What’s in a Name?

Hi Readers,

We’re making a list and checking it twice. (An editorial list, of course, we’re figuring out what our scribe will write in the coming year. Gotta get that all-important page time.) We’ll be releasing that list in early January and looking back at what our list was for this year to see how well we did.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And as always, we’ll be taking you on a *special* adventure. We’re hooking our Newsletter-Dragon up to a sleigh and crashing the holiday party at our scribe’s day job.

(Or maybe not. The Newsletter-Dragon looks angry, and there’s fire coming out of her mouth. I’ll just stand over here behind Papa and his magical shields where it’s safe. While I’m here, I might as well help Papa drink that big mug of creamy goodness.)

While I do that, grab your beverage of choice, snuggle up with your favorite newsletter-reading device, and let’s go!

I bring you episode # ??? An exclusive Curse Breaker short story:

A Child by Any Other Name

(Read the previous episode here)

“Who named me?” I asked.

But Papa didn’t want to answer. (No surprise there.) He looked so sad, but I had to know. Uncle Miren looked away instead of commenting, which was so unlike him it gave me pause. Maybe I didn’t want to know. Not if the telling would hurt Papa anymore than the question had. Was my curiosity worth that price?

I looked at Bear, but his button eyes were dark. He was still in there though. His fur still glowed softly betraying its otherworldly inhabitant. I reached for his paw, but he backed away. This was my decision.

Papa had remained silent, which wasn’t unusual for him before the events in Enchanted, and I thought we’d made progress on that front. Papa was pretty chatty in Sundered, but I did ask him a lot of questions, and he always answers me. But not this time. Was the answer really that painful?

Before I could screw up my courage to ask again, a booming voice beat me to it. I’d almost forgotten about the digital dragon glaring at us.

“Well? Don’t keep us in suspense. Tell us who named the kid,” said the Newsletter-Dragon projected on our ceiling.

She still hadn’t delivered J.C.’s message. In fact, I wasn’t even sure there was a message. She could have made up that flaming note just to mess with us. What did we really know about her other than the fact that she treated our newsletter list like it was her personal horde?

I gave her a good glare for intruding on what was obviously a personal matter between me and Papa, but she ignored me. Her head swelled up until her eyes were head-sized. All the better to stare at us. I shrank back, but Papa held me safe in his arms, and his magic surrounded us with its calming green glow.

Papa gave the Newsletter-Dragon a dark look to show it who was boss. “Watch how you talk about my son.”

I drew myself up and glowered at the dragon. Nobody pushes Papa around except me, but I do it only out of love and hunger. Papa sometimes forgets about meals.

“This is a private conversation between me and Papa. No dragons allowed.”

“My nephew’s got a point. If I give you a name, will you deliver the message and bugger off?”

“I changed my mind. I’ll deliver the message if you answer the kid’s question. Who named him?” the dragon’s eyes bored into Papa, and he deflated a little.

“You don’t have to answer, not if it will hurt you.” I leaned into his chest.

“No, you have a right to know.”

Papa paused for so long I thought he wouldn’t answer, but we were past that. Once Papa made a decision, he followed through on it no matter what. I admired and tried to emulate his sticktoitiveness whenever possible.

“I think your mother named you, but I don’t know for sure. You were already a few days old when I met you, and I never thought to ask where your name came from until now.”

That had been my next question, and it explained why Papa had never objected to my nickname. He’d never been comfortable with my full name. I’d never really liked it either. For one thing, my real name was too long. ‘Ran’ was short and fast like me because I’m always running off.

“Ok, you heard the answer, now spill. Give us J.C.’s message.” Uncle Miren gave the dragon a gimlet stare.

“Who said it was J.C.’s message?”

“You did. Didn’t she?” I looked to Papa and Uncle Miren for confirmation because I was suddenly very confused. Hadn’t she said it was from J.C. or had she only implied that it was? Newsletter-Dragons were tricky creatures.

Papa considered this, but it was Uncle Miren who spoke up. “Just give us the message.”


The newsletter dragon dropped something shiny, and I escaped Papa’s hold so I could get to it first. But his magic beat me to it, and I slammed into a soft, green, translucent wall.  I frowned at it, but it didn’t let me pass. Papa’s magic took my safety a little too seriously sometimes.

“It’s just a silver-and-white ball with a hook on one end for hanging it,” I said.

“We don’t know that for certain.”

Papa reached past me, and the shield parted for him. That was so unfair. The silver-and-white ball rolled into his hand, and I tried to grab it from him, but he was too tall and could easily hold it out of reach while he examined it.

“What is it?” Uncle Miren asked. He hadn’t budged from his seat on the floor.

“It looks like an ornament.”

“Is there a message inside it?” I asked because there was supposed to be.

“Not that I can find.”

“Hey, what happened to the dragon?” I pointed at the ceiling, but the projection was gone. It had cut off just as I’d been about to ask the Newsletter-Dragon what had happened to the message.

“She’s gone. She must be winging her way back to cyberspace right now.”

And all we got was a shiny ornament I had yet to examine. Papa didn’t look ready to share it yet, so I bided my time.

“That confounded dragon. There never was a message. She was playing with us that whole time.” Uncle Miren slammed his fist down on a nearby book.

“Hey, don’t harm that or I’ll have to pay for it.” Papa glared at Uncle Miren.


“What is it, Papa? You have that look. Did you find the message?” I still hoped there was one after all the drama the Newsletter-Dragon had put us through.

“No, but I’ve seen this ornament before.” Papa turned it in his big hands, and it reflected the green glow of his eyes. He couldn’t take his eyes off it.

“Can I see it? I promise not to drop it.”

Reluctantly, he handed it over, and I held it gingerly. It was made of frosted glass and mirrored diamonds that caught the glow of Papa’s eyes. And there was something else in there. I stared hard at one of the diamonds, and two silhouettes separated from the wintry scene captured in the silvered glass. Behind them, enchanted trees towered over them. They seemed to be arguing about something, but the picture had no sound.

~ ~ ~

Tune in next week for an all-new holiday adventure starring Papa and me.  In the meantime, give your loved ones the gift of great storytelling this holiday season:


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Until next time, dear reader

This is Ran, son of Sarn, “Seeker of Messages,” wishing you a great week! 😉