2 comments

Bedtime Fantasy Teens & Young Adult

Part I 

The woods were ancient. The tall trees dominated the land, giving refuge to the many critters and creatures above and below. Pillars of bright light pierced through the vibrant green canopy. The lush undergrowth gave shelter to the many animals stirring as spring began her slow thaw of the land. The snow that crept down from the mountains, now retreated up the rocky hillsides once more. 

Cy walked leisurely over the gnarled roots which claimed most of the obscured path winding through the majestic trees. Cy’s red robe could be seen passing between the massive trunks as she walked. Along the trunks bright red toadstools sprouted out of the shelf fungi to give homes to the smaller fairies roaming these parts. Cy’s eyes passed over the red, spotted mushrooms seeking out any pixies awakening from their winter slumber. As her gaze travelled along the trunks, she spotted a great stag further in the distance. His slow graze through the fresh greens had her pausing to admire his nobility of the forest before she quietly continued her hike towards the nearby town.

Cy reached the top of a small rise in the path and stopped to admire the vast mountains along the horizon. Their mighty expanse protected this land from the harsher beasts and weather on the other side. As she gazed out, Cy heard a familiar faint whirring and quickly turned, searching for the source. The sound brought her back to her childhood of searching for the will-o-wisps, but they evaded her sight this time. She tucked a loose strand of brown hair behind her pointed ear while scouring the area, knowing it was still too bright to see them.

 “Wow, what pretty ears you have!” A tiny voice said below. “But what’s a fae doing out here, Mama?” Cy looked down and saw three hares munching on a patch of green grass while bathing in a small pool of sunlight. The larger one looked up to Cy as she answered, “I am not sure why any creature would travel these woods alone.” Cy swore she saw the mother hare glare at her. “Which is why we…?” The mother trailed off and her two offspring chimed together. “Travel in groups!” Cy’s lips curved slightly as she went on her way. Prey, she thought to herself, always controlled by fear.

Part II 

Cy bent down to the freshly melted water of the lake and splashed the frigid water on her face then refilled her canteen. After snacking on an apple and some cheese from her pack, she sat down next to the shore for a rest. She gazed out at the beauty before her. The reflections in the water made the forest and mountains seem surreal. Her gaze drifted over the nearby shore but stopped when she saw the giant wolf. The beast’s white and brown fur shone in the spring sun as she lapped up some fresh water. Cy stood quickly and called out. “Blaidd!” The wolf spirit of the forest looked up slowly as Cy waved to her. The giant wolf merely tipped her head in acknowledgement then slowly turned and left the lakeside. 

Cy packed up her few belongings and began her short trek back to the trail. The trees in this area were more dispersed and reached higher, letting more sunlight through to the base which allowed the smaller, vibrant bushes to grow. A flurry of motion went off to her right, followed by another to her left. Someone was herding her. 

“I know you’re out there!” Cy shouted as she reached for her two small blades strapped to her low back under her pack.

 “Those won’t do you much good against us, princess.” Cy looked to her right and saw a dark coloured wolf staring down at her. More wolves of mixed colouring slowly revealed themselves. She was surrounded.

 “Took long enough at the lake. We were getting worried you wouldn’t show in time for lunch.” The wolves chortled, the only laugh a wolf could do.

“Leave me in peace and I won’t hurt you,” Cy doubted she could fight them all off, but she had to prove her village wrong. The wolves all chortled again at her false bravery.

“With that cloak, you’re lucky we were the ones to find you. There are far worse predators in these woods.” He snarled and began stalking towards her. 

“Spoken like a true fox,” Cy shot back. The wolves all growled in unison.

“Foolish, weak fae girl. Out alone wearing that,” the wolf snarled. “You are ringing the lunch bell for any creature in your vicinity.” 

His words resonated with her, like a bell. Cy took her hands off her blades and cupped them around her mouth as she filled her lungs with air. “Blaidd!” Cy screamed as loud as she could, repeated the yell three more times before facing the head wolf. “I’m not so sure your boss will appreciate your attitude towards the new clan leader.” Cy gave him a smirk as the other wolves began scampering off, ears and tails lowered.

The wolf stood his ground a few more seconds before his ear twitched, hearing the crashing in the distance. “This isn’t over, girl,” he growled. “A female leader will not last.” He turned and ran. His departure was right on time as Blaidd came crashing through the nearby brush and growled at Cy and the empty area.

“Cyfrwys!” Blaidd growled. “You cannot use me to get out of trouble.”

“It was your wolves causing trouble! They know the laws.” Cy began her hike up to the path.

“As do you, young one. You must be on the path. Use your head, girl.” Blaidd took a deep breath and walked beside Cy who put out her hand and rested it on the giant’s shoulder. The soft fur brought back memories of a much smaller Cy falling asleep on Blaidd’s back on her family’s trips between the towns. 

“How has the spring been this year?” Cy attempted at small talk. Blaidd’s side expanded under Cy’s hand as she gave a big sigh through her nose. 

“Spring has it’s usual beauties,” they both paused to watch an intricate blue butterfly float pass them. “But there are shortcomings. We are losing more land to the nearby farmers and more deer to the hunters. This will be another tough season.” She eyed sidelong at Cy. “What brings you out to the forest so late. And alone?”

“I’m visiting Mhamo, I have her medicine that mom makes. Mom didn’t feel up to the trip with… everything.” She gripped the fur under her hand as pain laced through her chest.

“I am sorry for your loss little one,” Blaidd said quietly. “He was a great warrior and leader.” Blaidd let the silence carry on, both walking in comfort until reaching the path. “You must be smarter from now on. It is late for this long of a journey, especially on your own. I won’t be able to save you from everything. Keep your wits about you, and keep those blades handy.” Cy smiled as Blaidd gave a wolfish wink before trotting off into the bushes. Cy took a deep, steadying breath and continued on, careful to stay on the path.

Part III 

With the sun sinking below the horizon, shadows lengthened, attempting to blanket the world. The symphony of birds and insects had died out, the forest encased in an eerie silence. Cy’s heart sank as she gazed at the path ahead. What was once an easy trail had become a dark, marshy hollow with close-set trees blocking out any remaining light. The ground was covered with white mold from the melting of the snow and moisture in the spring. The white netting resembled spider’s silk too much for Cy’s taste, but she had come so far, so she pressed on. She felt for her two blades at her lower back and kept a steady pace, eyes and ears alert. 

The path dipped down lower into a small gorge, rock walls rising up to her shoulders, then slightly over her head as she continued a slow descent. The walls on either side were slick with mud, the temperature dropping significantly. She could almost feel the cold radiating off the land around her, as if attempting to suck any heat from the living. 

Cy froze, eyes scanning the dark terrain, her pointed ears listening for whatever was pricking her senses as chills crept up her spine. She couldn’t hear or see anything but goosebumps rose along her arms as the stench of rot grew. Her heart rate began to rise and panic began to tighten a vice around her lungs. She felt him then. A cold presence drifted around her side, ice permeating through her clothes. Cy’s bowels turned liquid as her gaze met the dead spirit’s glowing eyes. 

His essence was like a cloud, not fully there when she focused on him, but solidified when she looked away. His face was male, though his flesh was rough, like rotten tree bark. A wispy, dark cloak covered what was left of him as he floated in front of her. There was nothing friendly in the wraith’s sharp eyes. 

“What is a pretty thing like you roaming around my home?” The wraith rasped as he circled around Cy. She knew the old false tales that wraiths only gain power over you if you gave them notice. But she also knew the truth behind the warning- do not give them any power over you. 

“I am minding my own business. As you should be.” Cy stood tall and tried not to let her shoulders shake as the temperature continued to drop. Her hands itched for her blades, but she knew they were useless. She was useless against him. Her heart beat faster and harder in her chest, fear building. She should not have come.

“What pretty eyes you have.” His face came over her right shoulder as his tattered cloak draped and flowed in the non-existent breeze. ”So pretty... to be alone.” His voice was a deep, soothing sound. “Alone. In the forest.” He floated closer, his mouth near her neck, blowing freezing, dead air onto her as he spoke. “My forest.” His voice changed from a smooth melody to an angry rasp then back again.

“Wearing such a beacon as this.” He reached for her red cape, she stopped breathing when the material moved under his thin, skeleton of a hand. Do not give him power over you. “Such an... inviting colour. Not one I get to see often.” His cold voice was calm, patient as his bright eyes met hers. Cy tried not to move, not to show signs of her fear as his cold essence soaked into her soul. 

Cy broke the stare by closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, ignoring the growing stench of rot, and tried to clear her thoughts. Screaming wouldn’t help, neither would fighting. This wraith must have died this past winter, taking over this part of the forest as his haunt. He probably died from the elements...

“You must be cold,” Cy said as calmly as she could, opening her eyes but staring straight ahead as he floated around the small area. “You must be in need of a new cloak.” She spoke with no emotion. The wraith stopped his circling and drifted in front of her, waiting. “I have a spare.” Cy slowly took off her pack without moving her gaze. She extended the bag to the dead fae in front of her, who was fading slightly. “There is a cloak in here,” she lied.

The wraith paused, as if waiting for a trap to spring, then shot forward for the gift. But Cy was faster. She threw the pack into the woods away from the path. The wraith gave out a shrill shriek that resonated through the ground and woods as it flew after the cloak. Cy sprinted out of the lair, refusing the urge to look back. She kept her eyes on the wet ground, jumping over rocks and logs until she was back out into the warmer wooded path where she turned and emptied her stomach into the nearby bush.

Part IV 

Disappointment had slowly replaced her fear as she neared the town without her Mhamo’s medicine. The entire trip’s purpose was lost to foul luck and unacceptable naivety. She chided herself knowing that her mother and clan would be disappointed at her failure. 

She left the forest trail and walked along a pebble path that ran alongside the town’s wall. She turned north, heading towards the gated entrance. The sun had completely set, giving the torches along the wall the only source of light. As Cy approached the last turn before the gate she saw a small group of inebriated males who were drinking and smoking on the path. Cy tried to ignore their gazes as she walked by, holding her head up high and not giving them the satisfaction of unnerving her. 

She passed in front of the small group, eyes ahead, until a sharp smack hit her backside. “What a nice ass you have there, darlin’?” Cy froze in shock. “Too bad it’s covered by that red atrocity.” Cy turned in anger. “Whoa ho!” The drunk male’s gaze went to her chest. “And the front’s not too bad either!” Icy rage coursed through her veins as all four males took in her figure and hooted. She shook with rage and couldn’t muster a response. “Dressed like that, you’re asking for a spankin’! You should be grateful me and my friends are here to protect you. There are some creeps in this town. Some women oft’ get hurt bein’ by themselves.” All four men nodded with leering smiles on their faces.

“Touch me and I’ll report you to the town guard,” Cy said as sternly as she could.

“Baha! What’s them idiots gonna believe? A strange female or four males who ‘appen to be on good terms with the council?” The males stalked around her. 

“You mean the council of older fae males?” The main guy nodded, a sinister grin plastered to his face. “You mean the council of fae males who my father had frequently-” before she could finish, one of the males darted forward and restrained her arms behind her back. 

“Yer daddy ain’t here to save you, though. Is he?” The man reeked of alcohol as he spoke mere inches from her face. Cy felt fear creep yet again into her heart. They were right, no one would believe her over them. She was alone. Cy thought about her father then, about everything he taught her. His blades strapped to her back.

The male holding her pressed himself firmly against her back, pressed his mouth into her neck and inhaled deeply. Cy smirked and took her opportunity. She threw herself backwards forcing the male to stumble back giving her the space to slam the heel of her boot on to his foot. He yelled out in pain and released her while she screamed hoping the guards at the gate would hear. Before the males could grab her again, she reached behind her and finally unsheathed the legendary blades bestowed upon her by her warrior father. Who had taught her well.

“I am female, but I am not weak,” Cyfrwys said as she lunged. 

Welsh translations:

Cyfrwys = Cunning

Mhamo = Grandmother

Blaidd = Wolf

March 27, 2021 00:49

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

2 comments

Manav Mehrotra
13:35 Mar 28, 2021

Excellent and enthralling as ever! I think you have an innate ability to write a story that draws in the reader for more. Keep it up!

Reply

Alyson Ackman
18:38 Mar 28, 2021

Aw thank you Manav <3 Hope I can keep doing this and improving as I go :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.