Eemyoin first stumbled upon the strange clearing when he was out hunting for venison for his growing family. He had chased his quarry, a magnificent buck, into a strange clearing of purple ground cover. After several steps into this clearing, he had a strange light-headed feeling come over him. Despite this dizziness, he staggered on, intent on catching his prey. He thought he saw the head and antlers just ahead, watching him, hanging in a milky fog. With his next step, he stumbled and fell forward, landing on a bare patch of ground among the purple weeds and thorns. He lifted his head and the thick fog had vanished. Instead of the stag, he saw a beautiful young woman in what looked like a bird nest.
She looked to be sleeping, rather than dead, and her long silky brown hair spilled luxuriously over the long white gown that she wore. Picking himself up off the ground, Eemyoin took another look around the clearing. He was alone with this woman. The deer was gone. He crept closer, this time careful not to touch the strange plants, and stopped just before the nest.
“Ah, hello there. Excuse me?” he said. The woman didn’t stir, but he could see that she was human and breathing.
He leaned over her and said more loudly, “Hello!” She slept on.
He scratched the long whiskers on his chin. Took his felt hat off and scratched behind his pointy brown ear and tried a third time. “Ma’am? Can you hear me?”
As he thought about it, he realized that there was strange and powerful magic in this place. Someone had put this maiden under a powerful spell.
“Which means she must be someone important, like a princess,” he said aloud. He risked touching her to see if he could wake her, but despite shaking her, he could not wake the woman. He brushed her hair back with his small hand, but finally fear caught hold of him and he looked once more about the clearing and slowly, carefully avoiding the plants, he sneaked away and back to the natural forest.
From there, he turned back and realized that the clearing looked quite different. The plants were green and the Princess was no longer visible. He shuddered.
To be sure, Eemyoin stepped back into the meadow and wherever he had just been was now gone. The grasses were indeed green and the air was clear and crisp. Powerful magic indeed. He decided that he might be losing his mind and to keep his discovery of the princess to himself.
* * *
The whole experience slowly faded from Eemyoin’s memory as time went on. He was on the verge of forgetting it altogether, in fact, when once again Eemyoin found himself out hunting in the woods when he saw another deer. The stag had a regal bearing and should have been familiar as it stood watching him, but he was too intent on the hunt and his own grumbling stomach.
The buck stood stock still, almost encouraging. Eemyoin reached for his bow, nocked an arrow, and drew. The magnificent antlers dipped towards him as if bowing and the buck continued to present himself for a clean shot. Eemyoin loosed the arrow. It was a good shot, but not quite perfect, for it had missed the beast’s heart, if only slightly.
The great buck jumped and ran then and Eemyoin gave chase, following the trail the deer’s wound left behind. So intent on the chase was he that he stumbled into the clearing of purple weeds and thorns rather unawares.
He knew from the trail that the deer left on the ground that the it was near the end. When he looked up though, he once again saw the beautiful princess lying in the nest.
Avoiding the plants as before, he came nearer. Instead of the hart, he saw a man with long rusty hair and a golden circlet around his head, wearing clothes of white that matched the princess’s.
He trembled though at the realization that his own arrow was stuck fast in this man’s chest. Eemyoin stood in horror. “No, no! What have I done?” he cried out.
The prince just smiled at him, knelt before the princess, and kissed her full on her red lips. Then, his strength waned and he slumped to one side. The prince had died.
Eemyoin ran to the side of the prince, desperate to see if there was any life left in him, if he could extend any sort of aid, though he inwardly sagged with the belief that he had killed a man, albeit unwittingly.
He was thus occupied by examining the prince’s body, when the princess rose up from her long enchanted slumber. He was thus very startled when her fair hand gently pushed his shoulder. Frightened he leaped away and watched her, thinking she might seek her own revenge on him.
She revealed that she had had a tiny black vial in her other hand, and she opened the small glass.
She looked at Eemyoin and said, “These are tears of a unicorn. The witch didn’t know that I had them.” She carefully placed three drops of a dark liquid in the prince’s mouth and said something in a foreign language that Eemyoin did not know.
“Will you help me remove the arrow?” she asked, and, of course, Eemyoin did. She placed three more drops of unicorn tears on the wound and again repeated the strange words.
Much to Eemyoin’s surprise, the prince took a deep breath and his body shuddered. His brown eyes jolted open and the princess-sorceress kissed him.
“Oh, my love! Hartman, you live yet,” she exclaimed, wiping tears from her eyes.
“And, you, my dear Violet, you are awake!” They both cried for joy and held each other as Eemyoin looked on dumbfounded.
How could this be? he wondered.
Finally, Hartman turned to the little wood elf and said, “Thank you, friend Eemyoin. You have helped save us from the black queen’s evil sorcery.”
“The black queen?” asked Eemyoin. “And how do you know my name?”
“We’ll discuss that later, Eemyoin. Now, I am very hungry,” said the Princess. “Do you know a good inn?”
Copyright © 2014 Eric Schweitz
Photo linked via Writing My Legacy
This post also, by coincidence, works for the Daily Post topic of taking a Wrong Turn as Eemyoin clearly ended up in an unexpected place.