Ramona takes you out through the cabin and onto the porch. From there, she shepherds you around the side of the cabin to the back. Here you see a beautiful aviary set up, with shining brass bars. Inside, bird-like creatures flutter about.

"These are Kiai," Ramona says. "They are small creatures modeled after birds. There are many varieties, some quite exotic."

You examine the winged creatures. They are long and graceful in form, with fine elongated heads and deep expressive eyes. One in particular is quite large, a black Kiai with shimmering mane and tail. He is decked in jewelry and struts about quite confidently.

"The largest male, the black one there, is Li, the Flock Leader. The only other male is Jin-Ho, the small green one there."

You see a small Kiai with brilliant iridescent green feathers marked with white and red. He has a set of small black horns as well. He appears quite petite when compared with the others.

"The rest are brood females," Ramona says, "including Cienwyn here." She reaches through the bars of the aviary to stroke the feathers of a beautiful, pure white Kiai perched near a food dish. It coos quietly and rubs its head against Ramona's fingers.

"Why are they caged?" you ask. You were under the impression that this was a refuge, not a zoo. Ramona smiles.

"The Kiai are domesticated exotics, not at all accustomed to the predators and dangers present here at the Refuge. They are kept in the aviary for their own protection. They can leave whenever they wish, but they all seem happy to stay in this protected aviary with their flock."

"Oh," you say, seeing how the fragile creatures could be in danger here. It would be like throwing a prized show chicken out into the middle of a forest.

"Shall we move on?" Ramona asks.

You nod, having seen enough of the entrancing creatures. You want to get to the real mythical creatures of the Refuge.

Ramona turns and starts walking towards the edge of the nearby forest.

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Layout and content copyright © Rachel Gratis 2003. Layout photograph from Image Cafe. All creatures in this Refuge are copyright to their creators. Respect copyright and do not take images or content from these pages.

Last Updated: June 16, 2004