“Leave me! You are loathsome, ignorant, maddening!” the old lion grumbled, as he trudged through the depths of some forgotten forest. A sweet peal of laughter rang in his ears.
“You know, I think you enjoy my company, you old cat!” she giggled again and flew around among the tree branches above him. “And your grumbling entertains me to no end.”
“Sadistic. Detestable!” The old lion let out a whining roar. “I think I may understand why you don’t have your own people to bedevil!” He roared again. Helion was this old lion’s name. He was of the Lions of Kraam, but he had lost the grace of his people at some point in his youth, and with it he lost the power of his people. Now he wandered the world in shame, his head hung, honor gone.
She flipped upside down in the air and floated along next to him as he padded along. “What’s so bad about little old me hmm? Sometimes I feel like you really don’t want me around!”
For a flash his eyes widened, and the lion had a crazed look in his eyes. Then he ground his teeth and huffed a few deep breaths. For weeks upon weeks the fairy had been following him around just pestering him with questions and meaningless banter! This is what I get, Helion thought to himself, this is exactly what I deserve. She really wants me to go insane. I’m going insane.
“I love it when you do that,” she said with a smile. “Your face scrunches up, and it’s like you’re grumbling some inner monologue.
Helion had tried everything in the book to ditch the fairy. He ran away for miles and miles but to no avail. He lay down in a comfy grass patch, and just sat there for a week straight! All she did was plague him with her presence. Insults did nothing to affect her, and she was all but untouchable. He had already swiped at her several times, but all that seemed to do was throw her into fits of unending laughter. Then she would dance around taunting him to do it again.
The old lion tromped over to a small tree, and crashed underneath its foliage that had grown close to the ground. He closed his eyes and dozed. At the very least that infernal fairy respects the resting hours, thought Helion. And she’s still out there just waiting for me to awake.
“There’s that look again. What are you thinking about, lion?” She appeared out of thin air right in front of him.
Helion’s fur ruffled and he nearly jumped out of his skin, and he roared again. Then he grumbled some more and rolled over facing away from her.
“You know, I think we might be more alike than you think,” her voice sounded small and meek as she said it. But the old lion was asleep. The fairy sighed and went about flitting among the trees and playing with the birds.
When the lion woke, a bright moon lighted the forest. He rose to his feet and continued through the trees. Helion could see the fairy flitting in the trees ahead of him.
Then things started to change. The trees lost their foliage as he went along. They had knobby protrusions, and the branches grew at strange angles as though they no longer wanted to grow straight. Helion did not notice. His mind was groggy from sleep so he kept his eyes to the ground.
“Lion. Something is wrong,” the fairy told him. She flew next to him a foot off the ground.
“You’re still here is what’s wrong,” he replied with venom in his words.
“We shouldn’t be in this part of the wood,” she scanned the trees ahead.
“Ha! Leave if you like!” Helion had gotten so used to contradicting everything she said or did in an attempt to rid himself of her. He did not give a second thought to what she had told him. Then something happened that shook him from his reverie. It was quiet.
He looked up from the ground, and he looked around. The forest had changed drastically, and he hadn’t noticed. The trees around him had no leaves at all quite contrary to the lush green he had been travelling in. He searched the sky around him. No fairies to be found, and not a critter in the whole forest was making any noise at all. It was dead silent.
“I just love the courage of lions. To find one in the center of my domain is just,” the creature speaking licked her lips, “positively delicious.”
The speaker stepped from behind a tree into the light. She was a creature Helion had never encountered, but he had heard of her kind. She was a Shayakin. The only thing known about them was their strength and speed were unmatched, and they were near extinction. That and they ate their prey alive. Her upper half was near human, and her lower half was that of a mountain goat. The creature’s entire body was a deep blue, but most disconcerting were the huge malformed horns on her head and her black beetle-like eyes that glinted in the moonlight. She smiled as Helion surveyed her. She wore nothing at all, and her chest would impress any normal male human. However, Helion was not human, and he was not impressed in the slightest.
“Shayakin. What an uncomely figure you have. Tell me, are all Shayakin as ugly as you? Helion chuckled to himself. He had been waiting for something to take his anger out on. He’d been going crazy the last couple months, but now it was time for a reprieve. My people have a name for one that looks like you, “Straak ven ke poorsh.”
With lightning quickness she flew at Helion and struck him hard on his left shoulder, throwing Helion to the ground. Then she pressed down hard on his neck with her hoof. “Now there will be no need for name calling,” she reprimanded him. “But if I could think of a name for one such as you I would call you…disgrace, perhaps? That’s why you’re away from your precious people isn’t it lion?” She puffed out her lower lip in a pout. “Have you lost your honor?”
A deep growl bubbled deep in Helion’s throat daring her to say one more word. Where is that damned fairy now? Helion thought with grim humor.
The meddling fairy flew right out of the light of the moon catching the Shayakin unaware. The fairy picked the hoof up off Helion and climbed into the air with the demon. With a scream the flailing Shayakin was thrown head first toward the trunk of a huge oak. Just before impact the Shayakin righted herself, planted both hooves on a big knob on the tree, and launched herself at the fairy.
A soft thud sounded when her fist met the fairy’s jaw, and a louder thud when she fell to the ground. A joyous cackle of laughter tore the silence of the night in half as the Shayakin landed on the ground next to the fallen creature. “I do believe this is the most fun I’ve had in the last century. You creatures of light can be so cunning! But in the end we have the last laugh.”
Helion wasn’t paying attention. He was barely able to pick himself up, but he did it. He looked at the lifeless heap lying on the ground ten feet from him. His legs were shaking with anger, and his heart was beating loud and hard. Inside him bloomed a fire that burned through his entire core. His claws raked the ground, and a pain erupted in his limbs. He arched his back and looked up at the sky. His pupils dilated, and his body changed. With several furious cracking sounds his bones were deforming and reforming, and his fur was dropping to the ground in heaps. His muscles lengthened and bolstered, and his tail disappeared. He roared long and loud at the sky in an attempt to release some of the pain. Blind anger was the only emotion he could feel. It raged and crashed within him until sense and logic had left him, leaving only a cold fury. After a few grueling minutes a monster of a man stood in the place of the lion, seven foot tall and heavy as a young ox.
Steam rose from his body in the light of the night. His transformation complete, he had regained the power of his people, The Lions of Kraam. He looked again at the helpless fairy on the ground. Then he stalked over to the Shayakin who stood in mute astonishment.
Then she smiled, “So you got a little taller. Like it matters!” She threw a fierce haymaker at his jaw, and when it hit he bared his teeth in a snarl. His opponent swung a flurry of furious jabs at his torso, to little effect. The Shayakin looked up at his face with fear in her eyes for the first time.
In one lightning quick blur of motion Helion grasped the Shayakin’s neck with his right hand and picked her up off the ground. He brought her face up close to his, and growled, “Let me hear you laugh now.” With a little squeeze of his hand he rid the world of one more Shayakin. He let her drop to the ground and walked over to his friend. Helion knelt down next to her. She opened her eyes for a moment and smiled then closed them again. She was just fine. Helion could hear her strong heartbeat and slow breaths. He picked her up off the ground and carried her into the forest toward the east where they would soon see the light.
I’m just an aspiring young writer hoping to throw readers into a world of fantasy that they can believe in.