The wind blew threw the trees scattering red and gold leaves across the ground and bending reeds of long grass as if stuck in some kind of hypnotic dance together. The sun spilled through the leafy canopy overhead and dripped a liquid golden colour over everything. Perfumed scents mixed with those of pine trees causing a heady concoction that drifted across the forest floor. Birds called out to each other and life poured from every corner of this paradise. A blue-green dragon fly flitted across the surface of Huckleberry Pond as cattails twisted elegantly. Faun gathered her thoughts as she swept the floor of her home. The house lay alongside Huckleberry pond in the small shire of Wickery Hollow. It was a beautiful spot to fish and enjoy the endless summers her people were blessed with. Being a woodland elf Faun appreciated everything nature showed her. Today she was restless, there was something in the air that had even the birds agitated. Placing her broom against the wall she pulled on the oak door which groaned under the movement. Bluebells and foxgloves dazzled her with an array of colours. Stepping out onto the grass which tickled her bare feet Faun glanced around. Everything was steeped in beauty yet there seemed an edge, a menace that buried itself beneath the magnificence of this place. Holding her finger out she invited a butterfly to rest a while. Landing on her delicate pale finger the butterfly spread it’s lilac coloured wings.
“Rest a while little wilwarin, you look weary. What has you so afraid?”
The butterfly seemed to look into Faun’s eyes though she could not tell why they held such a sadness. A sound came from within the trees one that even Faun did not recognise. The butterfly twisted up into the sky and vanished. Making her way towards the noise she noticed the deer racing through the trees.
“Sweet Aras stop!” she called to them as they bounded forward. The strange noise sounded closer almost like metal upon metal. How strange there is no tinc to be found here in the woods she thought to herself. Every ounce of her spirit told her to turn back there was nothing to be found here but danger itself. Doing something she had never done Faun ignored her inner voice and climbed delicately over a moss covered trunk that belonged to a fallen tree.
As both Huckleberry Pond and her home faded from view a cold wind blew in from the south and whirled around her carrying with it the strangest scent. It was a mixture of salt and metal, an almost sweet sickly smell. It burned the back of her throat and had her hand fly up to cover her mouth. She’d never been so far away from home and worry clasped tightly at her heart. Faun was not an elf who liked to wander far from home. There were all manners of creatures lurking out in the dark depths of the forest. Orod another woodland elf had told her of the giant Gaur beast who dwelled within the darkness. Whose thick silver hair stood on end and sharp teeth resembled jagged cliff rocks. Her heart pounded wildly at the thought of coming face to face with this monster. She was a nature spirit and had no skills in combat. Why couldn’t she have been born a Ohtar elf? A warrior who fought with bow and sword and lived for honour. Echoes twisted throughout the forest and footsteps belonging to spirits vanished before Faun could find them. The trees seemed to turn from green to a dark grey colour and the sun melted away from view. She carefully stepped over rocks making sure not to leave tracks. Being so nimble that she made hardly any impact with the ground came in useful. Hitching up her white dress to avoid getting any more mud on it Faun pressed on. She giggled to herself a sound which mimicked the highest of notes and danced playfully on the air. If only Orod could see her now, she looked like such a little rana. Her mother would have told her off for such wanderings for danger lurked in places that most did not see. Suddenly she stopped dead in her tracks. She couldn’t believe her eyes. What now lay in front of her was something even she could not explain.
Sprawled out across the ground was a male not much older than she. His thick dark hair seemed matted together and a strange liquid flowed beneath him. Faun slowly approached the body unsure of whether this was just a trick to lure her in. His clothes were strange. They were a green material edged with gold. Nudging him slightly with her toe she discovered he was unconscious. Trying to turn him she found he was badly injured and the liquid was blood from his wounds. How did he get here? Who was he? A million thoughts tripped through her mind as she wondered what to do. His life was fading slowly she could feel the light of his spirit dimming. Deciding it was her job to try and help the stranger she struggled to lift him. Even though he was elven Faun had difficulty carrying him through the woods and once or twice had to resort to dragging him by the leather strap that sat across his chest. Dirt and leaves clung to his raven coloured hair as his body was brought safely to the edge of the forest by Faun. With Huckleberry Pond in sight Faun decided she needed to quicken her pace. She did not want to get caught carrying a stranger into their homeland. Yanking him across Nell bridge a rickety crossing covered in blossom and vines she heard a voice call out to her. Panicking Faun rolled the boy off the bridge and into the water below knowing it was shallow enough to not drown him in. She hoped he wouldn’t mind too much. She turned to see Orod heading towards her waving his arms frantically.
“Faun! Faun!” He called out breathlessly.
“Hello,” she replied trying to sound cool.
“Where have you been?”
“Picking bluebells,” she answered.
“Where are they then?” Orod asked looking slightly confused by her lack of flowers. Shaking his head he pulled her into a giant hug and laughed. “I swear you are one forgetful little edhel.”
“I am not a forgetful elf,” she pouted.
“Anyway ask me where I have been,” he commanded.
“I have no interest or desire to hear your stories Orod.”
Orod always spoke of great adventures and battles with fierce creatures but Faun knew he’d never been further than the cluster of brethil trees on the edge of Wickery Hollow and that today she had beaten him. Running a hand through his thick red hair Orod looked disappointed.
“Fine I wont tell you of the giant lyg I just killed and how it burst into massive orange lhachs that surrounded the forest.”
“You just did! An besides if there had been a huge snake surely someone else would have seen it. An as for those orange flames well I saw none.”
Orod pouted childishly. “I’ll just take my adventures elsewhere then. Somewhere they will be appreciated.” An with that Orod stomped off.
Finally Faun thought to herself as she dangled over the bridge and pulled the now soaked elf from the muddy water. Not far now shethought as she breathlessly tugged his cold body across the soft grass. Making it to the doorway of her home she gave one last glance around to make sure no one was watching and pulled him inside.