Disclaimer: I do not own Fablehaven. It is the creation of Brandon Mull.
A/N: This story is the third entry in a ten-story series, and is a follow-up to "Siege on the Fairy Kingdom". Please make sure to read the previous two stories before starting this one! Thank you and enjoy!
Chapter 1: Thanksgiving
A crisp, autumn breeze flowed throughout the fields of Fablehaven, blowing itself against Seth Sorenson's face. A small cluster of leaves, all of which were various shades of yellow, orange or brown, flickered past his head.
Walking towards Seth, hauling a vegetable cart behind himself, was Hugo. As Hugo neared closer, Seth could see that the golem was smiling, no doubt he was in good spirits.
"Hey, Hugo!" said Seth, as the large figure stopped in front of him. "Those the pumpkins my mom asked for?"
"Pumpkins in cart," said Hugo. "Hugo harvest."
Seth walked over to the cart, and could see that it was filled with pumpkins that Hugo had been told to collect from the pumpkin patch in the preserve's greenhouse. They reminded Seth of the Midsummer Eve from two years ago, when he and Kendra visited Fablehaven for the first time.
It was currently late November, indicating that Seth and his immediate family had now been living at Fablehaven for roughly half a year. His life had changed drastically, and while he was fond of the thrills it brought, the cataclysmic danger that usually came with it tended to be something he could stand to do without.
"Hugo," said Seth, "I don't think we need that many pumpkins. We've got enough pumpkins here to make pies that'll last us 'til next Thanksgiving!"
"Hugo sorry," said the golem.
"Well, you might as well bring them all. Maybe we can save some of them for Midwinter Eve next month. Say, as long as you're heading back to the house, mind giving me a lift?"
Hugo looked back at Seth, then at the cart. "Hop in," he said.
Seth wasn't one to literally jump into a vegetable cart full of pumpkins, but instead chose to climb aboard. There wasn't really a place for him to sit, so Seth opted to lean against several of the large fruits. Or were pumpkins considered to be vegetables? Either way, Hugo could see that Seth was ready, and proceeded to wheel him, along with the vegetable cart, across the fields until they reached the side of the main house.
Seth leaped down from the pumpkins, then darted through the backdoor of the house into the kitchen. Seth took a good whiff of the air, and could smell Thanksgiving dinner cooking in the oven. Standing at the counter was Mrs. Sorenson, who was in the middle of preparing stuffing, using her own homemade recipe.
"Hey, Mom," said Seth, "how's dinner coming along?"
"Just fine," she replied, still paying attention to her cooking. "The turkeys are almost done. Did Hugo get any pumpkins yet?"
"I'll say! Guy's got like a dozen pumpkins!"
Mrs. Sorenson flinched. "I told Hugo that I needed pumpkins. Just enough to make pumpkin pie for fourteen people."
"So instead of getting enough pumpkins for fourteen people..."
"He fetched me fourteen pumpkins," continued Mrs. Sorenson. "Yes, I should've just asked for one large pumpkin and worked with that."
"So, what are we supposed to do with all of these extra pumpkins?" asked Seth. "Make like a hundred pies?"
"Of course not! I can use them for pumpkin soup and then freeze most of it. We'll have enough pumpkin soup to last us for months."
"Great," muttered Seth, hardly overjoyed at the very thought.
Only a few seconds later, they could hear someone knocking at the front door rather heavily.
"Who could that be?" asked Seth, as he walked through the kitchen and into the front hall. Before he could reach the door, Kendra had spurted down the stairs and beat Seth to it. She then opened it up, to reveal Raxtus, who, despite being a fairy dragon, managed to fit himself on the porch, even if he couldn't exactly enter the house.
"Raxtus!" said Kendra, as she threw her arms around her friend. "You made it!"
"Course I did," he said, hugging Kendra back. "And I brought my family!"
With Kendra still in his arms, Raxtus backed away from the door so that Seth could step outside as well. Standing there, holding something in her arms, was Geminus.
"We've got something to show you guys," said Geminus, lowering her arms down to reveal a tiny, purple dragon hatchling in her claws.
"She's our baby," said Raxtus proudly.
"Cool!" said Seth, as he darted over to Geminus, then stroked the hatchling's head with his hand. Unlike with full-grown adult dragons, young hatchlings had very smooth, almost rubber-like skin.
The hatchling giggled, then gazed up at both Seth and Kendra with her large, intense, sapphire eyes.
"What's her name?" asked Kendra, taking her turn to stroke the hatchling.
"We named her Vanessa," said Geminus, "after our fallen friend. Not a common practice for a dragon to be given a human name, but we felt it was appropriate."
"She's adorable," said Kendra. "Is she a fairy dragon like you two are?"
"We imagine so," replied Raxtus. "Vanessa is kinda small for her age, and she's very pretty, so it wouldn't surprise me if she grew into one."
"I'm so proud of you guys," said Kendra.
"Are you two, I mean, three, going to eat at the table?" asked Seth. "Maybe shrink yourselves down?"
Geminus laughed. "No. We're going to eat outside in the backyard. Stan agreed that it would just be easier for everyone if we did that."
"Don't worry," said Kendra. "I'll make sure to come out and visit you during the meal! But, the important thing is that you came to visit at all."
"I wish we could've done Thanksgiving last night," said Seth. "You know, on Thanksgiving Day."
"There's nothing wrong with having it the day after," said Kendra. "Our other guests wanted to celebrate with their families too, you know."
"I thought you told us Thanksgiving would be today," stated Raxtus.
"Well, technically, it was yesterday," said Kendra. "But we're doing it today, and there's nothing wrong with that at all. Seth's just being, well, a brat."
"Whatever," muttered Seth. He knew that Raxtus had always been closer to Kendra, anyway. And Geminus, being a fairy dragon, along with Raxtus' mate, would side with her as well. At least Lance was coming, and he was, without a doubt, more of a friend to Seth than to Kendra.
"Who wants to go for a ride?" asked Geminus, slowly flapping her wings.
"I'll go," said Kendra, as she climbed up onto Geminus' backside. "You okay holding Vanessa?"
"Kendra," said Geminus, "I flew all the way from Wyrmroost holding Vanessa in my arms. I think I'll be just fine flying around the forest."
"You can ride on me, Seth," said Raxtus.
"All right," said Seth in agreement, mounting himself upon Raxtus' back.
The two dragons took off into the air, each with one of the Sorenson children seated on their backs. For the first time in months, Kendra and Seth both experienced the sensation of flying around through the air on the back of a dragon. They whizzed over treetops, ponds and hills, before eventually returning to the backyard.
"Is Vanessa okay with all this intense flying around?" asked Kendra, as she dismounted from Geminus.
"Of course it is," replied Raxtus. "Flying a hatchling around like this is a contributing factor in conquering a dragon's own fear of flying. In fact, it helps them learn how to fly."
"Why would a dragon need to learn?" asked Seth. "You're born with wings, even though they're too small at first."
"Flying lessons are still important," said Geminus. "It's not instinctual. Even fairies need to be taught how to fly."
"Just like with birds," added Kendra. "I learned that at a farm once. I always thought it was a natural ability, but the farm had ducklings that were unable to fly because they had been separated from their parents at a young age."
For the next few hours, Kendra and Seth passed the time by playing with Vanessa. The diminutive dragon behaved much like a baby human, and was even similar in size. In her own little way, Vanessa bore some resemblance to both Raxtus and Geminus.
"Hello, everybody," said a familiar voice. Everyone turned to the back door of the house, and saw Tanu, standing before them with a smile upon his face.
"Tanu!" said Kendra, signalling for the Samoan to join the rest of them.
Raxtus and Geminus went on to introduce Vanessa to Tanu, and before long, the potions master was playing around with the hatchling as well.
"Hello, everybody," said another, familiar voice. "Hello, Kendra."
"Bracken!" said Kendra, as she got up and ran over to her unicorn friend, making sure to give him a big, strong hug.
"Hey, hey," said Bracken with a huge grin. "Take it easy! There's plenty of Bracken for everybody. Bright and Clover went back to the Fairy Kingdom for the day, but they should be on their way."
Bracken too was then introduced to Vanessa. Due to his fairy-like nature, the young hatchling was inexplicably drawn towards him, trying to reach for him with her arms.
Shortly after Bracken arrived, Bright and Clover showed up. They too were pleased to see not only Vanessa, but also asked Geminus about how her life was living as a fairy dragon.
"Hey, guys," called yet another, familiar voice.
Standing by the back door was Lance, accompanied by another, taller, teenage boy.
"This place is sooo cool!" said the other boy, gazing in awe at the dragons.
"Lance!" said Seth, as he ran over to his friend and shook his hand.
"I don't believe you guys have really met," said Lance. "Seth, this is David, my foster brother."
"Nice to meet you," said David, as he shook Seth's hand firmly.
"It was so nice of you guys to invite both David and I over for Thanksgiving dinner," said Lance, as they all walked over to the rest of the group, where everyone was introduced to David. David was fascinated by the sight of the dragons as well as the two fairy angels that had gathered around him.
"Hey, it's a baby dragon!" said David, as he and Lance reached their hands down towards Vanessa. However, rather than watch the boys' hands moving around, Vanessa opted to back away behind her mother's leg, and let out a cry.
"I'm so sorry!" exclaimed David, as he backed away from the fairy dragons.
"Is it something we did?" asked Lance.
"What's wrong with her?" asked Seth. "She was friendly just a moment ago!"
"Too much action," said Raxtus, as he picked up Vanessa and held her in his arms, rocking her gently. "A lot of people are gathered here."
"Babies can easily get upset like that," said Seth. "They just cry a lot."
"You should know," said Kendra, "you have first-hand experience."
"And you were an angel, I'm sure," muttered Seth.
"I think Vanessa needs a nap," Geminus.
"Just as well," said Kendra. "If all the guests have arrived, the rest of us can gather inside, and leave you dragons alone until dinner."
"All right," said Geminus. "Sorry, but Vanessa's had a big day."
At that point, all the humans and fairies went back inside the house, where they mostly congregated in the living room.
"So, what's this place all about, anyway?" asked David, who had discovered a seat on one of the couches next to Lance. "Lance described it as a refuge for magical creatures, right?"
"Well, yes," said Grandpa. "Over the past few centuries, human progression has given the magical creatures of this world fewer and fewer places to dwell. As such, many preserves and sanctuaries, such as Fablehaven itself, were founded to give magical creatures a place where they could be protected from the outside world."
"Cool!" said David. "Even though my grandmother is a Knight of the Dawn, her duties are very limited. Mostly clerical stuff. She joined at an age too old for her to be out on adventures, you see. She was hoping that she could introduce the family into the Knights. While my parents are on the fence about the whole thing, I've been hoping to join myself once I finish high school."
"You are?" asked Grandma. "That's wonderful! Hopefully your visit here will enlighten you a bit more about the magical world."
"Me too. Other than what my grandma's told me about the Knights of the Dawn, my life has been pretty tame. It wasn't until my family went to the Fairbanks' to meet Lance that I even got a chance to drink the milk and see the magical creatures that were there."
"Nice to see that's there more young blood out there," said Tanu with a pleased smile.
Moments later, Mrs. Sorenson called all the guests in to the dining room, where they were seated at the table. To Seth and Kendra, this was no doubt the single-largest meal they had ever attended at Fablehaven. Among all the vegetables and stuffing that had been prepared earlier, two large turkeys had been cooked for everyone at the table.
Two more turkeys had also been prepared; one each for Raxtus and Geminus. Early on during the meal, Dale and Warren each brought a turkey outside, where they presented them to the two dragons, who were more than willing to share a few scraps with Vanessa.
Seth and Kendra were seated at one end of the table. Across from them sat Lance and David. The four kids were similar in age, as David was quick to reveal that he was currently fourteen years old.
Unfortunately, for Kendra, the three boys were mostly into talking about stuff she had limited interest in. It mostly had to do with either television shows or movies she didn't watch, video games or comic books. If they did talk about women, it was about how hot they felt certain celebrities were.
Kendra looked down at the other end of the table, where Bracken had been seated, along with Warren, Bright and Clover. With the boys not bothering to include her in their conversation, Kendra was starting to wish that she had been seated with her other friends. They could care less about the stuff that the boys were currently blathering about.
Despite not being able to enjoy her company all that much, Kendra did in fact appreciate the meal. Everything had been cooked to perfection. The last time she had eaten food like this had been the previous Christmas, just before the Knights of the Dawn departed on their journey to Wyrmroost. Kendra did what she could to eat as slowly as possible, but refrained from eating too much altogether.
Eventually, dinner ended, and everyone retreated to the living room. Now that they weren't restricted to eating at the table, Kendra was free to do what she wanted.
"Bracken," said Kendra, tapping on the unicorn's shoulder, "did you want to go and sit out on the porch swing with me?"
"Huh?" asked Bracken, "Oh, sure! I'd love to!"
Kendra then led Bracken out onto the front porch, where they seated themselves on the swing and looked out at their view of the yard. The sun was setting in the west, giving the rest of the sky an almost purple-ish hue.
For what felt like forever, Kendra and Bracken sat with their arms wrapped around their shoulders, talking about events in their lives. Bracken was pleased to announce that the fairy shrine at Wyrmroost was nearly complete, and that the single project had been keeping the fairies busy for the past several months.
"Kendra," said Mrs. Sorenson through the front door, "are you going to come in anytime soon?"
Bracken gasped, "What time is it?"
Kendra glanced at her watch. "It's almost eleven!"
"Well, then," said Bracken, "I think I'd better get going. "My kind doesn't actually celebrate Thanksgiving. They'll want me back to work tomorrow morning. Sorry, Kendra!"
"That's okay," said Kendra, as Bracken went back inside to say goodbye to the others. Afterwards, he came back out, hugged Kendra, and gave her a kiss on the lips.
"Sorry to take off like this," said Bracken. "But duty calls. It was great to you see again!"
Letting go of Kendra, Bracken waved back to her, then hurried off through the woods, back towards the naiad's pond.
"Come on, Kendra," said Mrs. Sorenson. "It's getting late."
"Sure, mom," said Kendra, as she followed her mother back inside. Inside the living room, Tanu was sitting on a couch, reading a newspaper. According to her parents, Tanu would be spending the night before returning back to his home.
At that point, Seth, Lance and David came running down the stairs, all laughing in joy. Amongst them all, they were holding several sleeping bags, plastic bags, pillows and even a Monopoly set.
"What are you guys doing?" asked Kendra.
"We're having a campout in the backyard!" said Seth. "Mom says it's because we'd be too loud otherwise, but so what? Now we can be as loud as we want!"
"Don't be too loud," said Kendra. "Or the fairies will probably turn the three of you into squirrels."
"They'd do that?" asked Lance, who appeared to be in shock.
"Does it have to be squirrels?" asked David. "Why not dinosaurs? Or super heroes?"
"The fairies aren't very cooperative with most people," replied Kendra. "Especially not someone like Seth. They have a tendency to do... things... to him."
"I am the walrus," said Seth, as he rolled his eyes. "But, we don't have to be that loud, I suppose."
The two of them then ran off towards the back of the house and went through the back door. Meanwhile, Kendra made her way upstairs and got ready for bed. Although her life had been relatively quiet, Kendra was in fact quite thankful for being able to enjoy Thanksgiving with her friends and family, even if the boys were being too goofy for her liking. Additionally, she was thankful that there was no evil force lurking about, forcing the Knights of the Dawn to assemble and risk their lives to stop it.
With that thought in her mind, Kendra plopped down on her bed and proceeded to fall asleep on a rather pleasant note. All was well in her life, and she couldn't be happier.