"What's a featherdrake?" you ask as Ramona moves through the brush ahead of you.
"They are small drakes with feathered wings," she says. "Very nice creatures generally... a bit flighty though. Pilani is their caretaker, so we're heading for her home." Ramona shoves her way through a large bush, disappearing. You follow quickly, not wanting to lose sight of her.
A few minutes later, something flashes by your heads. All you see is a flash of brilliant blue before a large rumble of thunder explodes around you.
"Oy!" Ramona protests, clapping her hands over her ears. You wince and rub yours. Everything temporarily sounds muted, and the silence seems to ring.
"What was that?" you ask, probably more loudly than you intended.
Ramona growls something. Sounds like she said "tarantula", you think. Your ears are still ringing a bit, but Ramona starts moving again.
After a few more minutes, you spot a small cottage up ahead. It is cheerful in appearance, with a faint stream of smoke coming from the chimney and flowers and bushes planted decoratively around the perimeter. As you get closer, a small path appears, obviously laid by the cottage's owner. The door to the cottage opens as the two of you approach. In the doorway stands a beautiful young woman. Her skin is so pale it is almost luminous, and her hair is a light blue color. Even though she is not moving, you expect that she has an inate sense of balance and grace. You can make out a shadowy form floating in the air behind her head.
"Hello!" the woman calls, raising an arm in greeting. "Welcome!"
"Hello, Pilani," Ramona answers as you reach the base of the front steps.
"I am so glad you decided to come by. I have put on tea. Please, come in!" Pilani says.
You enter the cottage, which is just as cheerful on the inside. There are brightly colored fabrics everywhere to cushion the wooden interior. The kitchen table is obviously used often. On the fire, a kettle is heating. Perched to the side of the table is Sylfint, wagging his tails happily at the new arrivals. Suddenly, you get an odd feeling, like someone is watching you. You turn to look... and throw your head back in surprise when you see an odd head staring at you, about a hand's length from you.
"Oh, sorry, she tends to do that. Tristra Maye, stop that and come over here." Pilani says, making a shooing motion at the floating creature.
As the creature pulls back, you get a better look at it. It is ashy gray color, with darker black in a stripe down its throat and belly. It is long and graceful, with smooth skin, like a snake, but it has a more equine head and a set of large feathery wings. A featherdrake, you think with interest. For her part, Tristra Maye seems to be examining you with the same interest. "Hello," you say to her, testing.
She flips her wings in response and makes a trilling noise. Then, she circles around Pilani, watching as the woman sets up a tray with cups and saucers.
"Please, have a seat," Pilani insists. You and Ramona move to sit at the table. Sylfint immediately moves to sit on the floor next to you. He is tall enough that he doesn't need a chair to sit at the table. As you are waiting for Pilani to bring the kettle off the fire, an orange flash dives in through the window. You start but then realize it is a second featherdrake. This one is brilliant orange with a black throat stripe. It flashes around the room in circles, and it is soon joined by yet another featherdrake, which flips in through the window with a second orange featherdrake right on its tail. The first orange drake pauses to watch as the deep green and brown featherdrake that entered is chased around the room by the second orange featherdrake.
"Melii, stop chasing Edge!" Pilani demands as the two whip precariously close by the racks of glasses along one of the counters. Melli, the second orange featherdrake slows to a halt, flipping her head in what appears to be annoyance. The green drake, Edge, seems to trill in relief and comes to hover with the first orange drake. The two perch on one of the rafters above the table and look down at you. Melii perches a short distance away on the rafter, and Edge watches her warily. Tristra Maye continues fluttering a short distance behind Pilani as she comes to the table to pour the tea. It is fragrant and herbal, smelling of lemons and earth. Yet two more featherdrakes choose to enter at this point, a bright pink drake with a green belly, and a peacock blue one with throat and wings in shades of gray.
"You!" Ramona cries, pointing at the blue featherdrake. The drake gives her a confused look.
"Don't play innocent, missy, you nearly deafened us both!" Ramona scolds.
"I told her to signal me when you were coming," Pilani says sheepishly. "I apologize if her thunderclap caused you any pain."
"She made that noise?" you ask in surprise, looking at the diminuative creature.
"Featherdrakes have their own brand of magic, and each type has their own colors and their own magic." Ramona explains. "Tarentella here is a Thunder Featherdrake... you can guess why."
So that's what she was saying on the path, you realize. Tarentella, not tarantula. "Ah, so what types are the other featherdrakes?"
"Well, Tristra Maye is a Smoke," Pilani says. "Christian and Melii, the two orange ones, are Coals. Edge is a Bark, and Soonsii, the pink one there, is a Spring." She takes a seat at the table, and Tristra Maye perches on the empty chair next to her.
"You certainly have a lot of them," you say, looking around and counting... six featherdrakes.
"Well, originally only Tarentella stayed with me here, but eventually the others were here so much that they just built their aeyries right around the cottage."
"Aeyries... nests?" you ask, and watch as Pilani adds a dollup of honey to your cup.
"Exactly," she says. "They treat the house just like any other part of the forest, and I don't mind. I enjoy the company."
You take a sip of the hot tea, and you find it pleasantly fruity. Looking up, you notice that Pilani also has perpared a cup for Tristra Maye, and as you watch, the drake slips down to perch on the table and sip at the hot liquid. Drawn by the sight of the Smoke drinking tea, the pink drake, Soonsii also comes down to slurp from the cup. You watch, examining the graceful creatures in amusement. Tarentella carefully comes over and perches on the empty chair, watching Ramona warily.
"I forgive you," Ramona says to her from across the table. "Next time, though, will you be a bit kinder to my ears and not divebomb?"
"What are the other featherdrakes' powers?" you ask, trying to make conversation while you finish your cup of tea.
"Tarentella can also find valuable materials... you know, metals and ores," Pilani informs you. "The Coal Featherdrakes can find dry wood and coal and create heat. Bark Edge can change colors, as well as the colors of objects around him. Soonsii is an empath, with sense of and control over emotions, and Tristra Maye can produce fog and navigate in any situation."
"Interesting," you say, looking at each of the featherdrakes. You notice that Tarentella has come to the table as well, and between the three featherdrakes, the cup of tea has been drained. Spring Soonsii slithers over to sit near your cup. As she stares at you, you suddenly start feeling very relaxed. It's a little disorienting... a bit like floating... Your gaze wanders over the table... Ramona is draining her cup of tea... Soonsii is sipping out of yours...
"Hey," you say in surprise, snapping out of your trance-like state. Soonsii looks up and licks her snout, having taken the last of your tea and the film of honey at the bottom of the cup. Ramona laughs.
"She loves pulling that trick... she knows better than to try it on me, but you made an easy target, my friend," she says. Soonsii flutters up into the rafters to perch next to Melii.
"Well, how do you like that..." you wonder aloud. Everyone has finished their cups of tea by this point. Sylfint is fidgeting and looking at the door, obviously bored and ready to run and play outside.
"Thank you very much for the tea, Pilani. We should be going, as we have much ground to cover." Ramona says, rising from her chair and brushing off her shirt. You get up slowly, still feeling a bit odd from Soonsii's magic trick. Sylfint jumps up and wags his tails.
*Yes, thanks, Pilani!* He says. *See you tomorrow!* The featherdrakes watch as you, Sylfint, and Ramona make your way to the door.
"Thank you," you say to Pilani, who smiles.
"You are more than welcome," she returns, opening the door for you. Sylfint trots out the door, and you see him break into a gallop and crash away through the brush once outside. Pilani smiles after him with a motherly gaze.
"Good day," Ramona says as she exits, nodding to the woman.
"Windspeed," Pilani wishes you as you go and watches you move away from the stairs before gently closing the door. As you leave, the two Coal featherdrakes soar over your heads, weaving around branches and playing a version of tag.
"So, where are we going?" You ask Ramona.
"Wherever the wind may take us!" she says. You wonder if she's kidding.
View Tristra Maye
Featherdrakes from Featherdrake Aeyries
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Last Updated: June 16, 2004