The Forbidden Forest

A Story Snippet

"Full moon shines tonight

Blue eyes sparkle bright

Beware of magic might

'Tis one hour 'till midnight"

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Booming and echoing, the deep voice resounded through the dark forest before fading away in the distance, leaving silence in its wake. In the shadows of the tree line, on the edge of the moonlit meadow, someone, or something, could be dimly seen. The dark shadow was clothed in a long, loose dress, its head covered by the hood of a cloak. In her hand was a Brundor Shepherd's Staff. The shepherdess' face was hidden in the black hole made by her hood, however, out of this darkness, two bright, burning, blue eyes gazed upon her surroundings.

She stood still, watching, listening, waiting. She knew that the rhyme was meant for her, for whom else but a mere human would need to be warned of danger in the magical Forbidden Forest, and what human had living blue eyes other than she. Yes, she needed to be careful, and it was good to know that midnight, the time when magic is strongest, was an hour away. For in this hour, she needed to complete her task and find shelter before the magic ones could do her the most harm. While she watched and waited, the shepherdess reflected on her past.

Why did her blue eyes glow with magic? Her parents were humans, she was human, and all their ancestors had been humans, so why were her eyes different? Every stranger who had seen Ina at her mountain village home had always asked if she had elfin ancestry, and when told the negative, they had always went away wondering at a child who had elf eyes but not elf blood. Ina didn't know herself why she had the mark of elf eyes and during many quiet nights her thoughts pondered this mystery.

Now she lived in Linwyn far from the Mytoriask Mountains of her home. Her spinster aunt had wanted a companion in her old age, so Ina had come to be with her. Aunt Isabel's small town lay just outside of the Forbidden Forest. Though Ina had been living with her aunt for a short time, she had been told all of the horrifying stories of that strange land. Ultimately, all had the same lesson,"No human who goes into the Forbidden Forest comes out alive." Consequently, Ina had a healthy dose of fear and respect for that realm of magic. So why was she here, in the Forbidden Forest? Simply because she was a Deisios Shepherdess, a shepherdess of children.

When Ina had left her mountain home, she had had to leave both her sheep and the children in her care with her brothers and sisters. She missed all of them dearly, yet had adjusted well to her new life. Early that morning, seven of the town children had run into the Forbidden Forest after their puppy, anxious that it might be harmed, not caring for their own safety. They'd been noticed missing later in the day and had been tracked to the edge of that fearsome land. It was at the border of The Forest that the searchers would not continue, cowardly refusing to go in after children that weren't their own. To ease their own conscience, they said that their was no hope now, the children were definitely dead by now. They agued so convincingly that even the children's own parents despaired of ever seeing them alive again. Not Ina. As a Deisios Shepherdess, she would always strive to find lost children, even if it meant courting death.

As soon as she had heard the news, she had made preparations to journey into the Forbidden Forest, to search for the little ones. She had quickly put on her free flowing mountain dress and cloak, gathered food, water, sling and staff and then she had begun her search. Little did she imagine what a journey it would prove to be.

Once Ina was in The Forest, her keen, sharp eyes easily followed the children's slightly obscured trail. Traveling swiftly, she had made quick progress, taking in stride all that came her way, yet she had not found the children as quickly as she hoped. Now she stood at the edge of the woodland, before her lay what a whisper was telling her was Were-wolf Meadow. Broken grass and the occasional footprint informed the shepherdess that the children had gone this way some time before. She had to be careful, though, always on the alert for danger. At last the cloud she'd been waiting for covered the moon, engulfing the land in shadow. Jogging forward, Ina continued on her way silently, her blue eyes glowing in the darkness