The Winter Witch

By Tarynne Bourret All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Adventure

~Chapter Six~ The Dawn King

A few days had gone by and Tula, the Sidhe, or flower fairy had yet to return, not that Enya was truly expecting anything. For all she knew the creature could have lied and had no intention of coming back.

She looked out the window, to a path that would lead to the town of See-Stadt, and could branch off to other places far beyond the forest. Enya didn’t know what was out there, nor did she wish too. It had now been three months since her mother left for Ruhenheim, at least from what Enya could recall. It could take a three days travel to get to See-Stadt, and depending on the terrain, eight days to that of Ruhenheim, so in total it could almost take two weeks to reach the next village over.

The fact that her mother had been gone for over two months really made her begin to think the worst, but for all she knew it could have been an overreaction, her mother could return home soon. But even then she wouldn’t know, it was just speculation, much like this snow.

Her thoughts came to a halt when she heard a knock on the door; she looked to Roux who seemed to look just as curious as to who could have been. She peaked through the window of the door and recognized who it was before quickly unlocking and opening the door.

“Will, why are you…” she paused when noticing the other boy behind him, it was the same blond haired boy who had attempted to rescue Tula, from the group of older boys. “You’re the boy from before…”

“That’s right you wouldn’t know him,” Will said before scratching the back of his head. “Well he hasn’t been here all that long if I’m honest.” He then looked to the boy that looked almost nervous; what’s more he seemed a little older then Enya and William. “What are you waiting for? Introduce yourself.”

The boy stepped forward and then bowed as if he were greeting a person of nobility which surprised Enya a little. “My name is Richard, please forgive my actions from before, I had not intended to force you into such a predicament but with all that had happened I merely did not wish that creature to be tormented any further.”

“You mean the Sidhe,” Enya said, Richard nodded. “You shouldn’t blame yourself for what happened. I’ve dealt with those boys myself and they are horrible to anyone they wish too. even though they are related to the mayor by his wife’s side it doesn’t give them the right to treat people like that.” she paused and noticed how both boy’s seemed to have cuts and bruises, even a few peeking out of their clothing. “Would you both like to come in?” she asked as she stepped away from the door to allow them entry.

As the boy’s entered her home and removed the extra layers of clothing Enya went back to the stove and poured them both a mug of chicken broth and placed them at the table. “Here,” she said offering the two boys when they joined her. “This will warm you up quick from the cold outside but don’t drink it too fast or you’ll burn your mouth.”

“Thank you Enya,” William said but Richard seemed to be looking around, as if looking at the interior of the home or looking for something in particular which only Enya could guess.

“If you are looking for the Sidhe, it already left, several days ago in fact.”

Richard didn’t look remotely surprised. “No I wasn’t looking for it. I know the Sidhe can often be shy timid creatures or afraid of people…”

“Or likes to mess with them,” Will added in a deadpan voice.

Richard gave him an unamused look before continuing. “Yes, there is that, I only just hope that it was alright. I hope your parents were not too angry with you.”

Enya glanced away from the boy before speaking. “They aren’t here, I took care of the fairy myself with some guidance from the village’s doctor to make sure what I was doing was actually helping her rather than hurting her.”

Richard frowned. “Then… where are they?”

William sighed and shook his head. “That’s right you haven’t been here that long. Over three months ago, Enya’s father…”

“He died,” Enya said cutting William off and drawing both boys’ attention. “Several months ago, struck in the chest by an arrow…”

Then William added as Enya moved to look out a nearby window. “You’ve probably heard a number of other villagers talking about it. A lot of people really loved Arthur, they looked up to him.” before his gaze then slowly went to Enya, she remained there as the fox sat at her side, keeping close as if guarding her.

“Yes,” Richard said. “I’ve heard of him, but I didn’t know it was her father,” he too looked Enya unsure what to say anymore so William spoke.

“Has there been any word?” he asked. “Has there been anything from your mother?”

Enya sighed but continued to look out the snow covered window. “I keep telling myself that she’ll send word, a letter or even a messenger but, time just keeps moving and nothing changes. No word, no letter, just nothing.”

“It could just be the weather.” Will offered.

Enya grit her teeth. “It’s been two months Will!” she snapped. “Two months! We can’t just keep thinking it’s the weather if it’s been for that long! Something must have happened. She wouldn’t… my mother wouldn’t just vanish like that. This isn’t the first time she’s been called to another town or village for assistance; she would at least send something to let me know what’s been happening.”

“I… I know. Sorry…”

With a deep breath Enya regained her composure. “You don’t have to apologize, I’m sorry for getting angry I didn’t mean too.” she then went over to them and spoke to Richard. “The Sidhe that I took care of for you told me that she intended to be back, but only after she speaks to her queen. At least that’s what she told me.”

“As long as it’s okay then it’s alright. I wasn’t expecting anything for my actions, I never liked it when someone who would hurt another simply because they were weaker. And trapping it like that was something I couldn’t forgive.”

Enya smiled. “You’re a good person.” but then her smile turned into that of a frown before moving even closer, inches away from his face startling the boy and causing his face to flush with red. “Your injuries haven’t healed yet.” She said, forcing Richard to look to the side by tilting his head with her hand and then doing the same to William. “Did you both not go to get treatment at the hospital?”

“No,” Richard spoke. “Even after I explained it to William’s father, he did not believe me. What’s more he thought we were only roughhousing, that we were only playing a game.”

“That’s my father for you,” William said dryly. “He’s always been like that, not that he isn’t a good father at times he’s worried that your uncle might close the school.”

“My uncle would not do that,” Richard said. “He believes that everyone deserves education, regardless of what there background is. And in that regard he’s very admirable.”

“Your uncle is the mayor?” Enya said. “I remember overhearing you call his wife Victoria “aunt” but I only assumed you were related to her.”

“I’m not related to her, not by blood. I am with my uncle, but I am honestly grateful that he’s allowed me to stay here even though this village is going through its own crisis.”

Enya knew there was more to his story but seeing the boy’s expression she felt as though it was a question that she should not ask. “Are there any other injuries that have yet to be healed?” she asked changing the topic.

Richard looked at her with a questioning stare. “Why do you want to know?”

“So I can give you something to help heal it faster,” she said. “Should there be any other reason than that?”

Richard became quite, his gaze averting her’s before he looked back to her. “No, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be rude in your home.”

“It’s all right.” she then looked to William. “What about you Will? Are there any other injures besides the ones I can see?”

“A few, but they aren’t noteworthy. I think Richard took the brunt of it from Edward and his goons.” He then rolled up his sleeves of his shirt to show his. “These are all I have, along with the one on my face.”

Enya looked at William’s arms for a moment before moving towards a cabinet and removing some items before coming back and placing them on the table. “Can you both remove your shirts completely? I want to make sure there isn’t any other damage.”

“It’s just bruises.” Richard said. “You don’t have to go that far.”

She then cast a narrow gaze on Richard in which he flinched in surprise from it. “Do you want to heal quickly or not?”

“I do?” he said unsure of how he should answer.

Enya began taking the herbs that she had collected along with some oils and began to ground it into a fine paste. “Then take off your shirt.”

“You know,” Will said as he unbuttoned his own and did what she asked. “You become awfully bossy when it comes to a person’s health.” he would have added more but Enya had taken the past and pressed it hard against his swollen cheek. “Ouch that hurts!”

“It wouldn’t hurt so much if you had seen Doctor Erich, even he could see that this wasn’t some kids playing a game.” She said as she continued to put ointment on both of William’s arms. “And he would have some choice words for your father and even those boys who did this.”

Will then frowned slightly when he looked at Enya’s face. “Weren’t you hurt also?”

Enya gave him a blank stare. “It healed Will; it’s been several days since then.”

“Yes, but a bruise takes time to heal, but even medicine wouldn’t heal a person’s skin that quickly.”

Enya moved away from him and approached Richard. “Can I see your arm please?” He merely rolled up his sleeve and Enya looked at it but then frowned. There was something off about some of the bruises on his arm, some looked rather old was this also done by Edward?

“Is something wrong?” Richard asked.

Enya looked at him and smiled gently at him. “It’s nothing; just give me a moment to put the ointment on.”

Richard merely watched as she worked then began looking at her with a questioning stare before Enya flicked her gaze to him causing the boy to flush with red and glance away.

“Are you okay?” Enya asked him.

“I’m fine,” he said then cleared his throat. “I just didn’t expect someone so young to know so much about medicine.”

“My mother’s a doctor, she taught me at a young age in how to care not only for ones’ self but also for others if ever a time arose, although I still have a lot to learn in regards to medicine and the like.”

William however moved to look at her face once more. “You still didn’t explain why you’ve healed so quickly.”

Enya sighed, she intended to ignore William’s question, but when seeing how Richard was so evasive in removing his shirt she merely applied the ointment to the bruises and few cuts on his face and the other arm before answering William. “That is because a person used magic to heal me.”

Both boys frowned.

“Someone used magic to heal you?” Richard said. “Why?”

Enya hesitated in speaking; in honesty she didn’t know really how to explain it. In that moment it was like time had slowed down, then sped up and then slowed down again. She had to think for a moment to recall the events in order. “Well…” Enya began and clasped her hands together. “To tell the truth even I’m not fully sure as to what happened, it went by really quickly. But, I’ll tell you, only thing I ask is that you both don’t speak a word until I’m finished alright?”

“I won’t utter a word.” Richard said.

“And I promise to keep silent even if it kills me.” William added.

Enya laughed a little. “Alright then,” she then spoke of her journey home, how the blistering cold winds blew and how at times it felt impossible to even see where she was going. And then told them of the Garu that she had encountered, both boys looked at her with shocked wide eyes, but much to their word they both remained silent as Enya continued. Describing to them what the Garu she encountered looked like and how in that moment she thought it was the end until an elven man had appeared within the storm and protected her from the dark creatures. She told how the man seemed to use magic made of light along his blade and how he seemed more than willing to continue fighting throughout the night.

“After he made the Garu vanish with his magic he took that chance to heal my cheek. He spoke in what I can only assume was the language of the Elves which destroyed them, before merely allowing me to continue on.”

“He didn’t speak to you?” Richard asked after a moment to make sure she was done so he could speak.

Enya shook her head. “No, not directly, but for some reason when he looked at me I could almost tell what his intentions where. It might sound strange but that’s what it felt like to me when he had protected me.”

Will was quite for a moment before asking. “Do you remember what he looked like?”

She nodded. “It was dark but I knew he was Elven, he had pale skin, long black hair and really striking orange gold eyes. Like that of a warm flame.”

William slammed his hands down on the table causing both Enya and Richard to look at this boy with shocked surprise. “That’s the Dawn King!” he proclaimed with almost overjoy.

“The Dawn King?” Enya repeated with a slight frown.

“I’ve heard of him,” Richard said. “He’s known throughout several kingdoms even where I come from. They call him the Dawn King because of how he uses light magic when stopping destroying the Garu, it was even said that he was once a King that lost his kingdom to a large scale attack from the Garu. But even then no one is certain, someone came up with the name and many just seemed to join in.”

“Have you ever seen him Richard?” Enya asked and the boy merely shook his head.

“I’ve only heard stories of him.”

She then looked to William. “What about you Will? Have you, since you seem to know a lot about him.”

To both children’s surprise, he nodded. “I have but it was only briefly. But it was several years ago, back then I didn’t know who he was until my mother told me. To be honest none of us knew why he was even there, the best we could assume was that he was merely passing through.”

“If that’s the case why would he return?” Richard asked sounding equally puzzled.

William merely shrugged in response, he didn’t know ether, Enya on the other hand recalled what Tulla had asked her in a panic when she told the Sidhe about the Garu attacking her. “When I mentioned it to the Sidhe, she asked about some sort of barrier.” She looked back to William. “Will did you bring that book by chance, the one with those strange markings?”

Quickly Will got up off the chair and went over to his bag that he had left by the front door; he then pulled out the same thick book as before and brought it over to the table.

“You carried that thing all the way here?” Richard said more as a statement then a question. “I wondered what it was you had stuffed so secretly in that bag.”

“I couldn’t let my father know,” said William. “If he knew, who knows what he would do to this book.” He opened it to the map from before. “After you left Enya I looked over the map again. There are at least several markings near Bergdorf, three in total. Do you think these might be the barrier that the fairy was asking about?”

Enya shifted the book closer to her and looked at the small village along with the strange markings that had been made. In truth she didn’t know, and at the moment she wasn’t all too inclined to go outside while the Garu might still be roaming around. “I don’t know.” she said. “She didn’t go into much detail when she learned that I didn’t know what she was talking about.”

“You should have asked.”

Enya gave Will a disapproving glance. “In my defense I was too preoccupied with the fairy talking to me to even think about that. Besides, we have no clue as to when she may be back.” Or at all… she thought keeping that last part to herself.

“I recognize this…” Richard said in almost a whisper. The boy ran his hand over the page with the runes. “I’ve seen these markings before. In the kingdom where I come from there are markings in every strange places. Almost as if they would lead to a door of some kind but it’s just a dead end.”

Somehow that didn’t sound right to them. “No one has ever tried?” Enya asked.

Richard thought about it for a moment. “Well there are those who do use magic but nothing like this that I’ve seen.”

“So you’ve seen these markings around but no one has ever bothered to try anything with them?” William said. “That makes no sense, why wouldn’t anyone at least examine them?”

“Because the last time someone tried to tamper with it they almost died.” Richard said causing the other two to become still as a light look of dread came to his face. “Those markings are made with what we can only determine as “old magic” and that is something that should never be tampered with.”

“Then maybe…” William began seeming to be deep in thought. “Maybe this “old magic” was done by the same people who made the marks in this book. So it could be the same people but it’s just a guess.”

“Perhaps,” Richard agreed then frowned at the book. “Where did you get this book?”

As William explained to Richard about how he acquired such a strange and yet interesting book Enya flipped the pages back to the image of the Garu that looked like a giant bird attacking people along with the symbol of the Schnee family. Even now she still felt as though she had seen this emblem before, but from where?

Suddenly something began tapping at the window repeatedly; Roux merely let out a faint growl but didn’t seem too angered by this sudden tapping along the window. Enya went over to open the window and out tumbled the little flower fairy from before carrying something in a cloth. She landed on the floor on her stomach before getting up on all fours and shook her head.

“And here I thought you might be away.” Tula proclaimed as she stood up and dusted the snow off her herself. “I was worried for a moment that there would be no answer.”

“You came back,” Enya said, sounding rather surprised.

“Of course, I told you I would.” She said as she placed the parcel she carried on to the table. “Did you not believe me?”

“I wouldn’t say that,” Enya said. “I’ve just gotten used to being told one thing, while something else happens.”

The fairy looked confused but then saw the two boys. “Wah!” she squeaked before grabbing a spoon and holding it like a javelin. “Wh-who are you? You’re not trying to bully Enya are you? Did you break in? What do you want?!”

Enya found herself laughing, the fairy seemed so quick to judge. “No, these were the boys I told you about, the ones who helped me rescue you.”

“Oh…” she said dropping the spoon then flew up to get a better look at the boys in question. “I remember you,” her light turquoise eyes looked to Richard. “You were the boy that tried to help me.”

To everyone’s surprise Richard took a step back and did a noble bow. “I am just happy to see that you are doing better than before Miss.”

Tula laughed a little before giving a curtsy in response. “You are too kind young man, and it’s thanks to you both and Enya that I am much better. Even though you boys merely helped while I was stuck in that awful jar.”

“How did you get trapped in that jar in the first place?” Richard asked.

The fairy looked almost sheepish. “I was looking for Edelweiss, it was something I needed but they were all used up in the Grove, so I thought that you human’s might have some. But with this sudden storm I had no luck. I was about to give up when I saw some in a bush, I should have known better but just seeing those flowers got the best of me.”

“But…” William frowned. “How did they know you were looking for that?”

Tula’s face flamed with red as she looked away. “Probably because one of them heard me I guess, like I said I was so wrapped up in trying to find it that I wasn’t paying too much heed.”

“That’s not very safe,” Enya said. “You should be more careful next time.”

She looked to Enya and nodded. “Don’t worry, I intend too. I hadn’t expected those boys to do anything, in fact even those in the Grove have heard that you human’s will leave us alone if any of them see us.” She cleared her throat. “Anyway! That doesn’t matter now, what matters is that you three helped me and I very grateful for it. And to show my gratitude, Enya, I brought you this.” the fairy undid the bag that she carried to reveal its contents to the others that rolled and sprawled out on the table.

Enya picked one up and gave the fairy a questioning look. “A mushroom?”

Tula nodded. “Yes, those are called Sprunghaft mushrooms, they’re good for medical proposes, though I’ve heard that there’s something special about them. Can’t remember what off the top of my head though, but I’ve had them many times, it’s good for soup too.”

Enya’s eyes narrowed on it. “I’ve never heard of a Sprunghaft before, how do I know it’s even safe to eat?”

“You don’t trust me?” Tula asked.

“No it’s not that…”

“It seems shady,” Will spoke over Enya.

“I have to agree,” Richard added. “I’ve never heard of this type of mushroom ether, it seems rather devious.” Tula looked at Richard, startled that the boy would even say such a thing as her wings then folded down as if she had become depressed before he added. “However, my mother had always told me that many of the Sidhe can be rather compassionate, and give an offering of thanks if they were helped in some form or another.”

“That’s true!” Tula said before looking back to Enya. “See, there’s no way I would want to hurt someone who helped me, that would just be wrong.”

Enya didn’t look so overly convinced, and in that moment Roux jumped up and snatched it out of Enya’s hands and ran with it to the other end of the room. “Roux!” Enya rushed to the fox to try and stop it from eating the mushroom but it was too late. By the time Enya got to the fox Roux had already swallowed it.

The fox then let out a strange sound before collapsing to the floor. His body to twitch and shake as more of the same strange noise came from the fox.

“Roux!” Enya cried as she held the fox in her arms, Roux looked as though he was now shaking from the cold as his ears were laid back, as strange sounds continued to come from the animal. In anger and confusion, Enya then glared to the fairy. “What did you do to my friend!?”

“N-nothing!” Tula said as she flew over to the girl and fox. “At least, nothing was supposed to happen, unless…”

“Unless there is something more to that fungi then you originally thought.”

The whole room went quite, that was a voice no one had heard before, Enya looked down at the fox with wide eyes as it was no longer shaking, he coughed and hacked before shaking his body to remove whatever chill he had before sitting and looking directly at the fairy.

“I think you owe a bit of an explanation as to what else those mushrooms can do.” Roux said in a clam voice before looking to Enya and seemed to be smiling almost slyly. “Don’t you agree Enya?”

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