Fox quest

By Natalie Wallace

Chapter one: the beginning

A hundred years ago there were seven tribes. The tribes were known as the fox, wolf, tiger, lion, cheetah, panther, and leopard. There were these four kids from the fox tribe. The names of these children were Allun, Rowan, John and Natalie. They were all playing and having fun one day and Natalie had a sense of dread that there land was being invaded by a terrible person or being. It all started that morning when she got up. She was thinking that it was nothing but as the day wore on that feeling grew more to a concern like she needed to tell someone. She kept it a secret for as long as she could keep it but she had to tell someone. She decided to tell Allun the one she had known the longest. "Allun. I need to talk to you. It is an urgent mater." she said. "OK, go." He replied. "Well I have been having a feeling of dread, sense this morning. I was wondering if I should have told someone but I said that I should wait and see if it grows or if any one notices my uneasiness. It grew and now this is where I am at right now. Telling you." She answered him. "Does this feeling tell you that we're like being invaded? I think we should tell the others." Replied Allun. "I have thought of that and I agree with you. I will tell Rowan, you tell John. Let's go. Meet at your house." She said while she was running toward Rowans house. *** "Rowan. I need to talk to you," called Natalie into the shadows of his room. "Well of course you need to. What is it you need to talk to me about?" replied a familiar voice behind her. She jumped and turned around, slowly. "You scared me. Well I have been having a feeling of dread for the past lot of hours. I have been thinking that we have been invaded. I have told Allun this too. He is telling John this also." She replied. "Well that changes things. I think that we should meet at your house and tell your dad." He answered. She recoiled at her dad's name because he is the one that told her that they were being invaded. "You are hiding something from me. I saw the way you recoiled at your dad's name. What is on your mind," he mumbled. "Well, my dad told me that we were being invaded and you know the rest of it," she mummer. "Why would he tell you that?" he asked her.

"Well i have been noticing wired things, like the clouds in the south near the harbor. They are black and they are coming from across the sea. Haven't you looked at it, yet," said Natalie. "I have noticed. I think your father is hiding something from you. Oh, I forgot to tell you but your father told me something I will never, ever, ever, ever in my whole life forget," replied Rowan.

"What did he tell you?" Natalie asked. "He told me not to tell you. I promised him I would not. You know that I keep my promises no matter what," he answered. "We have to go to the bakery and meet Allun and John there. I told them that we would meet them there. You remember that Allun and his mother live there?" she told him.

"Yes I remember. You didn't have to remind me that he lived there. Let's go before we are late." He replied.

"Are we late?" asked Natalie breathlessly, when they got in Allun's house. "No. In fact you're right on time. Really you are late. We thought that you and Rowan was not going to come," he replied curtly. "We were coming, you stupid fur ball. I may as well not be here if you keep acting like that." She retorted back angrily. "Natalie calm down. You don't need to be that mean to Allun. As for you Allun you don't talk to a girl like that. You don't get a girl to like you like that, they will just think that you are stupid. Now think." John said. "You are right john. I'm sorry Allun. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. John may i talk to alone please."

"Sure. What is it." He asked. "I was wondering if you would like to be my boy friend before we do what we are going to do. I love you. I always have." She answered. "I just realized that I love you too. I never known that. I say yes you can be my girlfriend." He said. They walked together hand in hand into the other room with love in there eyes. "What happened?" demanded Allun. "We are girlfriend and boyfriend." answered Natalie. "Oh, I'm so happy for you. You have grown up Natalie."said Rowan sarcastically. "Very funny. Look are we going to get any where with you blabbering like this," she retorted back.

"She is right. We need to be having a serious talk on the mater at hand. I have a few questions to ask. First off, do you guys think that we should alert are clan leader about this to see if the other clans are having the same trouble? Why are these thing's happening? Are we going to try to go to a new land, if so how are we going to get there anyways?" he asked them. "I for one agree with you that we should alert the clan leader and ask if we could travel to the other clans leaders to ask if they are almost starving like us or if they are having trouble. I am stumped on the on the other questions. I feel helpless. But I have an idea of who the suspect is. I personally think it is my father because he is the one that told me in the first place that we were being invaded by somebody and according to Rowan my father is not telling me something. Or Justen the wood puppet carver. Who do you think it is?" she suggested with a shrug of her shoulders.

"I think that you are correct about who the suspects are. Lets wait and see tomorrow if any more thing's unusual happen to make us talk again. We need to chose on whose house to meet at next time. I vote that we meet at my house."said John. "I for one agree with you John." Agreed Natalie. "I'll go along with this one."said Rowan with good nature.

Allun just nodded in thought. "Remember when I had a brother and how we had a special thing with each other well he just wasn't here one day along time ago. I always thought that he was alive but I have this taste on my lips that I can't remember what it is. I think it has to do with him not being here any more. I have been having dreams that I was locked in a cage in the darkness. I guess that is where my little brother is right now. Where is he now, is the real question that I want to know? When did he get taken? Why was he taken? Where was he taken? Why didn't I get taken instead of him?" he asked them.

"Yes we remembered when he got taken. We, well I don't have the answer to your questions. I do wonder the same things that you do Allun. I really liked your little brother. How old was your brother when he got taken away? I wonder why and how he was taken? I guess that we will never know until we find out what is going on." Natalie replied sadly. "He was always one year younger than I was. So if I am 19 now he must be 18 now. I am so worried for him. I feel like going on a quest to save him. I have to think on that one for a bit." Allun answered back. "I think that we should go now so that he could think on things."suggested John. "Bye Allun. See you tomorrow."said Natalie.

The next day Allun said to his friends "I want to go and save my little brother from wherever he is." "You can't go with out me, John and Rowan. It's just uncalled for. We stick together like peanut butter and jelly. I for one want it to stay like that no matter the difficulties that we have to face. I would like to come with you. Of course we need to think of a way to get past our parents. We have to pack and all. My guess is that you have a plan. Tell me,"she said.

"Thank you for wanting to come with me. I do have a plan. I'm thinking that we could say that we are going on a student run field trip to a surprise place in side our boundaries. And that we don't know how long we are going to be there at the mystery place. When we are under way we should be heading in the direction of the leaders town of lorax, we should talk to the leader and gain his permission to go on to the other clans to talk. That is my plan."he replied. "I would like to go with you. I don't want to go with out Natalie. I want to protect her. What about you Rowan."John said.

"I would like to come. Wait, I have a question. What rolls are we going to play?"Rowan replied. "I was thinking that john can be the planer and are leader. Then you could be the look out person at the back and me beside John. Then Natalie could be the navigator with a map."Allun replied. "I could provide horses so then we don't have to walk all the time."said Natalie.

"That is brilliant Natalie. I totally forgot that you live on a farm. Thanks." Gasped Allun. "It's what I do. So you're welcome Allun."she replied. "For once you two are not nipping at each other."said John. "Very funny john. But this is important. We have to decide what to do next. So what should we do."said Allun. "We just have problems galore, don't we?"asked Natalie. "We can start all over in the morning and get a fresh start on thinking. Natalie can we meet at your house after we get all our stuff and have a good night sleep."answered and asked Rowan.

"That is OK with me. I am not sure about my father thought. We can meet in the barn that way my father won't know that I have friends over. So tomorrow then, in the barn. Remember to pack light OK."she replied. "Bye guys. See you tomorrow."said John. "See you."said Natalie. "Bye."said Rowan. With a little nod of farewell, they went to there homes. "Hey Natalie. Can I sleep at your house tonight? Please."said John. "OK. My dad, as I said, is OK with me having friends over morning or night. Go get your stuff and come over right away. Is that OK with you, John,"said Natalie.

"Ya, that is OK with me. I will have to ask my mom first,"replied John, with a longing glance at her. "Sure, but be quick about it. I don't want to wait any longer than I have to. I'll meet you at my house."said Natalie. 'please hurry,' thought Natalie. 'I don't want anything bad to happen to you. We don't want bad miss givings on things.' She ran to her house as fast as she could. 'The barn. Why am I in here? I guess it is the only place I could think on things. It is really comfortable in here. I will ask dad if I could sleep in here for the night.'thought Natalie.

She went back out side and found her father at the front porch on look out. "Dad. I have a question to ask you. I was wondering if i could sleep in the barn tonight, and I was also wondering if i could have a friend sleep over? Oh. I didn't tell you but i have a new thing for school and I have to go some where for a long time for research on new types of rocks and fossils. No expense or any thing else. It is just me going with a few friends," said she.

"Yes to all the things. You better pack now if you are to go in the morning. Let me guess you told them to meet at are house and that they could use are horses as well," he said with a questioning stare at her. "Yes. Is that OK with you," she asked.

"Yes that is OK with me as long as you don't tire out the horses to much," advised her father. "Thanks, dad," she whispered. She went inside, up stars and into her own room. 'OK. What do I need. First I better get all the things I am going to need. I need deodorant. 3 pairs of cloths for extra, plus the cloths that I would ware tomorrow. Bandanna and a bush, with hair ties. And a book that is not the library book. Give the library books to my dad,"she mumbled half to her self. Bring, bring. "That should be John,"she yelped. She ran down the stairs to the door.

"Hi John. Oh, good you brought your stuff. I knew you would come. I was just starting to pack my stuff in my bag," she pushed the words out because she was really out of breath. He came in with a word of Hi and thanks. "Where are we going to sleep?"asked John. "I was thinking of the barn. It's worm in there. We should bring a few blankets so we don't get cold on the Journey to where whatever it brings us to," she replied. "I love the barn. Good choice. I really like the smell's of the barn. The hay smells good," said John.

"Well I'm glad you like it so much."she giggled. Natalie led the way up stairs to her room. As if unspoken words were spoken John helped Natalie pack her stuff. "Thanks for helping me pack my stuff,"said Natalie gratefully. "Let's go down stairs and get some grub, cause I'm starving. We could get some food to put in an extra bag. An extra bag could be helpful on our little quest," murmured John thoughtfully.

They went down stairs and ate some food. "Lets go," said Natalie. They went to the barn Natalie stopped to talk to her dad urgently. Then she came to the waiting John at the barn door. "Sorry for keeping you. I just needed to tell my dad a few words for in the morning," she replied to the questioning stare that john gave her. "It's OK." "I am glad to have you as my boyfriend. I am also glad to have you with me on this quest," thanked Natalie with sympathy in her eyes. "Your welcome,"John whispered with love in his eyes. "I have two questions to ask you. Would you do anything for me, at all? And would you protect me from bad things and wondering eyes," she asked. "Yes I would. Why do you ask," he muttered. "I asked because if you love me really deeply like i love you than maybe are love could be like romeo and Juliet. Haven't you ever thought of that? It would truly be amazing if we find Allun's little brother in one day and that we do it together. As a team," she replied with a question on her mind. "i think that we should have a team name then we could tell the others of the cool name that we have thought up for a long time. So lets think on this name of ours," said John. "i was thinking the same thing i thought of blue dynamite. How is that for a start on team names," she answered for the begging. "that is good. Lets tell the others in the morning when they get here."

"Good night my dear." Said John

"Good night my lovely," whispered Natalie

Chapter 2: the fake story

The next morning when Allun and Roman came to the house they asked where Natalie and John were. In a hushed voice Natalie's dad said they were in the barn sleeping or getting ready. they came jogging and opened the barn door to find that Natalie and Jhon were finishing getting ready. "Oh. Hey Guys. You ready to meet your mounts. I see you didn't bring your stuff, we will have to go to your houses to pick them up. OK, I call them in," she whistled and 4 horses came jogging in and stopped in front of the four friends, "These are my magnificent and loyal horses. The black one that has a nice coat is the one I will ride, his name is magic. The Grey with black dots is the one Allun will ride, her name is cowboy. The white one is the one John will ride, his name is bobby, and the bay or brown one is the one you will ride Rowan, her name is speckles. will you guys help me saddle and groom, blanket and check their hoofs aren't filled with dirt?"

In unison the boys said "sure. we would be glad to".

After it was all done they got on their mounts and they rode out of the barn together. "Dad. we're off. i want you to tell me something before I go," called Natalie as her dad came out. "Yes?" asked her dad. "Well rowan told me something that he said he won't tell me I want you to tell me. He said you were hiding something from me, I want to know what that something is. will you tell me now before i go on this field trip to somewhere."

"Fine, fine, fine. I guess it's time to tell you what happened. I know I should have told you last year when you were 15 years old. I feel horrible that I didn't tell you before this day. I knew it was coming but I didn't want to believe in it," he replied.

"What happened?"

"Well. When I found you, you looked to be about 3 or 4 years old. You were all beaten up and cut and all sorts of stuff. So i decided to take you in as my family. When you were 5 someone tried to take you from me a person i would never have thought to have wanted you. It was a person from the wolf clan that wanted to take you away from me. He named vast sums of money as a reward. He said he wanted to take you to a friend of his to live with him. I prayed to the gods. I don't know who that wolf person was but there was something in my gut that told me he was something important. I now realize that he was a general of the wolf clan in later years. I had to take you to a palace that was different than where I lived. So I came to the little town of fire. I am so sorry I haven't told you this for a long time. There is also one more thing that I have knowledge of but someone will tell you when you are ready. Now is not that time. Go while the day is young, you shouldn't have to be here listening to an old man like me. Have fun dear," he said quietly.

"Thanks dad. It means a lot to me." The 4 friends went and got all of the stuff they needed from Rowan's and Allun's house, then they left the little town of fire and didn't look back.

Chapter 3: the stranger

As they were riding Rowan noticed something a little ways behind them. Something was following but a little ways away, as if he was meant to be there. It seemed to Rowan that he came out of no where. A few minutes later he looked back and that mystery figure was still behind them but a little closer than he was like 15 minutes ago. Rowan a last put what he feared into words, "Guys. SOMETHING IS FOLLOWING US AND IT HAS BEEN FOLLOWING US FROM 15 MINUTES AGO," he said through clenched teeth. Only Natalie heard him say this.

She looked behind her and saw what he meant. Turning back around in her saddle she dug her heels into her horse and came a long beside Allun and John. "Guys. Someone is following us. Me and Rowan don't know what it is. Why don't we speed it up a bit so we can get to the patches of green up ahead."

"Hey. Rowan hurry up we are going to the spots of green ahead of us."

"OK. We should run now."

The four riders made there horses go at a faster speed to the green. Soon when they were in one of the greenery. "Look. He is still following us. We need to hide and then jump out when he come's by us. Hide," said Allun who looked behind him. "On my signal. I will signal the call of the jaguar."

They all hid in different spots close to the road. As soon as the strange rider was close enough to Natalie, Allun gave the signal. Jumping out of the shadows all four of them pushed and pulled the rider to the ground.

"To start off with. Who are you?" asked Natalie with a knife at hand.

The stranger answered something a little like this, "I am a FRIEND of your father Natalie. He sent me to watch over you and your friends, so you don't get yourselves killed. My name is Dikon. I have watch you from when you were born. I have lived long a very long time." said the stranger.

"Well Dikon. How long have you lived? How do you know me any ways?"

"The gods cursed me to live forever. In a way it is a blessing because i get to do so many things. But it is a curse because I can't get old and I have to stay the same age forever and I have to watch my loved ones die around me. I knew your father before he left you alone in the streets and I know the father you call dad. I have been friends with both of your dads for as long as I can remember. Your dad never mentioned me ever."

"No. At least I don't think so. Why do you care anyway?"

"Out of curiosity."

"What age do you call yourself?" asked John.

"My age is 18 years. but since i was cursed I would actually be a 100 years of age, in total."

"Oh. Then may I ask what happened to get you the way you are now?"Natalie beseech Dikon.

"I will tell you, but it may seem like a sad story in the end. Well, to start with, I was praying up in the mountains where the statue of the she wolf is, where the lights touch the earth. My face was facing her and I didn't notice someone was coming up from behind me. When the person was close enough to touch me he attacked me. We fought for 5 minutes until I prayed to the gods to help me. They came down from the skies and helped me defeat the attacker. Finally when I couldn't stand on my feet any longer I fell crashing to the floor. When the attacker was killed by the goddess she came back to find me on the ground with a pool of my own blood. I soon found out it was from my side when the anonymous person hit me in the side with his knife. She was sorry for me. So she gave me a bit of her power. The power to live forever. She healed me in less than 3 minutes by putting her hands on my wound and concentrating very hard to heal me. It took a lot of her strength." he explained showing his scar.

"How can you live forever?"wondered Rowan allowed.

"I should put it so you four would understand. So there are gods, immortal beings that live forever, and Humans, beings that die when they get old, And there are ones who are in between gods and humans. Ones that are humans but that live a long time. If you get killed for battle and someone loves you, you will be sent back to earth and live forever again. It may seem like a gift to and in some ways it is but it is a curse of it's own kind that me and my kind have to live with for the rest of our lives. To see loved ones die in battle or of sickness." he explained with sadness as he whispered the last words out very softly that barely any one could have heard him.

"Oh. I didn't know it was that bad to live forever. Who is this special girl that you speak of? You seemed sad as you said the last words." Natalie faltered.

"Her name was Alexandria. She was 17 and I was 18. We were captured by the leopard tribe. Alexandria and I were from the cheetah tribe back then..."he was saying until he was cut off by Allun.

"Leopard tribe. Really? You were with the Leopard tribe. I heard what they do they do to there captives are truly brutal and cruel. Getting torn by dogs, being burnt, lashed to death, even starved them. I also heard that their leader is one of the captives that got to choose if they wanted to die or live with them, so he chose to live with them instead of death. If I was him I would choose death rather than join those scoundrels."Allun interrupted rudely

"Yes. They are cruel to the ones held captive but when we, meaning me and Alexandria, where there they gave us two things to choose from - number one to choose from was get lashed then join them, second thing to choose from was joining them right then and there to work hard to earn a living. I chose the first one - to be whipped. Alexandria didn't choose ether of the two choices so they had to keep her locked up in a cell under the head buildings that was first made. Before she went down there she was whipped for not choosing something. When I joined them I was taken to see her a few days later. Her eyes were sunken inside of her head, she was getting skinnier all the time. When we saw each other we were so happy that we both were alive. I had to leave and a few months later I was taken back to see her. When I saw her it was like she was just skin and bones that where heaped in the corner. A few days later I got news that she had been found dead on the floor of the cell. I felt horrible about her death. it was a bitter blow to bear on the shoulders of one man."he explained

"That's horrible. I feel so bad for you. I can't imagine having the one that I love so dear die so brutally. I have one question left to ask, who sent you to come after us and join up with us?"begged Natalie with sorrow in her voice.

"Well. The one called dad sent me after you to ask if I can tag along and see if I can be of any use to you where you were going. Anyways I hope you don't mind me asking you but where are you going to?"he wondered.

"Me and my group members need to talk,"Natalie said, "look I have a question, what do we tell him? I have one more question to ask, do we trust him?

"I think we should tell him a little bit but not a lot. Over time we should slowly tell him once we know him better. I think he is a little trustworthy." whispered Rowan.

All three heads nodded in response to show that they agreed with what Rowan said. They backed out of the huddle they were in. "I'll tell him. OK. We are going to lorax to speak with Akkarin our leader."

"You are going to see young Akkarin the leader of the fox tribe. No wonder he told me he didn't believe where you when you said where you were going. I forgot to ask but will you let me join your group to lorax." he asked

"If you want to but when we get to lorax let us do the talking. If you have any information that might be useful then tell us."John replied.

The large group took up so much time and were concentrating so hard on the subject at hand that they didn't notice how dark it had grown until Natalie gasped, "Oh. Look it is so dark. I can barely see you Rowan or you Allun. I purpose we build a fire so we can see each other clearly and not be bitten by bugs while we sleep."

"Your right it is considerably dark. AS the leader of the group I want Allun and Natalie to go find some wood for a fire."commanded John. "OK. We will. No worries. Come on before we trip over our own feet just looking for wood while it is still light out." said Natalie.

"Fine. but I don't like it. Let's go."

"Wait Natalie. I want you to have this necklace. It will protect you."whispered John as Natalie come close enough to hear.

"How will it help me now? How will it protect me? Thanks for the necklace. Who gave it to you, anyways?"asked Natalie looking at the necklace like how will this tiny little thing help me now. It's just a necklace.

"My mother gave it to me to give it to you. There are two options to make it work. One is you have to will it to do or become something, you think really hard and it pops out in front of you. The second way is less hard all you have to do is press a button and think of what you want it to become or do what you want it to do. Just so you know there are three hands on the necklace, two with palms showing and one a fist. The middle one, the shortest one with the palm facing outward, is the one that has the button. The button is small in size and is blue in color. My mom said that only a star can make the necklace work. She said that only females are stars and that if there is male star he is really rare to the world. She told me that last night she felt a strong presence of a star close to where I live but when we broke our meeting that it started to slowly go away. Every time you come in or near our house she gets a strong feeling in her gut that a star is close. She believes that you are a star from the heavens above."he explained with a lot of details.

"Let's try it out to see if I am a star or not."she suggested taking the necklace out of his grasp. She was pressing down on the back of the middle one and thinking of a human sized puppet. A few moments passed and then a puppet the size of Dikon came up in front of Natalie. "What do I do now with it? Do I tell it what to do or something like that."she asked nervously.

"Yes. You tell it what you want it to do and it will do it. You order it and it will flow the order. Go ahead tell it what to do. Oh you might want to give it a name so you don't keep calling it human sized puppet all the time."purposed John staring at the wooden life sized puppet with awe in his eyes. "His name should be something roman. Let's see a good Roman name would be ... Octavian. The wooden puppets name is named after the Roman general Octavian."decided Natalie.

"You will now go by the name of Octavian. You will listen to me and my friends orders only unless told other wise to do just so. Your first order is to follow me and Allun to find firewood."she ordered. The life size Puppet now named Octavian jogged over to Allun who waited silently a few feet away. "Oh, my,gosh. Natalie you are a star. I can't believe it, that you of all people are a star. There are a few more things that you need to know about stars that I haven't told you yet. I will tel you in the morning."breathed John amazed at the sight of a star.

As she started to say something else she stared to get more and more beautiful. She was saying, "I don't believe it either. One question, why choose me of all people to be a star? It is appealing to be a star. I can see in the dark, and I don't feel as tired as I should be feeling, like you are feeling now. I am drawn to the sky. Why do I have to be a STAR. I'm not special like other people. I don't even know if I look different than I did when I wasn't a star. I would have no way of knowing if I looked any different to what I looked like FIVE minutes ago. Do I look any different to you?" asked Natalie.

When she asked the question she had lost all of her pimples and she started to have more feminine features to her body. Nodding his head John answered, "Yep. You look soother and less pimply than you were and it looks like you have more curves than you did 15 minutes ago. But don't worry you look gorgeous. Hey I can't see you it's getting a little too dark. Me, Allun and Rowan are going to have a hard time going through with the night. As you said you see perfectly in the dark. You should take Octavian with you and Allun to help hold all of the fire wood that you and Allun collect together. You should maybe go now before we die of frostbite."John joked.

"Hey. Don't you kid about that. It's scary to think of you guys as dead corpses. Fine then I will go and collect firewood with Allun and Octavian, thank you very much. Ah. Men tell women what to do. That's just plain stupid and annoying... and rude. I hate it. See you later, hopefully you don't get frostbite or die. It's not funny."uttered Natalie unnerved by what John had joked about.

"OK. I get it and I am so sorry for making you upset. I didn't mean to. I am so sorry. I didn't know this was going to hurt you. Please forgive me for what I said."he begged. Then Natalie broke down crying. "Oh. Come here. Let me give you a hug. I really truly am so sorry." He held his arms wide and she came close, his arms closed around her and she remained crying. She embraced him back still crying because it was like John was saying that he would die and that her other two dear friends would die as well and that she would be the only one left standing. They just stud there holding each other for about five minutes. When Natalie finally stopped crying she looked up into John's face. John just kept staring back at her that he got this intention to kiss her. Natalie had the same feeling inside as well. They both made up their minds, Natalie standing on her the tips of her toes to reach up to John's face, and John leaning forward so their faces were so close that their noses touched. John made the move first. Moving swiftly he kissed her lips that felt as soft as a baby's butt. Natalie stepped back in astonishment. They moved together again and they both thought the same thing, "Kiss again and this time make it longer and more worth while." They both touched lips again and held that pose for a full minute before releasing each other. To them kissing felt like cold rain on the hot dessert they were on soaking the earth and making it refreshed from it's long drought. When Natalie looked back down she burst out laughing. "What is so funny? Why are you laughing so much?"asked John, who was on the verge of laughing himself.

"Look at your shirt. My tears have soaked through to your skin. That's what's so funny."she replied through laughs. John looked down and laughed so hard he fell over. When he landed there was a loud noise. "Are you OK?"wondered Natalie still chuckling. "Yeah. I'm fine. I just hurt my hip bone, but I will live through it. You had better go before you know."he replied still laughing out loud holding his side where he fell on it. "OK. See ya later. Be safe."she told him back.

As she moved away to where Allun was she looked back and waved at him, moved away with him and the wooden figure of Octavian. I have to take care of her. I don't want her to move away from me. I don't want to lose what we have together. He was so lost in his thoughts that he hadn't noticed Dikon come up behind him. He blinded so well into the darkness of the night. "You don't want to loose her. Stars are getting even more rare in the world today. She is beautiful, it would be a pity if she fell into the wrong hands before we even get very far. You need to watch your two friends Rowan and Allun or they will start to like her more than they did before. Trust me don't loose her. She may come in handy along the way. On the road we take. It is rough a head. I know this road well enough to know that it has dangerous things on this land."he said from the shadows behind John.

"Ah. Why did you do that? You scared me to death. Is that you Dikon? I can't see you. What kind of dangerous things are on this land that we walk? Tell me now. Please. How do you blind in so well into the darkness. What are you? What happened to Natalie? "wondered John squinting in the dark.

"What I can tell you now about Natalie is that she is only half star. She has some powers that a star with holds in their head. She can talk with the other stars for help along the way, in her dreams. Over time she will gain the power of seeing other peoples past. When she is happy she will glow like the stars at night. When there is darkness she will be able to see in the dark. Those are just some things that she might be able to do. It just depends on her future and what side of the family she chooses to go by, either star or god. If she chooses to be a star then she will forget that she ever had a god part in her, she will have all the powers of a star but if she chooses god the same thing will happen. It's just that she will forget that she had a star part to her and that she will get all the powers of a god. On that. Since she is part god she has some of the powers that a god has. During the day when she needs help she can speak with gods with her thoughts. Eventually she will be able to make things appear out of nowhere with just thinking hard about it. It works just like the necklace that you gave her. She is able to call on dark forces when she is mad, scared or even disappointed with herself or at others. I don't know if she is going to be able to do this but if she can she will be able to change into whatever animal or mystical thing she wants to. She might be able to bring people back to life from the dead or if they are dying she can heal them. I think that she might be able to call things of light whenever she wants something nice to happen to others. It is hard to tell what other powers she posses. I guess we will find out won't we." Dikon explained.

"You still haven't answered some of my questions yet. If you don't remember them I will repeat them. Here they are: What kind of dangerous things are on this land, how do you blend in well into the darkness, what are you and what happened to Natalie?"

"Hold on I was gettin' to them. OK. Some of the things that we might run into are bandits, assassins, or wild animals like wolf's or lion's or tiger's. Those are some things that we might run into but I don't know. There might be witches who want to steal Natalie's heart because heart's of star's or gods are valuable and rare to get a hold of for witches or even some wizards at that. The reason I blind in so well to into the darkness is because I am a shadow charmer. Wait, hold on I will tell what it is."he said chuckling. John looked like he was about to burst with questions about Dikon being a shadow charmer. "Don't worry. You will know soon enough. OK, I think I better start off with what a shadow charmer is. A shadow charmer is a person or a being that has been touched by darkness. The being may be touched by darkness but he can choose what side he is on, he may choose the good side or the bad side. It depends on what his taste is. He can blend in well into the darkness if he just stands still. He can talk Duggish with goblins and trolls. He may or may not be able to see things that are invisible. This one may depend on who the person is but he might or might not be able to feel fear. Me, I can't feel fear but the strange thing is is that I have no idea what I did to be able to not feel fear. Sometimes it's good but sometimes it can be bad. It's good to feel fear once and a while. You can't tell any one that I am a shadow charmer. I will tell your friends when I think they are ready to know about shadow charmers and me. Now promise that you won't tell any one about me." Dikon barked at John.

"I promise I won't tell any one. You still haven't answered my last question. I just thought of one more question to ask. My first to last question is what happened to Natalie and my second question is are are mystical being or creatures like you here in the side of our land of Dragon?"asked John.

"I believe I have told you already about what happened to her. Now for your second question."He exclaimed.

Chapter Four: wood cutting

"Allun. What do you think of me being a star?"asked Natalie, wanting to hear Allun's voice, to know he was beside her. "It's cool that you are a star. I like how we have the giant puppet with us. How much fire wood are we going to get."

"As much as we can carry. What fire wood we get we can give to Octavian. Once his arms are filled I will give the fire wood to you, until your arms are filled. Then I will get some to hold for myself as well. Why don't you call Octavian by his name, Octavian is the puppet."

"Oh. I'm sorry. I didn't know his name was Octavian. The reason I don't call him by his name is because he needs to learn mine before not after I say his name. I have this feeling. I don't know what it is but I just do, don't worry though it's nothing but a feeling that I have. My hands and feet are tingling right now as I am walking next to you. I wonder if you are whole star?"wondered Allun.

"I have the tingling as well. I feel like half of me is a star way up into the night sky. But that my other half is here in wind and the water and the woods. I am positive that I am only half star. The other half i have no idea what it is. We should be looking for some pieces of wood. If we don't then we will have to cut some saplings." Natalie suggested.

"Cut saplings with what. All that we have to cut with is a tiny little knife."

"Oh we have more then that. Watch this."said Natalie. Pushing the little button on her necklace she thought hard for an ax and a big knife that was strong but light enough for her and her friends to hold on to.

When they popped into existence she grabbed them and gave one to Allun. "Whoa. What just happened? What did you do? Now this is what I call some big tool."said Allun very much excited.

"I did magic. All I did was press a little button on the back of my necklace and thought of an ax and a longer knife. Wait, why am I holding this ax and why are you holding that long knife? Switch."

"Ah this feels so much better. It's lighter than the ax by a lot. Well shall we get working."

"In the dark. Me with the ax. Swinging. What if I hit you and chop off a limb or worse?"

"Here why don't I give you some light so you can see. So you don't kill me by loss of blood or by chopping off my head." Waiting for a bit a small ball of light came out of nowhere.

"OK. Now your just showing off. Don't get me wrong it's really cool but it's getting old. I have a question. Can you see in the dark being a star and all that?"Allun asked. "Yes I can see. But when I see I see things as if they were in a dimmed light. But in general yes i can see in the dark."

"OK now I know you are showing off."

"What? What makes you think that I am showing, it's just a necklace? Let's get to work before we get killed by something. Or carried off into the night with no light, to guide us home."Natalie said with down cast eyes looking for sticks that happened to be on the ground

Picking some pine needles up off the ground she started to fill her pockets with pine needles and small twigs that she found. When they were a little ways away they found a whole clearing full of wood that they could use. Natalie grabbed a large stick that she could barley hold that she had to have help to get it into Octavian's hands. When they had filled his wooden arms Natalie started to fill Allun's arms up. Once his arms were full, (his and Octavian's arms were filled so full that they had to hold them in there mouths and under their chins just to hold them. And that's pretty full), she picked some up for herself. Heading back the way they had come something brushed the hedges off to the right, something big at the sound of it. "What was that sound?"Natalie whispered quietly. The birds were in a panicky state, and all the animals that where closest to the sound scattered in all directions. Some of the animals came near to where they are.

"I don't know, but I don't like the sound of it. I think that we should keep going before something scary comes out, and we get eaten. Maybe it is a monster with big cruel fangs, long fingernails, long hair and and...?"Allun trailed off.

"If something comes out we have a knife and an ax and we have my necklace to help."

"Don't forget that we have Octavian with us."

"Wait listen. It's moving away from us, but... OH by the gods! The sound is moving closer to John and Rowan and the stranger. We need to tell them before it gets there and kills them."

"Run."yelled Allun springing in the direction of the camp.

"I hope we get there in time."Natalie yelled running after him. All the while thinking Oh Atalanta. Help us. We need to get to them fast. Give speed to the human legs of mine and Allun, so we may tell them in time. They were going as fast as the pieces of wood would allow them to.

When she came up to Allun she ran into him. "Why the heck did you stop? We need to get there in the nick..." but she got cut off by a furious shh from Allun. "Listen. The forest is telling us something."

Rustling leafs, groaning trees. Birds calling out in panic, squirrels chattering in a frenzy. "The forest is buying us time. Don't you hear. The sound has stopped. Let's go. Keep carrying the wood. We need as much as we can."

"I have an idea. Here this will help us carry it." A second latter a big leaf that could hold all of the firewood that they had. "Set your stuff on this and we will have to pull it fast to get there in time."

When they were setting there loads on the leaf, Allun saw yellow-green eyes in the dark staring at them from a few feet away. He heard the growling first, but then it grew loud enough for Natalie to hear it as well. Then she noticed the eyes. It was like the eyes were piercing her heart, looking into her soul. A few seconds had paced but it felt like ages before one of them moved. The piercing eyes moved first. Moving into the light. They saw the head first. It was small, dog like I must say. At the same time it wasn't dog like dog but not dog had a big bushy tail that was red. It's ears were huge and crooked. It's teeth were long and pointed, not to mention very, very, very white.

"What is that thing?" whispered Allun putting his hand on Natalie's arm.

"I don't know. I have never seen one before. Will you get your sweaty hand off my arm. It's making me uncomfortable." Natalie replied in a hushed tone of voice.

"Let's hope it won't eat us."

"I don't think it is harmful. Look it's stopped growling. Watch it's face. It's not baring it's teeth, it's face looks quite curios. Honestly. The heads low though. I am going to talk to it and see if it will come close enough for me to touch it, to calm it."

Sitting down on the ground she talked to the little animal in a small and quite voice. Holding out her hand and still talking to it, the red animal edged closer to her. Soon the animal was so close Natalie could feel the breath on her hand. She just kept talking low and making up it's mind, it touched Natalie's hand. "It's OK. It's OK. I hope you don't mind but I would like to pick you up. Don't get alarmed." she told the animal. The animal seemed fine when she pick it up. She moved slowly closer to Allun. "Look, don't be scared. He is one of my good friends. Do you think you would allow him to pet you?"she asked. The animal stared into her eyes and there was this look that said I will be fine, but after that let me down.

"OK. Allun bring out your hand slowly. Let him take in your smell. Come on. Give me your hand."

Moving ever so slowly Allun gave Natalie his hand. "Here you are." She touched his hand to the soft red fur of the red animal.

"Oh. My. Gosh. This fur is so soft I don't believe it."

"We should let him down now. Let's go. Oh no I totally forgot that we were supposed to go to Rowan and John. Let's hurry. Come on we have to come up with a plan on the way." she ran as fast as Allun and the leaf bag would allow her to go. A plan was starting to take form in her mind.

"I have an idea. Come on Allun. We have to go fast." So they ran faster still. The little red dog but not dog followed them the whole time. They burst into the area where the other three were hanging around. The three that was sitting blinked in surprise at the blinding light. "We got a bunch of wood. But we have to hurry."

Chapter 5: the flight

John jumped up from where he was sitting. "Why? What is it?"

"Me and Allun heard a loud rustling in the bushes behind us. The birds were screeching out calls of distress. All the other animals scattered in a million different directions. We tried to hurry but we got slowed down by the firewood that we were holding. We stopped to listen and noticed that it was moving away from us but nearer to you. So after that we ran a little ways and stopped again because the wood was getting to heavy to carry. I made a leaf bag that could hold all of the wood and we'd still be able to move. But when we were piling up all the wood we heard another sound. A growl that got louder. When it stopped an animal came into view. It's head was down low, but it's teeth were not bared. Wait where is our little friend Allun? I don't see her." she said

"I don't know."

"What did the animal look like?"asked Rowan.

"It was small. Dog like but not dog like. It had huge ears and a bushy red tail. The whole body was red. I sat down on the balls of my feet and talked softly and it came and touched me. I picked it up. I finally remembered that we had to get to you as fast as we could. The animal followed us for a while but now we don't know where it is now." she described worried for her little animal friend. Just then the little red animal came out and jumped on her lap head down, teeth bared as if to protect her. "Oh. Here she is. It's OK. They are friends of mine. Don't hurt them." At this the little animal relaxed glancing at Natalie then to John and Rowan and back again. It happened like this for a long time afterward.

"She."

"Yes. It's a she. She doesn't have a name yet. I have no idea what type of animal she is. Do You guys?"

"I read in a book that she is a fox. Normally fox's are smaller then dogs but bigger than cats. All red and bushy tailed. They like to travel alone unless they have cubs and a mate. She looks really young to be by herself."

"Yes she does have the looks of a young fox. I have the perfect name for her. Her name will be Jasmine. Or should it be Zeel. I don't know which one to choose. They are both good names to choose from."said Natalie.

"I think that you should choose the second one. Zeel. It is an interesting name. Well, well. I guess we have two new members to our party of four. Our luck must be holding out."said Rowan.

"Don't say that. It might back fire on us. So it is best that we don't say that out loud."Natalie warned with a knowing look on her face.

"What?"asked john.

"I will tell you later once we are on the road again. We should go before we get eaten."Natalie suggested standing up for she had sat down. Walking over to her horse she saddled it and untied it. She also packed a lot of wood on her horse for fires. "Come on guys..."she didn't finish what she said because a noise cut her off.

"Oh no."Allun cried.

"Looks like are friend is back."

"OK. Time to go." finally Rowan, John and Allun got up and got their horses ready. Rowan packed the rest of the wood on to his horse. "The trees say that they can't hold it off for much longer. We must hurry and get out of here as fast as we can go."

"My horses are the fastest horses in the area. They can out run anything."

"Natalie. Not to burst your bubble or anything but I don't think that your horses could out run this thing."said rowan.

"You know I think you are right. Well we better go. Come on. Try to stay together. If we get separated then just work on get out as fast as you can. Let's go in order now. Dikon you have been oddly quite you OK."

"Yeah I am fine. Just tired."

"We can stop when we get far away from this forest."

"Before I sleep though I have to tell you a story about your life."

"OK. John go. Yell go."she told him.

"Go."yelled John. He was so surprised at the speed of the horse that he yelped. The rest of them ran after him. They ran as fast as they could. Soon they broke out of the trees and were on open ground. "Guys head north. Urge your horses on. We need to get as far away from that place as possible. Allun, what did the trees tell you?" asked Natalie.

"They told me that place is a place the thing that inhabitants that forest is called a jabberwocky. It has terrorized most of the people that came in and the people that went in never came back out."he explained.

"I'm just wondering but what is a jabberwocky?"asked rowan who was utterly pale.

"A Jabberwocky is a dragon like thing that can talk in our human tongue. It is supposed fabled or extinct, something but not here not now. It has flaming eyes and a serpents fork like tongue. The jabberwocky eats flesh of living things. Birds, rats, anything. People have thought for a long time that there was no such thing as one. Others think there is such an animal. IF there is one then where is it and how do we hunt and kill it down. No one can kill it with the weapons we have at the moment. The only way to kill it is if you have a cloven point on a spear that is celestial bronze or else it doesn't die. If you end up succeeding in killing it with out cloven celestial bronzed tip spear then it will stay in the fields of punishment for like a day or too, then it would be reborn into the same body." explained Natalie.

"What does it look like, this jabberwocky fellow? Does he have fangs in his mouth and talons on his big feet?" asked Rowan, more than a little worried. Scared he was, he was shaking so much he couldn't control it.

"Well as I told you before that it had flaming eyes and a forked like tongue. The skin is green and slimy with big old brown warts, they had huge hairs on the brown warts. It looks as though it came out of quicksand that was green and nasty. The jabberwocky is huge. The mouth has metal like razor sharp pointed teeth. One bite from it can cut a human in half. It's feet has talons the size of a crystal in a huge volcano. One look at it and you would run screaming. Along it's back it has needle sharp spines that can cut off someones hand. The most amazing part of it is the blood." went on Natalie.

"Why is the blood the most amazing part of the body?" asked Allyn

"The blood can cure any sickness and cold, cut, a bruise, even a headache. It is a law that if any one should come a cross a jabberwocky they can not kill it. The most jabberwocky's there has ever been is most likely 2. They are such prizes to be seen. If you should come across one that is dead or dying then pray that it's soul goes up to the gods with Zeus. Zeus bless the jabberwocky may it live forever in peace and justice. I just hope that it doesn't get killed or die. If there is a dead one and you have someone with you, send someone to go inform your leader that you found one. It just plays on from there." answered Natalie.

"It must be very serous if you do harm to it. Let's stop talking about it or I will have nightmares."shuddered John.

"Dikon. You have been very quiet."

"You must forgive me. I like listening to younger people talk about these type of things."

"Hmmm."

They ran on in silence. For awhile nothing passed between them. Behind them consistent roaring of something. Ahead silence and the vastness of open space. On they rode well into the afternoon of the next day. Finally they had to stop to water the horses and feed themselves. "Hai. Don't you think it is strange that we haven't seen any villages while we have been riding?" asked Dikon

"It is kind of strange. There has been almost no living thing on the road we have taken. If this is a road. Is this a road?" asked Rowan.

"You know I don't know if this is a road. I think that we are the only ones alive in this vast, dead place. Us and that little fox that Natalie found. Where is it anyways?" said Dikon.

"Oh. It's just in my saddle bag, resting and staying out of the heat."

"We should stay here for the night. We are tired and we need to rest the horses. I will scout ahead and see if we are clear to move across the open spaces. If I am lucky I might find a village." John told them.

"Take Octavian with you. He might be able to help you if you get into a fight."

Through all this Natalie had stayed quite. She had grown as pale as snow.

Chapter: 6: Trouble

John rode off with Octavian. They headed north a ways. Before long they came across a small village or town or what ever it was. They rode into the village or town with silence. Every thing seemed a little gone or dead, what you would call deserted. When they came across a hotel John dismounted.

Walking up to the doorway John called out softly, "Hello. Is any one in there." That got him pulled into the hotel. "Hey! What wa..." he never finished what he said.

A Man was hold his arms behind his back and was pushing him to another door. The door was wide open. 'I am surely going to be butchered and eaten.'he thought.

The man behind him told him, "Stay quite if you want to stay alive. You are only going to be questioned by me and my partner."

"Why are you doing this? Why hold a knife to my back?"he said kind of loud.

"Shh. Don't be so loud. All of your questions will be answered soon. Just be quite for the moment. Speak quietly when spoken too. Okay."

"Sorry." Soon enough they were through the door and John was pushed into a seat.

chapter 7:the meeting

"Who are you? How did you find this here village? What do you want here? Answer quickly!" said a female voice angrily, after the door was closed and locked.

"My name is John Hode. I was scouting and I came across the village. My friends and I need some rooms to stay in. Maybe some food to eat as well. Some extra clothes too."

"Where are your friends and that puppet thing that you were with?"