Here is a chapter from one of Bekka’s future chronicles, The Woodlock. For the first time, she is sent on an adventure alone, and has to perform her time travel task without the comforting presence of her best friend, Kar. The title character, the woodlock Delia Branch, is pictured below.
I sat deep in thought, elbows on the table, quill between fingers, chin on the palms of my hands. I stared at the creamy emptiness of the oat parchment page neatly laid out before me and at the efficient fatness of the inkpot waiting for the dip of my quill.
“Mek fan wull, Bekka of Thorns,” breathed a voice softly behind me.
I spun to see a creature leaning in the doorway and silhouetted against the day outside. A doubleblink of my eyes made the creature step into focus. Powdery pale blue from boots to feathered cap it was. Startling violet eyes set in an otherwise powdery pale blue face regarded me. Wisps of powdery pale blue hair sprouted in curls from under its cap. Never had I seen or heard of so such a creature. Truth. It spoke again.
“Ah, your page is blank, I note. Dek sho. I am here arrived at this when to help you fill it. Is your mind snapjaw? Can you make a guess at who I am?” said the creature, tilting its head, regarding me as so said before with its startling violet eyes all twinkle bright.
“Time traveler?” I guessed, fair clued by the creature’s manner of speech, so such clearly recalled by me from a Gwer drollek story I heard as a youngling, a story collected and written long eons ago by the Chronicler Lace, a story of the time-traveling shapeshiftress Zom Falbu.
“Bo ken! You ARE the Chronicler I expected to meet! I am Shendra Nenas, a shifter from Jom. Friends call me Shen. Do you admire this shift? I surmise that you have never seen the like of it before,” said the shifter, posing and slowly, slowly turning. “I am guised as a bool, dweller in the moon caverns of Jeth.”
“Jeth?” I mumbled, the gates of my mind having opened and my wits fled.
“A thousand short years in the future, to be sure. The moon caverns are quite nice then. The pools are warm. Cho dett. Of course, not as nice as Jom where we shifters gather and chat. No sort. Not at all …”
The shifter fell silent, nodding its head, seemingly lost so such in pleasant thought. I waited, but not too long. I cleared my throat loudly, an open effort to bring the shifter out of the dreamy trance.
“Hatch! Oh, yes. This when. Here. The bendo dreen to be sent. Cor ban. Bekka of Thorns, you are the bendo dreen Chronicler. Do you know I was summoned from Jom a scant flick of time after I placed my egg in the care of a chosen hutkeeper one hundred bar years ago? I am yet left to wonder if it got safely to Mara Ko. I won’t know until …”
The shifter fell silent again. I possessed more information, but not enough. The shifter was a she, like Zom Falbu of the Gwer drollek story. What was she doing here? Why did she know my name and other more about me? Again I cleared my throat as loudly as I could to nudge her from wherever her mind had drifted.
“Hatch! Oh, yes. This when. Here. Very. Ki dak. Where is your tambourine? You should bring it. One thousand years ahead in the moon caverns of Jeth she said so, did the Harick.”
“Babba Ja Harick!” I interrupted, livened. “You were sent to me by the lavender witch herself one thousand years in the future on the moon Jeth? Why?!”
“Not on the moon, Bekka of Thorns. For accuracy’s sake, in the moon caverns. Yes, I have been sent to take you to a when in the ago. You have a task to perform. Nar ved. If you do it, all will be as it is. If you don’t, all will be as it isn’t,” said Shendra Nenas, shapeshiftress from Jom, traveler in time, so called Shen by her friends.
“What task do I have to perform?” I asked.
“You might figure it out,” she replied, and reached out with her powdery pale blue hands. She took my chonka, so said tambourine, from the shelf and attached it to my belt. Those pale blue hands rose slowly and brushed with slender fingers a timely march across my yellow green bendo dreen lips. Tingle explode, I whirled to gone.