Written By Jess O’Brien
“Beast! Come back!” cried the young messenger, as his canine companion ran off road and into the surrounding forest. Damnit, he thought to himself. This was his very first assignment alone and he did not want to start with the rookie mistake of going off course, risking the chance of becoming lost and fresh prey for the magical creatures that were rumoured to hunt these woods, as so many before him had fallen victim to.
But to continue without Beast, a source of protection from bandits and other predators he had as much reason to fear on the road, was as good as suicide!
As he stood alone, absorbed in an inner conflict, it was easy for the young messenger’s onlooker to go unnoticed, a bewitched hound at her side.
Lonely, isolated, comfortless, rejected, destitute, unbefriended, uncherished, outcast; all were how she would describe her existence. Her reputation as a Fae with humans she knew to be tainted, not that their ignorance could be at fault.
For centuries folklore had told of the Fae, and in that time had painted an everlasting image that frightened superstitious people. Leading to the banishment and assassination of many of her kind, leaving to this day a very low number left in hiding, fighting extinction, including herself.
That’s why on this late sunny afternoon, when she heard the distressed cries of a man, she could not resist the temptation of the potential for physical contact, even if it was that of a human.
Enchanting the agitated and thrashing hound had not been easy, it wanting deperately to be reunited with its owner, remorseful for chasing the hare and abandoning him. She appreciated, however, that in order to lure the hesitant man into the woods this would be the way.
Sighing, the young messenger, still arguing with himself, knew in his conscience he could not just abandon his oldest friend in fear of the woods.
He did not even believe the old legends telling of evil Fae, feeding on the victims that stumbled into their lure. Ridiculous! He told himself as he embarked into the trees, a new sense of bravado propelling him forward.
As he walked, he found himself feeling increasingly calm, all of his fear and caution fleeing his body, leaving him peaceful and content. He did not even flinch as a naked imp like creature blocked his path, bearing fanged teeth, he was almost happy as he approached her and walked straight into her web.
The closer he got, however, the more the spell wore off, the more aware he became and the more frightened he felt. How have I allowed myself to become trapped like this? He chastised himself, although he knew regret was useless now.
Looking up at the womanly imp, he was blown away by her strange beauty, finding himself attracted to her defensive stance, rather than repulsed.
The creature, still bearing fangs, cocked her head to the side as the man looked at her in awe. Why is he not begging for freedom? She wondered, backing up slowly as he approached furter.
“So beautiful” he gushed to her, “let me stay with you and cherish you forever.”
Such happiness filled her heart as she beckoned him into her embrace. But before he reached her, a heavy load landed on her chest, pushing her onto her back.
Looking up, horrified, into the eyes of the hound, she could only scream as it bent down and ripped out her throat.
“Beast, no!” the messenger exclaimed, running to his new lovers body.
“Ni ‘lassui” she whispered in a language he could not understand, as she died in his arms.