Submitted by Mina
Darkness turned to light as she slowly opened her eyes. A pair of sandalled feet were walking on the wall. The wall was cold. She turned her head to the side and saw a beautiful painting on the other wall. A white being and a red horned creature seemed to be arguing. A Rod of some sort was in the red horned creature’s hand. Suddenly she became aware of her body. She was leaning against the wall. Or was she? Her feet were not touching the ground.
"Are you alright?" A quiet male voice asked her. She turned her head again and looked at an old human male. He too was standing on the wall she leaned against. He held out his hand and helped her to her feet. She looked about with astonishment. What was up was now not. The sandalled feet walked on the ground and the painting was now above her.
"What were you doing lying on the cold dirt ground? There is hay and blankets in the corner for sleeping and rest, little one."
Little one indeed. To see this man’s face she had to look up high. Her head came only to his thighs. He wore a gray robe and looked very old and frail. His long white beard came down to his waist at which a little blue pouch hung from a rope. His hazel eyes looked down at her with grave concern. He stood leaning his weight on a gnarled wooden staff made of oak. His old face was very wrinkled but it was clear in this man’s face that with age came wisdom.
The old man bowed his head and said with great effort, "I Benio Matu. Who you?" Benio shook his head. "I am sorry. My pixie is still a little rough."
She giggled and Benio smiled at her.
"What is your name, my pixie child?" he asked in the common tongue.
In her little pixie voice she replied in common, "I am... I..." She blinked. "I do not know!" she cried in her tiny high-pitched voice.
Benio nodded sadly. "Do you know how old you are? Where you live? Do you remember your parents?"
The tidal wave of questions splashed down on her and she took a moment to absorb them in. "I... I am twelve years old" and I live in... um... Somewhere! My parents are... are... I cannot remember!"
The pixie burst into tears and Benio wrapped his frail arm around her.
"Come. Sit down," He said motioning to a bench against the wall.
The little pixie child opened her wings and flew over to the bench gracefully.
"I see you have grown into your wings nicely," Benio said with a smile attempting to cheer the poor pixie up.
The pixie sat down on the bench next to a tall ugly creature. It’s skin was black and covered with flaws such as warts and hairy moles. It was not a very pleasant thing to look at and the pixie did not hide her disgust well.
"What are you looking at pesky insect?" The river troll snarled. It’s deep snarling voice frightened the pixie and it quickly moved farther away.
Benio sat down next to the pixie and put a wrinkled hand on the pixie’s tiny shoulder.
"Do not mind the troll. Caltos is just born arrogant," Benio chuckled.
"Arrogant is not the word. Annoyed is more like it. And if this little bug continues to annoy me I shall pluck off her wings and eat them for dinner." Caltos smiled and licked his lips.
The pixie gasped and moved closer to Benio.
"Trolls are not nice?" The pixie said slowly.
"Well, a nice troll is like a rare gem. If you find one be sure to keep it close and treasure it dearly," Benio replied smiling.
Caltos scoffed, "Nice troll? Ha!" Then he stood up and left out through the stone doorway leading outside.
"Polite as well..." The pixie giggled.
Benio chucked nodding, "Well then. What shall we do with you? You do not remember you name, where you come from, and you probably do not even remember why you are here." The pixie shook her head, "No I do not know."
Benio stood up and handed some gold coins to a human woman in purple robes. She nodded and waved her hands over the pixie. Suddenly she felt someone or something protecting her. She flew up into the air in fear.
"Do not worry little one. Misty only cast a spell called armor on you. It is to protect you. Come down now," Benio called up to her.
The pixie slowly fluttered down and landed on the bench. Misty winked at her and turned to a human male who was bleeding from his arm. He winced and then calmed down as Misty ran her hands over the wound.
"Misty is our healer here in Naerlan. Naerlan is the city we are in right now. This room is an alcove by the temple altar in which all the weary adventurers can rest and be healed," Benio said and then slowly turned towards the stone doorway. "Come we should go now."
The pixie nodded and took flight, flying next to Benio as they walked out.
They walked down the streets silently as the pixie wide-eyed looked at all the sights. Merchants walked the streets selling wares, warriors sheathed their swords as they entered though the great gate, thieves looked about trying to look inconspicuous, and mages wandered about reading scrolls looking as if they were about to walk into the walls if they did not look up soon. The pixie kept close to Benio as they walked out the gate, down a dusty path, and through a dense forest. They pasted by some tall human like creatures who had pointed ears and very high cheek bones not unlike those of a pixie.
"What were those? Where are we?" The pixie asked curiously.
"We are in the Valley of the Elves and those were sylvan elves. They are relatives to pixies and have fairer skin than their cousins the heishan elves. It is said that they were the second race to be created. Humans were the first. But of course this tale was first told by a human," Benio smiled as he winked at the pixie.
She giggled and they continued into the forest.
The cottage was small but cozy. It was made of stones and wooden beams and the ceiling was straw put together so tightly that it seemed that a storm could go by unnoticed while inside. A stone fireplace stood against the far wall from the door. Benio sat in an upholstered black velvet armchair in front of it. He waved at the fireplace and a fire started to crackle within it. The pixie, wide-eyed, stood in the doorway amazed by what she had seen. She watched as his hand pointed to a corner against the other side of the room an beckoned with his bony finger. Suddenly a black velvet footrest galloped towards the hand on its four wooden legs. "You cannot stand at the doorway forever, little one. Have a seat," Benio said motioning to the footrest that now stood still.
The pixie slowly flew over to him and rested on the chair’s arm.
"I do not trust furniture that can run. It may move out from under me!" She stated in her pixie tongue as to not upset the footrest if it by chance could hear her.
Benio chuckled, "The furniture moves at my will. I assure you it will not move unless I tell it to." The pixie smiled, "Still, I prefer it here."
Benio nodded and rested his hands on his lap as he spoke, "What are we to do about you? Hmm? No name. No home. No past..."
The pixie frowned.
He turned his head towards the tiny pixie child. Her eyes were deep blue, like sapphires, and they peered back into his eyes with grave sadness. Her hair was brown, slightly curled and rested on her shoulders. Her wings shimmered as she nervously folded and unfolded them behind her back. "Benio... Give me a name," the little pixie said quietly.
He sighed, "I cannot. It would not be right for a stranger, such as I, to give you, such the beautiful creature that you are, a name."
The pixie frowned. Her pouting lips looked as if they had been painted on. They were ruby red and were a striking contrast to the colour of her face. Her skin was of a creamy light complexion and it sparkled like nothing Benio had seen before.
Gently he wiped a tear from the pixie’s cheek.
"Very well," he sighed. "You shall have a name. A name that describes you and your unmatched beauty. That name shall be..."
The pixie hung onto his words with great anticipation.
"... Fawn. Gentle and innocent, with eyes that see the world as no other can. One who will grow from child to doe and become beautiful, graceful, and elegant like no other."
Fawn wrapped her arms around Benio’s neck and smiled through her tears, "Oh thank you! Thank you, Benio. Thank you so much."
Benio chucked, wrapping his arm around her shoulder, "You are welcome, little one."
For many years Fawn remained with Benio in his cottage. There they looked after each other as if he was her father and she was his daughter. He taught her the ways of a mage and how to battle with spells as well as a few healing spells he had learned from his deceased cleric wife.
"Benio, you never speak of your wife. Why not? I know she passed away but to where and why?" Fawn asked one day as they sat before the fireplace after a long day of spell reciting.
"It is not important. Besides, you are too young to know of such terrible things," Benio replied.
"Too young?" Fawn questioned. "I am seventeen years old! Or do you forget?" Fawn smirked.
Benio chuckled, "I am sorry, my child. The years have past too quickly and you have not changed from when we first met."
In her typical arguing manner Fawn proceeded,"Yes I have. I am taller; three feet now and my hair is longer. If I am not mistaken, when I was twelve I do not believe I had these." She said looking down at her chest.
Benio smiled, "You still look like a child in my eyes and you know that will never change, my dearest Fawn."
Fawn smiled and held Benio’s old hand in her tiny hand, "I know. You will never change to me either. You are my father and I love you for what you have done for me."
A tear ran down his cheek and she gently wiped it away speaking softly, "If you do not wish to speak of her we do not have to."
Benio shook his head, "No, it is alright. I have not spoken of her in years... My wife, she was a beautiful pixie. Maeve, the Goddess of dreams and magic; and Jirah, Goddess of temptations by far could have not matched her appearance.
We first met in Xe’ilth, the main pixie hometown of Tharel. I was on my way home from a visit to some friends in the Pyrainn Mountains when I saw her by a fruit stand. She was holding an Ulo fruit in her little hands; her delicate finger running over the fruit to check its ripeness. I have never been known to even begin a conversation with a female unless it was to make a deal over some needed goods for travel. But this pixie enchanted me. I walked over to her and took her hand to my lips and bowed my head, ‘My name is Benio Matu,’ I said to my surprise. ‘I would be honored if you would allow me the pleasure of walking you down these streets to your destination no matter what it may be.’ I stood up and suddenly realized what I had done. I knew nothing of this beauty before me. Not even her name. And yet here I was, the shy, quiet and timid Benio, asking this stranger if I may accompany her. She seemed just as surprised as I was at what I had said. I began to worry during the awkward silence that perhaps I had ruined my chance to even be at least a friend to this mortal goddess of elegance and beauty.
Then she smiled and spoke with a voice that would make the greatest song bird jealous. ‘I would enjoy that greatly, thank you.’
I took her hand into mine and we made our way down the street; I on foot and she on wings. We began to talk. We spoke of many things. Things that only those who have felt love could ever understand. For weeks we would walk down that street to the meadow and sit under the same willow tree and talk about everything. After some time though, talk was not all we did under that tree. That is how her death came to be.
One day we sat under that willow tree and I leaned over to kiss her but she stopped me. I questioned,‘Is something wrong?’
My love nodded and told me she was with child. I was both joyful and upset. I had always wished for a family but a family without marriage would be sure to disgrace us both.
She told me that her family had found out about our relationship and disapproved of her being with a human. Her family held a strong belief that races should not mix. They claimed that this produced deformed and wicked children. Had my wife not died perhaps her family would have been proven wrong.
We decided that we would be married whether she had her family’s consent or not. Nothing was going to come between our love. An elven priest married us under Mentmacro’s blessing." "Mentmacro?" Fawn asked curiously.
"Yes, Mentmacro is the Goddess of nature. It is said that she is elven and that is one of the reasons many elves worship her. She is the protector of their forest, their valley. You have such a need to know all, little one."
Fawn blushed as Benio continued,"As husband and wife we lived in my home near the Valley of the Elves for a few months. It was clear now that this child was to be a large one for I have never seen a pregnant pixie swell from her stomach as much as my wife did. Nevertheless, she decided she was going to go back home for her family was definitely worried that their daughter had disappeared for good. I told her I would go with her but she refused saying that her family would be furious if they saw me with their now very pregnant daughter. I reluctantly agreed to stay as long as she promised she would not be gone for more than a week. She promised and we kissed. Had I known it would be our last kiss I would have kept her with me for as long as I could but the sooner she left the sooner she would return and so I watched her disappear into the woods, never to see her again. Two weeks passed and I could not wait any longer. I traveled to Xe’ilth and knocked on her family’s door. A middle-aged male pixie answered and gave me a look full of hatred, ‘What do you want, human?’
I asked where my wife was and he scowled,
‘Dead. She killed herself and that dreadful creature you would have called a son. We would not take her in and so she threw herself into the well in grief.’
I have never been known to have a temper and never have I had one so great as I did that day. I screamed and tossed over fruit stands. I threw stones at their house. I wailed as the guards beat me to the ground and sobbed pitifully as they dragged me into my cell. I spend a month in that cold dark prison and when I was released I was told never to return. If I did I would be imprisoned for life. I have kept my promise and have not returned but not without much self-control. I know my wife did not kill herself. She never cared for her family’s acceptance of me or she would have never married me and left her family. I am certain her family killed her. Perhaps her own father pushed her into the well... How I hate that family. How I wish I could get my revenge... how I wish I could have her back in my arms..."
Benio looked into the fire in silence with tears in the brims of his eyes.
"What was her name?" Fawn asked after a moment.
"Augnessa," Benio said as the reflection of the fire glowed and flickered in his eyes. "I never knew her last name. What good is a last name? It only bounds you to your family when you do not wish it so. Had she not shared their last name she would live today... For she was strong of heart and soul... Not unlike yourself, my little one."
Benio turned and smiled at Fawn who seemed as if she herself had lost this pixie as a wife and love.
"So we have both lost those we loved..." Fawn said sitting on the chair’s arm next to Benio. "That is not so. For we have not lost each other."
Fawn crawled into Benio’s lap and began to cry. Wrapping his arms about her he spoke softly through his silent tears, "We will never lose each other... Never... I promise.."
That night Benio died. Fawn awoke in his lap to find his flesh pale and cold. Desperately she tried to wake him but to no avail. She was about to cry when she remembered his words:
"We will never lose each other... Never... I promise..."
Fawn looked at Benio’s clammy white face. Softly she placed a kiss on his cool cheek and suddenly the fireplace began to burn. She smiled and sat by the fire for she knew she was not alone.