The Beaches of New Fairy
by Rachel Parsons
Part 2 and Part 3|
appear in this issue.
|part 1 of 3|
The beaches of New Fairy aren’t the albino white sands of New Prydain, or the sparkling ones of New Gwynedd. They are dark from the tides, they are packed hard, and they have tiny stones on them that are so hot that you dance or blister, as you choose. Not the surface you should tread in bare feet. But they still attract sun bathers; it has become a sign of status among the town dwellers to be able to afford the time off from their labors to come down to the beach.
This annoys the oyster wenches, the fishermen, and the dock workers no end, to see the sons and daughters of the notables and nobles parade out in their swim dresses or suits, while they sweat and toil and ache from too-long exposure to the relentless rays of the suns.
Rosalyn and I were far away from the docks; we had tramped down from Caer Rhiannon, following the tributaries that replenish the water for the manor, flush away our ort, and provide the peasants with the wherewithal to grow the corn, the cactus, the toadstools, and the other staples of the New Fairy diet.
This put us a good three miles from the hustle and bustle of our sea port. Still it was close enough to hear the bells clanging, as one ship would try to avoid crashing into another; the alarm clangs, as if some hapless soul was drowning, and, with the acoustics from the strange flows, which give us our unique climate, we could even hear an oyster wench shouting, or a squid harvester yelping.
“That poor man sounds like he was squeezed by a toothy tentacle, methinks,” I said, largely to myself. Rosalyn had only grunted at the last statements I had made. After she had lathered me with rose butter, to ward off the worst of the sun, and packed wet dirt around my soles, so that I’d have respite from the lavolta, she had settled down to her holiday. If I wanted anything, it would have to be from Dulcimer, Zither, Viola, Calliope, or Tam-Tam who were under pink parasols nattering to one another. My ladies-in-waiting resemble geese when they gather.
I could not be under a parasol, or use a blanket, lest the spellminder thought I was hiding my nakedness, and Rosalyn was face down on the beach blanket, her blue swim dress making her buttocks look like they were much larger than they were. Her ruffles hid the cottage cheese, but made her half moons bulge.
We had earned our holiday, and I had put Arianrhod and Ioseff on notice that I wasn’t going to have audiences or sign petitions, and anything short of a war or a Terran invasion would not be worthy of my attention. My court witch and sheriff wished me a good time but obviously felt much put upon. Tough toenails, as the Terrans say, although I do not know why. It would be far worse to have brittle ones, if you ask me.
I snapped my fingers; Zither came and handed me a drink. She was in a white sun dress, and it had stains on it from mud and crud. The beach has oily deposits on it, spoilage from long dead dragons. This waste was much craved by the offworlders, goddesses know why, and they still wished permission to mine for it.
Zither made her lips into a thin line; she knows better than to show it, but she judges me: judges my nakedness; judges my whisky. She is from a pre-portal family, but she has the misfortune of a mother who is active in the Heretical Church. They boast that there hadn’t been a day gone by on the old world where one of their ancestors hadn’t been burned at the stake by that world’s universal church.
I got up; ran into the Don; shivering, I crouched. I mingled my water with that of the lady of the river when the enormous egg tumbled out of the sky into my arms, knocking me on my butt. Seaweed went up my crack and a beak poked out of the egg. I had no idea what to do.
The baby dragon cawed, and then clamped its mouth on my right nipple. I yelped. I jumped up and down. That helped it emerge from the egg, and I grabbed hold of it. I did not want it falling to the ground, still clamped to my nipple. I’ve never heard of this happening to a woman; clothes are a good protection, but I have witnessed the tearing of udders when the weight of the earth pulls a firebreather child to it.
Holding on to it, my eyes watering from the pain, I cried to Rosalyn.
“Rosalyn, please, wake up! Oh, please, please!”
She admonished me to do several things that could not be done without instrumentalities, and even then not in public. Then she opened her eyes and saw the cause of my entreaties.
“What have you done now, Rhiannon?”
“Me? It wasn’t me!”
“I suppose the baby dragon just came out of the blue and clamped itself to you.”
“That’s exactly what happened. Oh, please, Rosalyn; get it off of me. It doth hurt so.”
She came up to me and peered at the beak that was affixed to my bosom. “You look stuck.” The other ladies-in-waiting were goggling as she said this.
“I am stuck, Rosalyn. Now, get this thing off of me! I command it.”
“Don’t take that tone with me, or I will leave you to your own devices. Or better yet, have Dulcimer and Zither yank it off. Or Calliope; I hear she is good at tug-of-war.”
“No!” I screamed. “They will mutilate me.”
“Would do you justice. Now, wait here.”
“Where will I go with a dragon affixed to my nipple?”
She waved off my remark and went to her purse. Oh, her lovely, bottomless purse; full of tools and wondrous things. Like maybe a pair of dragon pliers that could attach to the beak and pull the wyrmling off. Oh, sweet goddesses, it looked like she had found one.
Rosalyn returned, and placed the pliers on the beak. Pulled a little lever that opened the mouth of the pliers. But it wasn’t big enough, even at the final yank.
“I’m sorry Rhiannon.”
“Do something!” I was dancing up and down, and my arms were getting tired from holding on to the baby. Tam-Tam was twittering; the other girls were gibbering.
She went back to her purse with a really determined look. Took out parchment and a charcoal pencil. She sat down and began to sketch.
“How can you draw this thing? I’m in pain.”
“No, you are a pain. Now, relax. Take a deep breath. When the baby doesn’t get any nourishment, it will release you. Unless you’ve done something naughty you haven’t told me about, you shouldn’t be giving milk. And I’m not about to waste a golden opportunity for a sketch of something that doesn’t happen every day.” Scritch. Scritch.
The wyrmling finally released me, cawed angrily and disappointedly into my face, almost deafening me. I rubbed my wounded nipple, pulling my bosom to my face to inspect it.
“Good God, wench, it looks like you’re about to nousle yourself.” Rosalyn sounded disgusted.
“I’m seeing if it is whole,” I cried.
“Let me see,” she said in an exasperated and annoyed tone. She cupped my bosom in her hand, inspected it as if for tics, and then teased my nipple hard. She smiled. “Seems all right to me.”
“Enough, Rosalyn. Now I will have an extended nipple to show to passers-by. No, there is nothing wrong with the other one. Stop that!”
The wyrmling was hopping, chirping and biting Viola’s and Zither’s dresses. It had yanked Zither’s almost half way off of her. She was clutching her bosoms and looking trapped. She looked at me pleadingly, saw the state of my nipples, and turned away, in spite of her plight.
“Grab hold of it, Rosalyn.”
“Oh, no. I’m not going to touch it. You touch it. It thinks you’re its mother.”
I wanted to rub my still hurting bosom, but dared not, lest the spellminder make the situation a whole lot worse. I noticed the bruise was already beginning to form. “It will look like the times I sassed father,” I whimpered. Rosalyn stared at me. “Well, you wait here; I’ll see if I can get Elfrod to whistle for a dragon.” Elfrod was my captain at arms, and a dragon whistler.
“You might also try Tiamat.”
I nodded. Tiamat, who was of the Order of the Victims of St. George, had simply moved into the castle one day, declaring himself “the Most Exalted and Grand Ambassador of All Wyrms to the Court of the Fairy Queen With Large Bosoms and No Clothes On.” He ensconced himself by the bar in the Great Hall, and there he has been ever since.
“Aye. Tiamat would be a good choice.” I bid her adieu, and left her, and the others, running around trying to herd the little one, as I retraced our steps back to the castle.
Tiamat was indeed by the bar, regaling the barkeep with stories of when he was but a youngster, and had burned down many a village in Albion. He saw me coming and immediately understood something was up.
“You got your tits literally in a wringer it looks like. Ouch, that’s going to be one nasty bruise. You know, if I didn’t know better, I’d say you were nursing a wyrmling.”
“That’s exactly what I’ve been doing,” I said, making the barkeep goggle. “You must be new on the castle staff,” I said to him.
“Yes, your highness. I am from New Dinodig and I have yet to fathom the ways here.”
“You must learn not to goggle. It is unseemly. This is New Fairy; get used to happenings that would be considered strange in New Dinodig.” Turning to Tiamat, “I need your help. The little one is running amok, and is piteously in need of a real nursing.”
Tiamat flapped his wings, making a breeze that tussled my hair. “At your service, your most nude highness.”
“Hey, mind your manners. Besides, you’re naked too.”
“It doesn’t count in a wyrm, like it does in a woman. Besides I most certainly am not naked. Observe.” He pirouetted on his big chicken feet, showing that the scales around his belly weren’t really scales. They were green vestments that looked like scales. “You should be used to it by now, Rhiannon. You are the only one who is unbarbed.”
“Tie your mouth up with your tongue and follow me.” I stomped out.
We made it back to the beach to find Rosalyn, Dulcimer, Tam-Tam, Calliope, Viola, and Zither all standing knee deep in the Don, with the fire baby squawking at them. Viola was holding her skirt up, and was looking at the muck from the Don on it dolefully. As we approached, it spotted me, and began waddling over to me, cawing, smacking its lips.
“Tiamat, get it away from me.” I hid behind his tail, risking the spellminder’s ire.
“It thinks you’re its mother.”
“I know that, Tiamat. Do something!”
“Like what you would have me do? I just have a female name; I know not the ways of you nurses.” (I found out later that that was a lie to avoid having to do something.)
“It wants to nurse; you have those things sticking out for it to nurse on; do your job.” He stepped to the side, leaving me totally exposed. The baby dragon hastened its speed; I did the only thing I could under the circumstances.
There is no outrunning a dragon; I know that now. I had to zigzag and create confusion. But still it dogged me, squawking frantically. Soon it would wear me down. I ran past Rosalyn, and the other ladies-in-waiting, splashing them. “Do something, Rosalyn!”
“What am I to do? I know not the ways of dragons!”
“Find something for it to nurse on other than me!” I cried. “And hurry; I am almost prostrate from exhaustion.”
“On it, Rhiannon.” She climbed on Tiamat’s back, and as I continued my frantic run, she bade him to fly.
“Please, hurry!” I gasped. The worst of it was that if I were to lie down, it would have to be on my back due to the curse. The baby would be on me in an instant.
It seemed hours, although by the position of the suns, it couldn’t have been more than twenty minutes or so. But my breath felt like flames, my thighs were red hot, and my legs were wobbly. My left eye was blackening from where one of my bosoms slapped me. I could go on no more.
I fell into the Don, and looked up as Baby, as I now thought of him, straddled me. I closed my eyes, and braced for the pain.
“Here, kid; here’s your milk.”
I opened my eyes at the sound of Rosalyn’s voice. She had brought a Llassar cow, and had an attachment on it that looked like a nipple.
“Ma! Ma!” That couldn’t have been what it said, but at the sight of the leviathan cow, Baby’s loyalties changed. It rushed over and began sucking on the artificial teat. I wept for joy, rubbing my bosoms in gratitude.
“Remember the spellminder, Rhiannon. Here, let me do that.” Others can rub me where I can’t, lest I cover myself. Rosalyn did so. The other servants buried their noses in books, as I expressed my gratitude to my boon companion for saving me, which took about an hour and a half. Afterwards, we went, hand in hand, to where Baby was sucking the poor gargantuan cow dry.
“The present unpleasantness is behind us, but what are we going to do now?” I asked.
“Find its mother, I should think,” said Tiamat. “How did you happen to come about it to begin with?”
I told him.
“Then we should be searching the skies.” He presented his rump to me.
I put my hands on my hips. “And what is it exactly that you want me to do?” I huffed. I didn’t want to think what the angle of the dangle meant.
“Climb upon my spines. A-hunting we shall go.”
Lovely. One of my favorite activities; being on a dragon’s back. If you think riding uncased on a horse is bad, wait until you have dragon spines up your butt. I’ve done it before, but I’ve never liked it.
But I couldn’t think of any way around it. We had to find Baby’s mother, and fast. If we wanted any gargantuan cows left in the kingdom.
It felt like an enema.
“Stop squirming, Rhiannon; you are making me nervous.”
“I just can’t get comfortable.”
We were flying much higher than was natural and right. But that part I’ve always enjoyed about dragon riding. “No, I’m fine. It’s your spines; they don’t make for the most comfortable seat.”
He chuckled. At least I thought those hurricane sized blasts in rapid succession was a chuckle.
“Just keep your eyes out.”
“What are we looking for exactly?”
“A female firebreather, ninny.”
“Tiamat, I don’t appreciate being called a ninny.”
“Excuse me. Princess Ninny. My point is that the young’un was abandoned.”
“You think so? It wasn’t just dropped out of the sky because of-”
“Because of what?” He pulled his serpentine neck around and looked me in the eye.
“Keep your eyes on where you’re going,” I gasped.
“Not until we have this out. You think our kind just loses control and drops its eggs any old where?”
“No... oh, goddesses.”
He had just almost collided with a flock of Harpies. As they can rip your flesh away with their saw-like teeth in seconds, this perturbed me. I’ve never liked exposing even my arms to Harpies, much less my whole person. I squirmed, which made the spines caress my sphincter; I felt my muscles releasing.
“Oh, you are going to clean that up, Rhiannon.”
“I will; not my fault. Your spines-”
“Look, this is why wyrms don’t get along with you humans-”
“I’m a fairy, not a human.”
“And I’m supposed to care because?”
“Just watch where you are going. I apologize if I was insensitive. But I don’t know anything about firebreather-wyrm biology.”
That seemed to mollify him. He looked around, and paid attention to the traffic, deftly avoiding flying into clouds, or colliding with anything airborne, and this seemed a heavy day. The Harpies, swans, western geese, parakeets, flying monkeys, spacelings, everything imaginable was out today. The good weather being the cause, presumably.
“I didn’t think spacelings came down this far; aren’t they ionosphere phenomena?”
“‘Ionosphere phenomena.’ Well, aren’t we fancy? Been two beast backing that Jeb Hardwick again?”
“No! And why do you think that?”
“You talk like a Terran.”
“Sod off. So if it is a case of abandonment, where would the mother go? Mortal mothers seek sanctuary in temples when they do such a horrible thing.”
Copyright © 2007 by Rachel Parsons