The Autumnal Lady Chapter V - Under Attack
This is the fifth chapter in my fairy tale, The Autumnal Lady. In this chapter, the village on the edge of fairy comes under attack. If you have not read chapter IV please go here. Enjoy!
As the sound of the warning bell ringing loudly filled the village, the door to Oliver’s room burst open and Craig, the brownie, came charging in. He was still wearing his simple outfit but had at some point strapped a cuirass on top of the smock and rested a helmet on his head. He held a short sword in one of his long arms. “Great polygons,” he shouted, “what are you doing still in bed, lad? Can you not hear the sound of the bell. Get up! Get up! The trolls have come! The trolls have come! Whistling warthogs! They have Fomorians with them!”
Jumping to his feet, Oliver rushed to the window of his room and looked out over the village. Great, burly shapes moved through it. They looked somewhat like normal men, but they had barrel chests, overly long and wide noses, and large heads. Among these strange humans, there also moved three hooded figures, each of whom had a strange creature at its side. Oliver trembled as he looked at them, and his heart filled with fear and terror.
“Come on! Come on!” Craig roared as he hopped from foot to foot. “Don’t just stand there gaping, ladie. We got to be a running and a running now!” Then Craig reached out and grabbed a hold of Oliver’s hand and pulled him towards the door.
The two of them were rushing down the stairs when they heard a crash. Bursting into the kitchen, they saw Chun with a sword in his hand battling one of the barrel chested creatures. As he leaped forward onto the back of the creature, Craig let out a wild cry of, “The frogs are upon you!” He plunged his short sword into the creature’s neck, and the creature fell to the ground.
At the back of the room, Willow rose to her feet. “I thank you, good sir knight,” she said as she bowed her head to Chun.
“You should thank the little brownie,” Chun said with a rueful shake of his head. “The troll would have had me if not for him.”
“No time! No time!” Craig shouted as he pointed to a window.
Oliver turned to see one of the hooded figures moving towards the inn. Willow let out a sigh. “Craig,” she said in a somewhat anxious voice, “get Oliver out of here. Run for it.”
“I’m not leaving,” Oliver snapped. “This is my village, and I am going to protect it.”
“Heaven save me from ignorant, little boys,” Willow snapped as she rounded on Oliver. “What do you think that you could possibly do to defend this village? Do you even begin to understand the power of the enemies arrayed against you? These aren’t just normal bandits, boy. These are trolls and their Fomorian masters You have never seen strength nor magic like theirs. Get out of here!”
“She is right, lad!” Chun said with a sad shake of his head. “These creatures are more dangerous than you could possibly imagine.”
“I’m not leaving my village,” Oliver snapped. “Not while it is in danger.”
“Boy,” Willow growled, “do you ever listen when people talk to you?”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Oliver growled.
“The Fomorians and the trolls have come here with one purpose,” Willow replied as she calmed herself. “This is not just random killing. They know that you are here, and they want you dead. If you leave, they will follow you, but if you stay here, they will burn this village to the ground and kill everyone in it.”
Oliver trembled for a moment as he looked from Willow to Chun. “This isn’t fair,” he said sullenly.
“Life rarely is, lad,” Chun replied with a sad shake of his head, “but do you remember what I taught you?”
“A man does his duty,” Oliver replied.
“Precisely, lad,” Chun said. “If what the lady says is true, then it is your duty to leave in order to save the village.”
“The Fomorian! The Fomorian!” Craig shouted as though he were trying to remind everyone of the pressing danger they were in. “The Fomorian is coming! Prancing pyramids.”
“Go,” Willow snapped. “Take the lad to Oeneus. He will help you.” Then she turned towards the door and raised her hands. “My powers may have waned since Taliesin’s death, but I am still a daughter of the forest and lady of the wilds. Good sir knight, will you join me in the dance of the death tonight.”
Chun bowed his head. “It will not be my pleasure, my lady,” he said with a laugh, “but I will show these trolls and Fomorians what strength an old knight has left in his limbs. Go, lad. Remember a man does his duty.”
Oliver bowed his head to Chun and then turned and began to run alongside Craig. The door to the inn burst open, and the hooded man came strolling in. At his side stood a creature that seemed to be made out of rock, but its lower body resembled the tail of a serpent. “Out of my way, little woodling,” the massive creature boomed. “ I have no quarrel with you this night.”
“If you want the boy,” Willow replied, “you do. I am Willow, daughter of Oeneus the Vine Lord and bond friend of Taliesin the Summer Prince.”
“Taliesin is dead,” the hooded man hissed, “and his son shall soon join him in the underworld.”
Glancing back, Oliver saw Willow raise her arms towards the heavens, and vines began to burst
through the floor and encircle the legs of the Fomorian mage, who let out a scream of fury. “No time! No time!” Craig shouted at his side. “No time to look back! Look forward and move!”
Turning his head away from the frightful sight, Oliver began to run through the common room of the inn, and the two of them burst out into the village. Craig pulled him along toward the land of Charm where the fairies dwell. At that moment, Oliver felt sick as he knew that his old life was closing behind him.
Is Oliver committed to his destiny now or will he still try to avoid it?
My article using Disney's movie The Beauty and the Beast to explore the concepts of compassion, mercy , and lover as they often play out in fairy tales.
The prologue to the story of the amnesiac wizard Lucius as he is forced to learn about his past in order to survive his present. It also contains the foreword to the story written by his friend Nanus the Dwarf and footnotes written by the gnomish scholar Kiannith. The story is told by Lucius himself.
One of the last tales of the knightly mouse, Sir Rupert the Bold, who was knighted by King Arvid of the Elves of Charmed. In this story, he must help a prince, who has been cursed with the form of a raven save his love from Lady Dagrun.
© 2014 Joseph Ray