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The Flight of the Winged Beast

DaddyBear the Minivandian approached the Portal of the Securitat.  This day would he be journeying back to his home and hearth, and he was anxious to get started.

“Good sir, welcome to the Portal of Securitat.  Before we allow you to make your way to the resting place of the winged beasts, please remove all metal objects from your person, and place them within the box of magic seeing.  Also, we ask that you also place within it the belt by which you gird yourself, as well as the magic elf box that you carry with you.  Oh, and you must remove the shoes which you wear upon your feet so that we may see if you have any dangerous potions or spells in them.  If you have any weapons secreted upon your person, please give them to us, and we shall make sure that they await you upon your arrival at your destination.” recited a young agent of the Securitat, her hands covered with pink gloves.

Her eyes grew larger with every chink, chunk, clunk, and BANG as implements of many uses, sizes, and edges were placed in the magic box of seeing.  DaddyBear brought out Gnarlthing, his blade of disembowelment, as well as Clyfrender, a battle-axe that had served his clan for generations, and handed them to the young woman.  She could tell by the stern look he gave her that dire consequences awaited anyone who would cheat a Minivandian when it came to returning freely surrendered weapons, and she quickly endeavored to tag them and speed them to the gnomes of baggage.

After disarming himself thoroughly, removing his belt and shoes, and placing his magic elven box with them, DaddyBear stalked through the frame of detecting, giving proof to his good intentions and honorable demeanor.  With a huff of derision, he collected his belongings, redressed himself, and continued toward the gates of the winged beasts.

As my lord DaddyBear approached the gate of his appointed winged steed, he noticed that a large crowd was already gathered.  Among them he saw warriors, both young and old, merchants, and several young mothers with their children.  There was set of lucky twins, their hair as soft and shiny as spun gold, a young barbarian dressed proudly in the red and gold livery of his house, and a wee babe, as innocent as an angel, asleep in his mother’s arms.  The Minivandian smiled at the youngsters, all the while inwardly praying to whatever god would listen that they would all sleep through the journey.

Sitting himself down on a stool near the gate, DaddyBear could hear the growls and howls of the winged beast that would take him and his newfound compatriots on their way to the City of the River.  By the sounds of it, it was a young beast of the variety born in the northwest forests and fens.  It sounded strong and ready to take wing, which gave the Minivandian confidence in getting home that day.

Presently, a clerk emerged from the gate.  Clapping his hands above his head, he began his litany of preparation.

“My lords and ladies, harken to me!  Each of you has been assigned a letter and a number.  It will appear on the air before you presently.  I ask that as your designation appears, you form ranks before the gate, and as I summon you, you show to me your mark.   In this way shall we get everyone aboard the winged beast and on their way to their destination.”

Grumbling to himself about wizards and their need to be cute with their magic when a slip of parchment would have worked, my lord DaddyBear looked at the air before him.  After a moment, a mark of his letter and number began to glow faintly in front of him.  Standing, he joined his fellow travelers in ranks of 30.  Presently, the clerk motioned to the first rank, who filed through the gate after showing him their mark.  Eventually, it was the Minivandian’s turn, and he went through the gate, into a tunnel,  and approached the winged beast.

At the end of the tunnel, DaddyBear could see the blue and red scales of the winged beast.  It’s wings beat in excitement, forcing a mighty wind down and behind it.  Through a window in the tunnel, its head, crested in golden fringe, could be seen as it watched travellers enter the chamber that was strapped to its back.  The tenders and keepers of the beasts were scurrying around, over, and under it, loading the belongings of the travellers, feeding the beast, and checking every claw, tooth, and scale to be sure that it was ready for flight.

Making his way into the chamber, the Minivandian found an open seat close to the wings and sat down to read from a scroll of patience and strength.  This was his ritual of preparation, and for once, he was able to finish it uninterrupted.  The rest of the travellers found their seats, and a voice from the front of the chamber began the pre-flight prayers and invocations.

“My lords and ladies, harken unto me!  I am Gwynneth, Shieldmaiden of Hospitality, and I, along with my partners Gonnevir the Fair and Snarglefist the She-Orc, shall be serving you this morning.  If you look to the front, middle, and rear of the chamber, you will notice portals of emergency.  We ask that you not open these unless there is a risk to your survival, as any passengers who open them while the winged beast is flying will need to learn to fly themselves, and those who open them on the ground must be wary of teeth, claws, wings, and tail. ”

If you are smoking upon this winged beast, you had better be aflame, for if you are partaking of the weed of the pipe, then I am afraid that federal law allows us to defenestrate you from 35,000 feet above the ground. ”

In the event that the winged beast decides to alight in a body of water, it will usually mean that it is hungry and fancies fish.  We suggest that you find something that floats and stay away from its head.”

We shall be coming through the cabin to bring you refreshing drinks and filling victuals.  We have beer, mead, wine, and products made by the mages of fizzy beverages.  We will be coming to you to ask of your wishes soon, but until then, please sit back, strap in, and hold on, because this particular beast is not known to be gentle when leaving the bounds of land.”

My lord DaddyBear leaned back in his seat, and continued reading from his scroll.  From his left, he heard a coo as of a dove of peace.  Looking over, he noticed the wee babe, now ensconced in his own throne of safety.  With one chubby fist, he was batting at a hanging bobble, and babbled sweetly to it as he played.  His mother, a lovely young woman who obviously loved her son, was preparing a bottle of fresh milk of the jungle yak for the boy.

After a moment, the doors to the chamber was closed and locked, and the shieldmaidens of hospitality found their way to their seats.  The young she-orc sat down just behind the Minivandian and the young mother, mumbling a prayer to her gods for protection from winged beasts.

It was not long before DaddyBear understood why she prayed so vehemently.  Where normally a winged beast would sedately walk to the line of departure, this beast loped with joy to the end of the field of takeoff.  Pausing and kneeling at the line as a runner does before a race, it went from a stop to a gallop within one bound.   Before half the field had passed beneath its claws, it stretched out is leathery wings and caught the wind.  Leaping into the air, it began to immediately gain altitude and speed.

DaddyBear smiled to himself at the enthusiasm of the young beast, and made a note to be braced for the impact of landing.

As the noise and jostling of takeoff subsided, the Minivandian looked over at the young mother and her son.  From the look on her face, he could tell that something was wrong.  Looking down at the child, he understood why.

The visage of the boy went from the pale rosiness it had on the ground to a deep red, then it gained a greenish cast.  Where the skin had been smooth and soft, it was now becoming scaly, and small horns were breaking out from the forehead.  Instead of the cooing and laughter that had been heard before, now a low growl rose from the seat of safety.

“My ears!  My ears pain me!” howled the small demon, struggling against its restraints.  The voice was both low and rough, as loud as the bellow of a were-gnu on the attack, and it raised the hair on the back of the Minivandian’s neck.  With every passing moment, the visage and voice of the changeling became more horrible to behold, and the threats and assertions it made became more horrible.

“The seas shall boil if my pain is not alleved!  I shall set son against father, father against uncle, and mother against cousin unless I find some relief!  The land shall burn and the sea shall boil! A plague will fall upon all of your houses! I do not know who is doing this to me, and I do not care!  For as I suffer, so shall you!  Look up on me, listen to my voice, and know that I shall make you all pay!”

Just as the Minivandian reached for the charm of protection he kept around his neck and began to mutter a spell of warding, he heard a loud pop, as if someone had bit into a blastfruit from Grenada.  At that moment, the small demon in 15C reverted to his original form.  Green scales were replaced with cheeks of peach fuzz.  The horns retracted into the skull, and the blazing red of the eyes faded to a pale blue.  The deep, rumbling curses gave way to coos again, and chubby hands reached out to the mother and her bottle of milk.

Behind the Minivandian. the she-orc intoned a prayer of thanksgiving to the gods of tympanic membranes, and the Minivandian joined her in the refrain, as did all of the adults in the chamber.

In time, the winged beast made a bounding landing at the City of the River, and my lord Minivandian returned to his home and hearth.  As he did each time he returned home, he promised himself that never again would he leave, but in time a quest of sufficient honor and interest would tempt him again, and he would return to the place of the winged beasts.  Many of these quests did he complete, and the legends of them are told around the fires of his descendants to this day.

But those are tales for another time.  Now let me tell you stories of high adventure!

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16 Comments

  1. jeremy

     /  October 29, 2013

    The win is strong with you Minivandian…

    Like

  2. I enjoy your take on things …

    Like

  3. Well done sir WELL DONE! 🙂

    Like

  4. Shane W

     /  October 29, 2013

    You really should write a book. I’m pretty positive you’d make an awesome fantasy author.

    Like

    • Thanks, but the one and only time I wrote one, it turned out to be a really bad ripoff of “The Hobbit”. I’ll stay with short stories, where if it’s terrible, at least it’s only a few paragraphs long.

      Like

  5. Andrew

     /  October 29, 2013

    A brilliant piece, sir. Very well done.

    Like

  6. Frank

     /  October 29, 2013

    You will have very fortunate children and grandchildren if you share stories like this with them.
    As for me, I’m lucky to read them as well.

    Like

  7. Good story there DB, I enjoyed the fantasy related theme on a regular event…even on going through the crooks at TSA and flying the magical beast. The take on the safety video was well done. Even down to describing the flight attendants. I always enjoyed the minivandian stories. When I was in the service, there was a guy in my unit that could take the most mundane things and turn it into an adventure down the realm of fantasy. He even did that with the daily log as part of his CQ duties. He had an official one then turned in the fantasy related one to the 1st sgt. Whom actually did have a sense of humor and enjoyed it. You have a rare ability…most people cannot pull it off.

    Like

  8. Aewl

     /  October 31, 2013

    Reblogged this on Aewl's Abode and commented:
    Great take on flying our friendly skies!

    Like

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