Note: I am very proud of this story because I think it is my best work so far. Compared to Tessa's Shirt (fe) it's very good, isn't it?
Explanations: Tesslantia is an imaginary country on an imaginary planet called Foxine. Foxine is the setting of some of my stories. Misty of Chincoteague is a book by Marguerite Henry. The Silvis Dimidio Woods, Dio Planus Plains, Nat Pap Swamp and Sea of Grass are all places in Tesslantia.
Chapter 1 Tessa
Once there was a girl named Tessa A. Fallindale. She lived in Tesslantia. She was just a regular, everyday girl. Except in the afternoon. When everybody thought she was in her room doing her homework, she would be out exploring in the wild lands behind her green and blue house.
One day, on her daily exploration, she decided to explore the Silvis Dimidio Woods, which were filled with strange trees that she wanted to name. So she packed a backpack with a water bottle, a lunchbox, and a book, and started off.
She went across the Dio Planus Plains, around the Nat Pap Swamp, and through the Sea of Grass.
In the woods she saw a small dell. She settled down and unpacked her book, Misty of Chincoteague. “A real horse!” she thought. “Wouldn't that be something!” Just then she heard a rustling in the bushes and saw a white tail. “A horse!” she yelled and, without thinking, leaving her backpack behind her, she ran after the tail.
Chapter 2 In Silvis Dimidio
She ran and ran. Eventually she lost the tail and realized she was lost. “Help!” she yelled, but there was no answer. So she started walking.
“If I keep walking, I'm bound to get somewhere,” she thought. Just then she turned a corner and was face to face with a Pegasus!
“Oh,” she breathed. “You're beautiful.” The Pegasus whinnied, and beckoned Tessa to climb on her back. She got on, and they took off.
Chapter 3 The Quest
Tessa looked down at the rapidly shrinking forest. Then she saw something. “Look!” she cried. A huge mountain behind the woods was shaking. At that very moment, a monstrous dragon burst out of the mountain and began to burn the woods with furious blasts of fire. He was engulfed in flame and looked like a huge wolf, only not grey, but fiery red, with a bull's horns, a bat's wings, and a snake's poisonous fangs.
The Pegasus shook her mane and Tessa heard her speak. “My name is Gingersnap.” she said. “That is the Eraldoi. He has long been raging, trapped under the mountain by a clever girl like you, hundreds of years ago. Now you must overcome him once again, and, let us hope, once and for all.”
“Me?” said Tessa. “Why me?”
“Because only a young girl can overcome him.” said Gingersnap. “To do this you will need many things, not the least of which is a sword. I will land soon, in a clearing in the woods. You must go into a cave nearby. I will wait outside. Inside is a fox fur hanging on the wall. Stroke its head three times and its tail three times. A passage will open. Inside, on the wall, is the sword Orasil. You must take it and leave the cave.”
“How do you know all this?” asked Tessa, in awe.
“I was there when Akira, the other girl, made the cave and all its contraptions.”
“Then you must be hundreds of years old!” exclaimed Tessa. Gingersnap just smiled.
Chapter 4 Akira's Code
When they landed, Tessa followed Gingersnap's instructions to the letter. But when she saw the fox pelt, she noticed some symbols painted on it. They read: “@) * ( !( # ! @@ % ! !$ $ % @@ % !* @% @) ( ! $ ( !$ ( @) @ % !@ !% !$ & !( @) !% ! !! ( !* ! ! !$ $ * % !* !( @! # # % !( !( !% !* !(”
As she came out, Gingersnap seemed restless. “We must hurry!” she said.
“Why?” asked Tessa.
“Because the Eraldoi is wreaking havoc in Silvis Dimidio.” said Gingersnap.
As they flew Tessa asked Gingersnap what the symbols meant. So Gingersnap explained that Akira had invented a code, and told Tessa that they meant: “This cave and everything in it belongs to Akira and her successors.”
“Then am I Akira's successor?” asked Tessa.
“Yes”, answered Gingersnap. “I will tell you the code if you like.”
“Yes, please!” answered Tessa. She wrote it down, and here it is:
Chapter 5 Taming Cannonball
Tessa and Gingersnap kept walking. But as they rounded a corner into a clearing, they were faced with a scene of carnage. Scores of dead and wounded animals were scattered about the clearing, and burnt, blackened, and uprooted trees were everywhere.
“Who did this?” asked Tessa, even though she already knew the answer.
“The Eraldoi. He hates all things green and happy.”
“Then I will send him to an eternal sleep!” Tessa cried, waving Orasil in the air.
“No!” exclaimed Gingersnap. “He would kill you! You must trap him again. But you will need more help than I can give. There is a dragon in the woods, a good dragon. He can help you if you can tame him.”
“He likes to eat the buds of the trees here.”
“Oh! I forgot! I came here because I wanted to name the trees!” Tessa looked around. “I will call them Tessakira trees.”
Gingersnap smiled. “Then he likes to eat the buds of the Tessakira trees. You can put some in a trap and tame him with this halter.” And Gingersnap brought a halter made of leaves and buds out from under her wings.
“Where would he be?”
“He is usually sleeping this time of day, in that cave over there.” And Gingersnap pointed with her hoof to a cave which Tessa had not noticed before.
Tessa quickly made a cage out of strong, young saplings and branches of the Tessakira trees. They where perfect for basket-making, which was how she made the cage. After putting some buds in, she hid in a tree above it, holding onto a string that was attached to the door of the cage. When the dragon (whose name was Cannonball, Gingersnap told her) went in, she would drop the string, climb down the tree, and fasten the door closed.
Gingersnap was off on business of her own. “When Cannonball is trapped, he may become angry,” she had told Tessa. “Avoid his blasts of ice, and make your way to the cage. Open the skylight and slip the halter on him. He will immediately calm down. Tell him that you are Akira's successor, and he will help you.”
After about an hour of waiting (it was only 15 minutes), Cannonball woke up and came out of the cave. He was a beautiful metallic green colour, with blue horns, no wings and a tail with a blue, triangular tip.
Immediately he saw the buds in the cage and went inside. Tessa followed Gingersnap's instructions and soon Cannonball was calm and sedate, although Tessa's left arm had been hit by his ice, and now it would not move.
Chapter 6 Talking with Cannonball
Tessa told Cannonball that she was Akira's successor, and he began to speak. Strangely, his mouth did not move, and yet Tessa heard him saying, “So you are Akira's successor?”
“Yes,” said Tessa, but Cannonball answered, “You must not speak out loud, for I have no ears, and so cannot hear you. Simply think, for I can hear your thoughts.”
“How can you hear my thoughts?” thought Tessa.
“Because you are Akira's successor.”
“Can you help me trap the Eraldoi?”
“Yes. I will explain everything. But first you need some rest. Does your arm hurt?” asked Cannonball. “I’m sorry about that. I did not know you until you put on the halter.”
“No, it doesn't hurt, but it feels all cold.”
“Come into my cave and get some rest. Then I will tell you what to do.”
Tessa suddenly felt a great weariness falling upon her. She could barely walk to the cave. The last thing she saw before she fell asleep was Gingersnap, apparently talking earnestly with Cannonball, and a host of other creatures milling about outside the cave.
Chapter 7 The Army
When Tessa woke, the first thing she saw was Gingersnap bending over her with a concerned look on her face. “Oh, thank goodness!” she cried. “I was beginning to be worried about you!”
“Why?” asked Tessa. “How long have I been sleeping?”
“Three days,” said Gingersnap. “Three days, and not a single movement.”
“What were you doing while I was taming Cannonball?” asked Tessa.
“Come and see”, said Gingersnap.
As Tessa came out of the gloomy cave into the bright sunlight, she blinked. It took a few seconds for her to get used to the light, but what she saw then took her breath away.
A great army was assembled at the foot of the hill on which Cannonball's cave stood. It consisted of all kinds of talking woodland creatures - deer, rabbits, badgers, squirrels, weasels, hedgehogs, foxes, even a few mice, and many more. A falcon soared overhead.
“Tessa,” said Gingersnap. “Let me introduce you to the Falcons.”
Chapter 8 The Shirt
Two weeks later, the Falcons had set up camp in the Sea of Grass. Tessa was very busy. She had to forage for provisions (or at least get the weasels and mice to do it) and organize the army. One day, when she was going out to forage (a boar had brought word of some mushrooms in Silvis Dimidio), Gingersnap pulled her aside.
“Meet me by the Black Rock, as soon as you can. Tell no one.” she whispered in her ear.
Quickly Tessa sent some squirrels to forage for her, and ran to the Black Rock, which was a large black crag (no other word is big enough for it) in the middle of the Sea of Grass.
Gingersnap was waiting there for her. She held something under her wing.
“I have something for you,” said Gingersnap, drawing a plain red shirt out from under her wing.
“This shirt was sewn of the felt from a bit of the Eraldoi’s fur, using one of my feathers,“ Gingersnap replied to Tessa’s puzzled look. “It is the only material that cannot be burned by his fire. With this and the sword Orasil, forged from a fallen star, you might be able to stand against the Eraldoi in open combat for a little while”, she said.
“But don’t go getting any ideas,” she added a moment later, seeing the look on Tessa’s face. “I said might. And for a little while. And you seem to have forgotten his claws. I never said the shirt would protect you from them.”
But the look didn’t leave Tessa’s face as she walked back to camp.
Chapter 9 Planning
That look got to be known around the camp after that. Tessa would be carrying a load of wood, and then suddenly she would stop and get her ‘thinking’ look on, and sometimes she would rush off to the deer Rolando, with whom she seemed to be conversing quite a lot lately. And Gingersnap was getting worried. Tessa kept going off into the woods, sometimes with other creatures. Occasionally they would bring shovels. Oh, well. Gingersnap decided to find out what they were doing later. Meanwhile she had enough on her hooves. What with foraging, organizing, and drilling the army, she didn’t even have enough time to wonder why they were doing this. They weren’t planning on head-to-head combat with the Eraldoi, were they?
At least, most of them weren’t. Tessa and some other recruits were involved in a master plan, incorporating a giant hole covered with sticks and leaves, a large pile of rubble, plenty of Falcons, and Tessa’s sword Orasil. But the rest was a carefully guarded secret, so I guess I’d better leave it at that.
But when Gingersnap noticed Tessa go off with the largest group of Falcons that had ever gone, her protective shirt, and her sword, that was too much. Gingersnap quickly followed her. Tessa went into a large clearing in the woods. Suddenly the deer, Rolando, came galloping up, out of breath.
“So, is he coming?” asked Tessa shortly.
“Yes”, panted Rolando, “and he’s coming fast. I really had to gallop to get here first. You’d better get ready.”
Gingersnap hid behind a rock, wondering who ‘he’ was.
Out of her view, the Falcons assembled on a cliff, behind a great heap of rocks and rubble. With long poles at the ready, they waited. Tessa stood alone in the middle of the clearing, sharpening her sword on a rock.
All of a sudden, something was heard in the woods. Tessa quickly straightened up and sheathed her sword. The sound got louder. It sounded like the beating of giant wings. A faint growl was heard too. Suddenly the Eraldoi burst into the clearing. Tessa put her hands on her sword. And the Eraldoi came at her.
Chapter 10 The Conflict
His lips curled back in a snarl, showing his poisonous fangs. Tessa didn't move an inch. Drawing the sword Orasil and holding it aloft, she roared out a challenge. “I am Tessa Alicia Fallindale! Akira was my ancestor! I challenge you to a fight to the death!”
Gingersnap, hiding behind a rock, frowned. “What is she doing? She knows he could kill her, even with the shirt on!”
But then she saw the Falcons, hiding behind a huge pile of stones and dirt on a ledge above her, and she smiled. Tessa was the cleverest girl she had ever seen in her 367 years (after Akira, of course).
As the Eraldoi advanced, Tessa retreated, still with Orasil in her hand. “Oh look, a puppy dog,” she goaded.
With a roar of hatred, the Eraldoi charged her. Tessa neatly sidestepped his charge. “Come on!” she yelled. “Is that the best you can do?”
The Eraldoi tried a new approach, charging, and at the last minute sidestepping to Tessa's left. This created a rush of hot air, which thawed Tessa's left arm (which had been unable to move since Cannonball's ice had hit it) and allowed her to strike full force at his unprotected flank.
Thus began the fiercest battle Tesslantia had ever seen. It created an earthquake, and stirred up a tornado. Tessa hacked away at the Eraldoi's legs and the Eraldoi blew fire at her.
Tessa drove her quarry closer and closer to the hidden pit.
Just then the Eraldoi tried to fly. With a sudden rush, Tessa jumped onto his foot, shinnied up his leg, and leaped onto his back. Wielding the sword Orasil, she struck with all her might at the base of his left wing, and chopped it right off!
With a roar of pain and anger, the Eraldoi shook Tessa off. She landed so hard that the wind was knocked out of her, and she lay apparently stunned.
With a howl of triumph, the Eraldoi bounded over to her, where she lay a few yards away.
With a gasp, Gingersnap prepared to rush out and take the Eraldoi by surprise, and sacrifice herself to save Tessa. But just as she was about to, Tessa leaped up with a roar and charged the Eraldoi. Taken by surprise, he stumbled into the pit that Tessa had dug.
“Now!” yelled Tessa, and at that instant the whole pile of debris came tumbling down onto the Eraldoi in the pit. Tessa had barely enough time to leap away before she got buried with him.
Gingersnap leaped out from behind the rock and bounded toward Tessa yelling, “You did it! You did it!!!”
Chapter 11 Home
As Tessa walked away with the Falcons, being congratulated and slapped on the back, the Eraldoi let out a roar so loud that it made the Falcons topple over like dominoes. It made people 50 miles away think that a thunderstorm was brewing up. It also made an air current circle the earth 16 times. This air current later blew away Tessa's protective shirt, but that is another story.
Tessa picked herself up and said goodbye to the Falcons, and Gingersnap led her back to the dell where she first saw Gingersnap's tail. There she found her backpack. It seemed such a long time ago that she had dreamed of a horse of her own! And how she had changed since then! At home she found that, although she had thought that she had spent weeks in the forest, no time at all had passed out of it! She had found out the woods’ secret.
Later, Tessa had more adventures, and fixed up the caves that she found under her house. But now, she peacefully did her homework, showing no sign that she had just vanquished the Eraldoi.