Chapter 16: Sleep Among the Huuts, Dookie Pops the Bubble
Huutdwellers are one of a number of things that live in Elcon’s mountains. They are a kind of brownish flightless bird. In terms of size they are roughly almost the size of a medium size dog. They are flightless, instead their wings have two bony hooks that they use for various things. On their feet are sharp talons. Their body is much like an owls, and their head is quite like that aswell. The beak of a huut is jagged.
Huutdwellers are known for their distinctive ‘huut huut’ cry. Also for building house like shelters on the mountains to lure unwary travellers and other beings in to be devoured. Huuts are quite good at devouring. They can strip a buffler (A manner of hairy shaggy meaty muscled buffalo-like herd animal) to mere bones in a matter of minutes. It helps of course that they live in large numbers hanging from the ceiling of their traphouse.
Huutdwellers actually go into hibernation until prey arrives in their roost. They can stay in this hibernation for years. The reason for all of this information on the appearance and habits of the huuts is that the bubble Lofan and his party were in fell right through the roof of a huutdweller flock’s roost.
The huuts were swarming around the bubble, huuting irritably and occasionally assaulting the bubble only to bounce off and into the mass of grumpy huuts. They had of course been asleep and didn’t take kindly to being awoken by something proving to be so hard to eat.
“well, this is a bit of a pickle” Lofan stated.
“Just let me out dude, I’ll blow them all away!” Hammer said hotly.
“I am not popping this bubble. I know exactly what these things are, I know how fast they eat. I am not popping this bubble.” Dookie said quite clearly.
Lofan thought about how they would escape this situation, however a different thought occurred to him.
“say in a way this place is really safe isn’t it?” Lofan said.
Dookie reached up and put Lofan down just so she could stare at him incredulously.
” I am not popping this bubble… ah, er sorry that wasn’t what I… um, meant to say. I uh, meant to say… ur… ARE YOU INSANE?”
“We are kind of surrounded by a lot of ferocious denizen eating birds here” Hammer agreed. “I could totally take them though dude.”
“I am not popping this bubble” Dookie repeated her mantra.
“no, i’m not insane, i think, dookie, the mean birds can’t get in, so we are safe and anything that wants to get to us, has to go through them”
“Well that is… er, reasonable. Where are you, um, going with this? If this is leading to popping the bubble forget it, I am not popping this bubble.”
Hammer was sadly muttering to Madog about how he was being ignored. Madog was however ignoring him warily eyeing the feathery mass of huutdwellers.
“well, we haven’t rested since setting out from cozzlanga…”
“You are suggesting we sleep here.” Dookie stuttered not once.
“You are not helping prove that you haven’t gone insane”
“stop that, do you need to be awake to keep the bubble up?” Lofan questioned.
Hammer had finally caught the attention of Madog and was attempting to play catch using his head in the confines of the bubble.
“OH-HOHOHOHO! You underestimate the perfection of my Bubble, I need only call it up and it will stay up until I pop it myself”
Or anything sufficiently needle-like hits it, Lofan mentally added.
“wait, how needle-like does something need to be to pop the bubble?”
Dookie slumped, her ears drooped, she fidgeted.
“what is it?” Lofan pushed.
“Well… er… actually I only need to, ah… think it is, um, a needle. Doesn’t uh, have to be a needle” Dookie mumbled.
“wait, so someone could have a blunt stick, and if you thought it was a needle it’d pop the bubble?”
“Yes” Dookie said, shrinking into her robes and her ears vanishing into her hat.
“well then the bubble can’t be popped when you are asleep, because you can’t know if something is a needle while asleep” Lofan concluded.
Dookie thought about it, then she started laughing. This further agitated the huuts.
“OH-HOHOHOHO! Yes, Yes, YESSSSSSSSS, such is the power of my bubble!”
Lofan then realised that talking about the weaknesses and strengths of Dookie’s bubble around Hammer was probably not the brightest thing to do. Thankfully, Hammer had tuned the whole conversation out as boring talk.
Dookie expanded the bubble and they set up camp. Not that they could put up a tent or anything, so in this case setting up camp mainly meant taking out the quilted sleeping sacks. They managed to get to sleep after Hammer stopped asking if anyone was asleep yet.
Lofan dreamed that he was the replacement head for Hammer. He was constantly worrying about blowing up. It was not a peaceful dream.
Hammer dreamed that he was blowing the Huuts up.
Madog dreamed that a figure that looked suspiciously like hammer, but made of meat was playing fetch with her across a field of swaying sausages. He would throw his head, and she would catch it, and then eat it rather than returning the head. It was ok though, because the meat hammer just grew a new head. She gnawed on Hammer’s real head in her sleep, though to no effect.
Dookie however dreamt of bubbles, expanding and contracting, they constructed themselves, her magic poured completely into each one. An apprentice’s mistake turned masterpiece. One particular sequence stood out. A great bubble being made, then a smaller bubble being made inside the bubble, popping the old bubble.
They all began to awaken when the curious rays of elcon’s sun made their way into the Huutdweller’s hut. Dookie was first to rise, and Hammer was last. They had a light breakfast, Lofan and Dookie breaking into the dried fruit and vegetable supplies. Hammer simply drank some more of his sapple ale.
The huuts had repaired the ceiling of the hut and were fast asleep once more, some softly huuting.
“I, um, think I may have… er, an idea of how to, uh… get out of here” Dookie said to the others after they had finshed breakfast and packed their sleepsacks away. She explained of the idea she got while dreaming. In short order, she had expanded the bubble as much as she was able, then they went to the edge of the bubble. She would make a new bubble, in this way they escaped from the huutdwellers.
They had come quite far from the mountain, or to put it another way, the Giant Snowman was not far. They returned to the tunnel they had originally came from.
There was however, someone waiting there. Several someones in fact.