Myrrh and Onions in Port Legann


The fall when Daine was 13…
About more than 2 months after Daine had found Kitten…

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Numair's tower…

Daine decided to visit Cloud and went into the kitchens to grab an apple. The housekeeper was in the kitchen and beamed motherly at Daine when Daine told her of her request.

"Of course, of course, we have stocked up on apples and animal feed since you came," the housekeeper said. The housekeeper reached into the barrel of apples and got Daine a few apples. "Eat one for yourself. It is not good for a youngling to be so scrawny." Daine hid a smile, the housekeeper was on a personal vendetta to fatten Daine up.

"Thank you," Daine said and walked towards the stables. "Come on Kitten." Daine said to her dragonet (who had recently learnt how to walk, though prone to falling down at times), which followed acquiescently.

The Housekeeper smiled bemusedly, watching the 13-year-old walk away with her dragonet. The former remembered when she first saw the girl that she heard so many rumors about…

A tall man with a powerful build with black hair and dark eyes came into the kitchen. His long dark eyelashes might seem girlish on any other man, but this feature only emphasised his enigmatic eyes. Behind him trailed a girl, brown curls tumbled around her thin shoulders. Her large blue gray eyes were framed with extravagant eyelashes, her soft mouth revealed vulnerability, but was contradicted by her stubborn chin. The man towered over the girl by more than a foot, 'But then again' the housekeeper thought, 'he probably towers over everyone else.' After all, the man was six foot five and was in a "lofty" position. The housekeeper realised the man was calling her name. "Sorry Master Salmalin, didn't hear you the first time."

"It is all right. This is Daine, Veralidaine Sarrasri, my student," Numair said.

"Hello," Daine said, her slight accent hinted her Galla origins.

A flash of light captured the housekeeper's attention and she looked at its source which was in the girl's arms. The housekeeper had at first thought that the girl was carrying a large sleeping cat, but now upon second glance, she wondered how she could have mistaken it for a cat. The creature was pale blue, with a slender muzzle and silver claws. As the creature woke up, the housekeeper had a glimpse of blue reptilian slitted eyes. The creature, seeming to be suddenly aware of its new surroundings, sat up and chirped, looking inquisitively around. It wriggled in the girl's arm, revealing its tiny wings on its back.

"Stop wriggling Kit, this is not the time to explore," Daine said, holding the creature more firmly.

"Oh yes," Numair said, "This is the dragon Skysong."

"But we call her Kitten," Daine quipped…

…An eagle's screech interrupted the Housekeeper's reverie and she shook her head free of memories. "Well then, better get started on the cleaning," the housekeeper said to a marmalade cat, Orange, (Daine had impetuously rescued it from a group of village boys) which climbed upon the kitchen counter. "Now I am talking to animals like Daine is," she said, smiling, picked up Orange and went out of the kitchen.

As Daine walked to the stables beneath the large leafy trees, she kept an eye on her ward who was peacefully toddling beside her. 'The leaves are about to turn colour,' Daine thought. 'A sign that the Big Cold was around the corner. I wonder how Brokefang is…' Daine turned her thoughts away and reflected on the recent events.

After the siege at Pirate's Swoop, Numair, Alanna, Queen Thayet, Buri, Ouna, Sarge and the Rider trainees all returned to the palace to report to the King, Daine (still indecisive on where to stay since Kitten came into her care) followed them back. When Numair returned home, she decided to follow him. The Riders would not need her in the winter and she would need to continue her studies. Besides that, the forest that held the inhabitants who helped her in the siege was near there and she wanted to find out how they were.

When they reached Numair's tower, Numair had immediately hired a new housekeeper (he fired the last one when she unfortunately interrupted him during his experiments). Daine guessed that Numair had taken Alanna's words on how "Daine needed females to talk to" to heart. Knowing his student and her habit to feed animals, Numair instructed his housekeeper to stock up in an attempt to "bribe" Daine into staying.

The moment Daine entered the stables, the horses perked up and went to their stalls' doors. A shaggy gray mountain pony neighed in greeting. I see you have brought the dragonet again. Cloud remarked. Kitten lumbered to a stop before Cloud's stall and put her front paws on the door, chirping in greeting.

Yes, she has recently learnt how to walk and I don't want her lumbering around, in case she breaks anything. Daine sent.

Is that an apple I smell? Cloud said, sniffing Daine's pockets.

Daine fished out the apple and gave it to Cloud. Cloud bumped the door of her stall, which sent Kitten tumbling backwards.

"Kit! Are you all right?" Daine asked anxiously, kneeling next to her charge. Daine put Kitten on her lap and examined her charge.

Stop coddling Kit. She is perfectly fine. She is not a fragile stalk of flower. Cloud said irritably.

"But she is barely 3 months old and I don't know anything about baby dragons!" Daine said. However, when Kitten wriggled, Daine let her squirm off her lap.

Satisfied that Kitten was all right, Daine walked over to the other stalls and gave the horses apples as well. Hello Spots! Daine said cheerfully at Numair's gelding.

I am glad you came to visit. I could really use some exercise. I have been cooped up here all day long. Spots said plaintively, leaning his head against Daine's palm when she scratched his ears.

Kitten is playing with hay. Cloud interrupted, munching her apple.

"Well, she can have fun once in a while. I don't see any harm in that," Daine said.

She is putting it in her mouth. Cloud elaborated.

Daine quickly picked up her dragonet and took the bits of hay Kit was trying to chew out of her mouth. "No, Kitten, you can't eat hay! Bad, bad, bad Skysong!" Daine said, unconsciously mimicking her mother. Kitten simply sneezed and wriggled out of Daine's grasp. "Stay out of trouble or I'll lock you in my room," Daine warned her charge who went to investigate the horses' stalls.

She is the most inquisitive animal I have ever met. Even more than the marmalade cat you brought in. Spots said.

"Daine!"

Stork man calls you. Cloud commented.

Before Daine could respond, Numair charged into the stables and said, "I just got a message from the king. Pirates are attacking Port Legann and he wants us to help out."

Daine nodded, thinking of the siege at Pirate's Swoop where she was essential in the defeat of the invaders by asking her animal friends to help.

"Is that all right with you?" Numair asked quietly. "If you do not want to risk your animal friends to injury, you can stay here till I return." He remembered the siege at Pirate's Swoop where Daine had earlier objected to asking her animal friends to fight.

However, Daine had come to terms with it with the help of Ouna. "Don't be silly," Daine said. "It's their home as well and they have every right as we do to defend it."

"Very well then, we leave for Port Legann after I get our supplies today, we should be there about a week or more, depending on the length of the pirate's attack," Numair said. Kitten lumbered up to Numair, plunked herself firmly on his foot and nibbled his breeches.

"How about Kitten? I can't leave her behind," Daine said worriedly.

"We can bring her along if you feel that she is up to it," Numair said, looking down at Kitten, who was contentedly gnawing his breeches. "I don't think she would be of any hindrance."

"Come on Kit, we have some packing to do," Daine said, bending down and picked her charge off Numair's foot.

I think I am going to get my exercise after all. Sports commented.


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Port Legann

Numair and Daine rode hard to reach Port Legann. The pirates might have managed to successful in their raid if it wasn't for a few ships from the navy (which was hurriedly called back earlier on when Pirate's Swoop was attacked). The ships, (which were lured off by other raids, so that Eddace could attack without any interference from the navy) only reached Tortallian waters after the whole battle at Pirate's Swoop was finished. However, they proved useful when Port Legann was attacked, as they simply changed course and helped to defend Port Legann.

The battle was a rout with the aid of the navy and the two nearby companies of King's Own, (who had lingered at Pirate's Swoop to clean up). All Numair and Daine had to do was to help in the mopping up. However, one of the pirate ships had managed to pass the breakwaters and there was a high possibility of stragglers as well as Stormwings.

Numair, Daine, as well as Alanna (who had said upon their arrival at Port Legann, "We really must stop meeting like this. Don't get me wrong, I am happy to see you, but it seems to be getting a habit to meet you under dramatic circumstances.") and a mix group of Port Legann soldiers and King's Own went out to help in the mopping up. Daine was afraid that Kitten might get hurt and left a gray Kitten sulking under the bed.

They were presently walking along the docks, most of the crates were haphazardly thrown about, and some were torn open, its contents spilled out. Noting the marks on the crates, Daine knew it was the work of Stormwings. She had her bow in hand and quiver ready.

Looking at the chaotic scene, Alanna sighed, "It is going to take some time to clear this mess up." They all had mounts, but Alanna (who was leading) decided to go on foot as the floor was slippery with the crates' contents spilled on the floor (much to Numair's relief as he was a terrible rider). Daine had a "gold feeling" in her head (reminiscent of Kit's mother), but could not figure where it was coming from. According to her magical senses, it should be near them, but she could not see any immortal in the skies. Since her companions made no comment about any approaching immortals or the like, she decided to keep quiet, not wanting to draw attention to herself.

Suddenly, Spots (who was trailing behind Numair) stumbled over some rosemary, but managed to regain his balance. However, he upset Numair's pack and its contents fell hitter skitter. A blue dragonet tumbled out of the pack.

"Kitten! What are you doing here?" Daine exclaimed. "You are supposed to stay put in the room." She rushed to her charge's side, worried that the fall might have some injurious effect to Kit. Kitten got to her feet and shook herself, sending rosemary flying all over the place. Numair and Alanna went on their knees, picking up Numair's magical tools that he might have needed. Daine immediately helped them to put the things back in the pack.

"I can't imagine how Kitten managed to smuggle in my pack," Numair said, frowning at Kitten. "It must be when I left it at the stables for the stable boy to load it on." Kitten blushed, indicating that Numair had been accurate in his guess.

"One thing bad in having your skin colour change according to your moods is that everyone can tell what you feel," Alanna remarked, shaking her head, but smiled. "Since this stowaway is so eager to come along, I guess she will be all right, just as long as she stays near us." Numair's pack was placed back on Spots' back and Cloud agreed to keep an eye on Kitten. With the knowledge that Cloud would look after Kitten like her own foal, Daine left them and caught up with the red hair and purple eyed King's Champion.

"Lioness, I am sorry about Kit. I really did tell her to stay put," Daine said apologetically.

Alanna holding her unsheathed sword, with her eyes scouring behind every nook and cranny, replied, "I know that. I am not angry with you or anything. I know how hard it is to get younglings to stay put." Turning around to look at Daine, she smiled, "Don't forget, I have some younglings of my own." She touched Daine's shoulder and said, "So don't worry about it. Come on, this area is clear."

Relieved, Daine followed after Alanna, picking her way through the strewn spices. As they neared their mounts (the meeting point) and the others, Alanna suddenly stopped and Daine slammed into the knight.

"What is it?" Daine asked.

"Strange," Alanna said, "These crates are untouched. I wonder what is in there... I hope it is not some booby trap. I'll get Numair to check it out."

Daine felt a familiar wrongness surge behind her eyes. "Stormwings are coming!" Daine yelled. Everyone went alert, weapons ready in hand.

"I don't see any Stormwing," a solider from Port Legann, who was standing near Daine, muttered quietly after a terse silence.

"Shh…" One of the member of the King's Own said quietly. "It's that girl I have been telling you about."

"Ohh…" the solider from Port Legann said, and went silent.

Their exchange was very quiet, but Daine who was standing near them, heard them and went red. Daine glanced at Kitten, assured with the knowledge that Cloud would defend her, she concentrated her attention on the approaching Stormwings.

A pack of Stormwings suddenly materialised from mid air. 'Cloaking spells,' Daine thought. They swooped down, with their razor claws and metallic wings glinting in the sunlight. Daine carefully picked her targets and her arrows went clean through all of them. A Stormwing was about to grab Alanna from behind when Daine swung around and shot the Stormwing through the throat, sending it crashing into another Stormwing. A few Stormwings separated from their pack and attacked the mounts. Cloud and Spots simultaneously reared and kicked the unscathed boxes that Alanna had recently scrutinised.

The boxes flew high in the air and smashed against the attacking Stormwings. Onions pelted all over the Stormwing pack. "YUCK, YUCK, YUCK!" the lead Stormwing exclaimed, shaking herself, sending onion fragments flying on her counterparts.

Another Stormwing exclaimed, "I HATE onions. Smelly and ….." repeating an obvious long-suffering litany. The Stormwings sneezed and their eyes teared. They were all clawing at themselves, trying to get the onions off. Two rather desperate Stormwings, tried to dive into the sea to wash off the onions, but unfortunately crashed into each other.

"They hate onions…" Alanna muttered. She picked up some onions from the floor and threw them at the Stormwings. They hit squarely at some agitated Stormwings who apparently had enough of the fiasco and they flew off. The rest of the Stormwings soon followed suit.

"Isn't it just bizarre? Stormwings, scavengers of the dead, terror of nightmares, which do not seem to be put off by their disgusting smell, hate onions?" Alanna said, shaking her head. "This is amazing."

"No, this is ironic," Numair said, walking over.

Daine got up from her kneeling position. The solider from Port Legann who had earlier crticised Daine, said to her, "I see the tales of you are true. I am honoured to fight beside such an excellent archer. Please don't take offence to my earlier comment."

Daine went all beet red and replied, "It's all right. I don't know what you heard, but it is probably exaggerated." She quickly walked towards her charge to check how Kit was from the fighting.

She was intercepted by Alanna, who told her solemnly, "I owe you. "

"No, no, no, you don't. You would have killed that Stormwing even if I had not shot it," Daine said, shaking her head vehemently.

"No, I wouldn't, he got through my guard, even you and I know that," Alanna said quietly, with a determined glint in her famous amethyst eyes.

"Well, I would have done it for anyone, you don't owe me, you have helped me more than enough," Daine said firmly.

Alanna was about to open her mouth to reply when Numair interrupted, "We better go back and tell the others our interesting tidbit." He put his hands on the knight's shoulders and steered her towards the horses, discreetly winking at Daine.

Daine sighed with relief, she had no wish for Alanna to be indebted to her. She knew from past experience that she would not last in her battle of wills against Alanna.

Daine shook her head and turned back towards her former direction. She stopped cold in her tracks. "KIT! Get away from that!" Daine yelled and rushed towards Kitten. Everyone turned to look, but Daine was too worried to care. Kitten was standing near a crate with its contents spilled on the floor and was presently chewing a mouthful of that substance. Daine picked up an unremorseful Kitten who swallowed the substance wholeheartedly.

"Kit, can't you stay out of trouble? What is it, Numair?" Daine anxiously asked the lanky mage who knelt down to look at the substance.

"It's myrrh," he said, straightening himself, frowning at Kitten.

"Horse lords," Daine breathed. "Will Kit be all right, she seemed to have swallowed quite a bit of it."

"I am afraid that I do not have sufficient academic, theoretical nor practical evidence to form a proper thesis on Kit's condition. However, I did hear about the Draconian codex, which contains...." Numair said, tugging his nose.

"Numair! This is NOT a time to display your learning like a peacock would his feathers!" Daine impulsively exclaimed.

"Feathers?" Numair repeated, startled. "Peacock?"

"Numair, this not a time to go dumb," Daine said.

"Go, dum..." Numair spluttered, then caught himself, took a deep breath and said, "Frankly, I don't know. It has been centuries since the last dragon roamed the mortal realms. I have to check it up." Numair said, he took Kitten from Daine, and examined her. "She seems all right, her colour is still a healthy blue gold and she does not seem like she is going to regurgitate. I think that we just have to carefully monitor Skysong for the next few days. However, I am not a healer," Numair remarked and turned to Alanna, passing Kit to her, "What do you think?"

"Normally, a human would throw up…" Alanna said, looking at Kitten who burped, letting out a puff of smoke from her mouth. "Skysong seems all right. My opinion does not matter here as I am only the healer of humans. Maybe you should try checking her, after all, you did heal her when she was in her mother's womb," Alanna said and passed Kit to Daine.

"What is this, pass the dragonet around?" Daine muttered under her breath. As they rode back to report, Daine slipped into a healing trance after asking Cloud to give her a smooth ride as possible, carefully examining Kitten.

When she got out of the trance, Numair fell back and asked, "How is her condition?"

"She seems all right, no different before she swallowed marrh," Daine said.

"Myrrh," Numair corrected. "I guess all we can do now is to monitor her situation."

"I just hope that myarrh does not have an adverse effect on her," Daine said worriedly.

"Myrrh," Numair said.

"If I didn't know better, I wouldn't have know she swallowed myrraf, meerriff, or whatchamacallit," Daine commented, looking at her happy dragonet.

"Myrrh," Numair said persistently.

"Oh Kit," Daine sighed, ignoring Numair. "What am I going to do with you?"

Kitten answered with a smoky burp.


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Note : Most of these characters belong exclusively to Tamora Pierce. This story is 1% of what TP mentioned and 99% of what I made up. In case you are wondering, I am just expanding on the incidents briefly mentioned in her books. You may find, like I did, there were several interesting incidents mentioned, but brushed past for various reasons. This may be due to TP's page limit of only 200 pages. (Sigh… Wish there were a 100 more… ) Anyway, if you are wondering "What incident? Where?", well…

In Wolf Speaker, Daine had told Maura that Numair and her found out that Stormwings hate onions when they helped mop up at Port Legann after a pirate raid last fall. (This is real, you can go check it out yourself) In Emperor Mage, Daine mentioned to Kaddar that when Kitten was 3 months old, she ate a box of myrrh. I estimated that these two incidents must have coincided with each other.