Snow White and the Huntsman
Theibar intentionally edged quietly around the outside of the caravans. He was concerned that he would draw attention to himself, and after a day of being followed by villagers, he wanted to ensure that they did not spot him again. Theibar gathered a few supplies from one of the covered wagons and loaded it onto his horse. Gingerly, he approached Ameiko with his horse in tow. Ameiko was sitting with Shalelu, and the two seemed engaged in a fairly humorous conversation. This is to say that Ameiko was laughing heartily, and Shalelu smiled.
Theibar stretched out his hand to Ameiko. “Let’s go, Princess” He so ineloquently requested.
“And where are we going?” Ameiko asked, wiping a tear of laughter from her eye.
“We’re going to go hunting.” Theibar returned. He looked and nodded at Shalelu, whom nodded in response. Their silent communication technique had developed from years hunting together, and at times it proved infuriating for those who did not speak elven hunter lingo. Shalelu knew this nob meant something to the effect of, “I will be taking Ameiko out hunting. We may not be back till dark. If we do not return by midday tomorrow, you may want to come looking for us. Also, did you see what Athebryn put into lunch this afternoon? Honestly, I swear that Gnome is trying to kill the caravan. I don’t have to heart to outright refuse his food, but I have found that Brutis isn’t fond of it either. He refuses to eat it to.”
Ameiko smiled and looked around at Shalelu. “Listen to what Theibar says and you will be fine.”
Theibar helped Ameiko onto the horse. Until they reached the outskirts of the village, Theibar lead the horse on foot. Once clear of the bounds of the village, Theibar hopped up behind Ameiko. Place his arms around her, he took the reins and they rode into the woodlands.
The two rode for some time before Theibar slowed the horse to a saunter. “This looks like a fine spot.” Theibar said after clearing his throat. Swiftly, he dismounted and assisted Ameiko down. The area that Theibar had picked was surprisingly striking. The trees were filled with small winter blossoms of blues and reds that stood as a stark contrast to the white snow that dappled about the trees.
Theibar began to unpack the horse and set up a small camp. Ameiko felt uncomfortably feminine in such a place, so made a point to assist with the camp fire. In the most masculine way possible, she took hold of Suishen and stabbed him into the centre of a small bundle of kindling. Instantly, the fire erupted, sending a flare of bright light out over the woods. Flocks of birds scattered over the horizon.
“Rule 101 of Hunting, Princess. Never give away your position with giant flares of light.” Theibar said, glancing over at her.
“Yeah, whoops…” Ameiko laughed, sliding Suishen back into his sheath. Theibar paused for a moment to think. He smiled, unexpectedly.
“So, are we here to gather food for the caravan?” She paused, “or are you here to get more leather supplies?” Ameiko asked, with a grim expression.
“Neither. I thought that perhaps you’d like to get away from the Caravan for an evening. We will definitely need to catch something for our dinner, but aside from that, it is just you and I.”
“Oh!” Ameiko explained with surprise. She had been exiled to the caravan a lot recently, and it was nice for a change of scenery. “It is really pretty here.” Ameiko said, admiring a small bouquet of blue flowers nestled in a tree overhead. Quietly, Theibar moved beside her. Reaching up, he gently took the bunch of flowers and twisted their stems.
“May I?” he asked, as he tucked the flowers into Ameiko’s hair, over her ear. The two blushed in unison. Softly, Theibar’s fingertips caressed Ameiko’s cheek, and came to rest with two pressing against her lips. Not noticing that Theibar’s attention had moved from her to something in the distance, Ameiko mistook his attempt to keep her quiet as a sensual embrace. Pursing her lips, she kissed his fingertips. Perplexed, Theibar looked down at her as he took his hand away.
“What?” she asked, accusingly. Theibar pointed directly behind her. Quietly, she turned to see a stag eating some of the berries Theibar has brought with them. Without a noise, Theibar reach to his bow. As he drew an arrow from his quiver, his attention was drawn to Ameiko. There was sadness in her eyes as she shook her head at him. With a sigh, he let the arrow fall back into the quiver. Softly, he began to move towards the stag. Its ears pricked up and the beast looked towards Theibar, taking a step back. Theibar began to whisper in elven. To Ameiko, it sounded like a soft singing that seemed to carry on the wind. Enticed by the thought of patting this majestic creature, Ameiko took a step forward. Theibar motioned for her to stop as the stag leaped backwards, readying a run. Again, Theibar started to smooth the stag, moving closer, and closer. Theibar reached out and placed his hands on the stag’s neck and stroked him. The stag relaxed and nudged Theibar affectionately.
Theibar’s stance returned to normal and he motioned for Ameiko to come closer. Theibar continued to pat the stag as Ameiko approached. With a hint of magic, Theibar whispered into the stags hear, “She’s a friend and a princess of a forest far, far away.” The stag looked astonished at Theibar and then towards Ameiko. With respect, the muscular stag lowered his head and dropped his front legs to the ground, and bowed before the future Minkai empress.
“What is he doing, Theibar?” Ameiko asked.
“He is bowing to a princess.” Theibar said, as he too bowed his head.
“Well, he shouldn’t be. No one should be bowing to me. I’m not a princess, or an empress, or anything like that.” Ameiko turned and stormed off into the forest. The stag looked towards Theibar with confusion.
“Hmm… Off you go.” Theibar said, patting the stag on the side. Theibar let Ameiko go for a moment before he pursued her. She moved through the forest in a slight rage. This made her particularly easy to track. Theibar jumped from tree to tree, making sure to keep Ameiko in sight. After a few miles, she finally stopped and sat near a small stream.
Theibar jumped to a nearby tree, and settled into a seated position. “What’s the matter?” He asked.
“The closer we get, the more I realise that I might actually have to become a princess, or an empress and free thousands of people from the storm generals. I don’t know if I can do that.” She mumbled, staring at her reflection in the water.
“We think you can.” Theibar said, dropped down next to her. “You do not have to be anything you do not want to be. But do not rule out this opportunity that you have.”
“You have this opportunity too. You could be the emperor.” Ameiko bargained. Theibar laughed.
“It isn’t my birth right.”
“I don’t know Theibar!” Ameiko slumped herself into Theibar’s arms and rested her head on his chest. Awkwardly, Theibar put his arms around her.
“Will you do something for me, Ameiko? Will you at least see out the journey to Minkai. Once there, you can make your decision of what you wish to do. We will protect you and we will go with whatever decision you make. After all, you could always abdicate your position to your brother, if you so wish. But first, let us just get there. Hmm?” Theibar looked down at Ameiko.
“Okay…” She said, sitting up and rubbing her face. Compassionately, Theibar reached out and rubbed Ameiko’s arm.
“Now, shall we go do some fishing?” He suggested. Ameiko smiled and nodded. Theibar stood and helped Ameiko to her feet. The two walked back towards their camp as peddles of red and blue drifted gently around them, in a romantic display of nature’s approval of blossoming love.