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Fantasy Adventure Bedtime

In a beautiful glade, deep within the forest of Midenearth, lives a race of wood elves. The wood elves are a graceful people, some very tall about six feet in height, and of fair hair, with long pointed ears. They have keen eye sight and hearing. Their reflexes are swift, and can be soft footed, so as not to alert those they walk near. Elves make wonderful hunters, gatherers, herbalists, and healers. They love all creatures of the forests, and have deep respect for nature. It is their way to use all parts of an animal in the hunt, to provide for the rest of city.

On a particularly sunny day, a child who is ninty-nine years, leaves the city. Her name is Faen. Another year and she will be an adult. She wears the cloak her mother has given her. It is special. It has magical embroidery for protection. Her bow, and quiver full of arrows are slung upon her back. Her dirty blond hair is tied up in braids with jewels and spider silk. She is wearing some leather armor, and a bold look of determination. The king has given her a quest. She must get a message to Moonsong in three days.

Faen, although only a child, is trusted with this message as she is the fastest elf in City Ravenlore. The elf tried to get her family to talk the king out of using Faen, but he insisted, as it was the utmost urgency. She had just enough lembas bread to get to the Moonsong. She also had just enough timber for two campfires. A glass bottle of endless water lies in her bag of holding. The bag is tied at her waste. The king’s mage has cast a spell on it to make it light as a feather for her, so that it will not be weighed down. Faen, is not strong as others to bare the weight of the sack. There is no fanfare today for her farewell.

Taking the trail through the Starcrest Forest, Faen travels light footed. She knows that she would get farther, faster, by horse, but the king insisted that she do this by foot, so that there be less noise. Faen can hear her heart beating in her ears. She takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. Birdsong is close by. Her feet fall softly on the trail. Leaves rustle down from the tree topped canopy. She is making good time heading northeast. The sun is beginning to move lower in the sky. She stops by a creek, pulls out the bread and water, and refreshes herself for just a moment. After taking in a deep breath, and soaking her feet in the cold water of the creek, she puts her feet back into her boots, and begins up the trail again.

Before the sun can set, she finds a patch of grass off the trail where she can set camp. Expertly, she lights the fire with the kindling. It blazes to life. The sparks fly up to the tree tops. She takes a bedroll and lays it by the fire. The crackle of it reminds her of her own fireplace, and makes her thankful, and more at ease. She says a prayer of incantation, and asks for a blessing of protection from her deity Mielikki the Forest Queen. Faen walks in a circle and draws the shape of a unicorn head, the holy symbol of mielikki around her camp. Immediately, the circle becomes a dome of illusion so that trespassers will not see anything inside the dome. After another bite of bread, sleep comes, and then the dreams.

Faen, wakes with the sun, she is filled with a sense of foreboding. She remembers having dreams, but cannot recall what they were, but knows they were not good. She packs up camp, and leaves no sign of her trace. The second day on the path, she feels like someone is watching her. The hair on the back of her neck rises as she gets to the bridge at the waterfall.

There, on the opposite side is a goblin, sitting in a bombing tank, with his aim true and ready, for Faen. She felt something coming, but she could have never predicted this. The goblin exits his tank.

His small body is scarred. His long green ears are full of earrings. He wears heavy combat armor. He has metal in his teeth. He stands on top of the tank. Then he spits.

“I can’t let ya pass,” he looks back towards the direction behind the tank “I’ll offer ya a deal. Turn around now, and I won’t draw me tank on ya, and have me dogs clean up, or stay, and I’ll smatter ya off this here bridge.” He looks Faen up and down. “Either way you aren’t getting through.”

The elf is scared, that much is true, but her people have gone up against goblins before. This time it was her against a goblin and a tank. She knows her arrows are no match against a tank. Just as she is about to turn around and make a new route north, around the goblin camp, a hawk flies against the sun, and into her field of vision.

'I’ll cover you.' she hears a voice coming from the bird.

'I thank you.' Faen thinks.

'Once I make my move, you will run across the bridge, and hide in the first building on the left side. I’ve already scouted it and it is empty. Caw-aw.' She hears the voice echo in her head. It’s strange. She hasn’t heard it before.

She looks down at her unicorn talisman. It is glowing bright white. The glow! It must be coming from Our Lady of the Forest!

Faen shouts at the beady eyed creature. “I will pass. Get in your machine.”

At that, the goblin shuts the large metal door at the top with a thud, and climbs inside. A cacophonous screeching starts as twelve large birds come from the forest and bomb the window of the tank with berries, bugs, and bird excrement. The goblin cannot see. They begin beating their wings at the side of the tank creating further confusion for the goblin.

The slender elf bolts across the bridge at first glance of the distraction. She carefully makes her way into the first building. There, she sees a small rabbit. She remembers that the bird said this building would be empty. The building is small, and she has to crouch to fit inside. Perhaps the rabbit mistook it for a burrow. Goblin homes are small huts.

“Please don’t run and give me away, or squeal,” she whispers to the rabbit.

“Why would I do that?” the rabbit replied. “I’m supposed to be their meal. May I come with you?”

Faen takes the rabbit by the scruff of the neck and places him inside her leather armor so that his nose, eyes, and ears stick out in her bosom. He is very soft. “You don’t know how to get out of here do you?” she asks.

“Yes,” The rabbit tells Faen how to sneak back out and find the main trail further away from the goblin town. She makes note that she is going to dedicate herself to becoming an acolyte to Mielikki, and create a temple to her name, if she ever makes it back to City Ravenlore.

Just as she thinks she has created enough distance between herself and the goblin town, she hears a whistle of a goblin while it is sharpening a blade. She jumps back into the shadows, opposite the sound. She watches as the goblin with a pickaxe, rounds the corner. “That’ll teach them to gamble with me.” it mutters. As it turns, Faen has a good shot. She readies her bow.

'Don’t do it.' she hears the rabbit speaking in her head. 'You are a good Elf. I know. He didn’t do anything to you.' She lets it down on the ground.

“There now. Go on. You don’t have to look. They were going to kill you.”

'Remember the ways of the woods, child,' the rabbit looks at the elf with tears swimming in its eyes. His ears lay flat. 'Only for defense and to take what you need.'

'You are so right, Rabbit. Revenge and fear were being served up hot and angry tonight, yes? Don’t worry little one. It will be fine. I will repeat what I did last night and still get to my destination in time. Thank you for helping me remember. Hey, I just learned animal speaking today. You were a part of that. Would you like to come home with me? You could live in the palace with the king. My parents and I live in a servant’s home. I’d give you to him.'

'What need have I of a palace? This here is my home. The leaves are my pillow. The nuts are my sustenance. I have water at the falls. Sunlight fills my day, and starlight lights my nights. My days are spent with my family happily in my burrow. I will never forget you, sweet elf. You rescued me.' With that the rabbit hops away into the forest, the light glinting off his little tail.

Faen sighs. She does repeat the steps from the night before, being very careful to secure her camp. She wants to make sure no one notices that she is there. The next morning she gets up before dawn. She has no idea how much time she must make up for the delay from the prior day. She basically glides through the trail. The silver arches of Moonsong rise up on the horizon.

Spires of silver adorned with purple Amethyst, and yellow Citrine greet the relieved elf first. She feels worn and tired, not worthy of meeting with the Lord and Lady of the fine city in the woods. Butterflies circle about, and land on every foxglove along the path. Great banners hang over the entrance to the grand hall in purple in yellow with a crescent moon. Guards come out to greet Faen first.

“You have traveled far. Come rest a moment, then, you may see the Lord and Lady of Moonsong. It is good to have you here Miss Faen.” At the sound of her name, the jewels in Faen’s hair begin to sparkle. The guards take her to a courtyard where a pond, with long white Koi swim about, and fireflies flit overhead. Ivy grows along the border, and wisteria hangs in clumps. She sits on a bench. She breathes in the sweetness of the flowers. She closes her eyes. They are heavy.

After some time, Faen is escorted to the grand hall and introduced to the royal party. She makes a long bow before them. She produces a scroll. Faen clears her throat. She shuffles nervously and takes in the royal couple. They are both beautiful. Each are decked in velvet robes of eggplant purple with gold threading. A silver moon is applied on each robe in fine stitched detail. They each wear silvery gold crowns entwined with purple and yellow gemstones. Both are autumnal brown skin hued, with sunlit golden hair, and eyes of spring grass green.

“If it please the court, I have an announcement from City Ravenlore..” she reads the scroll. She has not seen it until now. “King Varis, of City Ravenlore, would like to invite all eligible elves to City Ravenlore for a woodland Ball in honor of his daughter Faen Ravenlore. It will be her one hundredth birthday, and it will be suitable for her to have a coming of age ball. The ball will take place in five days time. I expect all to be in attendance. Please also note that I regret that I had to ask Faen to make this journey, rather than one of my usual guards. It was her test. When she was but a baby, a curse was put on her by a Dwarven sorcerer. She would not be allowed to live in the palace in wear our family name until she made this pilgrimage alone. I have feared every day since she was born she would not make it to see this day and read these words to you, but if you are hearing them, I would say she has made it. Congratulations, Faen, my child, you have broken the curse, and may return as Princess Faen Ravenlore. King Varis.”

Tears well in Faen’s eyes. She curtsies now before the royal family of Moonsong.

“I had no idea,” she shakes her head in disbelief.

“Well, how could you?” Asks the queen. Everyone around her smiles and laughs.

Faen is given a wonderfully large room to sleep in that night. The bed is oak, and she falls fast asleep lulled by waterfalls outside her window, the whistling of frogs and crickets.

Travel arrangements are made to escort Princess Faen from Moonsong by elven carriage complete with royal guards from the city court. Several carriages are forming an entourage. Faen cannot believe her turn of luck. Only yesterday she was just a hunter, winning hard earned meats and skins for City Ravenlore, and now she wonders if her father would forbid her from going out to hunt for her family and replace her skills. She feels sad at that thought.

As the wheels clack against stones and twigs on the path she takes a bite of bread and a sip of water. Sleep overcomes her. When she awakens, she is told that there is not much further left to go before she is home. The horse and carriage is much faster. She is surprised that she did not see the goblin camp on the way. They must have known another route. The journey remains uneventful.

Unlike her exit from the city, her entrance is very different. Horns begin blasting. Flags are marching down stars. Confetti and streamers are flowing in the air. Ravenlore looks beautiful. Red poppies and roses are in full bloom against the black cherry wood of the city. Bright red berry bushes line the path into the city. Dark wooden carved Ravens sit boldly by the entrance to the great hall.

When Faen exits her carriage, she is careful not to step on her cloak. The ground is muddy. Her family has come down to greet her. All is ceremonious. They bow down to those in the next carriages. It is good to be home Faen exchanges stories with her family as she makes her way back to her quarters, and the guards escort the others to their temporary lodgings. That night at dinner, she tells her brother, and her mother and father, all about what happened on her journey. She even tells them about the animal speaking.

“So, it is true,” mother said. “You are the Princess after all. When they handed you to me all those years ago, I vowed to raise you as my own. They said animal speaking was something only the royal line could do and it was something you would learn the year before becoming a grown man or a grown woman. Next thing I know you will be getting the wanderlust.”

“I think this is enough wanderlust. I want to become an acolyte for Mielikki. I’m going to ask the king during my birthday party if I can oversee the building of a temple here to her in our capitol city. She saved me. She is the one who helped me in my journey to Moonsong and helped me learn my animal speaking.” Faen brightened at the thought. Again, the medallion glowed around her neck.

“I think it is a good idea, but we shall have to see what he thinks. I think he wishes you to marry. Do not get your hopes up yet.”

On the night of Faen’s party, everything is going well. Harpists are playing, dancers and singers are performing. Faen pulls the king away into a small chamber to see if he will accommodate her wishes for the small temple to the Mielikki. She also asks him about her role in the palace. The king tells her he will allow the temple to go up and she can assist in the creation. He also tells her that it will be too dangerous for her to lead the hunting party as Princess, that someone else will take over. When she hears him tell her that he will forbid her to become acolyte as well as marry as the Princess, she storms out of the chamber.

Faen approaches a dark wooden lectern at the center of her party. She stops the music. She calls forth dozens of ravens with her mind. The all sit by her side. “This day, I am a woman. This day, I am also relinquishing my title and my power as Princess. I had it for one day. I am building a temple to Our Lady of the Forest who saved me, and to whom I have sworn my service. Should you wish to honor someone. Honor not me, but honor her, for by her, we have all the bounty of the land upon which we live. I am still Faen. I am still the best hunter in Ravenlore. Thank you.”

She exits the stage. She walks to her mother, father and brother, where they wait for her. She smiles at them, and her whole being seems to radiate with this light green glow.

“Let’s just go home, and let them enjoy their party, while I start planning my Lady’s temple.”

March 24, 2021 15:37

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