tagNonHumanNymphs and Sprites

Nymphs and Sprites

byTorinona©

The forest makes a music all its own... it's an natural orchestra...

Birds chirp.

Leaves rustle.

Snakes and slugs slither lightly through the woodland floor.

Rain water dances from one leaf to another.

The current of a river slaps against a rock, made smooth and satiny by time.

... and sometimes... if you're very, very quiet, you just might hear the chatter of other creatures that don't often allow themselves to be seen by the eyes of Man...

~*~

The soft waves in her sun-kissed hair stretched out under the weight of the water that still clung to them as she deftly pulled the rest of her body out of the natural pool. She softly wrung out her long waist-length hair and then the Water Sprite, Neela, draped her naked body against the sun-heated grass, to dry herself.

~*~

...meanwhile, high above Neela...

The Wood Nymph, Mekala, pulled the almost lace-like curtain of leaves on the branch aside to give herself a better view.

She couldn't explain it... but she immensely enjoyed watching the Water Sprite's body slice through the surface of the water, her back strong and straight, her arms and legs propelling her back and forth through the azure depths. And from this elderberry tree, she had her favorite perch and vantage point.

Mekala eagerly craned her neck for a better view when the Water Sprite dove deep and didn't surface right away.

Wood Nymphs could swim, but not like Sprites. Whereas Sprites had delicate iridescent webbing between their fingers and toes, nymphs were webbed from elbow to hip, which created a good amount of drag.

Mekala's kind rarely mixed on purpose with the other inhabitants of this world, Terra Media - Sprites and Nymphs lived in a sort of blind mutual harmony, just as the Elves and Dwarves. While none of these groups offended one another with their activities, generally they didn't seek each other out either, for the most part.

But Mekala found herself coming to this tree to watch the Water Sprite's daily ritual. She'd come across the Water Sprite's routine by accident some weeks ago and now found that her day wasn't complete unless she spied on her for a bit.

Mekala sighed as she waited for the Water Sprite to surface. She felt incredible excitement watching the Sprite burst out of the water, almost resembling the sleek dolphins she would occasionally see when she visited her relations in the forest shores of the great ocean of the West.

Her golden eyes trailed the length of the pool. No sign of her yet. No Neela.

Suddenly... the water's surface broke into hundreds of droplets of airborne water.

Mekala gasped excitedly. It never ceased to amaze her, the Water Sprite's ability to hold her breath for so long.

The Water Sprite left the water to dry off, leaving Mekala to contemplate this intriguing being for a while before setting off to her own chores and duties.

~*~

As she softly dozed in the velvety grass, an occasional leaf would drift down and land on her. She delicately swatted them away, refusing to open her eyes and distract herself from the pleasure of the warm grass against her back.

But then, a piece of fruit fell, striking her calf.

Then a nut hit her big toe.

Slowly, the Water Sprite opened an eye and gazed up at the tree above her. She noted there was a dense shape near its trunk that wasn't a branch, and that the sun didn't penetrate through it.

And she could swear she smelled something burning.... was that man-weed? Her brother had developed a fondness for it years ago when he began trading fish with the Men that occasionally came to their village to barter and trade.

Again, another small fruit pegged her on the thigh. Someone was definitely tossing things at her from the tree!

She sat up and glared up at the tree, screaming at her brother, "Dogo! Ya Dogo!"

"Neela! Ya Neela!" she heard in reply... but not from above, in the tree... but from across the pool.

Neela looked across the water to see her younger brother, Dogo, waving at her as she watched him heading towards his favorite pool further south, which had a waterfall in it and many tasty fish.

As she sat there baffled that it wasn't her younger brother harassing her, another nut bonked her lightly on the head.

In an instant, she jumped to her feet and scaled the tree effortlessly, pulling herself up from limb to branch. She reached the dark shape in mere moments and pulled the branches away.

A Wood Nymph!

A very startled Wood Nymph.

Her tawny eyes were wide with surprise at being caught at her little game. She had a small wooden pipe in her mouth and shrugged her shoulders as if to say "no harm done."

The Sprite smirked softly as she continued gazing at the Wood Nymph. She'd never been this close to one. This one had very fine dark brown hair with streaks of red in it that almost resembled feathers and many tiny braids adorned with wooden beads, some of them with little markings and carvings on them. The Wood Nymph had pointed ears, just like she did and the Sprite smiled at this little similarity between them.

The Wood Nymph, who was indeed smoking man-weed, offered the pipe to her as a peace offering for interrupting her nap. As Mekala stretched her arm forward, the Sprite noted the delicate almost see-through skin-wings of webbing that ran from her elbows to her hips. She also noted the longish blunt eyetooth at Mekala's elbow as she accepted the pipe and toked on it softly.

Without really thinking, she reached out with her other hand and tentatively touched the softly webbed skin folded under Mekala's arm. Mekala shivered at Neela's touch, but didn't pull away. The skin on the edge of her eyeteeth as well as her webbing was incredibly sensitive to the touch. She smiled shyly at the Sprite as she plucked the pipe out of her hand to re-light it for her.

~*~

Mekala hadn't intended for her game to be discovered and yet, she had to wonder if she hadn't actually wanted to get caught.

She eyed the Water Sprite's delicately webbed fingers and toes, the iridescent sheen on her skin that almost suggested she was still wet from her swim. Mekala gazed at the golden haired being before her and for some unknown reason she liked the idea that she seemed as comfortable in a tree as she seemed in the water.

The Wood Nymph found herself fascinated with the Sprite's eyes - they were like small pools of blue-green water. They had little flecks of gold in them as well, that looked like the sun's rays bouncing off the water. All Wood Nymphs tended towards hazel or brown eyes, so Mekala became more than a little fixated on them.

They smoked in a strangely contented silence for a good while. But finally, the Sprite handed Mekala the pipe back. Standing up slowly on the branch, the sprite turned and dove into the water. As she resurfaced, she shook the water out of her eyes and waved Mekala down.

The Wood Nymph smiled as she stuck the pipe into her satchel that hung on a nearby branch and jumped daintily off the branch and found herself surfacing near her new friend.

They swam together for a while and then climbed a small ledge that allowed them to keep their feet in the water. The Sprite gazed at Mekala and pointed at herself as she spoke, "Neela."

Mekala then introduced herself in the same fashion.

Neela furrowed her brows as she asked, "Mekala?"

The Wood Nymph smiled. She raised her hands to the sky, shaking them wildly as she muttered deeply "Pow! Pow! Pow!"

Neela nodded knowingly... Mekala's name meant 'thunder.'

Mekala pointed to the Water Sprite and queried, "Neela?"

Neela slid her hand into the water. She brought up her palmed hand and dribbled many drops of water onto Mekala's shoulder while pointing to the sky with her other hand. The Wood Nymph smiled... her new friend's name meant 'rain.' They smiled at the knowledge that as in many things in nature, their names were connected to similar forces.

~*~

Over several full moons, Neela and Mekala became fast friends. They met and swam together almost daily. Mekala would help Neela catch fish for her family and to trade in the nearby towns and villages. Other times, they would go foraging through the woods, where Neela would assist Mekala in harvesting the many herbs she grew, as she was apprentice to a master healer to the Wood Nymphs.

Even though they were each a breed apart within technically the same species, they had no common language between them. Over time, they developed a rustic language of some common words and much sign language.

Over the seasons, they brought each other more and more into each other's lives, introducing each other to their families and such. And whilst their families couldn't completely understand their friendship, they accepted it, seeing that it made them each very happy and their combined work efforts benefited both species and harmed no one.

...alas, there would come a time where harm would indeed come and all would be nearly lost...

~*~

As she did every winter, Mekala had been away visiting with relatives on the Western shores and learning about the herbs that solely grew there. She had enjoyed all the learning but had to admit that she missed her world, her forest. She missed her nieces and nephews, several of whom would someday learn the healing arts from her. She missed her simple house.

And she missed Neela.

As she worked her way through the forest slowly approaching home at last, laden with satchels filled with herbs and such, she heard a loud scurrying sound right by her cottage.

She climbed up a tree and walked surreptitiously from branch to branch until she had a perfect bird's eye view. It wasn't a scurrying sound... it was pacing. Someone was pacing by her door.

She jumped down and landed next to Dogo, Neela's brother.

He squealed in fright, only realizing who it was an instant later. There was still fear in his face, but it wasn't the same. Immediately, he began to speak frantic Sprite-ish.

Mekala's brow furrowed as she tried to make sense of Dogo's hysterics. Within moments, she gathered enough information... Neela was horribly sick. Dogo pointed at her satchels and yanked at her arm.

She patted his young face, trying to reassure him and pointed ahead of them for him to lead the way.

They ran through the forest at a fairly agitated pace. Every step brought them closer to Neela, but every step threw another question into Mekala's mind.

...how did Mekala get sick?

...and what, if anything, had been done for her so far?

... why wasn't she getting better?

... and just how long had she been sick?

All these questions crashed into each other within Mekala's brain, just as her heart crashed against her ribs. Please let me be able to help her!

After some time, they came upon the clearing that marked the living area of Neela's clan. Water Sprites, young and old, stopped in their tracks as they watched another Sprite seemingly being chased by a Wood Nymph.

Out of nowhere, a wooden club was placed in front of Mekala and she tumbled to the ground. As she rolled over, the sharp end of the club was held tauntingly close to her face. Dogo spun around to see Lado close to pinning Mekala to the ground like a butterfly being added to a collector's display.

"Lado! Lado! Mekala ami! Mekala ami... sana Neela! Sana Neela!

Lado had to be the largest Water Sprite the Mekala had ever set eyes on, and who could've done an excellent job at intimidating Mekala without his club. He was dark-skinned from his life outdoors and his build was massive. He was of the Sprite's unofficial warrior sect -- they had no natural enemies, but still had an assortment of rudimentary weapons and trained some of their males in combat fighting. His long hair was a darker blonde than Neela's, with streaks of pale gold running through it.

Thankfully, Dogo's words must have satisfied him and he backed down immediately as Dogo bent down to help Mekala stand.

As she stood, she cried out. She'd managed to sprain her foot when Lado had attacked her. Dogo tried to take some of her weight. He was strong for a young man, but it was still not easy.

Abruptly, both of Mekala's feet lost touch with the ground. She gasped aloud as she felt herself lifted into a pair of brawny arms. She gazed up at Lado's face as he muttered something to Dogo. She looked at Dogo quizzically. In his best pidgeon Nymph, he explained that Lado was sorry for his hasty action and would carry her to Neela. Apparently, he hadn't been made privy to Neela's friendships with Wood Nymphs and had assumed she was chasing Dogo.

When they approached Neela's dwelling, it was as though a hush had come over the entire forest.

Lado entered Neela's home and immediately Mekala gasped as she took in the scent of death.

She signaled to Lado to be put down and hopped over to her friend's sick bed.

There lay poor Neela.

Tears sprouted from Mekala's eyes as she gazed down at her. She had a most unnatural pallor to her. She shook with fever and yet was horridly cold to the touch. Her eyes would roll in her head and she'd sputter complete gibberish except for the Sprite terms for "pain" and "Anlah" the Sprite goddess that carried the living into the next world.

And when Mekala pulled back her coverings, she noted the weight loss and the horrible wound in her shoulder. Its edge was black with infection and it gave off a most sour odor.

Mekala began taking off her various satchels, and sent Dogo for water. When he returned, she took the fresh water and wet a cloth on it, resting it on Neela's head. Then she gazed back and forth at him and Lado pleadingly, wanting to know what had happened.

One word... the same word... from the lips of both male Sprites.

"Oribe."

Mekala moaned as she dropped her head into her friend's lap, sobbing quietly. She doubted that her herbs could help with Oribe poison. Their kind often tipped their arrows with a horrid mix of snake venom and other herbs that made one beg for a quick death.

Dogo managed to explain that he had been successful in getting the entire arrow and its metal tip out. Mekala was secretly thankful that she wouldn't have to dig around in the wound for it... but what the future held as the next necessary step didn't sit well with her regardless. She turned away from Neela's reclined form in near despair at feeling so torn over what little help she could provide to her ailing friend.

Taking a deep shuddering breath and savagely wiping her tears away, Mekala pointed to Lado and his club and signed to him to build a fire outside. They would need a good-sized wood fire, not only to warm Neela, but to also help the wound after it was cleaned. She then signed to Dogo that they would need water in a metal container, so it could be heated in the fire.

Over the next hour, Mekala ordered the two Sprites about as she worked her mind over every step of her plan to hopefully cure her friend.

They assisted in bathing Neela with a wash of herbs. They held Neela upright as Mekala tried to build her strength by feeding her a potent tincture. They aired out the cottage, changing the bedding and burning anything else that carried the smell of decay. This would be the easy part.

Then... as the fire outside grew in heat, Lado and Dogo were given their last instructions before Mekala headed out to burn the blade of her dagger in the flames. The male Sprites carried Neela out on a sheet towards the fire and easily held her weak frame down as her friend stabbed her with a white-hot blade, cauterizing the horrible arrow wound and hopefully saving Neela's life by burning any poison still working its way into her body.

Both Neela and Mekala cried out in agony as the blade hit its mark... Neela thankfully collapsing into unconsciousness an instant later as her friend sobbed in sympathy. Her tears fell upon Neela's bare skin, capturing the light of the fire, making it as though stars had fallen from the sky to dance on her skin.

Lado and Dogo carried Neela back inside, placing her to rest on her bed, and placing an herb-soaked cloth over the still sizzling wound that Mekala had prepared beforehand.

Moments later, they went back outside to find Mekala laying beside the fire, her body wracked with tears. Dogo eyed her sadly and saw that she was in no condition to care for his sister, so he returned to Neela's bedside to keep watch over her. Lado entered the small cottage shortly with Mekala wrapped up in his arms, his own eyes moist with emotion, empathetically knowing that even while she had done all she could for Neela, she would somehow blame herself if she didn't recover.

~*~

Nearly two full moons had past since Neela's brush with death.

And today she was celebrating by returning to her watering hole with her nurse by her side.

Mekala had been a near-annoyance with her fusing over Neela... but the entire Sprite clan had quickly become accustomed to Mekala's constant presence. And her loyalty and care over her friend quickly won her a place in virtually all their hearts.

The two arrived after a leisurely stroll, with the Wood Nymph offering at intervals to stop and rest. But Neela was having none of it. If anything, her pace would quicken a bit, as she realized again where she was finally going.

During her recuperation, especially right after Neela's burning out the poison... Neela had been delirious; convinced she was at death's door. The poison had been bad enough, chilling her to the bone. But the kniving, that had brought her body heat and the heat had brought back the realization that she may never feel the feelings she'd been experiencing recently.

She had developed a heat when she was around Mekala. A heat that in the past she'd aligned with her feelings for male Sprites. But Mekala wasn't a Sprite and she wasn't a male.

The pool came into view and Neela clapped her hands, like a young water sprite seeing the ocean for the first time. She spun around to look at Mekala, who'd been lagging a bit, trying to slow her down. Mekala shook her head with mock disdain as she saw the Sprite approach her with utter delight in her azure eyes.

Neela's fingers reached out for Mekala's shoulders as she stopped her from walking any further.

Neela shyly pecked Mekala on the lips. Giggling wildly, she tossed her satchel at the stunned Wood Nymph, stepped away from Mekala and proceeded to back flip herself towards the water, creating virtually no splash as her body broke the serene surface of the pool.

Mekala gasped aloud at the sight. If she had thought watching Neela from above from her tree perch was something... this was truly something to behold.

...and...

...just a moment...

...did Neela just kiss her?!

Mekala ran up to the edge of the water, waiting for Neela to re-surface.

When she did come up, she found Mekala gazing down at her in sweet confusion, pointing at her lips as if to say "what was that all about?"

Neela gave the universal sign of "come and find out" ...crooking her index finger at Mekala.

Dropping Neela's satchel to the ground, she threw off her own, letting it join the other and Mekala dove into the water headfirst in the next instant and surfaced behind Neela, where she wrapped her arms around Neela's waist and kissed her shoulder.

Neela draped her head back against Mekala's chest, feeling the early springtime sun beat down on them both as her friend tenderly traced the slowly blurring edge of Neela's wound with her fingers. The skin was shiny and pink, the edges newly knitted and still puckered. Mekala had done her best to suture it delicately, but she feared that Neela would always bear a scar of her brush with death.

Mekala shuddered with real relief as she tightened her grasp around Neela... as she finally allowed herself to let go of the worry and fright she'd had for so many days and weeks that she had gotten to Neela too late.

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