“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…”