The Men and Elves try and figure out what happened to Morgolic
|Chapter 4 The Battlefield
Scene 1 of 4: Discussion of Mores, Elves and Key Characters.
High Counsellor of Listeria, Kulrick La Vinneous, was Pluto's father. He had been "Called" when but newly married, by the Witch Olivia, who was patron to the Listerian and Latonion Elfs. Now Nineteen years later his son was on the verge of manhood.
A "Calling" was a summons to mate. It was not optional and partners were not negotiable. You had sex with whoever it was the Coven directed. It could be a Witch, a Wizard, an Elf, a Dwarf or even a Sapien. It was the law and personnal problems were not seen as extenuating circumstances. Sure! Every effort was made to accomodate the union, but if all else failed it was done in a jail cell. Olivia conceived and Kulrick’s wife, Climatus, took Pluto to raise. The policy of selective mating was offensive to most who did not believe the government should be involved in a practice that was so personally invasive and steeped in traditional mores. However the the results spoke for themselves. Races that had once stood on the brink of extinction were making a comeback. Climatus, for her part was not troubled by her husband's role in the conception of Pluto. On the contrary she was sincerely grateful. She was a barren, gracious and kind hearted woman and when she was handed the child at the naming ceremony, it was the happiest day of her life. Lord Kulrick, while he pretended otherwise, did not fully share her sentiments. He resented the whole sordid business, and it rankled him to the bone. Still the law was the was law, and as the Council Chair, it was his job to enforce it. What his reasoning mind accepted his emotional being could not. Then there was the pricetag. It seemed to him that the Old School Aristocracy, referred to as the"Bluebloods" had given up the most. Their psychic presence had declined dramatically in recent years, along with a diminishment in telepathic abilities and longevity. In times of old an aristocrat commonly lived a thousand years. Currently, among his generation of bluebloods, this had been reduced by a quarter. For the Elvenhums it had dropped to half that. But more than these, it was the changing way of life he resented and the Witches took full responsibility. Without apology they wore the bullseye of blame, indifferent to any criticism that came their way.
Most Elvenhume offspring was bigger, stronger and more athletic than their forefathers. While their telepathic skills were diminished or altogether lacking, they were much more spirited than the Elf of old. They had a seeming boundless energy, creative vitality, virulent sex drive, and a capacity for extreme violence. The males made good soldiers, and the Army was as good as at any time in the annals of Elfin history. A vocal system of communicating was sufficient for most. It required far less energy and had about the same range as conversational telepathy. While the blue blood males still retained a vestigal capacity for vesicle reproduction, it was about bred out. The vesicle system enabled reproduction through blood sperm as well as the more common means of sexual intercourse and to give the Witches their due, they deserved most of the credit.
The son of Kulrick, was a bit of a dissappointment. Instead of being athletic and coordinated, Pluto was more of a plodder. While he was strong and could run fast, he was not quick. When he tried to make sudden movements or corrections, he appeared clumsy and awkward. If he ambled along at his usual pace, he had a fluid motion and to be fair even a shadow of grace, but he had never been able to react with the quickness that is the signature of most Elfs. Most of the time he walked about with his head bowed as if carrying the weight of the world on his broad shoulders. In a sense he did, because he was in awe of his father and nothing he ever tried seemed to please the old man. His mother, Climatus, was always fluttering about showering him with an endless stream of affection. This embarrassed him as he grew older, because it amused his friends.
Climatus had a best friend and her name was Larissa. She was a widow and had a daughter named Martha. Since Climatus and Larissa were inseperable, it was not surprising that Pluto and Martha were Promised. When Martha opted for the warrior track, Pluto wished her well. During the times when the population had reached an all time low, women had been allowed to join the warrior class. They attended Bellmont Academy which had a long and rich tradition. If a woman so elected she declared her intention, sometime soon after the onset of menstruation. When Martha made her declaration, Pluto was relieved because while he and Martha were friends they had little else in common. She was beautiful, athletic, confident and all the things that Pluto wasn’t. When Lord Kulrick heard, he only shrugged. “What other choice did the poor girl have?” he concluded.
Another aspect of Elfin Culture was mandatory military training for everyone. All young elfs, both male and female were expected to complete The Home Defense Course. This course had six tiers. Beginning at age thirteen young men and women would study the practice of arms concurrent with their academic studies. In a way it was like the physical component of the curriculum but it was much more. The history of the Elf was replete with examples of citizens making heroic defense of their cities, homes and families. Thus up to the twenty-fifth year, a citizen was required to complete the six tier standard. It was a prerequsite for becoming a citizen and getting to vote. There were no exceptions to this policy. The system was adamant and the standards were inflexible. If a young man or woman lacked the aptitude to complete the requirements they kept at it anyway, until they aged out, whereupon society threw up their hands and quit beating a dead horse. Those who failed were seen as second class citizens.
Thus it was that at eighteen, when many of his peers had already tested well into the requirement, Pluto was still struggling to get past the first tier. His father, a great warrior, was dissappointed, but not surprised.
There was also in the city a female Simian Elf. Simian Elfs were a cross between an Elf and a Simian. This was more mischief by the Empire who bred them because of their telepathic abilities. The ape side was a species of baboon that also had telepathic powers. Bedilia, for this was her name, had been taken when the fortress at Myrocenia fell ten years earlier. It was Empire policy to insure that specified individuals did not fall into enemy hands. The policy applied to Simian Elves and as hope faded for the defenders they put their Doomsday plan into effect. However, they failed to anticipate the response of the "Apes" who barricaded their children into the nursery and died defending the threshold. As a consequence, six of the Simian infants survived. Bedelia was one of these and was resettled in Listeria. While she was considered both an abomination and an embarrassment, she and her siblings gave the Confederation a first glimpse at the powerful tool the Empire had created. The edge of her mind could reach out over four hundred miles and at eighteen she had six special operations missions to her credit. Still she had not passed even the first tier of the mandatory training and when she was not serving as a beacon, she was in the gymnasium hopelessly trying to complete tasks she was physically incapable of performing. Her weapon of choice was the smallest Bow in the arsenal. He sword was only slightly larger than the boot blade of a seasoned fighter.
The Six tier system involved progressively more difficult sequences, involving likely combat scenarios a citizen would encounter in a last ditch battle inside an urban area. In the first scenario a citizen and his battle partner, had to take on a single gnome with a sword, then two and finally three and a bat wraith. A holographic and telepathic apparatus, operated by a retired warrior, would project these creatures in a simulated street scene and the student couple was required to defeat the threats without being killed in the process. For Pluto it was a coordination and quickness issue. The threats, particularly the wraith, moved too fast and his body was too slow to counter. For Bedilia, the problem was overcoming the strength of the attackers. Then there was the dying experience that accompanied failure to pass the practical application. The depression of getting killed followed for days like a headache you couldn’t get rid of.
All the other students in the class dreaded being paired with Pluto or Bedilia because it was a one way ticket to failure. Pluto had a phobia about the Bat Wraith. When it began buzzing around he would lose his focus and begin swinging wildly to counter its quick darting maneuvers. He often paniced, stumbling over his partner and throwing their defense into dissarray. He was an easy prey for the opposition. It wasn't that the other students didn't have sympathy for the two, but passing the Home Defense Course was a serious undertaking and their peers were not blind to self interest. One day, out of desperation more than anything else, Demetrio, the instructor, paired Pluto and Bedelia and sent them out together into the street. Pluto was carrying a huge blade and thick oaken shield. Everything he was issued came in size "Extra Large." Bedilia had her bow in one hand and her doll in the other. The doll was a physical reminder of the seriousness of the training and females were told to protect it with their life. Around her waist was strapped a "sword," and on her head perched a dimunative helm. About her shoulders she carried a Rucksack and quiver of arrows.
Scene 2 of 4: Pluto meet Bedelia.
"Put you doll in the service pack," Pluto mumbled, "and be careful I don't step on you."
"Don't expect much from me," answered Bedelia, in a self deprecating tone. "The gnomes just laugh when they see me coming."
"Let me worry about the Gnomes," spat Pluto, "You just keep your eyes peeled for the Bat."
In phase one the Gnome rounded the corner and bore down on them swinging a sword. Pluto set his feet and readied his own. Bedilia, held her bow fumbling with an arrow. Dread swept over her and she trembled drawing a bead Stepping out from behind Pluto, she let fly. It ricocheted off the Gnome's chest plate and their adversary hardly noticed. She notched a second and let fly. It ricocheted off his shield.
“Draw your sword,” ordered Pluto, “Cover my right side.”
She stepped out to his right, sword drawn.
The Gnome lunged, striking her shield and knocked her backwards, head over heels. However, before he could counter, Pluto was on him. He swung his sword, snapping his wrist at the same instant. The blow came with such power that it severed the Gnome in two.
“Awseome!" said Bedilia
Demetro blared through a bull horn. “How many times do I have to tell you Bedilia?” With that dinky bow you have to shoot for the head. You keep making the same dumb mistakes over and over again. What is it with you anyway?
“What is it with you anyway." she muttered under her breath. Pluto broke into a smile. “Sorry I wasn’t much help big guy,”
“I think you distracted him," said Pluto. "Just remember, this time there's two of them. I can’t cover my right and left both. After the arrows, you take the one on the right. Maybe we’ll get lucky.”
Bedilia felt something behind her neck. When she had taken the roll earlier the head of her doll had poked out and appeared to be looking out from the back pack. ”Poor little thing, I know how scared you are...Mommy and Daddy won’t let anything bad happen to you.”
“Here they come, Bedilia, get ready."
Bedilia notched an arrow, stepped from the right and let fly. The gnome dipped and it flew over his shoulder.
She notched the second and fired. It grazed the gnome’s ear slicing it off. Blood spurted out the side...they kept coming. One approached from the left, the other from the right.
In coordination they struck from both sides. Bedilia tried countering but gave way as the impact of its blade tore into her shield. It stuck and the Gnome kicked to free it. His sword tore loose and she careened backward. Meanwhile, Pluto got beneath the guard of his advesary. The thrust was fatal severing a heart artery. Bedilia sagged to her knees expecting the enevitable. Then she heard a cry of absolute rage. The Gnome turned in surprise, just in time to feel his head seperate at the shoulders.
"That was better, much better." Said Demetro. "Quit shaking Pluto!...calm down and get a grip on yourself..."
"Bedilia..., did you see the Gnome juke to avoid your first arrow? Sometimes they telegraph that move....watch how they bob their heads....more to one side means that’s the side they juke to. Pluto, you might be slow but you're bringing a load. I like the way you two are working together. This last vignette will be a bit more of a challenge....good luck."
“Save your second arrow for the wraith,” said Pluto over his shoulder. “We’ll do this like we did before. Now instead of two, there'll be three, and the flyer. Try and keep them off me as I deal with each, one at a time.”
Three gnomes came around the corner. One of them was bobbing his head from side to side. He seemed to fit the profile. She drew back and his head juked. Giving him a lead she let fly. His head popped back into the flight of the arrow. It passed through his temple and he crumpled.
“Cool!” said Pluto. “Wonder where the wraith is?”
"I hear it," answered Bedelia, “Where is it? Oh my gawd, it's behind us.”
“Damn! said Pluto, staggering as he turned ”
Bedilia barely stepped clear, as Pluto stumbled backwards. In a blurr, she notchede the second arrow, drew back and fired instinctively. It was one of those great shots you get once or twice in a lifetime. It caught the bat just as it banked and began swooping in. Feathers flew as the wraith convulsed in mid-air. Then the two Gnomes closed . Bedelia had no time to draw her sword. She swung the bow like a switch pummeling her surprised adversary. Pluto was chest to chest with the other. Both had the hilts of their swords beneath each other's chin, straining mightily. The gnome gave way and Pluto cast him aside. Then he drove the point of his sword through its chest. The second Gnome closed on Bedilia swinging his mace. She leaned backwards, losing her balance and barely avoided the arc as it careened off the edge of her buckler. She hit the ground and rolled to the side, her helmet askew, blocking her vision. Once more Pluto came to her aid. The Gnome faced him and swung defiantly. Their weapons rang together. Pluto stepped to the right slamming his pummel to the face. The gnome sagged as the young warrior threw down his shield and lunged for the throat. His fingers took hold and began to strangle. Bedelia, recovering her wits, skipped deftly forward and plunged her blade beneath the armpit. The tip came out the other side.
Demetro chuckled, “Never seen it done like that...what a stretch. Oh, by the way, congratulations to you both, on passing tier one.”
“See little one?” Bedelia cooed, looking back at her doll. “Mommy and Daddy will always be there when you need us..”
Scene 4 of 4: Liope awakes and examines Scarab and jewels.
The next morning Liope awoke before dawn. Taking off her gown she examined herself. The scarab had burried its head in the side of her breast. Blood oozed from beneath, but already a scab was forming. She itched gently, as she examined it more closely. The skin was irritated by a rash and outward radiated a network of purple blood vessels.
She retrieved the pouch from beneath her pillow and removed the ruby. From her sewing kit she took a strand of gut and a piece of wool. She cut a square, made a small hole and wrapped the stone inside. Through the hole she threaded the gut and tied off a large loop. This she tied around her waist. Once more came the tingle and the keen surge of her senses reaching out into the world beyond.
She decided to put the rest of the gems in a more secure place. Behind a loose foundation stone was a hiding place she had discovered as a girl. Into this she entrusted the gems and went downstairs.
Her father was rummaging about following the routine of his morning. His mind was still cloudy from sleep and he stubbed his toe. The pain was unexpected and he cursed to himself. Liope felt its sharpness but the physical effect was indirect and removed from her. She could feel his hurt mentally but it did not touch her body. She could gage its intensity and feel its expression but in a part of her mind separate from her physical awareness. She smiled in sympathy and called out,
“Are you alright father?”
“Yes! Yes! He answered, surprised that she had heard him.
As she set to work making breakfast birds were singing outside and the female robin was scolding her mate. She was upset that he was looking for worms instead of finding a location for their nest. For the past two years, hatchlings had been lost to predators. He had hopped to flutter atop her but her screeching told him to put that notion right out of his mind. Liope laughed to herself. She understood the situation perfectly and was in full sympathy with the scolding that followed.
Foolish old bird the female admonished, How can you think about that at a time like this? There'll be no fluttering until you find us a safe place to raise our family.
Liope laughed and watched the male hop to the task and energetically fly away. She felt not only the mother’s emotion but understood the exact meaning of the angry chirps. She clapped her hands in wonder, as she focused her mind.
Well spoken, she said telepathically.
The robins head jerked up in surprise...at first the poor bird couldn't figure out the source...then suddenly she saw Liope throught the window... A look of dread came upon it, as it jerked around and flew off madly in the opposite direstion.
I wonder what I said wrong? thought Liope to herself.
She heard her father coming down the stairs and could see him preparing his agenda for the day.
“I have to get those arrow and spear points done today. The stock is getting low and the hunters and fishermen will be anxious to get replenished before winter.”
He sat down at the breakfast table and Liope served his hot porridge, bread and bacon. He began eating with gusto and before he looked up his daughter served him up a tankard of ale. He grinned,
“Nobody cooks like you do. How is it that you always seem to know exactly what I want?" he asked."
“You're very transparent,” she answered, “and always eat the same things, over and over, day in and day out. Do you never tire of the repetition?”
“Never!" He answered, and wiping his empty bowl with a crust of bread, stood and swigged down the last of his mug.
“I’ll be at the forge if you need me. Today, see if you can’t stick a little closer to home.” With that he was out the door, closing it behind.
Well I suppose I could go to the market, she thought for it was Wednesday and the day for filling the lauder. Throwing her cape about her shoulders she went outside and stepped into the street. It had rained the night before and the road was muddy, so she stuck to the boardwalk heading into the middle of town.
Scene 4 of 4: Varnack and Albiana arrive on scene.
Further to the East Albiano and the party of elves skirted around the human settlement of Dead End. People were already stirring and she attuned her mind to what they were thinking. While they were still quite far away she was able to focus and hear their speech. Even with her skill she would have to be much closer to read their minds. However the speeches of the humans held clues to what was on their minds and unless they were trying to hide something, what they said tended to be what they were thinking. The talk was about the normal sorts of things... a calf had been birthed during the night, or the roof had leaked in the storm, or talk that centered around the chores. Nothing about the Snagar was in the air and if the town's folk worried, it was not evidenced by their words.
The Patrol Leader was Varnack. Albiano was his bethrothed. At only eighteen years she was the representative of the Council. This meant that in theory she had the final say on all decisions. Her potential had received early recognition and since this was not viewed as a particularly dangerous mission, it was seen as an opportunity to hone her leadership skills. Varnack looked to see if Albiano had detected anything. She returned his look and shrugged. Nothing, she channeled and they continued moving West towards Nirvana, referred in the later days as Middle Town.
Varnack was glad to at last get free of the forest. He hated the never ending routine of security patrols that never yielded much of anything. He was a friend of Morgolic’s and while he walked alert, his heart was heavy. He had envied his friend being given the dangerous and far flung missions by the Council, and was determined to use this opportunity to show the elders that he was a suitable replacement. Albiano was a key component to the venture and he relied on her to provide the link with the Council. Their mission was to discover what had happened to Morgolic; To determine if he had reconciled or been taken captive.To find out what has happened to the Scarab and the stones.
A reconciliation meant that an Elf had time to properly prepare for his death and insure that his essence did not fall into the hands of their enemies. The essence was used by the Empire for dark purposes one of which was breeding of Snagar. To the Elves this was too horrible to contemplate. It meant their offspring would become abominations, bred like cattle for millinia to come. For Morgolic to reconcile, under the conditions he faced, he would have needed to purge the essence from his body. This was normally accomplished as part of the mating ritual and in strict accordance with cultural protocols. This was a long protracted process that often took weeks to consummate, constrained by physiological as well as social imperatives. The field expedient method was to cut off your scrotums and run several miles while the blood washed through the wound. The problem was that the essence was distributed through the elf’s body and had to find its way down to the wound and this undertaking could take several hours and even bleeding to death offered no assurance of total success. Once the castration was complete, the elf would run as fast as his metabolism allowed until he lost consciousness. The council had concluded that this was a possibility and with an hour, Morgolic could have at least started the process. The mission was to find some evidence that this had taken place.
Scene 5 of 4: Orphious and Malitia return and encounter Elves.
Orphious gathered his militia the following morning and started back East. There was nothing further to gather on the return home, so he used the time as a training opportunity for his men. They moved in a column with one file on each side of the road. Beyond the file were flankers that extended as far out as the file leader could maintain visual contact. The files were extended to a distance the Magistrate could control using a low voice and hand signals. He walked down the middle of the road with Dumar, his lieutenant.
At the command “Circle the force ," the flankers would collapse inward and each file would close on the center in a semicircle. As the drill progressed the circle would shrink until the soldiers were shoulder to shoulder. The militiamen had not anticipated the drill being called and were unprepared. They responded slowly and the circle maneuver was ragged and disproportional. One of the flankers never even got the word. Once they were reassembled, Orphious uttered a string of expletives. “If that had been an ambush, the Snagar would have killed half of you in the first thirty seconds.”
The men hung their heads, knowing he spoke the truth.
“Let's get back in formation and try it again. I swear if you don’t get it right we will keep practicing all the way to Dead End.” Since Dead end was a days march past Middletown that meant two extra days in the field. Fear is always a great incentive for soldiers and the threat spurred the motivation of his men. After several hours of marching and drills the formation reached the plateau known as The High Pasture. There the formation spread out to suit the terrain and Orphious was well pleased with the progress of the training. Suddenly the point man threw up his arm in warning. The Sheriff blew his whistle and his men executed their battle drill. Ahead of them a band of 8 elfs stood, gazing intently upon the Militia. A wave of relief spread over the Magistrate. One of the Elfs he recognized as Varnack, a frequent presence in the Dead End community. Putting his men at ease Orphius went forward and approached the Party. In the back of his mind he had been expecting something like this to happen.
Standing next to Varnack was a tall slender female. She would be the beacon, Orphious thought,but what would a war party be doing here? Ahha! He concluded, I was right. The Snagar attacked a patrol of Elves and they've come to investigate.
Varnack began to clap,
How perceptive of you, Sheriff, figuring that out all by yourself.
Orphious hated it when the elves intruded into his thinking in such an abrupt manner. They had an arrogance, that was so much a part of their character, they didn't even know it existed. Sometimes the Elfs would channel broadly and his men could listen in on the telepathy. Today however, this was not the case and Varnack continued.
We heard you were on alert and I presume that you've gone all the way to the Western Border. I would be indebted if you'd share what you've learned.
"Nothing much." The Sheriff answered out loud, "See for yourself, pools of blood, some bone and sinew lying about. There was a fight here yesterday."
"How did you first learn of it?" Varnack asked, shifting into the verbal mode.
"A young girl saw Snagar and sounded the alarm."
"Have you buried her yet?"
"No! She fled and escaped unharmed."
"Hmmmm," said Varnack, stroking his chin.
"I know what you’re thinking. I too had my doubts. I concluded that the Snagar were more intent on something other than she."
"Could be," reflected Varnack, " What did you find.... How long did it take you to get up here?"
"Blood trails," Orphious answered, " dragged West, perhaps an hour old."
"You’re sure of that?"
"We wasted little time getting up here, once the alarm sounded."
"Did you find anything else of note?"
"No more than you see here. The field is not trampled and I took care, not to disturb the sod."
Now it was Orphious’s turn
"Can you tell me what happened?"
"We have a messenger overdue. Last we heard, he was in this vicinity, pursued by the Sangar."
"There were 4 blood trails, like bodies dragged off on a canvas. I find it hard to believe that one elf could do all that."
"It doesn’t seem possible," agreed Varnack. " We'd like to continue looking around if you don’t mind. We're hoping to find the body of our comrade."
"Look all you like, only report to me, as a courtesy, if you find anything of interest."
Albiana interjected, "This girl who sounded the alarm. What exactly did she report?”
"That she saw a Snagar in the tree line. When I queried her further she described the beast accurately. I know for certain that she had never seen one before."
"Many thanks," replied Varnack, "We have much to accomplish. By your leave we will get about our work.”
Orphious nodded affirmatively and led the Militia back to the village.
Varnack turned to Albiana. What do you think?
I think we need to cover this field like we’re looking for moon dust. Not a blade of grass or a grain of sand must be overlooked. Once that’s accomplished we can reconstruct what took place and I can pass our report to the Council.
My thoughts exactly, he replied, and turning to the men began to issue instructions.
The search involved the elves on their hands and knees moving on line through the kill zone. Anything noted was passed to Albiano who served as recorder. By the end of the day the initial search had been concluded and the following information had been learned.
1. The storm had wrought havoc on the signs leaving the traces greatly diminished. Even though Orphious claimed to have been careful there were footprints of the militia everywhere.
2. Elven footprints were found running North that intersected with those of a Snagar. The foot of one of the beasts was found near a blood spot and evidence of writhing on the ground.
3. Further to the North a second blood spot was discovered. It appeared a single Snagar had grappled with Morgolic.
4. Still further along were tracks of two converging Snagar opposing the Elf's axis of movement. From behind appeared to be traces of smaller footprints and scattered about this location were numerous small pieces of sinew, bone and body parts.
5. The axis of advance continued North to the Rock face overlooking the river. The Elven prints and the unidentified ones moved in this direction until they were lost in the rocks.
6. Around the edge of the rock face the ground was charred and it appeared that a portion had recently fallen into the river.
Once this preliminery look was complete, Varnack summarized.
"Morgolic came this way across the clearing. He paused a moment and then went North. The Snagar closed in. He cut the foot off one, and got his blade into another. Then he confronted two more. This is where it becomes confusing," he thought..."something with small feet closed from behind and the two Snagar were struck, as if by a bolt of energy. Then Morgolic and the one with small feet went up to the ledge and it toppled into the river.
It was getting dark.
Tomorrow, Albiano thought, we need to explore the river bank, to try and find out where the small feet came from, find out where the Galreath set down, where the young girl saw the Snagar and begin to search for stones or the relic Morgolic might have cast aside.
Quite an agenda, responded Varnack, shaking his head, This raises more questions than it answers.
There’s much more work still to be done, she replied.
Liope talks to the Robin.
That night after doing the dishes, Liope went out onto the front porch to watch the sun set. On the railing sat the Robin. Liope focused....
I didn't mean to frighten you...
I admit I was scared, replied the bird. "Still am.
You have nothing to fear from me...why did you return?
To apologize, My Lady, and ask a favor.
Why do you feel compelled to do that?
Because I was rude and flew off, without so much as a word.
You had me wondering,said the young girl, What I said wrong.
It wasn't what you said but the way you said it...the sound of your voice.
I'm not used to telepathy and only recently learned to use it.
Not so much that, replied the Robin. "This house has a cloud of oppression that hangs over it...its the home of a Dark and Dreadful Witch.
Why do you say that?
Because it gives me the creeps...Were it not for the bounty of worms, I'de give it a wide birth.
Well, your apology is accepted, even though it wasn't necessary. You said you had a favor to ask?
Yes, Your Grace, I wonder if you would grant permission for my husband and I to build our nest under the eves.
Why would you want to build in such a "Dreadful" location?
Because the owls and hawks, rats and ferrets won't come near it.
Then why aren't you afraid as well?
I am. I'm terrified. But I would rather suffer my fears than see my childeren eaten.
I see your point, answered LIope. And you have my permission to build on the property wherever you choose.
Thank you,replied the Robin. It hopped down the railing, flitted about and flew away.
That was a strange conversation. though thought the young Witch. Mother must have left some wards in place before she walked out on us.