Saturday, 5 April 2014

#atozchallenge: Elves

Previous: Dryads



The stillness unnerved him. Where were the foxes that slunk through the bushes in search of prey? Where were the stripe-faced badgers digging for grubs? Where were the owls that hooted in the dark? Where was the wind herself? No, it was unnaturally quiet for an evening out in the woods. His eyes scanned the edges of the path, hoping to see where his daughter had left it. The rain had stopped, but everything was mud and slush, making it almost impossible to track her. He only hoped that she wasn't lying somewhere with broken bones.
There was movement in his peripheral vision. He whipped his head around to make out what it was. He was greeted by the point of an arrow. Darrick stared steadily at the man’s impassive, unreadable face, wondering at the stern, unyielding look in his eyes.  Slowly, Darrick's eyes wandered down the haughty lines to the long, blond tresses that lay thick and straight down to his chest, and the slightly pointed ears that peeked through. He was aware of the soundless movement of people emerging around him until he was surrounded.
“Amused?” The elf lowered his bow. “What are you doing here?”
“Can’t a man take a walk in his own backyard?”
“You've strayed quite a bit from your backyard,” he said, glancing in the general direction of the village.
Darrick followed his gaze. Not one twinkle of light shone through the foliage, nor did any peak of the encircling fence peek through.
“I had need to.”
“Need does not justify your breaking the covenant.”
Covenant? What covenant?”
“Do not try to hide your guilt with protests of ignorance, child. The ancient covenant my father swore with your forefathers must not be broken. The night is ours, boy, as sure as the day is yours. Do you see us break our word? You should not be here now.”
“My daughter is missing. And I know nothing of this covenant you speak of.” An uneasy feeling tickled Darrick's thoughts. What had governed their unwritten laws? What was behind the old wives’ tale of danger in the forests at night? He had been out before - certain herbs had to be harvested by the full moon - but he had never kept to the known paths, always favouring stealthy runs to sacred Druid hideouts, until today.
“Does not your council still rule?”
A short laugh escaped Darrick's throat. “Our council is made up of drunks and thieves. They’ll not remember anything more than where to find the best free wine and women.”
The elf frowned, then looked up at his company and nodded.
“Hey,” Darrick protested as two elves twisted his arms behind his back and tied them together.
“The law was broken, and you must pay. Tomorrow I will speak to your council and rectify this terrible state of affairs.”
“But my daughter -”
“We have not seen her here today, I can assure you.” He paused as one of his companions approached him and whispered into his ear. “Ah, a young girl was seen going into the cottage of the dog-man during rainfall. We have no jurisdiction there, but I can assure you she is safe. For now at least.”
“Who’s jurisdiction is that?”
“She has entered the Old Fairy Kingdom, under the rule of the Fairy Queen.”
“And where is this?”
“This is where the Elven King rules,” the elf said as they threw a bag over Darrick's head.
“What will you do with me?” Darrick asked as he was propelled forward, hands gripping his arms tightly.
“Ah, we shall see.”

Next: Fairies
Back to the theme list.

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From Wikipedia:
An elf (plural: elves) is a type of supernatural being in Germanic mythology and folklore.[1][2] Early elves, whose description depends almost entirely on Norse mythology texts, were a race of beings with magical skills, ambivalent towards humans and capable of either helping or hindering them. But Christianized societies were viewing elves in increasingly sinister light.[3] In Anglo-Saxon England as early as the 10th century, Old English medical books attest to elves afflicting humans and livestock by "elf-shots". The German elf or alp was seen as an "addler" of people in medical books, but already in the High Middle Ages there were prayers warding against it as the agent causing nightmares, and eventually for the alp its identity as nightmare spirits became predominant.

However, I think I'm more influenced by modern fantasy representations of elves, by such writers such as Tolkien and Flewelling. 

16 comments:

  1. This is a well-written piece, and in a such a short period of time, I became invested in what happens next. That isn't easy to do with flash fiction. Great work!

    http://lgkeltner.blogspot.com/
    http://warpednerdiversity.blogspot.com/

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  2. Of all colors he had to be a blond?!?

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  3. lovely. Keep writing. I'd totally read a short story or novella with this as a background.

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  4. Cool. This is kind of reminding me of Lord of the Rings. :)

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  5. I would not want to be kidnapped by elves. I wonder what they're going to do....

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  6. I'm excited to read what happens next.. ^.^

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  7. I've always admired fiction writers for being able to create from the imagination. Nice use of details w/ the animals to set the scene.

    Aloha from Maui! Maui Jungalow

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  8. Haughty bunch, elves! And sticklers for the rules even in the face of an emergency - I'm not sure I like them...
    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
    Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

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  9. This story is SO magical. Have to read more!

    Sania @ Fragile Words

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  10. I have to admit that I too am heavily influenced by Tolkien's depiction of elves.
    "They’ll not remember anything more than where to find the best free wine and women." I enjoy witty remarks by characters! :-)

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  11. I'm like, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!?!?!? Very engaging piece!

    LuAnn Braley
    AJ's Hooligans @AtoZChallenge
    Back Porchervations

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  12. Oh dear, sounds like Darrick is in trouble. I hope elves aren't as unbending as this one seems.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings - AtoZ (Vampires)
    FB3X - AtoZ (Erotic Drabbles)

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  13. Oh no...the elves caught Darrick and his daughter has wandered into the land of Fairy Queen....now what?

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  14. The story has progressed so beautifully, I can already imagine a movie.
    Amazing imagery and cool suspense.
    an-unexpected-visitor.html

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  15. Elf is a good choice for today!

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    Timothy S. Brannan
    The Other Side, April Blog Challenge: The A to Z of Witches

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