Stories of Marea
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Stories of Marea

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Shep's Beginning [
June 9th, 2008 | 3:37am

In Marea, deep in the woods, there were tall trees that men could hardly see the tops of. In these trees lived a group of Fairies, who were known for their mischief. The men of the wood tried to stay clear of them, for fear of being tied upside down twenty feet off the ground, or have their hair removed, or something else just as wicked. It was here that the fairy Shep had been born. He was slender, nearly two feet in height, with jet black hair that stood up everywhere. (He occasionally changed it to different colors just to see other beings gawk at him.) His skin color was white, with bright blue markings decorating most of his body. His dark green wings (shaped like a dragonfly's) were actually some of the largest wings ever seen in the history of the fairies; if you were to ask him, he would tell you that he was quite proud of them. And if you were human, he would give you your own set of wings. Anyone knows however, that humans with the wings of a common house fly, cannot fly. (Of course, the wings would disappear after 24 hours. He used to give humans dragon wings that actually enabled them to fly, but after the incident where the one man lost his wings mid-flight over the ocean, well ... he felt kind of bad about that.) Among his own, he was known for pulling some of the best stunts, and even the fairies told tales of his pranks.

However, he loved to make life miserable for his fellow fairies. They eventually tired of his tricks, for they were quite elaborate and unescapable, so the leader sent him out and told him, "Go and play your jokes on other beings for a few months, so that we may rest and use our time to pull pranks on the men of the nearby village! We tire of trying to elude your traps; you leave us no time to set traps of our own!"

This is how Shep found himself flying along an empty road, with no particular place in mind to go. He figured he would go and play pranks on some of the other magical creatures of the world for a while. He had always wanted to make a dwarf bald, or zap a mermaid into a small lake. Risky, but he was willing to try.

Of course, if he had known of the journey he would undertake, perhaps he would have just stayed in the woods...

The Journey Begins [
June 5th, 2008 | 12:35am

She came from the sea. Covered only in a tattered rag and her long, dark hair she was as still as death when Neiko found her at dawn.

For more than 100 years, Neiko had lived in a cave by the seashore, communicating only with the occasional mermaid or passing merchant. Imagine his shock, then, to find a strange girl with honey-hued skin and rich mahogany hair lying on the beach, tangled in seaweed and other detritus from the high tide. Upon closer inspection, it became clear to him that not only was the girl beautiful, but she was human...and pregnant.

Kneeling beside the girl, Neiko gently brushed a strand of hair away from her face and said, "Are you alright?" He was careful to speak in the common tongue, since most humans didn't understand the Elven dialect.

She turned her face toward his, the warm light from the dawn revealing deep bruises and terrible wounds that he had at first taken to be seaweed. "Save my baby," the girl whispered.

"I will," Neiko promised. "I'll save both of you. Just take it easy, I'll go get some bandages and a blanket. Don't move."

"No," She gasped, clutching weakly at his hand. "Don't leave me alone, please." Staring into the dying girl's eyes, Neiko nodded, and sat beside her on the sand holding her hand and humming a soft tune.

She turned her face to the sky and murmured something Neiko didn't understand, then her hand went limp in his and her dark eyes closed forever. Sighing softly, Neiko released her hand and rose to find a shovel to bury the poor girl before remembering her request that he save her baby.

He knelt back down and placed a calloused hand gently on her swollen belly, feeling the distressed stir of life within. Setting his jaw, Neiko made a decision that would forever change his life. He pulled a hunting knife from it's sheath on his thigh and made a careful cut into the girl's abdomen, then reached in and pulled a wriggling, squalling baby girl into fresh sea air.

He stared in wonder at the brand new life in his hands, screaming and kicking her tiny legs in fury. Quickly, he stripped off his own shirt and wrapped the child in it, then awkwardly he lifted her up and carried her into the cave where she was soon nestled into his own sleeping furs. He stayed beside the new baby, staring at her in wonder as she wore herself out and drifted off into a peaceful sleep.

As soon as the baby was asleep, Neiko buried her mother on a rise overlooking the ocean, taking only a strange trinket she wore around her neck as a momento for the child. Then he tracked down his goat, who was making herself busy chewing on an old boot and giving seagulls dirty looks. After the obligatory few moments of goat-wrestling, Neiko milked her then set her lose to munch on sea grass.

Taking the bucket inside the cave, he filled a leather pouch with milk and gently woke the infant. It took her a few tries to catch on, but after about ten minutes she was happily sucking goat's milk from the leather pouch. Then she was off to sleep again with a full belly and a happy smile.

Thanking his lucky stars that he was the oldest of six children, Neiko sat outside the cave and studied the pendant for a moment. It was shaped like a star with a moon and sun carved in the middle. On the back of the pendant was a strange rune and a bird with a single diamond for an eye. Pursing his lips, Neiko looked from the amulet to the infant and back again.

"Why me?" he muttered, then tucked the pendant in his pocket and went in search of his travel pack.

The next morning he was set to go, a pack filled with travel necessities on his back, a tiny infant in a sling on his chest, his sword at his hip and a very unhappy goat being led behind him. The child, whom he decided to call Lilly, after his own mother, needed her own family. Not some hermit who lived alone in a cave with only a goat that hated his guts for company.

Lilly's mother had come from the ocean, so he would head north to Silver Bay and see if the merfolk there knew anything about her.

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