#Blogbattle : Forest

This week’s #blogbattle word prompt is forest. This is run by Rachael Ritchey over on her blog Writing Rachael Ritchey. I encourage you to check out her blog, and this challenge.

Rules:

1.1000 words max

2.fictional tale (or true if you really want)

3.PG (no more than PG-13) Content – let’s keep this family friendly!

4.Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered around the theme in a way that shows it is clearly related

5.Go for the entertainment value!

6.State the Genre of your story at the top of your post.

7.Post your story on Tuesday, by 11:59 PM PST

8.Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting your story, put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/or include a link to this page in your own blog post (it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)

9.Have fun!

My genre: Fantasy

Here’s my entry for this week:

Courage

After the round of introductions, Winter said, “Perhaps we should get back to the River Clan. I have a plan for fixing the river, but we need Tango to do it.”
Indian looked afraid. “I don’t want to.”

“I understand how you must feel,” Winter said. “But if you explain, I think things will be forgiven and forgotten quickly. They’ll understand that it was a misunderstanding.”

She didn’t look convinced.

“We won’t let them hurt you,” Flame said. “Besides,” he grinned, “you have your gift, remember?”

Winter frowned at him. “Not that you should be using it for things like that. Getting angry doesn’t help.”

Flame raised an eyebrow, but let it drop.

Birch had turned around, so that he stood facing the river, facing the edge of the forest. “The sun’s going down,”he said. “We need to get going.”

Winter shivered, reminded of how cold it might get overnight. She held a hand out to Indian. “Come on, you’ll be safe. What’s the worst that could happen?”

Indian looked at her hand. “What if they hate me?” The words were barely audible, her soft voice almost a whisper.

Winter understood where she was coming from. She remembered the courage it had taken her to go back to her old Clan. This was even harder, she guessed. “They won’t. But how will you ever know if you don’t try?”

Indian closed her eyes, and the internal debate was obvious. When they opened again, she laid her hand in Winter’s. “All right, but if they don’t want me, I’m leaving, okay?”

“Okay, but give them a fair chance.”

Indian nodded. But the fear of a repeat of bad experiences was etched on her face.

All four fairies lined up and took off together, flying low at first through the bare branches of the bush, then further up and out over the river, flying as high as possible to avoid the magicless area right above the water. They landed on the other side, not far away from the gnarled tree the River Clan called home.

Indian looked up at it, clearly afraid. Now that she was out in the fading light of day, Winter saw how pale she was. Her skin looked stark against her black hair.

The black bird looked down at them. He gave a short squawk, then flew down to them. He hopped over to stand right in front of Indian, inspecting the newcomer.

She tried to hide herself behind Winter. “It’s okay,” Winter said quietly. “He won’t hurt you. He’s their Guardian. I think.”

She eyed him suspiciously, but didn’t say anything else.

The Guardian looked again at Winter.

“I have a plan,” she told him. “I can fix the River.”

He cocked his head to one side, as if considering.

“This is Indian,” she explained further. “She’s like me and Flame. She needs to explain herself to the Clan, and together we can fix things. I know we can.”

The bird’s head straightened again, and pecked Winter very lightly on her arm, almost playfully. She smiled. “Thank you.”

The Guardian flew back up into the trees, and Winter and the others approached the doorway to the Clan’s home. It rolled open before they could get there, and a voice called out from inside. “Welcome home, though I’m not sure the welcome is due to all of you.”

As she stepped into the magically lit hollow of the tree roots, and out of the dusk outside, Winter’s eyes adjusted to show her Farah, the Queen of the River, and she didn’t look very happy. Her eyes went to Indian as the door rolled closed behind them, shutting out the cold. “So you’ve brought her with you.”

“Yes,” Winter said, her hands trembling a little. “She needs to explain what’s happened. I think we can fix it. But we have to work together.”

“I think we should go to my chambers, “ the Queen said, “and discuss this in private.”

Winter nodded. She was tired. But even if the opportunity for sleep had been given, she had too much on her mind. The sooner this was settled, the better.

All four of them followed Farah to her rooms. Indian was watched with wariness and hostility from the other River Clan fairies that they passed. Winter, Birch, and Flame kept her in the middle of their group. She was shaking with fear, but there was also a spark of anger in her eyes that Winter glimpsed from time to time.

When the door was closed and they were all seated on the large floor cushions in a circle, the Queen spoke again. “Let me hear your side of the story then,” she said. “Tell me why you cursed my Clan.”

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