Tag: bears

The Golden-Haired Pirate

Greta Goldenlocks was a fearsome and mighty pirate. No pirate or soldier alive could defeat her in battle. She could defeat ten men as large as grizzly bears with one hand tied behind her back and the wind blowing her hair into her face. She could surround and defeat an armada of ships with three rowboats and a crossbow.

And as for treasure, Greta had a nose for it. No one could hide their valuables from Greta’s sticky fingers. If it was golden false teeth, they’d be gone and in her loot bag while you were in the middle of eating dinner with them. You wouldn’t notice they were gone until you tried to eat the mashed potatoes.

One day, after getting up early to explore the surrounding seas, Greta sailed up to a castle. She rowed to shore and jumped from the rowboat, eager to explore. She approached warily, but no guards or lookouts stood outside the gates.

The front door was unlocked. It was a little unnerving. Greta thought of all the ghost stories she heard on quiet nights. Yet, she never once saw a ghost, after all.

She couldn’t walk away from this. A castle? With the front door unlocked? She wouldn’t be a pirate if she didn’t walk right inside. So, she did.

The front hall was empty. Following her nose for treasure, she turned into the first room. It was a banquet hall with a lavish feast served but untouched. Greta sampled the dishes.

No poison.

After sampling the last serving, she finished the meal. Why leave good food to go to waste? She considered finding the kitchens later and bringing some extra provisions to her crew.

But first, she needed to look for treasure. She went into the next room. It was a throne room, and the chairs looked like solid gold.

However, Greta was an expert treasure hunter, unwilling to be fooled by imitations. She checked first one chair, then another. She hacked the last chair apart with her sword. It wasn’t gold, just painted wood.

Disgusted, she moved along. She found a bed chamber. The expensive linens would fetch a pretty penny if sold to the right buyers. Yet, linens would be a poor treasure to take back to her crew from the castle. Even if she added the provisions.

Surely there must be something better. Letting her mind go blank, Greta tuned in to possible treasure. But all her senses told her that the treasure in this castle was the beds.

She looked under the beds. She scratched the paint of the headboards to see if they were made of gold. She checked under the mattresses. She checked the seams of the bedding.

Maybe they were enchanted beds? Greta didn’t really believe in magic, but she was willing to keep an open mind. She crawled into each of the beds, with her boots on, to see if anything felt different.

Nothing did. Maybe she needed to fall asleep first. And so, in the last bed, she fell fast asleep. The bed was marvelously comfortable, and she slept well. Unfortunately, she didn’t sleep long.

Greta started awake with the feeling of someone watching her. Opening her eyes, she was shocked to see three large bears. Actual bears. Yet they wore clothes and stood on their hind legs like people.

Was that what the enchanted beds did? Did they turn people into bears? Or was it the food that changed them?

In alarm, Greta looked down at her hands. They were still normal hands. She cautiously put her hands up to check her face. No fur.

She remembered her treasure-seeking instincts telling her the beds were important. It must be the beds. Luckily, she hadn’t slept there long. She needed to get out of here before anything happened.

The bears were still staring at her in shock. Greta jumped from the bed, and in two steps she was out the window. She landed gracefully on the lawn and waved at the bears watching her from the window.

Her crew sailed away from the enchanted castle as quickly as possible. The ship’s doctor said her voice sounded a bit hoarse, but it was probably just a cold. He told her it just wasn’t possible for people to turn into bears. But Greta and the crew knew better. She’d had a narrow escape.

Greta is still just as good in battle. She can still find any treasure no matter where it’s hidden. But she might wait a moment or two before taking it now. She checks to see if the owner looks cursed. Greta Goldenlocks is a wise and mighty pirate.

Flashback Friday: The Little Bear

This story was originally posted on May 30, 2017. I like the idea of bears with magic living in clans. How will the little bear earn the chance to truly be a bear? Will there be a quest? Tasks?

Rufus was patrolling the boundaries of the clan’s territory when he found him.   There, in a spot where their territory overlapped the human territory, a small bear was lying on his side in a patch of sunlight. Rufus felt that unnatural calm that precedes a battle as he charged forward, bellowing to warn away any attackers.

He couldn’t see any attackers, and the little bear didn’t move. Rufus towered over the little cub. He nudged at him with his nose. The little guy didn’t smell right. His eyes were glassy and his fur was an odd color.   When Rufus picked him up in his paws, the little bear’s legs flopped as though there were no bones. He was obviously under some sort of terrible human spell.

Rufus rushed the little guy straight to the clan elders. “I need some help,” he said, as he charged into the hidden cave. “It’s terrible. A spell has been cast on this little cub.”

The elders rushed forward, with the clan mage in the lead. “Put him on the floor here and let me examine him,” the healer said. “I can determine if there has been a spell cast or not.”

Rufus laid the little bear down on the ground. He backed up and the elders crowded closer. The healer stepped forward and listened to the cub’s chest and lifted and dropped one of his legs. He peered closely into his eyes. “Is it a spell?” Rufus asked.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” the healer said, looking closely at the cub’s ears. “Where did you find him?”

“At the edge of the human territory.” Rufus nodded back towards the cave entrance. “He was lying on the ground. I picked him up and brought him straight here.”

“Did you see anything on the ground around him?” The healer looked up at Rufus.   “Was there anything unusual in the area?”

“I don’t think so,” Rufus said. “I didn’t look very closely. I was really worried about the cub.” He began to pace at the edge of the circle of elders, watching the cub.

“Of course,” the healer said. “Rightly so. Well, this is beyond my skill.”   He nodded to the clan mage and stepped back.

The clan mage conjured a ball of light and let it dance over the little bear.   “Hmmmm.”

“What does that mean?” Rufus stopped pacing. “Can you help him?”

“I’m not sure.” The mage raised his paw and the light paused above the cub’s forehead. “I don’t know who he was or what was done to him. All I can safely say is that he is currently not a bear.”

“What do you mean?” the clan eldest asked. “We can all see that this is definitely a bear. What else could he be?”

“He does not have the bones of a bear. He does not have the skin or hair of a bear. He does not have the insides of a bear. He only has the shape of a bear,” the mage said. He huffed and the light blinked out.

Rufus looked around the circle at the clan elders. “Can’t we help him?”

“There is an old spell,” the mage said. He paused and looked up at the ceiling of the cave.

Rufus waited. The mage continued to look up. Rufus coughed. The mage didn’t glance his way.   Finally Rufus couldn’t wait any longer.   “What does the spell do?” he asked.

The mage looked down again and glanced around the circle. “I cannot make something that is not-bear into a bear.   However, I can give him the chance to earn the form himself.”

“What do you mean?” the clan eldest asked. “How could he earn the chance to be a bear?”

“He will awaken and have the chance to live and learn and choose. If he chooses to truly be a bear, then he will be one.” The mage picked up the little cub and held him up.

“What will he be before then?” The clan eldest looked down at the cub.

“A not-yet-bear.” The mage tapped the bear’s forehead with a claw.

“Can’t you do anything else?” Rufus asked.

“This is the best I can do,” the mage said. He laid the cub down again, head towards the cave entrance, feet towards the heart of the cave.

The clan eldest stepped back. “Then perform the spell.” The rest of the circle stepped back, leaving the mage standing by the little cub.

The mage’s voice rumbled and echoed through the cave. The little bear glowed. The bears blinked, and the light was gone. The mage looked over at the clan eldest. “It is done. It is now up to him.”

The little bear blinked and stretched. The clan eldest stepped forward. “He is waking up. I will explain this to him.”

Rufus followed the other clan elders out of the cave. “What happens now?” he asked.

The clan mage glanced back at the cave and huffed. “I don’t know.”