NaNoWriMo Day 7 Part 1
posted at: 11/8/2014

Matilda chuckled. "People who turn themselves into rabbits without letting anyone else know need to get used to these sorts of misunderstandings." She turned to the bunny. "We need you to change yourself back, Herford. I need your help." Herford's ears and whiskers drooped. "You can change yourself back, right?" He shook his head sadly.

The Queen Mother looked at her friend in alarm. "How long have you been like this? Is that why you stopped writing?" He nodded. "Have you been outside this whole time? Can you get into your house?" He shook his head. "It's been months!" Herford the Rabbit laid his head down on his paws and looked miserable. "I should have visited when you stopped writing. I'm sorry Herford."

The kid decided to speak up at this point. "Can we go inside now? It's getting dark."

The rabbit and the old lady both looked up. It was, in fact starting to get dark. Matilda walked over to the door, where Sugar Bell was peacefully grazing--still attached to the cart. "Do you keep a spare key around here?" Herford pointed his fuzzy paw at a mid-sized rock with a flat bottom. "Oh, I see. Neither you or Reginald could lift the rock. Couldn't you do some kind of magic?" The rabbit shook his head. "You can't do magic?" He nodded. "That's unfortunate."

After retrieving the key, the group took Sugar Bell to a small stone stable that looked like it had been a part of the original architecture of the place. Once she was settled, and it was fully dark, they tramped back to the cottage (being careful to dodge the support posts that frequently shot up out of the ground). The interior of the structure was just as incredible to the kid as the exterior. The stone section of the house seemed to be fairly normal. It contained a kitchen, sitting area with a hearth, a bed in one corner, and a table for dining. Above this was the second floor and the start of the wooden additions. It wasn't strictly a floor, however.

In fact, there was hardly any floor at all besides a narrow gallery that ran along all four walls. Each of those walls was formed from bookshelves and stuffed with leather bound volumes, scrolls, maps, and who knew what else. The third and fourth stories were the same--and all the way to the top of the structure. Sometimes the bookshelves would be interrupted by a doorway that led off into the maze of passages that made up the rest of the house.

Matilda knew that the lad would want to run through the hallways exploring, he was nearly jumping up and down with exploratory energy, but she forced him to sit down and eat a few bites before running off up the stairs and disappearing behind one of the many doors. "I hope it's ok if he looks around?" The bunny nodded. He seemed to be distracted--hopping around the room, peering into cupboards and under the bed. After several minutes of this, he seemed to spot what he had been looking for. On top of one of the cupboards in the kitchen, teetering halfway over the edge, was a knobbly old staff with a green stone embedded into the top of it. It only took a few attempts at hopping up to reach it to prove that it would be impossible for him to get it on his own. Thankfully, Reginald had wings (because Matilda was watching this display with quiet confusion). The pheasant fluttered up and grabbed the staff in his beak, almost dropping it on the rabbit below. With a nod of thanks towards the bird, Herford hopped onto the staff. The stone glowed brightly for a few seconds before the light dimmed.

A male voice began booming from Reginald. "Hello? Hello? Oh, let me adjust the volume. That's too loud."

Peering at the pheasant, who cocked his head and peered back, Matilda said, "Herford? I thought you couldn't do magic."

"I couldn't while I was stuck outside without this blasted staff."

"Ah. Of course. And why is your voice coming from Reginald?"

"I'll have to explain. You should sit down."

"I have no problem doing that. Do you think the boy will be alright? Isn't this house a bit dangerous?" She sat in an armchair near the empty hearth and the rabbit bounded into an armchair across from her. Reginald perched on the back of the chair.