She awoke, her eyes unable to focus in the vast stretch of darkness—so thick, she could nearly reach out and touch its velvety weight. She knew for certain that she was lying upon her back. She could feel the cool, damp earthy soil beneath her arms, neck, and bare feet. Ever slowly, she moved to her knees, gently pressing against the rich earth to maintain balance. The air smelt of moss, wet wood, and somehow, danger.
As she continued to paw blindly around, her memory, which was dulled beyond reckoning, conjured up the small enchanted lantern she’d been bestowed by…somebody. Her pawing became more deliberate as she sought its comfortable shape with growing urgency, until she found it near her feet. An ocean of relief. Gently lifting it between her fingers, the light within it that had all but died sprang back to life. Its warm, inviting glow brought her surroundings faintly out of the darkness, and she readjusted her stance while taking everything in.
Sharp, eager, gnarled branches seemed to reach from the shadows toward the girl. Hangings of moss clung defiantly to the angry trees, while leaves which had long ago been choked of their life and saturation scattered the forest floor.
She started crawling, slowly yet confidently: knee against earth, foot digging into dirt.
“Now repeat with your left limb. Again. Again.”
As she cautiously crept through the glade, tiny lights flickered on around her. If she wasn’t careful, she’d stir the slumbering fae. Everyone knew that there were two types of fae. The welcome ally, and the irreparably twisted and cruelly malicious.
She happened upon a branch, shaped much like a small sword. As she neared it, thin, wispy tendrils of light gently emitted from the bark, swaying like ocean weeds. She knew it to be enchanted, if only within the cursed forest. Carefully, yet with assertiveness, she clasped her fingers firmly around it, and sure enough, a beacon of amber light shone forth, lighting the way to the clearing ahead, where a pool faintly shimmered.