- a novel in process -

stepping off the cliff

Ayree knew where the sound was coming from. She could feel Scree's agitation, and hear him moving around as if trying to get away from something. Once she started to run, T' and the Captain ran after her.

It was hard to see in the dark, but as they closed on the noises, which included more screams, T' raised his hand and made light. The sight that greeted them was both disturbing and funny, all at the same time.

There on the back of Scree, holding on to the bridle for dear life, was Valentine. It was he who was screaming. Scree, despite the capacity to do otherwise, had not tossed the boy off his back, but was instead giving him what seemed to be a kind of playful ride, moving quickly too and fro, but not quite so sharply that Valentine would be thrown.

As the three of them stood there, catching their collective breaths, Scree's movements slowed and ceased, as did Valentine's screaming. T' started to laugh as did the Captain. Even Ayree began to join in as she walked up to Valentine and helped him down.

She could see tears on his face, and the remains of great fright. But mixed with this was a kind of joy coupled with somekind of raw strength she didn't expect to see on the countenence of a young boy. When Valentine turned and reached out to pet Scree on his great scaled neck, Aryee felt even more of a shock. Scree accepted the boy! This was unheard of. Never before had a horgon been known to accept two riders, but clearly Valentine would be welcome on Scree's back, whenever he wanted.

With a surprised look on her face she turned toward T', noticing that he too was unprepared for what had just transpired. Behind T' stood the Captain, who clearly did not understand all the implications, but who could see from Aryee's face that something unusual was going on. Fortunely T' took charge.

"Well Valentine, I'm sure you have a nice story to tell us. Come to our campfire and have some hot chocolate, and then you can tell us all about it.

under construction

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