Chapter 1 : Cliff & Clara

The evening sun was just starting to set. A young boy and girl were playing in the outer fields of their village. They could see the edge of the Forest of Mist but had understood they were never to enter it. Instead, they were playing a child’s game, refusing to go home yet. Everything was normal and right until the girl turned around towards the forest. She could see a young blonde-haired girl in nothing but simple clothes staggering out of the woods.

[ Cliff, look. ]

The boy turned to look at the forest. He seemed so surprised. The two watched the young girl stumble into the field. The boy stepped in front of the girl. He looked on at the sight warily. As the stranger got closer to them they were going to run away when suddenly the young girl collapsed in front of them. The two looking at each other unsure of what to do.

[ Cliff… ]

The boy took a deep breath.

[ Carla go and tell dad. I’ll sit here waiting. ]

The young girl nodded her head and ran off back towards the village. The young boy sat down besides her. Although she was tiny and small he could say she looked beautiful. This stranger was certainly a mystery. A part of him couldn’t help but grow excited.

The girl’s eyes opened. The first thing she saw was a wooden ceiling.

[ Waah. ]

She felt groggy and weak.

[ You awake? ]

She turned her head to see a large muscular man staring at her. By his side was a young girl making dinner and a young boy setting the table.

Was it the smell of food that woke me up?

[ Ah, yes sir. ]

The guy smiled and walked over. The girl sitting up and getting her hair ruffled.

[  I’m not a sir. Don’t be so formal. ]

She nodded her head slowly. The man pointed to the kids.

[ That’s my son Cliff and my daughter Carla. They found you stumbling out of the Forest of Mist. ]

Forest of Mist… Was that what it was called?

[ Ah, yes… That makes sense. I was in the forest. ]

The man narrowed his eyes at her.

[ Why was a young child like you in the forest? ]

The young girl looked at him confused.

[ Otou-san, he said we were running away from the Barbarians. They were overrunning the village. But something went wrong, There were fires and shouts, so Otou-san had me run forward and he stayed behind…. I fell and there was a light. Then I was with…. I was with …. I think then I was here. ]

The man looked at her confused.

[ These Barbarians, do you remember what they were called? ]

The girl nodded her head.

[ Otou-san called them Atilians. ]

The young boy ran, Cliff, ran over to the bed excited.

[ You’ve met Atilians! Real Atilians! ]

Carla walked over and pulled him back.

[ Cliff, she is confused. ]

I looked at them confused.

[ I don’t understand. They… They have so much land. They should have this land? ]

The man shook his head no.

[ Girl, there haven’t been Atilians since 500 years ago. ]

She held her head confused.

[ No. No, that isn’t possible. Otou-san had us run from them. They were coming on those large horses. They were- ]

[ No, they are gone. ]

The girl looked up at the man.

[ What year is it? ]

[ Sun Year 203, Month of Star 23 Day. ]

She shook her head no.

[ No, it can’t be. It’s Moon Year 307, Month of Wind 13 Day. ]

The man shook his head.

[ No, it is not. ]

Tears fell from her eyes.

[ Otou-san. Where is Otou-san? ]

The man looked at his kids. They both looked frozen, so sat down on a stool besides her.

[ Girl, your father probably stayed behind to protect you from the Atilians. He probably died that day. ]

The tears fell down harder.

[ No, not possible. Otou-san was the best hunter in the village. He had his stone axe with him. ]

The young boy looked at his father confused.

[ Stone? ]

Clara shook her head at her brother.

[ Girl, you need to try and remember where you’ve been. ]

She held her head confused.

[ You said you were with someone… Who were you with? ]

Light sparkled around her. A tiny form appearing before them.

[ Smelly humans, why are you by Laelia! ]

The man stood up and backed away shocked.

[ Pixie! ]

Clara and Cliff looked at the spectacle with wonder. They had never seen a pixie before. They had only heard about them in legends. The tiny little thing was pointing her finger at them.

[ Go away now! Get away from Laelia! Laelia doesn’t need to be awake yet! ]

The man narrowed his eyes.

[ Pixie did you take this child? ]

She turned her head on him.

[ Hmph. Humans are so stupid. Why would I take this child? Obviously, her highness decided on it. ]

The man seemed grim.

[ Her highness? ]

The Pixie looked at him more irritated.

[ Stupid human! Her Highness! The Queen of the Children of Spring! The Guardian of this side of the Valley of Spirits! Our Queen ! ]

Laelia looked at her confused.

[ Your name is… ]

The Pixie looked down at Laelia worried. She flew around her trying to calm her down.

[ No need to know. Laelia knows Queen’s name. She knows the Guardians’ names. Just go back to bed. ]

Laelia looked concerned.

[ Pixie… Pixie of the Queen of the Children of Spring. What, what happened to my Otou-san! ]

The Pixie looked at the other humans.

[ You stupid smelly humans! Now look at what you did! ]

Cliff stepped forward.

[ You are stupid! Look at what you did to her! ]

Clara nodded her head.

[ Um, Miss Pixie, she is crying. ]

The Pixie turned back to Laelia. Her tears were coming down again.

[ Agh! Laelia. No, there’s no need to be sad. You have us remember! ]

The man walked closer to the Pixie.

[ Pixie explain. ]

She poked his cheek in frustration.

[ As if I would tell you beasts anything! ]

[ Pi… ]

The Pixie twirled around to look at the girl.

[ Ready to go back to sleep? ]

Laelia shook her head.

[ Pi. ]

The young boy, Cliff, walked in-between the two, his arms spread out.

[ I’m not going to let you put her to sleep again. ]

The boy’s father put his hand on his shoulder.

[ Cliff.. ]

The Pixie looked at the boy irritated.

[ Smelly Brat! Stay out of it. It’s not your business. ]

[Pi, I want to stay awake. I want to know what happened to my home. ]

The Pixie, Pi, fluttered her arms nervously.

[ You can’t. Laelia, you absolutely can’t! The Queen said you woke up too early. Just sleep a bit longer, then you can see what happened. ]

Laelia shook her head.

[ I don’t remember this Queen, so I’ll stay awake. ]

Pi grabbed her hair in frustration.

[ Why are your memories so jumbled? ]

The adult man coughing.

[ Pixie, why don’t you go report to your Queen that the girl is awake and you’ve found her. We can watch over her in the meantime. ]

She shook her head no.

[ I can’t trust her with you! Humans are greedy untrustworthy creatures! No, no, no! ]

The little girl Clara walked forward shyly.

[ Um, Miss Pi. We are good people. I know you can trust us. Dad always goes out of his way to keep the people in this village safe. Brother helps him. He found her and brought her here so she would be okay. ]

The Pixie looked at the little girl and her face melted.

[ Aren’t you cute. ]

She flew around her.

[ You have just the sort of soul we like. ]

Pi checking her up and down as she flew erratically.

[ The Earth Spirits are clinging to you. ]

Clara looked confused.

[ Earth Spirits? ]

Cliff pulled his sister away.

[ Don’t look at my sister like that. ]

Pi turned to look at him and made a face.

[ Unlike your sister, there’s a nasty amount of Wind Spirits around you. ]

Her eyes turned to their father.

[ And you, I haven’t seen that many Fire Spirits in a few hundred years. ]

Pi flying back to Laelia.

[ Laelia, this is too unusual! It’s not safe here! Come back. Come back. ]

The Pixie started pulling on her shirt’s sleeve. Laelia shook her head no.

[ I want to stay here. These people feel warm. There’s all these pretty colors around them. ]

Pi stopped and crossed her arms.

[ Unusual. It’s really unusual. But if you say they do, then it’s true. ]

The father walked forward again.

[ Pi, I swear on the name of Clint that I will watch out for this child until you return. Go tell your Queen what happened here. ]

The Pixie looked at him confused.

[ Agh, how does that one even know sort of what to say? ]

Laelia’s eyes began to water.

[ Please, Pi. Please, let me stay the night. ]

Pi seemed to fall down depressed onto the bed.

[ One night, Laelia. Only one night! ]

She nodded her head eagerly.

[ Okay! ]

The Pixie turned to the others in the room.

[ And you three! There will be another spirit watching out for her, so don’t try anything stupid, you here? ]

They all nodded. Laelia giving the Pixie a kiss on the cheek. Pi turning red before flying out.

[ I am telling the Queen about this! ]

Laelia turned to the other three.

[ So, now that I can stay the night… Cliff, Clara and Clint? What do we do now? ]

Clint cracked up laughing.

[ We eat dinner. ]

Cliff nodded his head.

[ Clara is an amazing cook! ]

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Tir Na Nog – Celtic Woman

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