Forest of Faunusbyxelliebabex©
Authors Note: I wrote this story for the Halloween contest, as a challenge for myself to move outside my comfort zone. I enjoyed writing the very short story and hope you enjoy reading it. Thanks. ~ellie
The hunt had begun as with the setting sun Faunus Forest had shimmered into being, the vast grass plains suddenly erupting as they did every Hallows Eve to sprout trees that soared skyward. The eager and ill advised ran toward the dark trees wanting to be first but most of the hunters hung back for now, letting the fore-runners spring any traps that lay waiting for them. Wailing cries told their stories as more experienced adventurers began to ready themselves.
The nomadic clans that called the plains home stayed distant watching and knowing that to be caught in the forest was to farewell tomorrow's sun. Men who ventured into the forest rarely returned but when they did they spoke of wondrous tales that fed the imaginings of story tellers. Legends grew on the tongues of bards and from the cities of the stone adventurers came each year, drawn by the fanciful songs and tales of riches beyond reckoning in the legendary forest. They thought the plains people superstitious and unworldly, living a simple nomadic life of breeding horses and cattle, but the people of the plains knew the darkness that dwelt in the forest and did not tempt its wrath, choosing to stay far away.
In the tent city that sprang up every year at this time a girl made her way through the tables precariously balancing three tankards of ale upon the large wooden tray she held. Seeing a man stagger to his feet she danced to the side avoiding his lurching form as she made her way to the waiting customers. Sliding the rich dark ale on to their table she smiled and curtsied, then taking in the foreboding scowls on the strange features of the hooded newcomers she faded back into the crowd quickly leaving them to talk in hushed tones.
The girl hummed the tune of the legend to herself moving around the room listening to snippets of conversations until a wizen old hand reached out and grabbed her arm. "Sing for us, Leah. Sing the Legend of Faunus Forest." Before she could protest rough hands grabbed her waist and hoisted her up to a table top and the crowded tent began to hush. They all knew the legend; most had grown up with its story ringing in their ears. The song had inspired them to make the journey here, yet they all looked at her expectantly.
She smiled down at old Grantly; she had come to help him for the first time this year on his annual trek to see the forest and sell his dark ale. He had been good to her since finding her pick pocketing his customers near his store in the city. He hadn't turned her in to the guards of the watch instead he had put her to work in his brew house. Grantly was obsessed with the forest and she knew the legend well. She closed her eyes and lifted her face to the heavens drawing a deep breath she began,
"A pebble drops, like water land ripples,
Waves upon earth it rolls
Circle upon circle as labyrinths grow,
Altering land and grassy knolls
The wind will whimper and yet wail
To mourn the day of the dead
The bold stars will begin to fade
Into the darkness be you led,
The coveted lies where enchanted guard
Stands watch over trove divine
For any brave and true of heart
You can have what was once mine."
Usually the hunters were satisfied with this much for it was all they knew, and she let the last note die. The little old man looked up at her with misty eyes, and shouted, "More," into the renewed murmur of voices.
"Time uncounted unmeasured
Do not be caught entranced
Torn and tattered, bowed and battered
Defeated number enhanced
Deep in decadent's dream
The black cloaked sky turns pale
To bare you bled and breaking
From enchantment's mighty flail."
"With all reward there is risk, we shall find this accursed treasure and free these plains for good." A burly man sporting the braids of a Northman held up his tankard and drank deeply, "Who's with me?"
There was a raucous cheer and Leah climbed off the table, the old man held her hand pressing a coin into it. "Thank you girl," he murmured, "the song is not an invitation but a warning, if only they would hear it." Leah watched him stand and limp back to the tap room. He was one of the men who had come back out of the woods a broken man. He claimed he remembered little of the night, but each Hollows Eve he would come and sit with the hunters listening to the bravado and asking for the legend to be sung.
Leah headed back toward the kitchens dodging hands that grasped at her and laughing as yet another drunken man proposed marriage. Grantly watched her, she could look after herself, she had a way with the drunkards, of cajoling or teasing them into giving up heated arguments, and she paid no heed to the charmers who wanted a roll in the hay. She was a tough girl; the streets had not been kind to her when her family died in the great plague, but she had the sweetest voice that could melt hearts and that endeared her to all who heard it.
"You have the voice of an angel, Leah," Alain the cook smiled at her as he tended the huge beef joints roasting over the fire.
Dipping into a mock curtsey she smirked, "Of course. That's why I am here working for coppers instead of singing at royal courts."
Alain threw a dish cloth at her, "Don't give me any of your lip tonight; it's a full house, get back out there wench." He guffawed as she deftly caught the cloth midair tied it into a knot and threw it back into the bucket.
"Grantly said I could go see the adventurers enter the forest". She poked her tongue at him and skipped away. The crowd had thinned out considerably now, the men leaving to ready themselves. Leah paused to kiss Grantly's withered cheek and smile sweetly, "Yes I will be careful. No I won't get to close."
She stopped at her tent to change from the cumbersome skirt and heavy woollen shirt she wore when working at the ale tent. Discarding them quickly she was hunting for her leather trews and a dark smock when a hand clamped over her mouth and she looked up into shining emerald green eyes. Her hand reached out to the small leather scabbard and dagger she had strapped to her thigh but his hand flashed out cutting it from her body to clatter on the floor. She lashed out at him then, biting at the hand covering her mouth, kicking and slapping at him until she felt a knife point prick at her throat. "We do not fight our Masters, beast," he sneered.
She stopped struggling and he took his hand away from her mouth keeping the knife poised. "Do what you want then," she spat, "it's not like I am a virgin quaking in fear. I've been had by men like you before."
"I highly doubt that," his voice rumbled and he lowered the knife cutting the undergarments from her body, "I want to hear you, sing again beast. Sing softly. Do not alert the other animals or they shall die along with you."
She hummed a tune from a song she had heard as a child; the sound seeming to appease him as he shredded the clothes he had taken from her and using the ragged pieces to bind her hands he turned her to her stomach.
Pulling her hips up, and thighs wide, he inspected her. His fingers sought out her delicate femaleness and she whimpered, her song faltering. "Keep singing. The noise pleases me." She began to hum again her voice wavering as he played with her his fingers entering deeply into both her holes making her pant and changing the cadence of her humming. "Good the beast is in heat; we will mate."
He pushed one of the ragged strips that had been her clothes into her mouth and pulled her legs to the edge of the mattress and entered her. She cried out into the makeshift gag. "Sing softly beast, I have no desire to kill at this time." He continued to plough into her without regard listening to her sweet cries until eventually low rumbling noises emanated from his throat and he filled her with his seed.
He withdrew and she heard him step back. Rolling Leah to her back he saw her look up at him with teary eyes as he considered the girl before him. "Interesting." He cut the cloth at her hands and strode from her tent.
Leah lay sobbing a few minutes until her anger and dark memories overrode her senses. Standing she dressed quickly in soft dark leather. She headed toward the forest her small dagger nestled in the small of her back her eyes constantly watching the crowds of onlookers for signs of the mysterious strangers. Furtively staying to the shadows she finally saw from a distance the three companions as they approached the far edge of the forest away from the crowds. Running dagger in hand she chased them her eyes on the exact spot they had disappeared into the foliage.
Stopping at the edge of the forest, she looked back over her shoulder at the tents and merriment they contained before stepping into the trees. She could hear distant music like a series of flutes playing intricately above the rustle of leaves and creak of branches. With soft steps she followed the track keeping to the covered edges, the lower trees giving her a sense of invisibility as she peered out from between their branches.
Leah heard the bellow before she saw the figures, "Ho Ho! The hunt is on." A harsh guttural voice rang out and a young adventurer crashed through the forest pursued by a fast moving creature, as Leah watched the adventurer stopped in his tracks the end of a leather whip wrapping around his throat and fell almost at her feet. The whip flickered and pulled taut and the head left the body, hot steam and blood bubbling from headless corpse. Leah silently backed up until she felt the sturdy wood of the thick trunk, she held her breath as creature gambolled off dragging the head behind him.
"Faunus!" Leah breathed. She racked her brain trying to remember exactly what Grantly had told her in all those long boring nights he had reminisced. 'Horned gods of the forest, plains and fields,' she realised her folly in following them here and sank to her knees beside the tree. She couldn't remember more, 'Why can't I remember?' her thoughts jumbled in her head. The music had begun again and she pictured the Faunus with their pipes, it was a simple melody and she found herself relaxing under its song. She let her mind wander as the music played on and she hummed along with the melody.
The music stopped and she could hear the distant call, "Ho Ho! The hunt is on." The crashing seemed to approach her again and she stood on shaky legs looking once again at the headless body in front of her. Straightening her shoulders she decided that trying to retrace her steps was the smartest thing to do.
Stepping lightly she followed the track back the way she had come. She seemed to walk much longer than she had done when she had entered with no sign of the edge of the forest when she finally stopped to try and get her bearings. Looking up to find the stars she found they were concealed behind a canopy of leaves so choosing a tall sturdy tree she began to climb, humming to the music of the flutes that filled the forest. Nearing the top her foot tangled in a vine, the more she pulled on it the more it took hold of her leg curling itself around her calf. 'Assassin Vine!' her mind screamed and drawing her dagger she attempted to hack at the rope like vine.
The vines were touching her. They were tickling her as they touched her neck and cheek sending mind numbing fear into her brain as she struggled to free herself. She knocked the limbs away but they were relentless coming back again and again. For every one she knocked away, three more tendrils seemed to join in the exploration of its captive. Soon, some of the flexible vines had grabbed her arms, wrapped around them several times pinning her arms to the trunk of the tree she had been climbing.
Leah tried to scream but as soon as she opened her mouth a vine wrapped around her head and covered her mouth completely. Nothing came out but a muffled whimper. Other vines wrapped around her ankles and pulled them apart. She struggled. hope waning, the vines seeming too strong. She was lifted from the branch she had hidden on, her arms and legs were pulled apart and she hung in midair, unable to move or scream the ground below far out of reach.
Leah watched as one vine moved up her leg, gently tickling her thigh. As she was watching, yet another vine moved over her shoulder and pulled at her leather vest. It slid beneath the soft leather and cupped her breast. Leah again tried to scream but no sound came from her mouth. Vines suddenly descended on her from every direction. They grabbed at the laces of her vest and pulled until they came free, the vest falling open. Several different vines grabbed her breasts, squeezing and twisting them. Leah screamed and cried in pain, the sound mutated and soft against the vines covering her mouth.
Then it got worse. The vine that had gone up her trews and had been tickling her thighs, now brushed against her soft womanhood. Another vine wrapped itself around her waist even as other vines drew on the laces that secured her trews. Her legs were forced back together and she could feel her leather trews begin to slide down her thighs. She felt another vine behind her pulling at the back of her vest. Within minutes, the vines had manipulated her limbs to rend Leah naked. The vines pulled her leathers free and dropped them to the ground. She was then pulled higher into the tree and cradled by the vines.
She felt a small group of vines that had been covering her mouth release the tight grip and while still muffling her somewhat she cried out, her voice high and clear. Vines gripped and twisted her breasts eliciting more cries from her as yet more vines, formed into groups began to push through her soft folds. A single vine slid between her ass cheeks and began to tease her asshole. Leah's eyes went wide as the group of vines pushed into her hard and deep. She opened her mouth wider to scream but the vines tightened their gag once again pushing into her mouth. The single vine slowly pushed into her virgin asshole. Leah cried in terror as the vines took her every way possible, knowing they would ultimately kill her. Unable to breathe around the vines, she slowly lost consciousness.
* * * * *
Leah woke and sat bolt upright. She looked around and found herself sitting against the tree. She looked down at herself her clothes were on, albeit loosely hanging from her. 'Was it a dream? Have I she fallen from the tree?' Her mind leapt at plausible explanations as she tilted her head up seeing the assassin vine hanging from the top most branches.
'It was a dream.' She told herself as she rose from the ground on unsteady legs, 'Assassin vines kill their prey, crushing it to death.' A vine curled about her shoulder and stroked her cheek. Forgetting the hunt Leah screamed and ran, each headless body she encountered making her cry out in terrified horror. Crashing through the forest she heard the cry, "Ho Ho! The hunt is on." Her legs were on fire and she ran in as straight of a line as she could sure that she would reach the forests edge eventually.
"I will not kill you beast," the harsh voice rang out, "the forest itself has loved you and let you live so prettily you sang for it. You will stay and I will keep you as a pet."
"No!" She cried, the threat of being made into Faunus's pet making her find extra reserves of energy she did not know she possessed and she ran through the trees as they ripped at her flesh... 'Torn and tattered, bowed and battered,'... she would die before she would be kept as a pet. Her lungs filled with cold morning air as she burst from the trees into dawn's first light; a cheer went up but she looked at the watchers in anguish and howled as she felt the wicked tendril of an assassin vine curl about her ankle and drag her back into the murky depths of the forest.
The forest shimmered as dawn's first rays lit the sky, and disappeared. The anguished cries of Leah echoed out onto the plain. With tragic voice, night after night, Grantly told the story to the bards who immortalised it in song. Leah so beloved of the Forest gods they could not bear to let her go and she sits with them in the garden of immortals, her sweet voice soothing them.