It's not my fault. I have CPD. Compulsive Posting Disorder.
That and my USB broke earlier this weekend and I lost TONS. So yes that's gonna put me back a bit. This was one of the stories I lost but luckily my friend had a copy of it. So yeah…Guess since I almost lost it once now I want to make sure I don't lose it again. Funny thing like that. Well whatever, hope you like it.
Disclaimer: still own nothing
The dappled sunlight flickered on the ground, the bright spots dancing around on the rocks and forest floor. A crisp, soft breeze brushed past her cheeks, almost like a hand caressing her skin. It smelled so good here, so clean and pure... She brushed her hair back behind her ear, her eyes flicking through the canopy. Dark leaves blocked light, but the sun found holes in their defense to shine morphing, shifting stars formed from pockets of light, in the dark sky the branches created.
This place was special, sacred, or so the villagers claimed. With a deep breath she closed her eyes, allowing the scents to override her thoughts, the taste of the breeze, the gentle trickle of the brook just a few-
Her eyes snapped open, frowning as she scanned the area. Tears? Cries- yes, crying. The cries of a young one, a child…no, a baby. An infant? So far out here? She frowned, her long ears twitching as they swiveled in an attempt to locate the babe.
She scrambled over the logs and rocks, taking care not to rip her skirt on the twigs. After almost falling face first into a stump (an action that she could almost see her mother hiding her face in shame over) she got to her feet, straining herself to locate the child.
She was deep in the woods by now; the child's cries seemed to carry over miles.
How could a baby be so far into these woods? Even if they were abandoned no one would have gone in so deep for that purpose...
How had the child not perished by now? Where-
Why was she going in so deep? There had to be monsters in this part, and she was no warrior. She had been pushing it by coming in this far as it was.
She closed her eyes, attempting to since the fluctuations in mana, to locate the child if it was nearby...
Yes. There was a child...she was close
Not a child of her kind, no, but a child...
She pushed her way past the branches, nearly stumbling into the ground again. With a light curse she regained her balance and glanced up, her eyes widening.
This place- no this place wasn't for their kind to tread, it was sacred-
Then she spotted it. The child sniveling, crying in the crook of the roots. It was crying, naked and cold, cuddled into the foliage.
She tensed up, hesitating as she stepped forward and then back again.
What was a child doing here? This... Well, it didn't matter, she had to leave yes but...she couldn't leave the babe.
She hesitated just a moment more and rushed forward, scooping up the child, cradling it in her arms to try to keep it warm.
It was a boy, a little human boy- ...or was he? She frowned, glancing around nervously. This place- no, she had to leave. She could think of this later. She ran off as fast as she could, trying not to stumble along the way. Once she was satisfied she was far enough she stopped, removing her apron and wrapping it around the child.
"Now then little one..." she smiled weakly, cradling the boy. "Let's get you somewhere safe..."
The infant sniffed and cuddled against her, the elf twitching. A weak smile broke on her face, bouncing the baby a bit.
"Hm..." she fingered the child's nose, head tilted."Lawrence? No...perhaps...Artemis-..."
The baby's tiny fist closed around her finger, the woman blinking and them tugging the little fist back, giggling a bit.
"Strong little one..."
She stood there a moment, anxiously looking back the way she had just come. The wind picked up, blowing at her back, urging her forward.
"Come on then, little Kratos."
She made her way through the rest of the forest, taking care to mind the child's head. What would her mother say, she wondered? When she showed up back in the village holding a human baby? She could nearly see their faces already, her father's frown-
"Elma? Where have you been? What is- that?"
She looked up, the color fleeing from her fair skin. The elder had been looking for her, wonderful.
"What were you doing in the woods on your own? What is this child doing here?"
"I…found him." She frowned, holding the child a little closer.
"At…the Sacred Place," she muttered, bracing herself for his reaction.
Silence fell over them. As she looked down at the child she heard the quick shuffling of feet over the ground, then became aware of him looking over the infant human.
"…Come, we're going to go discuss this inside."
She frowned, her pale teal bangs nearly brushing the child's nose.
The baby was squirming on the Elder's lap as the aging elf scanned him, sensing his mana, trying to discern the child's origin. Elma watched from a distance, biting her lip. She knew better than to leave until he dismissed her, but felt to interrupt would not end very well either. Her mother had given her exactly the reaction she had expected: going on about how her older siblings had never given her any sort of mischief, how they had never been rash enough to 'gallivant' through the forest, how they had more respect than to tread onto the Sacred Ground and the sense not to pick up strange infants. She was just getting temperamental in her old age, Elma thought, especially when it came to her frequent rants about how she had yet to marry and move out of their home. She wasn't even three-hundred yet, it was common to be unwed at her age…
"Were there any signs of other people there, Elma?" her father spoke.
"What-? Oh, no, Father," she said, biting her lip. "I just heard him crying and I…just went to make sure he was all right."
The aging elf eyed his daughter and then the infant human again, scanning him intently. Elma fidgeted a moment more, waiting for his conclusion.
"Well it's not our kind," her mother huffed. "The next time one of those humans comes through we'll just give the babe over to them, let them take care of their own blood."
"But…humans are selfish, aren't they?" she frowned, wringing her hands."They might not take him, or they might treat him poorly…"
"That's not of our concern."
"But the ones that come are usually men! They don't know how to care for a child-"
"Why does it matter, Elma? It's just a human," her mother scoffed.
"He's a baby!"
"Calm yourselves," the elder stated, having gathered the infant in his arms. "…This child will remain in the village."
Both women flinched, glancing back at the old man. He eyed them back, lifting to his feet, cradling the foundling.
"This may very well be a sign from the spirits," he explained, scanning the sniffing child. "It may be, it may not be, but time will tell."
"What-? But no one will take a human into their home!" his wife scowled.
Elma hesitated, gripping the hem of her skirt, eying the increasingly restless babe. A sign from the spirits? Well he had been…there, but he still didn't seem to be much anything other than a human. Still, there was something…just something, about the infant. Or perhaps it was that finding him she had grown attached to him, somehow, but the idea of someone else caring for him suddenly seemed too much to bear.
"I…" she mumbled, her voice falling weak.
"What? What did you see? Spirit's sakes, child, speak up!"
"I can…care for him."
"What? Don't be absurd, you're a young maiden, you have yet to even wed!" her mother scowled. "No man is going to want to marry you if you already have a child to care for-"
"Well-he's just a human, isn't he?" she asked, looking at her. "They mature in what, three decades?"
"A little less than that," her father said simply.
"Yes, see, mother? It's not that long, he'll be able to live on his own in less than half a century and that's still a prime age to marry, isn't it?"
"No, I agree." The Elder nodded. "She found the child, she must be the one to care for it."
"She doesn't know how to raise children! Much less a human one!"
"She will learn, and the child will learn as an elven child would," he continued in a calm, low voice, holding the child out to his youngest daughter.
The young elf woman hesitated, looking up at her father and then down to the child. Elma hesitated just a moment before taking the babe into her arms, cradling it. Her mother scowled beside her, but her father gave a quiet nod of approval. She looked down at the little boy, at little Kratos, and wondered just what she had gotten herself into.
He gave a little hiccup and then snuggled up to her chest, his little fists balled up as the infant began to rest peacefully again.
Well…humans grew fast, after all, how hard could it be?
(hides) Don't hurt me