Preface: The narrator is British. Why? I don't know. It just seems proper for the story of a one-eyed fox to be told in upper-class english.
Fedor was an unfortunate little beast. Fur and bones, scraggly snout, and a tattered ear from a rather nasty incident with Jeffrey, the feral from Willow's End. Fedor was a quite friendly in his own timid way- aloof, some said with derision. Nonetheless, he was a hapless individual, indeed, wandering about whilst the other young foxes chased one another from stream to stream, snapping and yelping the whole while. He'd often mutter things of a peculiar nature.
"The Hornets of River Bend wouldn't have swarmed without provocation, it simply makes no sense…"
"… but from whence did Gustav come to conclude that Barrow's Fort had designs of such a nature…"
Often many of the other's in Yellow Downs would simply stop what they were doing upon Fedor's arrival, if only to eavesdrop on his conversations as he passed. He was as oft-quoted as any great author of the time. Unfortunately, his words were as quickly consumed by those of a quicker-witted sort, becoming jokes before he was able to explain himself, if he were able to explain the near endless stream of commentary at all. As I've said, he was friendly enough, but he never seemed entirely comfortable with his surroundings and had a habit of commenting more on unimportant events than anything of revelent import.
Such was the case when he came across Niños and Almyr, who's look of amazement startled him into silence.
"Pleasant afternoon to the both of you" he muttered, somewhat defensively.
"Well now," barked Niños in his gruff baritone, "Everything all right with you, young one?" Niños furrowed his brow and his ears flattened as he peered, with stern concern, into the face of the young lad.
"Sir, of course, sir… appreciate your asking" replied Fedor, cowering slightly.
"Fedor," chanced Almyr with a look of puzzled concern, "… now… are you… are you sure everything is ok?"
"Why, of course miss, everything is well in order." Fedor warmed slightly, darting his eyes from the floor to Almyr and back.
Niños shuffled uncomfortably, shaking his wings out before settling back onto the large boulder upon which he and Almyr had been observing Itol's Ravine. He spoke slowly, "Now Fedor… I'm going to ask you again, and I want you to be quite honest with me." Fedor's head shrank as Niños' tone took on a cold quality. "Is everything ok? Are you in any trouble of any sort?"
Fedor glanced about, looking for an answer to satisfy the almost militant bearing of the elder. "Sir… yes, of course… I've just come from Elegy's Stream and I'm on my way back to the Bend. I hope I haven't come across you at an inopportune time."
"Oh… my word, not at all" volunteered Almyr, "Oh, you poor sweet thing. Niños calm yourself, the young lad's nearly petrified." Fedor, who'd been gently nipping at the air beneath him whilst trying to speak to the elder owl, ventured a glance at him before looking to Almyr, who continued to gaze at him, both shocked and pityingly. "Fedor, we're… we're merely… well… I suppose… we're merely concerned."
"Your eye" thundered Niños. "Boy, one of your eyes has flown the coop." Fedor stopped tonguing the air and slowly rose his head to look Niños in the eyes.
"I… I beg your pardon, sir?"
"Your eye, boy. You are missing an eye." Fedor stared imploringly into the elder owl's face, hoping to suss out the meaning of such an absurd statement. Nothing came to the him.
"Sir,… I assure you there is nothing wrong with me, and…" Fedor began nipping at the air once more as he tried to muster the courage necessary to complete his thought, "Sir if this is your idea-"
"Boy, I am not asking. I am telling you that you are missing an eye-"
"Niños!" snapped Almyr, "for heaven's sake, you're terrifying the poor child. Would you just… oh for… " she turned to Fedor, "Fedor, I'm afraid Niños isn't having a go at you." She hopped from the boulder and gently nudged Fedor toward the small spring some 10 yards from where they'd stood. Fedor peered into his reflection and, indeed, there was nothing but a hole where his eye had once been. Fedor was stunned. Unable to find any words he began nipping and the air even more furiously, whimpering. "Oh dear child, are you in any pain?" Still panicked, Fedor managed to shake his head no before Niños appeared next to him.
"Son, calm yourself. No use adding the unnecessary burden of fear to your troubles." Fedor paused briefly, wondering how his panic could burden him more than the knowledge of his missing an eye, before resuming his whimpering. Niños sidled up against Fedor and gently (at least as gently as Niños could muster) whispered "Son, be straight with me. Did you get yourself into any sort of trouble? Now, there's nothing to worry about… We can get you fixed up in no time, but if you've gotten yourself in trouble I won't be able to help you if you don't tell me what's happened."
Fedor was, again, at a loss for words. "Sir, I… I've not done a thing to get me into any trouble," he muttered, "I… I must have just misplaced it."
Niños shuffled away from the pup, creating space between the two of them, which Almyr quickly filled, and sighed. "Well," he muttered, "there's nothing to be done here. Come along, we can help remedy this."
Fedor was unable to comprehend how he could find himself in such a situation. Despite his tendency toward absent-mindedness he hadn't made it a habit to lose his eye and yet, here he was trudging back the way he'd come with Niños and Almyr at his side. Having already passed Elegy's Stream and spoken to Serge, who said he'd not seen a thing but that he might find what he was looking for near the Robertson's barn, they continued on, hoping to find his loose eye.
They'd nearly reached the Robertsons' when they came across Jeffrey. The previous encounter with Fedor well behind them, Jeffrey slithered toward the trio with a calm ease. "Pleasant afternoon, lot" he hissed "what seems to be the trouble?"
After a slight pause, Niños, who never cared much for the feral and was offended by the nonchalantness with which he addressed the group so obviously attempting to help the young pup, boomed "Whatever do you mean 'what seems to be the trouble?' you farce!"
Jeffrey shrunk back, slightly arched, and hissed. "I only ask what brings you this far from the Ravine?" His eyes, which never failed to make others uneasy, glanced in two directions at once before slowly coming to rest on Fedor. "Wh… oh my… oh that is quite a predicament."
Fedor lowered his eyes (well… his eye) and, with the delicacy of a child, muttered, "Oh… yes… this… I don't supposed you've come across a loose eye have you?"
Jeffrey, still staring with amazement, seemed to speak without moving. "Well…" he began, "I, myself, have not come across anything of the sort, but both Eretra, down in Laurt's Pines, and Yulia, across River Redsticks, have spoken about such a thing."
Niños grumbled loudly, and Almyr reproduced the quizzical look she'd worn upon first noticing Fedor. Niños, leaning toward the feral with utter seriousness and rumbled, "You'd better not be having a go at me, you putz."
Jeffrey slunk backward, smiling at the elder owl with Death in his eyes, and swore to doing no such thing. "This is no rib. The trouble between me and Fedor is long past, I'm merely trying to be helpful."
Niños grumbled again before turning to Fedor, nudging him onward. "Run along then," he shot toward the feral, "do take care to avoid the Ravine." Jeffrey ignored the elder as he turned to watch them go, still in a daze at the sight.
Fedor was troubled by the words of the feral. He'd never heard of anyone losing an eye, and yet the feral spoke of two different sightings. Even more troubling, he'd never stepped foot in Laurt's Pines and had never heard of the River Redsticks, yet the feral spoke of others having seen his eye in both places. It all made no sense.
Still the trio continued on, eventually reaching the Robertson's barn where they came across the Udgers, notorious for their bickering. It appeared they were in the middle of a lover's quarrel when the trio arrived.
Jonh Udgers sat sullenly in the corner muttering as his wife Rebekah, too disgusted to look at him, unleashed a tirade "… If you'd had the decency to just apologize, this entire situation could've been avoided," screeched Rebekah, "but in-stead of doing so, you thought it best to challenge him to a flight contest!? Bloody…he was a turkey Jonh… a turkey… Not only did you insult him by plundering his coop, but you then challenged him to, of all things, a flight contest!!? A Turkey!?"
It was then that she noticed the trio and, composing herself, still unable to look at her husband greeted her guests. "Greetings guests," she warmly cooed, "please accept my apologies. It seems my husband," she hissed while shooting a sideward glance toward Jonh, "has gotten us into a rather foul situation with Farmer Robertson. But that is neither here nor there. What brings you our way?"
All three shuffled nervously. Fedor glanced toward Jonh, the both feeling rather uncomfortable, before Niños spoke up. "Our young companion seems to have found himself in a rather unfortunate situation."
Rebekah glanced at Fedor and, noticing his predicament, could not help but stare, her jaw dropping in shock.
"We've travelled from Itol's Ravine in search of his missing… ahem… accoutrement… and have had no luck in our search as of yet. We were wondering if any news has travelled to you regarding any sightings of such an… ahem… item."
Fedor 's face dropped with each mention of his eye.
Rebekah, unaware of the look on her face, shook her wings in an attempt to regain composure before addressing the pup, "I've recently been told of an eye spotted in Larson's Gully. Might that be what you're after?"
Fedor turned from Jonh to face Rebekah, even more lost than before. "I'm sorry miss, Larson's Gully? I'm afraid I'm unfamiliar with the area." He turned to Almyr, "What would my eye be doing in a place I've never been? That's three thus far."
Niños cleared his throat before responding to Rebekah, "It seems our young companion's missing… accessory…" -Fedor shrunk- "has travelled far beyond the borders he, himself, has crossed. Might you've any news of other sightings, maybe closer to Elegy's Stream?"
Rebekah thought for a moment before answering, "No… I'm afraid not sir. Itol's Ravine, you say? Why, that's nearly three-quarters a day's journey. I hope you're not planning on returning tonight. We've plenty of room here and you're more than welcome to spend the night and make your way back in the morning. Farmer Robertsons has been having a bit of a go with the Derrings recently."
Both Jonh and Niños bristled at the mention of the Derrings. Both knew them well.
"Your hospitality is much appreciated miss," Niños pronounced, "I am Niños De Llelo, this is my young apprentice Almyr De Blanco, and our unfortunate companion is the young Fedor Glazah. We'd hoped to hear news of a finer sort but, seeing as how this may not be the case, we'll gladly rest for the night before traveling on in the morning."
Rebekah, staring quite unashamedly at Fedor, flicked her wings in Jonh's direction before leading the travelers to a quiet corner of the barn. Jonh continued muttering to himself as Rebekah returned, along with the look of disgust that had become a perpetual sight to him.
Created: Aug 04, 2012BeingPeople Document Media