The Clockwork Sitters I

Once upon a time, there was a witch who lived alone in a cottage far away from other people. She wished for someone to care for, so she used her magic to create mechanical birds to keep her company. These birds lived much longer than living birds do and were kind and very patient. For the most part, they could do almost anything that birds could do. However, the clockwork birds could not lay eggs.

Eventually, the clockwork birds met and befriended living birds. Birds of flesh and blood live a very short life, so most are impulsive and easily bored. The living birds soon made an arrangement with the clockwork birds: when eggs were produced, the clockwork birds would sit upon them till the eggs hatched. The flesh and blood birds were quite happy with this; it gave them time to eat bugs, bathe, and flit about idly without the concern of their eggs growing cold. They were perfectly willing to leave the hatching to someone else.

One of the many living birds hatched from this arrangement was a young quail named Joelle. Once she was of age, she decided to hatch her own eggs herself. However, she would inevitably leave the nest and, upon her return, find it occupied by a clockwork bird. Joelle became quite irritated, and she decided to make a nest some distance away from the cottage.

Joelle had traveled for some time before stopping to rest. She was startled to see an elegant gentleman grooming his bushy tail on a nearby stump. After he politely inquired if she had lost her way, she explained that she was trying to find a convenient nesting place where she would not be bothered by the clockwork birds.

The sleek gentleman suggested she stay at his summer house, and led her to a small woodshed. He assured her that she would not be in anyone’s way and that she could nest there as long as she like. He opened the door and showed Joelle in. She thought him mighty civil and handsome.

The shed was quite full of feathers. It was almost suffocating but it was comfortable and very soft. The bushy-tailed gentleman told Joelle he had been saving the feathers for just such an occasion. Joelle was rather surprised to find such a vast quantity of feathers. However, it was very comfortable and she made a nest without any trouble at all…

The Clockwork Sitters I

Rise of the Durnskald Abersade saintdiane