The moment Blodwen leant aside for more apples for her pan of water, Ocker and Urr-Urr rushed at her other pan and snapped up several apple slices apiece.”Hey fowl!” she cried, hoplessly too late as they buoyed themselves above the reach of her swat with a couple of flaps and settled at the far end of the board.
“Yea?” said Ocker as he gobbled down his slices. “Ravens is the kind we happen to be, if ye want to sound like you know things, dear. And by the way, nice apples.”
“Thieving vermin is what,” she growled. “Ye’re damned well told, nice apples! I sliced ’em.”
“Good for you, sweetheart,” he said as he lunged into the air to hover over her shoulder. “You owe us.”
“Just how in all the chiming bells of Golltowre is that?” she said, turning square
about on her seat in time for Urr-Urr to grab out more slices from her pan and lunge
into the air.
“Damn you varmints!” she cried, wheeling back to her pan.
“Listen quiente,” he said, hovering at her ear, “you owe us because Meri Greenwood would never have got here without us. And if you had any sense you’d see hit. And while you’re a-wising up, shouldn’t someone be looking after Meri?”
“What?” she said.
“What’s going to keep him from going all crazy and beating up the old hag,anyway?” he said, settling onto the table by Urr-Urr to take one of her slices. “If she’s as
confounded ugly as these two, he might.”
“Look ‘ee here!” cried Hubba Hubba. “These old ladies are nice!”
“Yea?” rattled Ocker. “What do you know about it, fraud? You ain’t even a bird.”
“I’ll have you know I’m a double yellow-head Amazon…”
“Popinjays never made it all the way to birddom, hole!”
“And nobody owes you the time o’ day…”
“Well Hubba Hubba,” said Minuet, “I do owe him my life…”
“He’s that very Ocker?”
Minuet and Razzmorten both nodded with twinkling eyes.
“Well maybe if he just watched his mouth…”
“Hey, I’m just distracted, Yellow Crow,” said Ocker with wide-eyed smacks of his beak, gobbling down another slice of apple. “I mean, we brought Meri all the way here,and now his whole world just caved in on him, don’t ye know…”
“Whosoes woreld hath juste kaaved in?” said Meri as everyone in the room stopped short at the sight of the radiantly gorgeous Celeste on his arm.
“You fixed her,” awked Ocker. “You going to pretty up the other Fairies, too?”
“Ich didde nat,” he said as he and Celeste knelt before a speechless Minuet. “My gracious Queene. Wolt thou us to marye this verray howre? In dede, wolt thou plese
marye us byforn weo risen fro oure knees?”
“Why, there’s nothing I’d enjoy more!”
“Thanne byforn weo to risen, plese do,” said Meri.
“But you need a bouquet,” said Nacea.
“And shulden nat weo for this to reherse?” said Alvita.
“Swyven off, you two!” said Ocker. “They want to nest.”
“Plese,” said Celeste. “Byforn my lokes dekay. Everych oon plese stant with us. Ocker, perchestow on Meri, if thou woldest. Every brid on a shulder. Ceidwad and Lladdwr, my derre children, plese yeve me awey.”
The room hushed at once to hear the joyous vows.
Ch. 15, The Reaper Witch
They heard wings in time for Ocker to land on the board in front of Blodwen. “Hello, Apple-Slice,” he said, running his beak down a flight feather.
“No!” snapped Blodwen, covering her pan with her arms. “Beat it!”
“Hey Apple-Slice,” he croaked, walking right up to her pan with a cock of his head. “Better look out for Urr-Urr.”
At the sound of wings behind her, she threw her chin to her shoulder to see.
Ocker grabbed up a huge beakful of slices and flew to the mantle.
“Look out Blodwen!” cawed Hubba Hubba, right before Urr-Urr grabbed a slice from the other side of the pan.
“Shut up Two-Head,” said Ocker, setting his mouthful at his feet.
“You’re in on it too, Hubba-Hubba?” said Blodwen as she watched Urr-Urr fly away with her prize.
“No!” cawed Hubba-Hubba. “I was only trying…”
“Thanks Two-Head,” said Ocker. “Urr-Urr would never ‘ave got hers without yourhelp.”
“Hey! I was not trying to help Urr-Urr.”
“Don’t you birds ever learn?” said Blodwen as she covered her pan with a bread board.
“You’re the one who won’t learn, quiente,” said Ocker. “We had you figured out the moment we saw you. That’s why we’re still having to give you lessons.”
Ch. 17, The Reaper Witch
Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps