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9:05 PMGuardian Elf
A little girl spun about her backyard, laughing and smiling, her cheeks flushed from the cold and her brown hair flying around her.
She was happy to be out in the snow, even if she had to be bundled up really well in a winter coat and snow boots. The cold wind felt good on her face and the snow melting on her hands was always a funny feeling.
Suddenly, in the depths of the woods behind her, she heard a piano start playing. It was a soft and almost unreal sound to the child, and she stared towards the music in awe. She was going to run inside and grab her mother to ask if she could go to where the music was. But then she heard a soft voice begin singing.
“Lapsistain rakkain tää näyttämö on
Mis kuutamo kujillaan kulkee
Taipunut havu, kesä hoivassa sen
Valkomeren niin aavan
Joka aavekuun siivin
Saapuu mut kotiin noutamaan.”
As the person played, the girl walked closer and closer, hesitating at the edge of the forest, but finding she didn’t have to enter it, the person playing was right in front her.
The person hunching over the piano in the forest stopped playing as she called out, “Excuse me! who are you? Aren’t you cold? You’re playing a beautiful song!” She paused for only a brief moment between each small sentence she yelled out towards the person.
They turned around and the young girl couldn’t quite place if they were a man or woman yet. They had long snow white hair that was braided and thrown over one of their shoulders. They were very, very pale with vibrant purple eyes. They’re ears looked a little pointed, but the girl was busy staring at their brilliant eyes.
They smiled at her, very softly, like everything else they had done so far. Then they said in the same soft voice they had sung in, “Would you like for me to sing it to you in English?”
The little girl nodded eagerly, bouncing in place as she waited to her the beautiful song again.
The person smiled a little bigger and nodded their head once. They turned back to the piano and played the first few mystifying notes for her again.
This stage is the dearest of my children,
Where moonlight moves through alleys.
A bent twig, a summer in its care
White vast open sea
On the wings of a phantom moon
Comes to take me home.”
The girl was so entrance, but she still didn’t dare walk any closer to them. he didn’t want to be in trouble or interrupt their concentration. She started feeling colder as she just stood in place, but she huddled further into her clothes and continued to listen.
A few more beautiful notes were played before they began to sing once more.
“In winter land, a moment is an eternity
Creeps to me on kitten paws.
I get to live here where the story begins,
Where a violin echoes the eternal melody of immense longing
Waking up the earth with its song.”
There was some more piano music after that, but the young girl had stopped listening. she was so taken by the wonder of the song and simply stared at the person behind the piano. When they had stopped playing, she clapped as loud as she could, the person turning back around on their bench again. They began to smile, but noticed how cold the girl was.
“Come, let me bring you back into your house,” the person said as they stood. But as soon as they had stood, their piano had disappeared, making the girl gasp. The person turned around and noticed what had happened and sighed. “Well, since you say that magic, here.”
They waved their hands at a nearby tree and a branch reached down to the girl with a strange looking cup filled with hot chocolate. As she took the bark textured mug, she noticed the person approaching with a pair of gloves and a scarf. “You need to stay bundled up well, little one.”
They both shared a smile, and soon after the girl’ mother called after her. She yelled back saying she’ll be inside in a moment, then turned back to the person.
“Do you need your things back?” The person shook their head. “What was the song you were playing called?”
“It’s called Taikatalvi in Finnish, or Enchanted Winter in English.” The girl nodded slowly.
“Can you play it again for me?”
The person smiled softly once more. “Of course little one. I’ll always be here during the winter.”
The girl smiled happily, especially as she finished her hot chocolate. She held the cup tightly “What kind of person are you?”
The person smiled at them and pointed at their ears. “I’m a guardian elf. I’ll always be in this forest. But you need to run home now, little one.”
The girl nodded and ran back inside, shouting over her shoulder, “I’ll see you later guardian elf!”
The elf chuckled and waved back, knowing the girl would be telling her parents all about them and simply thinking that she had a great imagination. They sighed, a little happily. “Ah well. I made a friend, one who can hear my songs. Now what should I play?”
The elves of the forest vary in size, shape, and appearance, but they all have similar dispositions.
One elf in particular was the Guardian Elf of Winter. Those were usually the only times he came out of his tiny hovel among the trees and wandered through the snow and chill, where few others dared to roam.
More often than not, he would make friends with a young child who wanted to enjoy the holiday seasons full of white snow, and sometimes older men or women who had taken up a stroll or drive through the woods as their hobby.
Many called him albino or simply thought of him as very pale. Through his glamour, many couldn’t see his pointed ears, so he was more often questioned about what gender he was, as it is common for many fae to look androgynous because they combine all the types of beauty there is.
But because of the glamour he had up at all times, he sometimes appeared deaf to the people he spoke with because they couldn’t see his mouth move or hear his voice exit it. Very few had ever heard him play songs or had a conversation with him in general.
This started changing for him as he started looking over a new sector of forest the year before, one commonly visited by the local witches or warlocks. He was happy to be in an area so full of positive and psychic energy for a change. He could practically feel the forest buzz with energy on certain days.
As the seasons began changing, he laid on the crunching leaves with the Guardian Nymph of Fall. The nymph he was close to had the perfect red-brown hair, always making a crown of leaves that were about to die and wearing it. She wore a brown colored dress, which was vastly different from the light brown of her skin or the yellow-red eyes she had. He always said he liked how the other Guardians looked so distinctly different - even if they represented the same season - and well represented their season, but he never understood his purple eyes. The Fall Guardian would always roll her eyes and punch him in the arm, saying, “There are purple flowers that grow during the winter, idiot.”
In the mid-afternoon, the two laid next to one another, watching the leaves fall from the towering trees above them, but felt an extreme cold as it whipped through the mighty giants before them. They simply laid next to one another for a long time, before the nymph threw an armful of leaves on her companion. He stayed still, blinked a moment later, than sat up on his elbows to glance down where he was half buried in leaves.
The nymph that was now standing beside him was laughing. “Shoulda paid attention a bit more, right?”
She began skipping away, but soon the elf chased after her, and the two jumped and leaped through the trees, each determined to get the other back one way or another. They came close to a pond at one point, and he pushed her in and froze the surface directly above her. The spulttering nymph sat on top of the mini ice burg in the otherwise quiet and serene lake, crossing her arms and legs while she stared him. He rolled his eyes, a large smile still present on his face, as he froze his own section of ice and sat across from her.
She was still pulling the drenched leaves from her hair and wringing it out when he sat, which set off a whole new bout of laughter for him. She tried to not laugh and be angry with him, but she joined in the laughter too when she told the tree with branches above him to dump as many leaves as possible on him, and he was once again buried under leaves.
Suddenly, in the middle of them cleaning themselves up, they heard a shout from the other side of the lake. Both of their heads shot around quickly as the Guardian Elf stood, ready to skate over on ice and help the person, but realized the shout came from a girl who had tripped over a rock, and was no rubbing her back. She had clearly seen them and had tried to walk away because she thought that she was going crazy. The taller Guardian glanced at the smaller one, each exchanging a look that read, “Here we go again.”
She willed the leaves out of the water while he brought them closer the bank of the lake and melted the ice back into water. The girl continued staring as she was lying on the hill she had tried to run up previously. The two decided to walk away for the day and let the child process what was happening.
When they reached their homes - which they can take with them anywhere - they said good bye and promised not to be too playful and loud the next day, with small sly smiles on their faces.
The following day began with a thick cloud of fog that stuck to the trees or water, making the forest the fae all lived in look more mysterious and enchanting. The Guardian Elf had been walking through the forest, checking on all the creatures and things when he came across the girl again.
She was once again at the lake, but now she was sitting all bundled up, staring where the two Guardians had been the day before. He was in the periphery of her vision now, he knew it, but she was so busy concentrating on that one spot, sipping her coffee, almost willing them to show up again.
He walked towards her, saying as he did so, “It’s not very often someone waits for us like this. They usually traipse through the forest searching for us instead.”
The girl had started a bit when he first began talking, but then she just stared at him. Luckily, her drink was in a container with a lid, so she fumbled with the lid for a moment then jumped up and stared in awe at him. He fidgeted, a bit uncomfortable, but it wasn’t the first time this had happened.
However, what was new was that this girl - probably closer to a woman, actually - didn’t rapidly ask questions or stare for very long. Instead, her face lit up more and she jumped forward and hugged him. She began shouting, “I knew if I waited here, I would see you again! You look so cool! I didn’t know you were really… real! I don’t know exactly what you are, but I don’t really care!”
She jumped back from him and began bouncing up and down in place, her eyes sparkling with how much happiness she was radiating. He was stuck in place for a moment, then he shook his head. “I’m an elf, and yes, all kinds of fae and legends you humans have are real. We actually exist. I live by here, so of course I came back to this lake. I also will be guarding this general area soon. I didn’t expect to see a human when I was checking in on the creatures here. So, how are you doing? And why are you far from home, in this weather and time of day?”
She blinked, stopped bouncing, and thought for a moment. “Yeah that makes sense… I’m not too far, it’s maybe a 10 minute drive from my home to here. I live in a cabin near the edge of woods during this time of year because it’s so beautiful. I came early because I wasn’t sure when you all woke up or whatever. But wait, you’re a guardian? How does that work?”
The elf sighed, but smiled nonetheless. He took the blanket she had been bundled up in and placed it around her shoulders, then he made a bench on the lake out of icy water. “Come sit down, I feel like we could be talking for a while.” His demeanor drew the woman in immediately, and coupled with the soft smile he wore, she put faith in him that she wouldn’t fall in the could water.
By the time dusk fell that day, they had spent the whole day talking on that bench, and the Guardian Nymph joined them. They learned much about each other’s societies, and about the kinds of things they like to do or do for a job.
The woman left full of new knowledge she couldn’t wait to write about, and the two Guardians sat on the bench for a long time after, watching the glow of the sun completely disappear from the sky.
“Well, that was something new, huh?”
The elf looked over at his companion. “Well, it won’t be routine once winter really sets in, but until then, I think we need to make room for that human in our lives.”
The nymph smiled. “Of course! I always felt humans were hard to let go of anyway, for one reason or another!” The both laughed at that, knowing they had human companions in the past they had to let go of. That night, they went to bed overjoyed at the prospect of a new friend, and each day for the next week, they eagerly awaited the return of their new friend, who showed up just as dawn began to rise.
The three very different found close friends in one another, and until the woman was very old and couldn’t take trips on her own anymore, they always met during the last fall weeks before winter started.
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