(1 of 1. Originally posted on September 29, 2023 for the prompt “Woodland Creatures.”)
Shadows darker than night twisted between moss-crusted branches. Eilanore steadied her breathing. She concentrated on love and innocence, encouraging the light in her soul to glow a little brighter. The slinking shadows hissed and withdrew a few feet into the darkness.
Dark spirits gathered in these woods, seeking to ambush and devour the helpless newly departed. The ignorant villagers feared the forest. They feared Eilanore more, because she didn’t fear the forest. They called her ‘devil-woman,’ and worse. But when a local baby died, the mother would come to her, trembling, begging her help. Pleading with her to protect her child’s spirit and lead it to rest. A mother will stand before the devil to fight for her child.
Eilanore refocused on her task. She sang a lullaby, soft and lilting, as she walked in ever-widening circles through the brush. Movement under a patch of ferns caught her eye. Mist swirled beneath the fronds, where no wind blew. Soft she sang, edging nearer with a slow and gentle rhythm. A fragment of mist stretched toward her, mewling like a newborn kitten. The child.
Eilanore stilled, wary of startling the timid soul. She reached into herself, broke loose a bit of the light within, and pushed it. It drifted outward, away from her. Away from the world. The young spirit fluttered after it, mesmerized. She sighed as the light and the child both faded into eternity. Her soul diminished, her heart enriched, Eilanore spoke a final blessing. “Safe journey, little one.”