Winter in June: An Ixi and Her Tale
Grunting breaks the otherwise silent crisp morning. Pushing back the untrimmed and browning weeds that framed the barren trees, your gaze slowly yet meaningfully falls upon none other than...
And next to that ever so distracting bug, sits a small creature with matted fur and an obvious bedhead filled with twigs and dirt. As you peer closer, you realize that terrible grunting was not a sign of a serious lung infection, but was instead the failed attempts of a young deer as she tried unsuccessfully to break open a walnut.
Oh no, not for its delicious nutty innards. She was in fact searching for insects. It's simply a shame no one told her these cannot be found inside nuts. You don't want to disappoint her, though.
Fumbling her hooves and finally dropping the seemingly untouched object back to the snow covered ground, the creature suddenly freezes. Plummeting to the ground, she wiggles slightly as her eyes roll back and her tongue extrudes. She has obviously heard you. Something else is obvious; she needs more practice playing dead.
You coo to the creature, offering the few crumbs you found in your pocket from yesterday’s lunch as compensation for the scare you gave her.
One eye opens.
In less than a blink, the little creature has climbed up your leg and licked every edible morsel of food from your hands. Her nose prods into your pocket, perhaps searching for more, and you look down fearing you'll find a horn stuck there. Alas, no sooner was she there than she is back on the ground. Her attention span seems to be limited as she paws at her tail, then darts sideways to glimpse a falling leaf as it drifts by.
Clearly this is not your average outing in the woods.
The doe's tail catapults upward as she notices she's being watched. You had in fact been looking at a small bird launch itself from branch to branch amongst the highest of treetops just behind her, though you return her gaze as not to disappoint. Peering into her eyes, you realize the creature is no older than a fawn.
There is yearning in her eyes. And not just for a lunchtime snack.
She beckons you over to the rotting stump where she lies, seemingly apologetic that you don't appreciate the fine layer of moss and creepy crawlies coating the log as much as she. She begins with the memory that greets her each morning and kisses her goodnight.
The Ixi describes her fawn-hood, that of hunting for berries, of building shelters of fallen branches and leaves, of terrorizing the poor squirrels who thought it safe to kidnap her collection of nuts. She enjoyed each new experience, each new taste, smell, touch and sight. She only had more to learn and more to explore.
“Have you met Flaum?” the creature suddenly asks, her ears perking slightly.
“He's my friend. We met when I almost stepped on him!”
She beams proudly as if this were a great achievement.
“He isn't here now, though. He told me he was needed at a place called the pet lookup, wherever that is. I think it's somewhere in Altador.”
The Ixi continues her fast paced babbling, darting from Flaum, to her favourite type of pinecone, to the itch on her tail, and back to Flaum.
You see, Flaum was her petpet, the spyder that could. Could survive the impending doom of lunging hooves parading across the blanket of snow and fallen twigs, that is. This tiny being's involvement began as he tumbled from his nest far up in the wavering tree branches, startled awake by the persistence of an Ixi who could find no other way to scratch an itch but to ram said itch against the trunk of an old, lone tree. Toppling to the ground, Flaum came face to face with a spyder's sole enemy; that which had deceased ancestor upon ancestor: the foot.
He closed his two bulging red eyes, his six legs huddled against his frail body, and waited for his demise.
Instead, he was greeted by the vacuum of sniffing that belonged to none other than a curious Ixi named Winter. Deciding that this small, round ball of black, which was covered in soft white snow, did not look very appetizing, she continued gawking, often wiggling her toes as if wondering why she had the misfortune of not possessing six of them.
Now homeless, and quite fond of his new friend who had chosen not to turn him into a pancake, Flaum climbed his way through the tufts of fur and landed soundly on her head. Whether Winter was aware of this, no one knew. Perhaps she merely thought that small tingle and wavering voice was merely her conscience.
Yes. Her conscience surely is what's telling her to scout out a juicy fly.
Flaum remains quite happily atop the Ixi as she wanders through her daily happenings, and secretly thanks his new ally and means of transportation for not naming him along the ranks of Fangs, Fluffy or Mr. Wiggles.
Peering down, you notice a thin layer of snow has formed atop your otherwise spotless boots. Checking your watch, you realize nearly an hour has passed since you first ventured into the clearing and stumbled upon the odd creature.
Almost instantaneously you find yourself in the midst of a loud, ferocious and agonizing roar!
Only to realize it is your stomach begging for food.
The fawn, ever generous, offers you her half eaten toadstool. Eating the best and leaving the worst, of course. You can't blame her, though. After all, you've done the same many times, only with chocolates after a family meal. The Ixi, thinking her act rivals that of giving up one's shelter to the shelter-less, beams proudly at her kindness. Such is the life of one who learns only from the feedback that takes place inside of her head.
Too long has this being roamed alone in the woods, you finally decide. Brushing the cold powder from your clothing and wiping a nose in obvious need of a tissue, you tell the creature of the wonders of hot cocoa and Christmas specials. Not wanting to risk your chocolates, you leave out informing her of just what an advent calendar is.
She happily returns the favor and tells you which hollowed logs hold the juiciest bugs, which withered and dirt-strewn leaves make the comfiest of bedding, and the never-ending joys of waiting for the ripest of berries to drop for hours on end. You assure her that sounds lovely and secretly hope she does not ask you to join in.
Venturing now into your pocket, your frost-bitten fingers eagerly grip the ruffled edge of the map that will lead you back to civilization - back to Hubert's Hotdogs, Habitarium and Altador Cup galore!
The little Ixi begins nibbling at the page, insisting there are remnants of peanut butter on it that she just can't ignore.
You conclude you'll have to keep a close eye on your inventory should Winter's appetite keep up. The curiously odd, and oddly curious doe simply tilts her head, wiggles the snow from her tail, and makes her way to Neopia.