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A Summer Barbaric of Shenanigans

Chapter 11

When the council arrived for their next meeting, they were amazed at the difference in atmosphere that bubbled out of the campground. Their earlier meetings were held in quiet repose, with all the sophisticated dignity they brought with them. But, being the noon hour, the whole camp was rising and starting their day with fast breaking, meditation exercises, and haphazard rehearsals.

The Artisan Council members bungled their way through carnival acts and performance rehearsals; ducking under juggled implements and trying not to squeal at the sudden breath of fire eaters. One of the elder ladies, kept a hand to her ears to block the amplifying boxes being tested for volume and clarity.

Yet, they were most welcome in the crowd of revelers and their Kentari lust for life was renewed, especially when they spied the lunch buffet.

“My goodness!” Baron Delvung exclaimed as he greeted the smartly dressed Count Tambeaux. “What’s all this to-do?”

The Count surveyed the activity with pride.

“This, my Lord, is…” he paused for dramatic embellishment, “brunch.”

The elder lady chuckled in surprise,

“You can’t say you do this every day?” she fanned herself in astonishment at all the excitement.

“Not at all, my dear Lady.” The Count consoled her, then added sarcastically, “after a truly late night, we wait until high tea to get started.”

“Oh what, what?” The dignified woman batted her eyes, unsure if she should be shocked or delighted. Settling on the latter she mumbled quietly, “I shall have to visit more often.”

Marin respectfully flirted with her, just as quietly,

“A woman as beautiful and sophisticated as yourself, is always welcome.”

“Tush.” She playfully slapped the Count’s arm as she accepted his escort, “you watch your cavalier self.”

Then she giggled with renewed vigor in her crinkled bones and trotted along to the meeting tent.

Each council member piled luncheon plates high with delicious food, per their accustomed diet, and found their place at the table. The day’s financial statements and organizational plans for the upcoming Blyns Crag Festival were discussed between mouths fulll and jovial laughter. It was the most successful and agreeable meeting the council seats had enjoyed to date.

When all important matters had been accomplished, the table members gasped briefly in surprise when one whole side of the tent suddenly bunched up, opening to reveal the sight of the whole camp. Standing before them was a choir of children, breathless with excitement, and red faced in nervousness.

Filly stepped in between and greeted,

“Salutations and welcome to a whole new world!”

She continued her introduction,

“The magnanimous Count Tambeaux along with all the glorified members of this council, have committed to me the task of finding the most talented children in all of Kentari and direct them in a minor production, yet to be manifested at the Festival.”

The incognito Oracle then paused and glanced at her silent group of children. Each one breathed in mild exertion as they attempted to contain their wiggles; some more successful than others. Filly the Fauna Energist smiled in pride and wrapped up her announcement.

“Fortunately for me, all the most talented children were already here.”

She applauded them as the council and the caravan crowd joined in supportive clapping.

Filly cried out,

“A preview performance, if it please you…” then she bowed out of the way and music began playing in the background.

The choir burst out with innocent voices. They sang in simple harmonies and robust clarity that echoed around the whole camp circle. They made their way through several practiced songs, conducted by the young female teacher. A couple of solos highlighted lead characters in the production and over all, it was a wonderful teaser of talent and excitement yet to come.

The final song saw the council stand with fluttering and thumping hands in delighted appreciation. The children beamed like effervescent bubbles about to burst out of a shaken fizzy bottle. Filly steered them to herself and their teachers. They handed out bundles of promotion papers and the children fluttered through the crowd, handing out invitations to come and see their show.

Filly intended to retire back to her transport, but one of the mothers asked her where her child was. Neither she nor the other teachers could locate the youngest member of the cast.

“The last time I saw her, she was following her cast buddy. Find him and we’ll find them both well, I’m sure.” Filly quieted the parental nerves.

“That’s just the problem,” the mother insisted, “no one has seen him, or either of them.”

Filly glanced about. Getting to know the children meant understanding their energy ways. The older boy, who was charged with caring for his younger buddy, was a steady boy, likely a water Energist with a possible earth minor. Filly wasn’t fully sure, as Trevel children are changeable by nature in their early growth. Yet, her confidence in the stability of the young teen was solid.

Gently patting the shoulder of the naturally concerned mema, Filly lifted her eyes above the crowed then smiled with a sudden giggle. She nodded in the direction of the children’s transport roof.

The young boy was sitting on the open rooftop, steadily watching and spotting the cartwheels of the younger girl. Knowing the talent of the girl, Filly was confident that her feet would keep her from falling, but still, the appearance of such behavior was a little frightening.

The mother gasped, then laughed and shook her head.

“I might have known.” She walked quickly in their direction muttering, “stinkin little monkey.”

Filly laughed and thought, monkey indeed. Then continued to her own transport to rest a while. She had her own exciting plans for the night.

Marin granted Filly a small hover-cart to get about the local area, so when evening descended, Filly carried her wrapped painting and boxed dessert out to the vehicle. She smelled the sweetness of the pavlova with mild concern. It was likely that the meringue had turned a little sticky, being held in the plastic container. But the woman shrugged. It was the thought that counted and it still likely tasted nice and sweet, even if the texture was not exactly crisp and fluffy. There was only so much she could do.

She drove away from the camp outside the nearest small town and headed off to a smaller northern village. That is where the Lords of Ragefall were performing an acoustic set tonight, being down one member. The drive through the setting Skyling was beautiful and even with the cooling air, Filly drove with windows down and music at full volume.

Her thoughts wandered to her friends back at home, and to the Leprechaun who’d volunteered to stay with her in Kentari. She’d not seen or heard from him since the Count whisked her away on his transport. One rarely needed worry about the wee-folk, though. They could take care of themselves far better than any larger folk were able. Filly presumed she may see him tonight as a Ragefall concert was the last point of commonality between them.

The Oracle’s nerves fluctuated in her tummy, again. She was acting apart from the typical behaviors of civilized society, by turning up with a cake for someone she barely knew, and a large, personal painting. She swallowed the self-doubt. Her comfort level mattered little, when prophetic gifts were given. Glancing across to the gift-wrapped artwork, Filly blushed and shook her head, grateful for the fresh air blowing her ill nerves away.

The village main circle was already adorned with the vision of Bellanie sitting outside the small pub. Filly parked her cart opposite the large band transport, shook her hands nervously, then crossed the street.

Ionny greeted her with much warmth,

“Hi! Great to see you, again.” Hugs were exchanged eagerly.

Kaid stepped out of the trailing cart with his hands full of instruments. He winked and smiled at her,

“G’day!”

He lumbered inside to where they were setting up. Nikols joined the back and forth carting, with a big squeeze around her, first.

Filly stepped inside and smiled with delight as Seamus lifted his drink in welcome. He was disguised in his full size and met her face to face in standing, also with a greeting hug.

“’Sbeen a while, aint it.” He smiled at her with an Irish twinkle. “Wat’av you been up to?”

“I was absconded by the Count Tambeaux and am traveling with his Artisan caravan.” Filly told him.

“Marin?” Seamus inquired with mild, dubious concern.

“Mmmhmm.” Filly nodded.

“He’s been in co-hoots with that Pirate that wen’ missing after ya commissioned ‘im.” Seamus sized up Filly’s thoughts, “to tha’ siren island. Ain’t that where ya sent ‘im?”

“He isn’t missing. Just moved on.” Filly diplomatically dismissed his prying.

Seamus stared at her.

“The commission was completed.” Filly insisted.

Seamus pressed,

“Ooh, was it now? An’ why weren’t ‘is findins mayd pooblic then?”

“Everyone knows what happened.” Filly chuckled recalling the implied, yet efficient rumor mill.

“Aye. He disappeared, somehow minus half ‘is heart.” Seamus pushed more, continuing in a silent inquiry.

They sat a moment, watching the Lords finish setting up and go through sound checks. Filly fidgeted in the unspoken interrogation.

“The Count is quite the gentlemen.” Filly lied.

“No ‘e’s not.” Countered the Irish faeman. “Wha’ concerns me is knowin ‘ow much you like ‘em as gentle-rouges, no’ gentle-men.”

Filly smirked.

“How do you know so much?” She asked the Leprechaun.

He tapped his nose and muttered,

“I smell wha’s in the air.”

“You smell what? Thoughts and… intent, do you?” Filly sputtered.

“All your intent and motivation, my dear. All of it.” He warned her. “It’s snuffed righ’ up my nostrils, ‘ere.” He sniffed loudly and shoved the tip of his pinky finger up one nose hole.

Filly tried to smiled in the comedy, but swallowed and kept quiet.

The evening continued as a great success in music and laughter, even though the crowd and bar size were considerably intimate. The music filled the walls to bursting. The energy that exuded from the jubilant band whet Filly’s heart and she sweat in dancing. Her ecstasy amplified in the smaller space, and, were in not for Seamus holding her in familial embrace, she might have collapsed in the weight of the visions that pressed upon her spiritual atmosphere.

It took a tall glass of cool water to refresh and revive her body when the show ended. She calmed herself in the air, outside with all the smokers.

Prince Nikols and Chancellor Ionny were holding a casual court, as Regents, with beers in hand and listening ears, intent upon concerns about crops and milk production. Filly sidled up to the Chamberlin and wished him a happy birthday in hugs.

“I have something for you, if you like?” Filly mentioned privately to him.

“Oh yeah.” Kaid was mildly dismissive in the crowd.

“It’s a pavlova, for your birthday, and … another picture.”

“Oh. That’s sweet. Thanx.” Kaid smiled.

He nodded to their transport,

“I have to change my shirt, if you wanna meet me there?”

“Ok.” Was all Filly could say, being nervous about the invitation to their private quarters.

She crossed the quieted street; for all the members of the village were milling in the makeshift pub-court.

Leaning across her hover-cart seat, Filly picked up the boxed dessert and wrapped painting, then walked to Bellanie’s closed door.

She knocked and entered,

“Coming in, if you don’t mind.” She called climbing the steps.

“I said come in,” Kaid responded.

“I didn’t hear you, sorry.” Filly bumbled nervously and glanced at her feet.

Kaid was changing, shirt in hand, the top half of his body bare. His fullish figure was quite appealing. Filly giggled to herself, feeling silly and school-girlish. He had no shame and continued dressing. Filly stood quietly looking everywhere, but at him. He walked toward her, new shirt on, yet openly unbuttoned.

“I have this pavlova,” she shoved at him. “It might not taste the best, but, I thought it might be a nice reminder of home.”

“Thanks.” he said, buttoning up his shirt. “That’s nice of you. We don’t eat a lot of sweets on tour, but, thank you all the same.”

Kaid opened the container and sniffed the excessive sweetness.

“Do you mind if a take a picture?” Filly asked. “I got the recipe from my mema. She might like to see the finished project.”

Kaid obliged with a goofy grin. They both felt a little silly, posing in private like that. Filly wondered if she wasn’t the only one that felt the closeness of the walls.

“I have this too.” She handed him the large painting that rested at her feet, “it’s kinda for all of you, but as it’s your birthday, you can open it.”

He smiled big and sat with the painting on his knee.

“That’s really cool, actually. I didn’t get any other gifts, so this is great.”

Filly was even more grateful she’d thought to wrap it. She smiled, watching him carefully pull off the decorative paper.

When the painting revealed, Kaid just sat a moment taking it all in. He was quiet. Filly couldn’t read him well.

He finally commented,

“When we get gifts we usually have to say thanks and it’s good and all that. But, this… actually is really good!”

He took his eyes off the painting only briefly to say,

“Thank you.”

He looked truly relaxed for the first time, since she’d entered. Filly relaxed, too.

“I’ve been wanting to tell you,” he said standing, “I know we have this connection. I feel it, too.” He moved closer to her, a bit nervous again, “but, with all the traveling, I really want to just keep friendly with everyone. You know?”

“I do. Completely.” Filly agreed.

“Cool. ‘Cos, at the end of the day, I don’t want to lose fans because of a heart being broken. I want you to always like our music and keep supporting us, without hard feelings.”

“I think I always will.” She winked at him.

“But, yeah, I do like you.” He blushed.

Filly steeled her own nerves and asked what she knew she’d regret if she didn’t ask,

“Can I at least kiss you? Once, maybe?”

Kaid blushed deeply,

“Not now. That would be weird.”

Filly chuckled and remembered what she’d told him during their early communications. That she was as weird as they come. She suddenly felt much less nervous.

“Besides,” he looked at her again, “This way, we’ll always have that one kiss waiting to happen, someday.”

“I like that.” Filly glowed a little more.

They exited the transport and Filly went about saying goodnight to the rest of the crew.

“I hope you like the painting,” Filly said, hugging Ionny.

“I can’t wait to see it,” he responded.

“Do you read?” she asked.

“Sometimes. We don’t have much to do when we’re on the bus.”

“Maybe I’ll bring you a funny booklet I wrote, about the Sprite army.” Filly suggested. “I visited a boot camp there once, on… well, a while, ago.”

She almost let out that she’d visited on a state visit, as the Oracle.

“I’d like that.” Ionny accepted.

She waved bye to all of them, crossing the road to her cart. Seamus was staying with the Bellanie tour and would meet up with her, the next time they crossed paths.

Filly drove home through another storm. The Skyling always thundered about the Lords of Ragefall. She smiled as even the energy of the sky, burst in joyous appreciation.

Back to focus upon her directing, she went. Trying to forget the tumultuous storm building in her own heart’s horizon.

 

Pre-exposition Letter by the Scribe

Chapter 12

If you would like to see more of Gregga’s books and other creative projects, check out her website: Gregga J. Johnn and Story-in-the-Wings.

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