ELFQUEST
FORUM ARCHIVE     ABOUT EQ     READ ONLINE     SHOP    
ABOUT     READ     SHOP    

November 2007 Grab-Bag Writings and Art

krwordgazer

Here are the elements for November!

Harvest
Coming of age (realized through some action, not just "growing up")
Feathers
Feeling thankful and/or giving thanks
A turkey (on World of Two Moons, it's called a "wattleneck")
The color blue

All works must be related to Elfquest, whether canon-based, original character, alternate universe, or whatever. Writings must contain all six elements. Art can either contain all six elements, or illustrate one of the writings.

A lot of elements this month are related to the American holiday of Thanksgiving-- but please don't let that stop you if you're European or Australian or Japanese. . .

Looking forward to what we come up with!

(Artists? We need more artists posting here! Please? :awww: )

asinas

I just made a new character tonight too! I don't know how I'll be able to do this bag, but I'll try. Tymber, I loved the story! Such a feisty little thing.

Before I start, a bit about the new character- Aureelia, she came about from a conversation with Lady Arill. Well, the unnamed prototype for her did, at the time her mother was NightFall.

Aureelia looked up at the mountain. Father had told her that the blue mountain would be their home soon, mother had said they would be safe there. She didn't like it. The small girl was sure it would be cramped, that it would take the sky away from her. She kicked up one foot as she looked at her mother and father. A still-young Lord Voll, and Lady Winnowill were busy with one another, as usual. Voll was weaving flowers and feathers into the black mane of his younger lover. Seeing how affectionate the pair still was, it made her smile.

She jumped down from her seat, and bench that had been shaped by one of the rock-shapers under her father's rule. The girl ran towards her parents, giggling happily wanting to be apart of the affection between the two. She was young, still young enough she wanted to be smother in love by her parents, but at the age where her heart was easily flattered. Her white hair, the same shade as her sire's flew behind her as she merrily dashed over the soft grass. Her eyes, grey and sparkling in the sunlight, they seemed to reflect the blue of the sky taking on a soft azure hue of their own. She looked very much like her father, and was thankful for this. She openly favored her father, who spoiled her where her mother was strict in trying to teach her to control her inborn abilities as a healer and Glider.

Her arms wrapped around her father, who held her close to him. She looked over her shoulder to her slightly pouting mother before leaning up to kiss her cheek, which cheered the raven haired healer. Winnowill stood looking to the girl. "Have you been practicing today Aureelia? How me how high you can glide now." Aureelia's thoughts became selfish, she wanted her father's affection, and momentarily wished her mother would go away. In her mind, her mother was unneeded, after all father spent more time with Aureelia then Winnowill anymore.

She turned away letting go of her father and crossed her arms. "You said I didn't have to practice today mother! Daddy make her stop! I'm too tired today!" Voll looked between his love-mate, and his offspring. Raising his hands he cleared his throat. "Precious, this is between your teacher and you, not me. But...I would love to see how high my little girl can fly." Aureelia smiled, he wanted to see her flying? She turned about quickly and smiled brightly before closing her eyes.

Voll's little ploy to stop the fight and get Aureelia to listen worked. The girl now concentrated with all her little heart, she shook a little with the strain, but she began to lift into the air. Her body rose first only a few inches, slowly so slowly at first she ascended towards the cloudless sky. Winnowill shook the wattleneck feathers from her hair and shot Voll a playfully angry look before looking up to watch their girl. She was now above their heads, and going higher.

She finally reached the highest she could go when she was at even with the treetops at the end of the clearing. She could see the mountain that the rock-shapers were building, and into the forest where the tree-shapers were tending their gardens. She knew they were going to have a large harvest, with a lot of her favorite fruits! Her eyes fell on a large birdlike thing, a wattleneck! She smiled in delight and started to move herself towards it, she loved the taste fo wattleneck meat. Aureelia noticed something when she started towards the wattleneck, one of the rockshapers on the mountain looked odd. He was weaving and swaying far too heavily where he floated.

She realized he was about to fall! She gasped in horror and pushed her body into motion, willing ti to move faster then she ever had before. As fast as the small girl was, she was not fast enough to save him from the fall, and he went crashing down. She let out a scream of terror that alerted the others, even those int he clearing and nearby forest.

Aurelia let herself fall too, trying to catch up to the falling young rockshaper as he crashed against the mountain so often. His fall was slowed each time he hit a rocky outcropping, and this let her catch up to him. She reached out, her hand gripping his, pulling him to her. She could feel his heart still beating, his chest still rising and falling in breath, she held him to her, cradling him as they fell and she tried to regain her own glide. She did in a way, but they still fell. She was gliding down, unable to stay in the air holding both of their weight, unable to rise to a safe point in the mountain, all she could down was slow their fall using her own force of will.

She held him tight to her as they met the ground, a sickening crack resounded as she felt ribs breaking in her side as they hit. His arm twist back on itself indicating it was broken. She had never before felt a broken bone. Never before had she seen someone hurt in her arms. She looked up weakly as her mother came running to their side. She remembered her mother's soothing hands on her, and she drifted off to sleep.

She awoke that night, in her mother's arms. Besides them was the still sleeping but bruised rockshaper. She snuggled against Winnowill, now knowing her mother was needed, that she did need her as much as her father and so did the rest of the gliders. She also realized she must take her practice with gliding much more seriously, to avoid further incidents.

"You saved him Aureelia." Aureelia looked up to her mother, her mother was smiling, she looked tired, and oddly proud of the girl she held. "If you hadn't of spotted him, he would of fallen to his death little bird." Aureelia blushed and shook her head. "But you healed us mother. Your the hero." Winnowill shushed her white haired child, and pulled her against her to sleep. "Hush child. You need your rest. Your father has a surprise for you tomorrow." Aureelia suddenly felt tired as her mother's soothing hands rubbed over her inducing the girl into sleep. She fell asleep without protest clinging to her dear mother.


For Lady Arill-Because she convinced me that Voll needed to have a little girl to shower affection on. I'm still working on the one with NightFall and him having a kid though...
A quick image of what Aureelia looks like all grown up, isn't she adorable?

Nightsea

WOW...great minds think alike it seems.

asinas, your Aureelia as a daughter of Voll + Winnowill
looks like my imagining of the same parental offspring...
which I named Vytha!

Sometime in 2005 I was daydreaming and came up
with her. I won't go into it all here...but I can post
about her elsewhere if you like...perhaps all the
details I fleshed out will interest you. Your image of
her looks so much like the sketch I made it is freaky...
(minus the dark earrings in mine).

Tymber, I wanted to say that I thought your
paragraph:

Quote:
Tymber

"Because you stop remembering that they’re gone, and start remembering when they were alive,” Shadow said. “It takes time. We’re selfish. We want them here with us. And when we’re gone, we hurt because they can’t be here. But we start remembering them in our minds and our hearts, and they’re always with us. And we remember the times we laughed and cried together. Not the days that we’re apart"



is insightful. Going through the loss of a parent myself, I can
relate. (Just an editing tip...the line "And when we're gone"
should read "when they're gone" instead...right?)

My own contribution for this month is still pending...but to
stay half on topic I will repost the art I intend to write about...


Stay tuned,
--Nightsea

LadyArill

....I love you, Asinas. That...that warmed my soul on this rather unhappy day. Thank you. And I love how Voll just spoils his little princess, and that little mother-daughter bonding bit at the end was just too cute! The picture was excellent, my friend! She looks perfect.

Nightsea, your pic was awesome too! Love her expression and PLEASE, PLEASE write about Voll and Winnowill's daughter!

Do not make us get on our knees and beg...

Great tale, Tymber!!

I'll try and get Oct. stuff up before I try this...

Luuurve,
Rilly

RedheadEmber

Yep! Great story Asinas!

Well... here's my try!

*Foam! Where are you? Your father is coming!*
*I’m here mother! I’m coming!*
Foam always looked forwards to visitations from her father. Sunstream didn’t live with his Lifemate and daughter but in the great woods far away with his parents. Still Foam knew that he visited her mother Brill on the spirit plane all the time.

The Palace appeared in the clear blue sky and Foam ran towards it, knowing that her father would be the first one out, only to see a beautiful red-haired maiden together with him. Shocked she stopped, who was she?
“My father LOVES my mother! They aren’t together just because they’re recognized!”
“Foam, little silly! This is your aunt! Ember! MY twin!”
Oh”¦ how embarrassing! Of course! Her father was a twin just like her mother!
“I’m”¦ sorry!”
“It’s okay! My cloud headed brother probably forgot to tell that we would come too! Anyway, this is my Lifemate Teir and our daughter Crocus!”
“She’s just a baby!”
Crocus was really just a few years younger than Foam.
“Foam! She’s your cousin!”
“It’s okay Cloudhead!”

Later that evening Foam, still dizzy of the dreamberries the visitors had brought from the harvest in the wood, took a walk on the shore when she saw a strange bird. She remembered her father telling about them, wattleneck! That's was the word! Curious she stepped towards it. Suddenly she heard something growl behind her and turned slowly! A huge bear was coming towards her! And there was nowhere she could escape! Suddenly the bear was hit by a spear and Foam looked up to see her young cousin Crocus.
“Do you still think I’m a baby?”
“No! You’re not a baby! But”¦ did you hear what I said earlier?”
“Yeah”¦ wolf hearing! Do you think that means that I’m grown up now?”
“Well”¦ you acted grown up! Thank you!” Then she looked at her young cousin and smiled,
"Here! Take this!" necklace made of feathers "I would've given this to my mother but I don't think she'll mind if I gives it to you! Blood of twelve chiefs!"

asinas

Nightsea-PLEASE tell me about Vytha? Please? I want to know about her, so does Aureelia!

Lady Arill- May I ask why your day was so unhappy? I'm excited to hear you liked the story,!

It was the first I wrote about her, and trying to work on her personality at the same time, it was a bit difficult. I tried to catch a young Winnowill and Voll, in love and a still sane Winnie. I don't think Aureelia turned out as bratty as she should of been at first, when older shes very graceful, loving, still has problems gliding, can send to a small degree, but is most powerful at healing. She also developed a fear of falling after this event.

Redhead Ember- Thank you, I enjoyed your story, and the cubs were too cute!

Nightsea


Nightfall's bare shoulders felt the tickle as the two new
feathers swept her skin. Her unbound hair crept closer
to her eyes, but her hands moved to touch her lifemate
instead of brushing it aside.

**Beloved** she never tired of sending this endearment
to him. Ulm, her flame-haired love, bending toward her
like a strong yet flexible vine, entwining through her
body and soul.

Moments alone were precious and few. The demands of
parenthood and the succor they gave to their wounded-in-spirit
cheif made it difficult to share time in certain ways.

Nightfall silently thanked the High Ones that Cutter
had followed her suggestion to take their young cub hunting.
The wattleneck flock nearby made for easy prey and her
daughter needed to make her first kill before the white
cold season took the opportunities and game away.
She would become a competent huntress and help keep
the tribe, both wolf and elf, well fed.

Redlance's strong hands had gathered up the last
of the season's little berries and formed the
stems into a soft bed. Now a timid treewee
was sneaking furry fingers into the pile of fruit
that he had set aside. Laughing he pulled his lifemate
closer and watched the small creature over
Nightfall's shoulder.

**Twen** his mind-caress of her secret name
echoed how his arms held her and Nightfall sighed
in absolute bliss.

**Ulm** she returned, feeling the bonding connection
of love and recognition chosen.

The deep blue of the afternoon sky was the last thing
she saw before closing her eyes for a while.

***********That's the contribution for Nov.************

asinas, I put up a thread for Vytha at http://www.elfquest.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=369899#369899

:)
--Nightsea

innie

For now, I've only read Nightsea's Nightfall story, but I really like it :D

krwordgazer

Wow, this month's entries are intense!

Tymber, your Redlance retelling is very graphic and dramatic. Nice job! The testing of Windfetcher was very good, too. I liked the interaction between her and Shadow. Shadow is a terrific character!

Asinas, I liked your portrayal of Voll and Winnowill's daughter! Very dramatic accident and rescue, too.

Nightsea, that was sweet and tender and heartwarming. Thanks for lifting my heart!

Redhead, that was a cute story! Good new characters! I wonder if you might draw out the bear attack just a bit. Let us see his fangs, feel his hot breath. Make it more dramatic, if you see what I mean. But it was a good read!


Anyway, here's my effort for the month!

CAPNUTS AND COURAGE


Elements:
Harvest
Coming of age
Feathers
Feeling thankful/giving thanks
A turkey
The color blue


"Bundles, wait!" Tyleet darted after her wolf-friend as, catching sight of a young wattleneck, he bolted down the hill towards the thorn wall. She was up early, before the rest of the tribe. The brilliant blue of the sky above the trees was turning golden with the approach of evening. Capnuts showed temptingly among the fallen leaves. Tyleet had been unable to sleep longer, thinking about gathering the nuts she adored. But now, capnuts forgotten, she chased after Bundles. She knew he could slip through the thorn wall after the gobbling bird-- and at eight-and-five turns of the seasons, Tyleet was forbidden to follow.

*Bundles, come back!* Tyleet wolf-sent. Bundles ignored her, growling in his throat as the bird reached the thorn wall. There was a small opening here (as Redlance”˜s daughter, Tyleet knew where all the hidden openings were), and the bird had instinctively made for it. In a moment bird and wolf had both disappeared, leaving only a few mottled feathers drifting down on Tyleet's side of the thorns. Tyleet groaned. What to do? Wait for Bundles to catch his prey and return? Or follow him? She knew which was the prudent course.

But what if Bundles should run into humans? The human village wasn't far from the thorn wall. But sending to the wolf again would be futile. She sat down, clutching her leather pouch with its small supply of capnuts already gathered, and tried to resist the temptation to slip through the thorn wall after him.

The human village. Curiosity awoke in her as she thought of the mysterious place she had never seen, except for its smoke curling above the trees. What were humans really like? How did they live? What would they do if they saw Bundles?

Humans were afraid of wolves, her mother had said. Humans lived in huts and had strange customs, not letting their maidens hunt, singing long, drawn-out songs around their fires. But what were they really like?

Tyleet bit her lip. Then, before she could think about it any more, she jumped up, shaking back her hair, and slipped through the thorn wall after Bundles.

***

Young Ari straightened, rubbing at a crick in her back, and looked hopelessly at the vegetable patch. She and her sisters had worked all afternoon, bringing in their family's harvest. The village wall was surrounded by these plantings, and each family had their portion. It was the job of the young women and girls to dig the rows, bury the seeds, and harvest the produce, saving seeds for the following year. Old men and young boys guarded the plants while they grew, the boys learning their first hunting skills in bringing down the rabbits and birds that tried to steal. Their fathers hunted larger game in the forest, being sure to avoid the Hidden Ones' white-thorn barrier. Ari wished she could be with them, walking softly through the trees looking for deer, rather than being stuck here pulling up tubers and plucking greenlings. In fact, it was her daydreaming that had slowed her down-- and now darkness was coming, and her vegetables were not brought in. Her older sisters, laughing at her, had gone back inside the village wall to help Mother prepare the evening meal. Ari was left out here to get her section finished. She sighed. as she realized she was the last girl left working. It was going to be impossible to finish before dark. She'd have to go back to the hut with her bag not full. Mother would punish her by making her come back out in the morning to finish, and she's miss the ceremonies opening the harvest festival.

Ari worked as fast as she could.. As she desperately pulled at a tuber, the last ray of the sun slanted through the trees, and was gone. No villager stayed out after sunset. The two guard-boys, with a shout to her, had already gone in. She sighed again heavily, looked down at her half-filled bag, and wandered back towards the village wall. It wasn't fair. She sniffed a little, blinking back tears, and went inside to face her mother's anger and her sisters' jeers.

***

Tyleet had found Bundles eating the wattleneck. She had laughed at him as he tried to shake feathers out of his mouth, and helped him pluck them away, tasting herself of the sweet, pale flesh. Relieved that he had avoided human eyes, she still couldn't shake her own curiosity. After a few moments she left him occupied with his meal and slipped soundlessly down the hill to peer through the gathering dusk at the human village.

She held her breath at the sight of the lone human female who seemed to be gathering tubers just outside a wall made of stones and sticks. She was young-- a little younger than Tyleet herself-- and Tyleet was amazed. Humans were not really very different from elves! The tubers and other plants seemed to lie in odd-looking rows, instead of scattered here and there under the trees. Tyleet had heard stories of how the Sun Villagers planted crops, and she'd heard her elders discussing how the humans had recently discovered they could plant the seeds of what they gathered. The Wolfriders who kept watch on the human village approved of the practice, as it kept the humans closer to their village, but they had no wish to imitate them. It wasn't the Way.

As the sun went down, Tyleet saw the human girl abandon her work. The girl seemed sad and upset, and Tyleet's soft heart went out to her. She could see that a lot of the food still remained to be gathered. Perhaps this was what was worrying the maiden?

Tyleet looked around. The village lay quiet in the gathering darkness. No human was in sight. If any did come, she was certain she would see them before they saw her.

She glided on noiseless feet down to the abandoned vegetable patch, and got to work.

***

Leaving the harvested vegetables in a heap in the middle of the field, Tyleet ran back up the slope, sending for Bundles. With a low woof he bounded to her, tail wagging. Together they headed back to the place where they had slipped through the thorn wall.

She followed Bundles' furry hindquarters through the gap, wriggling to escape the sharp thorns, and rose to her feet. Then she drew in her breath in a sharp gasp of dismay. Cutter was standing there, jaw clenched, eyes burning.

He was furious.

Tyleet pressed her lips together and cast down her eyes, waiting for the storm to break. She didn't have to wait long.

"Where have you been?!" he shouted. "Who told you you could go outside the thorn wall alone? What in the name of all the High Ones did you think you were doing?"

She thought of telling him she'd been gathering capnuts-- but he'd never accept a part-truth. Tyleet gathered up her courage and looked up into Cutter's livid face. "Bundles followed a wattleneck through the thorn wall and wouldn't come back," she explained, as calmly as she could. "I went after him."

He gritted his teeth. "I was just about to go after you. You should have called one of us," he grated. "You know how close to the human village this is!"

Tyleet pushed down the trembling in her gut and nodded. "I was careful. I wasn't seen."

"You can't be careful enough!" he snapped. "No one is to go near that village! You know that!"

Something rose up inside her. She wasn't a cub anymore. Didn't he understand that? Before she knew it, the words were out. "But I did."

He stared for a moment without speaking. Then he grabbed her by both arms. "You what?!"

She took a deep breath. "I wanted to see the human village. I was only going to peek at it."

Cutter drew in his breath too. He did not take his eyes from her face. "But you did more than that."

It wasn't a question. Tyleet nodded, her eyes, in deference, slightly averted from his.. "No one saw me," she repeated. "But there was a human girl-- younger than me-- who needed help gathering vegetables. I gathered them and left them where she could find them. She was crying!" Tyleet added defensively, as Cutter's mouth opened again.

He closed it. Opened it. Closed it again.

He had never denied her anything in her life. She was old enough now to understand why-- but though she acknowledged him as chief, to her he had always been like an uncle.

"It's not wrong to help someone!" Tyleet said.

"You put the entire Holt at risk!" he growled-- but some of the anger had left his voice.

"I know, my chief," she replied, her eyes on the ground once more. "I won't do it again."

"Is that a promise?"

"Yes," Tyleet said, feeling somehow older, all at once, than she had been when she woke up that day.

A slight smile crooked one corner of Cutter's mouth. He let go of her arms. "Very well then. But Tyleet--"

"Yes, Cutter?"

"You're confined to the Father Tree until next moonrise."

“Yes, Cutter.”

***

The next morning, Ari stood in the vegetable patch and stared at the pile of harvested food. Who could have--? No one had been outside the village wall since she had gone in the night before. She was sure of it.

Could it have been. . . the Hidden Ones?

It must have been. The Hidden Ones had taken pity on her and helped her!

With a cry of joy Ari scooped the vegetables into her bag. She wasn't going to miss the opening of the festival after all!

Her heart welling with thankfulness, she went to tell her mother and sisters-- and to join the celebration.


The End.

SnowWren

Awwww, Krwordgazer! :) Yeay:) Tyleet is so much fun!

LadyArill

(Hugs Tylesst, is hugged back)

Not only are you adorable, but kind and stout of heart as well! Scouter is one lucky guy!


Awesome, Gazer! And Tymber, fantastic work!^^

(Runs off to stop Tyleet from blaring Simon and Garfunkel on the sterio)

asinas

*Blushes* Thank you!

Jemelis



Dovelyn breathed the cool night air in with a sigh. Her kindred squirreled themselves away in the cold unyielding stone that made Blue Mountain, her home. No, their home, she thought, clenching her delicate jaw. Her Lord slept through open eyes, as did the rest of her people. Only the Chosen Eight knew the freedom and thrill of life as they would ride their great birds in the heavens above, free in the rushing air and exhilarated by their hunt.

She shook her head and looked up to the greater moon. The tree branches from the tree in which she stood, screened her from most of the moon's radiate glow. Why did our kind come here, She mused, Was it not so we could live and thrive in the lushness of this world? So why is it that we live in the dark, with only an air that's stale and fowl to breath? And never to feel the sunlight on our faces or the moonglow on our skin? I will not live that way! Dovelyn, brushed aside the angry tears with a quick hand. Her breath came to her with disturbing uneasiness. She closed her eyes and concentrated, breathing deeply the night air that she was to be denied.There was an advantage to her people's slumber,She smiled, eyes still closed, They did not know of her outings to the woodland.

A faint breeze ruffled her hair and her saphire colored eyes flew open. She froze in place. Even though her ears could not identify the cause for her sudden alarm, she knew with a beating of her heart that just then, a hunting bird had just flown close to the tree where she hid. She pushed agianst the trunk of the great tree. Please just be a bond bird and no rider.... Silence enveloped her and even the leaves were quiet. Dovelyn still waited, letting the moments drag on, yet still the silence continued. Taking a deep breath, she pushed away from the main body of the tree and lightly stepped further out onto the branch that held her aloft. She had never taken to the power of gliding and preferred to move about on her feet, feeling the fluid movement of her own body, reveling in the touch beneath the soles of her feet. Even now, she stood barefoot on the rough bark.

Something stirred the hairs on the back of her neck and she spun, still keeping her footing. With wide eyes, she stared into the face of the Glider that had settled on the branch close behind her. His hands grasped her upper arms, she could easily feel the tightness of his grip, yet her eyes could not leave his face. It was Vahn, one of the chosen eight. Altho' most Gliders sported white or pale hair, Vahn's was black, which set off his vivid blue eyes even the more.

(Oops--Have to go to work, darn it! I'll come back and write more.)

This was my contribution to feathers and blue and was supposed to be a drawing only....not sure what happened...

Nightsea

A good start! :D

I'm glad someone else likes to make some art for these grab-bags
too. Nice image!

Waiting for the rest of the elements to work themselves in there...
--Nightsea

Willowspring

*whines* dang work

lunakat

Please forgive me, if I miss anybody-- I haven't read the whole thread yet.

Jemelis-- what a wonderful combination of story and artwork! i love it! In fact, all of the original character stories this month seem to be quite good.

Tymber-- that was dark, man! (dark)

Nightsea-- awww... So very sweet! Redlance and Nightfall are the perfect couple, and you captured their love for eachother perfectly!

I guess, with this particular grabbag, the Ulm/Twen family must be a theme... because krwordgazer's story featuring their daughter, was also just wonderful. Tyleet is so darned headstrong-- you do have to wonder how she managed to get through her childhood both alive, and without pissing off Cutter! I could definately have seen this happening to her-- she was so entirely in character. And there is something about the idea of collecting capnuts, turkeys and fall in general that is very Tyleet. I also like very much how you hint at the old fairy tales of helper sprites-- much like "the cobbler and the elves." How clever-- and how very likely of Tyleet to have inspired those stories!

you guys all know this story, right?
http://www.authorama.com/grimms-fairy-tales-39.html

Jemelis

Hi folks! Hope you've enjoyed the reading. I hadn't planned on doing a story with pix but it just sorta' happened. I'm seriously out of practice, so maybe this is a good thing I move the story to my art post so it wouldn't clutter up this spot. I think I'll be working on it in sections since I don't have tons of time, but it will just be a short story anyway.
Here's the link:
http://www.elfquest.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=371340#371340

SnowWren

“Come, Nonna, We must hurry!”

The child looked up at her mother, raising her hands in innocence. Her mother sighed. “Ohhh”¦ you”¦ why do you insist on crushing the berries until your hands are covered in blue?”

Nonna simply looked at her mother, eyes wide with innocence.

“I know. Your father says you are gifted, that you will be painter of the spirits one day. But today, child, you must hurry. Now, run! Get to the stream and wash your hands””return as fast as you can! The harvest celebration will begin soon. You don’t want to miss seeing the great birds””perhaps you will even see one of the blessed spirits.”

That got the girl’s attention. She jumped up, spilling the bowl of berries that had been in her lap. Her mother sighed and began cleaning up after her. Nonna was oblivious to those around her as she ran, panting, to the small stream where she could wash her hands. When she arrived, she was shocked to see a family of wattlenecks drinking at the stream.

She quieted her step and gingerly knelt to wash her hands. One of the wattle necks looked at her, and she froze. It’s a sign! she thought, deciding that she would ask her elders what it meant to be looked at by one of the stout little birds. Sensing that she would be late if she delayed, she jumped up, turning to run back. Her sudden movement startled the birds, and she stopped to watch as they hurried away. Nonna noticed that one of the birds had lost a feather, and Nonna knew that, too, was a sign. Splashing the creek as she crossed, Nonna took the feather in hand, silently thanking the giver for the gift, and crossed again. The base of her dress was wet, and she knew her mother would scold her, but she had a treasure!

The tribe had gathered together and the women had finished laying the feast out on blankets. The pipers were poised and ready to call for the spirits. Nonna looked for her mother. There! She headed toward her mother, but she was stopped by the call of another. Turning, Nonna saw Kakuk.


"What do you have there, child?”

Nonna revered this elder, and she walked to him shyly. Reaching her hand out, she presented him with the feather. “It came from a wattleneck,” she announced.

“It did, indeed. You have been the first of us to see one of the blessed birds. For the wattleneck is sacred, also! And tonight, you will be the first to offer your hymn of thanks.”

Nonna’s eyes widened. Going first was a sign of maturity! The elders usually sang first, followed by the next generation. And the children were to go last! She stammered, “First?”

He laughed. “Yes, Nonna. You are wise beyond your years. You will lead us this evening, and tomorrow, you will begin your training as symbol-maker. I see your hands are already blue.” With that, he winked at her and pointed her toward her mother. “Go. You will begin your song with the pipers.”

She nodded and hurried to her mother, clutching the feather to her chest.

Nightsea

<3 it, SnowWren! Nice job!

:D
--Nightsea

LadyArill

Great stuff!