Nadine had stopped dreaming when she was seven or eight. She used to have nightmares pretty much every night, but once she figured out how to beat her nightmares, she just slowly stopped dreaming all together. That said, Nadine was pretty sure she’d never had any dreams like this one if it was a dream. Being able to just have anything she wanted? This was better than a dream! She, Horera and Audrey were all sitting around a big white cloth with Audrey’s picnic basket in the middle and each with their own teacup.

“Mmm!” Audrey closed eyes with a content expression, “This tea is wonderful! What is it?”

Nadine smiled after her own sip of tea, “It’s a floral spiced tea. See, whenever my dad comes to visit, he always brings three things; tools to help me survive, new clothes and tea from wherever he’s been.” Nadine laughed, “Though some of the teas he brought back were so bad neither of us could drink them!”

“Well this one is fantastic!” Audrey breathed in the hot floral scent of the tea, with a hint of orange.

Horera finished her third turkey leg and cocked her head to examine the teacup in front of her. Her face was completely covered in the sauce from what she’d been eating. Nadine wondered what her dad would think of Horera. He’d been everywhere and seen pretty much everything, but he never said anything about beastlings to Nadine. He probably wouldn’t have much of a reaction, he was hard to faze; still their tea-parties back in the haven had never been like this one with Horera and Audrey. Horera tentatively stuck her tongue into her tea, and then grimaced with a shudder that went out to the tips of her ears. Before Nadine could say more Horera picked up her cup and downed the rest of her tea! Apparently she did like it.

“This one,” Nadine picked up the pot to pour Horera another full cup, “is my favorite. Dad brought it on my birthday one year, and told me it had been my mother’s favorite tea.”

“Since I was little I’ve had tea parties with my grandmother whenever we see each other.” Audrey reached into the basket and pulled out a plate of thin dry cookies, “The tea isn’t nearly this good, but I love my grandmother’s shortbread.”

Nadine took one of the cookies from the plate as Audrey offered it to her. “Mmm!” Nadine’s eyes widened as the explosion of buttery flavor crumbled in her mouth from the first bite. “Wow!”

Horera shoved her cookie in her mouth with a curious expression. Nadine had to choke down the rest of her cookie to keep from laughing it out when she saw the taste hit Horera. The little dogling’s whole face lit up and her ears perked up too.

“Cookie!” Horera looked excitedly at Audrey, “Horera more cookie?”

Audrey laughed too as she passed the plate back to Horera, “There are plenty, so help yourself.”

Horera’s face was beaming and her tail whipping the ground as she wolfed down the plate of shortbread.

“Don’t feel obligated to answer,” Audrey pulled out a fresh plate of the shortbread from the basket. “But, when you said this was your mother’s favorite tea, and your dad brings you things when he visits… Do you live alone, Nadine?”

Nadine nodded and took another sip of tea, “My mom was killed when I was very young. After that my dad hid me away in the forest haven to keep me safe. He’s away for six months at a time, but then always spends a full week with me when he visits… But now it’s been over a year since the last time I saw him.” Nadine looked up resolutely, “So I left the haven, and I’m going to find him.”

Horera’s ears and tail drooped sympathetically, “Horera too. Parents killed. Daddy save Horera. Chase off Bad Man. Take Horera in.”

Audrey lowered her head, “I’m so sorry… I had no idea what you guys had been through. I’ve always taken my parents for granted, but they’ve done so much for me.”

Audrey was shaking slightly and Nadine could see tears roll down her cheeks. Nodding to Horera, Nadine set her tea down and scooted around next to Audrey.

“I get so annoyed when I think all they care about is my studies, but deep down I know they only want what’s best for me.” Audrey continued, “And now I don’t know if I’ll ever see them again!”

“Of course you’ll see them again.” Nadine put an arm comfortingly around Audrey, and Horera snuggled up from the other side. “I’m going to find my dad, you’re going to get home, and…” Nadine glanced around to Horera.

“Horera good.” Horera nodded, rubbing her head against Audrey, “Horera friends nice man and fairy now.”

“I don’t know if I can become a great wizard in order to get home.” Audrey was trying to fight it, but Nadine could tell a good cry was coming. “I just, what if I can’t do this by myself?”

“Then we’ll help you.” Nadine squeezed Audrey.


5 Responses

  1. This is a lovely moment to end on!

  2. Elsie says:

    who are the fairy and nice man Horera talks about??

  3. Glitterlady says:

    Its a very sweet scene of them getting to know each other a bit better. But I am begining to feel like these excerpts are more of scene by scene which is to say I don’t feel like I’m being pulled into the plot line very much, kind of flat line. I know she is supposed to learn spells and save a world before going home but we haven’t had much in the way of progressing that story line as much as just getting to know the characters. Hoping to see more of a plot progression at the same time as getting to know them for future inserts.

  4. Andy says:

    It’s interesting that this story definitely doesn’t start with an “explosion;” I mean, there’s the fantasy interest hook with 1A, but other than that it’s a pretty tame beginning. I like seeing the characters have downtime, but I think what really keeps me reading the most is Horera, who by the way seems to have a fascinating ability to take anything bad in stride, unless it’s something actively and repeatedly getting in her way, like being stuck. I also like the fact that Horera ate three barbecue turkey legs and then went in and ate an entire plate of cookies on top of that. I suppose she burns a lot of energy, but I wonder how much of it is because they’re in a dream? Also, I think Horera drank down the tea to get it out of the way. XD

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