A Fairy Price to Pay

I wandered a year and a day in the wildlands, never meeting another living soul on my travels.

Through the wastelands I journeyed; an unforgiving land that told me those who ventured to be there were closer to the world of Spirit, for I could not see any other merit in it.  I saw evidence of their existence, these strange people, but never once did I see them.

After that I came to the land of water.  Streams, rivers, ditches, ponds, lakes, meres…all manner of watercourses bisected the land.  It was treacherous, travelling through these parts, for it was never completely steady beneath your feet.

When the boggy ground became more firm, I reached the open land between the water and the forest.  It took many days to reach the woodlands edge, but when I did so, what I found disturbed me more than anything I had yet encountered and its discovery would have lasting consequences.

I had been walking beneath the tree canopy, day having started its slow descent into night many hours before, when up ahead I saw the twinkling of lights through the branches.  I was eager to see people, to talk, to have human company, if only for a matter of minutes, so I proceeded recklessly.  My isolation had made me drop my guard.

Brazenly, without caution or fear, I pushed my way through the undergrowth and that’s when I saw them, dancing in circles, laughing and singing as they spun round and round.  I don’t know how long had passed with my just standing there, mouth agape.  I knew what was before me.  A company of the Fair-Folk, making merry in the woods in the moonlight.

I should have moved on, crept away while there was still a chance, but I stood there, motionless, transfixed.

As one they noticed an outsider in their midst.  I knew the penalty of intruding upon the secret rites of the Fair Folk.  I knew what they did to those not invited, who lay their eyes upon their Fairy Rings.

The music stopped.  The lights went out.  An ominous, unnatural silence sprung up in the forest.  I was seized before I could even turn around to run.

In those brief moments, thoughts of my family, my home, my village, filled my mind whilst an ache beyond anything I thought I could bare ripped through my heart.  I knew I would never see any of them again; I would never be allowed to return.  I was going to spend the rest of my days, however many they may be, in the land of the Fey…in a land of magic.

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