After many more tankards of cider brewed libation, the family of Nip the Hobgoblin spent their last night at the Faire campgrounds. Wagons, carts, caravans and wheel barrows were all parked on the open grass area of the meadow. Campfires dotted the night as did the stars in the sky. The din of the early evening's festivities had calmed now to a purr of quiet talks, a giggle and an occasional song or lilting tune on an stringed instrument drifted through the stillness. But soon there was only the sound of snoring and the night sounds of the forest nearby. All was quiet and the fae were at peace.The moon was at crone sliver which gave the stars a chance to sparkle even more brightly. No clouds to cover the celestial show. No cover for the silent shadows that glided across the night sky and came to rest not far from the campground.
And still the silence prevailed.The sun would soon peek over the horizon, the moon was still holding court in the sky and something was waiting to change the fae's world forever. None of the sleeping fae would ever have guessed that a change was in the wind, that is except for Nip. After the most excellent day of his life, so far, he had a very hard time relaxing and sleeping. He had been up most of the night with pangs of worry over his new position one moment and exhilaration over his new prospects the next. Now that he was to be the opener of the veil, he would have more responsibilities and they were weighing heavily upon him already. He also wondered what would his very own wagon from the Faery King and Queen be like and what would he wear to perform his new job and how he would learn the task. So many thoughts so little sleep.
And so it comes as no surprise that Nip watched with great interest as the slender shadows of darkness streaked across the sky and landed in the forest to the east. Mind you, he felt no alarm at the event, just interest. You see, Hobgoblins are the most likely of the fae to have more interaction with the humans, animals and spirits of the land. They also are the most grounded when it comes to not being fooled or frightened. While all fae have "the knowing" only Hobgoblins have the good sense that goes along with it.A pixie, brownie or sprite might have been caught unawares, a faery or sylph may have reacted to the entities by taking flight, the troll or goblin may have attacked but a young Hobgoblin such as Nip merely observed, analyzed and kept an eye on the situation.
And besides, Nip had better things to do than to call an alarm to something he hadn't figured out yet. And so he started his indirect but purposeful route to the eastern woods being careful not to be seen.His first sense of being close to whatever had streaked across the sky came when he noticed the grass pressed down at the base of an old downed tree. The tree had fallen into a cluster of boulders and was resting on its side. This tree looked as if it had been toppled over for a long time judging from the lichen and moss growth, the moss was growing on the wrong side of the tree. Only someone who spent their life in the woods would have caught that error in camouflage.
Upon careful examination, Nip could tell, that in fact, this was a ruse. Someone had gone to a lot of trouble to disguise a new entry into the cluster of boulders. He stayed back and watched and waited. The night's lack of sleep caught up with him and much to his dismay he awoke to a tug on his tunic and looked up to see the face of his sister."Get down before they see you"."Who?", said his giggling sister. As Nip grabbed her arm then he realized he must have been dreaming all along because he was still by the campfire in the clearing. The fae were just beginning to awaken to greet the day.
How could he have been dreaming of the forest? It felt so very real. How could he have had a dream like that, when he didn't even remember lying down to sleep? Scratching his bald head, he stood up, stretched and looked toward the east where he had seen the tree and had a feeling that it had not been a dream at all. He felt that someone or something was watching him from the woods.His Da roused him from his mesmerized staring in the direction of the sunrise with his reminder to make sure that they hurried along so that they would reach home before nightfall. Too much work waiting at home to be dawdling and gawking.
And so the Hobgoblin family headed towards their home in the woods far beyond the downed tree and whatever had happened the night before.