Chapter Two

The Forest
Enchanted Forest

The celebration had lasted well into the night . Thoak had fallen asleep long before the end but not before his fair share of elfin brew. He woke up to the sound of giggling, Stardancer was hovering about and rather keen to get Thoaks attention. 

He was just about to stand up when he noticed his clothes. They had been torn to rags but now they were absolutely wonderful. The elves had used a fine and magical thread and a cloth that was like finest silk. As he stood up Thoak could see that the colour changed as the light caught it. If he stood by the leaves his clothes turned green when the sunlight was on him they turned gold. He was quite amazed and just kept wondering about looking at the colours in his clothes. 

That is until they flashed with a bright white light. Stardancer wanted Thoak to go with her, she had something important to show him. She led him to a near by pond. As Thoak followed being careful not to trip over any of the elves that were still asleep, he thought how happy he was to be here and what a great party it had been. He was still looking at the colours in his clothes when they arrived at a large hollow tree by the pond.

Stardancer whispered to Thoak that she wanted him to meet some fairy friends. Fairies have to whisper because their voices are so high pitched that it would seriously hurt someone’s ears if they spoke out loud. Thoak stood by a large hollow tree, Stardancer explained that they were very shy, so she went inside to ask them to come out. 

When they came out Thoak was in awe at their beauty but then he noticed that their wings were limp and they could not fly. Stardancer told him that they are water fairies and that they need the magic in the morning mist to fly. Their home used to be by the great lake of Aquas but Mortrid the witch had stolen the magic from the morning mist that rose from the lake to use in her spells.

Thoak felt sad and angry he looked at the little fairies and said “Do not worry I will get it back for you.” With that he turned said good bye and started back towards the camp. Stardancer followed hovering a little way behind she had not meant to upset Thoak. Coming towards him was the most beautiful elfin lady you could imagine. Thoak stopped in his tracks, she was caring a try of food and on her way to visit the water fairies. She said hello and went on to give Thoak a typical elfin greeting, and introduce herself as Fragrance. Thoak was stunned by her loveliness and at first could not bring himself to speak.

Water Fairy
Water Fairy

After a long pause and all of the things that he would of like to of said he came out with. “The witch must be stopped”. Then he excused himself and went on his way.

Back at the camp with most of the elves now awake and going about their daily tasks it was obvious to everyone that Thoak was most determined to do something about the witch. Word of this had reached The Lord High Elf who was not pleased by the unrest this was creating in the camp.

Thoak was sat with Redberry Cobweb and Grubs when The Lord High Elf came over to speak to him. The elves stood up and then knelt on one knee as a sign of respect “What is your plan?”. Asked The Lord High Elf “well ,we were just trying to think of one”. Replied Thoak and then went on to ask for advise about the best way to get rid of the witch.

lord high elf
The Lord High Elf

The Lord High Elf explained that this was almost impossible that it could bring much danger to the elfin folk. And near certainly get himself killed or worse the victim of some evil spell, perhaps to live out the rest of his life in a stagnant pond of slime. 

Thoak was not put of and said that he would rather die trying to do some thing about it than live in fear of what Mortrid might do next and besides he had promised the fairies that he would help them to fly again.

As a promise to the fairies could not be broken, there was no choice but to let Thoak try. The Lord High Elf would do all that he could but he had no magic that could be used against Mortrid. Elfin magic could only be used to heal and mend or to help things grow. He went on to explain how when the High Priestesses had killed Mergus in the great battle they did not use eleven magic but their own life energy, which was very special in a priestess. After the body of Mergus had been cast into the lake of Aquas they began to fade. So they set off towards the mountains but with each passing day they continued to fade. Until one day it was impossible to see them and nobody knows what happened to them after that.

Thoak wished he was not quite so keen to leap into things as it usually meant trouble of some kind or another for himself. He had made a promise in haste but never the less he would stand by it. 

Six elves and Thoak would go. It was decided any more would be to many. The Lord High Elf gave them a bottle of potion to heal wounds and some strange yellow berries to give them strength if in trouble. He gave them a blessing and wished them success a quick victory and speedy return. Then they set off for the other side of the forest.

The six elves were Grubs, Redberry, Cobweb, Nettle, Beetle, and Bramble.

Thoak led them out of the camp with everyone singing songs of courage and wishing them a safe return. Mortrid lived a long way away on the other side of the forest, but sometimes she would venture deep into the forest to get things for her spells then hurry back to her shack. It would take them about four or five days to get to where she lived by which time they should of thought of a good plan to get rid of her. 

They took no food with them because the forest was full of good things to eat and a nice place to sleep could always be found, so they had no need to carry any camping things just a pot to cook with. Two fairies followed, Stardancer and her friend called Moonbeam. And so the adventure was begun. 

The journey through the forest was very pleasant Thoak learnt much about the way of the forest and what the elves did to help and look after things. The elves could fined plenty of food along the way and knew some very tasty recipes. Thoak was not to sure about some of the ingredients but the meal was always very tasty and he would go to sleep with a nice full tummy. 

It was on the third day. Thoak woke up to hear the elves talking about what they could do about the savage beast. “Beast , what beast”? asked Thoak hoping this had nothing to do with where they were going. “It guards Mortrids shack” said Bramble and then went on to explain how a savage beast that had the head of a wolf red eyes and the claws of a wild cat with huge fangs and spiky fur and it roamed around outside the shack and it would rip someone to shreds and eat them if they happened to get to close. 

Thoak was about to say this is not a good idea lets go back, when Moonbeam landed on his shoulder. The fairy whispered “you could make a trap”. Thoak did not notice the fairy but just came out with “we will make a trap”. The elves thought it to be a very good idea and that Thoak was a wise and brave leader of their group. Thoak sat quietly not wishing to speak in case he got himself into even more trouble. While they continued to think and talk of ways to get rid of the witch. 

The Beast
Savage Beast

At last they had a plan they would make a trap to catch the savage beast in. then someone would go to the front of the shack and get Mortrids attention while some of the others would fined a way in through the back and take her book of spells. 

Thoak agreed he could not think of any better ideas. They all said together “So thats what we shall do” and then fell about laughing. The days journey was again very pleasant and they even had time for a game or two. It was hard for the elves not to keep stopping and attend to the needs of plants and trees especially those that they shared their name with. However they did stop to repair the branch of a tree that had broken in the wind. It was while they were tying it up that Nettle got the idea of hanging a net from a springy branch to trap the beast in. This was a good idea so they all said “So thats what we shall do” and then fell about laughing again.

The sun was setting and it was time to stop for the night. Thoak looked at the sunset and remembered how nearly Cobweb, was to, being of stone forever, and he knew in his heart that Mortrid had to be stopped. The elves looked at Thoak and could tell what he was thinking. 

“Fungus stew tonight” said Beetle as it was his turn to cook. They settled down around a small fire and enjoyed a fine meal. Thoak wondered what else Beetle might have put in the stew but did not ask. Soon they were asleep with the two fairies watching over them while they slept. This was not always a good thing as Thoak was to find out in the morning.

When Thoak had been asleep someone had put some very sticky stuff onto his hands and when he woke up, at first he did not notice. So when he touched the ground bits of leaves and twigs stuck to him then he scratched his head and bits of leaves and twigs stuck to his head and very soon he was covered with sticky things. The elves woke up to the sound of Thoak making quite a fuss and the fairies having a good giggle. “Ah whats all this ah I’m covered with sticky leaves ah”. The elves started to laugh but could see Thoak was getting cross so Grubs calmed him down and told him what had happened. 

The fairies had been playing some mischief in the night as is their way but he should not get upset and they are sure to find water nearby for him to have a wash. “It is some times their way of getting us to do something”. Grubs continued “they would not do anything to hurt you”. Thoak had calmed down and was starting to see the funny side of it . All the elves wanted to tell a story about someone who had been caught out with some fairy mischief. 

Very soon everyone was laughing at what the fairies got up to. A small stream was found and Thoak knelt down to wash. The elves were still telling stories about tricks that the fairies had played on them when Redberry called out “look, look” and pointed at something coming through the forest towards them.

They quickly hid themselves in some bushes and tried to get Thoaks attention but he was to busily washing off all the sticky stuff to notice.

As he finished he looked up and saw the elves were gone. At first he thought it might be another joke but then he heard the sound of hooves and snorting. He stood up to see the most beautiful and noble animal in all the forest standing a short way in front of him. 

The elves had hidden themselves because this was a very shy creature and they did not want to scare it away. In fact not many elves had seen one, even though an elf could live to be two hundred years old.

The creature was white and silver and looked mostly like a horse but it had a long horn in the middle of its head that shone like a star. Thoak could now hear the elves whispering “it’s a unicorn, don’t scare him”. Thoak slowly steeped towards the unicorn it gave a snort and stamped a hoof on the ground. 

Thoak stood still the unicorn came over and stopped right in front of him then bowed his head until the tip of his horn touched the ground beside him. Thoak wanted to pat his neck but thought better of it. The unicorn lifted his head, backed away a little then stamped his hoofs on the ground again. 

Thoak kept very still as the unicorn came quickly towards him again with its sharp horn pointed at his chest. The elves were just about to call out ‘run for it When it stopped, and then slowly moved forward till the tip of the horn pressed against his chest right where his heart was. The unicorn pressed a bit harder and stayed like that for a few moments. Thoak did not know what was going to happen next and wondered if it was going to run him through. When it gave a long snort and turned away. 

unicorn
A Unicorn

The unicorn ran only a little way to where another unicorn had been waiting. No one had seen his mate while all this had been going on. The two unicorns looked at Thoak bowed their heads very slowly till their horns touched the ground, looked up, lifted their front legs turned, and were gone. As they galloped away no sound of their hooves could be heard all was quiet and still in the forest. 

That is until the elves started dancing about and singing “we’ve seen the unicorns, we’ve seen the unicorns”. Thoak walked over to join his friends. When they all stopped singing and knelt on one knee before him. “What our you doing” asked Thoak, having only seen the elves do this once before.

Nettle took it upon himself to explain, how it was a great honour to see a unicorn and only in legends did some one ever get to actual meet one close up. There were many stories about a great elf in ancient times who had the mark of the unicorns. His name was sacred, and only the Lord High Elf was allowed to speak it. He was friend to all of the forest and every living thing was friend to The Great Elf. In fact it was the Great Elf that had brought his people to live here after the old land was destroyed by rivers of fire, leading them safely through the valley of monsters, to the forests around the great lake of Aquas.

Thoak had not known just how special all this had been. “Come on get up, I feel silly with you lot kneeling like that”. The two fairies who had been very quiet and had not giggled for some time, came over and whispered, “Look at your chest Thoak”. He unbuttoned his shirt and there just above his heart was a mark in the shape of a star. The sign of the unicorns. The unicorns had given Thoak a magical blessing and he too like the Great Elf was to be friend to all the forest.

Everyone was very happy and they danced about for some time almost forgetting about the task that lay ahead. It was when Grubs fell into the stream and they could not dance for laughing that things settled down. “We have a lot to do today” said Redberry “we must make some cord”. A lot of cord was needed to make a net to catch the savage beast in. The elves had great skill in making things from the forest and their work was of the finest craftsmanship.