The Mugwet: First Journey by S.K. Watts

copywrite S.K.Watts 2023

10.30.2023

11.5.2023

4.26.2024

Something for the Grandkids

In the beginning, there were bubbles…

Returning to the Beginning

For the first time in one hundred seasons, the elders of the realm were preparing for the Great Gathering where stories of bravery and adventure are shared around the bonfires and feasting tables of Mugwet. These stories are the history of Mugwet.

It is a tradition that all mugwets share their personal stories and adventures with both the generation that went before and the one that will follow. It is how things have always been done, for these stories become the great legends that become all the new beginnings on this realm.  for a very good reason. For these stories, filled with inspiration and courage become a part of all the new beginnings of the realm.  

On Mugwet, storytelling is an art. It is how each life is remembered. Each mugwet spends much of their time coloring stories with as many brilliant energies as may be, which over time, requires quite a lot of remembering.

The mugwet known as Coll had always understood that for a story to be told faithfully, it would need to be told through the same eyes and heart as it was first experienced. Since it had been many seasons since his very first realm jump to visit another world on a mission of great importance, much of what he once remembered had faded with time and the addition of new memories and experiences to his mind’s collection. So, it seemed logical to return to his favorite place of remembering on the day before the preparations for the gathering began.  

“Memories are such fragile things.” Coll reminded himself, as it seemed that the older he became the harder it was to remember all the important details of his journeys. But he knew that even the smallest of the details were important for his stories, for they were the shadows of experience that created depth to the stories of his life. Now that he was fully grown and had completed many realm jumps to other worlds since his very first adventure, it was time to recall those precious memories and see them again through the eyes of his youth.

“With age and experience comes the wisdom to understand that many of our most cherished memories were simply steppingstones to keep moving us forward on our separate journeys. We will allow more memories than we would be able to count to fade so that others may take their place. It is a part of the journey that we must decide which memories we will keep close to us for always, and which will be released.”

Teacher Candace had always been one of Coll’s favorites. And he remembered that she was always quite clear about the purpose of memories, and encouraged her students to return to their favorite places of remembering whenever they needed to review the past to recall anything that would allow the present to appear much clearer.

So, Coll had returned to his place of remembering not just because he knew there were some very important details of his journey he could not recall, but because he needed to feel the same excitement that he had experienced on his very first realm jump if he was ever to be the storyteller he wanted to be. It really had been many realm jumps ago that he and his dragone set out for their first ever journey into the unknown.

 “No time like the present to remember the past!” He said softly to himself as he leaned back against his favorite remembering tree and closed his eyes. The light from the sun was at its highest point in the sky and had managed to squeeze between the branches of the giant weeping willow to float effortlessly above the earth surrounding the great tree. The air was soft and warm and smelled of fresh lilac blossoms. The breeze was so quiet that Coll could hear the movement of the clouds.

And then, all at once, there was utter silence. Time itself dissolved into the measure of a single heartbeat!  When his life reappeared in front of him, it was at the very moment a young mugwet landed at the beginning of his first great adventure, and he was seeing the world around him once more through the eyes of his youth. Coll allowed the space between now and then to wrap around him like a cozy blanket.

And he began to remember.

    The Landing

The small frog-like creature clinging to the side of the old shed would surely have gone unnoticed had it not been for the sudden appearance of a brilliant red-winged insect directly behind it. The curious crimson bug, who could only be likened to an incredibly nervous dragonfly, was wildly flapping its wings so furiously that they were not visible at all! And then it suddenly ceased its fluttering motion to hover silently in midair.

 The insect’s brilliant sap-green companion was attempting to shake off the slimy grey pigment that had gathered on the webbing between its feet. Strangely, it seemed to be listening to the dragonfly who was now darting back and forth in a pattern-like manner directly in front of the green creature’s face to make sure it had its attention.

Neither mugwet had noticed that a young boy had unexpectantly witnessed the strange event from across his grandfather’s garden. And that the boy stood frozen in his tracks, trying not to breathe. The look on his face was that of awe and wonder. He composed himself as quickly as he could manage and then ducked behind a large palm trunk in hopes of blending with the landscape.

The boy, whose name was Seth, studied the pair closely as he watched the dragonfly appear to speak to its strangely familiar-looking partner that was still struggling to keep its footing on the slippery wooden wall. For the briefest part of a moment, Seth thought the dragonfly had spotted him as he slowly moved closer to hide behind a small tree.

Seth’s pale complexion and blue-black hair color might have blended in with the garden busses and shrubs, but the bright blue shirt with large white flowers had no place to hide amid the section of the garden that was filled with greenery only.

“I should have been on the side with all the flowers.” Seth was thinking to himself just as a distant memory of something he couldn’t identify had crept into his mind. All that he could remember was that it had something to do with the paint on the old shed.  

Seth’s grandfather had up and decided to paint the shed just the last evening before, even though he knew an unexpected thunderstorm would render the paint as gooey as wet chewing gum. A very strange way to do things, even for his grandfather. Although the boy didn’t understand why there would be such urgency to paint the shed, it seemed that somehow the act and the curious creatures were connected somehow. But for now, Seth was only concerned that Grandfather had lathered on the paint quite thickly, and the creatures might not be able to free themselves from the gooey building.

 Seth was fascinated with the appearance of the small green creature glued to the shed that had long pointed ears and two sets of wings. One pair of its wings seemed to be attached to the creature’s front and back legs. Much like a bat. The other set was a bit more puzzling, and he could not venture to guess how they would be used, as they seemed very much like airy gauze material that would drift away with a breeze. And there were many breezes and intense winds on his island.

The bug, who had the wings of a dragonfly, reminded Seth of the noisy and annoying beetle that flies short distances between the palm trees and bushes on the island. In any case, its wings were now making a low humming sound and appeared to be moving very, very slowly. Too slowly in fact.

Seth suddenly realized that he felt everything around him moving in slow motion!

“How strange.” He whispered under his breath while continuing to study the

pair quite intently. Stranger still was the fact that he wasn’t afraid at all of the sensations of moving in slow motion, and he began to wonder if he had been allowed to witness this unusual occurrence for some reason. After all,  it had been an awfully long summer. How wonderful it would be if something exciting was happening in his own backyard!

The dragonfly and the little green creature, who upon closer study now looked more like a lizardry sort of a bat, seemed to be working out a strategy to remove itself from the area of their unfortunate landing. Seth noticed that they were speaking to one another in a most unusual language that he realized he was able to understand!

“How very strange.” He mumbled to himself quietly before endeavoring to listen more closely, that he really could understand them both. And from across the garden!  

“What is this sticky stuff Tinne?” The green creature inquired of his partner.

“It’s called Paint!” Replied the dragonfly curtly.

So, the dragonfly’s name was Tinne! Seth was now sure that he had been correct about it, seeing him across the garden while he was attempting to hide and was forced to shift his weight slightly and exhaled the breath he had been holding for a very long time.

Suddenly the bug was glaring at the boy! And hovering  in midair like a silent helicopter. Seth could feel its eyes attempting to hold sway over him.    

“As if a dragone can’t see you!” Tinne whispered to herself. “Dragones have eyes enough behind our heads alone to focus on a silly boy’s movements,” she thought in  

silence. “And I know that even if a human can understand this language, they cannot hear our secret thoughts that will never become words.”

She continued to glare at him and to hold him in the trance she had learned to employ should a human cross the path of a dragone.

“And many more eyes within to continue watching you as well!” She added.

 The dragone was quite capable of perusing the area for an alternate landing site, as well as solving the dilemma of her partner’s gummy feet at the same time.

“And continuing to hold you in my gaze!” She said to the boy in the garden.

“How is it I do not know what paint is?” The now dark green creature whose name was Coll inquired of his partner. The mugwet was not concerned about the movement of the boy he had also seen as well across the garden, but with the gooey substance that had captured his toes! Coll did not recall knowing the meaning of ‘paint’ at all. And the mugwets had worked out all the possibilities of this landing before the jump, so how was it they hadn’t planned for this specific circumstance?

“The mugwets were in a class having to do with free-falling on the day the dragones were learning about humankind,” Tinne responded. “And learning that humans often apply colors to surfaces to make the surface’s appearance look very different.” She continued to focus on the boy who had somehow managed to advance closer to the shed, hiding behind shrubs that were now covered in brilliant blue blossoms.

“You should’ve hid in the garden on the side with the flowers.” She thought.

“Maybe humans were not as cunning as we have been taught that they are!” Tinne said just loud enough for the boy to hear while wondering how the short human had  managed to break from her trance whenever he felt the need to blink.

Just then the sun rose over the roof of the shed and  the boy was forced to blink several times as the brilliant light shined directly in his eyes. And once more, Tinne’s trance was broken.

The boy watched as the dragonfly swiftly moved to hover over its friend, wings flapping wildly as if preparing to protect him from harm!

 The green creature, however, seemed too involved with the remaining paint between his toes to feel threatened by anything. Seth had the sense that the creature was enjoying the aromas and textures of the garden while freeing itself from the goo.

 “I smell green.” Coll whispered to Tinne. “That at least is a very good thing.”

“I knew it!” Thought the boy.

 Tinne, ever so cautious, kept her eyes on the boy as he crouched low to the ground. She was annoyed that the boy was watching her right back. Unwillingly, however, she admired his tenacity.

“Impertinent child!” She slowed her wing flapping to a point where the boy would feel everything around him was moving even slower. “Let’s see how clever you are.”

Once more Seth was quite aware that the world around him began to move even quite slowly but was not frightened by the experience. He had noticed the slower the dragonfly’s wings flapped, the more still the garden became, and he was keenly aware of the smells and subtle noises that the movements in the garden made within the breeze.

“How awesome it is that a bug can slow time!” He was thinking to himself as he watched the dragonfly cease to move at all and appeared to be suspended in midair. All Seth was able to do at the moment was to stare back at the bug and wonder at its exceptionally large eyes and how silent the garden had become. And that the bug was not just simply red, but now pinkish red and white with purple markings as well. He was sure that none of the dragonflies on his island could change colors in an instant.

 As the boy continued to stare at the two amazing creatures still on the shed, he tried to recall all the details of a particular story his grandfather shared when he was much younger. A story he had believed, until today, was something that Grandfather had invented to entertain his grandson on a rainy afternoon. It was a story about a chance meeting with some small creatures who were able to bend time to travel between realms and visit other worlds to rescue species of animals before they were all gone. Grandfather had called them realm jumpers.

“Wouldn’t it be wondrous if these were those very same realm jumpers?” He thought. “But what were the odds of that happening after all.” Seth forced himself to concentrate on remembering exactly what his grandfather had said about the beings he had once chanced upon.

He could hear his grandfather’s voice as if he was standing beside him.

“These were creatures that moved quietly and unnoticed. Creatures destined to move between worlds to rescue and relocate other creatures who would cease to be due to things like natural disasters, dwindling environments that made way for cities and roads, or because most people had no say in saving the world of animals, fish, and birds. These jumpers were necessary in the big picture of the all the worlds in the universe.”

Grandfather had related this part with great sadness in his eyes. For as long as Seth could remember, his grandfather cared very much about all the animals of the world, and how many of them were faced with becoming extinct. He’d always thought this was a story passed down from one family to another that was meant to teach kindness and conservation to the next generation. 

“How wonderful would that be if that were something we could do too? To make sure something did not cease to exist at all because people didn’t care or didn’t have a way to save what others didn’t care about.” Seth would always say to Grandfather while he was wiping away his tears before continuing with the rest of his story.

Just for a moment, Seth was both proud and relieved when he realized his own grandfather was probably a part of these creatures’ adventures a long time ago. He wondered as well if the gooey paint had been prepared and applied to the shed because Grandfather knew it was now his grandson’s destiny to be a part of this story as well.

Tinne, having finished studying the boy whilst holding his gaze still within her own, decided that the boy was still very young. She’d been taught that older humans, considered wiser in this world due to age, often discarded most of the experiences shared by their young as they believed them fantasy. She decided that the boy posed no immediate threat to their moving forward with the task they’d been charged with completing. They had landed off course for some reason, unpardonable for a mugwet, but the priority now was that they get on with what they had come here to do.

Perhaps if she and Coll moved swiftly enough, the boy wouldn’t remember what it was that he had seen in the garden this day. Mugwets could move fast enough to appear as a blurred puff of wind. Appropriately known as blurring to a dragone.

“This mishap does not change the mission at hand.” Tinne was speaking to Coll by way of wing words, which was the adopted language of dragones. “But first, let us clean your feet on the thistle bush over there and be on our way. Quickly!

“Now I can smell blue and green mixing together! I have not detected this mixture before but surely this means we are close to the ocean.” Coll was relieved.

“This landing was calculated perfectly, and I cannot believe that we landed so far off course” Tinne reminded her partner. She did feel relieved that he was able to smell the colors of the water. Tinne now felt the movement of the tide with her wings!

“There was a reason for this. It could be that this landing area is much closer to where we need to be.” Coll responded with as much hope as he could manage. There had to be a reason they had landed so far away from their destination, because the original jump had been planned out so carefully. “It doesn’t make any sense this could be a coincidence.” Mugwets were taught that coincidence was really all about something happening that needed to happen whether you planned it or not.

“Perhaps we miscalculated.” Tinne did not believe in excuses. Only facts.

“Perhaps you are right.” Coll decided that diplomacy was the wiser course now. Dragones preferred being agreed with. They were much nicer when agreed with as well.

The ‘everything happens for some good reason’ concept was one that Tinne did not share with her partner. Dragones are all about calculation and efficiency, and plans are either completed as successes or failures. Tinne did not believe in fate or circumstance either. These were the results of mugwets just thinking silly thoughts. Coll decided not to say anything about thinking this might have been a fortuitous outcome to all of their careful planning.

In the meantime, Coll was keeping an eye on the boy and surveying the garden with the other. He shook off the last of the goo that had kept his feet glued to the building and wondered  how something as large as a human could ever believe itself capable of invisibility. And humans moved much too slowly for invisibility to be probable. But he had not detected any untoward feelings from the boy, just a keen sense of curiosity that many species of beings share. He wondered about how perceptive this young human was.

It was becoming clear to Seth that dragones and mugwets could read each other’s thoughts in some ways that he did not understand. What he did not know is that they learned to communicate with each other long before their hatching ceremonies in a way that only they would understand. Seth could sense that Coll knew Tinne was thinking about how to escape the garden while he remained tranced within it.

And Tinne knew that Coll had just began to wonder if the boy and the landing site were meant to be a part of the undertaking at hand. And she began to frown.

 Unlike dragones, mugwets are taught that ‘once seen’ is often the beginning of a special contact that must be allowed to unfold. Quite often, things that are not planned will indeed happen for a reason. Something a dragone would see as unplanned events that cannot be controlled. Dragones must always at least feel like they are in control, even when they aren’t.

It is always tricky business when a mugwet chooses a decision that a dragone would never approve. But there was something about the situation at hand that this mugwet knew needed to be addressed. And Tinne wasn’t going to like what he was going to do next at all.  

“I heard that!” Tinne thought back at him, not swelling on the rest of what she thought about his silly idea that would surely bring chaos into their well laid plans.

Upsetting his partner was not the best way to begin over, but it seemed the only choice open to Coll. He decided an explanation might be in order.

“Yes. We have landed off course. And yes, some sort of redirection will be required for us to make up time and complete what we came here to do. I honestly believe that his boy and our landing are connected.”

All the dragone could muster was the look she wore on her face when she knew there wouldn’t be any point in asking her mugwet what he was thinking. She knew he was about to change the perfectly good plan they had before landing in the garden.

 Learning New Things

“Let go of his gaze Tinne.” We need to find the water as quickly as possible, retrieve our objective and return home.” Coll had managed to slough the very last bit of grey substance still stuck between his webbed toes by tapping them firmly against the shed. He was thinking that now, however, it would be better for Tinne to believe that he would be in charge now. But Tinne had cloaked her thoughts and Coll heard the silence.

Tinne believed that a team should proceed ahead before releasing the boy’s gaze. As Teacher Candace always said, doing it this way leaves humans or any other non-mugwet wondering if they had seen anything at all. A feeling that is known as Deja Vue to humans. Humans are very quick to believe that what they cannot explain must have been an illusion, as they do not know illusions are events that they cannot explain. But just as she was about to remind Coll of the accepted protocol for their situation, Coll released the child from his trance-like state himself just as Tinne was readying herself to lecture her partner about what was appropriate.

But, in the blink of a dragone’s eye, the boy had crossed the distance of the garden and was standing in front of the pair still attached to the painted shed!

“Impossible!” The pair thought to one another in an instant. Coll could not help but admire the boy. Tinne was unusually annoyed.

“Perhaps this human is somewhat cunning.” Coll teased Tinne.

“He is impertinent!” Tinne said tapping her wings together in displeasure.

 “You two must be companions!” Said the human boy who didn’t wait for the first request to be answered. “Oh. And my name is Seth. What is yours?”

“Just as I said,” Tinne complained, “Impertinent! And rude!”

“We must respect the fact that the boy has an ability to understand another language quickly. And that he is enthusiastic.” Coll injected before his partner became any more infuriated with events she could not control.

Mugwets had always been told that humans who become a part of a realm jump were probably meant to become a part of the journey. Random meetings, however, were only supposed to occur after many jumps, and only to experienced mugwets. The first jump encounter was quite extraordinary. Coll felt that perhaps this was a very good sign.

“I will concede that maybe this is a test we have been given.” Tinne thought back.

The boy continued, unmoved by the fact his question had not been answered.

 “My father told me a story about creatures like you, and that that it was the same story his grandfather once told him when he was young. Father said I would be most fortunate in my life should I meet a realm jumper face to face, but I always thought the story was a fairy tale as grownups are given to making up stories for their kids. I never expected to meet you! Can you really jump between realms? You are a dragonfly and a frog, right?”

Speaking to humans had not been a covered topic in early classes for either mugwets or dragones. This subject was reserved for realm jumpers who had completed at least three missions before advancing to Unplanned Circumstances 201 as following conversations that go in many directions at once require experience and the ability to answer carefully. So, both creatures who found themselves somewhere different than they had planned were processing the human habit of leaping from one thought to another. What purpose does it serve to move on to a second question when the first has yet to be answered?

“He doesn’t need to know!” Tinne blurted aloud. The boy only needed to know what would serve their purpose, and for now, that was directions to the ocean.

Seth had been wondering when exactly he had learned their language. And now, he was working on the unspoken parts of it, such as wing tapping and what was going on when they were both silent but staring at one another. He was sure that the wing beating thing would take him a bit more time for sure but was pleased to know that he was following in his grandfather’s footsteps and a part of this journey at hand.

Seth listened more closely to Tinne’s unspoken thoughts directed at her partner, and when he couldn’t really understand what she was saying, realized that maybe these conversations were meant to be between them alone. Just for fun, he began thinking of his last birthday party thinking maybe they could hear his thoughts.

“Can you understand me?” He asked quietly.

“Don’t speak anything not necessary to this mission to the human!” Tinne cautioned her mugwet in wing words. “We must get on with what we came here to do. Tinne was now tapping her feet and her arms were crossed. The sign of an incredibly determined dragone.

“I understood what you just said little bug.” Seth said softly.

Tinne was about to start fluttering with enough force to whip winds through the garden in return for the boy’s insulting assumption that she was indeed a bug! Coll stepped in just in time to soften her planned reaction. Coll had decided that there would be no harm in sharing the stories that all mugwets and dragones come to know as soon as they land. Should the boy ever repeat the sacred stories, they would seem the notions and dreams that only the young can imagine. The telling of stories might even serve to avoid upsetting his dragone so often.

“Her name is Tinne.” Coll quickly informed the boy. “And I am called Coll. She is not a bug, even though she may resemble the dragonflies that you have in this realm. She is a dragone and my traveling partner.”

“I am a mugwet.” Coll began. “And often mistaken for a lizard at first when not on our home realm. As we age and become wiser however, we begin to look something like other species know as ‘frogs.’ Frogs with ‘bat’ tendencies you might say.”

The boy was listening quite intently, so Coll continued.  

 “To be compared to a frog in any realm would be a compliment on Mugwet, as frogs are revered for being wise and capable of moving between the worlds on any realm. To be compared to a bat was something to aspire to as bats rule the silence and are masters of invisibility. Bats are also keepers of mysteries, a necessary quality for realm jumpers.” Coll paused to notice he had Seth’s full attention still, and Tinne was still tapping her feet and sighing quite audibly. At least the crimson had returned to her wings.

Coll continued. “And you should know that dragones are ethereal beings, and usually never compared to bugs. Although bugs are the most wondrous creatures, dragones moves between the realms on many worlds and live live for a very long time, often partnering with more than one mugwet during their long lives and many journeys. They are truly very special beings indeed.”

Coll glanced at Tinne who had at least uncrossed her arms and ceased tapping her feet. She had straightened herself up as if she were being admired by another dragone. Tinne loved flattery. It was time to move on with the story of the mugwets.

“Mugwets such as I will age quite rapidly from the time we are hatched until we are adults. Somewhere in the middle of our growing, we will begin to truly look more like lizards with bat attributes.” This was something the boy would need to know if he were to be included in this mission, as he would inevitably see the transformation happen along the way. Especially to Coll.

Since this was their Coll’s first time off Mugwet, Coll would age visibly throughout the day. Both the mugwets were already feeling the aging process begin as the pressure of the day’s light moved across the landscape; Tinne’s would only be visible by the colored stripes on her wings at this point in her life.  

“Dragones will increase in size as they age from the hatch days only slightly. Dragones change colors as they age or become more confident with the color energies they represent.” Coll awaited a response. The boy did not offer one.

“Too much information.” Tinne quipped. The foot tapping began anew.

“Perhaps the boy would be helpful in guiding us to where we will find the hawk-beaked turtles we came to relocate.” Coll was speaking to Tinne quietly in thought form and wondering if the boy would understand them still. “As time is a weighty factor, we would benefit from having a guide navigate us to the ocean as quickly as possible.”

Tinne was flutter-tapping her wings now, signaling her increasing agitation. A decision had been made without her counsel, even though it was perfectly within the mugwet’s right to do so, but she did not take rejection well. After all. She was ethereal and felt she should have had veto rights in this relationship!

“It is possible that we may require some assistance navigating to the body of water we’d planned to land next to but did not.” Coll awaited a response while ignoring his dragone’s increased cautionary wing flapping. A second decision he’d made without her council.

“Do you know of a turtle that has been named ‘hawk beak’? Coll asked.

“I know that turtle.” Seth said humbly, hoping he would be invited to join them.

“If we share the story of our home and of mugwets and dragones with you, can we begin moving towards the ocean?” This time Coll did not wait for a response as there was no more time to waste. He continued with an explanation of their mission.

Seth could hardly contain himself. He was going on a mugwet mission!

“We are here to find a pair of hawksbill sea turtles and bring them to our home on

Mugwet. Their species is soon to become extinct.” Coll knew what the boy’s response would be, so wasted no time leaping onto the nearest bush to the garden gate.

Seth was so excited he’d already begun running towards the bright green garden gate and was beckoning the mugwets to follow him. So excited that he didn’t think to leave a note for Grandfather saying where he was going. And with whom.

“Excellent!” Said Coll, mostly for Tinne’s benefit as she was still pouting. He leapt over the next two bushes and glided the remaining few feet to the gate with the very nebulous set of wings used to cover short distances.

“How long will it take to get to the ocean and the place where the hawksbill lives?” Coll queried the boy while glancing at Tinne who was still tapping her wings against the shed and glaring at her mugwet. This was the dragone’s code signal for saying she wanted to be asked nicely to join them.

“It is always best to begin at the beginning.” Coll reminded Tinne. “Same mission. New plan to accomplish it.” Tinne unfurled her beautiful wings that were now more violet blue than red now and flutter flew over to the gate. The streak of brilliant orange that now shown down both sides of her wings meant she needed time to chill out.

“Would you please join us?” Coll asked Tinne very nicely.

“They would be on the other side of the island, so maybe by morning if we hurry.” Seth replied. The boy had already left the yard and crossed the short distance of sand to the palm forest ahead. He’d managed to reach the forest before realizing that Coll required something to leap and fly from. Or something to ride upon to move quickly.

Coll was somewhat disappointed to know they were much further from their objective than had been planned but reminded himself that something would happen in return to balance the time loss. Coll so very much wanted their first mission to be perfect, and worthy of being a brilliant story. He would still trust that it would be everything he had imagined. Coll nodded to the boy and avoided Tinne’s glaring look.  

The three travelers set out to find the shores of the ocean in search of the hawkbill turtle with Coll and Tinne resting on the boy to speed up the journey. It was still morning and there was time to accomplish what they had come to do if they arrived by morning. When they reached the trees, Coll glided from one to the next with ease, causing the boy to have to run to keep up. Tinne flitted back and forth as a show of bountiful energy and that dragones could move much more quickly than both of her traveling companions.  

The forest was warm and fragrant, and both mugwets were enjoying their new surroundings even though they worried about getting to the water as soon as possible.

Trust Building

“He doesn’t need to know anything more!” Tinne cautioned Coll as she landed gracefully on Seth’s head and crossed her front legs, left over right. A sign that she was surely preparing a lecture on “I told you so.” Later down the road. A replacement attitude for her silent treatment that had lasted an hour.

Coll responded with his usual nod and prepared himself to begin telling the story of Mugwet in its entirety. From the beginning. The very best way to start to any story.

“What did you actually mean when you said you are hatched?” Asked Seth.

A reasonable question from a human point of view. Coll gave it some thought and decided he would begin at that beginning then. Hatch days were almost the very beginning of any mugwet story. Lady Ivy had always said “That if you tell a story about something, that something will always be remembered. Especially if it has to do with beginnings. For all beginnings are often the best part of all new journeys.”

“Yes. Mugwets are hatched.” Coll began. “The king of Mugwet, who traditionally has overseen all the bubble landings for as long as time has been recorded on the realm…”

Seth interrupted the story. “Bubbles? You arrive on your birthday in bubbles?”

Tinne was frowning again. “See! The boy knows nothing of manners.” Coll sighed and began to answer Seth’s question as it would be more efficient timewise not to try to change a human’s habits. That was something his parents and teachers needed to do, not the responsibility of the mugwets. He was beginning to think that stories that didn’t begin at the beginning would somehow be more interesting in the end.

“Yes. Bubbles. We are hatched from bubbles.” Coll had forgotten that humans enter the world in a quite different manner. He realized that storytelling for the human would need to be altered for a human if they were to avoid frequent interruptions.

“As I was saying, our king assures that the energies where all our bubbles land are perfectly peaceful. Bubbles are very fragile and quite nebulous vessels that require perfect landings.” It occurred to Coll for the first time that their king was much like a shepherd who tended his flock of flying baby bubble geese. Something that had been told to him when he was just a hatchling.  

Seth had slowed his pace a bit, obviously listening intently to the story.  Coll motioned that they should keep moving and he began his story again, speaking much more quickly now to hasten their gait.  

“Our queen, whom we call Mother, assigns each new member of the realm a word or thought that will become our name when we begin to understand that we are becoming who we were meant to be. Which is usually around the time we begin formal classes.”

“What does the name Coll mean then?” Seth interrupted.

“Humans are obviously not schooled in the etiquette of storytelling. We are never going to make it to the shore at this rate.” Tinne expressing her displeasure to her partner by way of wing words this time. For surely the boy had not figured out that language of wing words yet!

Coll had been thinking the very same thing himself. Humans wereobviously not instructed in the art of storytelling. Which requires having impeccable manners and having mastered the art of listening. Humans do not share all their journey stories with one another, and maybe that was a part of the problem. This would be a  very suitable topic to discuss with Teacher Candace when they returned home. What he did know for sure was that it was apparent young humans know nothing about patience and have not learned to listen respectfully when another is speaking.

“Humans think in very different patterns than mugwets.” Coll said out loud. He knew the boy would understand that the three of them were looking at the mission from three vastly different points of view. He went on to explain what he thought Seth needed to hear.

“We are told that the meaning of our names will reveal themselves fully after we have mastered the art of realm jumping. Which of course means we practice what it is like to realm jump, and then must accomplish one to say we have mastered the idea.”

 The boy seemed satisfied with an answer for about two beats of a dragone’s wings. “And how many realm jumps have you done?” He then asked.

 Coll answered the boy swiftly. “One.” He had replied. And then quickly motioned that the three should step up their pace yet again. The sun appeared to be fully overhead now, and both dragone and mugwet knew they needed to make the forest up ahead as soon as may be.

 The trio had left the boundary of the town behind them, crossed a sandy bit of land, and were now about to enter a small forest-like area filled with palm trees and strange plants with tall leaves. Many of the branches on the trees were low enough to brush against Tinne who was now seated on Coll’s head. Coll had seated himself on Seth’s shoulder again. This made them less obvious to any onlooker, especially the very large birds in the area! Coll then learned quite quickly how to duck low hanging branches and keep up the pace of his story telling at the same time. 

 “Both the king and queen have lived an exceptionally long time, longer than recorded time on Mugwet, and they have always been the wisest of Mugwets for they have seen and understood many things. The lords and ladies of the realm are chosen for their positions based on wisdom and collective experience as well as their devotion to be of service.” He paused to see if the boy had any questions.

“We hear that on other realms our lords and ladies have come to be known as shamans, or wise men and women. But there have been many more names we have heard of those that teach the wisdom of the journeys. It sounds like the title of Grandfather is a name that means wisdom on this realm.” Coll watched the boy tilt his head and then nod in acknowledgment.

 Coll continued. “These very wise elders are tasked with missions and purposes including education, formal life training, the overseeing of jumps and journeys, and making sure that all the new visitors to our realm can make themselves at home and know peace.

“We have a shaman in our village!” The boy suddenly blurted out.

“He just can’t help himself,” Tinne said loud enough for all to hear this time.

“Dragones…” Coll continued while ignoring them both. “Are working partners to their assigned mugwets on our realm. They hatch together and are only ever separated for purposes of classes in school and certain individual challenges. Or when the dragones and mugwets gather separately at the time of the great Mugwet gathering, which has not happened for quite some time, mugwets and dragones learn to work in perfect mental harmony with each other to be more efficient in carrying out our tasks.

“To save endangered species!” Chimed the boy.

“And many other tasks and duties as well.” Answered Coll.

“As mugwets and dragones age, they assume some of the duties of the wise ones such as teaching and overseeing realm jumps.”

Coll was wondering to himself when human children learn about such things as kindness. Is it something that is taught by their elders, or are they born with a sense of it as are dragones and mugwets.

“I doubt they are born with knowing this.” Tinne answered his thoughts. “It’s part of the reason we have the some of the duties we do, such as realm jumping to relocate creatures that are no longer cared about or revered on their worlds.”                                                                                                  
“The boy seems to know about kindness” Coll returned.

“I know how important it is to be kind.” Seth returned.

“Grandfather says that I was taught at a very young age that all life needs to be valued and that all life has a purpose. And that we need to cherish and care for animals and fish and insects and birds around us like we would our own kind. My father expected my brother and me to respect the world around us.” Seth said suddenly missing Grandfather and realizing he hadn’t left a note.

 The boy looked down at a ladybug crawling up his finger. He examined it for a moment and lifted his hand to allow it to go. “Ladybug, Ladybug. Fly away home!”

“We are very glad to hear that, Seth.” Coll answered. Tinne was eyeing the boy with suspicion now as she was silently thinking to herself that there would be an occasion for the boy to prove what he had just said, but when faced with the unfamiliar.

Coll noticed that Seth was stepping over plants on the path through the trees instead of squashing them underfoot. And that he was gently brushing away the large branches of the bushes as they walked.

“Why are you called a mugwet after the name of your world, but your partner is named ‘dragone’ but is also a mugwet?” Seth inquired thinking ahead of the story. Coll wondered if all humans were so inquisitive, although did admire his need for knowledge.

“Because ethereal beings need to be called something other than ‘etherial beings!” Tinne replied with her chin held high, annoyed at the fact this was the third time the boy had been informed of this. “The realm we left has no formal name because we belong everywhere.”

“Oh. I see.” Said the boy with just a hint of disbelief in his voice.

“But how do you get assigned to each other?” Seth changed the direction of the conversation having well understood that he had condescended to.

Coll was thinking that Tinne had been correct. The boy was somewhat impertinent. At the very least, incorrigible. He sighed and continued again understanding that for a human, he was still very young.

“Ladies Ren and Fen.” Replied Coll.

“Huh?” Seth was scratching his head. Apparently, human response to being left with no other suitable response.

Coll could not know how much the boy understood about the circle of life on his own realm, or what the boy believed comes after the journey he is on at present. All he could do was to trust in his instinct that the boy was kind.

Ladies Ren and Fen

“Returning now to the subject of being hatched.” Coll began again. “The wise ones of our world, who I believe are called shaman in yours, decide when it is time for us to be hatched. Or ‘born’ as you call it. And they decide which dragone companion will be assigned to each mugwet and accompany us through our journeys after we are hatched. Together one mugwet and one dragone sleep within our hatching bubbles until it is time for us to leave our bubbles and walk upon Mugwet for the first time.

“Your birthdays then!” Said Seth.

“Yes. But we call them hatch days.” Coll said. “Basically, the same meaning.”

Coll continued. “The timing of our hatching  is carefully determined by Ladies Ren and Fen according to the movements of the stars, suns, and moons that surround all the realms of Mugwet. Our ‘birthday gifts’ are the energies that accompany us for our journeys on Mugwet. Energies that were assigned to us when we were just seeds of new beginnings. The thoughts that would become who we are when the timing was correct.”  

Tinne and Coll immediately stared at one another, realizing for the first time that they were living one of the moments now that had determined Ren and Fen pairing them together in the beginning.

 “We’ve been told that they are the only pair of realm jumpers ever granted the opportunity to work together as a team on the ethereal plane doing this service. One legend says that in return for being allowed to work together as partners, Ren and Fen doubled the number of successful realm jumps.”

“But how?” Seth asked predictably.

“By matching mugwets and dragones together so perfectly that our jumps would always be safer and swifter than they had ever been. Nobody has ever learned the mystery of how they manage to accomplish this, but they do. And dragone and mugwet  hatch together already trusting one another, which is crucial for our missions.” Coll and Tinne glanced at each other, each acknowledging that trust.

“Do you get presents on your hatch days?” Seth asked.

“Presents?” Coll returned while pondering what presents a mugwet would receive to mark their seasons of growth and learning.

“Yes. You know. Like gifts. Presents from friends and family.”

“We are born with so many gifts that have already been bestowed, and we are gifted every day with teachings from the elders and the experience we receive whenever we accomplish something new. If you mean what ‘gift’ is it that we identify as being specific to a certain timing or achievement in our lives, there would be many we can name.

“The quickening for one. The physical growth and change that happens when we accomplish something that was a part of our destiny or come to understand certain wisdom that can only be gleaned by the passing of time. We do not ‘grow’ in increments of time so slow as to not be noticed daily. Our episodes of physical growth happen in minutes of your time.” Coll was just about to inform the boy that he would notice a definite change in both himself and Tinne by morning when he began to feel the quickening coming over him.

A mugwet was never totally prepared for the quickening overtaking them when it happens. It just happens.

Tinne hovered over her mugwet to lend him some support while he quaked and shivered for what seemed several minutes. The process apparently took longer on this world than it did on mugwet for it seemed an indeterminable amount of time to the dragone.

When Coll was calm and himself again, all three of the travelers were amazed at how much the mugwet had grown. Tinne attributed the quality of the quickening to being a combination of the first jump and Coll beginning on his path as a teacher without having been given any instruction by the elders.

Seth was amazed at how much stronger and wiser the mugwet appeared after this change. And it occurred to him that mugwet grow much more swiftly than humans.

“Yes. We do.” Tinne affirmed. She’d heard his thoughts as well.

But before the boy could ask the inevitable next question, Coll continued with the explanation of what mugwets consider ‘birthday presents and gifts in general.

“Such things as you would call talents or the ability to learn something quickly are gifts. And not everyone receives the exact same gift, but one chosen specific to their uniqueness. The gift of color energies to start us out on our journey was a birthday gift. Learning to work with color energies is a gift we earn with time and practice.”

“How do you learn to work with color energy?” Seth asked.

This boy rarely missed a step in a story, something that continued to impress the Coll. Seth would become a good storyteller himself, and that being the case, the question was certainly worthy of an answer, and he would share it as it was shared to him.

 It was Lady Ivy, Coll remembered, who first spoke about the Seeds of Wisdom. Her voice was always so very soft, and you had to listen carefully not to miss anything. He tried to remember her words exactly.

“Color energy and the way to work with it is one of the many Seeds of Wisdom.” He began. “These seeds are bestowed upon a mugwet and dragone when they have been paired together by Ren and Fen and are the gift of two elders who have passed them on in a ceremony before moving on to a higher plane of existence. They are both gifts and blessings combined.” Coll waited for a sign from the boy who nodded in recognition.

“Every time a pair of elders ascends to another plane, a pair of mugwets are blessed with their energies, as well as energies from the ancestors that are shared across all the mugwets hatchlings throughout time. Lady Ivy and Lord Lupine had devoted an entire class to this subject alone. They were both in charge of the Seeds Class which always preceded their classes on kindness and using their senses to see the beauty in all things around them.”

“Okay.” Was the boy’s response.

Coll was desirous of continuing to move closer to the ocean much more quickly,

and he was very aware that there was still a bit of light glittering here and there on the waters, but the day was winding down. He thought it might be best to stop now and get an early start before the sun rose in the morning.

The mugwets agreed between them that humans had difficulty navigating in the dark. There was no time to risk getting lost in the darkness. The three located a suitable palm on the edge of the clearing in which to rest until the dawn of the second day.

“I have candy in my pocket. Would you like some?” Seth asked when they were settled for the evening. This would be where he would find out what mugwets eat.

“I only eat nectar or honey,” Tinne replied. “So, if you would excuse me, I will try out some of your local flora now.” She flew off swiftly without waiting for a response.

“She is in need of nourishment,” Coll explained. “Dragones exert a great amount of energy being dragones. And to answer your question, mugwets eat various things. But I am not hungry.” Coll then changed the subject in a truly human manner before he would be required to explain what mugwets take in as nourishment.

“Tell me about your grandfather. Was he the one who taught you to be kind to the living things around you?” Coll made himself comfortable and waited.

“Yes. And my father too. They are both nice people. I am awfully glad I have them both.” The boy seemed to have given some thought to how things were in his world.

“You should thank them both for the lessons they have taught you. We noticed that you move through your day aware of other life around you. It is a gift of love to be taught things such as caring and kindness by your elders.”

“I never thought about thanking them for all the things they have taught me, but you are right. I should. I sometimes see the parents of my friends and know I should be grateful for how much my family has taught me, and how much time my family is able to be with me. Some of my friends’ parents are always working all the time and only have time to come home and get ready to go back to work the next day.

“Will your grandfather miss you tonight?” Coll suddenly remembered to ask.

“I was on my way to stay with a friend for the night.” Seth replied.

“Won’t your friend be missing you then?” Coll asked.

“I told my friend Cary I might come over tonight. He will just think I changed my mind.”

Coll wondered at how humans seem to do things without formal planning.

“And if I am not at my friend’s house and Grandfather finds out, he will know that I am with the two of you.” Seth added.

The mugwets both looked at the boy inquisitively.

“Because he told me once that if it is my destiny to meet mugwets in my lifetime it would be at the age I am now, in the month that it is now, and that I would be on my way to visit a friend. Just as it was for him.” Seth said quietly.

Coll and Tinne stared at each other. It as most certainly the fortuitous time to have crossed path with the boy. Although they both wondered at how informally things happened in this world.

Mugwets leave their formal classes during the day and continue being instructed by elders for more hours on a one-to-one basis in the evening. The only time mugwets spend time alone with their friends is on special occasions, like fire circles or expeditions that are educational in nature. Humans, it seems, get some of their most important lessons from elders who just happen to share something with them without any formal planning whatsoever.

Coll was thinking that Seth was truly fortunate to have family who was able to gift him wisdom and grandfathers to spend time with them in the evenings.

“Mostly these things are taught by being the example,” Coll said quietly to Seth. “You can’t just say something is the way to act or be, you have to be that example to teach a young one the lesson.” Seth nodded.  

“And you are never too young to lead by example.” Teacher Candace had always said. Mugwets ‘grow up’ quicker than human children because of the way they grow physically and because they begin attending school days after hatching. How fortunate it is that human children have so much more time to learn about their world and everything in it before they take their place in society. He wondered if human children appreciate this.

Just then Tinne returned from her foraging and spent the first few moments of her arrival preening her wings. The boy was running down a list of all the things he was thankful for out loud. Coll was happy to hear the boy was grateful for his family. He had often heard that not all humans are.

In the twilight, the boy continued to press the pair for more stories about the world of Mugwet and how it was that Coll and Tinne came to crash into his father’s shed in the garden. As Seth showed no signs of drowsiness, Coll and Tinne decided together that there would be no harm in continuing to share the story of Mugwet. After all, the boy had been correct. It was very human to believe that stories about adventure not yet experienced are viewed as notions and dreams the young have imagined.

Tinne decided to have the boy swear an oath of silence regarding anything he was being told. She believed it to be her obligation.

“Until the time comes, I have to share with who follows me next, right?”

On any other occasion, this would have been the perfect opportunity to lecture anyone who would decide to clarify a dragone’s request. But this was new territory for Tinne, so she allowed the boy to amend her directions.

The mugwets were thinking together in thought that maybe this time with the boy, even though not planned, was supposed to be. He was of service to the mugwets, and he was kind. Something Teacher Candace would be happy if they were able to observe. Tinne was thinking to herself that she would still hold the boy to a degree of suspect though. It was the dragone way after all.

Coll began again, with unanswered questions. Mostly to pass the time until the boy fell asleep.

“Our back legs can be stretched into wings as well, much like those of bats you have living here in this forest.” Coll continued. “Powerful wings that can carry many hundreds of times the weight of a young mugwet. As can the wings of our dragonflies who will assist when needed, adding all the strength we need to carry our charges the length of the journey.”

“How is that possible?” asked Seth.

Coll stretched out his hind legs to reveal wings that were three times the span of his body. And in the stretching, what had appeared to be tiny, elongated toes, had evolved into strong fingers four times their unfurled size as well. “My wings work as sail and oars as well when we must travel in the water. They can move earth or mud or stone, or rain and air and mist. We can breathe like fish or animals, hold our breath for very long periods, and go without eating for days.”

“And Tinne?” Inquired Seth.

Tinne found conversing in any language other than wing words tiresome, but the boy did seem sincerely interested. And he was being quite sneaky too. He was obviously asking questions to be informed exactly how they would transport the turtles back to Mugwet.

The mugwets had managed to communicate in silence regarding whether they would answer the boy’s question. Dragones, always cautious when time allows, defer to their mugwets to make any major decisions. Not because they believe their partners are wiser, but because it has the advantage of placing a dragone in a better position to freely lecture her mugwet when the time is right regarding any wrong choice they might make.

Tinne took over the storytelling at this point, as it seemed the only way to have any control at all over the information being imparted to the boy.

“A dragone can fly upon the winds, but it is within the water that we truly have power. When we find the turtle and it is time to make the crossing with him to Mugwet, I will be able to move water as efficiently as I can move air with my wings on land. This is one half of the energy that is required to move the turtle across the realms. It isn’t just the force of my wings in the water that will propel us home, we will have the energy of all the dragones on Mugwet as well to push us all through the water, time and space.” She expected a look of disbelief but saw only interest in the boy’s eyes.  

“Excellent.” Apparently, her response had been concise. And obviously, he had received enough information, for he was quiet and did not ask for more.

The three travelers watched as a brilliant full moon rose regally within the inky blue sky that followed the most glorious sunset Coll had ever seen on Mugwet. And Mugwet has two moons. Even Tinne was impressed.

“How many rescues do mugwets make in a lifetime?” Seth inquired.

“We don’t count the number of jumps and rescues as each will fulfill their own destinies and purposes. Each of them has their own talents and abilities. Realm jumping is not a contest. It is a privilege. No mugwet knows how many other pairs of mugwets jump. And we do not keep count of our own. We know that we each fulfill our promise to the elders and to the realm.” What else was there to say on the topic he thought.

Coll paused for a moment to ponder if it was relevant to share that he remembered Ren and Fen being present when their bubbles landed. He decided that this memory was important only to himself and to Tinne.

 The moon had begun its descent in the night sky and the mugwets watched as the boy fell asleep lying across a broken palm that had fallen against another. They watched over him as he slept and waited for the sun to begin to paint the morning sky.

Coll remembered his first impression of Ren and Fen ad remained in awe of their service to the realm. He allowed himself to wonder at how season after season, they managed to stay perfectly in tune with each other.     

The mugwet was reading Tinne’s thoughts. She was still filled with apprehension about how they would resolve to leave the boy after he led them to the ocean. He saw that she had trusted his instincts and understood that unless it is a life and death situation, the mugwet will always make the final one. Dragones reserve acting on their own only when it is to save a partner’s life.

He assured his partner by thought words that working with the boy was meant to be, and that all would turn out in the end. Coll did not allow himself to think about thoughts of failure. If the elders were correct, and they always were, then this too was a part of the leap of faith that began when they jumped from Mugwet to Earth. He closed his eyes and remembered some of his time with his first mentor.

They boy fell asleep quite quickly. The mugwets marveled at the beauty of the sky and the island. The fragrant breeze seemed to be filled with the colors of the land. They would take turns standing guard and dozing. Tinne, of course, would take the first watch.

As the others slept, Tinne remembered all the mugwets she had known in her lifetime and how excited she was to see each one of them land and begin their new lives.

It had occurred to her somewhere just before the sun began to light up the morning sky, just how privileged she had been to be a dragone. For all mugwets are just as special as well. She shuddered to think about what the universe would be like without mugwets and their very caring hearts. Or what the many worlds that were replenished of their creature gifts would be like without mugwets and dragones to replace the ones that were lost to those who no longer valued the importance of all the creatures of all the lands.

Just then, Coll awakened and stretched. He began telling the story he had left till morning as if he had never ceased telling it. A sign that he would become a very good storyteller throughout his travels.

Tinne flitted off to drink at a nearby flower just as Seth pulled some berries from a tree. Coll was not yet hungry but knew he would have to eat before the adventure to come. He spoke as the boy and the dragone refreshed themselves.

 “As young dragones and mugwets, we are each charged with different pieces of wisdom and taught different skills in our initial training so that each of us becomes an expert on specific information necessary for realm jumping. And our schooling process is completed as quickly as possible as it is crucial to do so since a mugwet is only agile and swift enough to realm jump when we are very young.

The boy walked on silently, obviously digesting the information received.

“Mugwets and dragones learn to trust and rely on one another long before we were even hatched. A dragone and a mugwet may disagree on the way to do a certain thing, but the one will defer to the other’s training and wisdom when the appropriate partner must make the decision. Almost like an instinct.” Coll continued.

“And after we have made two or three jumps and feel more comfortable about jumping and the information on our own, our first experience in teaching others happens when we share our different information with one another.” Coll thought this was an important piece of information for the boy to have, but Seth had moved on to his next question.

 “According to your legend, mugwets can fly through time. Is this true? And how do you accomplish flying through realms with those wings?” Seth truly wanted to know.

“Yes. Technically you can say we are ‘flying through time.’ We can slow time down.” Before Seth verbalized his next question, Coll answered it.

“It is why we have wings. Two sets of wings. Mugwets have four legs to walk about as well. On this jump I will use one set of wings to fly, one to glide and my legs to swim when the time is right to return home.”

Coll looked back over his shoulder at Tinne who was hovering here and there. It is how she expressed herself when she really wanted to be a part of a conversation, she felt she was not in control of.  He nodded to her asking if she wanted to join in. She returned the look that most definitely said she preferred to appear upset silently.

Dragones, being ethereal and all, didn’t have patience enough to be bothered about things that they believed were trivial. Like storytelling and much of what is considered everyday life. But Tinne was brilliant and intelligent, cunning and an expert at efficiency. Coll could not image not having her in his life. It would be several moments before he realized the story that he was telling was mostly from the point of view of a mugwet and not a dragone.

Just then he noticed a clump of purple flowers seemingly growing by themselves out of nowhere. They reminded him of Teacher Candace’s favorite plant.         

  Sharing Stories

“So may I ask what you have heard about our missions and who is your father?”

Coll was as curious about the human as guessed the boy was about the creatures that he had found today were real. And given Seth’s need to interrupt and redirect the storytelling, perhaps it would be wise to ask some of his questions about humankind and his family now. In that way, they would both be sharing stories and not just one relating to a single story. Coll watched as Tinne refolded her arms in front of her and glared at him from the corner of her exceptionally large closest eye.

“My father’s name is Richard, as were many of the fathers before him. He was told by his father that the name Richard was quite special. Because sometimes Richards get to see some things that most folks do not. Like in this case realm jumpers! My father says that meeting a realm jumper and becoming a part of a journey skips over a generation. My grandfather Richard was the last in our family to say he had been lucky enough to meet any of you. My father hasn’t met any of you.”

Coll was not only impressed at the fact the boy understood how rare a meeting with a mugwet was, but by the fact it seemed to add some validity to their having landed off course for a reason. Since sightings by humans were something to be avoided by mugwets and dragones, it only followed that the boy’s grandfather and grandfathers before him must have been allowed to make contact for some special reason. Coll was satisfied now with his decision to allow the boy to become a part of their journey. Tinne thought spoke to Coll that she would be reserving her opinion. Dragone for remaining silent until there was a good reason to lecture her mugwet.

Seth redirected the direction of the storytelling with his questions for the remainder of the afternoon. As the boy showed no sign of tiring, the three continued onward. The sun was moving across the sky and Coll, glancing often at Tinne, had noticed she had begun to age. It was possible that the two would return to their realm having matured greatly both physically and by way of experience as well.  

“So, it is true then that mugwets are responsible for taking the last of the animals and insects and birds and fish from this world when those creatures are about to disappear anyway?” Seth asked. “Where do they all go then?”

“We rescue from other worlds as well. There are many worlds who will appreciate a new species. And care for that species as well. Too many to name. You should know that sometimes a species is lost forever if we cannot effect its move in time.” Coll’s voice seemed a bit sad. It is an incredibly sad thing when something is lost forever.  

“I can’t understand how something as small as the two of you could accomplish such a task!” Seth immediately lowered his head as he spoke the words, sorry to have remarked on the size of his new acquaintances. He was thinking to himself that he knew no human that could accomplish such a task.

“Size does not matter in this case. It is about believing you can do what is needed and the energy that surrounds you.” Coll informed the lad.

Seth frowned.

“It is a great energy force that connects all things,” Tinne replied. It was a silly question, because of course everything is a part of the great force that exists everywhere.

Coll continued after several seconds of silence and the frowning had ceased.

“We do take species from one world to another when it is deemed that they are destined to cease to exist due to neglect or indifference, and they are no longer valued and protected. It is precisely our size that allows us to move between worlds and return with what we have gathered. The larger we grow, the harder it is to move through the physical elements effortlessly. Earth, air, fire, and water. Physically moving from one place or another must be as effortless as possible. We will need as much energy as we can wield to imagine ourselves already on the other side.

Coll and Tinne watched Seth as he was thinking through the information he had just received. Several minutes passed without a response.

Coll wondered if Seth’s grandfathers had been given honorary titles by Mugwet for their assistance with prior jumps. He had heard that humans were quite fond of titles. He wondered as well if the elders knew that he and Tinne would meet with Seth, or for that matter, if this was why they had landed someplace other than what had been planned. But some things are never answered. They just are.

“You can ask or answer those questions after we return home.” Tinne wing messaged Coll. She was anxious to keep going, and she knew that Coll was feeling the need to move quickly as well. The sun was beginning its descent for the day.

The three had crossed two-thirds of the forest. They would shortly be losing the light. It seemed they would have no choice but to spend the night in the forest and find what they had come for on the morrow. Most humans require more rest than a mugwet . For now, the boy could walk a bit longer. Tinne was following directly behind the boy and her mugwet, appearing to almost blend in with the resident dragonflies of the area. Coll occasionally leaped from Seth’s shoulder to glide from tree to tree, thinking that perhaps this action made his story even more interesting.

“So… The story goes,” said Seth, “that to become a seasoned mugwet and inherit a family title, a young mugwet must undertake a difficult journey and rescue an animal, fish, bird or insect from another realm before the last pair fades, safely moving it from one realm to another so they may once again build their community in peace.”

Coll nodded to indicate that he wanted to hear more. He needed to know everything the boy had been told about Mugwet before correcting any hearsay that wasn’t true.

“The stories also say that from time to time, other species assist you in this relocation. Like me!” Seth was grinning. “And that you have very wise elders like we do who make sure everything goes smoothly.”  This time it was Seth who waited for a response. The mugwets remained silent.

Tinne shot Coll the look. “Need to know!” She knew that Coll would not only correct something that needed correcting but would be given to embellishing as well. Her wings now appeared quite soft and transparent now, which was her way of requesting he return to the beginning and reevaluate the course he was undertaking. She knew the moment he began to speak again that he did not take heed.

“Yes. We are those who relocate species who are about to disappear to someplace where they will be cherished and honored.” Coll responded quietly and then watched as the boy took a deep breath and smiled even more widely.

 “We consider ourselves all one family and believe that our purpose is to be of service to one another as well as doing what we can to be of service to the realms around us. Our elder mugwets, the wise ones, have all acquired great wisdom and experience, and some of them have been identified as providing unique services for the realm. Like  being good at a particular thing so things tend to ‘go smoothly.’ But we are all responsible for making sure that what we need to do gets done the best way possible.”

Tinne was thinking to herself what Lord Lupine would think if he knew how much Coll was sharing with the human. And she was pouting. Lord Lupine had a way of letting you know what he was thinking without words of any sort.

And that was always one of the things she admired most about a mugwet. When they can be heard without words because their thoughts were always perfectly understandable on their own.

“I heard that.” Coll informed her before continuing with his story for the boy.

“It’s very rude to listen to a dragone’s thoughts when you paid no heed at all to her words!” The dragone did not care for the mugwet listening to her thoughts after he decided to go against her counsel.

“It was somewhat rude to think so loudly while I was trying to tell a story.” Coll replied. But he was sorry he had said this just as soon as the words left his mouth.

Tinne forward fluttered her wings. The dragone is equivalent to sticking out the tongue as a human. Coll ignored her. More forward fluttering.

“And we are all responsible for ourselves when things don’t go well, which despite the guidance of our elders, sometimes happens.” Coll knew he had just opened a new avenue of questions from the boy, and Tinne was doing her frowning thing again and had crossed her arms in front of her and begun tapping her feet.

The boy nodded his acknowledgement of the explanation and then in a very human manner, not so surprisingly, went on to another subject altogether.

“So, do you have any other hawkbill turtles on Mugwet? Do they already have family on the other side? How do get the turtles from here to there?”

Tinne shot her partner the look by way of obligation. She was giving up on having him listen to her while on this first jump. There appeared to be no sense at all in arguing with a mugwet who had already made up his mind. Even duty had its limitations. She would never understand why the boy would only be guiding them to the shore and not be present for the actual realm jump, needed to know the particulars about the remainder of the journey.

Coll understood the look, and that she would never understand that he felt an obligation to make sure the boy’s story to the next human assistant in his line had a bit more to tell than what his grandfather had experienced. Perhaps that is why the stories are repeated generation after generation. Because information is important.

“These would be the first of this particular turtle in our realm.” Coll answered Seth. And no. They do not have family on the other side. Tinne and I will deal with the actual jump when we get to it.” He left his answer there.

“At least that is something.” Tinne thought worded to her partner.

“Well, I know do know that turtle from snorkeling with my father.” Seth offered.  “They get caught in the fishing nets quite often and drown because they cannot escape. It is very sad. And there are people who fish for them for their shells to be used as jewelry or decorations. I do not understand why people would destroy a beautiful creature just for a piece of jewelry.” Seth lowered his head and shook it slightly.

There was now silence between the three as they continued through the forest. Seth did not ask any more questions until they arrived at a clearing. The sun had begun its descent in the sky and the mugwets understood that the boy would require some rest.

After the boy sat down and leaned against the trunk of a tree, Coll decided to answer a previous question so that all questions that could be answered would be.

“The set of wings on my back that you were wondering about.”

Coll watched Seth’s face as he realized the mugwet could now read his thoughts by way of what subject matter he was interested in learning more about and where he had left off in conversation. And sometimes just by expressions on his face or where he allowed his eyes to roam when not speaking at all. “Mugwets were at least as observant as humans.” He added for the boy to ponder about.   

“This set of wings serves to assure us balance and slow our speed during short distance leaps. Like that noisy beetle you have on your island. And the wings that float around our feet are used for gliding. Like your bats. Especially useful when having to jump from a great height and being able to make a soft landing.” Coll loved his gauzy wings that allowed him to float upon the air and sometimes pretend that he was a bird.

“Why do they seem to change color?” Seth was very observant.

“We are each assigned a set of personal colors that share our life. These are energies from which we give and receive strength and sometimes even a bit of power. We are sometimes all the colors we appeared with at birth. Sometimes the color we appear depends upon our mood. That might sound silly to you, but it is how we often express ourselves to others without having to speak.” Coll was quite green now as he was relaxed and feeling quite refreshed again after their short rest. “And sometimes they change as we are moving forward on our journeys.”

“Most excellent!” Seth returned. Humans are different colors too. Mostly we never change, except when getting sunburned.” He giggled. “I have often thought about how cool it would be to be able to change colors like the lizards that dart around in the garden. We do some of that mood stuff when we think about the clothes we want to wear. My grandfather has a mood ring!” Seth looked down at his shirt and spread it out with his hands.

“So, what color did you think you were when you dressed this morning?” Tinne asked suddenly. She required an answer as an excuse to frown some more.  

“I always like to wear something blue. Blue just makes me happy. And yellow of course. I always feel like I can do anything when I wear yellow. These shorts were on sale though. Not sure why I have orange shorts other than that. I just needed shorts the day we went shopping. “I guess I really didn’t think about this color today.”

“Are you sure?” Tinne said while giving him a knowing look. “Did you dress because you wanted your clothes to look good together to express the clothes, or did you dress for how you felt about the day you were beginning?” She watched Seth examine his clothes and lose himself in thought.

“You reminded me of one of our elders, Lord Kal today,” Coll said suddenly.

The boy straightened up against the tree trunk and awaited another story.

“I noticed that you gently brushed away the branches that were in your way as we made our way through the forest. You did not break a single branch. And you watched where you walked like you were making sure you did not step on something that was crawling on the ground. That is very much how Lord Kal would have walked today.”

“So does he have a special job in your world?” The boy wanted to hear more.

“We all have special jobs and are all striving to be of service, Master Kal is just exceptionally good at being at the right place at the right time to save things. He is very adept at planning ahead so that things do not require saving in the first place.” Coll admired Master Kal. The student mugwets were still learning about stones and plants and the natural order of things from his classes. Silently hoping to themselves that they are never in the position of needing him to become a part of a jump. For he is also one of the elders. elders who is called upon when things go very wrong.

“You said that last part out loud.” Tinne whispered to Coll who had not realized he was speaking aloud and not just thinking to himself.

“So, when things are going right, what is his job?” Seth inquired.

“He teaches us about the worlds around us. And the best way to keep our home healthy and not harm another world when we visit.”

“Like what things?” The boy was not satisfied with the answer. He had been compared to this elder and wanted to know what else he should be doing to live up to the comparison.

“Many things. Like why we need the rocks and plants around us, and to respect all life. That even the earth below our feet is a part of us and we are connected to each living thing. 

Coll continued, remembering as clearing as if he were there the moment that Master Kal had caught a bird’s egg in midair that had fallen from its nest. And Master Kal’s response to being asked how he knew the egg would fall from its nest.

“You must always listen to everything around you. Obviously, this is much harder when you are with others and talking but take the time to listen more carefully when you are alone, or it is quiet. Listen to the wind, the rocks, the birds, and all the living things  around you. “You cannot hear if you do not listen.”

Like what else?” Seth was still unsatisfied with the brevity Coll had offered.

“Like to use the energies of stones and plants to improve our lives and to heal others. The importance of honoring what our elders who walked Mugwet before us left for us. How to be a part of the world around every day and do our part to make sure that we do something good for Mugwet and each other every day which is also doing something good for ourselves.”

Coll would need a season to speak about any of the elders, explaining how much they are needed and all their experiences. It takes a mugwet a lifetime to learn enough to add to the seeds of wisdom. Best to talk about the little things that were beginning ways that the boy could work on being adept at, assuming of course that he was as intuitive as most of the elders Coll had come to know. Including Master Kal.

“For example, he quite often finds himself under a bird’s nest at the very moment an egg is purposely tossed out by a bird or happens to look down at just the right time to see a worm hasn’t made it across the road before it would begin to dry in the sun. He frequently finds himself confronted with opportunities to save life or offer something a lesson that would otherwise never happen.” Coll quite admired Kal.

“We would call that coincidence here.” Seth returned.

“Do you think there is such a thing as coincidence?” It was Tinne asked.

Coll knew that Tinne knew better about getting into a conversation about coincidence and destiny that would not serve any purpose for the mission or to the boy today. Some things must be learned along one’s own personal journey.

 Teacher Candace 4/26/2024

 Just as the world around them was more discernible with the first indication of morning light, the boy awoke and excused himself to do whatever it was that boys do upon awakening. The mugwets shook off their wings and glided to the ground to begin the last lap of their journey.

The boy and the mugwet looked at each other, the human appearing not as surprised at the change that Coll and the dragone had undergone during the night. Tinne appeared to be a more brilliant red, like that of red cherries, although she feigned noticing any change herself. She was busy working on the best distraction they could come up with to get them into and out of the water and didn’t want the boy to think dragones concerned themselves with their appearance.

Seth continued to stare at Coll and remembered what his grandfather had said about the creatures changing greatly in just hours and days, and what Coll had said last evening about how mugwets, unlike many species of beings, grow in both size and maturity by way of experience and wisdom. Not merely by the passing of time.

Seth wasn’t about to risk losing any information he could add to this wonderful story and requested that Coll continue telling him about how things worked on Mugwet and how the younger mugwets mark their journeys.

“So, do you go to school? How quickly do you grow on Mugwet? Even more quickly/” Seth was still processing the fact that the coloring of the mugwet had changed

much overnight. Besides being larger he was much bluer this morning. And there were other colors running down his wings.

“We grow physically by way of knowledge and experience. Not by age.” Coll thought it best not to talk about his possible changing during the night, for there would be more changes to come the boy would witness and no explanation would be necessary. As Seth didn’t plead for more information, Coll changed the subject and continued onward with the story of Mugwet.   

“All young mugwets spend a significant amount of time with Teacher Candace, learning many of the most important lessons of their schooling and lives. How to live and jump without fear, to honor the moments you have been granted, and enjoy each day from hatch day to the very end of all that there will be given. Not a single mugwet or dragone ventures forth from school to becoming part of all the goings on that are the life of Mugwet without having gleaned the wisdom of Teacher Candace.

 “Your first jump is a leap of faith.” Their teacher would begin.

 Which must have sounded very wise to the older mugwets and those who had completed their first leap, Coll was thinking now, but for the young mugwets in the early lessons at school, the thought was almost terrifying at the time. The Cliff of Realms is the point at which all realm jumping begins. To look over the edge of the ground that opens suddenly to reveal a seemingly bottomless pit of mist and illusion is to know what it is like to feel your heart beating in your throat. And how much courage it takes not to turn and run in the opposite direction! Coll was so very glad that first leap was now behind him.

“We students think that is no accident that some of the very first classes we undertake is that of studying color energy. For it happens that every saturated hue is met with its counterpart in shade and shadow within the mists of abyss. It is almost comforting that one can recognize the connections between what exists on our realm also exist in the in-between our realm and the next. But we must be able to feel the energies of the colors when they are seen in different light, and sometimes in no light at all.” Coll was feeling very grateful that one of Teacher Candace’s favorite class was how to feel the energies of all the colors known to their realm.

“And we must also be able to see in the absolutes.” Tinne reminded them both.

“Absolutes?” Seth inquired.

“Yes. In total darkness and the most brilliant of the whitest light.” The dragone answered, satisfied she had completed her mugwet’s very brief explanation on the importance of color energy to everything that existed.

“The elders of Mugwet are quite proficient at being able to wield color to change and manifest anything that is needed. Anything at all it seems.” Coll nodded to himself.

“The energy of the Celestial Dragone has much to do with the manifestation as well.” Coll knew Tinne would add that part. He had stopped with his explanation so she could proudly finish the story.

“The Celestial Dragone?” Seth asked, tilting his head to the side as they walked.

“Yes.” Tinne answered. “My ancestor. The ancestor of all the dragones. She is the keeper of all of the mysteries of our world.”

Seth was just about to ask another question when they arrived at the edge of the clearing.

“Can we pretend that we are realm jumping into the clearing!” Seth begged.

The mugwet and dragone looked at one another sharing thoughts. It was decided that it would be of no use to inform the boy that it takes time to learn all the energies of all the colors in the sand before them, the water just ahead and the sky above. Or that one can truly only leap if one does not know they will be a success and is ready to accept the consequences should things go very wrong.

“Surely.” Coll answered. “Which energies are speaking to you?”

“I see the footprints I alone will make in the sand. They are a warm moist beige mostly. The two of you will fly or float and will leave no trace. So, I am not actually leaping, am I? I’m just walking quickly. The leap began in Mugwet, didn’t it?”

Coll and Tinne looked at each other, genuinely impressed at the wisdom of the human. It was just possible that this journey would be a success because the boy was a part of the journey.

“You are correct.” Coll answered. “And all the wiser for it.”

Speaking of the colors in the sand and first leaps  had the mugwet reliving his thoughts about his own again. Perhaps because processing all the feelings involved will take much longer than remembering them briefly. And he had remembered to focus on those colors to which you are attracted, one would probably not be so apt to prepare for one’s first leap of faith. Coll was only able to make his first brave but scary leap focusing on the strands of sap green and azure blue he saw in the cloudy space that laid before him. He shook his head while remembering his thoughts concerning his first leap. But it was the thoughts and words of Teacher Candace that really gave him the strength to take his first leap of pure faith.

 “One cannot love life without loving one’s own life. I love my life! I cannot picture anyone living in this world or another and not loving their life. No matter what obstacles or challenges I was given, I have always known these were meant for me. I have walked in light and love and bravery within this world in every moment as these are the things of which one’s life and energies are made.”

Coll could picture her sitting on a mound of moss with her dragone perched upon her staff. And when Coll had first heard these words, he thought that any mugwet would be a success to live in such a way as this until they were very old.  

Coll and Tinne weren’t the only students who wondered at first if they could become all that their teacher thought to be what was normal. And at the time of hearing her first words, neither of them understood just how much time it would take to be able to grow in knowledge and experience sufficient to call themselves growing. “And there needs to be quite some growing having begun before one faces the great mystery of the Cliffs of the Realms.” Teacher Candace was fond of saying.

Tinne knew exactly what Coll was thinking, as she always did, and wing worded him a question. “So, this is to be our real test of faith, isn’t it?” Despite being faced with their first jump and all the fear and insecurity that came with this rite of passage, they were both also very excited and pleased to have arrived at the opportunity.

Jumping into another realm seemed no more frightening than allowing oneself to trust this new stranger Coll thought to himself. But despite his reservations, he nodded to his friend. It would be in the trust of humans that they would put their talents and faith to the ultimate test here on this realm.

Trust has an air of peace about it. Thought Coll. That is how he’d always viewed his teacher who managed to take them from doubting many things to believing in all. Teacher Candace always looked like what trust would look like if trust were flesh and blood and bone.  Any who’d look upon Lady Candace could never doubt that she was an example of what peace and wisdom together looked like.

And Coll had always known somehow that he would have to make his first jump, and his first return home jump free of fear. Just like Teacher Candace did her very first time when she was the first to volunteer and ran joyfully off the cliff to her new beginning.

In the evenings when Teacher Candace would sit upon a mound of earth and watch the suns set over the realm, there were no needs for words or calls to gather, for those who felt her presence would come together to sit with her and talk of lore and love and hope that sustains it all.

For mugwets of all ages and experience this was a time to be at peace and to enjoy the company of each other. Sometimes, there wouldn’t be any words or stories, just gentle drumming, and perfect listening. Sometimes the stories and songs would last long into the night and the gathering would take on an energy and a purpose of its own. Most of the time, nobody noticed that the teacher had departed to rest and renew amidst the celebration and revelry. Teacher Candace always knew when it was time for her to gather her energies and replenish them for the next day and challenges to come.

The only thing that ever-disturbed Coll at a gathering was why his memories of several of his teachers seemed fuzzy in his dreams but appeared crystal clear when he was awake. And sometimes it was the things they would speak about in his dreams that would be how things happened when he was awake. He hoped that someday he would come to understand why this was but guessed that maybe he already knew the reason but was just not able to remember what it was.

“There are often many ways to do a thing to accomplish a goal or task, but usually only one right way to do a thing correctly. Even if there are several ways to go about it. The key to doing something the right way is how you feel in your heart when it has been accomplished.”  This Coll knew he had heard in one of his dreams.

At any rate, it had occurred to Coll very recently that perhaps he should pay more attention to his dreams. For Lady Ivy, a wise shaman, had once said that our dreams are where we remind ourselves of what we need to do. Coll’s dreams had been quite explicit lately. Especially about Lord Lupine’s reminder that there was sometimes more than one right way to do a particular thing well.

 Why did much of what was taught at school always seem so mysterious? Coll had always wondered. For example, “This is so you have to figure some of the answer by yourself.” Teacher Candace had once told her class. “Otherwise, you would not be able to receive the gift of wonder that comes when you figure something out without assistance. Or realize that you discovered one of the right ways to accomplish what you set out to do.” Teacher Candance always managed to say something that was so profound to her students at the end of each class, which left them completely silent, at a loss for words. It was her way of ending many of her classes.

Coll decided that if all of this would mean something when he put it all together, and if so, it would stand to reason that there would be several ingredients for the recipe of rescuing the hawkbill turtle this day. And if this was true, there was about to be one terribly upset dragone. For dragones despise having a plan changed, especially when there is no logical reason for doing so.

Continued onward in the next submission… Check back in about a week!

Note: This is where you get to tell the older children and younger adults how we used to have to wait until the next weeks televised episode of a show or story to hear the next ‘chapter.’ I wish you lots of luck in this endeavor, I had to prove to my own child that there really was a time when we watched television in Black and White when she didn’t believe me. I remember the very first Bonanza I saw in color. I was so amazed. We didn’t know there would be things like ‘watch again’, ‘rewind’, ‘purchase options’ or ‘watch without commercials.’ Who knew? Lol. Happy Trails to you and yours!

2 thoughts on “The Mugwet: First Journey by S.K. Watts

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