”

“Oh, right.” Gabbie laughed, trying to cover up her ignorance. “And, are you going to take us down with that huge rock like your mom?”

“Err,” Silverskin flinched. “I kind of can’t do that.”

“Why?”

“I’m…I’m half rock elf. Rock and air.” Silverskin shrugged. “That’s why I look different from my mom. The people here like to remind me of that all the time.” There was something akin to pain stitched into the elf’s admission. He wouldn’t meet Gabbie’s eyes.

“What do they say to you?” Gabbie asked. There was a sudden flare of protectiveness that sparked from within her chest. Sure, Silverskin was a little bothersome, but she could see now that he only was protecting himself.

“They say that I’m ugly. That I deserve to fall off the mountain.”

“Have you told your mom?”

“No.I don’t want to trouble her. She’s the pinky finger to the sub-queen.” He lifted his own pinky finger and wiggled it. “And I’m the pinky toe of the mountain.”

“I say you’re more of the heart of the mountain.”

“Why’d you say that?”

“You’re still here. You’re strong enough not to let those terrible people bully you out of existence. I think you’re going to become someone powerful Silverskin. I really do!”

Silverskin scratched the back of his head, suddenly shy.

“T-Thanks. If you…really think so.”

“Plus, if you’re half air elf, can you do some tricks with the air?”

“Yeah!” Silverskin brightened. “Let me show you!” He coordinated his hands in a series of movements Gabbie couldn’t quite catch. Soon, both children were lifted into the air. Gabbie felt as though two strong arms constructed from solid flesh had picked her up, but she couldn’t see anyone behind her. Silverskin smirked when he saw Gabbie’s excitement. “Let me take us to the deerne pens!” He pointed down the hallway and in a deep squeak called out, “Charge!”

The two flew down the hallways. They passed a few elves on the way. They either shook their heads in disappointment and laughed. Gabbie didn’t care. She was practically flying! They rocketed down three flights of stairs until Silverskin’s magic blinked out. Gabbie settled back onto her feet. She felt a little woozy from the sudden reunion with the mountain floor, but she didn’t let that show. Silverskin unlocked a door set with wooden bars.

“Here’s the our way down.” Silverskin opened the doors wide. Gabbie saw not a room, but a stage. There were squares of yellow-red grass waving from a breeze. The ceiling resembled the sky outside-dark and balmy. Huddled together in pairs were animals nipping at the grass in chunks. They didn’t look like they knew they were being held inside of a mountain. Gabbie would have been fairly fooled herself she didn’t already know where she was.

“These guys are deerne?”

Days 61, 62, and 63


Hi! I didn’t have my computer with me this weekend, but I still wrote down my 500 words. So, here’s a special three in one update. I hope you enjoy reading!

“Don’t upset our guests, boy,” Sannier warned her son.

“I think a gaggle of batals are way more scary than you!” Gabbie uncharacteristically stuck out her tongue.

“How about we not aggravate the people who can levitate giant rocks?” Ginger told her sister. She calmly followed Silverskin, her head held up high.

“I’m not,” Gabbie stuttered. She rubbed her face furiously and shook her head. Alastair patted her on the back and smiled.

“You’re fine, Gabbie. Come on. We don’t want to hold up Sannier. I don’t know how rock lifting goes, but I think it might be pretty difficult to keep up.”

“Oh! I didn’t think about that.” Gabbie turned to the matronly elf. “I’m sorry!” She scuttled off and was directly followed by the rest of the party. Glue Pot and Adriei were the last to take a deep, calming breath and cross over the the sturdy household ledge.

Sannier gracefully jumped onto the edge, landing on her toes, and gently dropped her hands. The rock elevator descended with ease to the very bottom of the mountain floor back to its original leveled setting. She brushed her hands together with a satisfied smirk.

“Pop right in. I’ll make a batch of stew and fetch something cold to drink. I’ll have you all rest before you meet with sub-queen Faeley. You’ll need your wits about you for that encounter.”

True to her word, Sannier went about her elaborate kitchen like a clumsy puppy attempting to make a stew. After Silverskin watched with a pinch of pent up amusement, he joined his mother in their endeavor to whip up an edible meal. Alastair and Lila decided to combine their knowledge of food, all thanks to their father’s weekly lessons, and together, a delicious meal bloomed.

“Whew, thank you all. I’m not usually the one to make our meals,” Sannier admitted.

“I make the food here,” SIlverskin said. He puffed out his chest with pride.

“Good for you,” Gabbie said under her breath.

“What?” Silverskin deflated.

“It’s nothing, right dear sister?” Ginger eyed her twin.

“Yeah. Nothing.”

The twins helped dole out the stew and drinks. Digitalis grabbed utensils. The rest of the group sat around a low standing table. Silverskin set out gray, soft pillows for his guests to kneel on. He eyed Glue Pot, disappeared from the rather comfortable living room, and came back with a fluffy yellow blanket.

“Oh, thank you, young man.” Glue Pot adjusted the blanket and then kneeled on his stalky legs.

Alastair looked around the table. There were so many different faces he wouldn’t have imagined he could have dreamt of. A man with fox ears, a pretty girl with pointed ears, a fox with four eyes, two guards with bright white hair, to elves, and a centaur. Despite this, Alastair, his sister, and his friends were the ones who stuck out the most. He lifted a spoonful of stew to his lips and let the food nourish him. He closed his eyes, content for just this moment.

The room was larger than he thought it would be from within a mountain’s insides. The rock had been polished and cleaned where everything was reflected with perfect clarity. There were floating specks of rocks at the ceiling, swirling around in an image resembling a map. Alastair smiled and looked at the floor. There were pieces of rocks there, too. They swirled around the table and the guests like energetic pets. Sannier explained to her guests that the rocks were bespelled by sub-queen Faeley to aid with each family living in Rockestel. Alastair smiled. Those rocks would have been helpful if they could have done his homework for him.

“Thank you so much for your hospitality,” Tipper said once he finished his meal.

“Oh, no need. Soielle has become a dangerous place. We have to look out for one another.” Sannier clapped her hands. The rocks shuddered as if they had been struck with a bolt of electricity. Then they trundled over to the dinning taxable to clear the plates and cups. “Now, I don’t have enough room for all of you. You’ll have to do with sleeping on the floor. Rockitts, please get more blankets for our guests.” She waved her hand at a cluster of rocks that had yet to move. They shuddered again like they were nodding, and flitted around the corner of the living room.

“This is where we’ll take our leave,” Agile said. They stood up and brushed off their pants. “We need to report to sub-queen Faeley.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Sannier.” Adriei waved to the remaining group. “Pleasure meeting all of you. Will see you later.”

The Rockitts returned with comfy blankets by the time the two Royal Guards left through the back door. Alastair caught a glimpse of the hallways that ran deep within the mountain’s heart. The hall looked like the beginning of an ant maze. The image of an ant maze flashed behind the boy’s mind when he eventually fell asleep from beneath a comfy yellow blanket.

Gabbie stared from behind her blanket cocoon. She watched as her friends fell into a deep, exhausted slumber. Coming to Soielle had been an amazing dream come true, and so sleeping in this brand new world was becoming more and more difficult. There was an imitation sun in a mountain with scattering rock maids dancing on the ceiling. There was a race of elves living in rocky caves high above sea level, as if they were floating. There were crazy, lethal bat camels, a wacky forest covered with blue fog, and humongous trees with palaces built right into them. Why would she sleep?

Gabbie smelled the coppery scent of the rocks encircled around them, and she sighed in content. Truth be told, Gabbie did not see why the others wanted to go back to Earth, palace where magic was cast through electricity and apps. So mundane, and so monochrome.

“Hey. You still awake?” Came a familiar and annoying voice.

“Yes,” Gabbie admitted. She turned to face Silverskin. “What do you want?” Despite her aggravation towards the elf, she still couldn’t help but think ‘Wow, I’m actually talking to an elf!’

“Do you want to see the lake with me?”

“What? I thought the lake had a god or something in there. A not so nice god, that is.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard that, too. I never saw it, though. I was hoping you’d like to go with me and find out.”

“You don’t seem to like me very much. I’m not if if I should go with you.”

“Yeah, you’re not my favorite person,” Silverskin admitted. “You seem to think that you know everything about elves when you just don’t.”

“But—“ Gabbie wanted to tell him them she never met a real life elf before. She wouldn’t have known otherwise. But if she said that out loud, her only cover of being a half-human would be blown. Not even Digitalis or Glue Pot knew about who the kids really were. So Gabbie bit her lip and let Silverskin continue.

“Still, I can see that you like it here and are curious, Just like me!”

“So what you’re saying is,” Gabbie grinned as she connected the dots, “that you never went to the lake alone and want to take someone with you.”

“Sharp as a knife, I’ll give you that.” Silverskin crossed his arms and stroked his chin as if he had a beard. “Yeah. My mother never lets me out of Rockestel or the Heights unless its with a patrol group. We don’t get near enough to the lake for me to properly see for myself.”

“What’s this god suppose to look like?” Gabbie couldn’t hide her interest. Who could say that they’ve seen a god?

“He used to be the god of marshes and lakes. He’d create marshes to make peat for his subjects ad lakes to provide bounties of fish. The god is suppose to have purple scales and huge, hypnotizing green eyes.”

“Wow,” Gabbie chirped. She blinked. “Wait, you’re not persuading me, are you?”

“Ah.” Silverskin kicked at the group. “About that. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have been quick to judge you. I ended up being like the others.”

“The others?”

“It’s nothing.” Silverskin clapped his hands lightly. He didn’t want to wake up the others. “Anyway, are you in?”

“My sister wouldn’t want me to go,” Gabbie relented. “But since when have I ever listened to her.” The children smiled at each other in shared glee. “Let’s go find that lake god!”

‘And maybe,’ thought Gabbie, ‘I can see a merman.’ Because the description of the god sounded an awe full like one. And there was something else she couldn’t shake. Purple scales. We’re those the same as the scale they saw at the Mermaid Waterfall so long ago?

Silverskin helped his new friend up to her feet. Gabbie let the elf boy take her by the hand and lead her to the back of Sannier’s house. He gingerly opened the sliding door and hastily brought her through the opening out to the mountain’s hallways.

Day 60

Sannier held up her rough hands when the group settled onto a cracked patch of earth. She waved her right hand in a diagonal motion, up, down, and then up again. Her left hand scooped the air while her fingers arched towards the orb hovering above them. The land at their feet rumbled like a tiger growling before it pounced onto its kill. Alastair instinctively took Lila by the hand. Perceval lent her his back in case she tumbled over. Lila felt like she was being mollycoddled by her parents. She wriggled free of Alastair and only let Perceval’s tawny fur barely touch her leg. She was nine and almost as tall as Zane. Lila did not need to be babied.

Zane shared different thoughts. The rocks underneath their feet shuddered until a piece of the earth uprooted itself from the mountain due to Sannier’s magical administrations. Zane was too far to huddle with Ginger and Gabbie, and so he dove for Glue Pot’s front left leg. The centaur patted the boy’s head as he huddled close. Zane wanted to thank his friend, but remained silent when he saw that Glue Pot was as green as broccoli. He supposed that it would make sense that centaurs would be afraid of heights. He peered over his shoulder at Adriei. The guard was trying to avoid looking down by speaking with Agile. Zane mulled over that thought. Tried not to look down. The boy knew that they were moving, just not where. He gingerly looked over the lip of the piece of rock the company stood on.

Thanks to Zane’s extremely religious and diligent calculations, he could safely assume that they were really, really, really high up. He felt his stomach churn around with jerky and water. Zane clutched at Glue Pot’s leg even tighter. Glue Pot in turn patted Zane’s head with more vigor as they shared in their fear of heights together.

“Wow!” Gabbie cheered. “This is fantastic! Hi everyone!” She ran around on the chunk of rock, waving at the bewildered elves going about their daily business. “Hi! Nice to meet you! How’s your day going?”

“I don’t know her,” Ginger sighed when the elves stared at her for some sort of explanation.

“Mother, we took in lunatics,” Silverskin said. He tugged at his mother’s tunic. She ignored the elf boy, too focused on her task of taking the company up to her dwelling.

“Looks like we’ll be right next to sub-queen Faeley,” Digitalis mused.

“I think our host is a minor royal guard herself,” Tipper wheezed. He leaned his shoulder on Digitalis. She absently supported his weight.

“We’re meeting all of the top notch people now, aren’t we?”

“That’s what happens on prophecies.”

“You mean on Crisis Points.”

“Prophecies.”

“Crisis. Points.”

The two glared with humor at one another and broke into a small fit of laughter.

“Ah, there we go! Come now, lovelies. This is our stop,” Sannier called out. The rock platform was level with a residence’s ledge. Sannier’s hand were held out straight in front of her chest. “The door should be open. My husband’s out on patrol right now, so there’s no worrying about frightening someone.”

“They frighten me,” Silverskin said. He trotted with ease onto the landing of his house. “Come on, come on. Just don’t fall. We can’t catch you if you do.”

Day 57

“Because the Queen’s guards, Agile and Adriei both saved us from a gaggle of batals!” Gabbie cheered. “That’s why there’s eleven of us. You should be proud to welcome back such victorious warriors!”

“Oh my gosh,” Ginger whispered, mimicking Agile’s hands-over-the-face reaction.

“A gaggle of batals, you say?” Squeaked the voice. “Hmn, that may perchance allow at least half of you lot in.”

“You can’t spilt eleven people!” Ginger called out.

“Sure you can. Just half someone down the middle. They’d come out like string cheese, but they’d be alright enough.”

“That’s it!” Agile yelled. “Where’s your mother, Silverskin? You can’t be dealt with right now.”

“But she let me guard the outpost while she spoke to father right quick!” Moaned the lovely voice.

“I no I did not!” Said another deeper squeak. “I turn around for a second and you’re there playing games with some of the most important people in Soille!”

The company heard a scuffle from behind the rock outcropping, the sound of a lever being pulled back, and then the clattering of rocks as they moved one by one to the side. The outcropping soon bled away into a delicate, well carved arch that led straight into the mountain. Right in the middle of the archway were two short people.

One was a woman. She was as tall as Alastair with glimmering tan skin, maple leaf brown hair pulled humbly into a pony tail, and long pointed ears. Her nose was twice as long as a humans, her chocolate brown eyes twice as big, her her limbs elongated as if she’d grown a few extra joints. The woman wore comfortable clothes, including a belted tunic with tighter pants and boots. Alastair could pick out the outline of chainmail poking out from underneath her tunic.

The other person was a boy and was most obviously the woman’s son. He shared the same features as her except whereas his mother’s skin shimmered the hues of the rocks around her, his glimmered silver. The boy’s head could barely reach Gabbie’s chin. He wore clothes one size too big similar to his mother’s.

“My apologies, Masters Agile and Adriei,” woman squeaked. She curtsied. “And guests!” She focused her severe brown eyes on Tipper astride Glue Pot’s back. “You have a wounded.”

“Yes, ma’am. He almost burned out,” Perceval supplied.

“Oh, dear,” the woman tsked. “Please, you’re welcome inside. If the guards saved you, then you shouldn’t be a danger to us,” the woman said. There was an ominous undertone to her pleasant chirps, almost as if what she meant to say was, “And you wouldn’t want to be a danger to us, now would you?”

“Thank you, Sannier,” Adriei smiled at the woman.

“It’s the least I can do. You two have been a great deal of help with keeping of the beasts and ghoulies. They have all been acting up. Took a few of our youngings.” She smacked her own child on the back of his head. “And here’s mine, being everything but respectful.”

Show and Tell

I thought that I should share a little bit of myself with you all since I think I’ll be on here for a while yet. (Almost two months in and my characters aren’t even where I want them to be in the story yet, ha!) In any case, this is me.

I am a 29-year-old who looks like I should be 14. You may think that this is beneficial. Indeed, it will be when I’m older and wiser. As of now, my physical appearance is a curse more of than a gift. It’s difficult trying to be taken seriously, especially when my voice and gestures sound and look like a teenager’s. This alone has made me realize how much teenagers (the real ones) aren’t really treated with respect when respect is due.

I’ve always thought that Young Adult literature and by proxy, Children’s literature, is a great way in treating your audience with the intelligence they deserve. I’ve idolized those with the idea that when writing YA and Children’s literature, there’s no need to dumb anything down. C.S. Lewis, Roald Dahl, and J.K. Rowling treat their audience with the utmost respect. They don’t downplay the harsh worlds they’ve created. They expect the readers to learn and grow from the words they provide. Isn’t that why their novels are so beloved? Because in the end, the children become adults who reread their childhood favorites and still find that spark of entertainment they once held so long ago.

Oh my, here I said I would talk about myself and I off and go on a tangent. I guess this would be a great opportunity to segway into a few of my goals. You all already know that I am going to finish this still nameless book. That’s for certain. I am also taking online classes to become a librarian. I already have a Master’s degree in English. Unfortunately, that hasn’t taken me to where I really wanted to be. I know becoming a Youth librarian is more up my alley. One of my favorite authors, Clare B. Dunkle, used to be a librarian before she wrote her best selling novel, The Hollow Kingdom. 

By the way, are there any fans of Clive Barker’s Abaratseries? I am in love with those books, and the fan base is so little that I feel a bit alone in rooting for the protagonist, Candy.

Well, that’s it for now. I may do more of these ramblings later. I found that just writing something for myself is very exhilerating. Thanks to everyone who has liked and followed my progress. Your support means a lot to me. See you tomorrow for day 55!