Monday, November 24, 2014

The Dragon Chronicles: Leia

Well this is embarrassing. Here I was hoping to give you guys a blog interview, but unfortunately I haven't gotten all my questions out, and the ones I have have not been responded to yet. No worries. Instead, I present to you a short story entitles The Dragon Chronicles: Leia. Enjoy!

Leia measured the sun’s position as it pertained to the height of the trees, then turned back to glance at the mountains, and then back to the sun again.

            “We’re lost, aren’t we?” said Natalia, sounding unsurprised.

            “No we’re not,” assured Leia. She blew a strand of brown hair out of her face. Her wings drooped a little, betraying her uncertainty. “The cove is just… this way.” She pointed to a gap in the trees that looked somewhat familiar, and she and Talia flew towards it, the hedgerow a cool, dark, luscious green. The fairy sisters zipped through the leaves and for a moment Leia was confident they were going the right way… until they came to the river. For the third time.

            “Great!” said Talia, exasperated. “We’re lost.”

            “We are not lost.” Leia flew high above the trees and shielded her eyes from the sun’s glare.

Talia’s voice appeared beside her. “I thought a graduated fairy was supposed to be a highly intelligent keeper of nature. You don’t even know where north is!”

Leia brushed away her comment. “Don’t be ridiculous. It’s that way. And besides,” she added, flying toward a maple tree she thought she recognized. “I am an intelligent keeper of nature. We’ve been trained to pinpoint locations instantly.”

“Instantly, huh? Well, we’ve been flying around for fifteen minutes. How is that instant?”

Leia rounded on her little sister sharply. “Oh, will you stop it? I could find my way out of this forest blindfolded.”

Talia crossed her arms, her blue eyes narrowing under platinum blonde bangs. “Then maybe we should blindfold you. It would probably get us home a lot faster. We weren’t even supposed to go this far. Mother said to stay by Make-A-Wish Falls.”

Leia was about to respond when she spotted a dark figure over Talia’s shoulder. Eyes widening, she grabbed Natalia and dove just as the hawk’s claws missed them. “Hurry!” she yelled as they dashed away from the hungry bird. Leia heard the bird’s angry cries and could feel its wings beat against the wind as it gained on them. Sparing a glance at Natalia, she saw her sister’s wide blue eyes frozen in panic even as her wings pushed her faster and faster. “To the river!” Leia called over the wind.

Talia nodded stiffly and they both straightened their arms against their sides, piercing the air like bullets.

They were close now, the river a mere stone skip away, when suddenly the hawk swooped in front of them, spreading his wings like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Leia spread her wings wide to stop, but Talia soared straight into the hawk’s embrace. Grabbing her by the wings with his beak, the hawk gave a gargled squawk and started to rise.

“Put me down!” Talia cried, thrashing in the hawk’s mouth. But the hawk shook her once her cries reduced to a whimper. Pulling wings was like pulling hair.

Leia watched in silent horror as her sister shrunk from view, helpless in the predator’s clutches. Looking around, she only saw a few pinecones, some pebbles, and a cluster of mushrooms. She needed something to help Talia. She needed something to fend off the hawk. She needed something now! And then, out of the bushes toddled a brown and grey porcupine, its pointed face nuzzled to the ground, searching for food. Suddenly inspired, Leia raced to the porcupine and hovered carefully above it. She reached for one of the spines, but the animal wouldn’t stop moving. Talia screamed again.

“Sorry, mister,” Leia said. “But this is gonna hurt.” Grabbing a handful of spines, Leia yanked with all her might until they came loose in her hand. The porcupine yelped but Leia didn’t wait for his scolding. She sped toward the hawk brandishing her spines.

The hawk only realized what was happening an instant before it came to be.

Leia jabbed him sharply with all three of the spines and the hawk gave a pained cry. Talia dropped from his mouth. Seizing her hand, Leia and Talia flew toward the hedgerow and waited until the hawk disappeared from view before braving the skies again.

Leia stuffed the porcupine spines into the back of her belt. She was sure she could find another use for them. Turning to Talia, she saw her sister’s cheeks had grown a tender pink, her bangs hiding her dark blue eyes.

“Thanks,” said Talia, sheepishly.

Leia smiled and blew another strand of brown hair out of her face. “You’re welcome.”

“I’m sorry I was mean to you before.”

“It’s okay.”

There was silence for a few moments before Talia spoke again.

“So… how do we get home now?”

Leia pondered, her gaze drifting to the laughing river. “Maybe if we follow this,” she said with a gesture to it, “it will lead us to Make-A-Wish Falls. Then we can find our way home from there.”

Together the two sisters drifted above the water, enjoying its’ sound and the peace it brought. Leia spared another glance to Natalia. She had been very close to losing her today. The thought made her want to hug her sister. But instead, she dipped a foot into the water and splashed Natalia in the face. By the time they reached Make-A-Wish Falls, both of them were laughing and soaked. Thankfully the air was warm as evening came, the summer sky turning shades of pink and lavender. Before the sun had set, the cove came into view with its’ bustling populace of fairies. Leia and Talia made their way to their hovel, which had once been a mole’s home before the family converted it to a fairy home after the mole’s departure. Mother only looked slightly taken aback at the state of the sisters’ frizzy hair. Leia produced the porcupine spines and set them in the corner by the coat rack, which had been fashioned out of two paperclips twisted together.

“Where did those come from?” asked Mother with a knowing look.

Leia and Talia glanced to one another. Leia cleared her throat. “We found them… while we were… looking for algae. For the tadpoles.”

Mother smiled. “I see,” she said. “What else happened today?”

Talia looked down, but Leia only smiled and leaned casually against the compass which served as the dinner table. “Oh, nothing. Played in the river. Raced each other.”

“Uh-huh.” Mother turned stirred some kind of bluish mixture in an acorn bowl. “What a day. Why don’t you two set the plates for dinner,” she suggested. “You father will be home soon.”

Lei and Talia nodded and began the nightly ritual. Occasionally they would catch each other’s eye and smile or wink. And to think, all that adventure had come from a few minutes of playing a little too long.

What a day indeed.

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