Chapter 2: Into the Woods

As far as being secluded goes, this place sure does the job, Cordelia thought. She’d been on the road for days. And there was something peaceful about these woods.

She’d passed a house, but avoided going anywhere near it. She was here to hide away, not to seek people out.

The sprites did not seem to catch up with her quite yet. She didn’t dare think this meant she was finally free of them. It was tempting to think that perhaps they would not venture beyond Gibbs Hill where she spent her whole life up till now. But that just seemed too easy. She may as well have run away as a teenager. She sure wanted to.

After her mother’s passing, various people in the village felt sorry for the little girl, plenty of them willing to take her in. But it was the same old story every time. The sprites always showed up to pester her, demanding entertainment, demanding she act a certain way… Whatever family she was staying with at the time would be understanding at first, conscious of the girl’s traumatic loss, but eventually, they tired of Cordelia “acting out.” And so she’d be passed on to the next family, and the next.

By the age of eighteen, Cordelia felt like she’d stayed with every household in Gibbs Hill. And none of them wanted her. At best, they were wary of her, but some took it further, calling her names. Some even claimed she was a witch. When she was younger, she tried to explain it was the sprites that made her do the things she did, that she couldn’t think straight with them being around, but since they were invisible to everyone but her, it just made things worse. No one believed her. So she left Gibbs Hill behind. There was nothing left for her there anymore.

She forced her mind to focus on the present. There were no sprites here. She was fine, at least for now.

She spotted a mailbox, right in the middle of the woods. What the heck? The last house she’d passed was miles back. She looked around, but didn’t see any other dwellings. The only things that stood out was the mailbox itself, and a large tree beside it.

Cordelia was hesitant when she first approached it. There were mushrooms growing at its roots, which made her apprehensive, reminding her of that cursed clearing. But somehow, this tree did not seem menacing.

The branches were intertwined with each other, growing tall and wide. The tree must have been ancient. She was drawn to it. Before realising it, the palm of her hand landed on the bark. She patted the tree gently. Ridiculous, as if it could feel her touch.

She realised the tree was hollow. Curious, she poked her head inside. A surprisingly long passage laid out in front of her. She furrowed her brows.

“Well, if the goal is to be as hidden as possible..” she muttered to herself before delving inside.

The first thing she noticed when she emerged on the other side was the pink light. She found herself in a meadow, but nothing like the one where she first encountered the sprites during her mother’s secret ritual. This place was serene. She could hear birds chirping, and the sound of a waterfall in the distance.

And nestled in the middle of the meadow was a cute crooked house.

Her first though was that the place was abandoned, but she quickly dismissed the thought. Who in their right mind would leave a house in a place like this? No, somebody lived here. Probably the owner of the very mailbox she saw back in the woods.

Curiosity overtook her, an she made her way closer to the house. She completely abandoned her resolve to not interact with the local residents. The house just made her too darn curious. She needed to know who lived here.

She heard someone speak on the other side of the house. And then she spotted him.

A lanky looking man, well, more of a boy, engrossed in his painting. On second thought, Cordelia wasn’t sure he was human at all. His hair was snow white, and his ears pointy. Was it a good idea to approach him? He hardly looked menacing.

“Just a few finishing touches,” he mumbled to himself. “Peeerfect. There. Hah!”

She cleared her throat, “Um, hello?” She spoke up, her voice uncertain. What should she say. It dawned on her that she was technically trespassing on his property. “Sorry to disturb you. I… got a little lost, I guess.”

“Oh, hi,” he looked at her.

She was taken aback for a moment. His eyes were bright lilac. She’d only seen one other person with eyes that colour in her whole life. Her mother.

“Good timing on your part,” he broke of the silence. “I’m just finishing up my latest masterpiece. What do you think?”

“Um…” she turned to the canvas.

Cordelia’s eyes traced the stick figure with wild hair and a goofy grin. It reminded her of her drawings as a kid, back in the good old days, when she enjoyed that sort of thing.

“It’s… something.” She managed.

“It’s a self-portrait.” He clarified, looking proud of himself.

“Yes, um… what is this place?” She changed the subject. “Do you live here?”

“We’re in Sylvan Glade. And yep, I do live here. Don’t really get many visitors though. Probably because any human who enters here will succumb to teeerrrrible fate.” He twisted his face in a grimace. Cordelia noticed how sharp his teeth were. Definitely not a human.

“Wait, what do you mean?” She asked, anxious. She took involuntarily took a step back.

“Sylvan Glade welcomes folk of my kind, the fae, pixies and the like. I’m an elf, for instance. But as for the likes of you, human…” He paused for dramatic effect. “Let’s just say any human who enters these parts gets permanently cursed by the power of the Glade.” He finished his eerie warning. Cordelia couldn’t believe it. In her attempt to escape one curse, she stepped straight into another.

She planted her face in the palms of her hands, closing her eyes. “No no no no, this can’t be true… oh god. Not another one… why?”

The elf studied her face. He didn’t say anything.

“Why does this keep happening to me?” She looked up at him. “I can’t possibly be this unlucky…”

“I don’t know what to tell you, human,” he said with a nod, his expression serious.

Cordelia sighed. “Well, let’s hear it then. What is this curse?”

“Your life will belong to the beings of the glade. You’ll need to make them laugh, and, uh, bring them cookies. You don’t want them to be bored with you, because then…” Suddenly, his voice broke off.

He let out a loud snort.

Cordelia’s eyes widened. He was laughing at her.

“I’m sorry,” he said in between giggling. “I can’t go on… you should see your face. I can’t believe you fell for that. I mean, magical creatures demanding cookies? I made that up on the spot.”

“You what now?” Cordelia stared at him.

“I mean, it’s not particularly believable, is it? The glade is kind of magical, but there’s no powerful beings with a sweet tooth here,” He tried to supress his laughter, failing miserably. “Ah, I kill myself. It’s just me here. And some weird fish. A few frogs here and there. I do like cookies though, if you happen to have any on you.”

“I don’t. And you shouldn’t say stuff like that if it isn’t true,” she lectured the elf. “I… I’m already kind of dealing with a curse not too dissimilar from what you described.”

“Wait… the curse I made up is real? Is it real because I made it up? Oh man!” He got distracted, probably thinking of the other curses he could invent. Involving cookies, presumably.

“I don’t think you created my curse,” she corrected him. “I’ve had it for years. It’s these little fairy-like things, sprites… you ever heard of them?”

She tried to gauge his reaction, hopeful.

“Can’t say that I have,” he shrugged it off, to her disappointment. “What do they do?”

“I don’t really want to talk about it.” She deflected. “I’m kind of hoping I’ve managed to shake them off, coming here.”

“Well, I’ve never heard of them so you’re off to a good start.” He said encouragingly.

She sighed. “I hope so.”

“Anyone ever told you that you’re kind of a buzzkill?” The elf asked.

“Yeah…”

“Hm, food for thought. For you, I mean. I’ll settle on the cookies. And fruit.” He added, already seemingly forgetting their exchange. He seemed easily distracted.

“Anyway, if you’re wanting to lay low for a while and hide from these sprite things, you’re welcome to camp in my meadow. For a few days. Not like, forever.” The elf offered.

That took an unexpected turn. “Really?”

“Sure. I’ve even got a tent around here somewhere, I’m pretty sure. You like leopard print? I hope you do, because that’s what I’ve got.”

He dashed towards the house, rummaging in a chest.

“I didn’t pick this myself, of course.” He explained, finally locating the tent and pulling it out. The dust made him cough, so he the the tent towards her. “It belonged to a traveller who came here some time ago, but she mysteriously disappeared in the middle of the night. She was probably eaten by… ok, ok, I’ll stop.” He said quickly when she shot him a glare.

“It’s my friend’s,” he admitted. “But she hasn’t come over here in a long time. She’s pretty busy with important things like keeping the world from collapsing and what not. Excuses, excuses. Anyway. I’m sure she won’t mind you borrowing it.”

“Right. Well, thank you. That’s kind of you.” She told him, appreciative.

“Make yourself at home. As for me, I need to get my beauty sleep. It’s kind of late. The sun never fully sets in Sylvan Glade, you see, but you do get tired. You’ll get used to that.”

And with that, he twirled around and went inside his little crooked house.

Cordelia looked around the place. She finally spotted the waterfall that she’d heard when she first entered the Glade. It flowed into a small pond filled with colourful fish. To make the scenery even more picture perfect, a rainbow spanned across the pond.

Well, it could definitely be a lot worse, Cordelia chuckled to herself softly.

18 thoughts on “Chapter 2: Into the Woods

Add yours

  1. Hmm, Cordelia’s mother had purple eyes, like the elf. It makes me think her mother was possibly half-elf or another elf-like being? And that might be why Cordelia has sprites following her. You don’t have to answer that, I’m just writing out my thoughts, lol. I’m liking the mischievousness of the elf.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hey, he never told Cordelia what to call him! I’ll just refer to him as “elfy” then.
    The part with his stick figure self-portrait was hilarious. He’s very obviously a fey creature, so I have my guard up (tricksters and all), but there’s something about Elfy that’s just so innocently adorable. I wonder if Cordelia’s mother had some fey blood running through her veins, if she had purple eyes as well. Cordelia does not, right?

    I like your writing style, and the pictures of the Glades are very pretty! That little cottage fits right in, as well =)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww I quite like Elfy as a nickname for him! You’re right hard to tell if we can trust him yet! Though he could easily be both adorable and a trickster at the same time 🙂

      Purple eyes definitely are uncommon. But who knows?

      And thank you, that means a lot coming from from you – your writing is impeccable!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bah! I love this trickster elf. So, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Critical Role, but it’s a live played Dungeons & Dragons game and there’s a fae trickster god in it, which is who this elf reminds me of! Not looks–but personality.

    From a technical stand point, I love how you pulled them into the Sylvan Glade. I think that’s a beautiful part of the world and it’s lovely that you’re using it.

    As for the characters and writing–I’m already hooked. I don’t expect this story to flow like the Bloomers did, but I’ve always been drawn to you because of your writing style, which has only gotten better! Your characters are lively, their actions make sense, your descriptions of the world are colorful. This is no different and I already love these characters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know I’ve never actually played D&D – I’m pretty sure it would be right up my alley (I like RP in fantasy games like Skyrim, and I gather D&D is basically a tabletop version of that with people) – just don’t really know anyone that knows how to play! But yes, the elf sure likes a bit of mischief!

      I tend to forget the hidden lots exist, but now that I’ve remembered Sylvan Glade is a thing I’ll try to go there a fair bit, it’s beautiful, and fits the story I’m trying to tell pretty well 🙂

      Thank you so much, that’s such high praise! You’re right that while the setting and the story might be different, my approach to characters hasn’t really changed. I always think characters first, story second, so everything is based on how I’d think they’d really react based on what I know about them, glad that comes across 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh how I love mischievous fae! Also, I really empathize with Cordelia. When Discover University first came out, one of my sims got invited to join the secret society. I thought it’d be fun, but no, the sprites never went away — even after graduation — and they’re so demanding! Ugh. I gave up on that save and have avoided those evil sprites ever since…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I know! My first playthrough of DU is actually what inspired the story – I decided to embrace the fact the sprites kept pestering that sim and get them tangled up in all sorts of magic stuff looking for a “cure.” So this is a bit of an additional spin on that!

      Like

  5. I love that the same sort of curiosity that propelled Cordelia forward as a child puts her on the path for the next stage of her journey as an adult.

    Me and that elf are on the same wavelength: cookies 4 life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a really good way of putting it! Yes, in many ways Cordelia still approaches situations in a similar way she did as a child. For better and for worse.

      As for the cookies, you and me both! 😆

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love it! It means she has somewhere to go and develop. So many stories have the character start out perfect and then there’s no journey. I’m interested to see where Cordelia goes! (God now I want cookies)

        Liked by 1 person

  6. That elf is funny 😁 I like his self-portrait, too!
    Anyway, I’m glad Cordelia finally found a place to rest from those flickering thingies, but Idk if it’s really better? There could possibly happen other bad stuff.
    At least the area is pretty!
    Also I love the tent 😆

    Liked by 1 person

  7. When she was younger, she tried to explain it was the sprites that made her do the things she did, that she couldn’t think straight with them being around, but since they were invisible to everyone but her, it just made things worse.

    Oof, now THAT’S how it’s done. That’s some Cinderella 3 reasoning. (In Cinderella 3, when the king asks the prince why he’s swapping out one bride for another on his wedding day, the prince point-blank says “The talking mice told me to.”)

    In that elf’s defense, clean, forceful lines like that are hard for a beginner to achieve. Shows intentionality, strong technical abilities, and understanding of rhythm and motion. That stick figure was drawn by a pro. A sassy pro, but a pro nonetheless. Homeboy’s got personality.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha I’ve never seen that but that is class. To be fair I’ve heard people justify things in mich more senseless ways than “the mice told me to do it” 😀

      Aww, too bad you weren’t there to answer his question instead of Cordelia, he would have loved that feedback!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: