A story set in Familiars' world, near in time to when the School of Mastery started in a glade near the heart of the plateau forest...
If anyone's interested then it's the same world as the one in AAPP #2 and Familiar's on my wyvern's library. This particular piece was written for the elftown prose contest.
Elftown Prose contest
“Guys this mess has to be sorted out.”
It was what they all knew had to be said, but they still didn’t want to hear it. The brown-bronze griffin smirked, it was he who’d betted against the eagle on the unicorn saying it. The eagle himself grudgingly acknowledged it with a, “Damn you, halfling.”
The unicorn half-screamed at the two of them, “Stop messing around! This is serious
!” The two stared at her with slight astonishment, whereas the red and green dragon looked at her impassively, “Calm down, we’ll sort this out.”
“Not by avoiding the issue we won’t!” said the moon-bright unicorn furiously, green eyes glittering with annoyance, “This issue has just gotten worse as time goes by and still we have done nothing about it! None of them will be able to find us if this continues! We already had the mess with that leopard boy finding the griffin first!”
“You had to admit it made his journey interesting...” came the murmur from a branch above the glade, where a cheetah-like leopard was draped comfortably, “and he certainly travelled far enough...”
The unicorn spun on her hoof and strode to the other side of the clearing, as far away from the others as possible, tail swishing in speechless outrage. The other five animals looked at her with foreboding, but the dolphin then looked reprovingly at the others, “Now look what you’ve done, bird-brains!”
“Do I take that as a compliment?”
The dolphin ignored him and jumped out of the water, going over to the other female on her magic, which served to float her through the air, “Don’t worry love, they’re just stupid irresponsible boys...”
“Hey!” the leopard’s head shot up off the branch as they exclaimed and the unicorn snorted in laughter, “Those two may be but me and the dragon aren’t!” the cat said indignantly, clearly offended to judge by his pose. He failed to notice the two glares from the beaked animals or the wince from the dragon,
“Please, don’t get me involved in this...” came the deep rumble from the dragon’s chest as he turned his head and inspected a wing.
“WILL ALL OF YOU SHUT UP AND STOP SQUABBLING!” The unicorn had turned around as she stood in a blaze of anger, her eyes and horn glowing painfully brightly.
All that could be heard in the following silence was the rustle of leaves as the treetops surged above them. Not a thing moved, the six magical creatures creating a tension so tight that there seemed to be a silent clash of wills and not-quite hearable explosions as their powers smashed into each other, despite none of them purposefully casting a single spell.
Eventually the dragon broke the tense silence by rearing on his back legs, wings spreading with a roar of impatience, his size increased to fill half the expansive glade with body alone, “You will all speak to each other,” he boomed, “and there will be no arguments! We cannot spend the time together, these scenes are too frequent for anyone to bear the company of another for long.”
“Then what do you suggest oh wise one?” spat the griffin, also ready to fight, wings fully spread, “If you are so smart then you answer it!”
“We all have to do it, companion mine,” came the voice so layered with sarcasm it could only be the unicorn, “otherwise none will be happy with the others decision,” her tone was also layered with anger, though her horn and eyes no longer blazed.
“She has a point,” the leopard said grudgingly from his lofty position, “but I for one can think of no solution.”
“Oh so useful my friend, but we will squabble if we meet, it’s in our nature not to take commands,” the eagle sounded strained, “especially mine.”
“Then that problem is solved by not meeting at all!” growled the cat.
“You mean us to be imprisoned?!” screeched the griffin,
“You seriously ask that of the patron of travellers?”
“Stop it right now! You’re worse when trying to cooperate then open enemies sometimes!” exclaimed the dolphin, usually a friendly figure, “You two should be separated, no doubt about it!”
The dragon spoke at this, “But how without being imprisoned?”
“Don’t be ridiculous, there’s enough space in this land for all of us to live with our own chosen,” retorted the unicorn, "we just need a system similar to territories.” All the others stared at her once more, even she looked mildly shocked.
“That might actually work,” was the first reply, from the leopard.
“We could still see each other, just not too often,” smiled the griffin, closing his wings. The dragon followed suit and became a comfortable size once more, at which everyone relaxed a little.
“Well I need the waterways ducks, so those are taken, the wetlands should be mine too.”
“I for one don’t argue with that,” was the reply the dolphin received from the dragon.
“In which case I’ll be off?”
“With our blessing, though you’re welcome to stay,” offered the unicorn,
“With that lot? Not a chance.” The dolphin slid into the water once more and swam off, following the current back to the delta.
The recluse of the group spoke next, “I quite fancy taming that volcano up north, it should have enough space for a whole colony of dragons, that would stop them warring with the griffins as much,” the red giant looked to the griffin for assent.
“So you’re taking that and the area around it? On that side of the mountains?” the griffin paused as he scraped the ground, then grudgingly agreed, “but only if I get the other side.”
“Done,” was the rumbling reply.
“Hey! Where does that leave me? You’ve taken all the Ridgetops!”
“You can have them, the bits near the plateau at any rate,” shrugged the other feathered creature.
The leopard coughed politely, “There is that cliff to the west.”
“A cliff?” came the curious squark,
“Yes, a large one, boundary between north and south almost, hills on one side with Ridgetops the other, there’s just hills to the east of the plateau,” the cat volunteered, at last vacating his branch to land lightly next to the eagle, “I’ll show you when this is sorted, but the low Ridgetops and west are a big enough area for anyone.”
“So where will you go?” enquired the unicorn. The cat shrugged, “Wherever’s left I guess.”
“There’s still the plateau and plains left,” said the dragon after consulting his remembered aerial map, “minus the human settlements, they don’t like magic as much.”
“Then they won’t appreciate you being too close,” the griffin indicated the unicorn, “at least all your subjects are relatively normal,” he continued to the leopard, who shifted uncomfortably,
“Not subjects, I bother them little to the point of never, apart from my prides,” was the blunt reply, “I see your reasoning though, want the forest?” he asked the unicorn.
“Happily, I fail to see what would happen if this place were not kept in check, and anyway, I prefer trees to dust.” The unicorn did not waste any more words and trotted towards the deep part of the forest, which the glade was well.
“I take that as our cue to go.” The dragon’s huge wings opened and powerfully pumped to get him airborne, the others bracing themselves against the back-draft, not saying anything further as he departed, soaring smoothly to the north once above the treetops.
“Never tell him I said this, but he is awe-inspiring in flight,” admitted the griffin once the dragon was out of sight, the others nodded discreetly before the leopard rose to his feet and jerked his head at the eagle before they both vanished into the undergrowth, calling their goodbyes to the griffin as he lifted off the ground and arrowed over the trees.
Now the space was empty, nothing left there to reveal the presence of the six beasts that had been there previously apart from some flattened grass which would spring back up
shortly and a few water droplets drying on the stream’s edge.
This place would eventually become the unicorn’s glade, but that wouldn’t happen for a while yet...
Elftown Prose Contest
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