Saturday, June 6, 2009

At The Campfire

[Click to see all installments of the Legend of Fowl Feng .]

“I am the Wisdom of the Ages, the companion of Adam before she was Adam,” said the small child with her chin lifted just a bit and her voice solemn, then she broke out in a smile and said, “But you can call me Sophie.”

The girl turned to the man next to her.

The man's skin was as red as a ruby, and his eyes were small and black. “Oh, are we giving out our names now? Shouldn’t we wear nametags? ‘Hello, my name is…’ and that sorta thing?”

He said this smiling, but he was looking right at Sophie and leaning toward her in such a way that Fowl Feng bared his teeth and growled, “I wouldn’t be saying that kind of thing what with you looking like a boiled lobster and me being rather hungry!”

From the other side of the campfire, the pelican shook its feathers and replied, “Don’t let him get under your skin Feng. It’s just his way. He’ll argue to the death but he wouldn’t actually fight.”

“Oh, I may just come over there and teach you otherwise!” said the red-skinned man.

“Of course you may,” said the Pelican, and turned to Feng, “You may call him Rubeus. And I am Hydra, the Augmenting Mother.”

“Nice to meet you all, I’m sure,” said Feng, and then because Rubeus was smirking at him, he swallowed his fear, tilted his chin up, and added, “And who are you, big guy?” to the hooded figure.

“Hmmm,” rumbled the figure.

Something moved a few yards behind the voice and then Feng made out more motion above. He shivered as he realized it was all the same giant form rising up into the sky just beyond the light of the fire. Feng was suddenly filled with a burning need to stammer an apology, but stopped as a face loomed out of shadow. The long snout was dead white, the eyes above looked blind with pearly light, and over them two gilded horns curved gracefully.

“Yeah, he’s a big freakin’ dragon,” laughed Rubeus.

The dragon turned to Rubeus and snorted, whipping the red man's clothes about his burly body for an instant.

“Hey, it was a joke!” yelled Rubeus.

“I’m laughing on the inside,” said the dragon. He turned to Fowl Feng. “You may call me Chalydrus.”

Fowl Feng hesitated then dipped his head, not sure what to say. He had a sudden image of himself, racing across a plain, the sky above blackened with the shadow of giant wings. He shook his head and forced his hackles down, refusing to look afraid.

Introductions over, the dragon turned to Sophie and said, “Child, now that we are all here, tell us why we have come.”

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