The Fool Recaps It All As He Finds New Footing In the World

Word Art Soul Connection black text over sun in blue sky photo, Subtitle Sunday Theme: Spirituality and transformationSC#09:

The Fool In Me

I am ever a fool. And that is a good thing.

For the fool always admits that he doesn’t know it all, that there is more to learn, that all experiences can be new.

So The Fool, which is the opening card of the Tarot’s Major Arcana, begins things. Whatever it is. We always have to begin new things from the beginning, and thus we always play the fool at some point or other.

To cultivate this energy of ever-allowing newness means you will always be learning, never assuming.

So the fool in me got started with this blog 70 posts ago.

A fortuitous number: 7 for the strong spirituality aspect of this blog, and 0 for The Fool card, just discussed. For this is a turning point where I take a short departure from this site into new ventures for my life.

I wanted to touch base on where this blog has been. As much for me as for anyone reading. It will be a good touching off point for when I return.

First, Let’s Recap

I had my 30 Day Blog Challenge to initiate my writings.

This was hugely transformative for me. The first 30 days got the energy moving and my hands typing.

In that first 30 days I worked on releasing toxicity in my life; building a mentality for finding abundance with my desire to write; and I began many threads of ideas and themes to work with as I continued blogging.

Since then I have written posts about fear, the nature of control and the idea of hell.

On the other hand I wrote about the Light, releasing negativity and manifesting the Kingdom of Heaven.

I had a purging period.

And a truly wild Wild Card post yesterday.

There was a short series of poems about a gnome.

And a miniseries, The Birds of the Basin, that is nearing completion.

My personal favorite has been my Epic Adventure, The Mountain in the Clouds. This I will continue to write. It keeps calling me to my future.

For It Is Time To Face the World

I claimed at the end of the 30 day challenge that I was doing a new challenge to meditate daily. Truth be told, it didn’t go as planned. And I lost track. Oh well, I’m being easy about it. I did what I needed to, meditated where I could and now I am going to do what I feel guided to do next.

Who knows… It may be that despite how I think my second meditation challenge went,  this moment in time,  this revelation gifted to me tonight is the result of my efforts.

And that revelation is to follow through on the intentions I set in this blog. To write and to be creative and to forge the rest of my life around that, as I had always planned to since my youth.

So it is go time. Time to make a product that will actually face the masses and become a work apart from me, beyond its creator and received by the world at large.

For that is what I am lacking. Release. A release of my work, of any kind. So that is the next step I am guided to take.

Finding New Footing

I will be taking a hiatus from the blog for a while. Except as I am guided to, of course. And my epic adventure must see it’s conclusion.

I am not sure how long it will take, it matters not, but it is time to turn my laser sharp focus on a new goal: completing one project and releasing it. And then the next. And the next. And the next. That is what I want, after all.  To write and keep writing.

So I will find new footing now.

And I release all ties to this blog. The blogging can come as it needs to. I am at peace with it.

(Anyways, you have plenty to read while you wait. 70 posts to be sure.

So catch up. Stay tuned. And be easy.)

 

As always, thanks for reading.

 

Blessings to you all and my very best,

Matthew

The Birds of the Basin, Part 4: The Marabou

Word Art Young Titan Zone black text over red brick background. Subtitle Tuesday Theme: Expanding idealistic young minds.

YTZ#08:

The Wings Fly Again

Catch up on Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3 if you missed them.

Now on to our story.

(What follows is a fictional account.)

The Birds of the Basin, Part 4: The Marabou

The four northerners blinked.

Demoiselle the beautiful crane eyed the Frigatebird from the south.

Saddlebill the jealous stork rolled his eyes and lifted his striped beak in the air in disgust.

Shoebill the grumpy other stork grumbled and complained as he went.

The Blue-Footed Booby clumsily wobbled along, armor clinking with every step.

After the crash with Al, the four northern Talen Guard had flown with Frigatebird up to the middle levels of Talpost. The Albatross had been carried off in a large sling by the southern Guard that found them.

They came to rest on a wide balcony, Blue completely fumbling his landing. There they were joined by more of the southern Guard.

A large portal opened into a tall, ornately carved hallway that resounded with the clacking of their dozen taloned feet quickly moving through it. The hallway went one for some time, with different partitions marked at intervals by a pair of sharp columns of razor-like stonework that looked like giant talons.

At last they reached an antechamber with a magnificent pair of staircases. The stairs had this illusory appearance, as if they spiraled up in just a way that could make your body feel as though it were moving even while being still.

Small, arched windows lined the sides of the alabaster white walls along the stairs. Down the center, the railings had poles topped with a variety of southern birds in golden statuette form.

“Nice place,” Bill said, taking his eyes from Demoiselle back to the Frigatebird, then back to Demoiselle.

“I like it,” replied the southerner. “Call me Frigate, by the way. I’m at your service while you’re here. Anything you need while at Talpost, don’t hesitate to ask, got it?”

“Thanks very kind of you,” cooed the crane. Bill shook his head.

“Can I get a plate of pollyworms and a glass of water?” demanded Shoe.

“Oh, and can I get some shrimp boats?” Blue squeaked excitedly.

“Uh, you can ask the cook for that,” Frigate managed. “Uh, I meant more like things that a Talen Commander can do for you.” He motioned one wing towards his commander’s badge on his chest plate.

“Oh, I see,” Blue yipped. “So you command the kitchen staff, huh?”

“No, I don’t, I,” Frigate began.

He was cut off by Shoe, “Ignore Blue, he does that. Uh, he’s read so many books his brain actually overloads and skips a beat sometimes. Don’t mind him.”

Blue nodded along in agreement. Shoe covered his eyes with his wing and shook his head.

“In any case,” Frigate picked up, “I’ve got your back while you’re here. You know, I haven’t seen many northerners in a while. Long while. Don’t many come down here.”

The large bird’s dialect became more noticeable as he talked. There was a quaint charm and masculinity about it, but was also coarse and unusual.

Demoiselle noticed and all but batted her eyes at the southern bird.

“Yea, ok, well, it’s good to have new friends. In the South,” Saddlebill tried. “Thanks for, uh, inviting, uh, leading the way. You know Demoiselle and I have been through a lot together…”

Demoiselle blushed and chided Saddlebill, “Stop. We’ve been work colleagues for some time. We have been through some wild cases in our time. But tell me, Frigate, I want to know more about you. Where are you from originally? What’s it like in the South? How do you stay in such great shape? I’m sorry, that’s probably too many questions at once…”

Frigate perked up and smiled, flexing one of his wings in attempt to show his muscles. “That’s ok, Dem,” his familiar use of her short name sounded like gravel to Bill’s ears, “I work out ten times a week. Daily regimen keeps me fit and for my line of work it seems like a no brainer to be built tough. No offense there, my friend, we all have different strengths. I’m sure yours is well hidden,” he said, gesturing with placating hands towards Saddlebill, who scowled at the comment.

“I am not out of shape,” replied Bill in frustration. “I just happen to be of a breed of bird that is more lithe. I am actually quite fit for my species, thank you, and I work out just as much as you.”

“Bill, you do…” Demoiselle was saying before being cut off.

“Lithe?” snickered Frigate. “I don’t know what that means, but it sounds like thin and that’s what you are. Anyways, it’s not meant as offense, my friend. Just small talk, right?”

Frigate nudged Bill with the elbow of his wing.

Bill glared back and said nothing.

“So, is our pilot going to be alright?” Demoiselle said, changing the subject.

“Yes,” answered Frigate. “He’s being brought to the infirmary now. They’ll take good care of him. Ah, at last.”

As he said this he walked towards the stairs and lifted a wing in anticipation of someone. Following his gaze revealed an odd pair of birds walking towards them.

There was a stout and sturdy Hornbill Stork, coated in heavy mail, who seemed to move from his belt line. He shook his hips back and forth with each step, proudly displaying his hammer hanging at his side.

Next to him was yet another stork, The Marabou. He was a legend, even in the north. His life had been filled with successes in all his enterprises and now he was the Governor of Talpost. He was very old and moved much slower than the Hornbill. Yet he had an air of wisdom and grace his companion lacked.

“Welcome,” The Marabou greeted. “This is Hornbill, my Chief Defense Advisor.”

“Hi,” was all the Hornbill said.

“First,” began The Marabou, “let me say how grateful I am that you are here. I’m sure you are aware that we have a situation with the Rage Fest which is currently being waged on the other side of this cliff face from us in the Mogra Yute Basin. We have called upon you to assist us in placating the strife between our two neighbors, the Forram bull men and the Targen tiger peoples.”

“Though we were expecting a bit more help from our northern allies,” complained the Hornbill. “Typical. Can’t spare an extra nothing.”

“Hey, I don’t like your attitude,” Shoe retorted. “Say that a little closer to my face.”

“Gentlebirds!” The Marabou intervened calmly. “Let’s not waste time on civilities. We have work to do. The festival games are getting more rowdy and threatening the peace in the Basin. A precarious peace we Tal have worked hard to maintain for many decades. The games are supposed to calm the tension. But this year tensions are rising instead. I fear war could result if our two neighboring nations cannot settle down. I am hoping that you can step in and do just that. Settle things down. Do whatever it takes without a fight and without causing a stir. Do you understand me?”

“Yes, your Grace, understood,” Saddlebill said. “But I do have one question. It sounds to me like the south has contended with these politics for some time. So why do you need us? Can’t you just send local representatives to resolve this?”

“In the past we have held sway with our neighbors, but not as of now. They blame us for their current troubles,” The Marabou sighed. “It’s a long story. But when they see us approach, they immediately get guarded and antagonistic towards us. We are hoping that when they see you in your northern colors, they won’t have any negative attachments to you. They may listen to you if you go to them as concerned outsiders.”

“Possible,” Demoiselle mused. “To me this sounds like a stretch.”

“Please,” The Marabou whispered. “We are at a critical juncture. The horns of war are ready to blare throughout the Basin. You’re our only hope. We need to settle the issue of the champion’s prize. He must have something worthy of choosing that is better than seeking glory for their country.”

“Because the glory would be, what, war?” Shoe muttered.

“Precisely,” The Marabou enunciated. “If the champion maintains the kind of rage these games have been fueling, he may choose to repay that anger in battle. It won’t matter which side begins the fighting, because others will follow and both nations will plunge into a war as dominoes that fall one after the other. But the dominoes will instead be the bodies of bulls and tigers strewn about the basin floor, never to compete in another Rage Fest again.”

“Wow, dramatic, isn’t he?” Shoe commented as if he couldn’t be heard.

“Yea, I love a good show,” Blue added. “But I’m a little confused.”

“It’s ok, Blue,” said Shoe. “All he’s saying is the winner might start a war, then the whole Basin will be fighting and there will be lots of casualties. But he just said it more poetic-like.”

“Oh, ok, thanks Shoe,” said Blue.

“So the stakes are high after all,” Demoiselle said. “I wish the Great Blue Heron could hear all of this.”

“Don’t worry, Dem, it’s all going to work out for us. Just remember, we’ve got these two,” said Saddlebill, thumbing a wing towards Shoebill and the booby named Blue.

Stay tuned next week for the Rage Fest

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Please comment and share if you enjoyed the story.

Blessings to you,

Matthew

The Birds of the Basin, Part 3: The Landing

Word Art Young Titan Zone black text over red brick background. Subtitle Tuesday Theme: Expanding idealistic young minds.

YTZ#07:

The Birds Are Back in Town

Catch up on Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them.

Without further ado:

(What follows is a fictional account.)

The Birds of the Basin, Part 3: The Landing


The four armored bird people awoke to a start.

“Bumpy weather, here,” Al called over the roaring sound of the wind.

“What’s going on?” Saddlebill shouted.

“Like I told ya,” Al returned. “Weather. We’re over the Falnon Mountains. We’ve got bad storms below, so I’m trying to hold us steady at this altitude a little longer before we make our descent. Keep an eye out for a break in the clouds.”

“Keep an eye out?” Shoebill reeled. “Rich, coming from the pilot. Aren’t you keeping an eye out?”

Al was unphased, “I just wanted to help you feel proactive. Hang on tight.”

As soon as he said this he leaned his body so far to the right that they began descending at a sharp angle. Everyone riding Al’s back began slipping in their seats. They quickly followed his instructions and found a tight grip on the harness so they wouldn’t fall off altogether.

“What do you think you’re doing, trying to kill us?” roared Shoe.

“Whee!” squealed Bluefoot in utter delight.

Then the Albatross was veering this way and that, left then right, down and then over, once making a loopy-dee-loo, and kept on plummeting. He had a strong intent.

The clouds were so thick, and moisture was becoming heavy in the air.

The thunder made them all jump then. Flashes of lighting pulsed on the fringes of their vision in those dark, grey clouds. A warm, electric tingling could be felt in the air, then the cold wind and the increasing rains.

“Are you crazy? We’re going right through the storm!” raged Shoebill.

“Pilot, take us out of this weather, this instant!” commanded Demoiselle.

“Aiy aiy, cap’n,” Al commented. “There.”

The huge bird took a sharp turn that almost tossed Bluefoot off the back of the harness. Saddlebill caught him by a loose pauldron. Blue dangled in the air for a minute until Demoiselle and Shoe could help bring him back in.

“You ok, there?” Saddle asked Blue.

“Yea, wow, that was a rush. Thanks, guys. Thanks, Bill. You guys saved my life.” The goofy Blue-Footed Booby came in to squeeze each of them in a hug.

Al was still making his descent, but he had found a break in the clouds where the weather eased up. He flew straight through the middle of it and when they arrived on the other side, they saw the peaks of mighty mountains.

The Falnon range spanned from the north of the Mogran continent, Mogra So, to the wild southlands, Mogra Yute.

It was to Mogra Yute that they were heading.

“Great,” said Demoiselle. “Good piloting. Very impressive. How far are we from the Talpost?”

“Ah, thanks honey buns,” Al crooned.

“Pipe down, I never gave you the right to call me honey buns,” scolded Demoiselle. “Never call me that again.”

“Yea, right, hehe,” said the Albatross, sounding a bit defeated. “Anyways, I’d say we are about ten, no fifteen…” he was straining his head to look this way and that and muttering numbers to himself.

“Excuse me, Mr. Professional,” Shoe chided then. “Are you saying you don’t know?”

Al stiffened his body noticeably beneath their talons. “I take that as an offensive. Hmph. I am a professional, and I know where we are, and I know where we are going. And I know how long it will…”

He trailed off again.

Saddlebill tossed his wings up in frustration.

Shoe began laughing.

“I don’t get it,” said Blue.

“Ah, yes, here it is!” Al shouted excitedly then. “Just as I suspected.”

They rounded a tall peak, morning sun shining brightly on its jagged face, and saw a hubbub of activity. There, before them, was Talpost, the southern watchtower fortress of the Tal Nation. It was perched high in the mountains and hung like an upside down bell from the underside of a massive cliff face.

Talpost was accessible only by flight, which was convenient for the Tal and a powerful defensive position. The entire landscape below completely denied access to the fortress by land or water.

There were small figures of Tal in the distance, flying to and fro among the various ports of entry along the fortress. Patrols of sentries circled the perimeter.

On top of the cliff from which the fortress hung lay an enormous beast, the likes of which they had never seen before. It seemed benign, as if it were natural for it to be there… a whale-sized, white fur beast, tufts puffing like pillow stuffing all down its long back. It’s eyelids kept lifting to reveal huge, lazy eyes, then falling again as the beast breathed out a cooing sort of snore. It was fast asleep, laying its head down on its bunched up wings.

“I’m actually speechless,” Shoe muttered, mouth agape.

“May that last the rest of the trip,” Saddle cajoled. “Gods willing.”

Demoiselle smiled a quick response to Saddle, but was far too distracted by the sight of the beast on the mountain.

“Ohh, can we meet the big, puffy, pillow monster?” Blue whined. The others all shook their heads.

“Welcome to Mogra Yute,” Al said. “Hope you had a wonderful flight. Please consider the A.A. Blaze next time you’re looking to go to that exotic destination.”

“Fireworks!” Blue shouted, pointing ahead where some dusty flashes of colors were being shot into the air.

“Those aren’t fireworks, Blue,” Demoiselle said, “those are Talsigns. Don’t you remember?”

“Oh, yea,” said Blue. “But what do they say then?”

Dem laughed to herself a little.

Al answered the question, “They are just verifying my flight number and giving me landing instructions. Hold on a minute.”

The Albatross began tugging with his beak at something underneath him. He yanked a pull tag on a contraption a few times, then his own Talsigns were being sent, flashing orange and green and blue and purple dust.

“Thank the gnomes for that… Um, hang tight,” Al said with a gulp.

“Why?” asked Saddle.

“I uh, well I meant to send one sign and I think I sent the wrong one,” said Al.

“What sign do you think you sent, Al?” Bill pressed.

“Uh, the kind of signal a pirate might use to raid a port,” Al offered shyly.

“How in the world could you mix those up?” Demoiselle yelled.

It was too late. Arrows and darts started hurling past them. One whizzed so close to Shoe’s head that he froze in place.

“Like I told ya, hang tight!” Al said and dove straight towards the mountainside below. He got far too close for comfort, but in the last moments pulled up and leveled off, heading straight for the Talpost while staying as close to the ground as possible.

“Just send another signal, Al, be reasonable,” Demoiselle pleaded. “If we stop and explain ourselves, they will understand.”

“How will we explain ourselves with bolts sealing our beaks shut?” Al responded. He continued his mad dash towards the fortress mountain.

From above, Tal sentries were diving towards their position.

“Overhead,” Saddle yelled.

“I see them, hold on,” said Al.

The great albatross aircraft that carried the four Talen Guard began swerving like an expert pilot, dodging rock faces and navigating ravines with ease. The sentries found it hard to keep up with his pace and his finesse. One or two of their pursuants struck a crag and careened out of the sky in a heap on the ground.

“Wow, this is fun!” Bluefoot hollered.

“I told you, guys, I’m a professional,” said Al, smiling broadly over his shoulders.

“Then why don’t you look where you’re going!” shouted Saddlebill futilely.

Al did, but it was too late, for there was no time to move.

There before them was a large rock slab that formed a tall, jagged pillar between one hill and the slope below. They crashed right into the vertical barrier and the bird, the four Talen Guard, and all their gear went hurdling into a semicircle on the mountain side below.

“Anybird hurt?” Al was frantic. “Please tell me you guys are ok.”

“Fine here,” said Demoiselle, lifting herself from the ground.

“So, professional, huh?” Saddebill grunted as he got up and dusted the rocks from his wings and armor.

“Ow,” was all Shoe could offer, also dusting himself from the mountain debris that covered him in a grayish powder.

The Bluefooted Booby, on the other hand, was more covered in his own feathers, even managing to get some in his mouth. His armor was barely hanging onto him anymore.

“I blame Blue,” joked Shoe. “It’s his influence that did us in. Booby never could make his own landing.”

The Blue-Footed Booby didn’t respond. But he did pull a feather out of each of his ear holes.

“Oh, thank the gods you’re alright!” said Al, sighing with relief.

“Wings up where we can see them!” commanded a strong voice from up the slope.

The five birds, pilot and passengers lifted their wings above their heads slowly. They looked to see a patrol of Southern Talen Guard approaching them, headed by a tall black-feathered bird.

“Who are you, really?” asked the lead guard from the south.

“I am Demoiselle, from Oshinora,” said the Demoiselle Crane, bowing politely. “This is Saddlebill. ”The Saddebill Stork bowed quickly in kind.

“Don’t do me any favors,” Shoebill scoffed at Dem. “I’m Shoebill Stork, at your command.” He, too, bowed.

The Blue-Footed Booby bumbled forward and bowed off-hand, saying, “Bluefoot, here, how can I be of service?”

“And Al, humble pilot of the A.A. Blaze,” added the Albatross. “By the way, I think my wing’s a little broken.” He held up his right wing and it was crooked like a broken twig.

“Well, then, fellow Guard, we’d better get you to the infirmary.” said the lead guard, offering forth a long, ruffled wing to help Al. “My name’s Frig. Sorry for the miscommunication earlier. We received an… odd message.”

Frig gave a pointed look at Al, who winced a bit in guilt then tried to shrug and silently beak the word “sorry.”

“What kind of bird are you?” Demoiselle asked the charming southerner.

“I’m a frigratebird, ma’am.” His wing stretched out to indicate the massive Tal fortress hanging from the cliff just over their heads.

“Welcome to Talpost,” he said with a smile.

Stay tuned next week for Part 4 of the story.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

Please share or comment if you enjoyed!

 

Blessings to you,

Matthew

The Birds of the Basin, Part 2: The Flight

Word Art Young Titan Zone black text over red brick background

YTZ#05:

A New Chapter

Welcome back to my Birds of the Basin short story.

Catch up on Part 1 if you missed it.

Now to the story.

(What follows is a fictional account.)

The Birds of the Basin, Part 2: The Flight


It was just before sundown when the Saddlebill Stork and the Demoiselle Crane leaned heavily on the stone wall of the monument at the top of the hill. The sky was cast in deep oranges, reds, and purples.

Hewn pillars held the top of the square structure overhead, with branches of ivy hanging off on all sides.

In the middle of the ground was a large orb, which was attached to the top of a pedestal by a talon-shaped fastening.

“Curse them, Dem, where are they?” sputtered the Saddlebill.

“Who cares?” shrugged the Crane. “We should hope they don’t show.”

“Yea, you’re right about that,” the Stork joked back.

“Hey Bill, you remember the last time we got stuck with them?” laughed Demoiselle.

“At that Bridger’s rally, right?”

The Crane smiled broadly. “Yea,” she said. “Bluefoot crashed into the stage and knocked over the speaker.”

“And Shoebill ate the whole table of lungfish, didn’t stop to help us contain the crowd. I remember,” Bill answered.

The two bird people had a shared laugh for a moment. Then they heard the squawking.

“Pfaw!” chortled a familiar voice. “Get off me, you clutz!”

“Sorry, Shoe,” moaned another familiar voice. “I didn’t mean to crash into you, honest. I’m real sorry.”

“Yea, yea, I know you’re sorry!” the old Shoebill continued to groan. “Just next time watch where you’re going. Can’t even land your fly, you call yourself a bird,” he said, trailing off and shaking his head. He was laden with some heavy bronze mail.

“Hey guys,” the deep voice of Bluefoot called out when he saw Saddlebill and Demoiselle. His suit was loosely hung from his body, greaves and gauntlets askew.

“Bluefoot,” said Saddlebill. “Bill,” he continued, looking to the Shoebill.

“Bill,” the Shoebill said back. They stared quietly and knowingly at each other.

“So you guys got the brief, right?” asked Bluefoot.

“Yea, Blue,” Demoiselle answered. “We got it earlier.”

“Good, can you fill me in? I lost my copy when we left the dining hall,” said Bluefoot.

“Are you guys ready to leave?” asked Demoiselle.

“What, we’re headed out right now?” Shoebill grumbled.

“That’s right,” replied the Crane. “Red eye to the Basin, flight’s leaving now.”

“Why did we ever have to get an airport night crew? Can’t this stuff wait for the morning? What good does it do ta…” the Shoebill carried on, still walking in the direction of the landing platform at the base of the hill.

“It’s good to see you guys,” Bluefoot said fondly as he neared Saddlebill and Demoiselle.

Saddlebill sympathetically patted Bluefoot’s plumage with his wing.

“It’s good to see you, too, Blue,” Demoiselle smiled in response.

The three followed Shoebill down the hill towards the landing platform.

Number 3.

“Welcome to your midnight flight, I’ll be your kite,” crooned an enormous bird who paused for comedic effect. He held his wings wide as in jest, like he was waiting for a laugh.

“Come on, tough crowd,” he said. “We got a long night ahead of us, lighten up guys.”

“Who are you?” asked Bill.

“You can call me Al.”

“What happened to Ross?”

“He went to bat and never came back,” said Al the albatross, hanging his head in respect.

“Fine, we are going to the Yute,” explained Demoiselle.

“The Basin? Yea, I know. They already gave me the flight path.”

“You mean you don’t know the way already? What is this, your first flight?” Dem pressed him.

“Please, I am a professional,” the huge bird tried to soothe her with calm waving flaps of his long wings.

“Central always gives us the most updated information for our trips,” he continued. “Anyways, how often do you think I fly to Mogra Yute? Not a lot of vacations going that way. Endless miles of life-endangering wilderness ain’t such a pleasure cruise, if you know what I mean. No, people want beaches, they want luxury. Me, I’m a bird of leisure, prefer the finer things in life. An albatross with style.” He puffed his chest proudly.

“Great, thanks for that, Al,” interceded Shoebill impatiently. “Let’s just get a move on it.”

”Fair enough,” said Al. He flattened his enormous body, spread his vast wings and began circling around. Then he repositioned himself at the start of a runway that pointed straight towards the edge of a sheer cliff.

“All aboard,” he thundered.

The four armored birds clambered atop the rigid back of the Albatross. He didn’t budge or complain at all about their weight and gear. In fact, he seemed to be happily humming a little tune to himself.

After a pause he said, “Alright, folks, welcome aboard the A.A. Blaze, your guiding light through the long, dark night. Keep your wings tucked in at all times, we don’t want any extra resistance in those upper altitudes. And remember, this is my way, not the highway, it’s not a democracy up here. If I say jump, I mean it. Other than that my sensors show smooth sailing tonight on our way towards the South Pole. Feel free to kick your talons back and snooze, I’m estimating arrival time at 0’500.”

“What?” spat Shoebill. “That’s a ten hour flight! I didn’t sign up for this.”

“I know,” Bluefoot blushed. “I did.”

“Yea, thanks pal, real favor,” Bill mocked.

“Thanks, Shoe,” cooed Blue.

“That was sarcasm, Blue, sarcasm.”

“Right, Shoe, I knew that. Sar-casm,” he sounded out. But he still seemed lost.

“Don’t let that bully pick on you, Blue,” said Saddlebill. “He’s just got a big mouth.”

“Hey, watch your language, rainbow snout,” Shoebill yelled back.

“Rainbow snout?” guffawed Saddlebill. “Really?”

“Calm down, you two,” Demoiselle soothed.

“Always the peacekeeper,” muttered Shoebill.

“Always the last word,” Dem intoned back.

Shoebill just puffed his beak at her like he wanted to say something, then forced himself to keep quiet.

“Finally, some peace and quiet,” said Bluefoot lazily.

“For now, Blue,” said Saddlebill.

The four riders soared high on Al’s back, way above the clouds into the jet streams. There the enormous bird certainly made good on his promise as he blazed through the air faster than any of them had ever flown before.

Cold thin winds howled at their jowls. Saddlebill stayed awake after all the others fell asleep. Shoebill snored loudly.

“What’s on your mind, Bill?” sung Dem’s voice as she roused to find her companion sitting up.

“Ah, it’s these guys. I know we joked about them, but they really do mess things up for us every time. I really want this trip to go well. Prove we can get back with the Alphas… And I don’t think the Greatcrest realizes how precarious the situation is down there.”

“Always worried about everyone. That’s what I like about you,” said Dem. “Look, I want to get back on Alpha squad as much as you, but right now we can’t let a small issue get in our way. We can handle this, despite those two clowns.”

“They really are clowns,” said Bill laughing again. “Thanks, Dem, you’re a good friend.”

“Is that all that was on your mind?”

“Well, no,” Bill admitted to her. “Actually, I was just thinking. Well, I was thinking why don’t we just take one of these flights together some time. You know, like, not for work. Just for you and me. To one of those luxury beaches like Al talked about.”

“Bill, are you trying to ask me on a trip?” Dem breathed.

“I guess I am, yea,” Bill stumbled. “You wanna?”

“Oh, you know, Bill. We work together, it’s complicated. Maybe if things were different…” she trailed off.

“Why do things always have to be different?” Bill pleaded. “Why can’t love be enough?”

The two paused as they heard the crunching sounds of seeds being eaten.

“Ah, don’t stop on account of me, guys, you’re doing great. Come on, you were just getting to the good part,” said the Albatross loudly.

”Do you mind?” Dem asked him crossly.

“How are you eating seeds?” Bill asked.

Al, still chewing, said, “Got a backpack full of them, with a straw so I can slide them into my mouth. Like I said, I’m a pro at this.”

“Let’s just get some sleep, Bill,” Demoiselle concluded, “it’s going to be a long night.”

“Sure, Dem,” Bill answered. “Good night.”

The two laid back down into the big, white feathers of their albatross aircraft.

As the cold, night wind continued to ruffle their feathers and soothe their senses, they drifted off to sleep.

Stay tuned next Tuesday for the continuation of the story!

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Please comment and share if you enjoyed.

Blessings to you all,

Matthew

The Birds of the Basin, Part 1: The Orders

Word Art Young Titan Zone black text over red brick background

YTZ#04:

New Focus

Today I feel inspired to offer something a little different for the Young Titan Zone.

It’s going to be a short serial, maybe two or three episodes. Maybe more, but I will find that out as I write.

This piece was in part inspired by a great blue heron I see around town quite frequently. And since I have been enjoying so much my writing of Epic Adventures, I wanted to continue to try my hand at this kind of story.

(What follows is a fictional account.)

The Birds of the Basin, Part 1: The Orders


The Great Blue Heron stretched his wings wide.

“Where are they?” demanded the large bird who stood tall like a person. He wore regal garb and an ornate crown.

“Your Greatcrest,” buzzed the Hummingbird Aide, whose small robed form constantly stayed in flight. “They should be here any moment. Ah, here they are.”

Two other bird-like people walked in, talons clacking across the marble floor of the attendance chamber. They both were suited in shining plate mail.

“Apologies, Greatcrest,” said the one to the left, a Saddlebill Stork who removed his helm and knelt in respect. “We were held up.”

“Greatcrest,” the Demoiselle Crane urged, also coming to kneel. “We must report what we have learned.”

“Please, go on,” said the heron Greatcrest.

“The Basin is in turmoil,” began the Saddlebill. “The bull men and tiger people are at odds again.”

“That is to put it mildly,” the Demoiselle picked up. “I saw the mobs, I heard the shouting. They are planning another Rage Fest. Bigger than ever.”

The Greatcrest looked quizzically at her, and muttered to his aide, “What is a Rage Fest?”

“It’s a competition the bull men and tiger people put on to contest some issue between them,” the Hummingbird busily answered. “Or to claim some prize. It may be territory, resources, or just to let out some steam… It is a highly contested region, with two of the most fearsome races in the known world. Bloody wars have been waged in the past, and the peace is kept precariously these days.”

“But there hasn’t been a Tarfor War, or any war in that region for decades,” delcared the Great Blue Heron.

“Well, word is the Rage Fests are happening more frequently,” the female warrior bird named Demoiselle added. “Our southern allies are asking for some assistance in reclaiming the peace of the territory.”

“Who sent this message?” inquired the Great Blue Heron. “Why wasn’t it sent through the usual channels?”

“Begging your pardon, Greatcrest,” the Stork said, coming back to his feet. “We were meeting the High Claw’s Council in the Mogran mountains when the distress call was received. The State Advisor urged us to leave with haste. There was no time to find a messenger bird, so we got the first flight back to Oshinora.”

The Greatcrest shuffled his long, thin legs and adjusted his robe.

“Why such haste?” he asked. “And what’s this about a distress call?”

“Well, you see,” Demoiselle the Crane answered, “The mountain cows were voicing concern about all of their bulls running off again. There has been too much conflict and men are getting injured. Farms cannot be tended by wounded bulls. Several cows came up the mountain to beg for our assistance.”

“That’s not all, Greatcrest,” said Saddlebill the Stork. “The tigresses from the eastern forest towns were also concerned with similar issues and sent their own message to us for help.”

“It seems to me,” the Greatcrest devised, “that the menfolk of the Basin have gotten carried away in their competition. What do these Rage Fests involve, anyways? Must be quite the contest to cause such a stir.”

His Hummingbird Aide quickly explained, “The Forram bullfok and Targen tiger men compete in many games to see who has the most strength. Contestants must overcome challenges in each match. The best athletes of the bull men compete against the best of the tigers until two final contestants vie off against each other. Whoever wins the last competition claims victory for that side and the prize that has been decided on during the games.”

“Ahahahaha,” the Great Blue Heron suddenly chortled. “A sporting contest! Why didn’t anybird say that before? I was beginning to think this was actually a big deal.”

The others were quiet and not sure what to say.

“I suppose the point of all this is becoming lost on me,” the royal bird droned.

“Well, if I may say so, Greatcrest,” the Demoiselle tried, “I believe it is quite a big deal. The peace of the Basin region is at stake. The women just want the menfolk home, healthy, and taking care of their communities and families.”

”Do we really believe that a sporting event will break out in war? What sore losers they must be…” the Greatcrest curled his beak. “But if it is as you say, I suppose it’s worth investigating further.”

The two warriors waited patiently.

“Very well, I will send my assistance in this matter.” The Heron Greatcrest grinned with his whole beak. “You two.”

“Excuse me?” asked the Saddlebill Stork. “We were just there. We came back here for help, not to be sent back empty-winged.”

“Mind your manners in speaking to me, Saddlebill. This hardly seems a problem needing more attention than two of my best Guard. Maybe this is your ticket back to Alpha Wing.” The Greatcrest clucked thoughtfully for a moment.

“Still, I suppose you have flown a long way for help. Very well, I will send Shoebill and Bluefoot with you.”

The Demoiselle Crane’s voice rose dangerously close to shouting “What?”

“Careful to mind your formalities, that is not how you speak to me,” the Greatcrest scolded. But he smiled a bemused, mischievous smile.

“You have your orders, now go tend to this dreadful sports event in the Basin.”

So the Saddlebill Stork and the Demoiselle Crane knelt a final bow before their Greatcrest, then turned and left the audience chamber. Their taloned feet echoed loudly across the hall, rebounding off the pearl-white marble throughout the room.

“This is ridiculous,” cursed Saddlebill after they were out of earshot and outside the chamber. “Those two?”

“I heard,” said Demoiselle, incredulous. “Certainly nothing like the help that we were hoping for. This should be interesting.”

“Fine, let’s just grab the two of them quick and get on our way back to the Basin. The sooner this is done, the better.”

Read Part 2 Now

 

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Thank you for reading.

Blessings to you,

Matthew