Copyright © 2011 Steve Shilstone
All rights reserved, Wild Child Publishing.
Rakara shimmered, her eyes yellowing, her hair coppering, and she tumbled a turn to stand before me as my own dear Karro of Thorns. She snatched my chonka, my tambourine, from the shelf and gave it a rattle.
“I’ll reveal the rest of it in the Assembly Bower. Did you tell ‘em about Zinna and me, Bek?” she said.
“I knocked ‘em down with it,” I answered proudly. “They were flattened when I told ‘em Zinna was a jrabe. And even more ever than that, such being so, they collapsed in disbelief that you, jark dweg Karro, were Zinna’s daughter. Such!”
“Good, good. Now I’ll give ‘em another rattle. Watch me, Bek,” said Kar, winking, and she banged my chonka on her knee before tossing it to me. “Go ahead. Announce me.”
Eager to hear the rest of Karro’s adventure on Fan Wa’s Island, I stepped out of the hut and banged out on my chonka the Signal of Attention. CHONKA CHANK! Instantly from the hedge came the proper answering KACHUNKs, followed by rustling and muttering.
“Karro of Thorns has returned from Fan Wa’s Island!” I shouted. “She has brought a Gwer drollek story to tell! Gather, bendo dreen, in the Assembly Bower! In two short paces of time Karro and Bekka will join you!”
“That’s good, Bek. Give ‘em three paces, then I’ll sweep in. Should I be Dragon? What sort? Or no? Maybe cloud? What do you think?” asked Kar.
“Let’s enter as Silent Bekka and jark dweg Kar. Then when you start your story, change into all sorts of everything you can! That’ll knock ‘em over. There’ll be a clatter of dropped chonkas and a gape of dropped jaws. I can’t wait to see it! You’ll be the first jrabe jroon to shift in the Assembly Bower!” I offered, my cheeks burning with boosted energy.
“The first jrabe jroon,” repeated Kar in a dreamy hush.
We marched across the clearing to the hedge and squeezed through into a deserted corridor of brambles. We heard a hum of babble excitement from far down the tunnel. Kar and I grinned at each the other. The bendo dreen were assembled. I banged my chonka once. CHANKA! The hum babble ceased. We sailed like Blossom Castle Royalty down the turns and twists until we came to the Assembly Bower. Without a pause we sailed in smoothly. I bowed to Kar. I don’t know why. It seemed a proper way to begin.
Then Kar knocked me flat amazed along with all the other gathered bendo dreen. She opened her mouth and roared. She bulged and flexed, expanding to a glorious Dragon covered with writhing black and gold stripes. She snaked a flaming green tongue from between her horrid fangs and shot it over the heads of the bendo dreen to the far wall of the Bower. She stretched her neck in loops, shimmering gold. And there, instead of glorious Dragon, was a green misty cloud with great feathered blue wings. The cloud rained sparkles of silver and gold. It flapped around the Bower, circling low to drop spangles on each bendo dreen. The cloud settled above me, then formed in shimmer to Rakara, upside down jrabe. Her dark green mantle pooled on the thorny ceiling of the Bower.
“I be Rakara, jrabe jroon. Ye knew me as Karro of Thorns, jark dweg. I bring to ye a promise of a true Gwer drollek tale. I pledge on thorns that ye shall be told the most amazing Gwer drollek ever. Better yes than the Well of Shells. Better yes even than the Triplets, Bandy, and the Rainbow Giants. What tale could be better than such? ye ask. A tale to be told on Chronicler Bekka’s return, I answer. A story soon to be collected by Chronicler Silent Bekka and the jrabe jroon Rakara, me. We have been challenged to pass the Four Ramps of the Realms to discover the Realm Beyond Realms! Such and so have we been challenged by Dak, the jroon. Truly! We quest! Following a great success, Bekka will write the Chronicle as Roamer Harpo and Roamer Lace did before her. She will spin it out for ye here in the Assembly Bower. Ye shall be told the most glorious Gwer drollek ever!”
Saying such, she caught me up into her green mantle with her powerful bony lavender hands and whisked us from the room, down the corridor, through the hedge wall, and into the sky.