2018 Quick-Shot: Dragons

 

Ok, it’s been 2019 for somethin’ like five days now.  Happy 2019!  But there was a whole lotta 2018 I never wrote about, cuz I didn’t have time, or things got too crazy busy, or my ‘puter was busted, or a tank ran over my camera…

Yeah.  The camera really did get busted.  Cooper tried awful hard to get photos off, but I hadda get a new one, so I lost a bunch of pictures an’ stuff.  I’ll get to that, though.

DRAGONS

There was a dragon onna roof of the big white house.  It scared everybody outta their minds.  Cooper an’ me chased after it to make it go away.

We tracked it through the forest, walkin’ days an’ nights an’ followin’ its flight or findin’ places where it’d landed.  There’d be these big circles of burn, with smokin’ trees an’ half-eaten things an’ burnt grass, an’ we knew we were onna right path.  Cooper hadda monster book, an’ he kept lookin’ through for ways to fight off dragons.  We knew it’d be tough, but we couldn’t let the dragon come back to hurt our friends.

While we were walkin’, I kept tellin’ Cooper I thought I heard somethin’ followin’ us.  He wasn’t so sure what it might be, an’ I gotta say I didn’ have a clue either.  But I didn’t like the thought it might sneak up behind us an’ do somethin’ not so nice.  So we went an’ hid one day an’ waited for whatever it was to catch up to us.

I could hear it crashin’ through the bush, gettin’ closer an’ closer.  It was sorta quiet, but sorta not, like an animal that maybe hadda bum leg or wasn’t worried bout bein’ super quiet or wasn’t used to movin’ through forests.  But we stayed quiet, an’ it came closer.  I held my sword so tight, my hand hurt. Then I saw somethin’ bright red pop up, an’ it was sorta kinda familiar…

Hey!  It was the witch!  What was she doin’ here?  Cooper looked at me, an’ I looked at Cooper.  Then she was standin’ right there with us, even though I swear she was a buncha bits away just a moment afore.

“Whatcha doin’ here?” I asked.

“Did you see it?” she asked.  “I sensed that you were following it, but I didn’t know if you had laid eyes on it or not.”

Wait…what?

Cooper’n’me must’ve looked dumb, cuz she rolled her eyes an’ sighed deep.  “The dragon.  Big flying lizard. Has scales. Breathes fire.”

My tongue came loose.  “We saw it onna roof.  I don’t wanna let it hurt our friends. We’re gonna go kill it.”

The witch started shaking her head.  “Oh, no, no, no, no, no.  You can’t kill it.”

“But we gotta.  It might eat us.”  What was the witch thinking?  “My book says they don’t like cold.  If we could throw loads of ice cubes at it first, it might get super weak, an’ then we can take it out.”

She sighed again.  “You will not kill a dragon with ice cubes.  You will not kill a dragon at all with the weapons you have.  You will die trying. I have a much better idea for how to solve the problem while keeping you alive.”

I looked at my sword.  It was awful small compared to the dragon.  “What do you think we outta do?”

“I believe we may have an advantage, but I need to know what the dragon looked like.”

Uh…  “It was big. An’ silver. It had two wings an’ four legs an’ some super sharp claws.  There were some horns round its head an’ … uh … sharp teeth.”

The witch looked thoughtful.  “What color were its eyes?”

“They were blue, with these gold stripes.”

She rubbed her thumb along her chin and started walkin’ back and forth, talkin’ kinda to herself an’ kinda to Cooper’n’me.  “There is a possibility that we are dealing with a female dragon that has recently laid a clutch of eggs.  If she’s out and about, they may have hatched.  This would create an ideal situation.”  She stopped and looked at us.  “Don’t you see?”

I shook my head.  Hatched eggs just sounded like more dragons.  More dragons would be a bigger problem.  How could more dragons be good?  Even Cooper didn’t seem to get it.  “I think I fail to see how newly-hatched dragons would benefit our situation…” he told the witch.

She sighed.  “New-hatched dragons have a very particular diet.  If we can get in there and help to feed them, we will imprint upon them that humans are good, that humans are friends, not food.  They will be easier to manage and less likely to cause chaos.”

“So…they won’t eat us?” I asked.

“They imprint like baby birds?” Cooper asked.  “That will be interesting.  I’ve seen videos of baby geese who imprint on a human.  They’ll follow the human around like puppies.  But how will this benefit us with regards to the mother dragon?”

The witch looked a li’l funny then, like she was hopin’ nobody’d ask that question.  “I have heard from a friend of a wizard I know that the adult dragon will be so grateful for the assistance that she will no longer see us as a threat but as an ally.  Another wizard theorized that she will simply fly away once the babies have been fed.  I am not sure that I believe either of them.  We may have to feed her as well.”

Cooper’n’me just stared at the witch.  Feedin’ baby dragons might be sorta ok.  But feedin’ a great big mama dragon that wasn’t sure if we were there to maybe hurt the babies?  That seemed a whole lot scarier an’ more like a Very Bad Idea.

“What do dragons eat?”  Cooper asked, alla sudden.  He had his eyes closed, like he didn’t really wanna know the answer.

“Stardust, of course,” the witch said, like everybody inna world knew that.  “Moonbeams sometimes, if there’s a full moon, but stardust is easier to harvest.”

“So they don’t wanna eat people?” I asked.  “Or pigs? Or puppies?”

Cooper chuckled.  “Or penguins or pandas or peacocks?  What’s with all the “P” things, Kestrel?”

I hit him inna shoulder, an’ he laughed more.  Brothers.

The witch crossed her arms.  “If you two are done?”  When we quieted down some, she kept on. “Baby dragons grow best on stardust and moonbeams.  Both are difficult for dragons to harvest, so most often the adult will feed the hatchlings blood from killed animals.  But that is not ideal, and it will stunt the hatchlings’ growth.  As adults, dragons also still want to eat stardust and moonbeams, but animals are easier to find.”

“How do we get stardust an’ moonbeams?” I asked.

“There is a process,” the witch said, as she was fumblin’ through a bag she had over her shoulder. “I will show you how to do it when the time is right.  We need both a full moon and a new moon, so timing is particular, and both cannot be harvested at the same time.  Thankfully, I harvest these items all the time and have some here with me.”  She pulled two things out of her bag: a bottle, filled with shimmery, glittery flakes, an’ a smaller closed pouch.  She handed the bottle to Cooper an’ worked on untying the knotted pouch.

Cooper popped the cork outta the bottle an’ shook a few flakes inna his hand.  They were all sparkly an’ sorta glowed like they were fulla light still.  I touched ’em with my finger.  They were a lot softer’n I thought they’d be an’ sorta warm.  Cooper poured ’em back inna bottle an put the cork back in place.

The witch finished with the knot an’ slid the bag back.  Soft light poured outta the bag, an’ she showed us these translucent white glowy bars.  Cooper’n’me both ‘wow’ed atta same time.  She covered ’em back up an’ put them an’ the stardust bottle away in her bag.

“I take it you have not actually found the dragon’s nest yet,” she said as she was closin’ up her bag.  “May I travel with you as you search?  I had seen signs of the dragon, but I confess I am not good at tracking beasts.  I nearly lost you several times, and you did not leave the ground.”

I laughed.  “It’d be nice if we had wings.  Flyin’ up over alla trees might make it easier to see…”  Then I trailed off, thinkin’. I didn’t have wings, but gettin’ high didn’t seem like a bad idea.

Cooper pointed to a nearby tree that had lotsa broken low branches, but it went up awful tall.  “Do you want a boost?” he asked.

“Nah,” I said.  “But maybe hold the sword.  It’ll make it hard to climb.”

It was a good climbin’ tree, with plenty of broken limbs atta bottom an’ lotsa branches higher up.  When I got high enough up so I could look out over the other trees inna forest, I looked round the horizon.  Ahead of us but off to the left, I saw some columns of smoke.  They looked dragon-ish.  I climbed back down.

We headed in the direction of the smoke. It was different travelin’ with the witch.  She sure didn’t know much bout movin’ inna woods, but she did know loads bout alla plants we passed an’ what they outta be used for. I didn’t listen too much, but Cooper did.  He likes stuff like that.  I kept lookin’ for more signs we were trackin’ right:  burned trees, broken limbs, gouged trunks.  An’ no animals.  The woods were quiet.

We kept walkin’ til it was dark.  I wanna keep goin’, cuz I felt like we were close.  I could smell a bad, stinky smell, like rotten eggs, an’ lotsa smoke.  An’ I heard a sound, somethin’ like a wind sneakin’ through a crack inna roof.  Cooper said it’d be better to wait for light, an’ the Witch said she thought it’d be better too if we didn’t go in at night.  I guess they were right.  It’d be scary to face dragons–big or li’l–at night, when you couldn’t see.

It was hard to wait for mornin’. I kept wakin’ up, lookin’ around, an’ wonderin’ what time it was or when the sun was gonna come back up.  That awful sound kept on, too.  Once, I got up an’ started to walk closer to where I thought the dragons were gonna be, but the witch started talkin’ in her sleep, an’ it was weird.  I couldn’t see too far, either, so I stayed there with the others.

But dawn finally came, an’ we set off again.  The forest was black an’ smokin’, an we started hearin’ loud noises ahead.  The burned up forest gave way to lotsa rocks, an’ the noises got louder, so we went creepin’ behind rocks one by one, peekin’ out in case there was somethin’ to hide from.  Then, finally, the land opened up, an’ oh-my-gumdrops…

There was the dragon, all huge an’ hulkin’ an’ scary.  There were dead animal bodies piled around the area, but they weren’t eaten or nothin’. Most of ’em were covered up in flies an’ smellin’ bad bad.  The witch was right, too, cuz there were eggshells an’ some baby dragons!  They were huge too, but not so scary, cuz they were not happy lookin’.  Some of ’em were lyin’ splayed out onna dirt, not movin’.  Some were covered up in flies.  There were two or three crawlin’ about, cryin’.  That cryin’ sound was what we heard inna forest.

“What’re they doin’?” I asked.

“Starving,” the witch said.  She kept her voice quiet.  “The mother dragon must be young.  She doesn’t know how to feed them.”

I looked at the babies again.  They were thin an’ slow-movin’.  Their scales were dull.  “We gotta help them,” I said.  “What’s gonna help faster? Moonbeams or starlight?”

The witch shook her head and shrugged.  She couldn’t take her eyes off the mother.

“Gimme both.  I gotta try somethin’.”

Then the witch looked at me.  “Hold on, girl.  If you just go rushing in, the mother dragon will think you’re attacking her babies. She will kill you without realizing you’re only there to help them.”

I frowned, looking back out at the babies.  “Ok.  So what should we do?”  The silver dragon kept staring at the crawling babies.

Cooper spoke up.  “It’s like chess.  We need to distract the mother while we make our move.  Can we get her attention off in the other direction?  Maybe make her think there’s a threat over there while we move in to help the babies?”

“That might work,” the witch said thoughtfully.

“I’ll do it,” I said, startin’ to hop up.

The witch pulled me back down.  “No.  You should let me take care of the mother dragon.  You are smart, clever, and quick, but you are no match for an actual dragon.  I have spells that will assist me.  I’ll distract her, and you two move in to feed the babies.  Start with the stardust.  I think it will be all right after.”  She took the stardust an’ moonbeams outta her bag an’ gave ’em to us.  She put two moonbeam bars back inna bag.  Then she whispered some words I didn’t know, an’ alla sudden, she vanished.

Cooper’n’me peeked out from behind our rock.  The baby dragons weren’t movin’ any more, except to breathe a li’l bit.  The silver dragon kept watchin’ ’em.  The mornin’ was all sortsa quiet now.  While we waited, Cooper split half of the stardust into two piles an’ wrapped ’em up inna bandanas.

Alla sudden, the silver dragon’s head snapped up an’ whipped ’round.  Smoke dribbled outta her nose, an’ she let out a roar.  Then she leaped to her feet an’ ran off, movin’ super fast.  I was sorta glad then that I wasn’t out inna forest, tryin’ to distract her.  I think if I’d seen her leap up an’ come chargin’ at me like that, I woulda been frozen stiff.

Cooper grabbed my arm.  “Come on.  This is our chance.”  We both scuttle ran out from behind the rock an’ headed for the baby dragons.  They saw us comin’ an’ tried to rear up an’ fight back, but they were awful weak.  They just made a soft mewling sound an’ their heads weaved back an’ forth a bit.

I knelt down next to the red-gold dragonling, an’ Cooper helped the one that was green-gold.  The baby hissed at me an’ snapped its jaws a li’l, but it couldn’t do nothin’ to actually hurt me.  I untied the bandana with the stardust an’ scooped some inna my hand, then held it toward the baby.

It stopped hissing. Its nostrils got real big as it snuffed in an’ out, tryin’ figure out what I had.  Then its tongue came out, an’ it licked up some of the shiny stardust.  Then it licked again, an’ again, until my hand was empty. An’ wet.  I was covered in baby dragon slobber.  It made me giggle.

The baby dragon Cooper was helpin’ started to make a different sound, sorta like a happy hummin’.  My dragon baby did too, even as I got it another handful of stardust.  Its eyes got brighter, an’ its scales started shinin’ some too.  It was lookin’ loads better.

Neither of us was payin’ any attention to the big silver dragon anymore, but I kinda started to when it came flyin’ straight at us.  It landed inna dirt near the babies, an’ I thought for sure we were gonna be fried toast.  I looked up at it an’ gulped.

But it stretched its big head down an’ nosed the li’l red-gold baby.  It was all pretty an’ shiny now, lookin’ loads healthier’n’ it did afore.  It raised its head up too, an’ they rubbed against each other some, then the silver dragon looked at me an’ Cooper both.  The big silver dragon made that happy hummin’ sound too.

The witch popped up behind us alla sudden.  She hadda moonbeam bar inna hand an’, while we were still feedin’ stardust to the babies, she walked up to the silver dragon again.  It seemed loads friendlier now, but it still drew back a li’l bit when she started walkin’ towards it.  Then it caught the scent of moonbeam, an’ its nose did the big-wide thing like the babies’ did.  It crunched up the moonbeam bar, an’ its blue eyes went bright.

“A long time ago,” the witch said softly, like she was tellin’ bedtime stories to the baby dragons, “dragons and humans got along.  They relied on each other.  Adult dragons couldn’t feed their babies starlight because they couldn’t harvest it.  And humans couldn’t perform magic without dragon scales.  So they worked together, and they thrived.  But history says something went terribly wrong–maybe a wizard tried to enslave a dragon or take too many scales or take a living dragon’s soul, or maybe some bachelor dragons went rogue and attacked a city–and the dragon-human bond was broken.  Without humans to help, the dragon population has fallen dangerously low.  I want to thank you two for your help with making this happen.  I hope that we might be able to re-establish the bonds of old.”

The witch looked really happy.  I kinda felt like she’d used us again, but I didn’t mind so much this time.  Maybe she didn’t know how to explain things good when she started explainin’ things.

“Are we gonna stay an’ feed ’em some longer?” I asked.  I didn’t know how long we outta feed baby dragons, or when they could start eatin’ normal dragon foods.

“I think you and your twin should go make sure your family is safe and that they know they’ll be ok.  There is nothing more to worry about from these dragons.  But yes, I will stay and care for this family, at least until these small ones are better able to care for themselves.  It is a time honored tradition that many wizards and witches have ignored for far too long.  I hope that I can help convince more of them to agree to help the dragons as we did before.”

“All right, then,” Cooper said.  He tugged on my arm.  “If you need anything else from us, or if we can help again, you know where we’ll be.”

“Thank you,” she said.

As we walked back inna woods, I was happy.  We hadda great adventure.  The Flock was safe.  Dolli Lane was safe.  I gotta feed a baby dragon!!  It was a super good day.

~Kestrel

[Cooper’s Eyes]: Merry Christmas!

Kestrel is spending Christmas out west with her friend Pip, so it has fallen to me to get out our message of holiday cheer. Happy holidays to all! Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Yule, Happy winter solstice, Merry Christmas, Merry Krissmiss, Happy Boxing Day, Happy New Year, Happy Omisoka, and so forth.  (My sincerest apologies to any particular holidays I have forgotten!)

1A6A6C71-0DDF-469B-B0AD-8EF4BD7059F7

CCE41D50-2191-4BE6-8729-9BA114416281

This year, our Roost elected to give Nim a quiet Merry Christmas gift: we took all the Littles from Dolli Lane to our house on Christmas Eve. This accomplished a two-fold gift: we gave peace and quiet to Nim, and we allowed Meikiko to have all her friends over for a sleepover!

To be entirely certain, I’m not sure how we decided who would sleep at which house.  Typically, Falcon and I use the bunks at the White house, Meikiko sleeps in her room, and the other girls snuggle down in the bookcase.  Sometimes, the Hittys will share one of the bunks in the white house, and Baby B will sleep in her crib in Meikiko’s room.  Without really discussing the situation, we held true to our sleeping patterns (because there are not enough beds for everyone in one house or the other).  This meant that Falcon and I were solely responsible for the Littles’ sleepover.  As Kestrel would say, oh gumdrops.

Thankfully, the Hittys were there to help us tuck them all into bed and read them a story (‘Twas the Night Before Christmas seemed very apropos).  Because they were all very anxious for Santa Claus’s visit, they stayed in the room (other than somewhat overly-frequent bathroom trips), though I heard them whispering and chattering long after they should have been in slumberland.

EE701D13-9FF5-449A-8778-2AAA23C0992A

Once they were all asleep, the rest of us retired as well.  No one wanted to be the cause of a Santa fly-over!

When morning dawned, all the Littles woke with the sun.  They were quite literally buzzing with excitement (I always thought that to be an odd idiom, but after seeing the Littles on Christmas morning, it makes perfect sense!)  Their first stop was in our room.

45D0D454-9B13-4B35-844C-1FEC3C662B67

A dozen excited voices would be enough to wake the dead.  It was more than enough to get Falcon and me up.  We both sat up so abruptly, we smacked our heads on the ceiling.  But then the floor was so full of bodies, neither of us could get down.  It took a bit of prodding, but we finally got them all to go down to the main room to wait for us.  We both needed a minute to shake the stars away.

While we were getting ready, I confessed to Falcon that I was not sure this had been very well planned or executed.  He seemed much better able to take their exuberance in stride, though.  I’ll have to remember to defer to his caretaking skills in the future, should we find ourselves in a similar situation again.

In the main room, the Littles had dissolved into chaos again.  We had a small tree on display, but Santa did not leave presents around it.  I think they all thought they had been skipped. There weren’t even lumps of coal!

467477C9-C36F-4914-8522-1AAFD20DC3DC

Oh, poor souls.  We always intended to have Christmas morning together in the bookcase with the rest of the Roost.  Apparently, though, we forgot to tell them.  Oops.  To the other house!  With that, they were cheerful again. We all trooped through the woods, singing carols.  I led the way, and Falcon brought up the rear with Baby Prudence.

At the bookcase house, things were far more festively arranged, with clear signs of Christmas morning (hung stockings, a well-decorated tree with presents beneath, a plate of half-eaten cookies and a mug of cooled tea).  The Littles were back to buzzing with excitement.

72E83995-F62C-4F2D-A6B3-24E65AAF350B

I think we woke Wren, Sparrow, Lark, and Hazel.  They came out, giggling at my bleary-eyed look, and asked how our night had gone.

1C8DED72-23EA-45E2-BC64-5822B2915646

I don’t think they expected an answer, for Lark promptly took Baby Prudence out of Falcon’s arms and sat down to play with her while the other Littles explored beneath the tree.

8B0366E1-1A39-42B8-9218-EB0F2C0BD196

E6DA4644-4D15-48B5-BBEC-5DDE10103463

The tree was full of games, dolls, and other toys to bring joy to a Little’s heart.  They all explored and shared what they found with each other.  Nim has done an excellent job with teaching them that they need to work together with what they have.  There was not a single vein of selfishness amongst the lot!

One toy in particular caught Baby B’s attention: a brightly-colored metal box.  She dragged it over to where she was sitting and worked to get it open.  She started to get frustrated, but Sparrow showed her that the knob on the side of the box could be turned, and the box would play a merry tune.  Baby B recognized the tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel,” and she sang and danced along.

100D0419-8E7B-4D31-BD8D-09EA464C30C3

She did not, however, understand fully what the box would do.  At the end, as the weasel pops in the song, a clown popped out of the box.  It sudden appearance startled Baby B, who drew back in alarm.  For a moment, I thought she might start crying, but then she burst into gales of laughter and wanted the box to play again.

562E9C4C-41A2-416C-889E-1E4C0A4222D2

Having the Littles over and hosting their Christmas joy was a great deal of fun.  I’m very glad we did it and and very glad that we were able to give Nim some time to rest.  But I think I might need to go hibernate until Groundhog’s Day…

I hope everyone has had a wonderful and joyful holiday season!

-Cooper

Bump onna roof: Dragon

I couldn’t let the dragon stay, even though all my friends were safe now. Safer. A dragon inna area was bad news. So Cooper’n’me loaded up with stuff an’ went back. We kept eyein’ the sky, in case it was flyin’ over. But we found it still sittin’ onna roof where we’d left it. So we snuck back inna house, hopin’ for some cover while we figured out how to make a dragon go away.

F48AF87F-BB6E-42BF-A975-11232D8B44DC

Cooper sat down an’ opened the Monster Cryptology book from Pip. It had a bit bout dragons, so we were lookin’ for ideas (like maybe they didn’t like mistletoe or somethin’).

E556302C-4DD8-4652-8704-43AB5F4134CD

While he read, I checked my weapons. My sword was sharp, but the dragon was up so high, it probably wouldn’t be much help. Bow an’ arrows would be loads more useful. They were sharp too. Good.

4D92D2AC-B8CA-4A9E-B539-2A292DFD3EA1

But I wasn’t sure if I could shoot it high enough. I mean, houses are awful tall. Maybe I could climb onna roof, though. I wished I hadda big net or chain or somethin’, someway I could keep it grounded.

While I was thinkin’ bout roofs, Cooper sighed.

ED7509C6-2F95-4707-94A7-E4FFB2800EE5

“I am not sure whether your weapons will suffice to defeat a dragon. This book seems to suggest that the only weapons that will defeat dragons are magical in nature.”

”Magic?” I echoed. “ I don’t got none. Where do you get a magic weapon?”

He looked down atta book an’ ran a finger along the page. “ You might find one while on a quest to a magic location. Fairies have some. A strong magician can make one, or might have one in his collection. They sound rare.”

I sighed too. “So we don’t gotta chance?”

“Well…perhaps not to kill it. But your weapons should be enough to engage it and perhaps to drive it away for a time.”

Long enough, maybe, to figure out a real fix. That’d have to be good enough for now.

But it also meant I needed to get closer. Lots closer. Rooftop closer. The windows didn’t open big enough for climbin’ out. There wasn’t no attic. I was gonna hafta climb. But carefully. Vale’d taught  me a li’l bout climbin’ careful, an’ she’d given me some rope an’ harness an’ that thing you throw up with a rope attached. I forgot it’s name, but I could use it ok. It was easier to throw far cuz it was heavy-ish. Easier’n lobbin’ an arrow up onna roof, at least (weird, how it was hard to throw a light thing very far, but easier to throw somethin’ heavy…but not too heavy).

I fetched the stuff an’ had Cooper help me with alla buckles an’ things. He was right good at gettin’ ‘em tight so I wouldn’t slip. Once I was strapped in, I picked up alla weapons an’ hung ‘em on myself. Fingers crossed I didn’t drop nothin’. Then it was time for goin’ up!

Climbin’ a house sure is tough. There’s sorta handholds, if you count stuff like doortops an’ window ledges an’ all, but then there’s great big flat places too where the only way up was to grab onna rope, plant feet against the wall, an’ walk, hopin’ the rope was caught good on whatever was up top so I wasn’t gonna go fallin’ back down. Cooper was onna ground, watchin’, but I think, if somethin’ had given loose, alla good he woulda done was get hurt too.

Thankfully, the rope held.

After lotsa lotsa pullin’, I grabbed onna roof edge an’ pulled up.  An’ then…oh my gumdrops, but it was big!

7645FE2A-B068-49B9-AF08-649B07C31F70

It didn’t see me or hear me at first, which was good.  I dunno how it didn’t hear me.  I sure was breathin’ hard, an’ I’m pretty sure my heart was poundin’ loud enough to wake some dead things.  But it didn’t seem to notice me.  So I pulled one leg up over the roof edge an’ slipped the other up, tryin’ get my feet somewhere stable.  Roofs are an awful lot steeper’n’ they look from onna ground.  Gettin’ stable was hard!  I decided I wanna stay by the roof edge an’ use the bow.  Goin’ in with a sword swingin’ sure didn’t seem like a good idea from up here.

Then one of the metal clips used to attach onna rope slipped off.  It fell chunk against a shingle an’ dropped down down down to the ground, where dust puffed up round it. Gulp.  I didn’t wanna fall that far!

But that was nothin’ compared to what I saw when I looked up.

F989FC60-F919-4EDE-BF37-293C40DFAB93

Gulp!

I went all fumble-fingered, tryin’ get my bow un-slung an’ an arrow outta the quiver.  I didn’t wanna look ‘way from the dragon, but I hadda look at the bow cuz the arrow kept slidin’ off.  Finally, I got it up tight an’ raised the bow an’ sighted down the arrow…

0BF646A6-E67A-495A-B8BE-4787883997C8

I dunno what happened.  That dragon couldn’t’ve been scared of my one li’l bow, or the arrow I had knocked in place.  I was close enough to hit it, sure, but chances were pretty good the arrow wouldn’t go past its scales.  An’ I was too shook up to aim for the eye or some other soft spot dragons got.

But maybe this dragon didn’t know that.  Maybe this dragon’d had run-ins with people before.  Strong people that had magic weapons an’ things. Or maybe it was young an’ scared.  Whatever happened afore, it took off when it saw me pointin’ my bow.  Let out a big, mighty roar, flapped its huge wings, an’ flew off over the forest. I hadda grab onna roof’s edge so I didn’t go slidin’ off from alla wind it made.

I watched it for a bit, makin’ sure I knew which way it was goin’, then I started climbin’ down.

Onna ground, Cooper helped me take stuff off an’ put it up.  Climbin’ a house was hard work.   I let him know that the dragon was alive still an’ it’d flown off deeper inna forest.  I was pretty sure we had somethin’ more to do bout it too.  We hadda follow the dragon.

E342B931-F77E-43D2-B961-5D5B937D0E03

Cooper took a deep deep breath, picked up the bow an’ quiver an’ book, an’ put on his  brave face.

13E8253C-50DA-436D-A43B-840133EEE04F

“Okay then.  Let’s go track a dragon.”

My brother’s the best.

~Kestrel

Bump onna roof…

Recap:
There was a big BUMP (kinda a small BOOM) onna big white house roof while we were recreationing inside.  We all went, “What the gumdrops?”

The story continues…

I grabbed up my sword.  I wanted it nearby in case somethin’ bad was afoot.

05B64460-57A7-4772-B5B8-3F23C8ADC558

Big bump/booms like that usually mean bad things.  Cooper grabbed up his shovel, too, cuz it’s got a wicked sharp edge (kinda like a saw).  I figured we all got our favorite sorts of weapons.  If a saw-shovel keeps my brother safe, then he’s welcome to it.  He stayed in with everybody else while I went out to check on things.

I stepped out.  I looked up.  GULP.

8500513B-3BFF-4676-B388-5F28C2B3005A

I went back inside, fast.  Dragon.  A real, live dragon was perched onna roof.  Oh gumdrops, this sword wasn’t gonna do any good…

My heart was thumpin’ hard.  I tried to remember what I knew. Most dragons wanna eat dollies for snacks.  Loads of ’em breathe fire, too, an’ a wood house mixed up with a dragon’s breath seemed like a bad idea.  My friends were inside.  Double bad.  Buncha dragons breathe acid or frost instead. When Pip an’ Amalynn an’ Smidge an’ Voir an’ alla we were in Arkansas, I met dragon parts, an’ baby dragons, an’ alla them were nice.   But they were babies.  Babies start off nice, with treats an’ all.  Without treats, tho, maybe alla big dragons would be mean. Some dragons are nice. Some dragons are mean. No dragons wear signs sayin’ which one they are.

I needed more information. I needed better weapons. I needed to get my friends out of danger.  Alla sudden, I hadda plan.

I went back upstairs.  I could hear thumpin’ onna roof from the dragon’s feet, an a draggin’ sound from where its tail kept rubbin’ over shingles.  When I came up inna room, everybody started babblin’ at me.  The thumping onna roof stopped, an’ I could just feel that dragon listenin’.  It was like ice down my neck. I put my finger over my lips, an’ everybody went real quiet.  They gathered close round me, an’ I let ’em know there was a dragon onna roof, and we hadda go.  It might be a good dragon, but I didn’t know, an’ I didn’t wanna try an’ find out with everybody here.

Nobody made much noise after that, which was good.  Cooper kept his shovel. I didn’t think it’d do much good against a dragon, but maybe he could scoop dirt over some fires.  Falcon went to Meikiko’s room to get her.  He coulnd’t find her at first.

3EF44363-AAC1-468A-BD94-01A3F15559DE

But he called her name, real soft, an’ she leaped out from under the blankets, into his arms.  Poor thing.  She was so scared, she didn’t even ask about none of her dollies or toys or nothin’.

C809D918-9F1D-4F10-80ED-30162ED430DF

We all grouped up again an’ headed for the door.  I figured it’d be best if we got everyone back home before I tried doin’ research.  The Hittys joined us goin’ out the door. I was proud of ’em for keepin’ quiet, even tho they didn’t really know what alla fuss was about.  At least, I didn’t tell ’em, an’ I should’ve.  I hope Cooper or Lark did. We made up a line so we could watch each other.  Cooper went in front, with the shovel.  Then our friends inna middle.  I brought up the back so I could keep an eye on the dragon, in case it decided it wanted to follow us.

The dragon didn’t pay us any mind, which was good.  It just kept lookin’ out from its perch onna roof.  It was lookin’ forward, though, an’ we all went out the side.  Maybe that’s why it never saw us.  But I didn’t stop watchin’ it til we were far outta range.

3C675876-6303-4C5B-86E1-503364501FF0

Alla we got home safe.  I let the others know what happened.  Wren got all sortsa worried.  If a dragon was at the big white house, maybe it’d come to our main house too.  An’ it might.  We decided we were gonna keep everyone inside for a bit, even Riley an’ the goose.  I was gonna go back to the big white house with weapons an’ books so I could figure out more.  Cooper said he’d come with me.  Brave brother.  I was glad he said he would, cuz I was straight up scared.  Dragons are no laughin’ matter.

After makin’ the plans, I grabbed my bow, an’ Cooper brought the books an’ a big metal spear we had.

B48C8245-878D-4620-ADDA-47AE8A0F5B95

We both took deep breaths an’ set back out to the big white house.

… to be continued…

~Kestrel

Recreating

We’ve all kinda used the big house for stuff. Lark uses it as a place to write, cuz there’s a desk an’ it’s quiet. An’ Hittys been usin’ it as a place to sit an’ do Hitty things (don’t you ever wonder what Hittys do? Maybe somebody’s done a documentary or somethin’.)

Anyhow, none of us much used the whole house after Grammy Happy signed the deed over, but we figured it was time an’ we outta do more’n just store stuff there (Falcon’s been movin’ science stuff, an’ I gotta whole rack of swords tucked ‘way inna bedroom, an’ we moved in some games an’ stuff).

Cooper went sortin’ through some of his diggin’ up bones an’ rocks equipment. He was showin’ Me shovels an’ brushes an’ trowels, talkin’ bout how real paleontologists set up a site with rope grids an’ document what comes outta where in notebooks. I didn’t realize it was so complicated. I thought they’d just kinda…dig stuff up. Cooper says it helps sometimes with puttin’ skeletons back together after, cuz a dead thing’s bones are kinda like a puzzle.

1B1E4114-EE4E-4E6D-9820-009A2E9D3887

I like puzzles. But Cooper says it’s like havin’ a great big puzzle without the picture onna lid to help go by. I bet that would be tough!

Falcon was mixin’ Up somethin’ sciencey while Lark watched. They were talkin’ bout moles, which seemed kinda weird. I didn’t see how li’l diggin’ creatures had anything to do with science experiments. Falcon was pourin’ different stuff inna beaker. Nothin’ blew up, though, so that was good.

FBA8E04D-010B-4429-B441-80FC636B09F0

Meikiko came too. But she wanted to play in her room. So we’d helped her pull in some huge dolly from the attic an’ set up some other toys. She says it’s really startin’ to feel like her own room!

52A680F0-89D2-4360-B2CE-C8F7F86C203D

4EC9F78B-ECB7-4B2F-9E1F-8D444C5C5A2F

So there we all were, havin’ a grand time, when outta nowhere there was a loud BOOM from up onna roof. We all looked at each other like, what the gumdrops?!

AE84340A-8F92-4502-A3A5-8531A9BA31E1

Whatever it was, it didn’t sound good. I grabbed up a sword.

to be continued…

~Kestrel

Grammar Lessons With Lark: poetry

Lark caught me again. She wanted to teach me more grammar lessons. I like Lark, I do! But grammar’n’me… well, we ain’t best friends.

CCFE35DD-66FE-4AB4-91E4-1DCDE40EC99D

Riley was there. She tried to help. But there’s only so much a pup can do inna face of grammar. I told her I forgave her. She wouldn’t leave.

 

9B6E3D60-4BF9-4368-B557-D7E4258710CA

“Come, Kestrel.  Sit down.  We’re going to do something fun today.  Remember I said we’re going to write poems?”

Umm…poems are fun?  I looked at Riley.  She whined a li’l at me.  I wanted to be out, playin’ inna field.  But I took a deep breath.  I could poem.

F14845BE-802D-409D-BB37-9226E8EB5DCA

Lark talked about how poems used words to show pictures an’ feelings.  There could be lots of description words (she called ’em “adjectives,” an’ I kinda sorta remember her talkin’ bout ’em last time we met).  There could be lotsa action words (verbs).  An’ there’d be things or people or ideas (nouns).

Some poems are really short, an’ some are really long.  She started speakin’ words outta the blue that didn’t make much sense.  Then I realized they were a poem she was givin’ as an example.  She started with a short one first.

            An old silent pond…
A frog jumps into the pond,
splash! Silence again.

It made me giggle.  I like frogs.  They’re cute an’ green.  I didn’t know you could write poems about frogs.  I thought they hadda be super long an’ serious an’ all emotional.  Wren would be good at poems.  But frog poem was written by a super famous, really old dude named Basho.  So maybe poems don’t gotta be mushy-squishy an’ stuff.

Then she gave one a bit longer, but not super long.

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox
and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast
Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold
Hmm.  I liked that one too.  Maybe I could do this poem thing!  Lark sharin’ poetry seemed like it might be a good idea!
904A47F1-47AA-4233-9957-7C5585153F97
But then Lark started sayin’ one that didn’t make no sense to me.  I guess it hadda lotta emotions an’ descriptions an’ things, but there was just too much.  I’ll share it, cuz I know I outta, so everybody else gets a good idea bout what poems really are, but I gotta say I dunno what it means.
Through the artist’s eyes,
we catch this breath of fire,
lifting water up to flight.
This dead weight sinks our histories
back into deep sleep, hidden away
to dream of repair.
 
Waking, we clutch at the real
weight of a movable flood, catching
streams that pour through metal
still cold to the touch. Time
takes little care over us. Current
flowing, its song sighs across weft,
warp, wrinkle, fold. It collars us
in its minutae.
 
Iron, pierced for steam’s escape!
 
Ease across what was once shift,
now skirt, scarf, shirt sleeve, sheet.
Warm what will soon cool.
Stiffen what will turn soft.
Smoothe our way, and drape us
in the dignity
of this new day.
I told her I didn’t know if I could do it after she said that one.  She suggested I outta stay with writin’ shorter poems at first.  She said what she shared with me were written by people that were good poets, ones you could find in books an’ all.  I shouldn’t worry bout tryin’ to write like them.  I outta write like myself, using things I saw an’ felt an’ though.  Then she went off to help the Hittys with cleanin’ an’ organizin’ cupboards.  I got left with a pencil an’ some paper.
08795461-E0EE-4A31-8B25-90A69B570E0F
It was tough.  I stared at the fireplace.  I stared at the bricks.  I stared at the cracks inna ceiling.  I thought bout fightin’ an’ monsters an’ swords an’ traps.  (I wanna try settin’ more traps for monsters, to lure them inna places where it’s gonna be easier to fight ’em instead of always fightin’ inna places where they’re comfortable.)
But that was gettin’ me sidetracked.  I hadda think poems.  Monsters didn’t make good poems.  I didn’t think they would.  Shiny wires an’ sharp swords.  An’…umm….
Nope.  I was stuck again.  This poeming thing was tough!
1442AFAC-6336-4496-991C-00F1994995B7
I tried different ways of thinkin’, hopin’ somethin’ would maybe gimme a different idea or I’d find how poet people think better.
F534FDB8-F041-4233-9F7C-39631259CA6E

 

Nothin’.

Then I remembered Lark sayin’ somethin’ bout how I outta write what I know.  So I sat up again, thinkin’ bout what I know.  Riley was onna desk, so I played with her some, pettin’ her soft fur an’ givin’ her puppy kisses.  I didn’t wanna play too hard, cuz she’d get noisy, an’ for sure Lark would realize I wasn’t really poeming.  Then, alla sudden, somethin’ kinda popped inna my head.  I wrote it down quick, so it wouldn’t get away again.

Li’l bit after, Lark came back downstairs.  She said she’d written a short poem called a haiku, an’ asked if I wanna hear it.  I did.  I was hopin’ she wouldn’t think too hard bout why Riley was sittin’ onna desk.

She coughed a tiny bit, then said:

Bare winter branches
Stark against gray winter sky:
Crusted, frost-seared fields.

Wow!  That was nice an’ pretty.  It was like I was standin’ inna field, lookin’ at the trees.   Lark’s good at poeming!  I wasn’t so sure bout what I’d written, but I hadda share it.  At least she didn’t ask me to read it out loud.  She took the paper instead an’ read it quiet to herself.

When she was done, she just kinda stopped an’ looked at me.  Then she looked at Riley.  I was playin’ with my puppy again.

602DC8BD-F853-4E3E-9240-1426EB590A42

Then she laughed an’ said I did good.  She liked that it rhymed.  An’ that was it for our grammar lesson.  She did add that she was gonna hafta re-think how our lessons were goin’, cuz she wasn’t sure her teachin’ was havin’ the effect she wanna make.  I feel a li’l bad about that, cuz it sorta means I’m not a good student, but that’s ok.  Cooper says we all got subjects we like better’n’ others.  An’ it’s ok, so long as we try our best with things that are new.

Riley an’ me went out inna sun-soaked fields an’ ran around, chasin’ butterflies an’ playin’ in mud puddles til we were so hot, we hadda flop down in some shade an’ watch clouds floatin’ by.

Oh, yeah!  The poem!

Riley is small and sweet,
A perfect little ball of fun.
But Riley is not good to eat.
Riley is not a plum.

Hope maybe everybody else can try writin’ some poems too.  They’re kinda fun.  Sorta.

TTFN!
~Kestrel

Disguises

My friend Vale was talkin’ bout settin’ up a whole disguise for herself, which is pretty cool an’ really impressive, cuz she’s a cyborg, an’ her disguise is a computer thing, sorta like a hologram?  It looks totally real!  Then she was talkin’ bout bein’ a private investigator onna Caribbean island, an’ I gotta grand idea that maybe I’d be her partner.  But I’d need a disguise too!  So I got to playin’ inna closet, makin’ up different disguises.  I need help thinkin’ bout which one seems like a good idea, tho, cuz I don’t think I’m real good at some disguises, but others work pretty ok.

First disguise:  Beach girl

Swimsuit03

Vale said maybe a beach getup would be a good disguise.  An’ this isn’t much like beach stuff I wanna wear, but I look an awful lot like myself.  Dunno if it’s a good disguise, then.  But if you didn’t know who I was, maybe it’d be ok?

Next Disguise:  Girly Girl

Girly01

This one’s a lot more not me.  It’s somethin’ Wren might wear.  It’s cute, I guess, an’ sorta very girly.  Vale said maybe I outta look for hats or somethin’ as disguises, so I tried puttin’ a bow on my head.  Oh, gumdrops.  Why do people wear bows?  Maybe I didn’t know how to put it on, though.  I thought about that after a bit:  I’d’ve been much better off if I’d asked Wren to help me with gettin’ stuff on.  (this outfit woulda been more complete if I’d put on pantyhose or tall socks an’ some shoes.  I didn’t do shoes for many outfits.  I know I’d need ’em, but I was gettin’ in an’ outta clothes so fast, I didn’t wanna bother with shoes much).

Next Disguise:  Camper

Camper06

I started to realize, after tryin’ on a few disguises, that a really good disguise has a story with it.  So I tried comin’ up with stories (or characters) before I put on an outfit.  When I found these pants an’ shirt, I thought it’d make a good campin’ outfit.  Then I found this awesome backpack (it’s gotta be Cooper’s) an’ shovel (which IS Cooper’s).  The shovel made sense.  I could figure out how to work it.  But the backpack…  why does it have so many straps???  What do you do with ’em all??

I tried putting the pack on, hopin’ that maybe, once it was sort of in place, the straps would make sense, but…no…  I still couldn’t figure it out!  There were buckles an’ clips everywhere.  I’ll ask Cooper bout it later.  But the whole camper story seemed like a good idea.

Camper03

Next Disguise:  Birdwatcher

Birdwatcher01

There’s bird’s everywhere, right?  So maybe bein’ a birdwatcher would be a great disguise!  Though I do kinda just look like me…

Playin’ with the binoculars was fun, though.

Birdwatcher03

By the way, as I was takin’ things off, I kept droppin’ them on the bed.  It started piling up pretty deep…  I was gonna have some work to clean up after. (we don’t have an apron, though, or I would’ve made a maid disguise too!!)

Next Disguise: Gypsy

Pip gave me this really pretty dress.  It makes me think of gypsies.  So, when I found a pretty scarf, I popped that on my head.  I actually think this disguise might be the best.  It covers up more hair, so it’s harder to tell it’s me.  An’ I really never wear dresses, so puttin’ one on an’ actin’ like some sorta gypsy person might be a good idea.  Only problem is, I dunno how gypsies act.  I think maybe they offer to tell your fortune? Or they play music an’ dance an’ stuff.

Next Disguise:  Tomboy

Tomboy02

Thought this one was pretty good, too, cuz it’s got a hat, an’ it’s a wee bit harder to tell it’s me.  But the cloths are a lot like what I’d wear, an’ the hat’s mine anyway…  It was really the most comfy disguise.  I liked it a lot.  I liked the birdwatcher outfit too.

Next Disguise:  Kid

Kid03

Ok.  Maybe this wasn’t a good disguise after all.  I mean, who disguises like themselves? Doesn’t that kinda make it all pointless?  I wished I had a baseball cap an’ a skateboard.  Then I’d be less like me, an’ more like a disguised kid!  The shoes were good, though.  I think they’re Falcon’s.  Hope he doesn’t mind.  Might be a bit before he gets ’em back.

Next Disguise:  Tourist

Tourist02

I borrowed Wren’s hat for this one.  It actually looks pretty good!  I might wear this one when I’m feelin’ like I outta get kinda dressed up, an’ I don’t got plans to go fight things or run through a field or nothin’.  The hat’s cute.  I’ll give it back, cuz I don’t wanna steal things offa Wren, but I hope she lets me borrow it sometime.

When I found Wren’s hat, I found something else, too.  It was really a disguise thing!  A wig.  A real wig!  People who are tryin’ look like someone else really do wear wigs.

Tourist03_wig

I couldn’t figure out how to get it on, though.  I think it would’ve made a better disguise if I couldn’ve hidden my hair an’ made the wig look real.  I kept tuggin’ on it, an’ tuckin’ my braids back, an’ tryin’ to stuff my hair outta sight, but…well…I should’ve probably asked someone to help me with gettin’ dressed an’ stuff.  The wig was a good disguise idea, but I dunno quite how to make it work right.  I put it somewhere safe, tho.  It does a really good job of makin’ me not look like me.

Next disguise:  ???

Overalls04

I wasn’t quite sure what I was goin’ for here.  I was gettin’ pretty tired of tryin’ on clothes.  But there was this awesome cowboy hat, an’ it wanted to be tried on.  The whole thing, though…I dunno what I’d call the disguise.  Cowboy? Country girl?  None of that’s really right.

Most of the outfits hadda problem, too: nowhere to hide weapons.  I dunno if private investigators need swords, but I kinda like havin’ mine nearby.  I kept tryin’ stick it in different costumes.  I don’t think it worked too good as a prop, though…  It sure didn’t stay hidden, but at least I found some ways to carry it!

Sword01

I’m gonna keep thinkin’ bout disguises.  It was fun makin’ up stories an’ characters an’ stuff.  I can’t wait to be a real private investigator!!

TTFN,
~Kestrel

PS:  I didn’t wanna make Wren mad, so I cleaned everything up, too.  I even picked up the toys we had lyin’ round the room an’ put ’em all away.  Hope it makes Wren happy!