Friday, October 26, 2012

Day Three-Hundred-Fifteen: That's not so baaaah-d

Oooooooooh. THAT makes sense. I guess. On multiple levels. Things were actually EXPLAINED, today, diary, and everything ended well! That's so RARE for a Friday, that I'd end the week on such a happy note!

Libby had more or less given up on surveying the valley. She was too busy cutting down trees and training people to make plank boards to go for another romp. I begged and I pleaded for her to come along one last time, but, nope. Everybody else was busy, as well, so I was left to go on my own -

- 'cept for my lovely son. Good old (young?) Grayson.

This whole week, Grayson's been handled by a string of babysitters. His mother's surrendered her death grip on his fate, and he's happily passed hands from one person to the next. Everyone was too busy to take him today, though, and while I made my rounds and checked on the overall progress of Pubton's construction efforts, he was in my backpack. So when I ventured into the forest, on my own, he was with me.

I will admit that this was a risky move. Probably something that could have come back to haunt me. Grayson may have… powers… which he may have used to blow my hat off my head a dozen times… but he's still just a baby. Nasty things with teeth and claws can hurt him. There aren't many nasty things IN the forest, grant you, but this still wasn't a wise move. Nevertheless, it happened, and all was well in the end.

I made it much deeper into the forest today before anything stopped me in my tracks. Hell, I was on the edge of the valley, looking down into the tree-filled bowl at the centre of the forest, noticing that, yes, there were many different trees here, when the steady tread of hooved feet caught my ear. 

I didn't bother to hide. I could tell it was another long line of animals, and when the first white head peaked into view, I recognized it immediately. Goats. I like goat's milk, and haven't had it in years, so I was totally cool with that.

Thing is, the goats weren't alone. There were… shapes… wriggling objects… on their shaggy coats. Crawling along then, hopping from one goat to the next, rather like ticks on a dog. But these, these were oversized ticks… familiar ticks… sharp-eyed, scraggly-furred, communal ticks…

Grayson cooed loudly, laughed and clapped, peering over my shoulder and pointing at the goats with one chubby finger. "Rats," he burbled, "rats, rats."

He was right. The first goat came to a stop before me, and perched on its head was a thin, shrewd rat, standing on two legs and staring at me. It nodded, and I nodded back, and a big, stupid grin broke my face in two. I nearly hugged the rat before realizing that I would squish the poor bugger into oblivion.

More rats came, pooling around the lead goat and forming a small mountain of joined tails. I could tell by their patchy fur and white coats that they were the survivors from the castle who'd fled Kierkegaard's purge. They stretched, their tiny limbs flailing, and the air above them whirled - there was a howl and a pop -

- and the head of Philip appeared. Philip the Ghost, the man I'd so long ago gotten killed.

Philip, as always when controlled by the rats, looked strained. His face was stuck halfway between ghostly and realistic, a strange, tortured blob with wobbly eyes and a gaping mouth. Philip spoke to me, the rats guiding his voice, and my heart fluttered nervously with each word.

"Dragomir," he said, "we are here. At last. Did you… miss us?"

I smiled shakily. "Uh, yeah. I guess so. Glad you made it out in… kinda… one piece…"

Philip nodded, the image wavering. "We are still weak. We expended much of our power getting out… and then more… more…"

"Getting here?" I offered.

Philip paused, ghostly teeth gnawing on ghostly lips. "Yes. Getting out. Es… escaping. We travelled… we hid… we tried to multiply, though without much success… The Baron's influence left our powers strained… we need a new place to call home… will you offer us sanctuary? We come bearing gifts…"

One of the rats distractedly waved towards the goats. I nodded, scratching the head of the lead goat. It, like the rest of the pack behind it, looked spooked. No surprise - Philip's a disconcerting dude at the best of times.

"Sure." I beckoned them back to the village. "Everybody's welcome in Pubton. C'mon, I'll get ya set up with something. Man, how'd you guys come all this way, you're so small -"

I turned, headed back towards town, and ran face-first into a nose I totally had not realized was there. A big, scaly, reptilian nose, pleasantly dry save for a few idle boogers. A tongue erupted out of its mouth, catching me square in the face and knocking my hat aside.

Barrel. Full-sized and beaming at me. He'd left Goblinoster, after seeing my wife and friends to safety, to find the rats. 

I cried, honest and true.

I led everyone back to Pubton, Barrel hovering in his tiny form at my side, playing with Grayson. The community, those who recognized Barrel, accepted him with open arms. A new farmer led the goats away to a pen, and the rats… well, to be honest, the rats pretty much vanished. Disappeared into the grass surrounding the pub, the woodpiles, the farms that are slowly but surely appearing. I haven't heard from them since, nor seen Philip at all, but it's just a matter of time. I know it.

When they do pop up again, I want some answers.

Playin' with my dragon buddy,

Dragomir the Mayor


  1. Yes! Barrel has returned and the omniscient rats are once again meddling in Dragomir's affairs.

  2. I'm still biding my time...someday...I'll be able to say..."Do a Barrel Roll!"...

    Also: YAY! FOR RATS! Love how those guys are all mysterious and such!

  3. DA RATS!!! So glad to see them well!!!

  4. BTw, your poll isn't working for me...I VOTE EVE!!!

    1. Yeah, the poll's screwed up in general... I'm not sure what's wrong... probably delete it and set it up again on Monday.

  5. Waaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!
    I'm sooo happpppy!!!
    The rats and barrel and back and ok and happy!!!
    *Weeps* Happy! *sob*