The path through the woods was narrow but that didn’t bother Edgar. Tribba, a short and stout dwarf, managed well enough, and the scenery was stunningly beautiful. Birds of all colors flitted from emerald clothed branches. An emerald carpet lay on one side of the path, covered with a thin coat of dried leaves from last autumn. The wood grew noisier the further they walked. He heard magpies crying, nightingales singing, and the call of the hawk as it soared overhead. Fleeting glimpses of red fawns appeared here and there, and a group of young bucks drinking at the silver stream on the other side of the path stole his breath. They lifted their heads in unison as he gasped and eyed him curiously before dashing back into the woods behind them.
“It is so peaceful here,” Edgar said.
“Yes,” Tribba answered. “The fairies protect it.”
The path suddenly curved away from the stream, leading further into the woods. The trees clustered closer together, but the light still filtered in despite the emerald canopy. Squirrels ran up and down the tree trunks, chattering constantly as they passed. Tribba answered them occasionally and it amazed Edgar every time he saw one scamper away as if it understood.
“You can talk to squirrels?”
“Well, it’s like talking to a baby. I just repeat the sounds they make. They seem to like it.”
Edgar smiled. “Every moment I spend with you makes me question why you need a champion at all! With your home and land at stake, you are more than able to do this challenge on your own!”
“Tsk.” Tribba said. “No, I am no match for those elves. I have no athletic skill. I’m not a druid. I’ve never practiced the arts. I have nothing to offer in a game. But, you, Edgar, you are everything I am not. I believe in you.”
They stopped walking. They were standing in a circular opening with trees surrounding them. Grass as tall as Edgar’s knees swallowed Tribba whole. Only the tip of her bright pink hat stood above the blades. Edgar turned slowly to take in his surroundings. Tribba hastily patted him.
“What?” he asked.
“Oh! There you are. Don’t do that! That diet of peanut butter and wafers you’ve lived on has left you so skinny you completely disappear when you turn like that!” Tribba said. “I need to fatten you up before the games officially begin!”
Edgar’s brows furrowed in confusion.
“I’m sorry. I thought I’d lost you for a moment, and even though these woods seem peaceful now, at night it’s a hazardous place to be. Not even the fairies can help you at night when the werewolves run the woods.” Her face was serious as she talked and Edgar shuddered. “This is where I wanted to bring you.”
Tribba pointed to a small patch of flowers in the center of the circle. The grass thinned until it faded into the flowers. Tribba laid down, her back facing the sky, and instructed Edgar to do the same.
“Look!” She said in a soft whisper. His eyes followed her pointing finger. A smile creased his face as he saw the fairies. Their little bodies danced lithely. A soft buttery glow shadowed them. They, like the flowers, were clothed in the rich colors of the rainbow. Their hair flowed upward, adding height, in the same shade as their clothing. Tiny voices tinkling like bells emerged from the bed. Tribba slid her eyes in Edgar’s direction before stretching one hand into the bed. Fairies stopped dancing and disappeared within toadstools Edgar’s eyes had not seen the first time.
“Syra!” Tribba called. “Malachi! Come forth!”
Two little fairies peeked from their mushrooms. Tribba smiled in greeting and they emerged eagerly into the bed.
“Ah, my friends, it’s been a while, eh?” Tribba said. She stretched her hand out and both fairies climbed aboard. Tribba stood and Edgar got a closer look. A ruby clad arm extended and a little finger pointed at Edgar. “This is Edgar. He is my champion.”
Two little bodies eyed the slender frame of a boy in front of them and doubled over laughing on Tribba’s palm. Sapphire motions filled the air as a grand gesture of wiping tears from his eyes was acted out by Malachi.
Edgar was disgruntled. “Thanks for the vote of confidence,” he said. The ruby fairy’s wings fluttered and she rose to Edgar’s nose and patted him gently on it.
“He is more than he looks, but he needs help. That’s why I’m here.”
Tribba and Edgar explained the story of Edgar’s lost magic. The fairies laughed again, as if the idea of losing magic was preposterous, but agreed to help as much as they could. Diamonds filled the air and a small pouch appeared in Tribba’s other hand. She opened it and scooped up as many diamonds as she could before pulling the drawstring closed. She held it out to Edgar, who accepted it.
“Fairy dust…” is all she said as he put the pouch around his neck. “It will help your magic. No one has greater magic than the fairies. Not even the elves.”
Tribba chatted with the fairies for a little longer before releasing them back into the flowerbed. Glitter decorated each cheek when she rose and she laughed.
“There’s nothing in this world like fairy kisses,” she said. She read the confused expression on Edgar’s face and continued. “You don’t know what you’re missing until you experience one, so don’t fret. It’s unbecoming of a champion.”
A sharp crack shook the forest and Tribba looked at the sky. Grey clouds had rolled in and hidden the sun. Lightning flashed between two tall trees.
“We must hurry! We don’t want to be stuck in these woods after dark!”
Edgar looked confused again, but followed Tribba without question. He was a stranger to this part of the world after all. A howl sounded from somewhere behind him, sharp and shrill. Goosebumps covered his flesh and the hair of his arms stood at attention.
“What was that?” he asked.
I gave Jordan this prompt: It was a calm and peaceful night. Snow fell from the sky and carolers made joyful noise as they moved from house to house. It was like a picture on a Christmas card, only the inside message held a sinister surprise…
The picture at the top of this piece is the picture prompt from Picture It and Write this week.
I welcome and appreciate honest feedback on all my writing. Please share your thoughts on this piece in a comment.
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