I’m sure you’ve all heard by now about The Half-Elves somewhere along the way. In case you haven’t, it’s what I call my “first good story,” and it’s one that has stuck with me for years, but since writing the second draft I’ve had issues with. I’ve tried rewriting it, I’ve tried troubleshooting, and nothing will make it the way it was back then.
Well last night I went outside and did some writing in the tower of the playhouse in my backyard, because it was a nice night and I’ve been wanting to write outside some evening for a while now that it’s semi warm out. As I had hoped, it helped with my writing, and I actually ended up writing a short story about the characters from The Half-Elves.
I’ve repeatedly found myself wondering what sorts of adventures they went on in my absence, so I decided to try to find out, and I managed to get them acting like themselves, which is a feat I haven’t been able to accomplish in years.
Anyway, without further ado, here’s the short story that I wrote.
Elk smiled as a bird flew right over his head. It was one of many, and one of few not singing.
Sunlight filtered through the trees and would for about fifteen minutes longer, throwing dappled patterns on the grass.
He breathed in the warm summery air and felt, for the first time in a while, free.
“We’re almost there,” Scarlet said from the front of the group.
It was just the original group this ride, him and his siblings, along with his now-wife Crimson and her twin sister Scarlet.
Well, not quite the original group, he amended. Leafman wasn’t here.
He tried to banish thoughts of his deceased brother and continued on through the forest.
The sound of their horses’ hooves against the forest floor was muffled and soft, and the most pervasive sound was trilling birdsong.
Elk was deep in thought when the group stopped, and he barely stopped his horse before it would have run into Saria’s.
He dismounted and looked around the area that Scarlet had picked for their campsite. It was a rather small clearing, but large enough for their two tents and a campfire.
“I like it,” Saria said, her gaze sweeping the place.
“Scarlet and I used to come here all the time as kids,” Crimson said with a soft smile. “It was us and Auburn, most of the time. After the epidemic we stopped coming.” She gave Saria a smile. “But now new young people can enjoy it.”
Scarlet glanced up at the sky, running a hand through her short red hair.
“The sun will be setting soon. The moon’s already up.”
She glanced at the others with a small mischievous smile that made Elk think of a pixie.
“I know just the place to watch it,” she said, ” so long as no one’s squeamish of heights.”
She didn’t wait for an answer before scampering up a nearby tree.
Elk turned to Crimson.
“Are you sure she’s not half monkey?”
Crimson laughed, her vibrant green eyes lighting up, and climbed up the tree after her sister.
Elk, Saria, and Sarabrina followed, tracing the twins’ path as well as they could and emerging from the upper leaves of the tree just in time to see the horizon a flaming rainbow of purples, oranges, and corals.
Sarabrina let out a long breath.
“It’s beautiful,” she murmured.
“Breathtaking every time,” Crimson agreed with a soft smile.
A breeze blew across the air, ruffling the leaves and shifting Elk’s hair, tickling his ears.
They watched in silence as the sun sank down below the horizon, the sky turned to navy blue velvet, and stars twinkled into sight. It made the sky look like a diamond-studded evening gown.
They climbed down one by one and Scarlet started a fire while Elk set up the tents.
Ten minutes later they were sitting around the campfire, chatting about all sorts of things. Fireflies danced around the camp and surrounding forest, and moths dashed toward the rising flames, darting away quickly before they got burned.
The logs snapped and crackles, mingling with the concert of crickets and spurts of laughter from the campers.
Elk glanced at Crimson. Her rich red hair was framing her face, and fireflies blinked behind her. A moth was dancing around her like a light, and when she smiled he was no longer surprised.
She caught him looking and smiled before looking away again, her gaze as elusive as a will-o’-the-wisp.
“Have I told you the story of my raid on the chief goblin’s tent in Itrea?” Scarlet asked.
“Only about fifteen times,” Saria said with a laugh.
“What about my first hunt in Ambar?”
“You’ve told that one about twenty times,” Sarabrina said.
Saria cut her off.
“Did I tell you about the time Leafman put a jar of spiders on Sarabrina’s pillow?”
“Oh please no…”
“She shrieked so loud.”
Everyone laughed except Sarabrina, who had her face in her hands.
“I hate spiders…” she said.
“Noted,” Scarlet said, a mischievous glint in her eye.
Sarabrina looked up and shot her a warning glare.
“Don’t you dare.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it,” Scarlet said with a grin.
They talked until the fire had died down to embers, remembering good times and old friends, before retiring to their tents, and Elk fell asleep to Crimson’s rhythmic breathing and the chirp of crickets.