Ataneq also peered around. “It feels different.” He started to run further down the path.
“Slow down, Neq, I’m not as young as I used to be!” Truth was, Mary was feeling every bit of her 70 years as the heat folded around her. She took off her shawl and used it to wipe her sweat. “Oh my! Why is it so hot here?”
Ataneq stopped and waited. “I do believe that we’ve been joined by a new fairy kingdom,” he said as he waited for her to catch up. “Isn’t that exciting?”
“It is. But how does it happen?” Mary had been in and out of the Old Fairy Kingdom ever since she was 8 years old when that old meddling crone, Baba Yaga, had lured her sister in. Her grandmother, the Fairy Queen, had been dead against their presence in the Kingdom, harbouring her anger and hatred against her supposedly human father, only to find that Darrick Hays was half elf and half human. They’d been given grudging permission since then to enter the Kingdom. Whilst their friends had been allowed in as children due to the Dragon’s decree, only Jane and Mary had been allowed the privilege of continued access until now because of their blood ties.
“I don’t know. I’m not entirely sure how I stumbled into this one either.”
They walked down the overgrown path, Ataneq slowing his pace to match Mary’s. He looked at her with worry sometimes. She’d been a bright, young girl when he’d first met her, and now she was old and grey while he hadn’t changed a bit. The ravages of time. He hated it. He was glad now that he hadn’t made an effort to find his way back home when Baba Yaga had offered to turn him back to a human. Too many years had passed - his wife and sons would have died by then so there was nothing for him to return home to. This was now his home, for better or worse.
“Does it look to you like there’s some sort of plague here?” Mary asked, dislodging him from his melancholic thoughts.
“Is there?” He peered closely at the tree he was standing next too. “Well, it looks like a tree. It’s a little… pale? But maybe that’s just what trees in this place look like. You know, maybe they’re a light-bark type of tree.”
“But I don’t think they’re supposed to be slightly transparent, do you? Do you think we should as Euthalia for her opinion?”
“I don’t see why not.” On second thoughts, Mary was right. The tree didn’t just look pale. It looked a little translucent. Another thought struck him. “I suppose these trees can talk to the dryads?”
“How would I know? Can’t all trees talk to dryads?”
“Well, how were you planning on calling Euthalia then?”
“Oh. I hadn’t thought that far. I just assumed that we could call her and she’d appear as she always did.”
“We can try.”
Mary and Ataneq took turns calling for the dryad by name. When she didn’t appear after a few minutes, Ataneq shrugged and said, “I suppose that answers it. These trees probably don’t talk to the dryads. Or, not yet anyway, if they really are from a new realm.”
Mary looked around. “So, should we go on or do we go back?”
“Oh, onwards, of course!” Ataneq grinned. “It has been a long time since we had a new adventure!”
“Everyday is an adventure with you, adlet,” she teased in reply. “I never know when you’ll turn round and try to eat me!”
Ataneq laughed. “You know I’ll never eat you. I don’t like the taste of stringy old women!”
Here's a little excerpt of what I've been working on for NaNoWriMo!
I'm awfully far behind, so any form of moral support is welcome. :D
|Here is my extremely pathetic wordcount graph|