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Stories abound.  They are everywhere.  Some stories are massive and glorious like a monument, a structure of marble and stained glass.  Some are humble and simple like a puff of cloud or a puddle of water.  And some stories–most perhaps–are somewhere in between, small, but complex, more than first meets the eye…like a feather.

Everyone has stories.  Here, I will tell you some of mine.

Welcome to Storyfeather.

King Midian and His Glove of Gold

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Digital drawing. At center, the standing figure out a young woman made out of gold, facing left in three-quarters profile, with right arm outstretched in front of her, and left arm bent, and mouth parted. Another woman, in left profile facing left, has fallen to her knees and has her arms wrapped around the golden woman, head bent, eyes closed, and mouth parted. They are in a field or a garden of lavender and daisies. A few flowers at the margins appear golden. The daylight sky overhead is full of wispy clouds.

A baby girl was born to the king and queen.  Their first child.  Many visitors came to the castle to see the newborn heir.  Among them was an elven traveler who went by the name of Fall.  All the visitors brought gifts, most for the baby, but some for the king or queen.  Some gifts were humble.  Some were precious.  The elven traveler brought a gift so precious that he asked to see the king in private so that he may deliver the gift.

The king, whose named was Midian, granted this audience, for the best gifts that had so far been received were from the faery folk. 

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The Ace of Pumpkins

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Digital drawing. At center, a woman facing forward, seen from waist up, sitting at a table. Her face is in three-quarters profile facing right. She looks forward with right brow and the right corner of her mouth raised. Her bent right arm rests on the table in front of her. Her left hand is raised beside her, holding a fork with a piece of food on the tines. On the table in front of her is a plate full of food. In front of the food is a name card with partially visible letters that say “Ace of Pumpkins.” At left is a small hourglass and two wine glasses. At right is a folded napkin wrapped in a band and a bowl filled with liquid, and with flowers, flower petals, and a bundle of herbs floating within.

Four High Houses ruled the great city.  All the other houses were left to vie for their favor—whether the lower houses liked it or not.  The Ace of the House Pumpkins had been invited to dinner at the House of Clovers. 

It was a custom, a tradition of the house, to invite one and only one guest from among the lower houses.  And it was a custom for this guest to be the guest of honor at the dinner.

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Zone of Eternal Sleep

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Digital drawing. Facing forward, sitting on the ground, a couple leaning towards each other with their heads touching and their eyes closed. At left, a woman, her right leg outstretched out of frame, and her left leg bent. She loosely holds a baby or young toddler in her arms. The baby’s hands grip her forearm. His eyes are open and looking up and to the left (his right). At right, a man, sitting cross-legged with his hands held loosely in his lap. Behind them, centered, is a depiction of the planet Mars against a star-filled space with a plume of glowing gases passing horizontally through the center. Some element of each person’s clothing blends in with the red hues of the planet.

“There’s nowhere on Earth,” Sam said, her voice low and slow, as if she were dragging the sounds out of her mouth.

“Did you try the moon?”  Lee’s voice sounded about the same.

Sam winced.  “Sorry, I can go—“

“No.”  Lee sighed.  “It’s my turn.”

Sam managed a small smile, her eyes half-lidded, as she rocked the groaning baby in her arms.

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The Man Who Cried Bird

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Digital drawing. Bottom half, a pair of binoculars, forward facing. Perched on the right side top is the translucent silhouette of a sparrow, seen in left profile, with beak open. Through the sparrow’s form and in the lenses of the binoculars are hazy layers of foliage, tree canopies. Branching shapes covered with light thorny patches frame the right and left side.

“It’s a blue cardinal, look.”

Roy looked as Andre swiped through the photos he’d taken of the bird perched on the branches of the tree near the picnic area of his park he’d visited that weekend.

“There’s no such bird, Andre.”

Andre closed his eyes and inhaled through his nose.  “That’s because no one has seen him, until now.”

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River Fisher and Blue Dragon

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Digital drawing. At center, a bird in right profile, head tilted up, beak slightly parted and holding a slug-like creature. The bird is perched on a patch of earth, at bottom left corner, along the shore of a river. At top of frame, glowing balls of light float through the air. The bird appears to be a river kingfisher of the Ceyx genus. The bird bears feathers of many different colors. The front half of the slug has the shape of a garden slug, with streaks of many colors.The slug’s eyes are directed toward the bird. The bottom half of the slug appears like a blue dragon sea slug with blue coloring and plume-like appendages. Both are speckled with sparks of light.

“Strange,” the many-colored creature said.

It was not the reaction that Halceyx expected.  With her beak full—full of the creature—she could not speak.  But the creature, who was some kind of water slug, seemed to understand the inquisitive squeak that Halceyx uttered.  The creature answered her as if she had spoken.

“Yes, it’s strange that you’re still alive.  You have lucked into grasping me in just the right way.”

Halceyx uttered another query in the form of another squeak.

“I possess many different pockets,” the water slug said, “and I keep poisons in them.”

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Diamond Dreamt of Rose

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Digital drawing. A young woman facing and looking forward, from shoulders up. She wears a cloak that is fastened by a cloak pin attached to a brooch made of a gemstone shaped like a red rose with two leaves. Rose leaves extend down from the top of frame, and lie along the bottom of frame. At bottom of frame is the outline of a woman in right profile who is lying down with a hand lying on her stomach.

Clara felt the magic trickle up from the bare skin of her palm.  With a cold crackle, the almonds transformed.  Seven perfect diamonds.  Even in the dim light of fog and cloud, they glittered.  Clara sighed as her vigor was drained by the spell.

She looked ahead to the bridge.  She had not expected fog.  A shape emerged from it.

She held out the handful of diamonds.  Enough to pay the toll for the next thousand travelers. 

“It is not enough,” the bridge troll said.

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The Grand Universal Singularity Resort

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Digital painting. A black hole and surrounding space. At center, a black orb almost half surrounded by a pool of glowing white and yellow seen at a bias, angled from top left to bottom right. This pool is surrounded by a hazy ring of bright orange on the same plane. Fainter and thinner rings enclose the bright orange. Small bright spots are scattered among the rings. Darkness surrounds all. A wispy beam of light bursts out from the edge of the black orb, perpendicular to the plane of the rings. At bottom left, at the farthest ring, there is a small bubble.

“Uh…my—my last job?  I used to work at the, the Outer Spiral Roadhouse.”  Rekha pulled her gaze away from the mural of the butterfly nebula that arced over the vaulted ceiling of the main concourse, and looked down at her shift partner.

“No kidding?” Lianne said. “How long did it take you come all the way here from there?”

“Oh, uh, not long.  Not long.  Took a wormhole.”

Lianne glanced over at her.  “Well, look at you, Miss Moneybags.”

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Silent Serpent Under Sea

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Digital drawing. A sea serpent, facing forward, floating in water. At right, near bottom, the head is directed downward. A crown of spiny fins extend from the back of the head and around the face. The serpent’s body extends up and then arcs down and loops to the left. The end of the tail is directed up to upper left corner and ends in spiny fins. Fins also arc along the top third of the serpent’s back, and one set closer to the tail. Some of the scales bear glowing marks that appear like characters or letters of an unreadable language.

“Some of the tunnels in other regions have been closed.  Some even filled in.  We’re lucky that the ones in our region have not.”

“The magic shoring up these walls is ancient, Gramps.  Are you sure it’s safe for us to be down here?”

“You’re the one who wanted me to bring you,” my grandfather said.  “Anyway, I thought young eyes would be sharper.”  My grandfather banged his fist against a seam of enchantment.  It glowed a bright turquoise in response.  New magic.  The afterglow softened to a whisper of pink that signified the ancient magic that I had just doubted.

My young eyes traveled up to the low arched ceiling of the tunnel, the transparent ceiling past which I saw nothing but darkness, and the occasional shadow flitting by, belonging to the strange and hardy creatures that somehow lived at the bottom of the deepest ocean.

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