I have begun writing fiction (some fantasy) stories for my school newspaper. As a result, I will be posting these short stories here every so often. 😀
Winter was just around the corner.
I jumped into the air joyfully, pumping my fists in happiness and victory. The snow elves would finally be able to reveal themselves from the decades of hiding.
I, Dausneux, was the snow elf scout for my tribe. For years, we, the snow elves have lived in hiding in the coldest places possible, hiding from the cruel giants who drove us out and forced us to live far away where we would not be discovered. For decades, I was one of the many scouts searching for a home for my tribe, searching for a new place where others had failed. Every year, as the giants came ever closer to our hideout, threatening our lives with their huge, elf-crushing feet; with the oil spills that their monstrous water-jets always leaked, causing disease. The giant ones in white coats, who searched for us all day, while the sun was out warming their enormous hides, had come scarily close to our hideout. It has gone too far. What was more, the snow around the world was melting rapidly, due to what the giants called ‘global warming’. I had spent my entire 300 years of little-elfhood training for this day, and the last 200 searching for it. The journey was long, hard, and perilous; and there was danger at every turn. Yet I had done it.
The clearing was perfect for us: nice and big, the snow sparkling and fresh. White as the moon which they looked upon night after night, it now glittered like a million stars in the bright sunlight. Of course, the council would not like that he traveled in the sunlight, which burns a snow elf, but after so long, I had developed immunity to the fatal (yet abstract) substance.
I could see it all in my mind. The ice palace would go over there by that copse of large trees. The snow schools could go there, there, and there, provided the snow from the branches of the trees above didn’t crush the buildings and the little elf-children. The rich could have their houses around the ice palace and the middle elf-class would be right around here, The perfect environment. The jobs and buildings could cluster by the schools, and as for the poor, they could afford only the worst conditions, in the dirty snow at the edge of the clearing, but thankfully there weren’t many.
I was overjoyed. “Hallelujah!” I yelled. “Fortuna be blessed!” These were the usual, yet most effective snow-elf blessings, often heard when one was particularly lucky.
I turned around, ready to return to the temporary camp. I needed to send word to the ice palace, and fast.
But how to do it? I could walk, but I doubted that it would be at all a short journey and less dangerous than the last. I couldn’t guarantee that I could find the clearing again. Best to leave that as a last resort.
I looked around. How could I possibly get back in time?
My eyes settled on a stone, a large one that was impossible to miss. It stuck out of the huge snowdrifts, rising high into the air and glistening with frost. It would be a great sled slope when the time came.
What if I left a marker? I knew instantly that this was the right idea. I quickly marked that stone in my mind and turned back. Now to figure out how to get home.
Casting my gaze around the huge clearing, I looked for something that could get me home. I didn’t see anything remotely useful, however, and I sat down in the wonderfully cold snow, discouraged.
Alarmed, I jumped up, staring at the cloudy skies laden with moisture. I knew that call, and I didn’t like it.
Sure enough, a brown shape swooped down from the clouds, with white wing-tips and a blue beak. It had beady red eyes, narrowed down on its target: me.
It was a Rawc, a bird named after the ferocious cry it made–and in fact the biggest threat to me and my kind. Each year in the ice-melting season, the same group of Rawc would fly down into the ravine camp where our previous whereabouts were. They would prey on the weak and the elderly, such behavior ensuring that no one lived beyond 352 years (which meant we all died young). They would steal the babies and kill the trainees. If any elf tried to fight, they would be fatally wounded.
I was in deep trouble, I was out here by myself with no aid whatsoever and most likely the certain dinner of a large Rawc. They had the best eyesight of any animal in existence, and those eyes were trained on my every movement.
Turning, I blundered through the undergrowth, constantly looking up. I knew it: the Rawc was following me as I ran, hunting me down. It flapped its wings lazily as it followed my course. Blinking, I ran through a spiderweb, yelling as I came into contact with the sticky substance. Struggling to pull it off of me, I slowed down, allowing the Rawc to dive.
Screaming, I jumped to the side as the Rawc barrelled down at me. Missing by an inch, it turned, staring down its blue beak at me. “Snow-elf,” it cawed. “I thought my tribe had wiped you all out!”
My heart stopped. “YOU KILLED MY TRIBE?!”
The Rawc backed away uncertainly as I swelled up with anger. “Calm,” it screeched in a raspy voice. “Only the leader has passed away. We were content to feed on his remains.”
I sighed with half-relief; I was disheartened to hear that my tribe leader, who was fair and just, when I announced my intention to leave and find a new home, had died. He had backed me up and kept me hidden when it was rejected (I had run away). He would be much missed. However, I was happy that the remaining tribe members were safe.
“Leave me alone,” I ordered, but the Rawc just laughed.
“You think you can order me around?” it stormed, although there was a tinge of amusement in its harsh caw. “I, and those of my tribe, are masters of the sky! We are not content to follow the demands of lesser creatures like yourself! Especially not when we’re hungry.”
“Leave me be,” I repeated, eyes flashing dangerously.
It quailed under my fierce gaze. “Very well.” Spreading its wings, it prepared to take off.
Suddenly, I had a brilliant idea. “Wait!” I cried, causing the Rawc to falter, slip into a bramble bush, and rise with ruffled feathers, glaring at me with annoyance.
“What?!” it snapped.
“Can you take me to my tribe?”
It turned to stare at me again. “Why?” it asked suspiciously.
“I need to get back home,” I replied.
“And you think I’ll agree to take you?” it retorted.
“I can give you honeycomb,” I offered. “It is your favorite treat aside from snow-elves, no?”
It paused, wavering between hunger and pride. “Very well,” it grumbled finally. “But I want to know your name first.”
“I am Dausneux,” I told it, readying my supplies.
“Dough-noo,” it tried to caw. “Is that it?”
The Rawc turned around, lifting its wings. “Hop on.”
Heaving myself onto the back of the Rawc (with some difficulty), I kicked its side gently. “What’s your name?”
“I?” it asked. “I have no name.”
“No?” I frowned. “All beings have a name.”
The Rawc shook its head. “I might have had one, once, but we Rawc live to an incredible age. I have long forgotten my name, as it has not been used in many a year.”
“Would you like a new one?”
“Yes, if you can,” the Rawc replied eagerly, red eyes shining with delight. “I am a male, by the way,” he added with faint amusement. “Don’t you dare give me a female’s name.”
I pondered for a moment, smiling as I hit the jackpot. “You shall be Venspred, after my dead tribe leader.”
He nodded contentedly and rose into the air.
I screamed with joy as I felt the wind in my face. Bending over, I shouted, “Let’s go home!”
We soared off as the daylight faded, casting the last shadows of the evening before relinquishing to the night. Looking back on it now, it probably wasn’t the best idea to give Venspred that name, as it aroused many problems…but that’s another story, for another time.