Saturday, April 08, 2006

Fenny's Faeries

“ They’re coming!,” shouted a man running down the hill wildly, his arms waving around like he was trying to take off and fly over the town.
“ They’re coming...the!”

Everyone gasped and headed in different directions, mothers gathering up their children, men arming themselves. For weeks the news had spread that there was a menace coming down out of the mountains and ravaging the land and it’s people. Fenni could see them spilling over a low hill now, maybe forty of the them.
“ Fenni, Get you your things and be running hardy, or we’re done for.” yelled her father, looking over his shoulder as he bent to the ground to pick up his axe. “ I’ll race you to the house.”
“ Follow me.” she answered.
Swift and sure was her course through the forest, her path seemingly laid out before her. She never ran in a straight line, because you can’t run a straight line in the forest, and that’s where she spent most of her time. She knew every brook and molehill for miles around, and was known by all that lived in those miles around, known and loved.
It was only a few minutes before she reached their house, having lost her father who was trailing her. Surrounded by forest it was a simple two room log house set in a clearing. It’s majesty was spoiled by the sight of craven looters streaming through the barn and pounding at the door of the main house. Her father appeared far from her, across the clearing, turning every head that stood beating at the door.
“If you’ve come looking fer the owner, I can find him fer ya...,” he bellowed. At this prompt the motley crew turned and stormed in his direction. Fennifer stifled a yell of fear, but the last look he gace her as he raised his axe told her everything she needed to know. She bit her bottom lip as her heart broke, but an arrow whizzing by her ear and landing in the oak next to her sent her on her way. Down the hill and through the gully, trees passed her by like they were running in the opposite direction. She paused slightly to get her bearings, but the sound of boots sent her running for common ground. She needed to get to Angels Watch. She always felt safe there. But could she reach it? She headed along the berry trail towards the river, sprinting through the grass field that led to Mcgreevy’s homestead. It troubled her that she didn’t hear the dogs barking, as they were darn near a nuisance on any other day. It occurred to her then that not hearing the dogs was a bad sign, but seeing the black forms clutter up the forest in front of her was even more disturbing. She kept running, fear driving her ever faster and honing her senses to the environment around her. They were boxing her in. She headed up an embankment and found herself standing on a cliff that dropped precipitously to a glassy pond that settled near a winding river that stretched far into the distance. An arrow landed near her feet, and the sight and sound of a throng of black clad thugs struggling up the hill toward her almost made her weak with despair. She stood gasping for air, standing in between oncoming thugs and eternity. She looked out over the edge across the golden plains and off into the distance at the brooding peaks of the Anduil Mountains. She had lived all of her 16 years in the forest, living under it’s canopy with the plants and animals, now she reached out with her heart and mind as if dedicating herself to it. Behind her giddy laughter and promises of rapid courtship sounded from the bottom of the hill. They would not have her. She turned toward the sun and drank in the warmth, then she launched herself over the edge, her cotton dress trailing behind her tiny frame as she fell from sight.
As she fell she felt the wind take her hair in it’s grasp, and time seem to slow down as she fell toward the water. It is often said that when one is close to death their life passes before them. Fennifer began to meander through the memories of her life, pausing for split seconds among the highlights of great pain or joy. Her mother, gone to the stars years ago, met her now, her eyes so full of love and life it was if she had never left. A song grew in Fenni's heart and passed easily from her lips, a song that sprang from a place deeper than memory - a childhood melody that she had sung as she played among the trees so long ago. She no longer feared death.
With a crash she hit the water, losing consciousness immediately. Her broken body sank deeper into the murky water, drifting slowly until she came to rest on the silt bottom. Deep in her mind the melody remained, faint at first, but true. A childlike voice softly began to sing the words, then others joined, and as the chorus grew the song grew in intensity and focused her mind. She found herself again, and though unable to tell where she was, her fear began to retreat and wonder began setting in. Voices...faint and lilting, concerned and yet joyful began blossoming around her.
“ Hold her well, Anhelina....hold fast!”
“ Oh! is our friend, come to her end...”
“ Not her end, Bromilius, it is but a beginning,” came a leading voice as she began to regain her composure. She felt herself moving through a medium that felt like loose, moist soil, but she had no thought to breathe. The earth parted her hair and caressed her uplift face as she moved, its slightly abrasive tug running down and around her body to the tip of her toes. It all seemed too much to take until just at that moment she burst from that feeling of being squeezed and fell into a wide open, soft brown earthen den of sorts. The refreshing smell of upturned, nutrient rich soil surrounded her. Falling from what would be the ceiling had a most confusing effect, and for a time she lay unmoving still lost in the deep rooms of her mind.
On her side she faced a small fireplace, it’s warmth bringing sensation back to her body, the crackling embers drawing her from her sleep. As she began to stir it seemed around her a nearly silent commotion broke out when she rolled onto her back. The ceiling was soil, roots dangling from the dirt like they were eavesdropping. The room was round, oblong to be exact, and the open end of the room led to a root framed hallway that curved out of sight.
“ Is she she...?”
“ Shhh! Maribel, we mustn’t disturb her, she’s still growing!”
“ .......And she’s a beautiful color!” cooed Maribel.
Fenni didn’t know quite to make of the conversation that prattled on close to her ear. It sounded like it was coming from far away but then again, her ears tickled every time she heard a "shhh!" Soon she could hear many conversations about her, and they were all very interesting.
“ It’s a miracle she called when she did.” sprang a tiny voice near her shoulder. “ Alas, my hearing isn’t what it used to be, but I heard her still.”
“ I love that song...” mused another, sounding a little goofy.
“ Oh Phinnial, put down the dust! Can’t you see what has happened here? I’m so excited I don’t think I can keep my feet on the ground!” sang a sweet voice, followed by the sound of fluttering wings, or so it seemed.
Fenni opened her eyes, eliciting a chorus of gasps around her, followed by squeals and giggling. She looked down her toward her feet and noticed she was not wearing her cotton dress, but instead wore a gown of flowers whose white pedals illuminated softly in the firelight. She lifted her eyes and to her amazement found the room full of guests. A roomful meant that there could have been hundreds of them, maybe thousands!
“ Faeries!”
They cautiously began to surround her, arms outstretched in a loving gesture, obvious grins and bold smiles all around. They were maybe six inches tall, miniature humans but for their clear wings beating at fantastic speed as they hovered about her. They glowed brightly, yet it appeared they were near invisible but for the flashes of warm light that sparkled when they moved. Fenni felt all fear leave her as she rose to her elbows and then sat straight up, the low roof but a few feet over her head. Old memories came flowing back to her, of when she was very young and wandering through the forest spying out of the corners of her eyes winged tiny dancers swaying to the songs she sang. Spinning and leaping they animated her songs, but were always just out of sight. The curiosity ignited drew Fenni out deeper into the forest, and as time passed blossomed into a deep love for all that lived or existed under the canopy. Little did she know that her airborne melodies passed through the trees with such ease that her voice was soon known to every tree and animal. Her music was treasured not simply for the pleasure it gave, but for what such sweet sounds foretold. Hope had been reborn again in the forests.
“ Ahem...” started a portly fellow hovering delicately a few feet in front of Fennifer, deftly fluttering a few inches left and right every few seconds.
“” she stammered, her voice weakly trailing from her lips as if she hadn’t spoken for month. The glowing audience moved away from her as she spoke, and with each word fluttering a little farther still.
The head faery flew toward her a few cautious inches and began nervously. “ Please, uh, Mrs., uh, Honored Fenni, let us introduce ourselves. We are the Duyanidine clan of faery folk, forever protectors of the forest and all that find their home in it. I am Engolad, chief of our clan and servant to your wishes, for you have come to us none too soon. It will be difficult for you to speak right now, so try not to do so. Know that you are safe, and that life survives in you because you have been chosen. “
“ By Whom...? Fenni whispered with great effort.
“ By you, of course!” he said with some bemusement.
“ Might I be the first to tell you, I love your music!” said a drunken little voice by her ear.
“ Phinnial! Might I be the latest in a long line of elders to bar you from the dust!” shouted the lead faery, a serious frown on his little face.
“Oh, uh, excuse me.” Phinnial stammered.
“ Right. Uh, now, Mrs. Fenni - may I call you that? Good, good. Allow me to welcome you to our home. It is a great honor for us, as I am sure it is for you. Now that you have chosen to join the Duyanidine, I must introduce you to some of our laws. First, having to do with the dust...”
“ Wait.” Fennifer interrupted. “ Why am I here? I can remember falling, that is all.”
“ Please forgive me, mistress, allow me to explain.” He slowly unwound a story that began with her as a child wandering in the forest and her melodies carried by trembling leaf and singing birds, explaining that as her song ranged across the land the forest began regaining it’s health, for it was that many years of a growing coldness was replacing lush green with deathly grey. Curling mists and sordid song had begun to surround the forest, inhaling greater swaths of greenery as it encroached. Such evil plundered with purpose and cleared without mercy. At such a rate it seemed that the forest would soon be overrun, nothing but lifeless bogs for as far as the fairy could fly. But a trail of life was seen weaving it’s way through the land, a vibrant path that moved along the well worn tracks of the traveling folk. “ The songs that reverberated through the trees led us to you, and we have come to know you, maybe as well as you know yourself.”
“ Huh? “ Fenni replied, meaning to say much more but unable to get it out.
“ The goddess of the forest told us that our protector was found, but our hearts were heavy with despair and fear for the stories we have heard from our kind in the deadlands. Your voice found us, and we are afraid no longer.” he said, looking up at her as he finished.
“ The goddess?”
“ Fenni is a bit slow.” said a squeaky voice above her. “ Beautiful voice though.”
“ I like her nose.” Phinnial added in a love struck tone.
“ Can’t say I’ve ever seen yours, Phinny, it’s always buried in your bag.” said another faery, causing the room to erupt in giggles.
“ Enough! The Goddess, you ask? Why, she’s the green in the leaves and the weaver of snow flakes, surely you’ve seen her work! She lives far from here unfortunately, but her voice travels far. No doubt you will hear from her soon. Only yesterday she was talking of you! We’ve been waiting a while, but still did not expect you so soon. What a boon!”
Fennifer roused herself, peering into the low lit room at all the tiny faces that greeted her. Her strength was slowly coming back to her, though her confusion hobbled her senses. Sitting crosslegged under a soil roof surrounded by a multitude of grinning fairies was a sight worthy of a smile of her own.
“ All right, Engolad. What can I do for you?” she asked.
“ Save the forest is all!” he answered as if he was telling her something she already knew.
" That’s all?”
“ That’s it.”
“ How do I do that?”
“ You don’t know?
“ No. You see, I’m new here.”
“ Right. Well, then we need to get your roots in the soil, might be the answer lies there. If not, I’m sure the Lady of the Wood will know.”
“ My roots in the soil?”
“ Yes, that’s where we keep all of our knowledge, and our secrets too. Just bury your fingers into the dirt under you, you’ll see.”
She sank her fingers into the warm earth, bringing to her mind's ear the conversation of the forest. From squirrels squabbling to trees musing she felt all their thoughts and dreams surge through her, until above them all came such a sound that all stopped to listen. A voice so full of strength and peace, so clear and soothing that all were drawn to the message it offered.
" I welcome you, Fenni. You have asked us what we would want of you. You have already given us so much. All we ask of you now is to carry your song to every corner of this forest.
To sing aloud for the life that sustains us."
" I will, mother of the forest. I have been saved so that I can save others. My song lifts at your will."

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Welcome to Mythland!

Greetings all! I am creating this blog as a repository for my study of fantasy and mythological creatures and characters. As an aspiring writer I wanted to create a place where fantasy fans like myself could exchange ideas and information on all of the things that make fantasy the most inspiring category of writing there is!

So, dig in, read up, and don't hesitate to give me your thoughts!