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Whisper and the Red Witch, Part 1.


Banned - What an Asshat!
Whisper and the Red Witch, Part 1.

The Orb, it was simply called, tiny as a spec of sand, had changed. Whisper had felt its change, for was she not the Gaurdian of such things? The Guardian of Magic, and all that lay within its boundaries? Boundaries that were, by the sickly pallor of The Orb, failing. Where once The Orb had been so brilliantly white that even it's young (though three thousand years old by human terms) Gaurdian had shielded her eyes from it, there was now only the faintest yellow glow, and a resounding hum that made her ill.

The faery kin were done with their night song, and the sun grew to its full morning sharpness. The brightness and chill of the morning meant little to Whisper, although it served to make The Orb more pointedly diminished.

She could feel the sadness creeping into her elfkin heart, and knew by some instinct that this was how the fearsome Red Witch (whose true name even Whisper feared to utter, and hence shall not be written here), would destroy her kin and kinfolk. Not simply kill, but utterly erase. The sadness emanating from the cursed item, so small and certainly ill, infected Whisper most of all.
The faerykin felt it, as much as the elfkin and trollkin, and all creatures that lived in the light. It spread like the poison from a spider bite on one's heel, leaving thick red smears of death until it reached the heart. This was her doom, and the doom of all her kin.

The knock came at the hatch to her oak home, and had Whisper not been pondering the death of All, she would have heard it. As it were, Whisper had an amazing talent for concentration, one that voided all other occurrences.
"Whisper!" The harsh voice came, and startled her from her ponderings. "Do'ee not here when thy master comes?" Old Bark, for he was old even before Whisper was born, and crotchety long before he was Old, stood before her. The scent of him was comforting, for he was thick with the smell of the forest. His hair fell around him in green waves, covering his rough and tree-like skin. He lifted a gnarled, shaking finger at her. "Thy have no point for manners, to be true!"

Whisper hung her own head, her sky colored hair bobbed slightly. "Forgive me, Father, for I am deep in thought this dawning."

"Aye, that thee are, child, that thee are. Pay no mind to an old crowing rooster like me self, and tell me what vexes thee, light of the earth."

"The Orb, the sickness. Two unicorns, both female were found after midnight, after the Red Witches hour."

Old Bark nodded his tree like face as if this were to be expected. "Throat and horn slit, do'ee say true?" He petted the cropped blue hair of his prodigy, his daughter.

"Aye, true as the blood in my veins."

"And, would'ee look up to an old man's eyes, eyes that have seen to much pain of late, and let me see thy tears?"

Whisper did as he bade, her face rising to his. The gnarled old man kissed her eyelids with paper thin lips, lips that were warm with the taste of life and full of strength even still.

Immediately, Whisper felt refreshed if not better.

Old Bark took the ill-feeling Orb from her hand, and placed it in his pouch.
Whisper thought that she could not rest, she could not close her small purple eyes and shut away the images that came to her at night, but lying in her hammock, with Old Bark's gruff voice suddenly soft and sweet with song, Whisper did sleep. She did sleep, and she did dream.

What Whisper dreamt of was her own as such a thing is her secret, her fear. But know that she trembled as the walls bled behind a masked figure, and voices sang words of darkness around her.

The sun peaked above the ancient golden green of the forest, and Whisper rose sweaty and tired from her rest. She should not have slept, for she could still see the unicorn, one she had known from her own cradle and called Aunt Mirth. Mirth had been a good, genteel soul, and Whisper's pain was unmatched. The oddity was that she had not known the second unicorn, who was another female. It was unfortunate to lose two unicorns in such a violent manner, especially two female unicorns, who were in truth the Guardians of Creation. But, so be it. There were others still, though Whisper had known only Mirth and not any other, for unicorns were a secretive and silent lot since before the dawn of time.

Whisper, whose elfin skin shone with the glistening of fever-sweat, knelt at the feet of her master and laid her head upon his skinny knee. It was a long moment before he spoke.

"There is a task for you, child Whisper. A task that you must complete, and leave over the task of Guardian of The Orb to another." He placed a finger on her lip to stop her protests before they began. "Such is the way, for long have I known that this is not the life for thee, long before thee were even birthed."

She went to speak against this, but could not. Old Bark could only speak the truth, for the Forest Master could speak nothing that was not true, it was a fact of his simple and dignified existence.

Old Bark lifted her warm, small hand to his face, the striking difference between her own smooth white skin and his tan, wrinkled face imprinted itself upon her. Never had she noticed so many differences between the man she had always called father and herself, never in her life.

"You will go to the human world, and seek a boy. He will know you, for he is truly elfkin. But you must make haste, and you must be wary, for the Red Witch will stand in thee path if she can."

"Why?" She would do as he bid, if only for her love for him, even if her throat was closing on her, and her heart cringed in her small chest.

"Because only he can heal us, though to be sure he does not know it yet. In fact, he truly does not know he is elfkin, and he does not know he is the Key."

"What will I do with this…boy….when I find him? And how will I know him? How will I talk to him? I know not of the mundane world!"

At this, Old Bark bent low to her face, so low that she could feel the warmth of him er cheeks, and smell the fresh, earthy soil of his breath. "I know not, my daughter, I only know that the stars command it, and if this is to be our last, we will follow the stars, if nothing else. But, as I know thee have never been to the mundane side, I have brought one to go with thee, beautiful daughter."

"Oh! That would be lovely, a traveling companion. Whom should this be?" There was excitement in her voice, and the slightest hint of fear. Whisper was brave to the last, but Old Bark picked up on her fear.

"Grimspoon." Old Bark said, and had his voice not held a solid, humorless sound, Whisper would have thought he joked.

"The Troll!" She cried out. "Surely another could go, perhaps a Northern Prince? Someone who does not smell of garbage and swamp, at the very least!"

"Bah, are thee so great that one such as he could not accompany thee? Hush thy mouth, child, for I have taught'ee better than that."

"But, surely, he stinks!"

And with that, Old Bark patted her head as one would a small, obedient pet, and called the troll to him.


Banned - What an Asshat!
Lumbering through Faeryton was not an easy task for Grimspoon, he was as tall as the eldest of oaks and round as two put together. His snout lifted at the sweet stench of flowers and faery dust, and his ears twitched against the grainy tone of their high pitched day song. It was nearly an impossible task for the old troll to miss the small mushroom houses and smaller faerykin, and they shouted horrid things as he walked by. Luckily, Grimspoon being as large as he was and faerykin as small as they were, most taunts went unheard by his massive hairy twitching ears.

"Watch where you step you son of a black mongoose! An overgrown black mongoose!"

"Bah, the stench killed my roses!"

"You horrid creature, get thee back to the foul swamp!"

Those were only the start.

Grimspoons eyes filled with tears, but he stopped them. Imagine being the size of two giant redwood trees with a heart the size of a human head, ears the size of a small dog, and a smell the size of a hundred barrels of rotting fish. Even so, for all his gruff and bluster, Grimspoon was a genteel soul. This was true of most Trolls, Giants, Ogres, and even Orcs, and if some were grumpy or mean or just down right evil, imagine that it was because no other race gave them a second look other than to taunt them. Taunts which surely fell on massive ears and wound their way like a centipede to a massive heart, a heart that took in everything. More sour than sweet will rot the heart faster, as it were.

Grimspoon made it, finally, and thankfully without accidentally stepping on a delicate faery, sicking up from the stench or crying from the taunts, to Whisper's Guardian tree. The tree itself yawned at his approach, for this was nothing new to the tree, which had been visited by three trolls in the last four hundred years. And that is three visits too many by a tree's count.

It was Old Bark who greeted him, slapping a gnarly withered old paw against the giants fingertips, and shouting "Ho there old friend!" at the top of his lungs, with a rueful glance to his petulant daughter.

"I don' wan' go to the hum'n world, Old Bark." The giant whispered, although a whisper from him was like a shout to Whisper, who glared back.

"Ah, but you will, old friend, because the stars will it so. So it was written in the sky, nigh a fortnight past and even thy father saw it."

Grimspoon the Troll wagged his massive, furry and pimpled face.

The smaller two, Old Bark and Whisper, climbed upon the shoulders of the great trollkin, and sat easily there, nestled in his furry skin. Well, it should be said that Old Bark sat easily, petting the lice and fleas which were nearly as large as he, whilst Whisper glowered furiously, her tiny nose pinched together. This time, there were no taunts for the troll, not after Old Bark stood and shook his stave at the faerykin, who dared not his wrath, and ducked behind their mushroom homes. A few, however, did dare, and stuck their small pink tongues out as the three passed. Old Bark noted them, for it is said (and probably true) that he has eyes in the back of his wooden head.

Their walk was short, for a trollkin can make, in one step, a trek that would take the elfkin or faerykin an hour on foot. Short as it was, Whisper spent her time with her eyes downcast, her face screwed by resentment, frustration, and stench. Old Bark, however, took, as he had on many occasion, the time to view his magical world from a high point. And this, my dears, is what the ancient Tree Guardian saw from the shoulders of a foul, swampy and lice ridden trollkin.

The ground was so far down, but heights were not a real bother for him who lives on the treetops and glides through their branches with ease. The trees bowed as Old Bark past, and he could hear their soothing whispers, for which he named his only daughter. The grass moved enough to not be trampled by the lumbering troll, though the grass knows its place as a carpet. The sun, bright in the afternoon sky, bright and red as a ruby-or, Old Bark thought darkly, the Red Witches single flaring eye-sparkled through the leaves and lay a striking thread through the earth, warming places oft cooled by shadow. The birds, fowl of all kinds and makes and unimaginable colors, danced upon the winds kiss, and flew near to give their homage. Here and there, the darker kind of forest folk, from the two headed snake Masstiffen who ruled all the snakes, to the smallest SpiderQueen, Widowmaker, came out and paid their respects to the three, for all the leaders of all the magic kind knew of the star-prophecy, but more so, they knew that their future depended on the elf female and the great, hairy troll.

The time passed quickly for Old Bark and Grimspoon, but rather slowly for poor dear Whisper. They soon reached the End O' The Clearing, a long and thick meadow of buttercups and bluebells, but none of the flora were quite so poignant as the tiger lilies, whose blessed job was to protect the Obelisk that lay beyond the meadow. The Obelisk, as it were, did not truly need protection, but the reason tiger lilies had taken this task upon themselves was old and continuously for debate in various social and scribe circles.

"Ahem," Old Bark cleared his throat, and pointed his staff at the row of growling flowers, "I say, do'ee have a right to keep us from our place?"

The largest of the tiger lilies, who had named himself Tiger, and his son Lily (not a very imaginative move, but these are flowers), let out a roar that would make any true tiger proud.

"Bah, off with'ee glamour, plant."

Tiger roared again, and Whisper covered her ears to the noise. The wall of tiger lilies grew closer together, forming a weaving sort of lattice, which growled and rumbled beneath the meadow's bright ruby sun.

Whisper, having lived her entire magical life within the safe confines of the Western Wood and FaeryHold, was rather confused, a new feeling for the young elfkin, and one she rather did not enjoy. The widening of her purple eyes and tremble of her marble white skin was also a new feeling, for an elfkin such as herself had yet to feel fear. Sorrow, she knew well. But Fear, the kind that creeps through the spine when faced with the unknown was rather knew and the newness of it fed into her own Fear like coals upon a fire.

Tiger reared back his massive orange head, nearly the size of Grimspoon's troll head, and snapped Old Bark up in its plethora of yellow and orange spotted petals.

Grimspoon, who was nearly as slow of wit as he was slow of foot, cried out, in what a mundane may call "A delayed reaction."

Whisper, however, was not delayed. Not at all. And now, a feeling different from Fear, but one she was very familiar with, came full force into her pale cheeks, burning them with its redness. Anger, yes Anger. Whisper liked that feeling, perhaps a bit too much. Anger fueled her, though elfkin should feel not but happy and joy, Whisper was true blue Angry.

Anger manifested itself, falling from her face and to her hands, and before Grimspoon could tell her to stop, before the spry young girl could stop herself, Anger bellowed out from her thin hands in great flaming streaks of fire.

Tiger, the king of the tiger lilies, was no more, and from his ashes fell a bewildered and rather unharmed Old Bark, who rushed to catch the small elfkin as she toppled from Grimspoon's huge shoulder.

"Hush now, child. That be a magic I pray thee'd not learn, but'ee did, didn't thee." Old Bark rumbled against her pale face, his own woody face gnarled with the forming of tears.

Grimspoon looked at the two, the blank look of a dolt crossing his bulbous face.

Old Bark carried Whisper the rest of the way, across the meadow where neither flower nor bee nor even field mouse crossed their path, and even the short crab grass ceased its muttering as they passed.

The Obelisk stood tall; thirty spans taller than the trollkin, and its shadow fell round, so that no weed could grow within ten feet of its base. Setting Whisper to her feet, Old Bark called out in words that even Whisper had never heard, and the Obelisk answered him.

"None may cross through my gates, never more, never more. The way is barred, turn back, turn away, and forget thee ever were here."

Whisper took this as her leave, and uttered and almost cheery "Alright, then!" as she turned and huffed away between Grimspoon's booted feet.

"HOLD CHILD!" Came a firm, shouting voice Whisper had not heard since she and her schoolyard friends stomped Missuz Frostwing's flower garden. She stopped, and none to lightly, having to grab the back of Grimspoon's pant leg to keep from falling on her rump.

The Obelisk laughed, and when it did so, its door opened with a loud swoosh! and Old Bark shoved his staff in its maw, to keep the door from closing again.

"Hurry child! Hurry trollkin! I can not hold it for thee long!"

Without hesitation, Grimspoon did as he was bade, because that was his place in the works of things. Whisper, however, did hesitate. She hesitated with a longing look towards the western sky, where she could almost see the tree tops of her WesterWood, almost. Her hesitation was cut short by the brisk and gruff grasp of Grimspoon, who had no desire to go such a trip on his own, and so he jerked the elf female into the black of the Obelisk's rumbling (no longer laughing) maw, and both were thrust into darkness.

Old bark pulled his stave from the Obelisk, and shook it towards the great black tower in anger. "That'll teach'ee, to be sure!" He hit the black glossy tower twice with his staff for effect, and smiled proudly.

To which the Obelisk made no reply.