At the age of nine, Peter Finley had not done anything particularly extraordinary, he was a very average boy in an average house, He was slim but not slender and a medium height; tall for his age but not giant. He didn’t like girls all that much, he did chores around the homestead, and he thought magic was pure tom-foolery. When he was younger his mother had told him stories, oh, such stories of his father, a once-mighty man who had left his life behind to save a world not his own, a world filled with magic and elves, wizards, and dragons. How could such a world exist when so many people were sick and dying in his village, it simply did not make sense to him, so he dismissed the stories as simply that, just stories. He believed his father had been a fisherman, a simple man.
He lived in a little shack with his mother, Catherine Finley, his father had unfortunately passed away from what Peter believed to be the same illness that now plagued many, just after peter had been born. Peter’s mother, though she missed having another adult to help run things, had adjusted to being a single parent. Peter did everything in his power to make sure his mother was cared for, he worked in the garden and helped around town to earn extra money. He worked at nearly every farm in the village just to pay for him and his mother to eat. As long as he had been aware his mother had been small and dainty, so thin as to almost look sickly, however, she always carried herself with such grace. Catherine was a kind woman, her bright green eyes shone in similarity to emeralds, with straight, fiery red (almost auburn) hair cascaded down her back. Peter took after her in that regard, his hair was also a fiery red, however, it contrasted his mother's in the way it bounced and sprang in tight little curls all over his head. His eyes a deep ocean blue like after a storm, he must have gotten his eyes from his father.
The community they lived in was a farming community know as Ferrin Falls. It was mostly plains and farmland except for just to the north where a quite large set of waterfalls resided. A river from the falls ran south just east of the village. Even in the hottest of summers the river would run cold, chilled from the ice-capped mountains to the north. It was a beautiful area and Peter enjoyed living there very much, though he didn’t get much time to play with the other children of the village his mother insisted he take at least one day a week to be a child. He liked to spend his time with Elsbeth and Margot Carrie, as they were the only children his age in the village. The girls could have been twins despite there being an age difference on one year between them. They both had light, honey-coloured hair which they would tie in braids that went halfway down their backs, but the darkest molasses brown eyes you had ever seen. If she had to tell the truth Margot had a crush on Peter. He was always so nice to the girls and he did good work tending to the sheep on their daddy’s farm. Elsbeth just liked spending time with Peter as her friend, he could always make her laugh with one of his funny faces, he made the farm work bearable.
Today, unfortunately for him was not one of those days he could spend time with the girls, today, he had to walk through the trail in the forest to the northwest to reach the market in Hurget. Hurget was a bustling little town with many stores and vendors. So many trinkets and interesting things to look at, Peter was excited to make the journey, though the one part he wasn’t looking forward to would be getting there. The forest was known as the Sylvan Woods and other children would spread rumors of seeing fairies, imps, and devils in those woods, of course, Peter being the responsible boy that he was did not believe in these magical beings. Though just to be sure no one snuck up on him while walking he always kept his eyes keen. Surely, he could not be caught unawares if he had his hand primed on his dagger at all times. He thought to himself that he should have one of the men in the village teach him how to protect himself using a bow rather than using his dagger as a defense. Maybe the girls’ uncle, George Hertfield could, he was a capable adult, not only did he farm cabbages but he also would go hunting for deer in the woods when the village ran low on supplies. Peter would have to mention it next time he was over working on Mr. Hertfield’s farm.
Peter packed his bag, attached his dagger sheath to his hip, and put on his cloak in preparation for his trip. Hurget was a good thirty-minute walk through the Sylvan Woods, so Peter wanted to get going as soon as possible. It was already mid-day as he said farewell to his mother who was chopping the last of the vegetables for tonight’s dinner, which Peter already knew would be mutton stew. He would never complain out loud to his mother but did it always have to be mutton stew. Couldn’t they one-time spend a little more on maybe chicken or beef. He understood that they didn’t have a lot of money but he could dream.
“Remember Peter, we need carrots, potatoes, celery, and leeks.” Peter’s mother called after him.
“Yes mother, I have the list in my pocket so I don’t forget.” He hugged his mother and left.
She always worried about sending him through the woods to Hurget, he was only nine. Any number of things could happen to him, she didn’t want him to worry about the same things she worries about, so she never brought it up, she had to be strong for her baby. Things like the thatching in the roof, or where they will get the money for the food for this upcoming winter were constantly crossing her mind. They always got by somehow, this year would be no different, resigning herself to finish cutting the vegetables she went back to what she had been doing.
Peter trekked quickly to the edge of the woods, head down as to not get distracted, now was not the time to become engrossed in another task. Once to the edge of the tree line he lifted his head and stopped, something seemed not quite right about the forest today, he couldn't figure out what was causing this feeling in the pit of his stomach. He looked up, to the left, and to the right but could not see anything out of place. So, he took one final deep breath to try and calm his nerves, he took a step forward forcing himself to continue on his mission. Another step forward, this feeling wasn’t going away, looking behind himself he wanted to make sure he wasn’t being followed but much to his surprise no one was behind him. Worse than that though the village was gone, all he could see were trees, trees, and more trees. Where had the village gone? What is going on? He turned back around thinking maybe it was just a trick of his mind, just follow the trail and make it to Hurget, everything will be fine, just get to the next town. When Peter turned around not only could he not find the trail he had clearly been standing on not just a minute ago, but in front of him was a small open field. What was going on? There had never been a field in the middle of the Sylvan Woods before. Curious about what on earth was going on he slowly made his way to a large boulder that stood on the edge of this opening. Half hiding behind this boulder he peered around the rock formation and could not believe what his eyes told him to be true. A magnificent pure white horse with wings that spread wide and a shining silver horn, the sunlight seemed to shine directedly on this creature as if to say, “this is your destiny”. Peter came to his senses and quickly darted back behind the boulder. What was that thing? It’s unlike anything he had ever seen before, then he remembered his mother telling him bed night stories when he was younger of something called an Alicorn. A creature that was said to be the messenger of the good and prosperous times ahead.
Peter looked around the boulder one more time, but it was gone, everything was gone. The field, the Alicorn, even the rock he had been hiding behind was gone. He was now peering around a tree on the edge of the trail. When he looked behind him, there was the village. He hadn’t made it that far into the woods just a couple of feet in but from what just happened he felt like he had traveled to another world. He then realized this ominous feeling he had had was everything around him had been quiet, sounds started to come back in a deafening tone. Birds singing, insects chirping and children laughing. He shook it off, it must have been his fear and anxiety playing a trick on him, after all, magical beings weren’t real. There were no such things as Alicorns, there was no open field in this forest and for certain, the sun would not magically shine on such a cloudy day.
Peter cleared his mind and went forward with his quest, but every now and then he wondered could it have been real, if so, what did it mean?