NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 21

Fairies : Mystica and Merlin

Chapter 21 : The Grey Hills and the Mountains

Eyela spoke with her troops the next morning. She told them that their homes were safe. The captain had been defeated. And he had returned to the Grey Hills and the mountains beyond them. Then, she asked her troops what they believed they should do next. She asked if they should help the people of the Grey Hills, and the mountains. If they should work with them to free them from the captain’s rule. If they should let the people of the Grey Hills solve their problem on their own. She asked them what they believed it was best to do.

Eyela told them of the report from Stephan, the captain of the guard. Of the villages they’d seen in the Grey Hills. The way the people of the hills had treated them. The way they’d been afraid. They number of stories of violence and death that they had told.

And then she asked he people once again what it is that they should do. And one-by-one. Each fairy in her troops took a step forward, and declared, “He’s our problem too!” So it was decided that the fairy kingdom would pursue the captain and his minions into the Grey Hills. And then into the mountains too. To free the people there from the captains ruthless rule.

Eyela’s chief commanders told her she should return to the castle. That they could handle the battle that was to come. But Eyela was the leader of her people. Their heart and soul. The one that they looked up to when they needed someone to show them what was true. What to believe. What to do. So she refused. She informed the troops that she would be going to. That she would always stand by them. Fight with them. And cry for every one of them that was injured, or died, in the days to come.

Everyone now knew that it was time to change. Time for the fairies to renew their contact with the people in the Grey Hills. So that such a thing as the ruthless rule of the captain could never happen again.

So the fairies entered the Grey Hills. Moving forward. One village at a time. Day after day. As they freed each village, and each town from the captain’s rule, the people of the Grey Hills joined them, to fight the captain and his men. Women fought with them. And the stories of the number of women and girls too, that had been abused, raped, and beaten, and then killed, by the captain and his men, grew and grew. As did the stories of what happened to anyone that happened to not follow the captain and his men. And behave like them.

Families cried for the loss of their loved ones. Their daughters and their sons.

The captain and his troops fell back to the mountains. They all knew that the battle they were fighting was already lost. That they would fall, before it was all done. Each day their number shrank. Each day more of the lands they ruled turned against them.

The war between the captain and his troops, and the fairy kingdom would be won by the fairies. This much the captain knew. There was nothing he could do to change that outcome. He had struck at Eyela too early. His forces hadn’t been the strength that he needed to complete his plan. But at least he’d see her fall. Shot by cross bow bolts. Falling from the sky. There had been no way at all she could have survived.

And yet, he knew she was alive. Leading her troops against his. And he knew too that the only reason she’d been able to stay alive was because of the witch. The white witch. Mystica. Who lived in the Northern Forest. So he decided that if he couldn’t win, he’d at least have his revenge, and kill that witch himself. She would die by his own hand. So the captain took fifty of his men, and headed through the mountains, to the forest of the north.

It took five months, in all, for the Grey Hills, and the mountains to be freed. By that time, everyone could see that Eyela was with child.

The fairies opened trade agreements with the people of the hills. They promised the people of the hills that they would always work with them, to the benefit of both. They apologized to the people of the hills for not acting sooner than they did. For letting the captain, fairy that he was, run loose among them for so very long. The people of the hills were happy to accept the fairies help in rebuilding their damaged lives.

In the sixth month of her pregnancy, Stephan arrived at the front, to help take care of Eyela. That was when they both announce the child that Eyela carried was their child. Everyone, the fairies and the people both were happy to know that there would be a fairy princess once again. That the royalty would not die when Eyela did.

When Eyela and Stephan announced they were to wed, the fairies and the people of the Grey Hills both decided that it would be a blessing, and a reinforcement of the peace that they were building if Eyela and Stephan would get married in a village in the hills. If they would take their honey moon in the hills, Or maybe even in the mountains.

And so it was that Eyela married Stephan on a winter day, while the snow was falling from the sky, in a tiny village, deep in the Grey Hills. At the foot of the mountains. Fairies, and people from the Grey Hills, and the mountains, all attended. The wedding had been beautiful indeed. There had been so many smiles, and so very much laughter. And from that day forth, Stephan became king, and Eyela became queen.

They set up a temporary home in the village where they’d married. For they wanted to grow the friendship that had formed between the fairies, and the Grey Hills, and the mountains to the north. So that all the people of those lands could learn to live together. For the war that had been fought, and the captain’s rule of the Grey Hills, and the mountains north of them, had taught them all that they were stronger together than they could ever be apart.

But search as they might, in every part, every glen and valley, every mountain top, they could not find the captain. The captain was just gone. He’d fled to the the Norther Forest. As it became apparent what had happened, and where the captain had gone, everyone knew that the captain had decided there was something that he had to do. That the captain wouldn’t give up until he’d found the White Mage of the north, and took his revenge on her, by tearing out her heart.

So the people of the mountains, the Grey Hills, and the fairies put together a small force, and headed to the Northern Forest. To find the captain, and thus solve the problem of the captain, once and for all.

As they did, Eyela and Stephan went with them. Hoping all the while that the White Mage of the north, Mystica, the princess of the kingdom, was still alive. And that the captain hadn’t found her yet. For they knew that Mystica knew nothing of the ways of war. And had no way at all to stand against the captain and his men.

They had to find the captain before the captain found their friend.

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 19, Part 2

Fairies : Mystica and Merlin

Chapter 20 : Eyela Is With Child

It was the next morning, when Mystica woke up, she found Whisper sitting on her table. He flew over to her, and landed on her shoulder. “Welcome back,” he whispered in her ear. “I’m sorry that you were injured. That the confrontation with the wolves went the way it did. That you’re wing is damaged. I’m sorry, Mystica, that you won’t ever be able to fly like you once could.”

Mystica scratched Whisper’s neck. She knew he loved it when she did that. Then she took some of the fruit and bread that the villagers had given her, and ate a small breakfast. She washed it down with water from the lake that she kept in a wooden flask on the table in her home.

“I’m OK, Whisper, my dear friend. I really am. I understand what happened. I understand the words you spoke to me the day I left. I found a way to listen to my heart. And you were right. I will guide me.”

Whisper watched Mystica as she ate. When she was done, he whispered to her, “There’s something outside that you should see.” Then he flew from her shoulder, out through the window she had made just for him. So that he could visit her whenever he wished to.

Mystica got to her feet. The scars on them from all the cuts were beginning to fade away. All the scars on her arms and legs, and on her face too, were fading away. And would soon be gone. But the scars on her left wing would remain. Forever. That much she knew.

So she followed Whisper from the tree house. It was hard for her to fly. But she didn’t have to fly very far at all. Just from her home to the ground. She could walk to the lake. It wasn’t more than 50 feet or so. A nice small clearing. She’d grown used to her home. She liked very much living by the lake in her little tree house.

Whisper landed once again on Mystica’s shoulder. When she got to the lake, he whispered these words to her, “Merlin comes.” And there he was. Merlin. The dragon. On the far side of the lake. In his hands he held a wooden staff. One with a crystal ball on one end. A staff that was as tall as Mystica herself.  She recognized it in a glance. She knew that it was hers. The one that she’d put down more than a year before. That she’d promised to never use again.

Merlin flicked his wings, and took to the air. The power that he held to fly so easily was simply breathtaking. Mystica watched as Merlin flew across the lake, and landed. Right next to her. Then he spoke, softly, so he wouldn’t hurt her ears. His voice sounding like a sheet of metal being torn in two. “I believe this belongs to you.” Then he put her staff upon the ground. “Listen to your heart, white mage. It will tell you the truth. It will not lie to you.”

Then Merlin was airborne once again. Flying back across the lake, and vanishing into the shadows among the trees.

Mystica looked at her staff, resting on the ground. Where Merlin had placed it. She reached down, and picked it up. And moved it to the grass. Where she stood it on it’s end. Pushing it down into the ground so that it would stand on its own. She knew that someday she would pick up her staff again. But her heart told her it wasn’t time just yet. But that the time was not far away.

Mystica looked out at the lake. And she knew what she wished to do. She stripped off her clothing, and then carried it into the lake with her. She soaked her clothes thoroughly in the water of the lake. She placed her clothes on the grass of the clearing. Then she went swimming. She swam to the center of the lake. Enjoying the feel of the water. Enjoying the way the water washed the dirt and sweat off of her. The way that it caressed her ribs. The way it flowed between her fingers, and her toes. The way her hair floated in it.

After more than an hour swimming in the lake, Mystica walked onto the grass. She stood there, letting the sun bake her until she was dry. She then ran her fingers through her hair, until it was smooth and the tangles in it were gone. She thought that someday, she would like to have a brush, so that she could brush her hair. It was a luxury that she missed. Such a simple thing, brushing her hair.

She gathered up her clothes, and made the short flight up to the tree house. She hung her wet clothes on the branch outside the house, to let them dry. Then she went inside, and took out some of the new clothes that the villagers had given her. She put on a pale blue corset, and a long flowing skirt that had brown, and red, and white stripes that ran up and down it’s length.

That corset was low cut. And had wire along the front to hold it in its shape. The back was so very low that it passed beneath her wings. She found that she liked the way the corset felt. The way it left her shoulders completely free to move. The revealing look it gave of her. She’d never felt very pretty. Not in the castle, surrounded by the housemaids. Now the housemaids. They were pretty. But, in that corset, with it’s revealing cut and fit, she thought she looked very pretty indeed.

She flew back to the ground, and walked over to the lake, so she could see her reflection in the mirror of its surface. She hadn’t really paid attention before. But she’d developed a nice tan. The light bronze of her tanned skin contrasted well with the pale blue of the corset. She liked that look very much. It really was pretty.

As she stood there, looking at the lake, her reflection changed. She saw two armies. Fighting. She saw people on both sides dieing. She saw that one side was the fairy army of Eyela. It had to be. It was clearly fairies. The other side had cross bows, and swords. Mystica knew that was the army of the captain. She watched as the armies fought. It was a battle that had been going on for some time, from what she could tell.

As she watched, it became apparent that the captain’s army was losing. She watched as it began to retreat from the plains back into the Grey Hills. She saw Eyela’s troops pursue the captains. As the fight continued. Through one night into the next day.

Then she saw something that made her heart go cold in her chest. She saw Eyela, the fairy princess, get struck down by two cross bow bolts. One striking her in her right shoulder. The other striking her in the right arm. She saw Eyela fall.

As she saw Eyela fall too the ground from where she had been in flight, she knew she had to find a way to get there. To help Eyela. She knew that now, she was far stronger than she’d been when her mother had died. Her heart was crying out to her, “Help her! You can help her!”

It was then that she heard a dragon scream. It was a thunderous scream. It shook the leaves of the trees, and caused ripples on the lake. She looked up, and saw a dragon. An angry dragon. A dragon that was so angry that it had grown huge. And very dangerous. She realized it was the dragon that had destroyed the village she’d seen that was at the southern edge of the forest. As she watched that dragon, she saw Merlin flying next to it. Merlin was much smaller. Merlin had stood next to Mystica the previous day. And standing, he only came up to Mystica’s waist. This new dragon landed on the ground of the clearing, and nearly filled the entire clearing. It towered over Mystica.

Merlin spoke to Mystica. “This is Scream. He’s young. And strong. We’ll need his help to do what we have to do. Since you can’t fly to where you need to get, Scream will carry you.”

Mystica knew that it was time to pick up her staff again. So she did. And then the dragon Scream bowed down, low to the ground, as Merlin asked him to. Then the two dragons took flight. Mystica riding just behind the head of Scream.

She never knew how very fast dragons flew. Just by the power of their wings, the dragons flew out of the forest, then up and through the mountains, then the Grey Hills. Until they reached the edge of the Southern Plain. They arrived less than two hours after they’d left the lake. It had take Mystica 6 days to make that flight, when her wings were healthy, and she could fly her best.

The dragons approached the camp of Eyela’s army from the sky. The tiny Merlin, and the giant Scream. They landed in the middle of the camp of the fairies. The fairies were greatly disturbed. They recognized Scream. Scream the dragon that was terrorizing the Grey Hills. The dragon that the fairies couldn’t fight. They did not recognize Merlin. Until he spoke. His voice sounding like sheets of metal being ripped in two. When they saw that Scream did as Merlin asked, they knew that this tiny dragon that only came up to a fairy’s waist was the greater of the two. And the more deadly.

Scream lowered his head to the ground. And Mystica climbed off. The fairies recognized her. And a murmur raced through the camp. “Mystica! The White Mage is here! Mystica, herself!”

Mystica spoke to the fairies that had surrounded the two dragons. “Yes. It’s me. Mystica. This is Scream,” she introduced the giant dragon. “And this is Merlin.” Every fairy fell silent. They knew the name Merlin from legends. The dragon that had nearly destroyed the fairies.

Mystica looked at the guards closest to her. “We’ve come to help Princess Eyela. She’s been injured, hasn’t she?”

The guard blabbered out, “Yes. She’s very hurt. And the healers are not able to help her. She’s dying, Princess Mystica. She’s dying.”

Mystica held up her staff. White light shined in it. A pure white light. A strong white light. Far stronger than any of the fairies could remember having ever seen it when Mystica had been in the kingdom. “Take me to her.”

Quickly, the fairies took Mystica to the tent where Eyela was being cared for. Mystica walked up to Eyela. She saw that Eyela was indeed very badly hurt. She saw where the two cross bow bolts had been removed from Eyela’s shoulder and arm. She saw that Eyela had broken bones from where she’d struck the ground when she fell from the sky. But she saw something else. Something that she knew no one else would see.

She stood next to Eyela. “Don’t worry, princess. I’ve come to help. It’s not time for you to die.” Then she closed her eyes, and raised her staff. The white light that came from the staff was so strong that it made the walls of the tent transparent. Those outside could see the shadows of the figures that were inside. Mystica gently lowered the crystal ball of her staff until it touched Eyela’s chest. Right above Eyela’s heart. Then she whispered a single word. “Heal.”

The light from the crystal ball settled into Eyela. As it did, the tent went dark. Everyone inside the tent watched as Eyela’s broken bones mended. As the wounds in her shoulder and arm healed. And in less than an hour, they all realized that Eyela was asleep. Eyela was healed. And was going to be fine.

Mystica then sagged to her knees. The healers in the tent picked her up, and carried her to a cot. There, they laid her down, and she fell soundly asleep. She slept for a solid day. When Mystica woke up, Eyela was sitting on a box, next to the bed. Watching over her. “Thank you, Princess Mystica. Thank you for coming here, and healing me.”

Mystica smiled. Then she sat up. Eyela ordered that drink and food be brought to Mystica. Then the two of them shared a meal. And then they sat in the tent, and spoke with each other. Mystica told Eyela of her adventures. Including the battle with the soldiers, and the battle with the wolves. Eyela told her of the war with the captain and his followers.

When they’d finished sharing stories, Mystica looked into the eyes of the last true princess of the fairies. The last of her bloodline. “Eyela. There is something you must know. Something I did not wish to speak of when anyone else was here, and listening.” Eyela nodded her head. A questioning look in her eyes. “Eyela. You are going to be a mother.”

A look of shock crossed Eyela’s face. Then a smile. Mystica asked, “Does Stephan know?”

Eyela shook her head, no. “Are you certain?”

“Yes, Eyela. I’m certain. I can feel the presence of a new life in you. A life that grows stronger and stronger.”

Mystica stayed with Eyela through that day, and into that night. The dragons, Scream and Merlin, waited patiently for Mystica’s return. The fairies spent a lot of time trying not to look terrified of the dragons. Knowing that the dragons could wipe them off the face of the world any time they chose to do so.

That night, Mystica returned to the dragons. Eyela walked with her. She spoke to all three. “Mystica, Merlin, Scream. Thank you for helping me. You will always be welcome in the kingdom of the fairies. You will always be considered friends.”

Mystica smiled. And then the two dragons took flight, Mystica sitting behind Scream’s head once more. And the three of them returned to the lake in the Northern Forest. Where Scream took flight, and left.

Mystica smiled as she stood before the lake, next to the dragon Merlin. “She’s with child, you know. The fairies are going to have a royal family again. After 10,000 years.”

As she looked into the surface of the lake, seeing her reflection, and the reflection of Merlin, she couldn’t help but think that the dragon smiled.

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 19

Fairies : Mystica and Merlin

Chapter 19 : Broken Wing

Mystica flew above the river. She flew slowly, carefully looking into the forest on either side of the river. She was looking for any sign of the wolves. She was also looking for any sign of the boy and the girl. She hoped very much that they were still alive. But the aching of her heart, and the tears that her soul cried told her they were not.

As she flew, she called forth the white magic, forming a pure white flame in front of her. “Show me where the children are,” she spoke quietly. Then she hovered in flight. Hanging in the sky. And the white magic painted a picture before her eyes. A picture of a pack of wolves. Six of them in all. They were trotting through the trees. Her heart ached so very much, for she knew that the children were dead. That the wolves had killed them. And that angered her. It caused her blood to burn. As if it were on fire.

She heard Whisper’s words again. “Don’t listen to your anger and your fear.” She wasn’t sure what Whisper meant. She was angry that the wolves had killed again. Angry that they had begun to attack villagers. And she was very much afraid. She’d never come face to face with a wolf before. But now, she was heading to find six of them. To stop them. To fight with them. To prevent them from killing more villagers.

She didn’t want to kill them. She knew that much. Like all living things, they were just trying to stay alive. To survive. But their actions upset the balance of how things were supposed to be. They were attacking people. In a forest filled with food. Rabbits. Birds. Squirrels. Mice. Deer. There were so many things that were natural food for the wolves. And humans weren’t. So Mystica would stop them. Or at least, she would try.

The white magic shifted in the sky, becoming a ball of fire. It started moving down the river. Mystica followed it, knowing it was showing her where the wolves were. She could feel the sweat on the backs of her legs. Where her knees were. She could feel the sweat on the palms of her hands. She could feel her pulse racing.

She knew she was afraid of what was to come.

It was nearly noon when Mystica found the wolves. The magic had lead her right to them. She didn’t fly right in on them. She flew above the trees. Trying to stay out of their sight. Watching them. While she tried to figure out what she should do. “How do you stop a wolf without a bow, and arrows? Without a cross bow?” she thought. “I’m not a warrior. A soldier. I don’t know how to fight wolves.”

As she watched the wolves, she remembered what had happened to the soldiers in the village that night. When she’d become so very disturbed, and even angry. When the anger became fire in her blood. And she’d uttered that single word, “Burn.”

How many of the soldiers had died that night? Killed by her own thoughts and words. Was that how she was to fight the wolves? Or was there another way that she had yet to learn?

As she flew, she became lost in thought. Trying to figure out what she should do. And never saw the tree limb that she flew into. The collision knocked her right out of the sky. And she landed, heavily, on the ground. Right behind the wolves.

The fall knocked the breath out of Mystica. She hit the ground, unable to move at first. The wolves heard her as she fell. They turned, to see what it was they heard. And they saw her bounce off of the ground when the struck it. They saw her as she didn’t move at first. It wasn’t until she drew in a painful breath of air, her entire body screaming for the air she needed, that the wolves realized she was still alive. And they started to approach her.

The wolves spread out, and rapidly formed a circle around Mystica. Mystica got to her feet, and flexed her wings. That’s when pain shot through her, starting with her left wing, and lancing through her back and shoulders. She screamed in pain, and staggered forward. She knew that her left wing was broken. Badly. The wolves growled, they smelled blood. Her blood. She knew her wing was bleeding from the broken bones in it.

The wolf behind her launched itself at her. It’s teeth and claws ready to tear into her wounded wing, and into her shoulders, neck and back. Mystica turned toward the wolf as it had leaped, and ran straight at the hole that was now formed in the circle of wolves. The attacking wolf’s teeth closing around the middle of her broken wing. It’s teeth sank into her wing, snapping still more bones.

White fire exploded from Mystica, throwing the wolf into the air, away from her. As it did, the wolf’s teeth tore her wing. Shredding part of it. Mystica no longer felt the pain of her wing. All she could think of was to run. And run she did.

As she ran, she knew the nightmare that she’d had time and time again was now coming true. She was being chased by wolves. She couldn’t fly. Her left wing was broken, and bleeding. Her lungs were on fire. She was terrified. Dodging wolves as they leaped at her. Zigging and zagging between trees. She had no idea where she was going. All she could think was to run. To somehow stay alive.

As she ran through the forest, scratches, scrapes and cuts formed on her legs, her feet, her arms, and her face. New ones formed when she ran through the trees. Running into small tree limbs and branches. Her feet bleeding on the rocks and the roots of trees. She nearly fell, nearly twisting her ankles. She ran. Blindly. With no time to look ahead. Ducking a wolf as it leaped at her. Putting another tree between herself and another wolf. Changing direction every few steps.

But she was growing tired. She knew she couldn’t keep running forever. That she had to find a way to escape the wolves. And soon. Or they would capture her. And they would kill her, like they’d killed the children. She had to keep running, and hope something changed. And that it changed fast.

As she ran, she caught a glimpse of a tree branch that was just within her reach, if she jumped for it. So she changed direction once again, and ran the three steps to that branch, jumping as high as she could on the last step. Her hands grasped that branch, and she swung under it. She keep swinging, until her feet had come up, and she caught the branch with them. She pulled herself up, as quickly as she could. But she wasn’t fast enough. One of the wolves leaped at her again. It’s teeth sinking in to her broken wing. And there they hung for a moment. Mystica hanging on to that branch for dear life. And the wolf hanging from her broken wing.

Until the white magic struck again. Flowing through her broken, bleeding wing, into the wolf. The wolf was thrown straight down, into the ground. When it struck the ground, it howled in pain. Mystica had her chance, and moved. Climbing up onto the branch. And then continuing to climb higher into the tree.

At least she was safe. For now. But she was trapped in a tree. Surrounded by wolves. She couldn’t climb down, or they would get her. She couldn’t fly away, her broken wing would not let her. She was trapped.

She sat on a branch. Trying to catch her breath. Trying to calm herself down, and think of a way to get out of the mess she was in. As she sat there, the panic she had felt, the fear, subsided. And as it did, the pain from her left wing grew. Until it felt like someone was sticking a branding iron to her wing. The pain lancing through her wing, into her back and shoulders. It hurt just to breathe. And it was hard for her to stay balanced on the tree limb.

Merlin’s words echoed in her mind once more. “Listen to your heart. It will guide you.” She heard those words at least a dozen times. And then something inside of her snapped into place. And despite the pain that she was in, she stood up, and closed her eyes. Focusing her strength. Calling for the white magic once again.

White fire encased the tree limb she was standing on. The limb spread out. Becoming flat, and wide. The sides of that flat area on the branch then turned upward. Forming edges that would keep things from rolling off the branch. Leaves from the branch formed a soft green bundle at one end of the flat spot. Mystica smiled. She’d made a place where she could lie down. Where she could rest for a while. Where she would be safe enough to even take a nap. And try to gather up some of her strength.

That’s exactly what she did. She stretched out on the flat spot of the branch. Lying on her stomach. Her head turned to the side, resting on the soft pillow made of leaves. Her wings above her back. And then she closed her eyes. And slept.

She slept for several hours. When she woke up, she was still in pain. Lots of pain. But she felt better than she’d felt a few hours before. She took a look around. The wolves were still there. Surrounding the tree. Pacing around it. The bark was scratched in places where the wolves had tried to climb the tree to get at her. She was glad they had not succeeded.

She was hungry. It was getting dark. And she hadn’t had a thing to eat since the sunrise. So she pulled out the pack that the people of the village had given her. And she ate some of the fruit. She wished she could fly to the river, and get some water to drink. But she knew she couldn’t fly. Not with her broken wing. She wondered if there were some way she could heal her wing. Even if there wasn’t, she knew she had to try.

Whisper’s words echoed in her mind once more. “Listen to your heart. It will guide you.” She called on the white magic. As she did, she closed her eyes. And pictured her wing, the way it was supposed to be. She opened her eyes, and spread her wings as far as she could, moving her broken left wing to the side, so she could see as much of it as possible. Then she took her hands, and gently placed them on the torn, broken and bloody part of her poor wing.

As the white fire flowed from her hands into her wing, she closed her eyes, and pictured her wing as she remembered it looking. The broken bones of her wing came back together. The shredded parts of her wing came back together. The bleeding stopped. Her wing was healed. But it was not perfect. She flexed it. There had been so much damage to her wing that part of it was just plain gone. Part of it could not be healed.

As she looked at her wing, she saw the scars that were there on it. Dark lines cutting through the translucence of her wing. The misshapen bones within. Mystica knew, as she looked at her wing, that she would never be able to fly as she once had. That she may be able to fly, but only for short distances. And it would be hard for her to fly at all.

She sat down in the flat space of the tree, and cried.

After a time, she knew she couldn’t stay in the tree forever. She knew she had to leave. But there was the problem of the wolves. She hadn’t solved that problem yet. And she knew the wolves would kill again if she didn’t stop them.

Whisper’s words echoed in her mind again. “Listen to your heart. It will guide you.”

She closed her eyes. And as she sat there, she cleared her head. Calmed herself down. She took deep breaths. She felt herself breath in, and breath out. She felt her own pulse, mirroring the beating of her heart. Feeling the rhythm of her own blood as it flowed through all of her. And she pictured the wolves.

As she did, she saw herself climb down the tree. She was encased in a pure white fire. She saw the wolves attack her. She saw the white fire stop them. The wolves couldn’t get past the white fire. As they leaped at her again, and again, the white fire protected her. And then, she heard a single word. “Burn.”

Mystica called the white fire again. It encased her. As it did, she began to climb down the tree. The wolves saw her, and leaped at her. But they couldn’t get past the white fire. That fire protected her. Just as it had in the pictures that had played inside her head.

As she climbed down, her feet resting on the ground, the wolves attacked her once again. And she spoke a single word. “Burn.”

The white fire spread from her to the wolves. All six of them were encased in its white flames. They howled in pain. They fell to the ground, writhing. The white flames changed. Becoming those of real fire. And the wolves all burned.

Mystica was sad. She cried for the loss of the wolves. For she understood now what had happened. The wolves had become evil. Their hearts and souls had become filled with darkness. With a lust for killing everything. With a hunger to eat human flesh. With a relentless need to destroy any life they came upon. Something that was very different from what a predator truly is.
The white fire was a purifying fire. It burned the darkness out of the wolves. Out of anything it touched. And when it touched the wolves, it burned them. For there was nothing but darkness left in them. So the fire had burned away all that they had been. Everything they were.

And the wolves had been consumed by fire.

She stood there, silently. Her bruised, aching feet on solid ground again. The sun setting, and the darkness growing. She hurt all over. She had cuts and bruises everywhere. Scrapes and scratches too. She used the white magic as a light, so she could see where she was walking. And she listened to the sound of the river, letting that sound guide her back to the river itself.

When she got there, she walked out into the water. And she took a drink. A good, long drink. The river water felt so very good as it quenched her thirst. She walked out further. Then she swam a while. Letting the water wash away the dried blood, and the dirt that coated her.

It took her three days to reach the village. They saw her as she was approaching, walking down the edge of the river. They saw the cuts, and bruises. They saw her damaged wing. They came out to her. Two men carrying a door. They laid her on the door, and carried her into the village. The women cleaned her, and bandaged the wounds that needed to be bandaged. They fed her. They cared for her. They let her sleep that night in a nice, soft bed.

The next day she told them of the wolves. Of the battle she’d had with them. Of the way the battle had ended. Of how the wolves would never hurt another person again. She cried as she told them she had not been able to save the children. That she’d been too late in finding the wolves. And the children were dead.

She used her magic as a guide, and lead a small group of the village men to the remains of the children. Their mangled, broken bodies, half eaten by the wolves, left to rot in the forest. She used her magic to straighten the broken bodies out. To restore the missing parts. She couldn’t bring the children back to life. But she could restore them to the way they’d looked. So the people of the village could remember how beautiful they’d been. And that’s just what she did.

The villagers gathered up the bodies of their children. The son and daughter that were now forever lost to them. And all returned to the village. The villagers insisted that Mystica stay with them for several days. Until she was better. While the cuts and bruises healed.

She spent a week with them. The women had made new clothes for her. Several corsets. Several skirts. And they’d provided her with sever new sets of undergarments. Two of the men went with her, escorting her from their village to her home. Her simple tree house. In a tree. By the clearing. Next to the lake. They’d carried extra food and supplies for her. And provided her with a small axe so she could cut some wood. And with a knife, so she could carve that wood. They’d provided her with a set of dishes. Including silverware. So that she would have them to eat off of.

When the two men were certain that Mystica was OK. And that she would be safe in her own home. They left. Returning to their village. But the made sure that Mystica knew she would always be welcome in their village, if she should ever return.

That night, Mystica had sat by the edge of the lake. And watched the way its waters reflected the stars of the sky.

And so it was that the legend of the white witch of the Northern Forest grew. And slowly started to spread to all the villages of the north.

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 18.

Fairies : Mystica and Merlin

Chapter 18 : Healer

It was the 7th night in a row that Mystica stood by the lake. Watching the images of the wolves, and their increasing boldness, in attacking villages. She was very much disturbed by what she saw. But these were wolves. And she was just a fairy. Even if she was a white mage, what could she do to prevent the wolves from attacking villagers. So, she looked into the water of the lake, and she said, “Tell me what to do.”

Nothing happened. Mystica was not surprised. Whisper flew from his perch on the edge of the clearing, and then landed on Mystica’s shoulder, whispering in her ear, “White magic does not instruct you. You instruct it.”

Mystica nodded her head, “I know. But I had to ask. I really don’t know what to do.”

“Young one,” the ancient owl whispered. “Listen to your heart. It will guide you.”

Mystica looked at Whisper. “But I don’t know what to do. I want to help. There must be a way to help. But I don’t know what that way is.”

“Listen to your heart, young white mage. It will guide you,” Whisper repeated. Then he continued on. “But do not listen to your fear. And your anger. They will be your demise.” With those words, Whisper spread his wings, and he took flight. A mere whisper on the wind as he flew across the lake.

Mystica didn’t know what to do. But she knew she had to try. She couldn’t let people continue to die. She couldn’t let the wolves become more and more bold. That would not be right. So she turned to the lake, and closed her eyes. “Show me the village the wolves struck last.” With those words, the mirror like surface of the lake changed. Revealing the image of a village. A village that was morning the loss of a son, and a daughter. And the father’s of both. A third father lay in his bed, in his home. And no one there believed he would life through the night.

The wolves had come. They’d attacked by surprise. Leaping from their hiding places by the edge of the village. Racing toward the small houses that were people’s homes. Trapping two children in a field. Attacking them. Their families had responded. As had several others. Grabbing pots and pans. Even kitchen knives. Grabbing hammers, and whatever else they had at hand. Running toward the wolves. Screaming at the top of their lungs.

They had attacked the wolves. To no avail. The wolves were very fast. And very bold. The best the villagers could do was strike them glancing blows. But the wolves, on the other hand. Used their teeth and claws. And very soon, the fathers of the children that the wolves had captured, and were dragging away, fell to the ground. Covered in their own blood. A third father had fallen. But he was still alive. The villagers had backed away. There was nothing they could do. And the children, were just gone.

“Where is the one that’s hurt?” Mystica asked the waters of the lake. And as had happened on the day she’d left to stand against the soldiers, and stop them, the white magic took flight, sending a ball of white light to guide her through the night to the village of the father that was dieing. Once again, Mystica rode the magic, and a journey that would have taken better than a day, lasted but an hour. The village was due north of the lake. Located by the river that flowed from the lake. In a little clearing.

Mystica flew over the village, then guided herself down, to just above the river. There she used her wings to fly upright, as if she were standing in the air. She floated, just above surface of the water, until she reached the clearing. And there, she softly landed.

The villagers had seen her as she’d flown over them. They’d watched her as she slowly had approached. Making her presence known. A woman, with great sorrow in her eyes, stepped before her, “Who are you? What do you want?”

“My name is Mystica.”

The woman looked her up and down. “A fairy? Here? In the forest? We haven’t seen a fairy here before.” Then she paused. “Why are you hear, fairy?”

“There is someone here that’s hurt. He fought with wolves. And the wolves have injured him.” She looked around, at the other villagers that had gathered before her. “Unless I find a way to help him, he may not live to see the sun again.”

The woman looked a Mystica. Right into her eyes. Then she started to cry. Tears of pain and loss fell from her eyes. “You’re a healer? You can save him?”

“I can only promise that I’ll try.”

The villagers took Mystica to the home of the injured man. As she approached the front door of his home, she could feel the hurt that he was in. She ran to the door, and opened it. And raced inside. Where she stopped to stand beside the man, who was lying on a bed. That’s when Mystica knew that she had to try again to do what she had failed to do before, when her mother’d died. She had to use white magic to try once more to save a life.

She closed her eyes, and placed her hands on the shoulders of the man. Then the villagers watched, as the man became encased in a pure white flame. A flame that didn’t burn in any way. They watched as the wounds upon his face, and arms and hands, that everyone could see, were burned away by the healing power of that flame. They watched as the man’s breathing grew strong, and deep, and steady once again. They watched as the man returned to life, his body fully healed. Until the flame was gone. And the man was sitting in his bed.

Mystica swayed. And then she staggered a few steps, collapsing to her knees on the floor of the room that she was in. Two women took her by the arms, and helped her up. They all but carried her to a soft chair where they sat her down. “Water! Bring water!” they belted out. And from nowhere, water came. A bucket full of it. And a ladle too. So that Mystica could drink. Then they gave her food to eat. But she was so very tired she could not eat much.

The family of the man that Mystica had healed that night, made a place in their home for Mystica to rest. And it wasn’t long at all before Mystica was sound asleep. She slept through the day, and then into the night.

When she woke up, the people of the village thanked her very much. They wouldn’t let her leave until they knew that she was well. And they made her eat a meal with them. They offered her supplies. Food and cloth and thread. For having done what she had done that previous night. And if she had been heading home, she would have accepted them. “I can’t carry this with me. I have to find a way to stop the wolves. Before they strike again.”

The villagers showed her the direction that the wolves had been headed in, as they’d drug away those two children on that day. “I’m sorry for your loss,” Mystica said to them. “I wish I’d have been here to help you save your children from them.”

The villagers packed a small sack with some bread, dried meat, and fruit. “For your journey. You’ll need them.” Then, before she left, the woman that had stood before her the night before, stood before her once again. “You be careful, now. Those wolves are very dangerous.” Then she hugged Mystica. “If you ever come around this way again, please stop in, and visit us, dear friend.”

Mystica flew above the river for an hour or two. Then she found a place up in a tree, where she knew the wolves would not be. And she settled in for the night. She ate some of the bread, and some of the dried meat. It was very good. It had been very kind of the villagers to provide these things to her.

She looked up at the stars, watching how they glistened in the night, like little flakes of diamond, on a black velvet sheet, reflecting the moonlight. It took her some time, but eventually, she drifted off to sleep.

As she slept, she dreamed. And in her dreams, she heard the words that Whisper had whispered to her two days before, “Listen to your heart. It will guide you.” It seemed to her it had. For she’d saved the life of someone that should have died. And that felt good to her indeed.

But then she heard Whisper’s words once more, “But do not listen to your fear. And your anger. They will be your demise.” She wondered what those words he’d spoken to her really meant. And she wondered to what her heart would guide her to do if she found the wolves on the day that was to come.

As she slept that night, she had that nightmare once again. Where the wolves were chasing her. And she couldn’t fly, for one of her wings was broken. She felt the agony again, of her injured wing. The burning pain that’s left by the vicious bite of a hungry wolf. The pain of her bare feet being cut by the rocks upon the ground as she ran with every ounce of strength she had. The burning of her lungs, as they gasped for breath, needing more air that she could take in. She felt the fear that anyone would feel if a pack of hungry wolves was chasing them.

The nightmare never seemed to end. Until the colors of the world began to come to life again, with the rising of the sun. When Mystica woke up. As she sat there in that tree, high above the ground, Mystica knew it would not be long at all before she found the wolves that she was looking for. It would not be long at all before she confronted them. She was very much afraid. Because she didn’t know at all what she would do. She didn’t know at all how to stop the wolves. All she knew was that she had to stop them. That she had to try to find a way.

She sat there, in the tree. And she ate some of the fruit that the villagers had given her. Once she had, she flexed her wings. Then she took to the sky again. Heading north. Looking for the wolves.

NaNoWriMo 2011 – Day 17.

Fairies : Mystica and Merlin

Chapter 17 : Tell Him How You Feel

Eyela stood in her throne room. She had just listened to the stories that fairies from the towns closest to the Grey Hills had told. Stories of how their villages had been destroyed. Overrun. By soldiers armed with swords and cross bows. Soldiers that were intent on killing everyone. How they had fled. Taking to the sky. And how many of them had been shot down by those armed with cross bows. How very few had gotten out. How they were so very lucky to be alive.

Three villages so far. Eyela knew it was just starting. She’d ordered everyone leave her for now. Declaring she had to think. When the room was clear, she walked into her own bedroom that was attached to the throne room. Stephan was there. He had grown strong enough that he could sit. He spoke as she entered the room. “Our friend the former captain is on the move. And he will continue to move until we stop him.”

Eyela sighed. “I know.” She looked Stephan  in the eyes. “Do you have any suggestions?”

“You’ll need to send the guard. And you’ll need to issue a call to arms.” Stephan winced, as he moved his left leg. The muscle damage from the cross bow bolt was still healing. He remained in a great deal of pain. “You are the leader of the kingdom, you know. You’ll have to take command of this situation. Show everyone that you are in control. That you have a plan.”

Eyela knew. She had been forced to do that many times in the past 10,000 years. As she’d tried to rebuild the fairies as a people. Turning the Southern Plains into a new homeland for her people. A place for them to live. But she’d done that very well. Organizing the very first settlement, and the very first guards to protect that settlement. Getting the guards trained in weaponry. In fighting skills. And she’d needed her guards more than once. To stand against attacks from the people of the Grey Hills. The fairies had been invaded more than once in the past 10,000 years. They’d survived all of those invasions. She’d lead her people yet again. And they would survive this invasion too.

Stephan knew what Eyela would do. He’d heard the stories more than once. Of the invasions from the north. Of the dragons that the fairies had fought. Of the clans of bandits that had once ruled the Southern Plains. Of the leadership of Eyela. The last of the true fairy princesses. She who yielded the greatest, strongest fairy magic of them all.

“You’re going to the north, aren’t you?” Stephan asked.

“You know I have to go. And as soon as possible.” Eyela stood before Stephan. “Even though I wish I didn’t have to.” She took Stephan’s hand, holding it in hers. “I wish I could stay here. And take care of you.”

Stephan smiled at Eyela. “I will miss you while you are gone.”

It was Eyela’s turn to smile. “As I will miss you. But not tonight.” And that night, Stephan slept in Eyela’s room. He slept upon her bed. While Eyela sat in a chair, next to the bed. Watching over him. Something she had never done before. Watch over an injured friend, while he rested at night. But Eyela was realizing that Stephan was more to her than just a friend. She’d come to trust him. To depend on him. And in some ways, she knew she needed him.

She walked out of the room, onto her balcony. Where she looked up at the stars, on the night of a full moon. She had always loved to look at the stars at night. To observe the patterns of dots that they made in the sky.

But there was something very different in the sky that night. Something very black. Very dark. Something that was graceful, quick, and powerful. Something that no fairy had seen in 10,000 years. A dragon. And not just any dragon. This was Merlin. The black magic dragon. The dragon that had nearly destroyed the fairies. Until he’d suddenly stopped. For some reason, sparing her. And when he did, he had vanished. Never to be seen again.

But there he was. Flying through the air. She could feel the power in him. The physical strength. And the black magic. She watched him, as he flew. From high in the sky, to down near the tree line. He flew through her kingdom on that night. Right up to the castle. Where he landed. And there he stopped. Hanging on the side of the castle. Right next to the balcony, where Eyela stood.
Eyela looked at him. The dragon didn’t speak. And yet, she heard him say, “If you go to the villages, and the towns, you will be hurt. You may even die.”

She looked at the dragon. “Merlin,” she said.

“And you are Eyela. Princess of the fairies.”

The dragon was as black as night. In a dark sky, or in shadow, he would be nearly invisible. She could see his claws. Razor sharp. The way they simply held to the stone wall of the castle. She could see his eyes. Red. Like blood. And his teeth. Shaped like tiny swords. She could see too, that on his four limbs. His dragon legs. There were strange symbols. Arcane symbols. And that they were not tattoos. They were natural shapes.

Merlin noticed she was observing his markings. “They are the signs the black magic has written. They are natural things, for a black mage.”

Eyela was curious. “Why have you come here, dragon?”

Merlin smiled. As best a dragon can. A pretty terrifying thing, really. Looking more like a snarl. Revealing all his sword shaped teeth. “First, to warn you, which I’ve done. Even knowing that you will go anyway.” Merlin glanced toward the room. “Tell him how you feel about him. You may never have another chance.”

Eyela nodded. “When it is time, I will tell Stephan how I feel.”

“Eyela. It is time. There is only now. There is no guarantee that there will ever be a tomorrow. That the time you wait for will ever arrive.”

“Have you come for anything else, dragon?”

Merlin smiled again. “I wish to tell you that the princess Mystica is alive and well. In the Northern Forest.” Eyela was surprised. And very happy to hear that Mystica was still alive. She smiled at Merlin.

“Thank you, Merlin. For letting me know that she is alive, and well. I have wondered about her, very much.”

Merlin suddenly looked very serious. “She will face a series of trials in the coming days. Trials that will either turn her into a witch, or make her who she is meant to be.” Then he held out one hand, pointing a single claw at her. “As will you, Eyela. As will you.”

Then she heard Merlin say, “Be careful, princess. Things are going to get very ugly before this is over. And many things are about to change. You should tell him now. Tell him the words of your heart.”

Then Merlin flicked his wings, and took to flight again. And as he left the castle, he spoke. A single piercing word. That sounded so much like metal sheets being ripped in half. To anyone listening, it would have sounded like a horrifying noise. But, Eyela heard the word that he had said. “Good-bye.”

Eyela stood there, on her balcony, for a little while. Looking at the stars. Studying the moon. Feeling the comfort of the soft darkness of the night. She thought of the next day. When she would head toward the north. With her guards, and her troops. To stand against the captain, and his men.

And then she thought of Stephan. And how she wished she could stay here for a while. And take care of him. Until he was well. Then she could go to the north knowing Stephan would be OK. It was as she thought of Stephan that she realized that Merlin had been right. She should tell him how she felt about him. How much he meant to her. For all anyone really has in the moment in time that they are in. The past is gone. And the future is undetermined. All anyone has is now.

She closed her eyes. And took a deep breath of the night air. Then she turned, and went inside. She walked to where Stephan was asleep in the bed. And she decided that she would do more than tell him. She would show him. There in the soft moonlight, Eyela got undressed. And then she got into the bed, with Stephan. And she showed him, that night, how much he meant to her. And how she felt about him.

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 16

Fairies : Mystica And Merlin

Chapter 16 : Wolves

Mystica woke up. She had no idea how long she’d been asleep. She knew she was hungry, so she got up, and walked across the tiny room that was her tree house. She walked out on the tree limb that she’d left her clothes on, so that they would dry. And then she got dressed.

That’s when she noticed something was different. Although she wasn’t sure what. So she thought for a while about what was different. Was there something about the lake? About the trees? Was Merlin across the lake? Where were all the birds? And the other animals. Like the rabbits. And the mice. Were were they? What was wrong was that it was too quiet. Much quieter than it normally was around the lake.

Whisper saw her standing there on that tree limb. So he flew over, and landed on her shoulder. Then he whispered in her ear, “Merlin’s left. He has decided that you are now able to take care of yourself. That you no longer need his protection.”

Mystica reached up, and scratched Whisper’s neck. Whisper closed his eyes, and let out a quiet “whoooooo”. Because it had been a long time indeed since he’d had his neck scratched. So he intended to enjoy it.  After a little while, Mystica stopped.

“I’m hungry,” she announced. “How long was I asleep?”

“Two days.”

“That long?”

“Yes. We should find you something to eat. And to drink.” Whisper took to the air, his wings as quiet as a whisper. Mystica followed him. Whisper lead her to a spot nearby that he knew of. One that had blackberry, blueberry, and raspberry bushes, all filled with berries. Whisper found a spot on a low hanging tree limb that reached into a few of the berry bushes. He figured it wouldn’t hurt him any to enjoy some berries with Mystica. Mystica landed on the ground, and began eating berries. Picking them off of the bushes.

She enjoyed the blackberries most of all. So many of them were perfectly ripe. The kind of ripe where they came off of the bushes in your hand if you just touched them. But they weren’t too ripe. None of them were mushy, or too soft. They did not leave blackberry stains on her hands, or her fingers. She enjoyed the raspberries, and the blueberries too. But the blackberries were just about perfect. She and Whisper ate berries together for a while. They ate until Mystica was no longer hungry.

Then the two of them flew back to the lake. Where they landed on a tree limb in a tree that was right on the edge of the lake. The limb reached out over the water. Mystica could sit down on that limb, and run her toes through the water of the lake. And it felt so good to her to do just that. The way the water felt, flowing past her toes.

It was a chance for her to be a 19 year old. A chance for her to be the little girl that she’d never really been when she was in the kingdom. There was no one watching her. No one telling her how a princess was supposed to behave. No one to scold her if she did something wrong. No one to enforce any rules at all. If she wanted to, she could just take off all her clothes, and dive into the lake, and swim for as long as she wanted to.

“Thank you, Whisper,” she scratched his neck, “for being my friend.”

They sat on that tree limb for a couple of hours. Until the sun had set. Mystica sighed. Then she scratched Whisper’s neck one more time, and stood up. “It’s time for me to go home and sleep. And for you to be the owl you are, and go explore the night.”

Whisper took flight. Heading into the trees. Using his big owl eyes to see like it was broad daylight. Flying silently among the branches, and the leaves. Never hitting anything. In a few heartbeats, he was out of sight.

Mystica took flight herself. Her wings pushing against the air. She started across the lake. That’s when she heard something she’d never heard before. At first, she wasn’t sure she’d heard anything. But as she crossed the lake, the sound became more clear. And just a little louder. Until she was certain she was hearing it.

The distant howling of a wolf. She had never heard a wolf before. Not while she was at the lake. This was something new. The wolves had always stayed away. But, Whisper had said that was because Merlin was protecting her. And today, Whisper had said Merlin was no longer protecting her. That she could protect herself.

Mystica flew to her tree house. She was tired. She had not realized how much her wild flight to the two villages had taken out of her. And she hadn’t realized how much her six day journey home had worn her out. She realized, as she got ready to sleep that night, that she was absolutely exhausted.

But, as she went to bed, she heard the howling of the wolves.

In the night, as she closed her eyes, and fell asleep, she had nightmares. Of the wolves. Of them hunting down the animals that had kept her company around the lake. That would be hard for her to deal with if it really happened. But she knew that was how nature worked.

Unfortunately, that’s not where the nightmares stopped. Soon, the wolves started hunting other things. Soon, the wolves started hunting the villagers. Attacking the children first. She dreamed of parents crying tears over the loss of a child. Of wolves attacking in the night. And becoming more and more bold. Until they started attacking in daylight. The nightmares continued through the night. With the wolves forming packs. And those packs starting to hunt down everything. Openly raiding villages in daylight.

Mystica tossed, and turned throughout the night. Waking up several times. Each time she woke up, she found she was sweating. Her heart pounding in her chest. Until she had one last nightmare that night. The nightmare where the wolves were chasing her. And she was running for her life. But everywhere she ran, another wolf was there, blocking her path. She tried to fly. She tried to fly again, and again. But she never succeeded. It was as if her wings had stopped working, and she couldn’t fly.

She woke up, terrified. Her heart pounding once again. And this time, she could not get back to sleep. She got up, and walked to the little window she had made in one wall of her tree house. There was no real window there. No glass. Just a curtain, over a hole in the wall. It was as much a door for Whisper as it was a window.

She could tell by the light shining in through the curtain that it was daylight outside. She pulled aside the curtain, and looked outside. It was then that her heart stopped. For there, in the clearing, next to the lake, were five wolves. Eating the remains of a few rabbits. There were not other animals there. No birds. No mice. Even the fish were staying away from the shore, so the wolves couldn’t reach them.

Mystica stayed in her home. Looking out the window. Watching the wolves. She watched them as they spent the day by the lake. She studied the way that they behaved. That they had a structure. A leader. And subordinates. And the leader was a male. She watched them eat. She watched them sleep. She watched them through the day. Staying hidden in her tree house. Even though she got hungry. She remained quiet. Looking out her window. Watching the wolves.

As the sun set, the wolves began to stir. After a few minutes, the wolves were all up, and moving. They moved north, along the lake, Until they reached the place where water flowed out of the lake, as a small river that continued flowing into the trees, and soon disappeared from sight.

Once the wolves were gone, Mystica ventured out. She was hungry, and needed something to eat. And she knew where several trees were that had fruit in them. She also knew that there were other plants that she could eat. Specific kinds of mushrooms. Specific kinds of tree leaves. Even pieces of the bark of some kinds of trees. There were weeds of various kinds that were also good to eat. She didn’t have a market place where she could just go and buy food. She didn’t have a garden. She had no seeds to start one.

She quietly flew through the forest, to the places she knew of that were to the south of the lake. She gathered up the things she wanted to eat. And then she took them back to her tree house. She sat outside on a tree limb, and she ate. She made it a point to avoid walking on the ground. She knew the wolves would be able to smell her scent if she did that. And that would make it easier for the wolves to find her, if they returned.

Mystica did not sleep well again that night. She stayed awake for several hours. Listening to the howls of the wolves. Until she was convinced that those howls were getting more and more distant. She wound up taking little naps all night long. Watching the lake, and the clearing, to see if the wolves returned.

Every time she closed her eyes, she had nightmares of the wolves. Hunting everything. It was as if the wolves were like the soldiers that she’d seen. That she’d dealt with. That the wolves and soldiers were alike. Both predators. Both hunters. Both ruthless. Except that the wolves may be better, in that they had to hunt to survive. Where the soldiers didn’t.

Working up her courage, she flew out to the lake, landing in the clearing, right at the lake’s edge. And the walked up to the water, and looked at it. As she did, she thought, “Show me the wolves, please.”

And there they were. Painted on the lake. In the same white light that the soldiers had been painted with. She watched the wolves as they hunted. Sticking to small animals for now. But the images then changed. And she saw the wolves outside of a village. These were not the same wolves as those she’d seen that day. These were different wolves. There were more of them. And they were surrounding a village. She watched the images for a little while. She could tell it was not daylight in those images. She saw that the wolves were hidden, at the edges of the village. Waiting. She saw the adults coming out of their houses, as they woke up. She saw that it was daylight., and as the day went on, she saw the children of the village come outside to play.

As the children played, they moved throughout the village. There were a couple of boys playing. As they played, they got close to the edge of the village. Edging a little closer every few minutes. Until suddenly, a wolf leaped from its hiding place, there at the edge of the village. And it grabbed one of the boys, sinking it’s teeth into that boy’s leg, and hauling that boy into the woods.

The other boy had screamed, and ran. “A wolf! A wolf! It’s got Tommy!” Several adults came running when they heard him scream. The boy jumped up and down, frantically pointing to the place where the wolf had grabbed his friend.

The adults formed a small group. There were 6 of them. And those 6 adults grabbed what they had. Hoes, rakes, shovels. Then they took off into the woods to try to rescue the boy named Tommy.

Mystica’s heart sank. For she knew they never would. She knew that Tommy was just gone. A victim of the wolves. As she watched the images unfold on that surface of the lake, she knew that someday soon, there would come a time when she would have to deal with the wolves. When she would have to make the stand that a white mage could. And protect the people of the villages from the wolves.

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 15.

Fairies : Mystica and Merlin

Chapter 15 : Life Was Looking Up

The captain looked out the window of the second floor of his home. He wondered how the troops he’d sent into the Northern Forest were doing. How many villages they’d destroyed. How long it would be before he ruled the Northern Forest.

He’d done well since that bitch, Eyela, had thrown him out of the kingdom. He now ruled the Grey Hills, and the mountains. He had an army now. And he was almost ready to take his army, and add the Southern Plains to the lands he ruled. He would rule the plains. He would rule the fairy kingdom. And when he did, he’d give that bitch what she deserved.

A long, slow, painful death.  That would take weeks. She’d pay very much indeed for what she’d done to him!

As for Stephan. He’d enjoy cutting Stephan’s innards out. One organ at a time. And showing them to that bastard. Yes, he would. Stephan would know pain. Stephan would pay for having returned. He should have stayed away. Where he belonged.

Then there was the matter of the witch. Mystica. He still could not believe that Eyela had made such a worthless thing a princess. Oh, yes. He’d kill her himself. Put his sword through her heart. Then cut her head of. And cut her body into pieces. All he’d leave of her was prepared food for wild animals to pick at, and eat. And he’d watch. And laugh as she died. His heart would sing happy songs that day. For he’d finally have his full revenge on her!

He looked at the sky, and the forest in the distance. You could see it from his home. His castle. Yeah. That was what it was. His very own castle. He’d wanted one. He’d had one built. Just for him, and his officers. So, some people had to die for him to get his castle. So what? Wasn’t that what people were for? Human resources. Expendable resources. Replaceable resources. None of them worth anything. But they were good for performing the work he wanted done. If a few of them were injured, or died. Well. That’s how life was supposed to be.

And he had his castle. And his army.

He sighed. And looked out through the window one more time. Then he returned to the bed in his room. Where some sweet young female was bound, and waiting for him. Right there. On his bed. Arms and legs tied to the bed posts, so she couldn’t fight back at all. He’d had a lot of fun playing with her the past few days. Using her like she was meant to be used. He figured in a day or two, he’d get bored with her. Then he’d just throw her away. Oh, he’d have fun cutting her heart out first. And watching her die. But then, he’d throw her away. Like he had so many others of her kind.

That’s what women were for, wasn’t it? To be used by him, and then thrown away? But that was for another day. Right now, he was ready to have more fun.

That night, someone knocked on his door. “Captain! It’s urgent!”

He shrugged. Playing would have to wait. He got dressed, and then answered the door. “Yes, what do you want?”

“It’s the squad you ordered into the Northern Forest, sir. They are returning.”

“They aren’t supposed to be returning yet! I’ll have them killed for this!”

“Sir! Many of them are already dead. And most of the ones that are returning are wounded. Some are barely alive. We’ve been trying to talk with them. To find out what happened. But we haven’t had any luck so far.” The man looked very nervous. Very scared. He knew it was never good to tell the captain bad news. The captain could go off in one of his rages, and cut off his head. There was no way to know.

“Take me to them,” was all the captain said.

The man lead the captain to a large open space, where a makeshift hospital had been set up. There were beds that men were lying on. Every single man that the captain saw that had been among the soldiers he’d ordered to the north was absolutely terrified. They kept mumbling things about dead people coming back to life. And some kind of fire that didn’t burn. They spoke of the agony the fire had left them in.

The captain soon realized that none of his officers had returned. “What happened to the officers?” he asked. One of the soldiers heard him.

“The officers are gone, sir,” he responded. Then a look of sheer horror crossed his face. “The fires that didn’t burn anything, roasted them alive. Every one of them. It was horrible sir. Horrible…” Then he closed his eyes, as if trying to shut out the world. As if closing his eyes would some how stop him from seeing those officers burn once again.

The captain turned to him, and asked, “What happened?”

The man swallowed. Then he tried his best to tell the captain the story of the day the dead had come to life. “We had killed everyone in 5 villages. Just like you ordered. And we were heading to the sixth. When we got there, we attacked. And killed everyone. Every one. No one was left. But once we’d killed everyone, and were getting ready to form up and leave, all the dead people… The dead people got back up… And then, they turned into these balls of white. White fire it was. That’s the only way I can describe it. And the white fire attacked us. We fought. We used our swords. And our cross bows. But it was no use. All our weapons did was pass right through the flames. We couldn’t fight them. Some of us grabbed water from the village well. And threw that at the flames. But that did no good at all.”

“Everyone the flames touched screamed in agony. I felt one of the flames catch my arm, and then all of me… Captain… I’ve never hurt so bad. I never knew I could. It was like… Like… I don’t know. Really. Maybe like my soul was on fire? I just know it hurt. And it hurt so bad that I passed out. When I woke up, I staggered to my feet. And I did like everyone else was doing. I ran.”

“We dropped everything, and we ran. When we finally stopped running, we gathered up. Formed a group. And tried to figure out what to do. All we could think of was to return here. And tell what had happened.” The man closed his eyes. “That’s when the wolves found us. I don’t know how many of us the wolves killed that day, before they left.” The captain could see the scars of the memories of the events that the soldier had survived written in his eyes. This man was no coward. Something real had struck at his soldiers. Something very real indeed.

Something magic.

“The witch! Mystica! The witch! She’s in the Northern Forest!” the captain bellowed. A look of blood lust in his eyes. “At last, I know where you are hidden!”

He put a hand on the soldiers shoulder. “You did well, coming here to tell us what you’d seen. What you’d learned.” Then the captain walked away. He told the people caring for the soldiers that returned to take care of them. If a single soldier died, he’d have a caregiver killed. One for one. The way it was supposed to be.

Then the captain returned to his castle. To his room. Where the plaything of a female waited for him. Tied and bound to his bed. But… He wasn’t interested in playing any more. Oh no. He wasn’t. For he’d finally learned what he wanted to know. He knew where the witch was. And on that night, that’s all that mattered to him. That’s all he cared about.

He now knew where to look for his most hated enemy. The daughter of the whore that had caused him to lose his career in the castle. The whore that had cost him his life. He’d had her killed. And then started working to find her daughter. And have her killed to. Even more importantly. Now that he knew the witch was in the Northern Forest, he’d go there with his men. And hunt her down himself. So he could kill her. So he could enjoy watching the life seep out of her. Watching her blood spill on the ground. So he could cut her up. Into little pieces. And then feed those pieces to the wolves.

Oh, yes. He would do that. He would enjoy that very much. He’d have his revenge on her at last.

But before that. Before that, there was another detail he had to attend to. Yes, another detail. Before he could hunt down that witch, he would hunt down that bitch, Eyela. And her lap dog Stephan.  He’d send his troops into the kingdom. To wreck havoc. And force her to act. Force her out into the open. And then, his troops would kill her.

Gods, but he prayed she died a painful death that lasted several days. The thought of her dying in great pain pleased him. He would be happy knowing that she’d died slowly. And in agony.

Yes. Things were looking up for him. And before too long, things would be set right. And he’d be ruling the kingdom. Oh, yes. He would. But more than that. He’d rule the Southern Plains, the Grey Hills, the mountains, and the Northern Forests. Who knew? Maybe he’d even invade the land of ice and snow? Why not? Why shouldn’t he rule the entire world?

But first, he’d take care of that bitch, Eyela. And her lap dog Stephan. He could just see that. His own hands, cutting Stephan’s organs out. One at a time. While Stephan was still alive. And the caregivers kept him alive for days.

Yes. Life was looking up.