Wednesday, July 29, 2009


This was for a Challenge on Discovery. It's written to be in the same world as the FFF entries.

"Mm-bagh-mm, treasuree-tresh. Secretee-place of the megarie Bresh."

The little monkey-like creature moved carefully across the roof of the Sanctum, using its arms to assist in pulling it forward. It stopped suddenly, its eyes darting from side to side as it scented the air. Apparently satisfied, it continued its shuffle to the far side of the roof.

"Must be careful, Bresh must. Nosy youngees seek treasuree. Pesky youngees."

The creature grabbed the gargoyle at the edge of the roof and, in contrast to its somewhat awkward walking gait, swung gracefully out over the edge and disappeared from sight.

"Is it gone?"

Fatima poked her head around the corner of one of the stone chimneys. "Yeah, he's gone."

Silas edged around the chimney, eyes wary. "Megaries give me the creeps."

"Bresh isn't so bad," Fatima said, joining Silas in the open. "He's dirty and smelly and I'm sure he has fleas, but he'd never hurt anyone."

"It's too smart for a megarie. Megaries aren't supposed to be able to talk like that. And it wears clothes. It's not natural."

Bresh was special, it was true. While megaries possessed a rudimentary intelligence, Master Horvinnt had somehow managed to increase that capacity sufficiently to allow Bresh to speak. Fatima found the whole thing fascinating.

"His talking has never bothered me much."

"That because you're a mage. You're used to all that weird stuff."

Fatima grinned. She wasn't really a mage, not yet anyway, but Silas was right. The strange, sometimes bizarre aspects of magic that so unsettled the martial cadets like Silas were second nature to her by now. She was touched by a sense of pride that the larger, stronger Silas was somewhat intimidated by a simple megarie, while she felt no such unease.

Silas broke her train of thought. "Let's get moving. His stash has to be up here somewhere."

Fatima nodded. They quickly began their search. It was common knowledge that megaries were pack rats. They loved stuff - especially shiny stuff. Troops of megaries had been known to enter the camps of travelers and even occasionally raid small farmsteads in search of treasures. Megarie nests had been uncovered with everything from kitchen implements and plows, to clothing and toys, to weapons and gold. The megaries weren't intelligent enough to realize the value of the things they stole, they simply had the impulse to collect, and so they did.

This made Bresh a very interesting topic of discussion among the cadets of the academy. That he was a megarie meant that he would collect things. That he was an intelligent megarie - relatively speaking - meant he would be more selective of the things he collected. Bresh's treasure would be just that: treasure. Bresh had been at the academy for years. The cadets could only imagine how extensive the megarie's collection would be.

The lure of riches had led to academy-wide searches. It had become a game for the cadets, looking for Bresh's treasure. Teams of cadets would canvas the academy grounds in their spare time, hoping to find the elusive stash. The trouble was, Bresh was intelligent enough to recognize what the cadets were doing. When one enterprising group of students had conspired to follow the megarie over the course of several days, Bresh had led them on one wild goose chase after another until the group was forced concede defeat. Other groups had conveniently left tempting items out for Bresh to steal, hoping to follow him back to the nest, only to have Bresh pass them by almost contemptuously. One cadet had even threatened Bresh physically if he didn't reveal the treasure's location. A week in the infirmary had reminded that student that megaries were stronger than they looked.

It was about that time that Silas hit upon an ingenious solution. Enlist the aid of one of the magi. Fatima was in her third year of study as a mage and had known Silas from childhood. She hadn't been so interested in the treasure, as she was in testing her growing skills. With Silas's encouragement, Fatima had agreed to watch Bresh with her magic.

What they discovered was intriguing. Despite their resemblance to monkeys, megaries were not arboreal. They made their nests underground. Because of this, the cadets had focused their searches on the academy's grounds - in the basements and under shrubbery. What Fatima found was that when he was unobserved, Bresh would frequent the TOPS of the buildings. It was so out of character for a megarie that the cadets had never even considered the possibility.

Fatima's magic had only been able to do so much. They narrowed the location down to three buildings. In the end, they knew it had to be the Sanctum. It was the one building the cadets needed permission to enter, and they certainly couldn't access get to the roof without some help from a mage. Fatima to the rescue again.

It only took a few moments to find the nest. On the far corner of the roof, the pair discovered an old pigeon coop, probably abandoned some years earlier when the Sanctum had expanded from a magic school to a full Seeker academy. Silas moved as if he would enter, and then stepped aside instead.

"Ladies first."

Fatima hid a smirk. Brave cadet, indeed. She moved aside a loose board and stepped into the dilapidated coop. Light filtered in from cracks in the rotting wood planking. She gasped at what she saw. Silas heard and pushed his way past her.

The nest was filled with stuff, years worth of accumulated scavenging. There were scarves and hats, boots and gloves, dishes and cutlery, pottery, rope, horseshoes, dog collars, broken flasks, torn scraps of vellum; all manner of odds and ends. All of it worthless.

Because of exposure to the elements, mold, mildew and rust had taken it's toll. Even things that would have been worth something had depreciated to nothing in the years of abuse.

"You've got to be kidding me," Silas moaned, the thrill of discovery overpowered by disappointment. "This can't be it."

"A true blue megarie to the core," Fatima said. "I guess an increase in intelligence doesn't necessarily mean a change in one's tastes."

"The other guys are going to be so disappointed."

"Why tell them?" Fatima said. "They have no idea Bresh keeps his nest up here. Let them keep on looking. Every time they hatch a new scheme you can simply smile and lord it over them, knowing they're chasing wild geese."

Silas slowly smiled. Fatima could almost see the wheels turning in his head.

"Yeah," he said, "It's like I'll be playing a joke on them over and over again."

They left the coop and made their way to the trap door into the building, Silas blabbering the whole way.

Bresh watched from behind a gargoyle as the two humans opened the hole leading back into the building. Before entering the female caught his eye. Bresh nodded. Fatie winked.

Bresh made his way across the roof to his nest. Fatie and the youngee had disturbed very little. Not that Bresh minded. He hardly cared for this mess. It was just a ruse. With care, he moved aside some of the junk to reveal a small trapdoor in the floor. He lifted the lid and peered inside. Gold glittered, silver flashed, and jewels sparkled in the filtered sunlight.

"Treasuree-tresh, treasure of Bresh," Bresh sang, and he smiled.

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