I slipped through the trees, deftly avoiding low-hanging branches. The woods grew dark very fast, but the group moving along the road clearly did not know that; or if they did, they did not care.
They were laughing, singing, and kicking up a right ruckus. It was their way, I suppose. The two men in the back, obviously meant to guard the caravan, were surreptitiously sipping from a large jug. It was foolish of them. Even if the forest had been brightly lit, there was always something out there. Best to save the merrymaking for a warm tavern, or better yet, a fortified castle.
I am very good at being silent. I knew just where to step in order to avoid noise. It was also necessary to step lightly, and I had years of experience in doing this. They were not aware of my presence; but they made so much noise, it mattered not.
I moved a bit quicker, getting a look at the wagon. It carried goods of various kinds: bundles of fine cloth, more jugs that as yet remained unsampled, and barrels of food. I could smell fish, and dried venison, and bread. Common food, but filling.
There were guards walking at the side of the wagon. They were stout men, with large brown beards. They sang a high spirited song about a tavern wench; not surprising. One man kicked his heels up for a moment, drawing more laughter from the other men, particularly the drunken ones in the back. A sharp voice told them to quiet down, and I turned to see who the voice belonged to.
A large man, larger than the rest, but very muscular, and of a noble stature. His eyes were wide, perhaps a little too wide, with far-off sights. Yes, he was the one. I remembered his lovely green eyes, as would the others.
One of the guards responded to their captain; was this forest not guarded by good fairies? What then did they worry for? It was a fine night; it was a beautiful forest.
This is true. It is indeed a beautiful forest. But his remark reminded me of my true purpose. I could not stand about forever listening to bawdy songs and senseless guardsmen.
The fog began rolling in a mere moment after the guard had spoken. Their captain’s eyes grew even wider; how that was possible, I knew not. He ordered them to settle down, and to walk faster. Alas, it was an unwise thought. Once there is fog, there is no more escape.
The horses began to whinny, and then to panic. They escaped from their harnesses. The men would not know how; they were too occupied with their own fear. I watched the creatures run past me, running back to their homes. They would find them easily.
The sounds of shouts and footsteps began to grow fainter, as I expected. Soon after, the fog then drifted away, and the men were all gone.
I turned to make my way back through the forest, to greet them with the others. The captain had visited our land before, and it had shown in his eyes. One was never easy after visiting us. But my people had obeyed me, and played their part well. If their queen had chosen the mortal man with the beautiful eyes, then she would have him. There would be great revelry tonight.