Her movements were fluid and beautiful. There was no effort in her dance, no fear, no pain, no anger. Every step betrayed a pure desire to dance, every subtle movement of her head gracefully reminded me that she was not mortal. We danced for what seemed like an eternity, watched by the denizens of the forest, enraptured as they were by our motion.
Finally, the woman leaned in and placed her hand on my chin. She drew me close to her, wrapping one arm around my waist, and kissed me. She held me tightly, stroking my face as we kissed. Finally, she broke away from me, smiled, and disappeared into the shadows.
Suddenly a cheer went up from the surrounding company, and Sam was at my side. "My boy," he said, "you've just danced with a special woman!"
I wanted to ask who she was, but my voice would not come forth. I could not force the words to form. I simply stared at where she had dissappeared. I stood staring for a long time, just remembering the kiss, feeling her hand stroke my face. There was no forgetting that. There still isn't.
Eventually, I came back to earth, and was able to sit down. I still could not form the question I was dying to ask though: who was the beautiful woman?
I watched the creatures dance around me, sing, shout, and make love. They spent their night in revelry, enjoying the company of each other. Their lives seemed so simple, so easy at this point, and I knew that this occurred with every moon rise in this forest.
Sam sat down heavily next to me, laughing and winking at various dryads and nymphs as they flashed their smiles and other parts. "You know, man? You've been a huge help. I'd like to give you something." He reached into a russack and pulled out a piece of leather, folded over onto itself. "I've had this forever. It's very special to me, and I want you to take care of it. You'll do that?"
I wasn't sure what to say. I smiled, and simply said, "I'd be honoured."
Sam's smile said it all. He reached forward with his free hand, and pulled away the layers of leather. I caught a reflection of light for a moment, but this was obscured a second later by his hand.
Sam looked at me. "This was my mother's," he said, "and I never thought I'd give it away. You've proved me wrong. Keep this, and remember me." He opened his hands, and in them was a piece of silver. It was about an inch and a half around, and on one side was the impression of a stag. On the other, an eagle. "King of the forest, king of the sky, my friend."
I held out my hand, and he placed his hand over mine, with the silver between our palms. "If you ever need me, friend, just call," he said. Then, standing, "Now, let's go dance, shall we?" He grabbed my wrist and swung me up to his side, and we began looking for partners.
No sooner had Sam found a dryad and I'd found a nymph than everything changed.
To be continued. . .
Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V
Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Part X
Part XI | Part XII | Part XIII | Part XIV | Part XV
Part XVI | Part XVII