Archive for November, 2009

Food for Thought

Something I’ve noticed since being in the US is how much the general populous eats. Generally speaking, the families that make up America tend to go “out to eat” more than I care to think about. Being from the UK, traditional family meals are something instilled into us from a very young age. Having your parents making a meal at night time especially is something deeply imbedded into our culture. But since being here this time, I’ve truly noticed how little food is cooked in the home all year round. Until, that is, Holiday season creeps around.

Suddenly, mothers are crowding the isles of supermarkets purchasing every last piece of food that could possibly be consumed within the home on such holidays. Dozens and dozens of eggs, turkey with ALL the trimmings, not to mention the varying pies and side dishes to add onto that gluttonous occasion.

The money spent is incredible and I’m guessing there is not much waste as it seems most families join together but really how uncultured is it that for a few days of the year families can cook and eat together but for the rest of the year restaurants and fast food joints relish in America’s sheer laziness.

It seems sad that the culture of family eating has died down in the US and my fear is that this trend will expand to the UK before long. Eating out is fun but spending time with your family and eating “healthy” is much more important.

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You, Me, I, we?

A place was set for each of us,
quernTo rome this varied world,
And if we try to imitate one another,
Then the concept of individuality becomes blurred.
One heart beats as a single drum,
A pair of lungs breathe in and out,
Our eyes and ears perceive all that surrounds us,
A mouth was given to speak and shout,
Our own opinions from the depths of our souls,
To express each and every thought,
To show the world what we’re all about,
And to recount all that has been taught.

Friendships are formed on what we first see,
For what we like about an individual,
A personality forms a bind with another,
But when fused can cause certain misery.

we build ourselves upon what we are,
Adopt traits and tastes and views,
But some of us are incapable of that choice,
And start to copy, lend or use
Another’s identity that’s perceived to be cool,
Someone admired and looked upon to be
A strong individual and person with conviction,
And that someone turns into you from me?

You can’t take my identity and use it for your own,
It’s me all the way through,
I started the project off of my own back,
,
That’s why its called me and not called you.

Take a drawing from a child in school,
Take the credit for your own,
For when you try to impress me by being me,
Your imitation seems very drone.
You’re a fake me from top to bottom,
Threadbare as an old carpet tread,
You’re bad quality of the real thing,
You’re the old, fake bike thrown in the shed,
Abandoned for quality and something real,
A substance for what its worth,
Just remember being me as me is hard,
But being me as you is much worse.

People see through the mockery that you conjured,
They know the real deal,
It’s like having quern instead of good meat,
And you know how that makes people feel!
It angers them beyond belief,
It upsets them to their core,
And if you think friends are angry,
Then you have no idea what’s in store.

You’re trying to hallucinate my being,
You’re trying to replicate me,
You’re hurting me beyond all that is known,
And to me that’s a sheer clemency,
For until you can be strong and stand alone,
Be who you were placed to be,
Then there’s no more friendship between you and I,
And I go from being you to me!

Uncertainty

Came home to a place,
That feels so unsure,
Wanted to be back here,
Not so sure of that anymore.
Ambitions and dreams were once so very strong,
I knew exactly where I wanted to be,
Now that notion seems so very wrong,
And my heart feels so empty.

Darkened clouds lie overhead,
My heart feels very sad,
The love I once felt turned to dread,
And what I once felt I no longer have.

Is it pure disappointment that led me here,
Or something else at play,
I really feel like there’s no way,
I could survive this place.

Bailey’s Tale

Bailey’s Tale!

My name is Bailey. I have two soft ears, four legs, golden fur, a wet nose and a wagging tail, can you guess what I am?

That’s right, I’m a dog!

i’m no ordinary pet dog though. I am a special dog. With a very important job to do.

I where a harness that has a long handle attached to it that a person can hold onto. That person is visually impaired which means their eyes don’t work properly. My owner is completely blind so she cannot see a thing so she depends on me to walk beside her and make sure that she doesn’t walk into objects.

Can you guess what those objects might be?

[dustbins, lamposts, traffic lights, things left on the pavement, holes in the ground, roadworks.]

I listen to my owner and she tells me where to go. I just ensure she gets there safely. She’ll tell me to find left, find right, go straight on, forward to start, wait to stop, stay to wait, and find doors or the crossings or kerbs. I wait at the kerbs for her to tell me to cross when she thinks its safe or the beep sounds. I never know where we’re going so its always a surprise.

I’m five years old and have been a working guide dog for three and a half years. But before I qualified with my owner, I had to be trained to do all of the things I can do now.

When I was born I had eight brothers and sisters. we were checked over to make sure we were healthy and sent to a family to learn how to do all of the doggy things, like go to the bathroom outside, sit on command, lay down, stay and walk nicely on the lead.

I had to wear a jacket to show I was a guide dog puppy and in training to become an adult guide dog. That meant people couldn’t pet me without permission in case I got too excited and silly. I wasn’t allowed to be fed scraps of food or anything that wasn’t my puppy food to maintain a good, healthy weight. No one wants an unhealthy dog to guide them.

My family took me to restaurants and encouraged me to lay under the table and made sure I behaved myself while they ate. they took me on buses and trains and in the car to get me used to the sounds, smells and sights. The outside world is a very scary place so as soon as I began to learn all of the different sights, sounds, smells and environments, the better. I was taken to busy shopping areas, train stations, into lifts and up and down busy staircases. People would come from guide dogs to check I was doing OK and when I got to a year old, I was taken away from my family. The curiosity of learning new things, playing with my family was over and I was taken to kennels to start the next part of my training.

When I was in the kennels, it made me sad. I didn’t like having all of those other dogs and I missed being with a family. The kennels were nice enough with a comfortable bed and blanket, fresh water and clean floor. This training was much harder. The commands of sitting, wait, down, up were now used all of the time and we were trained to explore small areas, go over unfamiliar feeling ground, or walk near flashing lights or loud sounds to get us used to things we would come across once we became grown up guide dogs. Whenever we did something good, our trainers would pat us, tell us we did good and give us a treat which was usually a piece of our dried food.

We were only a year old when this training began and it only lasted between three to four months before we continued onto our last stages of training which was called advanced training.

The harness was put on us and the human trainer held onto the handle which felt very strange at first. They started using other commands to instruct us on where to go. We did all of our training outside on the street and within public buildings as we would be doing once we qualified.

Here are some of the commands my trainer and eventually my owner would use.

find left, which would tell us to find left.
find right, would tell us to find right.
Straight on, which would mean to continue to go straight ahead.
Forward, which would mean to start walking.
Wait, which meant to stop.
Find an object, such as a door or a crossing.
steady, which meant to calm down or slow our speed.

There are more but those are just a few to mention. But remember, don’t use these commands with a guide dog, they are only meant to be used by the owner. If we start listening to other people, we may not listen to our owners as well and this could be dangerous to them. So please don’t use any command on a guide dog either in harness or out of harness.

My trainer was good and firm and when I was a year and a haf she took me to meet a lady who might become my new owner. my trainer let me out of the van and we walked into the house. I was so excited to meet someone new and so my instructor harnessed me up and we went out for a walk together.

Suddenly, I had another person on the end of the handle which was very strange. But we worked well together and a few weeks later I was at the training hotel with her and we worked as a team to become qualified dog and owner.

Once I moved to her house, I got a nice comfortable bed and whenever I didn’t have my harness or lead on, I was able to play, cuddle and be a regular dog. I just wasn’t allowed to eat anything but my dog food and the occasional pigs ear, carrot or apple. My owner gives me those once a week and she takes me for a nice long run where I can sniff and generally be a regular dog. I have lots of toys to play with and chew on a bone to keep my teeth clean. I get brushed every day or so so my fur keeps shiny and its always a nice time to spend with my owner. She takes me to the vets to make sure I’m healthy and always takes care of me when I’m sick. She’ll tickle my tummy along with the rest of the family who always give me nice pats and tickle my ears.

I sometimes am mischievous but my owner will tell me off when I’m bad but she loves me very much. We go into busy shopping malls, walk down busy streets, go on the buses and trains together and my owner can do all of this because she has me to see for her.

All those months where I was learning different environments helped me to take her wherever she wants to go and we always do it safely. i’m not allowed to be stroked in my harness unless my owner tells the other humans they can do so, so always remember to ask. And never feed me because it encourages me to eat food off of the ground and that might make me sit. ever give me commands because I should only listen to my owner. I’m a friendly dog and as long as you ask my owner if you can pet me and she says yes, then I would love the petting and attention.

Thank you for listening to my story and I hope you are always nice to guide dogs, we do nothing but help those who cannot see to get around just like you!

ENCHANTRESS OF LOS OCEANA: CHAPTER 5

chapter 5
The wolf, the Ava and the Ball

The next morning, Chelsea and Hope entered the dining hall from the hospital. Chelsea had stayed with Hope to keep her company. curious eyes darted toward them from the unicorn table as they took their seats.

“Hope, you OK?” Summer asked gently as she sat down. Hope nodded, not wanting any fuss. How embarrassing would this be when it all came out on Friday that she was the enchantress and she was taken to the hospital on her second night due to a stupid bat in her closet.
“How do you suppose it got there?” Marietta looked at Chelsea to see if the other girl knew of how the bat had ended up there.
“I don’t know,” Chelsea looked as though she was concentrating hard now and looked across to where Harmony was seated, looking down at her plate preoccupied. “But I have an idea.” Summer, Marietta and Hope looked toward where Chelsea was staring.
“possibly,” Summer announced, yawning widely.
“Anything is where that girl is concerned,” Marietta agreed.
“I don’t know you guys,” Hope tried but all of the other three stuttered at her.
“Hope, she was there and did nothing to help you,” Chelsea pointed out and Hope resigned herself to consider that Harmony could have been responsible but they would never know seen as she was protected from Chelsea’s seer abilities.

“Chelsea?” A voice called to Chelsea from the phoenix table. Chelsea turned and grimaced as she saw drew Alexander.
“Yes Drew?” She asked, irritably.
“Hope your team’s tight! Our’s is going to kick your butts!” Chelsea laughed and quickly looked back to her friends.
“Sonic ball try outs tonight, we are not letting Phoenix form win the sonic ball disc again this year!” The look on Chelsea’s face was one of furtive determination and all the girls nodded, not wanting to cause an argument.
After the morning’s classes, unicorn form was subjected to a speech from a very wound up chelsea. drew and Zyre had been giving her hell during their morning break in the courtyard and she had simply had enough!
“Anyone who is fit to try out, will try out!” Chelsea told the present girls. “And if you are good, you will represent the team in sonic ball.”
“But, Chelse,” Angel, one of the twins in Luna’s year called. “Katie doesn’t have time between herself and boys to play sonic ball.” The second year girls roared with laughter.
“We don’t want her on the team anyways,” deltra put in fiercely. her long red hair and strong Irish accent seemed fiercer than ever. “She’ll get distracted by the boys’ teams. We’ll only stand a chance with Basilisk.”
“That’s not fair, Deltra,” Emily, the other twin echoed. “She’d be dissing the basilisk’s clothes so would still be distracted!” All the girls let out a giggle now except Chelsea and Deltra.
“Look, deltra and I are the only remaining team mates,” Chelsea put in. “We need at least another eight members, three to be active and five as substitutes. I play defender, Deltra is an attacker and so we need the other team places to be filled up soon because our first game is in three weeks. Come on you guys, this is important!”
“I’ll try out,” Hope put in.
“Me too,” Luna grinned at her big sister. “It sounds fun!”
“First years can’t try out, can they Chelsea?” A small, dark haired girl inquired shyly. Chelsea shook her head.
“Second years and up only. Now, try outs are tonight on the sonic ball pitch. Please show up!” the girls mumbled their mingled responses and Hope, summer and Chelsea left for their elementation class.

The afternoon classes went very quickly.Hope enjoyed elementation and she was really good at it too. Before any of them knew it, it was dinner time and they had grabbed a quick bite to eat in the grand dining hall and then proceeded down the grand staircase to the courtyard out in the cool night’s air. Hope, Luna, Chelsea, Marietta and a host of other girls traipsed down to the sonic ball bitch that was to the west side of the front doors. Behind the pitch was blueberry forest and hope admired the acres of trees that towered like miniature sky scrapers in comparison to the rest of the buildings. The castle’s tallest point didn’t even reach the tallest tree top and she admired the extensive grounds that she hadn’t had chance to explore so far.

Chelsea carried a metal box and each girl carried a broom. They were all changed out of their blue robes and now wore an assortment of casual robes. Hope and Luna stood close to Deltra and Marietta who had agreed to come along while Summer insisted she had a tummy ache. hope doubted she did and Chelsea had fiercely reminded summer that she was a seer and knew she was lying. Harmony was no where to be found, not that that seemed to bother Chelsea too much. Ella had promised to come down after she’d eaten dinner, her spellology club had run over and she was currently shoving food down her throat so she could try out. This year, it didn’t seem like she would be struggling to meet all of her obligations so she had agreed to try out.

Chelsea was fiddling with a clasp on the box and then she pulled out a orange ball that seemed to vibrate in her arms. standing up proudly, her green eyes scanned the group of girls. There were around twenty five girls and she was pleased with the turn out.
“OK, who here doesn’t know how sonic ball works?” She called to the group who quickly quietened from their conversations. A few hands, including Hope and Luna’s, shot into the air. Sighing, she took a deep breath. sonic ball was her favorite sport and she couldn’t understand those who lived in the magical community who didn’t understand it. smiling at Hope and Luna, who she decided were excepted from that rule, she held the ball high to see.

“Ok, this is the ball we use,” Chelsea began explained. We fly on our brooms and once this ball is released, it spins and flies on its own within the pitch area. The attackers job is to score with it, by throwing it into the hoops at their end of the pitch. In the blue hole, it will give the scoring team five points, in the yellow, it will give you ten points and in the red basket, which is the hardest to score as the ball has a slight resistance to it, but only a slight one, you score hard enough, it will hit will give you twenty-five points. The defenders job is to defend, get the ball away from the other team and give it to your team’s attackers. The goal keeper, which is me, has to defend the hoops and stop the ball from going in. The game ends when the ball explodes. And whoever is in the lead wins. If the ball explodes on a tie, then it is down to whoever scores with the time out ball,” She replaced the orange ball into the box and pulled out a green ball that shimmered in the evening light. “This is the time out ball. whoever scores first with this ball, wins. But this ball is fast and hard to catch so good luck if time out comes.” replacing the ball with the orange one, she looked around at the girls and grinned. “We have an active goal keeper, that’s me, and we have Deltra on the team too who plays in attack. We need two other defenders and an active attacker and we definitely need a back up team. So we need fast flyers. Let’s see,” She counted and there were twenty-seven of them all together.
“Great,” She smiled. “Deltra and I will help you guys out. So let’s start, Marietta, Luna, Christie, Candice, and Dana,” She called to three girls who were all blonde, one was a third year and the other two were seventh and eighth year girls. They flew up on their brooms and Chelsea let go of the orange ball. Instantly, Luna flew for the ball and headed toward Dana, the eighth year girl who was nestled in goal and scored in the yellow hoop.
“Good job!” Chelsea called, flitting back and forth with her whistle. She was a good referee if not a good goal keeper. “Dana, block the goals!” She called fiercely and Luna tried to get the ball again and Christie, the third year girl who was pretty with long blonde hair and a sweet smile, jerked into Luna’s broom.
“Fowl!” Chelsea called. “No Physical contact with the brooms. You can touch the broom but jerking a broom like that will damage one of them,” She handed the ball to Luna and pulled her wand and drew a white line in mid air. “Behind the line Luna and try and score!” Luna balanced well on her broom and threw the ball as hard as she could. It missed but from the distance she was, it did not surprise any of them.

Each group of girls had someone really strong in them and Hope’s nerves were building. she wasn’t sure what position she would be better at. Taking her broom in her hands, she mounted it and kicked off hard, soaring into the air. The ball was released and her adrenaline kicked in as she soared for it. Instead of attacking the ball instantly, she waited as the attackers circled it and as Angel, one of the second year twins dove into grab the ball, Hope blocked her path, grasping the ball and throwing it to Anna, a fifth year with long dark hair. The girls played for a few moments, Hope successfully blocking some of the attacks from Anna and Angel. Angel, the sportier of the twins was fluid in her movement and extremely fast, and yet Hope still managed to block her several times. Catching the ball from the keeper, Hope tossed it to Anna who swooped into score and failed.

Chelsea’s whistle blew and all girls flew to the ground. Their’s were the last try out and Chelsea was beaming.

“You guys did amazingly!” She praised. “I’m so impressed!”
The girls all gave a round of applause and retreated toward the castle as thick flakes of snow started to fall. The grand staircase was filled with fairies, sprinkling dust that vanished the snow and ice that was falling. The students were careful not to tread on them and ascended the staircase reentering the castle in their small groups.

Once back in the girls’ common room, Chelsea confessed she had no idea who she was going to pick. The girls in her form had really impressed her. Sitting by the window and attempting some homework, Hope felt happy and as though she was really beginning to belong. Most of the girls in her form, knew her name and chatted to her now and she nor Luna felt like the new girl anymore.

The sun shone brightly again the next day and Hope looked at her time table as she dressed and groaned.
“What’s up?” chelsea asked as she sat on Hope’s bed, already clad in her school robes.
“We have potions with my half sister,” Hope pointed the time table out.
“And magical history,” Chelsea groaned. “I think Wednesday has just become my new least favorite day.” She took the time table and realized they had a full schedule. “Divination too!” She put her head into her hands. “Man, at least we have biology out in the grounds last lesson.” And Hope agreed, she couldn’t be bothered with Wednesdays but wearily finished brushing her golden hair and then walked with Chelsea and Marietta to the grande dining hall for some breakfast.

All of the unicorn students were buzzing about the previous night’s try outs for the team but Chelsea was giving nothing away.
“Come on, Chelsea!” Mia, a girl in eighth year who was Hallie’s best friend urged.
“Nope, the notice will be up on Friday,” Chelsea informed them all. The girls chatted quietly, constantly speculating who would be on the team. Chelsea kept smiling, it was the most team spirit their form had ever had.
“We have potions with the Basilisks,” Marietta groaned as she ate some breakfast.
“So that means Summer will be in the worst mood possible,” Chelsea groaned. “They should have realized that us being with the Basilisks is the worst idea they could come up with.” Both girls’ forms were dead against each other and yet it seemed that they purposefully put them together in some of their stressful classes.

At five minutes to nine, Chelsea, Hope, Marietta and a very grumpy Summer began to head out of the grand dining hall.
“Hey, Ella, come on, potions!” Chelsea called to Ella who was eating a piece of toast while talking to her boyfriend over by the red gryphon form.
“Coming, bye Charlie,” ella called and headed out with the other four girls down to the potions lab on the ground floor.

They waited outside the classroom that was locked and two of the Basilisk students, dressed in emerald green robes stood by the door, whispering bitchily as the Unicorn students walked up.
“That’s Katy Willis and Chandelle Dickson, two of the bitchiest mares in the Basilisk form. They mock anyone who hasn’t got money. And hate half magical people.” Hope saw both Kady and Chantelle look her up and down as they stood waiting.
“Well, chelsea?” Chantelle cackled, to what Hope thought the girl must have perceived to be an innocent girlish giggle but came across harsh from the hamster like face and the beady brown eyes. “You going to introduce us to your new friend? Tut, tut, just coming to school at sixteen. What a disgrace. Or are you one of those foreign wretches?” She looked at Hope with disgust.
“This is Hope Midway,” Chelsea smirked now knowing that the name midway would send them into fits of approval.
“As in Professor Midway?” Kady, a short podgy girl stared bewildered by the information. She wasn’t exactly a very bright girl and so the information took a little longer to sink in.
“Yes, Professor Erida Midway is my sister and Professor Thawson Midway my brother,” Hope spoke gently, not giving away the information that they were only half related.
“Why have you only just come to Loso Tierras now?” Chantelle asked bemusedly, realizing that the girls weren’t giving her the whole story. She could often be perceived to be paranoid and hardly trusted anyone.
“because, I lived with my mother and father in La Ranario,” But Hope didn’t realize that was a crime but in the students of Basilisk that approved of purity and status above anything else, it was certainly a crime.
“You’re half?” Kady’s face screamed clarity now. “Ewww!” she huddled against the wall dramatically.
“Yes,” Hope stared at her as if she lost her mind. “Why?”
“Because half blood means that one of your parents is non magical,” Chantelle exclaimed with her nose high in the air with a sense of superiority that half reminded Hope of Erida herself. another Basilisk student walked up now. She was dark skinned with long dark hair.
“who’s she?” She inquired fiercely.
“Tiana,” Chelsea smiled super sweetly. “This is Hope Midway, she’s new to our school.”
“Midway?” The question rolled across her face with such intensity, it was like a cloud passing over her face.
“Don’t get too excited,” Chantelle spat nastily. “She’s half!”
“Dear Hirmira,” Tiana said acidly. “Not another one!” At that moment, Erida appeared, as if out of nowhere. Her rat like face stared at them all.
“Enough talking, class is about to begin,” She unlocked the door with her wand and the girls all filed in. Shortly after Erida handed out the books, Harmony and two other Basilisk girls entered and took their seats. Hope, Chelsea and Ella sat at the opposite corner to the door by a huge silver cauldron that was bubbling while Summer and Marietta sat at another table nearby. The Basilisk students divided into the three Hope had met and the two others she did not know while Harmony sat alone.
The class began with erida placing notes on the board and all girls had to copy them. Chelsea whispered to Hope that they mustn’t talk because Erida hated it.
“Less talking Miss Hubbard!” Erida snarled from her desk. “And you should know better too Miss Midway!” The look of animosity that beamed from Erida toward her half sister was pure hate. The girls nodded and continued to write down the notes.
Hope knew this class was going to be a difficult one, Erida had already made it clear she did not want Hope as her half sister and hope was intelligent enough to know that she would not make Hope’s life easier at school than it had to be.

“That class was awful!” Hope exclaimed as they filed out into the courtyard at break time. She had hated the atmosphere above anything else. The silence didn’t bother her but the constant glares from Erida and her students made Hope feel beyond uncomfortable.
“I know, you’ll get used to it,” chelsea tried to reassure her. Both girls huddled in a corner, the wind whipping sharply at their faces. Hope wasn’t sure she wanted to get used to it but she guessed she had little choice in the matter.

The rest of the day went without much trouble and Hope was glad to finally get outside and get on the broom. she had quite enjoyed learning to fly and loved the rush it gave her, being midair with nothing but a broom to support you. Flying was so magical!
“You coming?” Hope asked as she hoisted her broom onto her back in the dorm room. Chelsea shook her head.
“I need to figure out who I’m picking for the teams,” She smiled gently and Hope headed out to the grounds having finished some of her homework. She had decided she’d attempt her potions homework once she got out onto the grounds and got the stresses of her day out of her head. Mounting the broom, she shot up high into the air, looking all around her. Loso Tierras was beautiful; miles of mountainside covered in powdery snow. The sky seemed ready to have snow fall again and Hope grinned with glee as she soared over the river, glided over the sonic ball stadium and glimpsed the tree tops of the blackberry wood. She smiled as she flew further and further over the treetops. Snow glistened making it seem lighter than it was.This was all hers and she loved it. The wind blew around her like a protective blanket and she wondered how far she could go.

suddenly, Hope felt a pulling sensation and she was being pulled to the ground. small creatures were on the ground. They had snarling teeth and fork like hands.
“What’s happening?” Hope tried to pull the broom up but to no avail. They were squeaking in a frequency that was much higher than Hope’s ears.

“Help!” She called. No one answered. Where were the ancients? They told her they’d always guide her, but where were they now?

The broom was below the treetops now and Hope’s stomach jolted with immense fear. What were those creatures and it seemed a certainty in Hope’s mind that they were the cause of the pull on her broom. Looking around, she found no source of help. This was it! She would be doomed! How stupid had she been? A noise from the undergrowth caused her to scream and a huge black wolf entered the clearing where Hope was almost in reach of the devilish like creatures. calling loudly with a ear piercing howl, the wolf opened his jaws and growled at the creatures. Hope strained her eyes and ears but nothing was happening.

“Enchantress?” A lullaby like voice pierced the awful silence. She looked up and saw to her disbelief a creature who had the body of a giant swan and the upper torso and head of a woman. The swan’s sleek white feathered body easily turned into the woman’s body where the long neck should have been. she had long white hair that flowed and blended with her feathers.
“Who, what are you?” hope gasped with awe as she felt a tug on her pale blue robes.
“No time for that, my child,” The woman spoke with such softness. Flying low with her immense white wings, the fork handed creatures scattered with a sound that sounded oddly like a flock of birds chirping. “Lobo, take the Enchantress’s broom, I shall fly her back to the humans.” Hope stared at the wolf for a second who hoisted the piece of wood onto his back and padded off through the undergrowth. “Get on,” The bird like woman commanded gently and Hope stared at her incredulously.

“I, I can’t, I can’t climb onto you!”
“Yes you can,” The woman lifted Hope with her strong arms onto her feathery back and lifting her wings spectacularly rose easily into the snow filled air. Hope shivered as huge snow flakes fell upon them both as they swooped over the beautiful landscape toward the castle toward the twinkling lights.

“I am Aerora,” The woman creature told her. “I am an ava, a creature of the earth and sky. I protect humans from creatures they are powerless against both in the air and on land.” Her voice was soothing. “You were in real trouble then.”
“I know, what were those creatures?” She asked.
“tree folk,” the woman said gently. “They are attracted by wood and kill humans for their bones. You didn’t see how sharp their hands were?” The elegant creature had her human hands clasped as in prayer as they flew toward the castle while her wings flapped gracefully in the darkening skies. Hope nodded and sighed deeply..
“Where did the wolf come from?”
“Lobo is your guardian,” Aerora told her. “He is the current guardian of white Rose Castle and therefore your creature protector. I hear Thawson is searching for your personal warrior. An enchantress needs many forms of protection.” Hope smiled and nodded at the back of the Ava’s head.
“Yes, I know,” She said sadly. “I put myself in danger tonight, didn’t I?”
“Yes, miss hope, you most certainly did. There is a lot of unrest in the Blackberry woods Miss Hope. It would be foolish to tread there again.”
“A lot of unrest?” Hope asked, raising her eyebrows with concern. “What do you mean?”
“A lot of the animals, particularly the ones with magic are angry and at war with one another at the moment. The creatures you saw tonight are harmless in comparison to what you could have run into. Hope, you are enchantress, this is your kingdom, you must be informed and advised but do not, under any circumstances venture into those woods alone. Animals are far stronger than any human!” And as though to demonstrate that fact, Aerora flexed her neck elegantly. Hope nodded contemplatively and wondered if her brother knew any of this. The animals were at war? Over what? And why?

Landing at the foot of the grand staircase, the ava smiled at her broadly. her eyes were the color of a deep blue sky and her smile brightened the night’s light.”You’re safe now. Never travel into those woods alone again, you are the chosen one, Miss hope!” And with a swish of feathers, aerora was gone into the darkening night. A padding noise came from behind her and she turned to see dark eyes looking at her.

“Lobo, right?” she asked and the wolf’s legs bowed out of respect. “Thank you!” she took her broom. “You go home now.” She told him and with a swish of his bristly tale, Lobo ran off into the night. feeling thankful, Hope climbed the stairs and returned to the safety of her dorm room.

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