Wordcount: 683 words
Ode to a Tinker’s Moon
“I don’t think this is going to work.” Moonstar tried to keep an eye on the charm bag as Wendy tied it around his neck. “The charm’s meant to make a horse look less valuable, not a unicorn.”
“It worked on the Black,” Wendy nodded over at the disgruntled looking piebald gelding Riley was riding, “it should work on you too.”
“If you say so,” but the unicorn sounded less than convinced.
“I do.” She gave him a stern look and stepped back, touching her own bracelet. “Tinker’s moon shine true, shine bright, hide my wealth from foeman’s sight.” And there was a slight ripple as Moonstar’s white and blue form was overlaid with a slight dappling of grey and one brown eye. He was still an impressive looking horse, but at least he wasn’t an unnatural looking one. Wendy sighed, she’d hoped for something more like the Black’s transformation; people would be hard-pressed to see the Black Horse of Eolian in the almost scrawny looking gelding.
“Did it work?” Moonstar craned his head around, trying to see his flank. “I didn’t feel anything, are you sure it worked?”
“It worked, just not very well.”
“I dunno, I think he looks okay.” Riley squinted at Moonstar. “Maybe if we got him muddy it would help?”
Moonstar looked horrified and Wendy patted his neck comfortingly. “I don’t think mud’ll help hun, it’s his build they’ll see, not the color. Too bad we couldn’t turn him into a mule.”
“Keep it up and I’ll get myself horse-napped on purpose.”
“Right, you’ll just stand there and allow someone to throw a saddle on you and ride off into the sunset.” Wendy grinned as Moonstar shuddered, tail flicking at the mere thought of a rider. “We really need a better cover story for why we’ve got two horses, one of which no one can ride.”
“Ti just thought you were crazy,” Riley offered helpfully. “Everyone knows most of the really good horse trainers are off in the head.”
“That isn’t a bad idea.” Moonstar bobbed his head, “You can say I’m a gift for the king, a performing horse.” He thumped the ground with a forehoof. “One plus one is two, what’s the capital of Little Marsh, things like that.”
The Black snorted, and thumped out his own agreement to the idea.
“An ecentric horse trainer.” Wendy thought it over, “Well, I suppose I’ve been odder things in my life. Why not.”
“Great! That means we can start looking for the flute, right?” Riley leaned forward across the Black’s neck. “I put the map in your backpack, I didn’t even have to make a copy ’cause Riovan said she didn’t want it anymore. Probably because she can’t read Falorian.”
Riley nodded, “The Kingdom across the sea, only no one talks to them anymore because the sea monsters ate all the boats.”
“Good to know.” Wendy found the map tucked into one of the newly mended side-pockets. She unrolled it carefully, but realized it was made from a stiff fabric, not skin. It also had an odd sheen to it, reminiscent of the waterproofing compound they’d used on the wagon covers. Apparently people in Velanon planned for rough weather. Then again, almost all of Heather’s stories had some variation of ‘It was a Dark and Stormy Night’ so that was probably for the best.
The Flute of Five Winds was apparently hidden away in a canyon to the north of Riverside where the Backwards River had worn it’s way through the hills. They could either grab a ride on one of the barges or just walk along the river edge. Wendy was a little baffled that the flute would have been hidden in such a well-traveled location, but she wrote it off as a simple lack of good hiding places in a world mostly plains and forest. It was only a three-day walk, so she decided it was probably safe to skip ahead.
“Eveyone ready then?” When they nodded, she hefted her backpack. “It took them three days to reach the mouth of the canyon…”