Author Topic: A short fantasy story written by me...  (Read 620 times)

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Online nargil66

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A short fantasy story written by me...
« on: 12 April 2023, 00:08:05 »
« Last Rated on: 23 April 2023, 15:37:46 »
I post this story that i wrote long ago, based on my country's folk myths and Slavic myths in general. The story is a part of a bigger compilation of legends, that i call "Legends of Three-Earth". It is something like a fairy tale - a bit dark, but i still hope you like it.

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THE BAGPIPER BELYAN AND THE WITCH NYMPH PELINA


In the days when the Witch Nymphs from the north first appeared in the forests of Old Fangoria, in a small mountain village lived one of the most skilled musicians in the mortal lands. He was a shepherd named Belyan. The song of his bagpipe could tame the fiercest wolves, comfort the greatest sorrow, make the hardest hearts flutter.

Belyan became famous far and wide as a great musician. Wood Nymphs of the Sacred Forest traveled many days' journey just to hear him, noblemen called him to play at weddings and feasts. Even Tsar Vezimir himself invited him to become his court piper. But Belyan replied:

"Forgive me, mylord, but I must refuse you. My home is the mountain if I leave it, I leave my heart with it. And a piper without a heart is worthless."

It so happened once that Belyan was invited to a wedding in the northern city of Budim. As he rode there, he came to a roadside fountain and stopped to drink. A gray-haired old man was sitting by the fountain.

"Where are you going, boy?" - asked the old man.

"To the city of Budim, old man" - replied Belyan.

"You chose a bad path," - the old man said. "It passes through the Cursed Forest, domain of the Witch Nymph Pelina. As beautiful as she is, her heart is three times blacker. Whoever she meets, she takes his soul with a kiss. Listen to me boy, take another path. You will get there more slowly, but you will save your life."

But Belyan did not listen to the advice and continued on his way. Late at dusk he entered a dense dark forest. An ominous silence hung around and Belyan remembered the old man's words. But he was not afraid - instead, for some unknown reason, he felt like seeing the Witch Nymph Pelina. He blew his bagpipe and played a frolic song that echoed through the silent forest.

Pelina heard it from her yards and seethed with fury - no one had shown such audacity in her forest. She saddled her black steed, grabbed her whip made of a living viper, and galloped towards the piper.

As soon as she appeared, a cold wind blew and the surrounding trees creaked. With a terrible scream she interrupted the piper's melody.

"I look at you and wonder, human" - cried out Pelina. - "Are you looking for death, so you play in a forest of a Witch Nymph? Do you not pity your soul, or have you lost your mind?"

But Belyan looked at her and seemed not to hear her words - he was so captivated by her beauty. And indeed, the Nymph was beautiful - with raven-black hair, dark eyes and a pale slender body, in a thin dress of shadowy silk.

"I do not seek death and I pity my soul," - he said. - "But there is a rumor about your beauty, so I decided to see with my own eyes."

"Well, did your eyes see enough?" asked Pelina. - "Because you will be left without them!"

"Don't take them, Witch Nymph," Belyan begged. "If I'm going to die, at least let me look at you. Let's make a bet. I will play for you and you will dance. If I tire first, you will take my life. If you get tired first, you'll let me go."

This made Pelina think. She had been bored in the Cursed Forest for a long time. And while she still lived in Darkwood, she often danced to the sounds of the ghostly drums. Knowing that she would win, she decided to play with this strange man a bit before killing him.

"So be it, human," she said. - "But know that if you lose, I will take not only your life, but also your soul. I will turn you into a Shade - your soul will be my eternal slave."

"I agree," - replied Belyan.

And the bet began. Belyan played and Pelina danced around him. When he saw that the Nymph followed his song, he played for her as he saw her in his heart - beautiful, but sorrowful. And suddenly Pelina was filled with grief over something long forgotten. She danced and listened more and more to the piper's song. That's how the night passed.

In the morning Belyan changed the song, it became more playful. Pelina followed it and her steps became fast and light. At noon she began to realize that she liked the song of the bagpipe, and at sunset she was already dancing with joy to its sounds.

Thus came the second night. Belyan's fingers were beginning to tingle, and the Nymph showed no sign of fatigue. But he continued to play - and the song changed again. Sadness and sweet yearning overflowed in it now, and more and more often Pelina looked at the piper. She danced and didn't want the song to end. Thus passed the second night.

At dawn, Belyan was already tired, but he continued to play. Tireless, Pelina was still as fresh as in the beginning. And the bagpiper played a new song - sprightly and cheerful, like the ones he used to play for the Wood Nymphs. The Witch Nymph danced wildly, and she didn't even realize how laughter burst from her lips. Thus ended the second day.

On the third night, Belyan could barely hold on, but he gathered all his strength and played like never before. He played not only for Pelina, but also for himself. Love and sorrow, longing and pain alternated in his song. Pelina danced as if in a dream, and forgot everything - who she is, where she is, why she is here - only her dance and the music of the piper remained in the world.

At sunrise, Belyan's strength did not last - he dropped the bagpipe and fell on the ground powerless, and the song stopped. As he watched Pelina walk towards him, waiting for her deadly kiss, he whispered:

Your black eyes turn me to ash
Your gentle skin is icy pale,
Your kiss brings swift death
Then why do I crave it so much?

Then he saw tears in her eyes, and she did kiss him, only her kiss was not fatal, but tender and ardent. Because the unthinkable had happened - the Witch Nymph had known love.

"Stay with me, human," she whispered. - "If you leave, I'll be very lonely. This forest is so quiet without your music."

Belyan had also fallen in love, so he stayed. A deep and passionate love flared up between the two and the Cursed Forest was no longer cursed Pelina let anyone pass through it.

Three months passed like that. One day Belyan said to his beloved:

"My love, are you not tired of this gloomy forest? Leave this desolate wilderness. I will take you to my village, we will raise a wedding of wonder and awe. From nine villages we will call wedding guests. Everyone will envy our happiness."

But Pelina replied:

"Don't ask that of me, Belyan. A man does not marry for a Witch Nymph. Even if I become your bride, we won't be happy. People will curse us, and rightly so - they have seen a lot of evil from my kind. No, I can't come with you."

Belyan was saddened, but said nothing.

Another three months passed, and Pelina saw her lover getting more and more depressed. So she said to him:

"I see that you miss your home, and you don't want to leave me either. If so, go, but promise me something - to come again in half a year. I'll be here waiting for you."

Belyan promised, and then left, because he was really homesick. He returned to his village, and after six months, he returned to the forest. That's how they lived from then on - Belyan spent six months with the humans and six months with Pelina. Though they grieved at the parting, they were happy, but this happiness was not destined to last long.

Word got out among the Nymphs of Darkwood that people pass through the Cursed Forest and come out alive. So the Dark Ladies sent a Trickster Bird to check. These two-headed birds served as watchers of the Witch Nymphs, and nothing remained hidden from their gaze. The bird circled above the trees as quietly as a breath of wind - and unfortunately Belyan had just come to his beloved. Thus the Trickster Bird saw them in a passionate embrace, and that was enough. It flew back and told his mistresses everything.

Such a thing was unheard of - a Witch Nymph falling in love with a man. The Dark Ladies decided to punish Pelina in the most cruel way. This time they didn't send a Trickster Bird into the forest, but one of their own kind - a Nymph herbalist with great knowledge of plants and potions. While Belyan and Pelina were still asleep, she enchanted with herbs all the springs in the forest. If she had poured poison, it would have been better, instead, she poured into the springs herbs of separation, that suppress love and give strength to hatred.

Pelina woke up in the early morning and saw that her beloved was still sleeping. She decided not to wake him, instead she took the pitcher and went to the spring. As she scooped up the water and took a drink, she felt cold for a moment, and it was as if a shadow had fallen over the dewy meadows. But the shadow quickly passed, so Pelina hardly felt it.

On her way back she heard Belyan's bagpipe, but suddenly it became dark again before her eyes - and the sound of the bagpipe seemed to her shrill and irritating. Pelina got angry at the song, without knowing why - she threw the pitcher, broke it, and the water spilled out. But sunrise came and the spell was gone again. Belyan's song became clear again, and the Nymph wept when she saw the broken pitcher.

She returned to Belyan and hugged him, and he felt a change in her, so he asked:

"Why are you so faint, my love? Are you sick?"

"I'm not sick, Belyan," answered the Nymph. "But I broke the patterned pitcher you bought me in town. It crumbled, and I couldn't bring you water."

Belyan just smiled.

"Don't worry about that," he said and kissed her. - "When I go again, I'll get you another one. And we still have water from yesterday."

Pelina calmed down and by noon had already forgotten about the incident.

But the magic of the Witch Nymphs is insidious - it is done in the dark and manifested in the dark. Thus, without knowing what evil fate awaited them, Pelina asked her beloved:

"Do you want me to dance for you, darling? You will play and I will dance."

"I want, how can I not want" - he replied. - "I haven't admired your dances in a long time."

Thus he began his last song, and she began her last dance. Pelina danced wildly and nimbly around Belyan, but the more the sun set, the more the evil spell overcame her. She danced and with each step Belyan became more and more repulsive to her. Finally, she forgot everything - the nights spent with her lover, the sadness of separation and the sweetness of anticipation. Her heart became as icy as it was before.

As she danced, she came closer and closer to him - he did not know that she was already doing the dance of death. And when the last sound of the bagpipe died away, the Witch Nymph drew the dagger from her belt and plunged it straight into the bagpiper's heart.

Belyan let out a single groan and looked at her in disbelief before falling dead.

Such is the nature of separation magic that it is broken by the death of one of the two lovers. At the same moment, in which Belyan's heart stopped beating, the cold shadow left Pelina. Realizing what she had done, she gave such a terrible cry that the whole forest shook. Then she looked at the bloody dagger in her hand and cried:

"Forgive me, my love! Your soul has already flown away... But look, mine is coming after it!"

Then she plunged the cold blade into her chest.

Thus ended the life of Belyan and Pelina, but that was not the end of their love. It is said that when after a while the Witch Nymphs came again to these woods, they could not approach the place where the two lovers lay. Because the herb Wormwood was already growing in the meadows, which to this day repels evil forces. And next to it grew White Yarrow - a strong healing herb.
« Last Edit: 12 April 2023, 15:58:01 by nargil66 »

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Offline CrocMagnum

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Re: A short fantasy story written by me...
« Reply #1 on: 23 April 2023, 15:37:41 »
This beautiful tale was touching and very well written.

Do you have more short stories under your belt? I genuinely cant wait to read them.

I have zero knowledge about Slavic legends but if these are as good, Im gonna look for some more.

A thousand thanks for the very pleasant read nargil66.

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Online nargil66

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Re: A short fantasy story written by me...
« Reply #2 on: 23 April 2023, 22:11:23 »
There are some other stories yes, but they are part of a bigger compilation of legends, and sadly they aren't translated in English... someday, if i gather enough willpower, i may do it. Ever red the Silmarillion? It was one of my main inspirations back in the day...
Nice to see you again Croc, and a sincere thank you!

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