Not far from a small village known as Shadowland there runs a valley named Dragon Valley. All sorts of magical beings dwell there though the majority of the population are dragons and fairies. It isn’t unheard of to see unicorns there or indeed a gnome or two but gnomes can be private individuals so rarely walk around in daylight and the fairies are wise to their grumpy nature so stay close to the dragons that guard the Valley.
It is said that the streams there are clearer than diamonds and sparkle in any weather. The shimmer bounces off the hills on either side in sunlight and creates patterns that shine brighter than any Christmas lights. If you make a wish and offer a strand of hair to the streams, a dream shall be granted but only if you are good of heart. To bathe in them is said to heal and if you are very lucky, the Undines, or water nymphs, may bestow you a song. Their voice is like none ever heard and only matched by their beauty. Their skin is cool blue as is their eyes and their smile as calming as a gentle ripple.
Dragon valley is an ancient valley. Older than any tale or myth you may know. There, trees have faces, each one a gnarled expression of mother nature. They talk among themselves and if you are blessed enough to catch them awake, they may even share a secret with you about the times they have seen. They consider everyone as an equal and a friend including the animal kingdom.
It is said that no-one has ever ventured more than halfway through the forest of Dragon Valley. The trees warn of peril if one wanders too far in. The forest is older than time itself and knows of many dangers lurking, often unseen, but there is also beauty to be found in such a magickal realm.
The deer who live there, for example, are no ordinary deer. They are wise beyond their years and their fur glitters like jewels in the moonlight. Often you will hear them telling other animals stories, their gentle nature is known over many lands and they are revered by all.
Even the moon is no ordinary moon in such a place for she has two faces, one on either side. One bears a smile and the other a frown. The beings of Dragon Valley are more than aware if she looks down on them with a frown then trouble may be afoot, usually though, she gazes upon them with a familiar smile.
Tonight was not one of those nights, however. Strange things were happening it would seem beneath the cloak of nightfall. A chill had enveloped the valley and the squirrels had gathered in a circle for a powow, usually when they did so, it was to discuss an important matter. Over time they had become the town’s council. All important issues of the community were overseen by them. Thirteen squirrels made up the council altogether, considered a sacred number by those who know the ways of old.
It seemed there was unrest in the valley. A few of the fairies had complained to the squirrels that their wands had been stolen. A handful of elves were upset that their cooking pots had been taken and a few of the the dragon’s were missing a scale or two but worst of all was the rumour that someone or rather something had stolen a mushroom’s voice.
The mushrooms lived a peaceful life in the forest and communicated by telepathy. They only communicated if they had a true need to do so, usually in an advisory capacity, which is why it seemed strange to the squirrels that one of their voices had been stolen. For what purpose? How could a voice be stolen and by who or what? The mushrooms were considered sage like and the thought of one of them not having a voice was most upsetting to folk.
After discussing the matter for some time and reassuring the fairies and elves that their belongings would eventually be found and returned to them and they would do their best to find the stolen voice, the squirrels opened the circle and returned to their nests, not forgetting to collect the odd nut or berry along the way.
For the rest of the night, the moon continued to gaze down with a frown as the beings of Dragon Valley tried to sleep, curious and befuddled. Indeed, strange things were afoot and though the squirrels had promised to solve the riddle, there were two particular fairies who could not sleep at all.
Two particular fairies that had decided to secretly enter the ancient forest and find the mushroom’s voice all by themselves. By the time morning arrived, they would be well on their way with only the moon as their guide.
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