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re: Kessalyn's journal

Kessalyn opened one eye, blinking at the early morning sun, and peered towards the house. Was that the smell of coffee? Her whiskers twitched as the small fox inquisitively sniffed the air. Was it safe to come out?

Seeing noone nearby, she crawled out of her burrow at the base of the big oak. Assuring herself that it was safe to do so, she shifted form, becoming what appeared to be a young girl with incredibly large green eyes, an impishly upturned nose, slightly too large for her face, and a shock of reddish orange shoulder length curls, in which a few twigs and leaves were carelessly left.

Trying her best to be quiet, she tiptoes to the door and tries the knob. Surprised to find the door unlocked, she opens it just a crack and peers inside, and waits for her eyes to adjust to the dimmer light inside. Following her nose, rather than her inner voice telling her to be careful, she finds her way to the kitchen and freezes. There's a human inside! And he's having coffee! She drools, but she dares not take a step forward. Hoping she is not noticed, she starts to tiptoe backwards, hoping to make it back outside without being noticed. However, a breeze catches the door and it closes with a bang which causes her to jump and yelp in alarm. Frightened, she runs for a nearby cabinet, and squeezes inside, trying her best to hide, her heart thumping wildly inside her chest. "Oh Kess, you've done it now, girl," she says to herself. "You've done and got us discovered!" Anxiously she waits inside the cupboard, listening for sounds that the man is heading in her direction.


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Her eyes having adjusted to the dim light inside the cabinet she peers around, sniffing as she does so. Something inside smells positively wonderful! Searching around, she finds, oh joy! A cookie jar! And it's full of cookies! Oh, and many different kinds of cookies, too, she discovers by poking around, opening boxes and sticking inquisitive little fingers inside. Soon munching noises can be heard emanating from the cabinet, as Kessalyn, giving into her hunger, tears open box after box of cookies, crumbs going all around her. Her favorites being the chocolate chip ones. Soon she's got crumbs everywhere around her, her eating only stopping as she realizes that the ache in her stomach is no longer hunger.

Oh no! Mustn't be sick....no...no, that wouldn't do at all! Trying to calm herself, she tries to remember what her mother would have done. "Look for mint leaves, she would. But....but....would mint...cookies...do? Taking a bite of one, she shakes her head no, and for once, actually puts a cookie down. "Gots to think, Kess. Oh I wish Mother wasn't so long returning...it's been....days? a week? more? She hadn't a clue, but it had been a long time, much longer than she had ever been gone before. Kessalyn felt truly alone and suddenly afraid. What would the man do if he found her? Mother had warned her to stay hidden, but Mother wasn't here....and Kess had no idea if and when she'd return. What to do? What to do?

Something told her that there was something special about the man, but she didn't understand what it might be. He looked like just an ordinary man. But she had this feeling that there was more to him than that...and, being too frightened to leave the cover of the cabinet, she waited and curled up, her belly feeling very queazy from having eating all those cookies. Then, horror! She cannot hold it back anymore and retches....as quietly as she can, but horrified at her situation, she desperately tries to clean it up, using the cardboard from the now empty cookie boxes.

She really longed for her mother now, SHE would know what to do. Feeling she had little choice, she whimpers a quiet, "Help", half hoping she is heard, half hoping she isn't...as how would she explain herself?


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Aedon Durreah
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re: Kessalyn's journal

Sitting drinking his coffee and reading a book, Aedon suddenly looked up and scanned the corner of the room closest to the kitchen area. His eyes sharp, even in the dim light, he could swear he saw movement close to the cabinets. Setting his book aside, he stood, and moved towards the area.
His eyes searched the floors of the little nook area, but nothing could be seen. His ears, however picked up the sound of rapid breathing, and the scent of mild panic seemed to hang in the air.
He was accustomed to small animals finding their way into his home. This sort of thing had gone on for many years, and living in the company of the fae for so long he seemed to invite such company.
As he stood there, he could hear the sounds of munching going on within a lower cabinet. Perhaps some small creature had stumbled across his stash of cookies. Chuckling a bit, he turned back towards his chair, deciding to allow whatever hid within to enjoy their snack. It was then that he heard a faint cry for help. Moving back to the cabinet, he knelt down, and calmly opened the door.


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Blinking as the cabinet door is opened, she looks up at the man....as she holds her hands over her belly, should she trust him? Something she couldn't understand said yes. "Tummy..hurts. Ate too much.... " motions to the mess of vomit around her, "threw up. I's sorry, Mister. Really! But was...was so hungry! And they were soooo good!"

Deep green eyes, the color of emeralds, peer up at the man, who towers over her tiny frame, which is barely 3 feet in height, she reckons. Small, even for a wildling like herself. "Was hungry...I...ss. sorry about mess. I will clean it, honest!"

Tilting her head to the side, she watches for the man's reaction, not daring to get closer until she figures out if it is safe or not. Her nose twitches as she sniffs, then wrinkles in disgust at her own smell. ick! She puts her head down, embarassment at being found in such a state.

"Can.....trust?" She ventures, then points to herself. "Me, Kessalyn." Then considers the mess around her and adds, " I, I sorry...for mess"


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Kneeling, Aedon slowly opened the cupboard and looked inside. He noticed the strong smell of vomit immediately, and at verst a sense of revulsion swept over him. But then, he noticed a set of frightened green eyes looking up at him from amid the crumbs of cookies and upturned containers.
Smiling softly, he said; Well now, seems you have been in my favorite cookies and I do not think you left any for me. Come with me, and we will get this cleaned up and some good food into your tummy. He waited and watched as the timid soul within edged towards the opening.


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Encouraged by the man's gentle manner of speech, Kessalyn scooted towards the man, trying her best to avoid the puddles of vomit, crinkling her nose in disgust of the smell. "I sorry, Mister, but I was SOOOO hungry!" Once out of the cabinet, she stands up to her whole 35 inches of stature, and shakes, animal-like, in an attempt to rid herself of at least some of the crumbs. However, she is not in her normal fox form, and the shake is only slightly effective. Still, now there are cookie crumbs on the floor as well.

"You not mad? I thought fer sure I was in trouble. I never had a hoomin friend afore. Ma says hoomins are dangerous. Or she did, afore she went missin'." As Kessalyn looks up at the man, the tips of her pointed ears can be seen poking out from beneath her riot of reddish-orange curls. Does she dare get closer? Well, he hasn't attacked her yet....and he DID mention somethin' about gettin' food. Tentatively, she takes another step closer to the man tilting her head to the side to gauge his reaction.


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Once the small creature was out from under the cabinet, what was so, could now be clearly seen. The creature was a wilder, and reminded him much of Hairy in his younger years. By the length and point of the ears though, this one was not a rabbit. A wolf, or fox perhaps, or maybe even a bake Kitsune. Identification could for now be set aside. Looking at the wee one he said softly;
I am Aedon, and not like most humans you will ever meet. But that is a story for another day. Let us get you cleaned up and some good food. There are fresh towels in the washroom, and if you check the cabinet in there, I am sure you will find some clean clothing just your size. While you clean up, I will get something for you to eat. What is your favorite food?

As he distracted her, with a wave of his right hand, the mess under the cupboard was cleaned up, the cookies back in their containers and fresh as the day they were baked. Closing the door, he walked back into his sitting room, with the small one at his side.
So, what do you call yourself?


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Trotting along beside the man, she instantly liked his friendliness towards her, as well as his offer of food and the ability to wash up and get into clean clothes, as hers now reeked. "I's Kessalyn Spacklewizzle. But Ma jus' calls me Kessie, unless she's mad at me. I miss her..." Falling silent, she thinks about her mother....where was she? Why was she gone so long? She had never been this long before when she went foraging.

Looking around, she finds the washroom and excuses herself to get changed. Carefully closing the washroom door behind her, she peels off her dirty clothes, just a simple shirt and loose pants, and washes up, using the water in the tub, as she can just barely reach the faucets in the washbasin, if she stands on tiptoes. Towelling herself dry, she looks around and spies the cupboard. "This be the one Mr Aedon tol' me 'bout", she says to herself and opens the door. Sure enough, there is a clean shirt and pants just her size inside, which she pulls on quickly. Using a brush she also found in the cabinet, she sets to work attempting to tame her mop of curls. "Well, at least they're clean", She says, sighing at the tangles that stubbornly remain. Carefully putting the brush back in the cabinet, she piles her dirty clothes in a vacant corner of the washroom, intending on retrieving them later, and hangs up the wet towel and washcloth.

Leaving the washroom, she folllows the scent of coffee to the sitting room, and curls up on the floor near Aedon's feet. "Thanks, Mr Aedon. I already feel better." Then adds. "You mentioned food?" She looks up at him hopefully, "Oh, you asked what I like to eat. Ma usually brings home mice and berries and such.....but I'm not very fussy. Us foxes pretty much eat whatever we can find that don' eat us first." Suddenly, she realizes she called herself a fox and her eyes go wide, waiting for Aedon's reaction. Hur bushy tail - reddish orange tipped with white, that she has thus far tried to hide, peaks out from the hole in the pants designed for that purpose.


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Looking down at the young Wilder, Aedon cannot help but smile. In fact, he had a time controlling the urge to laugh a bit. He had seen this look on small faces s many times in his lifetime, and knee that this was most likely as this one had ever been in her life.

Well Kessie, Berries I can give you, but I am not good at catching mice. I do have a bit oof chicken that I keep around for my .. um, my cat. Come into the kitchen and you can eat and then tell me how you came to be in my cabinet.


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"You has chicken? And a cat?" Kess looks up at the man as she trots along happily at his side, all wariness now gone. "Is the cat friendly? Does it like to play?" Cocking her head to the side, she pauses to think a little, then adds quietly, as if to herself. "Is it like me? Another wilder? I thought Ma and me were the only ones, but ye weren't surprised when ye saw me, so I guess ye know another one?"

Climbing up onto a chair at the table, she reaches for the bowl of berries and happily stuffs her mouth full, munching on them, berry juice dripping down her chin. Table manners were definitely NOT her strong point. Fox manners she knew, but had never much bothered to learn human ones. Perhaps she should do so, she thought. She wouldn't want to make her new friend angry. "Chicken'll do instead o' mice. I dunno how ta cook it, though."

Sorry 'bout yer cupboard. Ma left ...um...awhile ago to go look fer food and never came back. I was sooooo hungry, I couldn't stay in me burrow another moment waitin, and, and....somethin' in here smelt soooo good. And the door was open, so I just HAD to come see what it was. I really didn't MEAN to make such a mess. Honest! I never been in a house afore. My burrow's just outside....under the big oak in yer yard." Kess points in what she thinks is the general direction. "Ye're welcome ta come see, but I don' think ye'd fit inside."


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Aedon Durreah
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Watching and listening intently as the little fox spoke, Aedon was carried back to his days in the Freehold. It was always fun to spend time with the wilders. They had such curiosity and a zest for life, and more questions than any human child ever had. They tend to ramble when they speak, and always spoke so fast it was hard to get a word in edgewise. Holding his finger in the air to get the young one’s attention, he spoke in a slow, soft manner, as suddenly shocking a wilder can get you a face full of fire.

Well, Kess, I do have a few chickens for eggs, as to my cat, Nimbus is sort of friendly, after his fashion, and very much like you. As to my lack of surprise, I have spent much of my time in various freeholds, and have met a fair share of wilders over the years. You are very welcome to stay in my house as long as you need. I need to ask though, how long has your mother been gone? Perhaps I can help you find her, and you can both move inside Connemara, and not need to worry about food.

As he waited for her reply, he studied her features. eyes larger than a human child, her nose, small and a bit pointy. Her ears, which poked up through a tangle of reddish-brown hair had a definite point, and it seemed she was having trouble concealing her white tipped tail. Smiling he said to her:

And Kess, within these walls you need not conceal who you are.
Now, tell me about your ma.


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Cocking her head to the side, she considered how to answer the man. But as he had already admitted to knowing more wilders, she decided there was no harm in talking about her mother. Popping another berry in her mouth, she looked up at Aedon. "Ma is a wilder, like me. Ma said we didn't always live here, that we lived in someplace where there were more of our kind, but Pa wanted to 'splore the great outside, and he and Ma moved here. Sadly, he hadn't counted on the sport of fox hunting, and got caught pretty soon after we moved. Ma and I never saw him or heard from him after that. It was just the two of us. Ma says I look like her, but I think her fur had more red in it than mine does. Her name's Nessie. She took good care o' me, she did. Always came back, 'cept fer this last time. She's been gone most of a week. She never did that afore. I's worried 'bout her."

Taking a bite of eggs, she grabbed her glass of milk and took a long drink, wiping the resultant milk mustache from her face with the back of her hand. "How do ye propose findin' her? She usually covers her tracks. Even I couldn't figure out where she went by trackin' her. I tried. It is like she vanished....."

Lowering her head, she adds, "Ma would never abandon me. I gots this gut feelin' that somethin' aweful happened. Oh, and what's a Connemara? Not havin' ter worry 'bout food seems mighty nice."


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Watching her eat, Aedon could tell the Wilder was on the edge of fight or flight. And yet, he could feel her curiosity overwhelming most of her doubts, and her desire to find her mother bringing an almost fearlessness to her small frame. A wilder she still was, and yet on the cusp of the next stage of her life. James could help her with this, if he would. But the grump had seen his fair share of wilders to train, and in truth, Hairy came close to breaking him. Perhaps Nimbus would consent to guide her through her training. But first things first, they would need to find out what had happened to Kess’s mother.

Kess, Connemara is my home, a name taking form a land I lived in long years ago. As to how I can find your mother? Let us say I have friends that can help me, and that as a guardian, I am skilled in tracking pooka. Watching her face for a moment for signs of questions to be answered, Aedon continued. But Kess, there is something you have already expressed to me. The feeling that something has happened to her. If we find that to be true, pleas know that she will await you in the dreaming. And that when you are properly trained, you will be able to see her there. For now, finish your meal, and I will show you to the room I had prepared for you.

Kess needed to rest in a place she felt safe, what would come tomorrow, be it good or bad news, she would need to begin her training soon. Eru protect Middle Earth if this wee one loses her temper.


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Finally full, Kess stops eating and looks up at Aedon, a questioning look in her eyes, "Dreaming? Ma said she could see Pa there. And that he was watchin' over us somehow. That made me feel lots better, ya know....knowing he was somehow there, watchin. I dunno ifn' Ma is there or not, but this gut feelin' I have says she may be. Though I didn't hear the barking I heard afore Pa died. Could she just have gotten losted? I just remembered somethin' she said, just afore she left ter go huntin'. She said, that if anythin' should ever happen to her, I was ter come here. She didn't say why though"

"That meal were real good. Now I's kinda sleepy. I never slept in a real house afore. Just in a burrow, under the old oak tree in the back yard... I hate ter be puttin' ye outta yer way. Ye already done so much fer me."


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After showing Kess to the room prepared just for her, Aedon returned to his own quarters, and poured a cup of coffee. The hair on his neck bristled a bit, as he could feel he was no longer alone in the room. Taking a sip from his cup he said without turning.

"Well mother, what do you think?"

"The wilder is young my son, but she is moving rapidly into the next phase of her life. She will need guidance now, a steady hand. Can James be reached?"

Turning to face her, Aedon replied.

"Perhaps mother, but he is worlds away from here, and even through faerie he may not arrive soon enough foe the task. Perhaps Nimbus would consent to guiding the child?"

"I heard that, and don’t think for a moment I am going to be a baby sitter to some wilder."



Turning to face the cat, Aedon frowned a bit.

"Nimbus, you are what we have now. And if we can find the child’s mother, then she can assist with what is to come. Can you do it, just for a wee bit?"

Nimbus sat down on the rug and flipped his long tail about. His ears laid back, he contemplated what was being asked of him, and what price he should exact. After a time, he looked between Aedon and Nemira.

"I will do this, but in return, I get a double ration of whisky this month and extra portions of potatoes.?

"Agreed, said Aedon bowing towards the cat. You can start in the morning. And mother, we can start the search for Kess’s mother. The sooner we find out what has become of her, the better it is for Kess."

"I will start my search this night my son, and return in the morning with anything I have found out."

Shifting to the form of a large swallow-tailed kite, Nemira nodded once to Aedon, and then flew out an open window, and down towards the Bay of Belfalas. Looking up from cleaning his whiskers Nimbus said. I will start in the morning, please have the whisky kegs delivered to my quarters. As he sauntered out of the room Aedon chuckled saying to himself.

"This is going to get really interesting."


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