Yawn Forest Yems

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

This story tries to suggest how some legends came about, with a twist of an ending towards the humorous side.

Looking overhead we see a cluster of seagulls flying, and by that we know that we are at the east end of Yawn Forest, and nearing the end of Finger River.

Finger River is fed by five tributaries flowing from the hills, the highlands, and the lakes that are within Yawn Valley. And from the ocean's edge to the forest's trees, they are separated by a mere half-day's stretch of the legs, ending at Beaver's Half-Dam.

Yes, this is a place where the Forest is nearest the ocean, and it is sometimes nourished by the morning's mist when the Coastal fog stretches inward.

These are areas where the Mist-Ghosts live, where the Shadows have eyes, and the wind whistles haunting tunes on Summer nights.

 

Now, along with those, and some mystical others, there are birds and animals that visit this area for food, and for their daily pleasure; among those are the Sea-Yem.

These Yems live in underwater caverns and caves along the seashore, just as some seals do today.

Male or female in appearance, Yems are seal-skinned, air breathing, creature that have webbed toes and fingers. And aside from their seal-fur skin and the webbing, they look much like any human being. However, they tend to be smaller, all over, in perfectly proportional ways. {Try picturing a child of about four years old.}

But what sets them apart from all humans is their eyes, which change color when their surroundings change. In and near the ocean their eyes are blue as the sky above. But when they draw near any greenery, such as a forest, or a field of fresh clover, their eyes change to an ocean green.

 

It is true that Yems have magical abilities, and they come naturally at about five years old. Their magic began as a way to escape predictors when left alone, but it evolved over the generations into skilled games of trickery.

Some say Irish stories of Leprechauns, and their shenanigans, came by way of the Yems, others say that Selkie stories were actually about Yem adventures. But I can not say that this is true. For you see, at the time of this tale, Yawn Forest was in a time before the counting of time; long before the Leprechaun, or the Selkie stories began.

This was a time when legends and fables were born, and helper spirits were the norm.

Yes, in all the world there were few places that held so many wonderful, and strange creatures as this place called Yawn.

 

The valley of Yawn, it's streams and rivers, it's meadows and forested areas, it's ponds and lakes, certainly were things of beauty. So it was no wonder that there were creatures, great and small, that passed that way. --- Why? Just for the viewing of the many wonders that they had heard about from others.

You see, words about wondrous things travels, not so quickly in this land of Yawn, but what one hears is bound to be in the realm of possibility; after all, this is the place where “YAWN” was born. {But that is a story for another day.}

Now, with that said, let's be telling the story of Sandra the Yem, and the time that she ventured into Yawn Forest.

 

***

After rubbing noses, bidding her parents and her two sisters farewell, up the Finger River Sandra swam.

It was still kind of foggy that morning, so there was no surprises in seeing a few Mist-Ghosts playing games in the foggy morning.

And the Shadows that have eyes never harm anyone, they are just curious and like to know what is going on around them.

 

As Sandra reached Beaver's half-Dam she marveled at it's construction.

The Beavers tried to dam the entire river, but after many generations of trying and failing, they gave up and found contentment in a half-dam that did not get washed away each Spring.

And when Sandra reached the dam she climbed a-top it to rest for a time; she was tired from swimming against the flow of the water.

After a short while, Gnaw, the youngest Beaver of the Beaver's family, called out to Sandra, saying, "Sitting on our rooftop is not good business for it's structure. No, not good at all.

Have you no consideration, have you no understanding of what might happen? You might just cause our roof to tumble, yes, to crumble in upon itself. Then we would have to build it all a-new; from side to side, from bottom to top, from inner to outer; that's what we would have to do. And it would all be due to the fact that you had no understanding of what might happen."

Well, Sandra could not hear all of what Gnaw way saying. She knew it was about sitting on the dam, that much she had heard. But Sandra had just come out of the water and her ears were still wet with water; so what else was said, she was unsure.

So Sandra jumped into the river and swam towards Gnaw so she could hear him better. But what Sandra did, jumping into the water and swimming towards Gnaw, frightened him, so Gnaw started beating his tail on the water.

The beating of Gnaw's tail alerted the other beavers to possible danger. So they all began beating their flat, and somewhat oval tails on the water too.

Well, all the beating of tails startled Sandra, so she clicked her fingers. And when she clicked her webbed fingers, all of a sudden the beavers rose out of the water and began floating above the river, but their tails were still flapping in the breeze.

That is when Sandra swam under each of them and said, "I mean you no harm, so quiet your tails and calm yourselves so you can hear me clearly."

And as each became quiet, each was lowered back into the water. Then Sandra stated, "I was tired from swimming upstream, the current is strong today, so I took to setting upon your dam to rest.

It is a sturdy dam, that is for sure, so I saw no harm in it. But if I have offended you, or have damaged your dam in any way, say so now. I'll be pleased to fix the problem, Click-ah-de-fingers."

Well, Gnaw huddled with the other beavers. And after a brief conversation, and a quick inspection of the top of the dam, Papa Beaver presented himself to Sandra.

And while briefly swimming, to and fro, in front of Sandra, Papa Beaver said, "In all my days and from all the stories I've ever heard, not one has ever referred to a creature such as yourself. So, not wanting to be rude, and hoping you'll not take offense, I have to ask the question, "Who and what are you?"

Sandra laughed, which sounded more like a seal barking, and after the laugh she replied, "I am a Yem from the family of Yems that live where the ocean meets the cliffs of the shore.

We Yems are not man or beast, not fish or fowl, we are what we have always been, just Yems. And our distant fathers and mothers came to this place from a place called Yawn-der.

As for myself, I am called Sandra, and I am on a journey into Yawn Forest.

I have heard many tales of that Forest, so I go there just to see the wonders of it, and to see for myself if the tales are true."

Well, little Gnaw became very excited and said, "There are Spiky-de-anglers in those woods, and Bear-clawed Pikers that will eat your face, that's what I heard!"

Then Gnaw's sister, Nibbles, stated what she had heard. There are "Toothless Gobble-Dragons and they will swallow you whole, and they'll do it quick before you know! And Tangle-haired Mist-mutters lurk in the shadows, they'll grab you and tangle you in a web of Weep-willows."

After those brief exchanges, Mrs. Beaver spoke up and stated, "I hope you don't take much stock in what our children are saying. A simple story can become a danger when imagination runs wide."

Sandra replied with a chuckle and some words, "Oh, not to be on a worrying note. I've been known to spin a tale in late-night gatherings. The fact is, no-one knows what lurks in shadowy places and fertile minds, and that is exactly why I venture into the forest.

You see, a little bird told me a tale of a tree with the spirit of a man, a wizard to be exact. And I go to challenge this wizard to a duel of the Conjuring Kind. For I am Sandra, the She-Yem of the Mystical, the Magical, and the Unknown. I have taken on all challengers and defeated all seven of them along the shores of my home."

Papa Beaver looked very concerned as he said, "My dear Sandra, I believe that you speak of Milderpeed Rootlander, the Man-Oak of Yawn Forest. I have heard many stories about his deeds, but not once have I ever heard of anyone challenging him, much less defeating him. It just isn't done."

"It will be done soon," replied Sandra, "and I shall be the one to do it! I have very powerful magic, you know."

 

So after farewells were given, Sandra, the She-Yem of the Mystical, the Magical, and the Unknown, was off to see what she could see, and to challenge Milderpeed Rootlander to a duel.

 

As Sandra entered Yawn Forest, she soon realized that the river was getting smaller, then it began splitting into streams. And the series of streams, that ran off in all directions, were not deep enough for a Yem to swim in.

Sandra mumbled to herself, "I'd rather swim but that is now impossible, so I guess I'll have to walk."

And just as Sandra rose out of the water a Dig-waddle happened by.

Now Dig-waddles are not very fast, mainly because they tend to waddle instead of walk. So Dig-waddles just Mosey along, no matter if they are in a hurry, or not.

In fact, if they are startled and unable to get away from whatever they are afraid of, they just fall over and roll onto their backs. And as luck would have it, their little legs are not strong enough to stick straight up, so they just dangle every-which-way; like grapes on a stem.

None the less, as Sandra came out of the water she frightened the Dig-waddle. And it frightened him so much that the poor Glob of roundness fell over right in front of Sandra.

Sandra was shocked and very confused, so she checked the Dig-waddle for vital signs, he was breathing, and his legs were moving just a little, so he must be alive, she concluded.

After concluding that the creature was still alive, Sandra splashed water on him to wake him up, and that did do the trick. The Dig-waddle rolled onto his feet and he began to waddle away in a hurry.

"Now hold on, you are not going anywhere until I have some answers," Sandra said as she clicked her fingers. And as soon as the fingers were clicked, the little rounded lump ran and ran, but he was going nowhere. I mean that his legs were moving but they were off of the ground, so he couldn't get any traction.

The Dig-waddle was not happy about the current state of affairs, and he was yelling, "Let me go, let me go or I'll."

"Or you will, what," Sandra asked in a mocking fashion.

"I will, THIS," Dig-waddle said as he lifted his stubby little tail and sprayed a terrible odor in Sandra's direction.

Well Sandra was no stranger to stink-tossing critters, she had had unhappy encounters before.

So Sandra jumped into the stream and rolled around in the mud that was all along the stream's bank. Then, after the smell was gone, Sandra washed the mud off with the water and came ashore once again.

And as she came toward the Dig-waddle she waved her hands in the air and said, "Twittle-Throb this stinky blob shall loose his stink today. And they'll be no more smell from this rocky-looking shell. None, until I've gone away."

With that said, Sandra walked right up to the dangling roundness, and said, " I will do you no harm if you promise to stop running and to answer some questions that I have for you. Do you promise?"

The Dig-waddle was very tired from running nowhere, so he quickly agreed.

So Sandra asked, "Pardon my inquiry, but I would really like to know what kind of a creature you are."

Then the little guy stated, "I am as I do. I dig for my food and I waddle when I walk, I am a Dig-waddle of the riverbank kind. I dig in the mud of the riverbanks for foods of all sorts. And since I don't go long distances from one dig to the other, I have no need for long legs; thus, I waddle on the short ones that I was born with."

Then the Dig-waddle asked, "Now tell me, She-Yem, what about you?"

Sandra smiled and stated, "I have come to see the forest, it's creatures, and to challenge Milderpeed Rootlander to a duel of the Magical kind."

The Dig-waddle laughed before replying, "Why do you come to see what you've seen before? Your family has been foraging in these woods for a long time now. In fact, I saw one of your brothers, or maybe your mate, yesterday, and he was talking to Milderpeed while they played a game of Toss-rocks."

Sandra was flabbergasted, and after gaining composer she said, "You must be mistaken, I have no brothers, and I have no mate. And as this river is my witness, neither me or anyone in my family has ever left our ocean home, nor have we ventured into these woods before."

"Ocean? You are a Sea-Yem?" the Dig-waddle questioned, disbelievingly.

"That I am," Sandra replied with a look of pride on her face.

The Dig-waddle looked concerned before stating, "My reply wasn't about Sea-Yems, in fact, I didn't know there were any. I was talking about the cliff dwelling Highland-Yems."

Sandra was shocked by the news, and she questioned it by saying, "Are you telling me that there are Yems in the Valley of Yawn? Where are they and how do I find them?"

Well, it turns out that the Dig-waddle did not know the where's and the hows, only that the Highland-Yems lived in caves near a waterfall. However, there were several waterfalls in the valley, but the Dig-waddle didn't know which was which.

So with the discussion completed, the Dig-waddle said, "Now, if you are done with me, I'd like to get back to foraging."

Sandra thought for a moment, then she said, "One last question. How do I find Milderpeed Rootlander?"

The Dig-waddle frowned, disapprovingly, then he said, "You can only find Milderpeed if he wants you to find him. But if you want to try, then follow the trail that wanders into the forest; it's right over there and plain to see.

Just follow the trail until you come to a large clearing covered in Puffy-grass and Clover. At that point, just call his name and if he answers, he answers.

But he may not answer if he's taking a nap. If he's taking a nap then I wouldn't disturb him, he's can get rather grumpy."

"I don't need to worry about him being grumpy," Sandra stated rather smugly, "I will be there to challenge him, so who cares."

Well, at that point Sandra said goodby as the Dig-waddle waddled onto the river's bank. And as Sandra reached the trail she looked back to see no Dig-waddle at all. What she saw were various sized rocks along the edge of the river, and which rock was Dig-waddle was impossible to tell.

 

***

 

Meanwhile, at the other end of Yawn Forest, and an easy walk westerly, there happened to be a lake of many streams. And to one side of this lake there was a stream that came from a pond. The pond was made from the water that was falling from high above the rock-face.

The rock-face was tall and full of large caves and crevasses, both above and below the waterline of the fall's pond.

These were know as "The Falls at Emerald Pond" by the freshwater Yems that lived there. And if you saw the pond, and the year-around green landscape, then you'd know why they called it Emerald Pond.

This is the home of Bray and his mate of many years, Shay. They and their three sons, Kody, Brody, and Toul enjoy these waters, as did other families before them.

The problem is, Yem are not found everywhere, so finding mates for their children has always been a problem. And it is the reason Yems do not generally live near smaller bodies of water. Lakes are always good if they are big lakes with cliffs and caves scattered about, or wide rivers with steep cavernous banks; those will work, too.

And it was for this reason the last family of Yem left Emerald Pond, and other families before them. You see, it is a great place to have and raise young ones, but not so great when it comes to starting new families.

 

Being young and adventurous, it stood to reason that it wouldn't be long before Kody, Brody, and Toul began venturing out, swimming along the streams that were large enough to swim in.

Yes, it was these Spring and Summer swims that brought Kody, Brody, and Toul into Yawn Forest. And as time would have it, it wasn't long before they encountered Milderpeed Rootlander, the Man-Oak of the forest.

Ever since then, when they come to the forest to hunt and gather, they always visit Milderpeed for some good conversation, some tips to improve their magical abilities, and a joyful game of Rock-toss.

Now, Rock-toss is not a hard game to learn, actually it is very simple. But you gotta have the right stuff. You need some rocks, each rock being about the size of a Dig-waddle, and you need a sturdy but flexible stick; old dry dead ones are too brittle.

Then someone sticks the stick in the ground, in a large area of Fluffy-grass and Clover; that is a good area because it is nice and level.

And after that, someone steps off eight paces from the stick and places any old tree branch or hollow log on the ground; that is the foul line, so to speak. If you are thinking "Horseshoes", well you are a little right.

But each contestant is tossing large rocks for less of a distance.

They take turns tossing three rocks, each, during each round. The goal is pretty much the same as horseshoes, whoever has the most rocks nearest the stick wins the round.

 

When Sandra approached the clearing, and was about to call out to Milderpeed Rootlander, she saw the strangest sight.

There were animals, birds, and mystical critters of all kinds sitting and standing on almost everything that they could find; things tall enough, that is, so they could easily see the Fluffy-grass and Clover Clearing, and the stick that was sticking out of the ground at it's center.

And as Sandra looked on, she saw three Yems. The Yem were talking and laughing, and tossing rocks at the sticks.

At that point Sandra heard another voice, and as it spoke she saw a tree branch toss a rock at the stick.

"That must be Milderpeed Rootlander," Sandra mumbled to herself.

So Sandra waved her hands in the air and clicked her fingers. And that is when the rocks in the clearing started to lift from the ground and twirl around the stick like creatures on a Merry-Go-Round.

Then Sandra struggled, for all the rocks returned to where they were before. So Sandra clicked her fingers again, and again, and again, but the rocks did not move.

Sandra was becoming upset. So she waved her hands again, and said some very magical sounding words while clapping her hands above her head. And that is when she started turning around like a gypsy girl dancing a happy-dance.

But Sandra was not happy because her magic was not causing anything that was happening, to happen.

Then as Sandra rose above the ground, and was slowly turning around, Kody appeared in front of her, face to face.

"Hi, I'm Kody. What's your name?" He said with a smile on his face.

Sandra did not answer, she was busy trying to get free from whatever was holding her, and spinning her around.

"Oh, so you are being hard to get along with," Kody said. Then he laughed and stated, "Well I can fix that!" And that is when Kody gave Sandra a short little kiss, right on her lips!

"Stop that!" Sandra said while looking flustered.

But Kody didn't stop, he did it again and then said, "I am Kody, and I have greeted you with the traditional Yem-Kiss of Greetings. Didn't your parents ever tell you of this tradition?"

Then Brody took Kody's place in front of Sandra, and he kissed her too, before saying, "I am Brody and I have greeted you with the traditional Yem-Kiss of Greetings. Now, what be your name?"

And then Toul appeared in front of Sandra, and he kissed her before saying, "I am Toul, and I have greeted you with the traditional Yem-Kiss of Greetings. What be your name?"

Sandra replied, "I am Sandra and that didn't feel very traditional. And although it felt kind of nice, it didn't feel like just a greeting, either.

I have come to challenge Milderpeed Rootlander to a Magical duel, not to play kiss-ee-face, or to be harassed by scallywags. So let me loose from this spell so I may get on with my business.

Sandra dropped to the ground as Kody said to her, Our magic was greater than yours, for Milderpeed Rootlander has helped us refine our gifts. So I ask you, if you can not overpower the students, how is it that you hope to defeat the Master?"

And with that said, Sandra disappeared from view, only to reappear in front of each Yem. That is when she kissed each on the lips, then pushed them away very hard before saying, "I have greeted you with the traditional Yem Greetings. Didn't your parents ever tell you of this tradition?"

 

Well, it wasn't long before Sandra and the male Yems were appearing and disappearing, kissing, pushing, and doing all sorts of childish things.

So it was then that Milderpeed decided to bring this meet and greet to a playful conclusion; a get together that He and a Sounder-bird had put into place.

And then, with a scratch on his bark-ie nose, and a wave of one of his branches, both Yem families, those from the sea, and those from Yawn Valley, found themselves standing in the clearing of Fluffy-grass and Clover.

It was almost like a family reunion, and as far as Milderpeed was concerned, it soon would be.

Ah, I do like happy endings. And this one fills the bill with three weddings draped in Cockleshells and Bridal-gowns of Yawn Valley wildflowers.

And as soon as they figure out who wants to marry who, we can get on with it.

 

 

D. Thurmond / JEF

10-22-2021


Submitted: October 23, 2021

© Copyright 2021 D. Thurmond aka JEF. All rights reserved.

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Ann Sepino

I love how this starts off with Yawn Forest's geography. It makes the setting feel like a real part of the world. And I have to give credit to naming the place 'Yawn-der.' It's very clever.

Let me know if Milderpeed is looking for a new apprentice. I'm willing to apply. The guy/tree is such an endearing character. And that ending he initiated, lol! I have a hunch that his magic is more effective than Tinder.

Mon, October 25th, 2021 3:12pm

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I've always thought that Milderpeed should be a problem solving kind of guy, so that's the way I've tried to present him. And it stood to reason that when Brody, Cody & Toul showed up in the Forest to forage, and then becoming friends with Milderpeed; well, their guy conversations might certainly end up to be about girls. And being that they were entering that age of realization, the conversation must have tilted to the fact that there were no girl Yems in the valley. --- Thanks for the feedback, it is always a joy to hear from you.
As far as an apprentice for Milderpeed, like I said, he's a helpful kind of guy. :)

Mon, October 25th, 2021 10:00am

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