Image

Deal 1048: Glimpses

spiked all over
hardly any safe approach
unless it’s pumpkin

Facing down the wild porcupine on the patio naturally fell to me, and swiftly became an ad-hoc training exercise. Something unpleasant to do? Let Sydney do it — its probably good for him anyway.

This would have been a lot harder to do if I hadn’t remembered seeing once that they are suckers for ripe squash.

After that, it was nearly docile enough to pick up. But even I’m not quite that stupid. I led it away down a garden path, then to the edge, and beyond with scraps of squash.

calm and collected
washing all the window glass
without any ropes

More exercises!

I guess Gwen had always wanted to wash the upper windows, but never got around to it. Having a student provided the opportunity.

And yet, there was precious little in the way of safety equipment available. I was expected to be graceful, coordinated, balanced, and not miss a pane. Or perhaps, use this as incentive to learn how to access my powers.

rampage and conquer
even strings can’t stop me now
the world will be mine

We agreed not to discuss my one attempt at self-animated puppetry.

Image

Deal 1044: Cat has a Dragon, Dragon in Denial

The message keep piling up. First, it was a steady stream of carrier pigeons. Then owls. Now, little cards are simply appearing in a basket. I caught one in the act, it looked like it was falling through a slit in reality. Or that strangely malleable substance that passes for reality around here.

Not that I can read them, mind you. I can interact just fine with nearly anything that crosses my path, at least verbally. But apparently the language I know how to read and write is not spoken here. And what is spoken here might as well be Greek to me when written. I really ought to ask Gwen for help with this, but she has gone so far out of her way for me already. At the pace I’ve been learning from her and her friends, I should be able to upgrade my own translation spells to include written words soon.

Raven dropped in for a visit the other day. Apparently he’s been trying to get in to see me for a while now, but Gwen keeps chasing him off. I’m not sure if she knew he was here or not, but he did get in. He’s up to something, and Gwen is right that he likely does not have my interests at heart.

I’m not sure she does either, mind you, but she has been very upfront about that. Raven just changes the subject and makes oddly nonspecific promises. And I’ve caught him trying to manipulate my memory too. So that one is staying at arm’s reach. I couldn’t resist testing my growing powers, though, and snapped a birdcage around him. The look on his face was priceless. Then he quorked something that likely would be obscene if translated, tore a raven-sized hole in reality, and stepped out. He hasn’t been back.

The toad has tried to visit, but the cat I’ve seen around the place just steps out of a shadow, picks up the toad, and steps back into a shadow. I’ve asked Gwen about the cat, and she insists that she does not have a cat.

I asked the cat, but he didn’t answer. At least not in so many words. But he did strongly imply by gesture and deeds that as far as he’s concerned, he has a dragon that he lets have the illusion of free will.

Cats and Dragons. Probably not a good idea for them to team up.

The Harpy that came by for an afternoon was interesting. She was adamant that her (and her sisters) were misunderstood. I’m pretty open minded, but her case was not entirely persuasive. I found it telling that Gwen didn’t actually give her unfettered access to me, but chose to remain in reach. Cat just twitched and wrinkled his nose when I asked him about the Harpy. Gwen just shrugged and said I had to make up my own mind in due course.

Time for another crack at the message pile. Perhaps tomorrow we can begin work on my eventual goals. Perhaps I should ask the cat for help.

Image

Deal 1037: Breakfasted

Six cups of strong coffee later, Sydney was feeling rather more able to face the day. Of course, the coffee was punctuated by refills of his plate. He felt like he hadn’t eaten in days, so a chance to sleep, eat, and enjoy some coffee was certainly welcome.

When he surfaced from the first plate, Gwen was sitting opposite him and smirking a little. As before, there was a hint of smoke about her, and a faint hint of scales to her complexion. Her eyes were not the least bit human despite all appearances. Sydney had the impression somehow that others would not see as much of the dragon showing through her current guise when they looked, but wasn’t sure why.

“I hear you met the rooster? He’s rather infamous in these parts.”

“He was kind enough to break a fugue. I was at least seven layers deep in dreams within dreams when I happened on him.”

“Infamous but not always welcome. He and I have not always seen the world the same way.”

“I can respect that. But your orchard is a powerful place of its own. It tried to own me, and I resisted using what I could find at hand. I did have to seek him out.”

“Like you sought me out?”

“I—”

Sydney suddenly realised that this conversation was built on a foundation of quicksand.

“I seek the wisdom to find my way home. I hope sincerely that my mission did not interrupt your business. I’m quite sure that you are not the one responsible for my inter-universe transference.”

“Well, I knew that. Next step, lake, and fish. Several fish, actually.”

They made their way to a little lake, and spent the rest of the day fishing, with exactly as much success as you would imagine.