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The Forest Queen

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‘Riona, my sister, I beg of you! Find him; find my son before it is too late!’


Dawn rose, shedding light on the branches. Dew covered the ground and life slowly began to wake. A woman wearing deep red weaved through the trees, her bare feet gliding above the forest floor. Long dark hair, elaborately pinned behind pointed ears, cascaded down her back. A ring of silver encircled her brow, giving her royal purple eyes a unique glow as they gazed about the forest.

‘Find him,’ a distant voice cried in her mind.

Riona stopped and stood at the entrance of a small clearing. The Elder’s huntsmen said that they had last spotted the wild child laying here. Riona walked further into the clearing and knelt by a patch of flattened grass. It was the size of a small child.

“Aedus,” she whispered, “Where are you my child?”

She rose and walked on. The only noise that escaped her was the rustling of her dress across the bristly ground. The leaves were slowly turning colors around her; winter would be at the woodland areas soon. Riona carefully studied the ground below, noticing another downed patch of grass. This spot was larger than the one she had found moments earlier.

“Wolves…”

Cries echoed throughout the skies as a flock of birds flew into the blue sky. A pair of feet pounded against the earth, approaching fast. Swiftly standing, Riona dusted off her gown and moved the band further up on her brow.

“Your majesty,” a deep voice called out.

Hurrying into the clearing was a lofty elf. His forest green tunic casually swayed as he ran forward. The elf’s long hair was pulled behind his pointy ear, in a low plait. He stopped just short of Riona. Quickly he dropped to one knee.

“Your Majesty,” he repeated, “We have found him.”

Riona’s deep purple eyes widened, she took a few steps towards the man, “Take me to him…”

Swiftly he bowed and took off into the forest once more, now leading his beloved queen further into its heart. The gently rolling hills of woods gave away to jagged cliffs and dense brush. A brook babbled on a ways away while wind rustled through the trees. Riona soon came upon a small dell crawling with feral vines.

A shallow thicket lay in the center; the child she was seeking lay inside guarded by two young wolves, a brother and sister. One was the color of autumn leaves, while the other was of the spring’s fresh ground. They were wrapped around him, protecting and keeping him warm during the cold night. The boy’s abnormal cherry-colored hair stuck out from beneath the male’s muddy fur and the sound of gentle snores befell the elves’ ears.

Riona stood off to the side and watched them. A group of four more elvish huntsmen stood in the shadows, watching and waiting. Their keen eyes viewed on both their queen and the small grouping in the thicket. The male wolf looked up at Riona. It had a red face with dark brown markings. The wolf growled deep in its throat and lay back down.

“He is not happy with you,” she mockingly muttered to her men.

“My Queen?” a pale, blond elf tottered backwards, his muscles stiff from the wolves icy glares.
Her head turned ever so slightly as she retorted back to her men. “I think it would be best if you all left this place.”

“But my Queen!” one of them jerked forward. “We cannot leave you. It is our duty as huntsmen to watch over you and our kingdom!”

Riona turned and looked him straight in the eye. “I said leave,” her words were cold and her gaze even more so. “These two are children of Sy, the guardian of this forest.” She casted a quick glance at the young wolves, Sy’s offspring, guarding the boy.

Lifting her head, she glared down at her kingdom’s finest warriors. “It will do me no good having you here, it only hinders me!”

“Yes my Queen…” They gave her a low bow before stepping backwards, disappearing into the shadows of the wood.

Riona watched them leave and as soon as they were gone she turned around and watched the wolves. She walked towards them, but suddenly stopped when she saw another wolf, of white milk coloring and much larger in size, appear out of a bush. The elder, white female looked at her with intense golden yellow eyes. Riona knelt to the ground and watched the creature. Slowly the wolf walked over to her and gazed at her questioningly.

“Sy, I am here to take him back,” she breathed, “this child you have belongs with his own kind, we elves.”

The wolf narrowed her eyes and backed away accusingly. “I found this child when he was nothing but a babe. I was the one who saved his life when he had been thrown away.” White teeth flashed in a ferocious growl.

Walking back to the thicket where her young ones lay, she nipped at them and motioned them to leave. Slowly they got up and ambled away, their yellow eyes glancing back occasionally, watching Riona warily. Sy took over their place, gently nudging the sleeping child closer to her warm body. The child curled up as she laid her tail across his scarcely clothed body. Gently she ran her tongue down the child’s dirt-stained cheeks, cleaning him.

“I know you are close to him,” Riona said as she moved closer to the mother wolf, “But it is time for him to come home…please?”

The wolf nuzzled her face into his matted fiery red hair. After a few minutes of drinking in his scent, the mother looked up at the Queen and nodded. Riona carefully clutched a hold of the boy and moved his form into her arms.

“Aedus…”

Riona stood up and began to walk towards the palace. Before leaving she looked back at Sy and gave a small nod of gratitude.

“Thank you,” she whispered softy as she walked out of the dell.




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