Down in the Dark Woods by Gavin Ough

Down in the Dark Woods by Gavin Ough

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The Wood Nymph Dylath calls for a war council, telling all those gathered that Brackaden intends to attack them all. Readers voted that someone calls out, “It’s about time humans dealt with this.”

Episode 15

“Are you completely out of your fucking mind?” I shouted across the crackling fire. The pale green Dryad who’d made the suggestion stared at me in shock.

“Why should you humans not take some action to save your own planet?” a horned Nymph with a light brown and green face demanded. His comment was met with rumbles of agreement.

“I can think of two good reasons off the top of my head,” I told them all. “First, by the time we convinced the world this place exists, you’ll all be dead.” I looked at them. “And second, if you think Brackaden’s bad news, you’ve got no idea what people would do if they got wind of this world.”

“Humans used to live and work alongside us for the good of all,” a blue woman said almost childishly. “Surely they’ll do so again.”

I shook my head sadly. “They’ll come in here and take every last one of you prisoner, try and use whatever powers you’ve got for themselves. You’ll be prisoners. Experimented on and probably chopped up to see what makes you tick.”

“Then we are finished.” Someone said despairingly.

I continued mercilessly, “Some people will probably side with Brackaden as well.”

“Why would they do so? It is madness!” Dylath jumped to his feet, weapons and armor clanking.

“Power,” I said simply, “Greedy, selfish people who want power. They’ll quite happily screw anyone over for power or money.”

“So what of you then?” Dylath demanded, “Are you one who can be trusted?”

I shrugged. “That’s for you to decide. I could tell you I’m reliable but it doesn’t necessarily make it so. But I can tell you this. “That bastard Brackaden burned my house down, killed my dog and shot Trewana in the back and I want to see him pay.” I looked at the mesmeric flames, imagining it was the Fire Sprite and how easy it would be to snuff him out. “Dearly,” I added after a pause.

“Have you got any ideas at all, Nate?” Quercus had appeared from somewhere to land on my shoulder.

“I don’t even know what we’re facing, let alone how to deal with it,” I told her.

A blue figure rose and sat next to me. Without saying a word she cupped her hands in front of my face, the bowl of her fingers filling with water. Images formed in the water like I was looking into a living snow globe. Trees grew, filling out the bowl while a river split the scene. Abruptly flames started lapping at the trees, smoke blackened the air and the few tiny figures that had appeared were incinerated alive. Figures came out of the fire, tall, skeletal things that I remembered burning my house down. Behind the droves of these monsters came other things. Hazy, indistinct living clouds would have been the best way to describe them. Patches of live grayness that sucked any remaining life from the wasteland the Fire Sprites left behind them. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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