Once upon a time, there was a key. And there was a lock. If the key ever found the lock, chaos would ensue. The lock, a grand piece of gold and silver, was embedded in a tree which lived in the Elodeave Forest, and the key was in the pocket of the human-bird, Carlisle. And he wanted to open that door.
Carlisle had no army. He only had his hawk Gerard and his human-bird accomplice, Edmund, and they needed to find the tree that had the key's lock. Most every tree had a lock; there were many things that the Old Magicians felt needed to be contained, and the trees didn't mind being the containers. To find the right lock, they needed a wood nymph's guidance, and an evil one at that. They had one. They'd acquired one in the Sphygma Woods, and were already heading for the Elodeave Forest.
This is where my story starts.
The twigs beneath us snapped and crackled as we shifted our weight, waiting impatiently for Carlisle and Edmund to arrive. Next to me, Emory's wing twitched and fluttered, brushing against my own. It made my heart skip a beat, and my stomach twist. He glanced at me and smiled. On my other side, I heard Lovet's sharp intake of breath before he said, with his slight foreign accent, "Here they come."
I looked up, repositioning myself behind the bush, and making sure that our wings weren't visible above the leaves. Lovet had the sharper eyes, being part snow owl, and we agreed that he would be the one to give the signal for attack.
A moment passed, and I could see Carlisle's face. Another moment, and we got ready to attack. Then Lovet gave the signal.
We pushed off the ground hard with our legs and spread our wings. Carlisle and Edmund looked stunned, but only for a brief moment, before they, too, launched themselves into the air. I shot a few arrows with my bow in their direction as they gained altitude, but they moved too quickly for me to hit them. Magic was my better weapon, but I couldn't use too much energy at the start of a battle.
One of Emory's arrows scraped Edmund's leg, and another very narrowly missed his wing. Edmund found the source of the arrows quickly, and positioned his spear. He and Carlisle weren't afraid to attack directly.
Before I could stop anything from happening, I saw the hawk Gerard fly in from my left. Thinking quickly, I flung a trap at him, hoping the bird's wings would get tangled in the net. It worked, and Gerard fell into the ground, hard.
Seeing this, Carlisle's face twisted in range, and he came at me with a spear and a dagger. I let loose some magic, trying to form a barrier between us, but he broke it with his own magic, and raised the spear. I tried to move out of the way, but it clipped my wing.
Hearing me cry out, Lovet turned his attention from Edmund to me. He flew back a few feet, and prepared to shoot an arrow from his bow. The arrow missed its mark, but Carlisle's attention was diverted, allowing me to escape.
Carlisle must have decided that battling was wasting time, but he couldn't have us trailing him, so he let the wood nymph out of its cage and sent it towards the Elodeave Forest. Seeing this, I shouted, "Stop that bloody wood nymph!"
Emory was the first to react. He darted towards the little flying creature, throwing a trap at it, but the nymph's small size enabled it to dart out of the way swiftly. Emory chased it, and tried to get in front of it to herd it in another direction, but the nymph only flew under him and kept going.
I heard Lovet cry out, and I realized that we no longer had an advantage, now that Emory was dealing with the nymph. I quickly loaded my bow, whispered magic words so that the arrow would light on fire, and aimed for Edmund. He and Carlisle had been tormenting Lovet with their magic, and I felt guilty for not noticing. Edmund was not facing me, and I had a clear view of his back; and a lot of space for target.
I shot. And I hit his back. Edmund cried out as his shirt caught fire and he began to bleed profusely. Carlisle quickly put the fire out with magic, but not before it burned Edmund's skin. Lovet darted towards me, and Emory appeared on my other side. At a glance towards the forest, and at his face, I could tell that he couldn't stop the nymph. Now, we had to stop Carlisle and Edmund for sure.
The three of us faced Carlisle and Edmund. We were all breathing hard; fighting in the air was twice as difficult as fighting on land, because our wings were constantly active. Lovet whispered magic words, and Emory and I were suddenly less tired. I whipped my head around to look at him, but he didn't dare look at me. Taking the fatigue of another added to your own stress. And Lovet had just taken twice the amount of exhaustion, leaving him with less energy.
Emory started to chant on my other side, and I caught on. Lovet shot a few arrows to keep the attention away from Emory and I, and Carlisle and Edmund dodged them easily. It gave us time to complete the song, though, and in a moment the wound in Edmund's back grew bigger and the burnt skin grew hotter, as he cried out, long and loud. We were recreating the wound, making it more painful, leaving him useless to Carlisle who turned and glared death at us.
He put his dagger in the hilt that hung from his waist, and snatched Edmund's spear away, coming at us both with a spear now in each hand.
I instinctively backed up and set the wood of a spear on fire, the same way I set the arrow on fire. Startled, Carlisle dropped it, and shot magic at us. Emory threw up a reflecting field, but the magic didn't strike Carlisle or the weakened Edmund when it was thrown back. They'd both moved out of the way.
Something caught Edmund's attention, and he said, voice haggard, "Carlisle, look." He pointed weakly towards the forest, and we all turned to look. Red sparks were shooting up at a spot about a mile into the forest.
Carlisle grinned wickedly, and flew towards it without even bothering to help Edmund or stall us any longer.
Lovet hadn't regained much energy, but he was much better off than Edmund. "Guard him," I said, motioning towards the panting human-hawk. Lovet nodded and bound Edmund with a bit of magic as Emory and I flew after Carlisle, who now had a head start.
Emory took my hand and, despite the situation, I felt sparks inside me as he pulled me along; he was the faster flyer.
Carlisle was ahead as he dove into a space between the trees. We followed him in a second later, and Emory had to let go of me, as we found our way through a few branches and to the forest floor. Our wings couldn't help us anymore.
We saw Carlisle running, to our left, and started that way. It wasn't long before he was in view, and I pulled out an arrow, setting it into my bow. Emory took them for me and shot, instead, knowing I may not have made it running. The arrow hit Carlisle's wing, but he didn't stop. He threw back twigs and small branches with magic, trying to slow us down, but we didn't stop, either.
We started to run along the banks of a small river that ran through the Elodeave Forest, and I knew we were getting close. Out of desperation, I swung water out of the river at Carlisle, and tried to freeze it, but with my low energy, I couldn't make it work. Emory was only able to freeze Carlisle's torso, and that didn't stop him from running.
Suddenly, we were in a clearing, and the nymph was jumping up and down in front of a tree whose gold and silver lock had been exposed. Emory and I stopped dead in our tracks, and shot magic at Carlisle, who was running even faster. The nymph negated the attack with magic of its own, and we realized that we were at a disadvantage with a fully energized nymph in front of us.
Carlisle stopped in front of the tree, and quickly searched his pockets for the key. He found it, and pulled it out slowly, gallantly, and we saw an extravagant piece of gold with intricate silver designs wrapped around it. This was terrible. The more magnificent the key and lock were, the worse the things were that were being contained within the tree.
An oak tree that sat near the lock-exposed tree must not have had a lock, and realized the matter, because it was able to move and tried to make its branches grow faster and longer, so that it could reach the key. One of its branches was growing faster, and I willed it on with magic. Neither Carlisle nor the nymph saw the branch, as it hooked itself through and around an embellishment of the key, and before Carlisle could make out the thief, the tree was in possession of the key.
Immediately, the wood nymph darted for the key, but the tree swung at it with another branch, keeping a tight hold on it.
Carlisle swore and threw fire at the good tree. Emory threw water from the river just as quickly, but the tree loosened its hold, and the nymph took the key. Then Carlisle had it again.
As the tree moved its branches to attack, the wood nymph numbed it, making it unable to move. Then we heard the sound of a metal on metal. We looked and saw that Carlisle had put the key into the lock and was turning it.
There was a click.
The key was thrown out of the tree, as things started crawling out of the lock; monstrous things which were human in form, but demons all the same. They were pale, and had fangs which they bared. Other creatures which changed from human to demon wolves poured out after them.
Most of them ran off into the forest, but others stayed and cornered Carlisle and Emory and I.
As Emory used magic to keep the demons away from us, a glittering piece of gold and silver caught my eye. The key! It was only a few feet away, but I couldn't alert the demons and move closer to them.
The oak tree, no longer bound by the distracted nymph, moved to get the key. It used another branch to swipe demons out of its way, and the creatures that had been circling in on us backed off, scared and confused. Moving trees must have evolved after they'd been locked in the tree.
It started to herd the demons back toward their tree, and some even pushed through the demons that were still coming out to go back in. Others ran away, and one of the demon wolves started to attack the tree's branch. I threw a wave of magic toward it, and it fell off of the branch. Emory and I started to help herding the demons toward the tree, as well.
When most of the demons had either run away or gone back into the tree, the oak tree placed the key back into the lock, and sealed it up. As Emory went to retrieve the key, I looked around for Carlisle, and saw him held up against a tree by a pale demon whose fangs were in his neck. Another was sucking at the blood that was pouring out of the wound on his wing.
I gasped and shot the demon in the heart with an arrow. A terrible, inhuman scream erupted from the demon as it disintegrated into dust. Its companion turned and fled.
Carlisle fell. We ran to him, and turned him over. I put a hand to my mouth as I took in his appearance; he was pale, eyes turning black, and his teeth turning into fangs. His wings, which were white, were turning black, and we knew that he was one of them.
We backed away, Emory standing in front of me with a wing outstretched as if to protect me, as Carlisle sat up and looked at us. He took in a black wing, and then ran his tongue over his teeth.
He looked at us again, and said in a voice that was high and scratchy, "I wasn't expecting this," he smiled and we saw his sharp fangs, "But I like it."
Then he turned and ran off into the forest.
Emory turned at looked at my shaking form. He stepped forward and put his arms around me. "Gemma," he sighed. When he said my name, I couldn't control myself.
I remember rambling on and on about the demons and Carlisle, how terrifying they looked, how monstrous they were. They were the type of creatures mothers told their children about, to make them go to sleep, or else they'd come and eat them.
He hushed me and wrapped his wings around me, rocking me back and forth, comforting me. It was a few minutes before I stopped shaking and Emory wiped away my tears. He kissed my forehead, once, then twice, and wiped away a fresh tear. And then he was leading me away, back to Lovet and Edmund.
We left the demons that had escaped in the forest, but had the kingdom warned of what lay within; a very long and frightening account of what had happened was printed in the Daily Script, the next day.
Edmund was thrown into the Royal Dungeons, and Gerard the hawk was placed there in a cage.
Lovet, Emory, and I were promoted in the Royal Flight Guard to captains, and the King declared us heroes.
A year later, Emory and I were married.
I had to write a myth for my Humanities class, and this is what I wrote. Constructive criticism would be lovely, and very much appreciated. If you tell me you hate it, and tell my why you hate it, you'll be my best friend for life. Not really, but I'd still appreciate a review even like that one.