The Adventures of Rothus, page 2 [D-1]

Tarenvale, the road:

As we reenter the town, it looks like they are holding a huge bonfire. I don't remember any festival coming up, and no one else does either. As we get closer, the town is organizing a line to bring water buckets somewhere. One of the buildings is on fire! I gotta see this! The smoke leads us directly to the building. IT'S THE FORGE! I need to warn Evander, who is in the water line. I find him and tell him the forge is burning. He runs off toward the smoke, so I take his position in the line.

Mr. Smith is injured by the fire. Orvani, the healer, watches over him. She is not sure if she can do anything. Evander is in shock. He doesn't do anything. I want to do something, but all I can think to do is walk around, then sit, then walk, then sit again. Aeryn makes some tea and tries to take care of all of us. I drink a lot of the tea, but I don't taste any of it. Mrs. Smith takes charge of what she can and escorts Lily home. Lily lives deep in the woods. I've never been there. I'm not scared of the woods or anything, it's just too far of a walk. Aeryn and I stay with Orvani for a while until she says we need to go home.

We head out and almost run into Billy, Jimmy & Timmy. Luckily, I was quick enough to duck behind some barrels outside the general store. I can always find a place to hide! Though, Aeryn is not so skilled. I had to pull her behind the barrels so that BJT didn't see her either.

As they get closer, one of them mentions setting something. Setting a fire, maybe? Where were they while the rest of the town was putting out the fire? Did they set the fire? If they did, I'm going to hurt them badly. We quickly duck behind some barrels so that they don't see us. Then, when their voices trail off, we follow them as they wander about. They are not very stealthy, talking so loud. Wait, I think one of them just said something about setting the forge on fire! And hurting a fox! That has to be Ma`ud! No one hurts Ma`ud and gets away with it. I reach into my pocket to grab my perfect rock, ready to throw it at the trio. I can't find it. It's at the bottom of the pond! Argh! We sprint off to find Lily and let her know about Ma`ud.

We go in the direction that Lily usually comes from when she visits the town, but in the dark it all looks the same. Then, the most amazing thing happened. A tiny, glowing person with wings flew up to us. Two of them! These are surely magical beings, and not like the traveling men who do tricks with balls and cards. No, this is real magic! Maybe the tales of Orloros are real! I've never seen real magic before. They say that Lily's ma is a witch, but I've never met her and I doubt that she can do anything as cool as these fairies! They wave to us and use their hands to tell us to follow. They lead us deep into the woods, were there are no paths, but it's easy to walk in the light of their glow. The stars come and go as the canopy moves above us.

Finally, we enter a clearing. Lots of lights float about. Are they all fairies? They are! I can't even count them all! The light is warm and welcoming, so we go closer. From the side, Lily enters the clearing too. Why is she here, of all places? Did the fairies bring her here too? We see an animal in the center of the glowing cloud and recognize it to be Ma`ud and he is badly beaten. BJT did not hold back when they attacked him. They will pay for their crime!

Mrs. Smith stumbles into the clearing! She looks totally lost, and there is no fairy with her. How did she make her way here? She sees Ma`ud as Aeryn tries to bandage him up the way that Orvani taught her. We tell them how we followed BJT and overheard them joking about how they hurt a fox and how they burned the forge down. Lily gently lifts Ma`ud up, then glides into the woods without a word. There is nothing to say. I don't know what to say to Lily, so I let her leave.

Mrs. Smith is unraveling. She says she will lead us back to town, but does not know where it is. We suggest following the fairies, but she takes that as nonsense. So Aeryn and I follow the fairies and Mrs. Smith follows us.

When we reach the town, it is incredibly late. I dare not wander back to the farm at this time of night. It would be better to stay in town and go home in the morning. Mrs. Smith says that I can stay at her house. I eat some cold food from the supper we missed and fall asleep from this exhausting day.

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