The wild girl of the forest

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by Horace, trader

Her name was Leyla, she said, and her hair was braided wild with creepers and thorns. I marveled that they did not hurt her, but when I asked, she but shrugged and let her eyes roam once more across the woods. Though I had my hands securely fastened by her ropes, I itched to reach out and comb that unruly golden mane, dirtied and leaf-ridden.

Her provenance, she told me over nights illuminated by campfires, was once the city of Trinsic. She claimed to have been kidnapped and raised by orcs, which I judged an unlikely tale, for all know orcs delight in eating the meat of honest folk. When I told her this, she laughed a fey laugh, and gaily admitted that honest she was not, for oft had she stolen folk away from caravans to loot their possessions from an unconscious body!

At this, I began to fear for my life, and her smile seemed full of teeth sharper than a human ought to have, for the tale of orcish raising had struck fear into the marrow of my bones. “Wil thou eat me?” I asked, a-tremble, fearing the answer.

And she cocked her head at me, like a wild animal facing a word that it dost not understand, and the fixity in her eyes was a glimpse into the deeper reaches of the Abyss. But she finally grunted, and said “Nay,” in a voice that recalled to me a child. “Nay,” she said, “for thou dost remind me of a boy I knew once, when I was a girl who played in a city of great sandstone walls, before I was taken. He had sandy hair like thee, and I dreamt as a child of holding his hand and sharing flavored ice. His name was Japheth.

The next morning she let me go, stripped of my pouch and clothes, and bade me run through the woods, and to fear recapture, for surely her heart would not soften again. ‘Twas a fearful run, and I came to the road to Yew with welts and scratches run rampant crost my skin, but I did not see her again.

Oft have I wondered of the boy named Japheth, and whether he remembers a girl who lived in sandstone walls. The only Japheth I know is the Guildmaster of Paladins who died last year warring amidst the orcs, and though he had indeed sandy hair, I cannot picture him side by side with a feral girl whose tongue has tasted of human flesh. Yet the paths of fate are strange indeed, and I suppose ’tis possible that this paladin died defending his remembered lady’s honor, unknowingly struck down by the orc that she called father.

Last modified: May 14, 2011

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