Preface and dedication: This is a new story in The Dragon Earl Universe that may or may not interact with the other existing stories. This story is a Fantasy it will have Dragons and Elves and sundry other Fantasy Races. It is also being written as a tribute to Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey two of my favorite Fantasy Authors. This story is dedicated to August Christopher as a continuation of his legacy.
THIS STORY HAS CHARACTERS INCLUDED FROM "Dragon Earl" . DISTRIBUTION FOR COMMERCIAL GAIN, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, POSTING ON SITES OR NEWSGROUPS, DISTRIBUTION AS PARTS OR IN BOOK FORM (EITHER AS A WHOLE OR PART OF A COMPILATION) WITH OR WITHOUT A FEE, OR DISTRIBUTION ON CD, DVD, OR ANY OTHER ELECTRONIC MEDIA WITH OR WITHOUT A FEE, IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED WITHOUT THE AUTHOR'S WRITTEN CONSENT. YOU MAY DOWNLOAD ONE (1) COPY OF THIS STORY FOR PERSONAL USE; ANY AND ALL COMMERCIAL USE EXCEPTING EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS REQUIRES THE AUTHORS WRITTEN CONSENT. THE AUTHOR MAY BE CONTACTED AT: The Story Lover
This story is the continuation of the storyline of Horus and Tana that was begun in Chapter Ten of "Dragon Earl." I have decided that the storyline was getting too large to continue in the main story. It is now a story of its own.
From "Dragon Earl" Chapter Eleven: Aveena was trying to figure out what she was going to do for clothing, as she hadn't time to make any new clothes for either Tana or her own dead youngling. She hoped that she would be able to get some appropriately sized clothing from the other villagers. For now, she would just keep him wrapped in blankets and other wraps.
King Horus did take his sweet time flying home, enjoying some wonderful thermal soaring along the way. Tana was never far from his thoughts, though, and that, coupled with the fact that his food would spoil, meant he couldn't take as long to fly home as he wanted.
Horus was determined to resolve the mysterious communication power that Tana seemed to have. At the same time, he really wasn't sure if it was Tana's power or gift, or his own. Only time would tell which was which, although, in the long run, that really didn't matter. The only thing that really mattered was the fact that they were communicating at some level. 'I wonder if there is a way to improve that level of communication? It will probably have to wait for several years, until Tana is no longer a youngling' Horus stopped thinking and went back to enjoying the flight.
The golden plains passing below him were beautiful in their own right, but not as beautiful as the wooded glen that Horus called home. He was far more comfortable living in the mountain range where he did, as it was always easier to take off from a height than from the ground.
Meanwhile, back at the village, the search parties that Jack had promised Aveena had been sent out, but nothing had been found yet. There was a party leaving in a little while that would be gone for several days. They were going to combine a hunting trip along the mountain trail that led to another village with their searching. This was the trail that most of the itinerant peddlers that visited the village used on their travels from remote village to remote village.
Tana was proving to be a wonderful baby and really no trouble at all, that is, until their War Eagle stopped delivering food for a few days. While the village was used to going days and, in a few cases, weeks without seeing Horus, Tana seemed to miss him. Aveena wasn't sure what the issue was. She did find a way around the issue accidentally one morning, while she was cleaning the stoop in front of her cottage. She found a feather that must have fallen from Horus. As she was picking up the feather, Tana's eyes were following her every move, from the sling carrier he was in. Tana started cooing and gurgling with glee, when he saw the feather. When Aveena picked up the feather and brought it near Tana's face, he cooed even more and tried to reach it with his short little arms. Aveena used the feather to tickle Tana, and he gurgled and cooed even more, and he tried even harder to reach the feather.
As Aveena stood up, she realized by the shadows that it was Tana's nap time. Tickling him one more time, she then turned around and went back inside their cottage. Once inside, she headed towards his crib, and before she could take him out of the sling she absentmindedly laid the feather in the crib to free up both of her hands. She removed him from the sling and proceeded to lay him in his crib. Tana was asleep before she even set him down. She was getting a bit hungry, so she headed to the kitchen area to fix lunch.
When she returned from lunch to check on Tana, he was still asleep, only now he was clutching the feather in his little hands and was smiling beautifully. Trying to protect him from stabbing himself with the feather, Aveena reached in and tried to take it out of his hands. He was holding it as tightly as a baby could, but he was only a baby. As the feather started to slide out of his hands, the smile turned into a grimace, and he began to cry. Startled, Aveena let go of the feather, and Tana's smile returned. He instantly stopped crying and began to coo; a few seconds later he was fast asleep again. 'What do I do? If I leave the feather in there, he might get hurt, but if I try and take it away, he will probably start crying again. For some reason, the feather comforts him. I guess I will just leave it with him and hope for the best.' She then turned her thoughts back to laundry and dinner.
As Aveena was sorting her laundry, she barely heard a quiet knock on the cottage door. She dropped the laundry she was sorting, went to open the door, and found Grandma Sadie standing there with her arms full.
"Hello, Aveena, I found some things in one of my rag bins that I thought you might be able to use. It was full of children's clothes given to me by that family that used to run the dairy, when they left the village. I hope some of them might fit young Master Tana, until we can make him some clothes of his own. Take these, while I go back home and bring the rest of the bin. Tana will have plenty of diapers, as that is what is left, and you won't have to do laundry every day." Sadie then handed Aveena her armload of clothes and headed back to her own cottage, leaving a perplexed Aveena standing in the doorway.
Once Aveena's brain began to function again, she headed toward the bedroom, so she could sort the clothes out on her bed and check on Tana in his crib. She left the front door open, so Sadie could just come on in without knocking and waking Tana. She looked in the crib as she walked by, and Tana was still sleeping peacefully, smiling and holding on to the feather. She had just finished sorting the clothes by sizes when Sadie returned.
Instead of knocking, Sadie just said a soft 'hello' and then walked in. Aveena met her in the main room and then brought her into the bedroom. As Sadie had said, there were diapers aplenty, in several sizes and thicknesses. The diapers were the softest that Aveena had ever felt, and Sadie chuckled softly, as Aveena rubbed one on her cheek. The two women had the sorting finished quickly, and then Sadie helped with putting the clothes away, as well. 'Hmm, Tana may have more clothes than I do, very soon, if things like this keep up,' Aveena thought happily, as she steered Sadie to the kitchen for some tea, chevre and crackers.
One of the advantages of living in 'Horus' Village' was the wonderful meadows with several different grasses growing in them. The different grasses gave wonderful flavors to their chevre. On top of that, there were wonderful caves in the mountainside just perfect for storing and aging their different styles of chevre. Most of the villagers made their chevre with just goat milk; however, several of them made theirs with sheep's milk as well. When the villagers first arrived in the valley, they ran into a very unusual problem. It seems that the hunters, who found the valley for them, never noticed the wild goat population. The villagers kept finding themselves with unexpectedly pregnant goats and larger herds. It took them quite awhile to figure out that the wild goats had joined their herds because of the grasses in their pens and the extra feed and water they were getting. Since the wild goats had never been hunted, they let themselves be milked just like the domestic goats, and that is when things became very interesting.
Because the wild goats ate different plants and grasses, their milk made chevre with definitely different flavours. The villagers got together and figured out how to take advantage of the bounty that Draconis had given them. Their chevres had suddenly become greatly in demand throughout the region, in spite of the village's remote location. They had a problem in how to get their chevres to the markets that wanted them before they went rancid. Luckily for them, one of the villagers who did most of the fishing for the village had a very simple solution to the problem. His wife had woven him several pannier style bags to carry the fish he caught and keep them moist. She had woven them out of a plant that grew profusely at the edges of the meadows and stayed flexible, even when dried. He put the caught fish in the bags and kept the bags in the stream until he was ready to come home. The bags were mostly watertight, and the moisture in them would evaporate slowly, keeping the contents cool. If he had a longer trip to make, he just stuffed the bags full of a moist 'Spanish Moss' like moss. Between the bags and the moss, his fish always stayed cool and fresh. Whenever the bag or moss dried out too much, he just added more water and went on his way.
When Ricard heard the village traders discussing the problem at one of the village meetings, he burst out laughing.
"You all are making a mountain out of a mole hill! Any of us who fish could have solved your problem, thanks to my wife, if you had just asked us." Needless to say, he had caught their attention.
"Just use our fish carrying bags, with some of the moss, and add water as needed; end of story." Ricard walked out of the meeting, shaking his head and muttering to himself.
The next morning, he and his wife were awakened by a delegation of the Village elders and traders. The rest, as they say, is history.
The next several days went by fairly well for everyone in the village. Tana was slowly adapting to his new life, and Aveena had fallen in love with him. Whenever Tana began to fret, she just gave him Horus' feather, and he settled right down. Most of the clothes that Sadie had found were a little big for him right now, but he would be able to grow into them. One thing that was missing was a portable crib of some sort that Aveena could use to put Tana in, while she was hanging the laundry and working in the garden. Gardening was one thing that all the villagers did; not only did it help feed their own families, but the gardens also supplied the herbs they used to flavor some of the chevres as well.
At first, the village just used the sheep for their wool and an occasional lamb dinner. However, with the plentiful wild game available, they soon needed to find another use for some of the sheep. They then started making more cheese with sheep's milk, and even adding some sheep's milk to their chevres. Soon the village had begun to become famous for their cheese, as well as for their chevre. Several of the villagers had become Kheezemƒchers, in order to assure the quality of the product and take some of the strain off the families who didn't have a lot of help.
Several days later, the lives of the villagers were turned upside down again; the last of the search teams had returned. The search teams had found what they believed to be the bodies of Tana's parents and their belongings. The searchers were amazed at the treasure trove they found; not only did they find plenty of baby things for Tana, but some things they had never expected. It seems that his parents were moving to the village, from the documents and supplies that were found. His parents were itinerant traders who, for some reason, had decided to move to 'Horus' Village' to set up shop.
After they had disposed of the dead animals and prepared the bodies for burial, the search team began clearing the rocks and debris off the path, so it would be usable again. Once they had that section cleared, they headed up the path in the direction the traders had come from, to see if there were any more landslides; that is when they made their second large discovery. There had been a second smaller landslide, but with still deadly effect. The landslide had trapped a small wagon and three pack mules on the trail, and it looked as if the landslide had spooked the horses pulling the wagon, enough that the driver was thrown off the wagon, to his death. The horses and mules were healthy but thirsty, and the wagon was still in good shape.
Working as quickly as they could, the team cleared the landslide and drove the wagon, followed by the pack mules to where Tana's parents lay awaiting burial. With a bit of work, they were able to get everything loaded into the wagon or on the pack mules and their own horses. Once everything was loaded, they headed home, slightly saddened, but at the same time overjoyed with the supplies they had found.
Several hours later, the searchers arrived back at the village and headed straight towards Aveena's cottage to deliver Tana's things. She was amazed at what they had brought; there were quite a few clothes, but, best of all, there was not only a crib for inside but also a portable rocking one. Now, all she had to do was find room to put everything in. The searchers took everything else back to the village inn to store in one of the spare store rooms until the Village Council and Aveena could decide what to do with it.
Jack arrived at the cottage just as Aveena had finished changing Tana and dressing him in his own clothes. She placed him in the center of her bed and gave him a rattle to play with, before she went to answer the door.
"Jack, good, you are just in time; you can help me put together his crib," she told Jack as she dragged him inside before he had a chance to say anything.
While the two of them were busy putting the crib together, they were tossing ideas back and forth about what to do with the rest of Tana's parents' things.
"I took a quick look through some of the things, and there is one thing that I have no idea what it is. It is a contraption of a wood frame some wires and strings with sliding wooden pieces. I thought it was a loom of some kind, but it is small and spaced all wrong." Jack was explaining some of what he had seen to Aveena when suddenly she started asking questions.
"Was there any string or yarn packed with it, or any fabric?"
"Yes, some very plain, coarse, white yarn and a roll of very lose woven fabric. The fabric looked absolutely worthless to me, and I almost threw it out," Jack replied, confused, having no idea what she was getting at.
"Stupid man, that was cheese cloth, and I bet, if you had unrolled the roll, you would have found some more fabric that was woven slightly tighter. And that contraption is a loom for weaving cheesecloth; it is a very specialized loom. Don't you remember? We have been trying to find those things for years now! We can make even better cheeses now, with far less work and far less cloth. Once all of the village finds out what we have, there will be a big celebration," a very ecstatic Aveena replied to a now stunned Jack.
The two friends finished assembling the two cribs and placed the mattresses inside them. Jack then said goodbye and hurried off to tell the two Kheezemƒchers who were in the village of their good fortune, also telling them that either Aveena or Granny Sadie would be able to set up and use the loom. Of course, the Kheezemƒchers had to go and see the cheesecloth immediately.
When Tana woke up from his nap, Aveena changed him and then put him back in his crib for a few minutes. She then took the portable one outside and put it near her herb garden. She returned inside, picked up Tana and carried him outside to place him in his portable crib. Once he was settled in, with a few toys and the ubiquitous feather, she started weeding the garden. After several minutes, she realized that she needed something to keep her hair out of her eyes. After checking on her new son, she went inside to get a scarf she could wrap around her head.
She quickly fixed her hair and returned outside. As she turned the corner of her cottage to where her herb garden was, she came to a very abrupt stop. She stood there absolutely shocked at the scene being played out before here. For there was Horus, with one talon on the rocker of the crib, rocking the crib back and forth, while Tana was cooing with joy. Neither one knew that the rest of the world existed, as they had eyes and senses only for each other.
Author's Notes: I hope you enjoy the first installment of the continuing saga of Horus and Tana. As a result of developments in this story, there will be some major changes occurring in the main story, Dragon Earl.
Thanks for reading, and don't forget comments are always welcomed and appreciated.
P.S. That is not a CLIFFHANGER!
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