Mora hummed a tune to herself as she flew from the darkness of the forest, skimming the tops of the flowers in the meadow. She smiled as their scent was triggered, surrounding her with a cloud of happiness as she headed to where he was. Such had become her daily pattern, to fly over to where he was, and silently watch from the branches of the tree which grew next to his forge.
She had not yet spoken to him, but she already considered him as dear to her as the shiniest of stones. He still delighted her eyes more than anything they had seen anywhere else.
This morning something was wrong though. As she neared the edge of the meadow raised voices reached her fae ears, punctuated by yelp and barks from the small dog who lived with her elf. She growled and unslung the bow which she carried, and gained height as she neared the cottage.
As the scene came into view, she bristled with anger. Four men stood there. Two had the sense to stay outside the forge but one larger one blocked any escape for her elf. She saw a fourth man raise a sword and turn to her elf. He was unarmed and she didn’t need to even think before acting.
The man’s scream split the air as his blood sprayed through it. His wide eyes went to the arrow which had pierced his arm. His pain and spasming fingers dropped the sword, giving the elf time to arm himself.
Angry eyes scanned the scene for the source of the arrow. Mora ducked into the tree canopy, finding a small gap through which she fired off two more arrows in quick succession, smiling as they sent the three others scrambling for cover. This left her elf only one to battle for now.
The three shouted to each other and made a good point. It would take many arrows to slow even one of them down. She readied another as all three moved in different directions. She allowed the breeze to carry her from the cover, and glared as they whooped with joy up at her, apparently thinking there was nothing to fear from a fae.
She seemed to aim effortlessly and fired her next arrow into the eye of one of them. His howls of pain gave the other two some moments of uncertainty. She called to them “Whoever moves next, I will take that as a signal to fire at both of you.” Both men hesitated, but the sounds of clashing metal from the elf and their comrade spurred them into action. Both ran in different directions, one in the direction of the forge. She let her arrow fly, and turned away to aim at the other, a yelp telling her the arrow had met its mark.
She took aim on the remaining man. “Winged bitch!” came a shout from the ground behind her. The burly man had ignored the arrow protruding from his backside and had picked up a heavy wooden bucket, throwing it up at the fairy and knocking her violently sideways. Mora lost her balance, forcing her arrow to merely graze the side of the escapee’s shoulder.
Both men now picked up anything they could find and used them as missiles, throwing them at the fairy. “That’s it! Keep her busy!” The burly man shouted. Mora growled as she darted and dodged it all, avoiding all, but unable to refine her aim.
Convinced he was not much longer for the world the man groveling on the floor plucked the arrow from his eye. He was blinded both by blood and pain, but the creature could not be allowed to escape them. Running his hands over the ground, he managed to find a pitchfork. He picked it up and used it to help him get to his feet. Once upright, he started to wave it angrily in the air above him.
The elf had clearly triumphed over the one he had been battling and rushed out from the forge, sword in hand.The largest man turned and drew his sword, running at the elf. Their clash distracted the fairy for a moment, but that was all that was needed for a small rock to bruise her arm at the same time as the side of the pitchfork struck her hard.
With a gasp, Mora fell from the air and landed roughly against the tree trunk, sliding slightly before coming to rest on the ground. One man ran directly towards her, while the blinded man used the pitchfork to lean against as he picked his way over the ground. He was soon joined by the small dog, who snarled and grabbed at his ankles, trying to slow him down.
Mora dropped her bow. Panic and anger welled up inside her and her hand went to the crystal that hung around her neck. She pressed her other hand to the ground, wriggling her fingers into the comfort of the soil. The fairy did not take her eyes from the men moving towards her, but her thoughts flowed freely into the soil.
Small vibrations met her keen hearing and brambles came to her rescue. They snaked and lifted through the surface of the soil, tripping the toes of those who would harm her, causing them to stumble and fall. They then whipped around ankles and tried to hold the men.The fairy tried to stand, but could not. Her limbs hurt too much, and although she knew she would heal in time, for now she was seemingly helpless.
The men growled with frustration and tried to cut and tear at the brambles. Their prey was annoyingly close to them, but just out of reach for now. Mora had only one arrow left, but couldn’t fire it from her position against the tree. She held it close in her hand though, thinking it might serve her well if they did reach her.
Still the men struggled on. Mora scrabbled backwards as far as she could, the rough bark of the tree pressing to her back. As if sensing her fear, the branches sought to cover her as she balled herself as small as possible against the trunk and braced herself.
The nearest one lunged at her, sword held high. Mora closed her eyes and held up her fist, arrow tip pointing outwards, ready to scratch and scrape at her assailant, but the impact never came. She heard a low groan, and then felt slight shudder of something hitting the ground.
The fairy risked opening one eye and gasped. Both men lay on the ground, groaning, and she found herself staring up at him, at her elf. “Are you… hurt?” He asked gently.
The fear was yet to subside in her, so her words were soft and halting. “Not too badly, I… don’t think.” To prove her point she tried to scramble to her feet, but winced at the pain of her bruised limbs, falling back against the trunk.
He smiled kindly at her and leaned down, effortlessly scooping her up in one arm and lifting her high from the ground. She wrapped her arms around his strong shoulder and let her fingertips stroke through his long hair as he carried her with him. She smiled, all sign of fear having left her. She knew that she was safe.