Trailing behind a raggedy old man through the woods, the cool October air nipped at my nose and ears. The staff or walking stick the old man held had a small carving of a bear in the head part, it looked to be fighting a buck. I shook my head, clearing it of possible explanations as to why that was carved into his staff of all things. The man slowed to a stop and pointed to a large mound of earth, it was covered with bright green moss. A pathway of small stones led to an opening to the mound, there must be a hidden room inside.
The old man turned around and walked back the way we came, I think he was just dropping me off. I turned to thank him, but he was nowhere to be seen. Almost as if he wasn’t there in the first place. I faced the mound again, but when I laid my eyes on it this time, it was a shack. Like it was a cabin out in the woods on a campground. I was more confused than ever at this point. I walked up to the door and knocked. Once, twice, and then a third time. It opened to reveal a lovely young woman, her rosy cheeks were bright against her pale skin. She wore a silk dress, almost like a slip, a feminine undergarment. There was a warm smell coming from inside the cabin, and I caught a whiff of nutmeg and ginger.
The woman smiled warmly and pulled on my hand, ushering me inside. Her hair was waist-long, ebony with beautiful curls that bounced with every step she took. She had piercing green eyes, pouring the spirit of the forest into my own. I held my breath as she sat me down at a wooden table, obviously made of a thick tree trunk.
“I am Isabelle, I want you to know that you’re very special,” she spoke suddenly. Her voice sounded like the breeze in a field, grass swaying to the melody. She sat across from me at the table, her posture absolutely perfect.
“You are full of wonder, stubbornness, and love. You have a tendency to wander through the woods when you are avoiding something, and your caring heart has so much kindness.” Her eyes brimmed with tears, I didn’t know what was happening, but all I knew was that she knew me in a way no one has ever known me.
“Thank you, but, why am I here? Why do you need me?” I asked, she said I was special, but I don’t know if that is to be taken as a good thing or not. She looked at me puzzled, her head tilted to the left.
“Didn’t you know? You’re the new king of Earis. Your stubbornness will lead the faey to victory and harmony.” She said this like I should already know what that meant. I’m now more confused than ever in my life. She stared straight at me, digging into my soul to see what impurities she could pick out. She eventually sat slumped in her seat, eyes still trained on me. My face reddened as she pulled her hair out of her eyes and behind her ears. They were as pointy and sharp as mine. I thought I was the only one. I thought it was a genetic mutation, that I wasn’t really real. But this is real. And she is real. And I am the King of Earis. I’ve heard about this place from an old folk-tale. It was a hidden part of the woods near where I lived and grew up. My foster parents always told me to stay away from it. From anything outside our property.
I stood up from the table and looked through the window to the outside.
A fir tree was rooted not twenty feet away, fire-flies twinkling all around it. But upon closer inspection, I realized to my surprise, that they were not fire-flies, but little flying people, with glowing skin and wings like a dragonfly. Their faces turned to me and I smiled in admiration. They giggled, and the sound was like a million tinkling bells. I smiled with pure happiness, they were so cute.
I looked to the left of the tree, a tall man in green robes looked at me and smiled, bowing slightly. He stared at me for a while, his emotionless gaze strangely calming. I turned around to face Isabelle, but she was standing at a cauldron, mixing those wonderful smells together.
“Isabelle, what am I supposed to do. I have no idea how to rule,” I said, exasperated. She hummed a melody, deep in her throat so that it sounded like a stringed instrument being played in a concert hall. Echoing off of the walls of the cozy cabin.
“In a way, all you have to do is create a system in which no one gets hurt, and people will love you and cherish your judgement.” Isabelle replied, swiveling on her heel to face me. I nodded my head, mulling over the thought of having so many people love me at once.
I walked outside and was met with a crowd of woodland creatures, some more human-like. The taller ones had a green tint to their skin, shimmering in the pale moonlight. Some applauded while others bowed in respect. I stubbornly stood there, unmoving, unsure of how to react. Isabelle came out behind me and handed me a crown of ivy. The leafs were shaped to look like a steeple, a real beauty. There were antlers on the sides, reaching two feet high. She placed it on my head, I looked out at all the creatures below me, and then I felt myself coming back. Memories flooded through my mind of the man by the tree holding my hand when I was only a child. He was my uncle, my Godfather. He was my father figure in my life after the accident that killed my parents. The winged fairies giggled again, making more memories come into focus. I was chasing them, while running from a squirrel, we were all laughing. Isabelle was there too, she was only a child, like me. This was where I belong. I am home, and these are my people.
I smiled and again, they bowed to my feet. “Long live the king of Earis.”