“Vassal?” Sade trembled; her throat was dry as she croaked out her question.
“Yes, tiresome girl,” the antlered woman leaned in closer; her strange dark-brown eyes focused on Sade. “You have given the forest your word, and the gift was returned to you, only for you to squander it!”
Sade was having difficulty simply looking at the exotic yet terrifying creature. It must be a nightmare, she thought in the panicked confines of her mind while eyeing the massive length of the creature’s antlers.
The woman appeared to sense this, but she didn’t falter, “What have you to say for yourself?” She raised her chin, glowering down at the girl. Her neck was long and beautiful like that of a swan.
At first, Sade didn’t even hear the question. She was still too busy staring at the antlers on top of the woman’s head. Clearly, it must be some type of bizarre headband, or this was a dream. Either or.
The woman’s nostrils flared, and Sade realized she was waiting for her response. “Gift? I don’t know what you are talking about.”
The antlered woman raised herself to her full height. She was well over seven feet tall, and Sade’s words appeared to strike her like a sudden arrow. The creature revealed her hand and held lengthy, black locks of hair that had been twisted into a long obsidian braid.
For a while, the young girl stared at it in mute confusion not realizing what it was, and then the realization jolted her. “Is that my hair?”
In a soft voice, the woman answered, “You offered a piece of yourself to the forest, and we accepted. It is what we always ask for before we offer a piece of the forest to you. In return, you are in charge of leading the Southern section of the forest.”
Sade burst out laughing, now positive that the encounter was not physically occurring. Her? A leader? She could barely stay of detention. “Leading? What do you mean?”
The antlered creature widened her eyes, “You don’t know?” Sade shook her head. “Protecting your lands, child” the woman breathed. Her ivory skin was paler than the freshest coat of snow, and her effulgent, obsidian eyes bore down on the girl.
“You’re the leader of the Southern quadrant, and your lands are in trouble.” The hair vanished from the creature’s hands as if it were never there. “Come, sapling we must go there now. I fear the situation has grown out of control, so we must travel by boat.”
“Boat.” Sade repeated dumbly.
“Your lands are underwater.”
If you would like to read installments 1-5 of White Stag, check out my page above under “White Stag Installations.” Stay tuned for more White Stag each Wednesdays at 6pm. Thank you for reading!