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Taeyleena glowered down at the bare back of the black appaloosa mare she was riding. In her company was a male elven youth of about 19. They rode silently down the worn and barren path leading to the “ghost town”, a mule and a cart in company. The keeper of the inn of the village they had just left; the elf’s hometown had insisted someone accompanied the strange pointed eared female and the elven youth had volunteered. Taeyleena had met him when purchasing her mount, previously a wild, unbroken mare, which she had calmed with a few humming songs.

The villagers from the town they left had heard bad things about the empty town coming up. The rumors of slaughter and a rampaging monster had leaked through the village, keeping anyone from entering the barren town they headed towards. If only they knew...

Her pointed ears flickered as Taeyleena looked over at the elf with her single pinkish-lavender eye, the other hidden by half a porcelain mask. He stared back at her with untrusting emerald green eyes that nicely complimented his shoulder length brown hair and his rather pale, handsome face. The elf wore a black leather jerkin and leggings, an earthly brown tunic over the jerkin and a sash tied belt around his waist, holding his weapon of choice, an emerald sheathed dagger. A wind stirred, causing him to shift uneasily in his saddle, the mule showing the same uneasiness. Taeyleena ignored them; she knew very well it was her making the elf and the animal uneasy or the nearness of the town. It had just come into view, and both mounts shied, showing the whites of their eyes, an eerie wind buffeting the party of two; Taeyleena’s blue-green, emerald tipped hair billowed wildly, sending the mounts and the mule into even more fearful panic. With a growling tone and a soft touch to her mare’s neck, the mount calmed. The elf had slightly more difficulty soothing his mount and the pack mule.

“You’re not much of a help, Miss…” the elf muttered, daring to speak up for the first time during their ride.

Taeyleena turned to look back at the elf, her eye glinting with steely coldness.

“You never needed to accompany me. Nor did I WANT you to come along, Elf.” She retorted bitterly, urging her mount forward.

The elf glared at the back of the strange female as they entered the outskirts of the village, something was wrong about her. Every fiber in his body told him she was dangerous…deadly, and the animals sensed it too. He should have turned and never looked back the moment he saw her at the corral. He slumped in his saddle, hardly aware that they had entered the village.

“My name isn’t Elf, Miss...It’s T-Trinlar…”

Trinlar’s voice wavered, revealing his fear. Realizing this he flinched violently. Darkness preyed on weakness…

Taeyleena had brought her horse to a stop.

She dismounted, tying the reins of her mount to a broken fence suited for this purpose. Adjusting her long, flowing skirt, a flash of blackish gray fur made Trinlar blink. Did she have a tail?

“So you fear me like everyone else has…” She growled, turning to face the elf who had also dismounted; his posture a leery one.

“Y-Yes…” Trinlar stuttered in confession.

Taeyleena pointed at the closest structure, the door hanging off its hinges. Indicating she wanted him to look inside, the elf hesitantly complying. What Trinlar saw made him gasp. What looked like 4 or 5 bodies worth of remains littered the hall of the house. One that looked like it belonged to a child. The air was heavy with the musky smell of death laced with the same odd, chilling scent the female he had accompanied seemed to give off. Trinlar realized with growing fear that the female known as Taeyleena was responsible for these deaths, and the deaths of all the villagers. She was the monster; backing out of the door, his hand over his mouth, Trinlar retched on the porch, his body trembling.

Straightening he turned to face Taeyleena, but what he saw made him cry out in fear. She was no longer her “Elf-like” self. What had replaced her was wolf like in appearance. It was missing an entire eye, only part of its other eye remaining and its lower jaw was exposed. Its back feet were heavily clawed, resembling a velociraptor’s. Fur bristled, tail standing on end, ears back, she snarled at Trinlar. The blue-green and emerald mane standing on end as she bared her needle sharp fangs at the elf, but he merely stood there in horrified shock.

“So you don’t run but it is evident that I terrify you beyond any normal reason...” She sneered at him. “So be it… I’ll let you leave. Running would have brought you death…But now run or I will tear you apart...”

Trinlar blinked, just barely understanding her words, he nervously darted over to his horse, his hand shaking in terror as he mounted. As he spurred his horse into a gallop, he vowed to himself not to mention what he had just seen, for fear the beast would come after him, nor did he want any one else falling prey to her. Who would believe a young
elf anyway…? No one paid attention to elves and their magic. Horrors didn’t exist for them. Nightmares were dark things from the human heart, the human imagination… Weren’t they?

In the distance, Taeyleena laughed, the laugh escalating into a blood chilling snarl.

“Nightmares exist for everyone...”

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