Last time with Tribba and Edgar left them fleeing the woods as a dark storm took over and howling began after securing much needed fairy dust. If you are reading the story for the first time, you can start here.
The howling continued in intermittent peaks as the dark clouds rolled in. Tribba pushed Edgar along in front of her as swiftly as she could.
“I don’t understand this! It is not night. They shouldn’t be out yet!” Tribba said, fear painting the edges of her voice.
“Who shouldn’t be out yet?” Edgar asked his voice laced with concern and terror. The howls shook him to his core.
“The werewolves! They aren’t out until darkness falls!”
As they rushed through the woods, Edgar noticed the color changes. The rich emerald turned to a sinister grey. The gaily-colored birds disappeared within the shadows of the sinister grey. The leaves disappeared against the sky, leaving the trees naked in appearance. It was as if winter fell early and snuffed out the sun. Even the air began to have a crisp coolness to it. Tribba prodded him gently in the back until they left the last tree behind. He followed her into the house where she quickly pulled the shutters closed and locked the door behind them.
“This is no good. This is no good!” Tribba murmured repeatedly. Larss wrapped his arms around Tribba and held her close as the first boom of thunder released a downpour from the sky.
“She fears the werewolves above all else,” he said in explanation. “When she was but a child, werewolves ravaged her home and killed her parents as they tried to flee. The only reason she escaped is the fairies. They threw their magic on her and hid her until the night was over. When morning came and the wolves were gone, they left her in the village.” He continued embracing her until her shaking subsided. “It is very strange for them to be out during the day, even when a storm brings the darkness early.”
Larss looked at the small calendar hanging on a kitchen wall. Handmade from ink and parchment paper, it showed all the phases of the moon. He shook his head.
“It makes no sense. The full moon is still a fortnight away,” he said. “Something is afoul, and I bet those elves next door have a hand in it!”
Edgar looked at Larss and Tribba keenly. “Do you think they are practicing their magic for the games? What if…” he sucked his breath in shrilly, his eyes grew wide, and his breath released in gaps before he continued, “What if they decide on a game that involves magic? I’ll never beat them!”
Tribba set her fear aside and left the warmth of Larss’ arms to comfort Edgar. She tugged gently on the pouch around his neck. “That’s why you have this. Nothing (and I mean nothing!) is greater than fairy magic. Who do you think taught the elves?”
She watched Edgar’s face closely, hoping to see some assurance lift his countenance. His eyes remained dark and cloudy, however, and she frowned.
“Edgar, you must believe in yourself. Let go of your past, and embrace this opportunity to make your mark. I believe in you,” she reached her arm out in Larss direction, “Larss believes in you, but until you believe in you, it doesn’t matter. Why did you agree to champion us if you don’t believe you can win?”
Edgar’s eyes remained dark and cloudy but a glimmer of hope latched onto his face and Tribba saw it. “I agreed because you are so kind, and I want to hope that it changes my future, and will better my journey. I am such a klutz though, so backwards and ineffective, that I fear you will lose your home. I’m not convinced that I am good enough to champion you. There is no evidence in my past that I have the skills, the aptitude, to win, despite all the preparations you have provided.”