Story for the Day: Feiza
The crew of the Myrellenos has many assorted flavours: there are some saline scalawags, some silty scoundrels, but there are also sweet and sanguine nuts, including the agreeable but not always upstanding Feiza:
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The swirl of snowdust soon settled, and when Feiza had raised his nowl, he saw a parade of children just mounting the adjacent downs, hastening toward them with beaming faces and eagersteps.
“Look, it’s a bear and a pirate!” one of the children cried.
“Aw! I love bears!”
“I’m wanna ride it!”
“I’m gonna hunt it!”
“I’m wanna ride the bear and hunt the pirate!”
And before Moppit could disclaim and assure them that neither he nor Feiza were really bears, though Feiza was once a pirate and with prim determination still thought himself as one, the children assailed them, besieging them with triumphant cries, approaching Feiza with cocked hands and ferocious growls, and waving wooden swords at Moppit.
“’Mon, bear! Tha’s ye fightin’ meh! We’s gotta have a square go an’ o’!” one child roared, in a tiny voice.
“But only whilst I’m ridin’ ye!” cried another, attempting to climb Feiza’s back. “Here, let me get on ye!”
“Aye, young-un, mind yerself then,” said Feiza, righting himself and holding the child away from him, “mind yerself. Us only got the know-how to do the wan thing at the wan time.”
One of the children leapt back and gasped. “Yer a Glaoustre bear!” the child cried, stabbing a finger at the bear’s drooping nose. “He’s not an enemy bear! He’s from Glaoustre! Ah heard him say!”
“Aye, Glaoustre, son,” said the bear, with half a sigh. “Many’s the year us been gone from Frewyn and still can rid o’ the cant.”
“Are ye a pirate too, Glaoustre bear?”
“Aye, did ye come from that big ship to do bear piratin’ an’ o’?” The child paused and scrunched his face in deliberation. “What do pirate bears pirate for? Bears don’t like collectin’ gold.”
“Honey, probably,” said the bear. “Mostly we go trawlin’ for the salmon.”
“Well, there’ll be no bear-piratin’ round here!” one of the children demanded, waving his wooden sword at him.
“Aye, we’ll no’ let ye take our fishin’s!”
“An’ we’ll no’ let you take our gold, pirate!” shouted a young boy, who was dancing about Moppit.
“Wha’d ye make there, Mr Pirate?” said a young girl, pointing at the pattern in the snow Moppit had laid down.
“One of ‘em snow fairies,” Moppit declared, in full triumph. “Yew jus’ lay down like this,” leaning back in the snow, “and start wavin’.”
He flapped his arms, and snowdust filled the atmosphere, the swirls of gleaming incanescence tittilating the noses of every child around them. The girl threw herself down to join him, and fluttered and kicked her feet together in a fit of ridant chirps until the sparkling plumes rose all around them. The air was rife with blithesome voices, of children crying out for them to stop their violent motions, but the bear suddenly leapt out from the cloud of drifting snowdust and assailed one of the youg boys with a playful embrace.
“The bear’s eatin’ yah!” Feiza wrawled, tickling the child’s stomach and pretending to maul him.
“No, don’t eat me, bear!” the child laughed. “I didn’t get my Ailineighdaeth present yet!”
“Oh, sorry, son,” said Feiza, instantly resuming his usual character. He lifted the child to his feet and patted the snow from his shoulders. “Presents are important for Ailineighdaeth. When yer ma and da give you yer gift, you just come back to aul’ Feiza and us’ll make sure to eat you then.”
“Feiza?” one of the children cried, evidently disappointed. “That’s no’ a Frewyn name!”
“Naw, my Frewyn name were too hard to say for some folk up north, so us got a Livanese wan, to go along with all the piratin’.”
“What’s yer Frewyn name?” a girl chimed.
“Better not get inna that,” said Feiza, eyeing the parents hovering near. “The mas and das are listenin’, and bears can’t be givin’ away their secret names.”
“Imposter bear!” cried a child. “Yer no’ a Frewyn! He’s onlae foolin’ so’s he can take our honey!”
“Ye’ll never take our honey, imposter bear!” a boy cried, lauching himself at Feiza with his wooden sword raised.
Feiza feinted the blow, the wooden blade glancing off his hide, and tripped the child, putting him face down in the snow. “That’s pirate imposter bear to you, son!” he bellowed.
The child rolled onto his back and cackled to himself as Feiza invited the other children to duel with him.
“Gonna need yer help, Moppit,” Feiza whispered.
Moppit stopped waving his arms and sat up in the snow. “Is it an ambush?”
“Aye, an ambush.”
“Mr Pirate,” said the girl at Moppit’s side, in a singing voice, “can you help me build a snowman?”
Moppit turned to her, and after a moment’s pause, turned to Feiza and said, “Ambush’ll have to wait.”
“Aw can’t disappoint a little girl.”
“You abandonnin’ me for a snowman?”
“Well,” said Moppit hesitantly, “no, not abandonnin’ as such. Awm just makin’ yew wait a bit.”
“Ain’t no waitin’ in it, Moppit! These young-uns are gonna trouce me!”
“Aye, bear!” a child cried. “That’s ye gutted!”
The children advanced at a crawl, and when they raised their hands and let out their paltry roars, Feiza, accepting that his friend had deserted him for the superior joys of packing snow and digging for ample rocks to serve as eyes for a snowman, and now thoroughly cornered by nearly a dozen children, relinquished his inhibitions on civility, widened his stance, and shouted, “’MON THEN!” inviting them to assail him with open arms and a dreadful aspect. Battle cries echoed across the downs, Feiza sneered and frothed, and as the children leapt toward him with wooden swords raised, the bear bellowed in terrible rage, leaning down and putting his claws in either side of the snow before advancing, burying them in a wave of light snow as he descended.
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