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A Sweet Little Cottage

Legends of the adventures
By: PKGriffin

A Sweet Little Cottage (The Keep)

< light frost of snow coats the ground as you wander the farm paths near the Keep. It's about the time of year that Aderyn has new amagnae around, so you start to head over to her house for a visit. Before you arrive, however, a quartet of small, silvery hatchling amagnae runs in front of you. They glance at you expectantly but you don't have any seeds in your pocket. Still, the young birds follow you as you turn the corner to a wide, open field and a farmyard. The animals don't seem perturbed by the snow and you spot a few dozen plump domestic amagnae scratching for insects just under the frozen soil.
      The small hatchlings following you look like they belong to a different breed, one you've never seen before. They rush through the fence posts and into Aderyn's yard, ducking between the much larger adults who briefly pause to regard them before returning to their scratching. The hatchlings lead you through the yard to the edge of the property, where you find a new paddock you don't remember being there before. A short way up a flat stone path is a sod house and what look to be the early beginnings of a wooden barn, though to say it's half-built would be praise. There's smoke rising from the petite chimney.
      Your curiosity piqued by Aderyn's new neighbor, you knock on the door. There's a lovely smell of fresh-baked cookies coming from inside the cottage. A short round man answers, his moustache flecked with colorful sugar and four unusual amagnae in his arms. The hatchlings you've been travelling with swarm into his house.
      "Oh, blast, you're tracking mud all over the place!" he chides the hatchlings. Momentarily forgetting you, he sets the much less frantic adult amagnae on a chair and they all wait patiently as he gathers up his hatchlings.
      The house is surprisingly immaculate on the inside, lined with bright stone walls and tile floors, all decorated with floral patterns. The cottage only looks to be two rooms, but it's far from cramped, even with half of the main room taken up by a large stone oven and a series of cupboards. Several of the counters are stacked with various baking ingredients like flour and sugar, and a large round table is set with about two dozen pies, cakes, sweetbreads, pastries, tarts, and other baked goods. They're all topped with delicate figures in the shapes of magical creatures.
      Once the man has caught all of his amagnae hatchlings, he sets them on an odd ceramic plate that sticks partway out of the wall. He pulls a battered wand out from his apron and taps it to the plate, and in a moment the hatchlings' feathers puff up and a purplish glow surrounds them. The glow fades as they shake themselves, now free of any bits of snow or dust on their feathers. The man gently places them in a straw-lined box in the corner.
      Smiling and wiping his brow, the man says, "Sorry about that. I didn't anticipate they would be so good at climbing. What can I do for you?"
      "I'm looking for Aderyn," you say.
      "Ah, well, I'm afraid she's off at a fair in Voltar, showing off some new prize birds. Torren's there too, I think. Said something about 'not letting her win the Firelight Poultry Show this time.' Were you hoping to get some amagnae?"
      You suppose you were.
      "Well, I don't have much in the way of amagnae, but I'm a fine confectioner if I do say so myself. I studied potion-making at the Keep in my youth, and now I make all manner of magical treats. I've actually been playing around with creating a new breed of all-sugar amagnae, like the ones you retrieved for me. I've been looking to start a little flock of my own. If you bring me two wild amagnae hatchlings, I'll give you an item that can turn your amagnae into my sugar-spun variety."
      You agree to return with the hatchlings. As you head off, he stumbles to the door and calls back, "I'm Mendalaus, by the way! Tell your friends to drop by my baked goods stall at the harvest festival!"
You find yourself back at Mendalaus' house. You didn't bring any amagnae hatchlings, but you swiped a coconut from the Keep's larder and you suppose that's nearly the same thing. When you offer the coconut to Mendalaus, he squints at it.
      "I, uh, I'm afraid I only need wild amagnae hatchlings -- silver, brown, or olive. If you bring me two of them, I'll trade you for some special feed you can give your amagnae."
      You leave the coconut anyway. Mendalaus sighs and adds it to the pile slowly accumulating in his pantry.
You present Mendalaus with the fluffy young amagnae and he scoops them up in his hands excitedly. He runs them through his curious little cleaning plate as he did the sugar-spun hatchlings and they come out with spotless feathers. Satisfied, Mendalaus adds them to his nursery box. He then grabs a handful of brightly colored corn kernels from a sack in his pantry and offers them to you.
      "Here you go. I threw in a little something extra. Enjoy!"
      "Oh, and I'm always looking for more wild amagnae hatchlings so if you find any more wandering about, bring them my way!"