"I was wondering when you were going to come in," said the Dragon when Drat finally entered. "I heard you when you first entered the cave but thought you already knew the way here or I would have come to meet you," Dree told him as he put down the book he had been reading. Noticing that Drat was trying to see the book's cover, Dree turned the book so that it would be easier for the Troll King's minion to see.
"I am almost done with it if you would like to borrow it," said Dree. "You will have to get it back to Granny Flare since she borrowed it from the library and loaned it to me." It was then that Dree's sensitive nose caught the smells from the bag that Drat was carrying. "Did you bring something from the Goodie's? It smells like something they cooked for me once before on my birthday. I won't take any, I swear, but they do smell good!"
Dree politely took the bag and started eating one morsel at a time - savoring each one before starting on the next. Soon the bag was empty and Drat realized that now was a perfect time to start his mission.
"You must be bored being down here by yourself," started Drat. "Do you mind if I stay for a while and keep you company? We could tell stories, play some games, even read a book or two together. Whatcha think?"
Smiling, Dree folded the bag up so it could be returned to the Goodie's (hopefully for more treats) and placed it neatly on a rock by where he had set down his book. Still smiling, he stared at Drat as if searching for something hidden on the minion. As Drat started to get nervous and was just about ready to bolt out of the cave, especially from a Dragon smiling at you for too long, Dree spoke.
"Drat, I appreciate you bringing the sweets and everything, but I already figured out why you are here. The others want to keep me away from the Dragon Herald until they can talk to him and find out what he is really doing here." This admission caught Drat completely by surprise!
"How did you know?" stammered Drat as he kept one eye on the way out of the cave and thinking "I wonder how fast he is..."
"You don't have to stay," said Dree, no longer smiling. "I understand the seriousness of the situation and promise I will not leave the caves until either Granny Flare or Griselda tell me it's time to come out. I too want to know what the Herald really wants and if he won't tell the others, then I doubt he will honestly tell me either."
Dree's admission made Drat realize that this errand might have not been so bad after all and to the minion's credit, he decided to make the most of it - I mean it isn't everyday you get to sit and be friends with a Dragon. "So Dree, what do you do for entertainment? The council isn't expecting me to come back for quite some time and if you don't mind, I would like to sit and talk to you some more."
That made the Dragon smile again as he dug out a board game that the Baron had left him. "It's called Dragons and Dungeons, but since I live in a cave, let's call it Caves and Dragons..."
"But what can we whip up that will be different? We have to show everyone that we still have that special touch and are the best bakers in the realms!"
Goodie2shues and Goodie4U just looked at each other and tried to think up something unique. "I remember a few years ago when Granny came up with a gluten free pumpkin pie recipe that everyone tried just to see what it tasted like," said Goodie2shues. "Hardly anyone ate what we brought that year," added Goodie4U remembering all of the leftovers they had from that Harvest Festival. "We don't want that again," added Goodiegood.
As the three sisters stewed over what special recipe they would pull together, they sat and sipped their pumpkin spice tea. Suddenly Goodiegood smiled. The others could just picture her mind churning up something. "I know what we can create and we won't even have to use the oven!" she snickered. "No one else would ever think of it..." she continued almost to herself.
"This will be fun and we didn't even have to ask the Magical Cooking Spoon for an idea," Goodie2shues thought as she started her part of the recipe.
First she melted the butter and mixed it with the sugar and graham cracker crumbs in a large bowl. Next she pressed the mix across the bottom of a cake pan and then put the pan into a cooler to chill it until it was cold.
As Goodie2shues was making the crust, Goodie4U was starting the filling. In a large bowl she mixed:
After mixing the ingredients, she folded in 1 quart of softened vanilla ice cream. Next she spooned everything into the chilled crust made by Goodie2shues and they put the treat into a freezer for about 30 minutes. When this was done, it was Goodiegood who figured out that a double batch of the mixture would fill a 9 inch by 13 inch cake pan. "If we are going to have enough for everyone, we will need to get some more supplies before the Festival," she told her sisters as they were looking over the finished treat after it had chilled sufficiently. "I wonder how much ice cream we can get this time of year?"
"No one will think of this," said Goodie2shues as the others nodded their heads in agreement. "But what do you call it?" she asked Goodiegood who had thought up the recipe.
The others nodded their head in agreement as Goodiegood made a note on the shopping list to not forget the two in the cave.
"Hhhmm, the Sleeping Sisters are also involved," Aralt realized when he recognized the bird as a magpie sitting in a tree behind the other minion. "I do wonder what this council has been up to in my absence."
As Meen caught sight of the Herald coming out of his home, she quickly jumped the last log as she tried to get back to the council chamber to alert the others of his approach. "This spying stuff is fun," Meen thought to herself. "I can actually play my favorite game of Leap without even getting into trouble." But she apparently did not need to worry too much of Aralt beating her to the council chamber. "He seems to be stopping at several of the local shops and apparently taking his own sweet time to arrive at the chamber. I wonder if he is part Pkysee like me since he seems to be playing instead of worrying about getting to the meeting," Meen pondered for a moment. Aralt even stopped by the local brewer to place an order of Dragon's Brew to be delivered to his home later today. It wasn't until he finished his tea and biscuit at the teashop that he finally started towards the chambers. "That should have given those silly council members plenty of time to arrive," he smiled, knowing that he was subtlety letting them know who will be in charge of this meeting.
"But I would have to surmise with this mix of citizens here, the Troll and the young Nyte Shade must be important as well as the older couple in the corner." As if they heard his unspoken thoughts, the older couple both turned their attention to him.
"This is Queen Ffion of the Shadows' Realm, King Dulbbe of the Trolls, Awena of the Sleeping Sisters, and Efem the Tree Mother. The others are citizens of the Realms who are here to witness this historic occasion. We also have Augustus, The Earl of Grey, who is also the editor of the local newspaper, The Bellwether, to record this news worthy event."
Aralt let the silence last a little longer when the introductions were completed. "I must show them I am in charge here," he thought as he silently walked to a corner of the room so all had to turn to see him. "I am Aralt the Herald. I speak to and for the Dragons and the Clans and will prepare the way for the return of the Dragons. Soon they will return and we must be prepared to make sure they cause no chaos nor reek havoc among the fae folk or the Outies. I will meet with their leader, the most powerful of their kind - a Wish Dragon. Upon her return I will re-establish the rules of order laid down by me in the past for their conduct. If I need your assistance, I will ask for it then. I expect you will all be available and require each of you to have a runner or setup a message system so that I may contact you when I need your assistance. If there are no questions, then we are adjourned," he finished as he started towards the chamber doors.
"But what about Hungry?" Meen uttered to Queen Ffion. "I mean Dre..." she started to add before she saw the look she was getting from all of the others. "Opps..." she muttered as she tried to find someplace to to look other than at everyone who was glaring at her.
Deciding on a new tact, he stopped just short of the doorway and turned back towards the council. "I am sorry. Being alone for so many years has made me a little brusque in my ways. I am concerned for the safety of everyone in the Realms and sometimes I do not present myself as cordial as I should. I have been gone for so long and so many things have changed, I would like to meet with all of you to see what I should know that will help me prepare for the Dragon's return," he finished as he sat down in one of the nearby chairs and awaited their response.
It was slow in coming. Actually it was none as no one wanted to be the first to speak back. "I came on too strong," Aralt realized as he waited. "I will have to start this."
"Dowager Griselda, I am honored to be met by a member of the Dragon Clan. I will rely on your assistance upon the Dragons return as you are one of the few who really understand the importance of what I need to do. We must keep the Dragons under our control if we are to maintain the peace and harmony of our way of life."
As the Dowager remembered the incident with the scroll showing her past and why the Dragon clan was formed, she knew that their decision not to tell the Herald about Dree, the Moon Dragon, had been for the best.
"Returning back here is certainly opening up the memories," he thought as he slightly shook his head from side to side. "Also who would have thought what this stone could do?"
His first memory was when he had just put the stone in a locket and was admiring how it looked when he was summoned to a Dragon Clan meeting. "Forming the clan was one of my better plans," he smiled as he congratulated himself. "Having the Dragons actually listen to the clan helped make them so much more controllable." Picking up the locket once again he decided, "Maybe I'll just wear the locket to the meeting. What's the worst that can happen?"
As he was waiting, the talking he heard earlier started again but no one was there - except for the Dragons! It was then that he remembered the voices sounded like the golden Dragon who took his friend, the Dragonet, away when he was first learning about Runes. As he continued to sip his tea, Aralt's memory was coming back to him just like it happened that day.
"They are mind talking with each other!" realized Aralt. "How can I hear them when I couldn't before? I have been with the Dragons for years now and this is first time I can hear them talking to each other with just their thoughts." Aralt thought about it for a minute and then realized the only thing different about him was the locket he carried. "I've got to find out." Taking the locket and laying it on the rock where he had been sitting, he draped his cloak over it and then walked over to stand near the Dragons. "Nothing. Not a word," he muttered to himself. "Now back to the locket and we will see." Casually he strolled back to the locket and touched it. Clearly he heard the Dragons still talking to each other. It had to be the power of the stone in the locket. The Dragon Heart stone!
It did not take long before Aralt realized the possibilities of the stone. He could hear what the Dragons were saying to each other and they didn't seem to know he could hear them... but it wasn't until he was gifted the corolla that his real power was to be reached.
The cave he was thinking about was where he had first discovered the Dragon Heart stone those many years ago. It was when the Dragons first received their magic that he had decided that he needed to make sure his home was safe and hidden from them. Just in case their magic ran amok since right after the Dragons received their magical abilities it rained chaos in the Realms.
Untrained Dragons were everywhere changing things and granting wishes willy nilly. Oh yes, he remembered the Dragons causing all sorts of problems that fae like himself had to fix. "That was my first priority was to make sure they could not do something to myself and my home," Aralt muttered to himself. "That is when I decided to move my home to the intersection of magical ley lines. That was the key solution as it was like hiding a burning match in a forest fire! One of my more brilliant moves," Aralt smiled to himself as he walked out his room to head to the cave. "With the large outputs of magical energy coming from the ley lines, no one noticed the little bit hiding my home. What I hadn't known at the time was there was something else magical where I had moved my home. Discovering the cave was genius on my part," smirking to himself.
He did not realize the treasure that he had. For imbedded in the emerald veins of the tunnel, was a large stone in the shape of a Dragon's heart. At first he thought that he would use it for an ornament since he liked it's green colors that flashed when light hit it, but then something strange happened.
As Aralt removed the stone he felt a tingle go up his arm. This made him think that the stone might be safer if it was in a locket instead of carrying it directly. Then one day he started to hear voices in his head. Now, normally when one hears voices, it is time to have the local physician check you out, but Aralt had heard this type of talk once before. It was a voice like the golden Dragon who mind talked to him the day they took away his friend, the Dragonet. It did not take him long to realize that the stone was giving him this ability whenever he carried it.
Later, Aralt discovered that when he would return to the emerald cave the Dragon Stone would start to glow a pale green. That is what he wanted to confirm again. He needed to make sure that it still had its power after all of these years of not being used.
Where was it indeed?
"This check list thing can sure be useful," thought Drat. The minion had never done one before until Dulbbe had become the Troll King. The new king and former bookkeeper was a stickler for lists. At first Drat thought it would be a waste of time and just one of those ways that having something in writing could get him into trouble, but after a while he realized they really were helpful. "As long as I don't lose it and I don't make anything on it clear to anyone else but me, then I don't have to keep everything in my head," he had decided after using them for a time. Now he did it to keep his mind free for other things and to help him focus on the issues at hand.
"Of course the answer is easy," he chuckled looking at his list. "Find something else for him to eat and I know just where to go for that." Drat had heard from his own sources about the Goodie Sisters providing Dree (at that time - Hungry) with a birthday party and about how much the Dragon loved the food so that is where he decided to pick up some snacks before showing up to keep him distracted. The elder Goodie Sister, Goodiegood, was at the council meeting but the other two should be at home - at least Drat hoped.
Soon he was standing outside of the Goodie cottage, Drat could smell something cooking. "Yup. Someone is there," he smiled as his own stomach made a slight growl. "Hopefully it is something that will be tastier than myself that Dree will like," thought Drat just as he was about to knock on the door. Before he could though slowly the door opened by itself and he could hear Goodie4U calling out to him to come in. "How do they do that?" Drat had thought for more than the first time.
It was a circle of twigs above the door and for an instant he thought he saw a bunch of entwined snakes. "Why am I thinking everything wants to eat me? Is it because I must be hungrier than I realized," he told himself as he crawled out from under the table but all of the time keeping at least one eye on the twigs.
"I have a bag of sweets waiting here for you," said Goodie2shues "with a couple of extras for your trip to the caves" as she handed Drat the sack. "Tell Dree hi for us while you are there. We made him some Chocolate Haystacks that Scarlet swears by especially since we knew that Dree loves chocolate. There should be enough there to keep him from deciding if you are edible or not," she smiled at him.
Not everyone else was smiling though. Especially not the town council members who had glanced at each other when Aralt had disappeared behind his doors and now started back to the council chambers. They definitely needed to talk.
Shortly all of them were sitting around the conference table thinking about what to say at the meeting. Each of the councilors had their chief minion there in case an errand or message needed to be delivered awaiting in the chairs spaced against the wall of the chamber. Even if they were longingly gazing at the buffet table that Granny Flare and Cornelia had setup for everyone to snack on, they understood the importance of the events of day.
Finally it was the Dowager who started the conversation. "Well, that went well."
Those four words were all it took to get everyone talking at the same time. "Who would have thought he would be so short and I don't just mean in stature," snapped one member. "How can he think I will let him stay on the grounds of my castle," growled Queen Ffion. "What are we going to do now?" both Awena and Dulbbe silently thought to themselves as they listened to the others talk.
Each of the council members sat quietly, thinking about the Baron's question. Indeed, what do we do now? It was a quandary. "There is one thing we probably should do," grumbled Nemmer as he watched the others staring at each other around the table. "Maybe we need to hide Dree until we know more about this Herald business."
It took a minute, as the others were heavy in thought about the situation, before they realized what Nemmer had just muttered. "Nemmer is right," smiled the Dowager. "Dree should be hidden until we know enough about Aralt before they meet. We don't want the two of them to get off on the wrong foot. But I also don't think they should meet until we find out what the Herald's plans are first."
After a short discussion, the rest of the council agreed with the Dowager, but who to send? For they needed to distract Dree and to keep him away until the council had their chance to find out Aralt's plan and that wouldn't be easy.
"I could send Meen," volunteered Queen Ffion as Meen jumped from her chair when she heard her name.
"No disrespect to you or your minion, Queen Ffion," answered Awena, " But we need someone who might be able to distract Dree as to the arrival of the Herald but not spill the beans about him. Meen would get so caught up playing and probably tell Dree everything since she is a twiddletop when it comes to keeping secrets." The conversation continued for some time, going back and forth on who would be best to inform the Dragon, but it wasn't until Dulbbe, the Troll King, made his offer before they selected the messenger.
Realizing that his boss was both correct and actually giving him a compliment, Drat blushed slightly and bowed his head. "As you command Sire," he replied as he departed on his errand.
"Well, it got me out of what looked like a long and boring meeting," thought Drat as he darted down the street to the caves under the Baron's mansion all the time working up a plan to keep the Dragon busy without letting him know he was being hidden away again for now. "I wonder if I can get him into a game of Tic Tac Toe? That could take a while if he doesn't know that secret. But I will definitely need to let him know that it doesn't require body parts or eating."
Following the stone pathway, he let the gentle winds of memories float in around him. This was part of the Realms of Shadows' before the King built his castle above. After all, Aralt had been in the Realm long before the King of Shadows' existed and when the dragons had been nothing more than overgrown lizards.
It is when his foolish cousin gave of her power to the previously non-magical dragons that the Realms changed. Aralt had taken his home and hidden it way underground before the now magical Dragons knew where it was. He could still be connected to the energy of the ley lines but not be easily found, just the way he liked it. Aralt knew there were other caves around down here with him, for after all, he knew there should be one where the Book of Dragons was held. Why the Wish Dragon clan had decided the King of Shadows' was to guard it was still a mystery to him, but figured he could check on it later.
As he opened the door to his forgotten home, all the feeling of putting on a familiar warm fuzzy coat wrapped around him. It hadn't been his intent to be gone for so long. But when the Dragons all left the Realms in revolt, Aralt thought it was better to hide out somewhere else where the council members at that time couldn't find him. Who knew it would be hundreds of years and yet... what had triggered the Dragons coming back?
With all the chaos of the call and reacting to the call to return home, Aralt finally had a moment to ponder that question. For it truly had to be something unique to bring the Dragons home, let alone willingly.
"What are we to do now?" replied one member followed by "What do you think he will look like?" from another council member.
In the middle of all this chaotic noise, Fiddlefaddle leaned over towards the Baron. Being the Baron's all around handy man and procurator of travel arrangements he quietly asked, "Do you know where he will be staying since we don't have what the Outies call a hotel here in our small village?"
With that small question, the noise stopped instantly in the council chamber that one could have heard a pin drop if one was listening for that pin. Finally, Nemmer was the one who broke the silence. "There is a room over at the Rusty Nail Pub. I was just there this past week with my fellow archers and I am sure I heard the owner mention he had a spare room available." Which of course set up another flow of highly opinionated views on that suggestion.
"No, I don't think that is a good idea," replied Awena. "I walked by there on my way to the council meeting and heard that the little old lady that owns the place just picked up a set of Peerrots (in the Outie world would be known as parrots) that squeal 'Rise & Shine and Git Out' every morning now. I don't think we want our guest to think we don't want him here," continued Awena.
At that moment a golden coach pulled up in front of the Village Council's building. All the members stood in anticipation for the Herald to exit the coach. As he did he simple stepped down, gave everyone a cold look, paid the coach driver, and then turned towards the center of the Village as if looking for something. He then proceeded to walk off and left without a word of acknowledgement or greeting as the coach departed in the opposite direction.
So, just like the Pied Piper in tales of old, the Herald continued walking down the center of the small village neither looking left nor right with the Council members (now with a few curious villagers who were wondering where the parade was going and what was it for) all following behind him. Little did they know that Aralt was focusing on the ley lines of the area. He could feel them and though it had been many many years since being here, especially without the Dragons to feed them, the lines were still here, though very faint.
"If he thinks he is staying at my castle without an invitation or greeting, I don't think so!" Ffion growled to herself as the crowd all turned towards the Shadows' Queen castle.
They all continued walking down the road like a gaggle of geese following the Herald's lead as he walked into the courtyard of the Shadows' Queen's castle and proceeded to the back upper garden where several of those following soon realized it was the same garden where the young Wish Dragon had transformed into a Moon Dragon. Aralt then went past the waterfalls (that covered the entrance to the secret cave that held the Dragon tablet recently taken by a Borrower) towards a wall covered with bramble vines that grow only in a darker corner of the garden. With his arms raised and the stone in the locket glowing that he always carried with him, Aralt spoke. " Rise to the left. Shift to the right. Reveal these doors to my Sight."
Magically the brambles began to pull to the left with some shifting to the right, soon a massive stone door appeared that slowly opened for him. Apparently, by everyone's stunned reaction, Aralt realized that most of these simple people didn't know about the Dragons' Cave below. He finally decided to address the crowd of followers and turned to face them. "Excuse me. This is where I'll be staying. It has been a long day. I will meet with you tomorrow," and with that walked through the now open doorway with them shutting behind him. All the villagers stood there stunned with their mouths hanging open, wondering just what had happen.
"We have also heard from King Dulbbe and Queen Ffion about the potential dangers of a ruling Wish Dragon according to the past stories of the She-Dragon," finished Griselda.
Everyone looked at each other, waiting to see if someone would start the conversation they all knew had to happen. It was Awena who began. "We need to create a plan to minimize the chaos of the arrival of the Herald and the Dragon's return. I have searched the records of the Sleeping Sisters and have found nothing that will aid us in this problem. The only ancient text or prophesy that was discovered is extremely vague. The most we can confirm is that all realms are in danger if the Dragon's are no more and the game is lost. We have not found out what is meant by 'this game of power' nor what would make all of the Dragons disappear," she said and sat down on one of the many chairs in the audience chamber.
"You have all heard what we have found out about the returning Dragons. Do you have any further questions of the Dragon orb?" Griselda asked the others. "If not - then now is the time we must decide what we can do. The one major question we cannot answer is does Aralt know we now have a Moon Dragon here in the Realms?" What do you think of this Dree?" finished Griselda as all turned to look at the young Moon Dragon.
Dree was totally caught off guard. He had been listening to everyone's discoveries and was picturing in his mind what the other Dragons would look like and how they would act, but he had not been following the Dowager's final comments. So with a startled look he realized everyone was staring at him and waiting for his comments.
After a few gulps, he finally started to speak. "Excuse me for not paying attention at everything that has been said here, but I have been listening and thinking. I understand both from your discoveries of the Orb and from the reading I have been doing from some books that Granny Flare gave to me what it meant to be a Wish Dragon. I am just now getting my wings under me in trying to find out what a Moon Dragon may be. I am hoping this Herald can help me discover what it is that I am supposed to do," he said. Taking a slow breath Dree continued, "But, I also know that he is a stranger to me while all of you are my family. I may be a Dragon, and formerly of the Wish Dragon Clan, but you have all raised me and have helped me become what I am now so you are my clan too. I do not know if there is anything I can do to prepare for the coming of my kin, but I do feel that I should learn all that I can to be prepared for their arrival," Dree told the others.
Everyone in the room stood and bowed to the young Moon Dragon to show him their support. It was almost too much for the Dragon, but he finally did look back at them all and said a simple "Thank you."
It was then that the Goodie Sisters and Parsley entered the chamber and announced that the meal they had been preparing was ready... was anyone hungry? Dree started laughing and said "No, I'm Dree now - but I am still Hungry!"
Welcome to my blog. This is where I will reveal the magic of my Fae and their stories and share with you some of the success and pitfalls through the journey of doll making, sculpting, and other crafts that all come back to my dolls in many ways.