Thursday, 6 December 2018
Thursday, 22 November 2018
“Soo, yeah,” Navona muttered, kicking a pebble across the ground. The air was only beginning to warm up under the sun. Brandon was leaning against a tall, strong tree, the velvety leaves brushed his hands.
“You got banished because you stole a wooden peg?” Hal asked, incredulous.
“Well, it might not be as simple as that…” Kandel replied. “Oooh, there’s one!” He pointed at a bush full of plump, red berries. They were looking for breakfast and Kandel and Navona knew just what to eat. The four ran over to pick the treasure. Brandon’s itchy neck rubbed against the tree bark and pulsed with soreness. He ignored it when his stomach realized how long it had been since he last ate.
“I can’t believe we’re gathering with an alien… and a human,” Kandel grumbled.
“C’mon, Kandel,” Navona nudged him, angry, “we don’t know anything about them, they could be the nicest creatures you’ve ever met.”
Kandel was still suspicious. He pulled large bunches of berries from the bush efficiently, but aggressively. “Hey Navona, Maybe we shouldn't tell them a lot about us if… Navona?”
“I don’t think these guys will give us much information about our mission,” Hal whispered to Brandon. They had discreetly slipped away from the lourdwarfs to talk. Spy style.
“You’re just afraid of that candle guy,” Brandon argued.
“No really, they’re just a pair of rebels that stole a piece of wood and got banished,” Hal said.
“Wait,” Brandon said, pausing to think. ”If this Lord Coyote Bomsile is so smart and cunning, then why would he care about one wooden peg? He seems like a pretty careless guy, at least, in those terms.”
“You’re right,” Hal agreed, a smile forming on his face. “That means it was something important to him.”
“So, they were part of something important to him!” Brandon cheered, a bit too loudly.
Thursday, 15 November 2018
“So, we’re lourdwarfs,” Navona started. She was sitting in mermaid pose, leaning against Kandel, who was sitting behind her. “You know what that is, right?”
“Yeah, yeah,” Brandon said.
“Well,” Hal looked over at Brandon with a look that said just get the information. Brandon pursed his lips. I guess he’s right, Brandon thought, we should learn as much as we can.
Brandon cleared his throat. “You could tell us about the gorillas and stuff.”
“Ah yes,” Navona clapped her rough hands cheerfully. She seemed to enjoy explaining things. “So, early on, there were no lourdwarfs. Our ancestors were called goblin-dwarves and they lived on an island in the middle of an ocean. One day, the island cracked three ways and became three.
Each new island had a goblin-dwarf tribe on it, and in time, they each floated to a different part of the mainland. One island developed into the Bright Lourdwarf Tribe. They grew tall and learned special things like metalworking, mapping, and basic medicine. Another island developed into the Moss Lourdwarf Tribe. They grew larger and learned special skills like farming, complex tree house building, and taming animals.
Later on, the Moss and Bright tribes formed an alliance, coming to the conclusion that the third tribe had perished. They lived together, creating a mixed city and villages for a while before they found the Gorilla Lourdwarf tribe. They had gone down a more wild path, getting smaller and green for camouflage.”
“Did they learn anything special?” Brandon asked.
“Umm…” Navona looked to Kandel.
“No,” Kandel said. “They act more like animals than Lourdwarfs.”
“Smart animals,” Navona added.
Brandon had noted that all through the story, they had not mentioned Magi-Land or how the Anges separated Lourdwarfs from the other species.
“So, there’s a city with both Moss and Bright Lourdwarfs in it?” Hal asked.
“Yeah,” Navona breathed, a dreamy look coming across her face. Kandel bit his lip and sub-consciously shook his head slightly. His wild hair ruffled when he did. It was light brown, bleached in areas. Navona’s was similar, but more of a darker brown that had a glow developing around it where full daylight spilled into the cave.
“Why are you guys here?” Brandon asked. “I mean, it’s not that close right?”
Kandel crunched up into a small ball and the look on Navona’s face changed suddenly to sadness. It was obvious to Brandon that whatever he had just said made them very uncomfortable.
“Hunting,” Navona blurted out.
“Exploring,” Kandel said at the same time. They looked at each other in concern.
“Mhmm,” Hal agreed sarcastically.
Kandel sighed and pursed his lips. Then he turned to Navona, “Exploring way out here would make more sense than hunting.”
“Wouldn’t we be mapping though?” Navona argued.“Wait, wait, wait,” Hal said in a suspicious tone, “So really, why are you out here?”
Thursday, 8 November 2018
The stone floor was as comfortable when yearning to hear an explanation as water tastes good when you are very thirsty. The tent bed provided a little protection from the cold stones and tiny pebbles that covered the ground. He was hardly bothered by the weary ‘gorillas’ marching out and grumbling, as he watched the lourdwarfs settle down.
“So, my name’s-” Brandon began, eager to begin the conversation.
“HMMMmmm!” Hal blurted out, unable to think of anything else to say. He just had to stop Brandon from giving out personal information like that to the species that they were spying on.
Brandon gave him a look to say It’s okay, what’s a name gonna do? Hal stared for a second, then rolled his eyes.
“As I was saying,” Brandon continued with a tone of annoyance, “my name’s Brandon. He’s Hal.” Kandel eyed Hal as if he were a disgusting new type of food. Then he squinted at Brandon. “Who-wh-what are you?”
“I-I’m a…” He looked to Hal for approval. Hal made a weird gesture with his hand that Brandon didn’t understand. He shrugged at Hal. “I’m a human and he’s a creature… oh.” He looked back at Hal, facepalming and shaking his head.
Navona sat up straight in surprise. “A Human? From Earth?”
“Y-yeah,” Brandon said.
“And a creature… “ Kandel mulled over the word, trying to recognize it. He looked very old at that moment. It made Brandon realize that the lourdwarf was certainly a few years older than Navona. “...what creature?.”
“The species is actually called a creature. It’s a species found in-” Brandon stopped himself this time. “A-another land.”
“What other land?” Navona asked, not trying to pry, just purely curious.
Hal waved his hand. “Eh, it’s a long story-” “Well, I wouldn’t mind-” Navona started before Hal interrupted her. “No, really, enough about us! We want to hear about you!”
The two lourdwarfs looked suspicious, but Navona’s expression soon changed to an enthusiastic look. “Oh yeah!” She turned to smile at Kandel. “I love travelers.”
Thursday, 25 October 2018
Friday, 19 October 2018
“Those Little Buggers!” The voice cursed. Though the voice was deep, Brandon could tell it was a girl who saved him. He turned around to see a ginormous person, far taller than any girl he’d known.
She looked to be only a few years older than Brandon, but she was the height of an average woman. She was wearing a long, cardigan-like sweater with a ski-style pattern. She also had what appeared to be fur top hiking boots and a menacing spear which had a head that seemed to absorb the fading moonlight.
“Sorry, those are just gorillas,” The girl said, her tanned skin and freckles were visible where shafts of morning light streamed in the cave. She motioned toward the little green creatures who were laying in an exhausted heap in the corner of the cave. “They won’t bother you anymore.”
“Th-thanks…” Brandon said, still flustered. Another tall person, a boy, walked up and stood beside the girl. He held up his wooden rod (sharpened at the tip) to Brandon’s throat. He heard a howl of warning from Hal on the other side of the enclosure.
“Wh-Whoa,” Brandon stammered, tripping over himself as he stumbled backward. “We might be in some sort of misunderstanding…”
The girl just laughed. “Calm down, Kandel, this wee fellow is not going to hurt you.”
“You’re too unwary, Navona,” The boy, Kandel replied. He did not move his spear, he only grimaced in a suspicious manner. When he moved, the wooden beads on his sweater jingled against each other.
“And you are too skeptical of everyone,” Navona said with a tone of authority. Her sweater had many more beads than Kandel’s. She even had delicately carved ones as earrings. “Lower the spear, ally.”
Reluctantly, Kandel brought the spear back down to his side. Brandon rubbed his neck, glad it was still there in one piece. “So wha-wh-... who are you.”
Kandel pursed his lips and mumbled, “So, he’s not just a runt.” Navona nodded at Kandel. “Probably a traveler.” Then, she turned to Brandon. “We’re lourdwarfs. Not from around here are you?”
“Oh,” Brandon said, almost rudely. These are lourdwarfs.
“Hey!” came Hal’s voice, it echoed off the walls of the cave. Brandon turned to see him leaning over the drowsy pile of green creatures. “What are these things. Did I hear you call them Gorillas?”
“Yeah, well, yeah,” Navona replied. “They’re Gorilla Lourdwarfs. They’re a different type, y’know?”
“I’m afraid not,” Hal answered.
“Yeah, sorry,” Brandon added.
“You guys really are new here, aren’t you?” Kandel asked and Navona chuckled.
“Mmhm… you might have to catch us up.”
Thursday, 11 October 2018
Thursday, 4 October 2018
Brandon was still half asleep when he drowsily rolled in his uncomfortable bed. He heard a light shuffling echoing gently off the smooth cave walls. Of course Hal was awake before him. It was still dark enough that the young boy barely noticed a difference in light when he opened his eyes. It couldn’t be morning yet, could it? Why was Hal awake so early?
Muffled sounds of squeaky voices began to show through the soft sound of wind in the night. Who was Hal talking to? Brandon was too tired to listen. His hand patted the area around his bed, searching for a flashlight. When he finally felt the cold metal in his hand, he flicked on the light and the voices screeched in displeasure.
Out of the corner of his still blurry eyes, Brandon spotted Hal stirring awake under his blanket. Wait, if that’s Hal, then who’s…
Brandon shot upright, the large blanket flying into the air. His vision was clouded by messy, brown locks of bedhead, but he was alert and scanning the dark cave for any intruders. The bright beam of his flashlight settled on his squirming, moaning pile of his blanket. There were three noisy little lumps under his large bed cover.
With caution, and wielding a dangerous flashlight, Brandon approached the invaders and threw the blanket into the air. It revealed three slim, humanoid creatures that seemed to want to scream and howl. They proceeded to screech for a very long time. Such a long time, in fact, that Brandon began to lower his ‘weapon’.
As soon as he moved, they calmed down and began to stare at him as if sizing him up. He took this opportunity to properly look at them. Their clouded skin was a murky brown-green and they were only about as tall as an average 7-year-old. They were wearing nothing but a diaper-like loincloth and a simple triangle shawl. Both of which looked to be made of dusty animal skins and woven tall grass.
Their hair was sparse and thin and it waved gently when they nodded or shook their heads. Small patches of dark scales could be seen where shells began to form on their knees and back. They jumped and waved sticks with sharp rocks wedged in them, all the while crowing and screeching.
Something kept Brandon from being afraid of them. Maybe it was how short and child-like they looked. Maybe it was that deep down, he knew that they were just scared too.
Brandon gave them a soft smile and crouched down to their height. “C’mon, little guys, it’s okay!”
The green creatures continued to scream and jump around threateningly. “Out! Out! OUT!”
Brandon made a little chuckle. Their squeaky voices were as high-pitched and cute as their distressed squealing. “Aww, I’m sorry,” Brandon said. “Wouldn’t want to intrude on your little cave!”
This seemed to get the little green people angry. Brandon was about to apologize when all three of them leaped onto him. His knees buckled and he could feel cold feet on his head. He yelled for Hal as he felt a scratch on his leg. Hal ripped one off of him, but the critter he was holding wriggled free of his grasp and climbed onto him, setting loose hairs all over.
Brandon rolled around on the ground, feeling rips and scratches all over his arms, legs, and face. He grabbed a hold of a slim leg, but when he felt a drop of saliva, ready to bite, he released his grip. He couldn’t see properly in the chaos, he just felt himself scraping against the tent mattress and something pulling his hair repeatedly. These guys were tougher than they looked.
Brandon prepared to slash at one when it was ripped off of his back. The other one was tossed away and Hal seemed to be free from them too. “What happened?” Brandon asked. Hal just stared. The hair on Brandon’s neck tingled when he heard a voice very close, too close from behind him.
Thursday, 27 September 2018
Walking down the starlit path of the forest really brought out the beauty of Port Malocum. Brandon had spent so much time trying to find things that reminded him of home, but somehow the night made him see more than just what he recognized. It was not a dark night full of shadows and secrets, but a glittering new perspective of nature. This is what Earth needs more of, thought Brandon. Nature. No building could replace this. He smiled at a waving leaf, a perfect bead of water sat on its tip, illuminated by the blue moon.
“Striking, isn’t it,” Hal breathed. Brandon looked in surprise to see his face full of appreciation. Hal was never one for scenery. Brandon thought he was more of a serious mission guy. He glanced up to where Hal was looking and the stars caught his attention immediately. The dots of light were sprinkled over the dark sky, full of blue and purple splashes.
“Yeah.” Brandon’s face softened into a smile. “It’s a sight for sure.”
Their pace slowed as they admired the sky. After a while of quiet strolling through the forest, Hal turned toward Brandon. “Do you have something like this on Earth?”
“Uuh,” Brandon thought, scratching the back of his head. He felt an itchy bump on the back of his neck. He didn’t know there were mosquitoes here.
Now that it’s been mentioned, thought Brandon, I don’t think Earth has sights like this every night. Why did humans have to wreck nature? I’d trade my front porch light for less light pollution any day! We can’t even see the stars properly anymore!
“Not really,” Brandon replied sadly. “I mean, we’ve got the aurora borealis, but you can only sometimes see that in a special place.”
Hal shrugged. “You humans really have wrecked your world already.” He let out a sigh of laughter.
“Y-yeah, I guess,” Brandon agreed. He was a bit taken aback that Hal would make such bold claims about a species he knew so little about.
“I mean, what would it be like to live how a human does without nature? They kinda brought it upon themselves anyway,” Hal went on.
Humans really are missing out on a lot. Brandon realized. Just compare Earth to Port Malocum! But, what does Magi-Land have that’s so much better than Earth? They have a city too, mostly populated by creatures like Hal. But then again, the majority of the land they have is uncharted by anyone greedy enough to claim it.
Brandon had never really seen much of the nature in Magi-Land except for the coloured forests, plains, and mountains. Brandon’s chain of thought was interrupted by a sudden blow to the stomach.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to smack you,” Hal said without looking at the winded boy. “I just had to stop you somehow. I found the perfect place to spend the night.” Ha! Thought Brandon. I knew Hal couldn’t be just looking at nature! He was looking for a space to sleep!
Hal motioned to a small hill made of rocks. In it, there was a shallow cave full of dead leaves and sticks. A grassy overhang sheltered the entrance of the cave from any weather that could be coming.
As Brandon entered the cozy enclosure, he was reminded of a cat in its nest, a small circular bed for sleeping in. He thought that the cave almost resembled a nest.
“Okay, what’d you bring for sleeping?” Hal said in his usual down-to-business tone.
“Just two blankets, and a flashlight,” Brandon said cheerfully, though, the night had started making him tired. Hal nodded curtly. He began to lay down the tent on the dirty stone floor.
“What’re you doing?” Brandon asked.
“I thought maybe it could work at a mattress?” Hal said in uncertainty. He looked up at Brandon not waiting for approval, but letting him know that that was all they had. Brandon shrugged. “Sure.”
After the two travelers were settled on opposite sides of their makeshift mattress, they held their blankets tight, hiding from the chill of the night. “I’ll just put this here…” Brandon said softly, placing the flashlight in between them.”
“You scared of the dark?” Hal asked.
“Nah, it’s just for if you need to go to the bathroom or something in the night,” Brandon explained.
“Ah, I see,” Replied Hal.
For the rest of the night, they were silent, beginning the quest to finally fall asleep.
Friday, 21 September 2018
“So, I'm just going to… y-you know… um,” Brandon stammered.
“Well, I dunno, it sounds weird now. Does it? Sound… weird?” Ray made an attempt for a forced laugh, but it ended up making his words even more awkward.
“Nah,” Hal replied uncertainty. “You’re just asking us to… scratch your *ahem* rotting *ahem* bark.”
Somehow, the great tree in front of them blushed in a slightly reddish colour. There was a large chunk of bark on his back that was mushy, and almost falling off. Brandon prodded it with a tentative finger when, in disgust, he realized it had sunk right into the mush of Ray’s back like pudding. “Oh! I haven’t got that spot itched in such a long time!” He sighed with joy and satisfaction.
Brandon winced. Ray was already enjoying himself. “Just a little to the left, no, your right.”
Brandon pushed his finger in deeper, and found that half of it could be submerged in goop. Brandon began to itch, and cringed as parts of the rotting bark melted of Ray’s back. “Oooh! This is better than any day at the spa… I’ve heard it’s something like this.”
“C’mon, Hal!” Brandon urged.
“Nah,” Hal waved his hand. “I’m afraid it might make my hand mushy.” Brandon rolled his eyes. He had read up on creatures, that was not possible. Brandon knew that his colleague just wanted an excuse to stay away from Ray’s decomposing backside.
As Brandon scratched, the muck slid off like mud. At the end, when there was a small crater left in Ray’s thick trunk. Brandon picked some bugs from the now dry wood. “Ah, man, thanks!” Ray sighed with relief. “I don’t know what I would do without you! That’s been there for such a long time! It just might take a while to heal up.”
“Actually,” Hal started, “I might have something to offer…” He swung his bag over one shoulder and stuck his hand in. “Remember I had that cool…” He mumbled, rummaging around in his bag. “Thing… Where is it? … Ah, there we go.”
From his bag, he pulled a brilliant glass jar full of dazzling green liquid. It shone and reflected the sunlight all over the trees. Hal was holding it triumphantly in the air because he had found it, but Brandon thought it just looked pretty epic.
“What is it?” Ray asked, excited. Suddenly, his mood darkened. Brandon could almost see it smoking off Ray’s branches. “It doesn’t have anything to do with m-magic… right?”
Hal shook his head quickly. “It’s some plant fertilizer from Mag-” Hal stopped himself and grew a little bit pink. “I mean, my friend found it in his garden. He’s positive it’s all natural.” Then, he added in a low voice, “I wouldn’t be able to bring it if it wasn’t.”
Ray studied the glowing fluid for a few more seconds, and then said, “Eh, it can’t be too bad… Plus, my back is hurting like heck!”
Brandon regarded the large dent in Ray’s bark. “No kidding!”
The forest seemed to freeze at quiet as Hal pulled at the sealed lid of the glass bottle. The Pop! It made when it finally broke free sounded deafening. Ray carefully watched it as Hal poured a few drops gingerly onto the big tree.
The change was almost immediate. The fertilizer hadn’t even seeped into the wood when a bulge formed. Then, with impossible speed, the tree regrew until the area was smooth and seamless. An arm-like branch reached down to feel it. Ray let out a holler of joy. “Just like new!”
Hal smiled as rays of moonlight began to stream through the forest pathways. “Bye, Ray.”
Ray’s golden eyes glittered with joy. “Bye.”
Thursday, 13 September 2018
“He began to cut down the trees and poison any wild animal that got too close to the big village! That’s what made the forest go quiet. There are not quite enough animals to make a bustling forest anymore!” Ray exclaimed.
“Really?” Hal asked. They had been talking for a while now.
“Nah,” replied Ray. “It justs seems like no-one is as eager to get out and about anymore.”
Hal shook his head, “Oh, Coyote, why didn’t you walk in the footsteps of your own father.”
Brandon bolted upright in alarm. He would want Coyote to die in the hands of magic? He thought, feeling panicked. Hal looked at the mossy ground, shuffling his black, stick feet in the leaves. “I mean, he could have learned a little from his dad. Like, the magic might have come in handy.”
Ray’s branches bristled with eagerness. “That’s the thing!” He started. “He did learn a lot from his father’s death. Well, first, he was furious. He demanded to know where the magic had come from, but only his father and his loyal caretakers -The Jemons- knew. After the ferret creatures would not tell Coyote where their master had gotten the magic, he banished them. Creepy little creatures. Deceiving too. I wonder what they do with their lives now.”
Brandon shivered at the thought of them. “We ran into them on our way here. They seem pretty torn up and desperate about their old master.”
“No joke,” Ray agreed. “They did everything for him. Even manage his magic. Now, Lord Coyote Bomsile was smarter than to rely on magic and tiny mammals. He was aware of the risks and damage that comes with magic.” Ray paused in a melancholy way, listening to the distant chirp of a bird. “That definitely wasn’t a good thing.”
A crumpled leaf danced in the darkening sky. Brandon pursed his lips. The sun would set soon and he and Hal needed a better place to stay for the night. He would have to mention it sooner or later… just, Ray had been so nice to them. How could they leave him alone?
Hal’s eyes lit up. “Understanding that, he could use magic in more effective or… dangerous ways!”
“He already has,” Ray said. “He’s not even been bothered by the simple tasks Lord Bomsile tested out. He has been diving right into the deep stuff. Creation, life, blasts of energy, those are all things he wishes to achieve. I just feel like it’s too much for him. Our new lord of the Lourdwarfs is not falling under the spell of magic. It seems like he’s been this power-greedy all along.”
There was another moment of silence. A small breeze brought in the scent of moist soil and sweet leaves. “Thanks.”
It was Hal talking. “Sorry that we can’t tell you a lot about ourselves, it’s complicated.”
Ray’s cracked lips formed a smile. “I’m not one to pry.”
“But, really,” Hal insisted. “Talking with you really helped. We’re trying to solve a problem… of our own.”
“Glad I could help!” Ray said cheerfully.
“I’d hate to leave you alone like this,” Brandon said. “But, we need to find a better place to sleep.”
“Don’t worry about me,” Ray said, though his eyes showed a hint of disappointment. “The animals kind of keep me company.”
“I do hope to see you again one day,” Brandon said sincerely. He patted Ray’s tough trunk and stood up. He was amazed at how comfortable Ray’s roots were. “You’ve been real nice to hang out with. Is there anything we can do for you before we leave?”
Ray took a moment to think. “Actually, there is one little thing…”