|01:43 pm - Fey Village: Enter Leda|
Here's a location and a bit of insight if anyone wants to run with it...Mreen, if you read this, I'm semi-borrowing some inspiration from Anne Bishop. Don't give it away.
The trees, such a comforting sight and protection in all weather, a sanctuary, a hiding place. A family.
Leda moved about the trees, dense for being so close to the small meadow-clearing in which her home village of Fey lay. Aside: Ooh! That rhymes! Snertle. It was cool and pleasant in the shadows; the forest always stayed at a nice temperature though the summer sun beat down above on the canopy. Though it was rather dark under the trees, the meadow was there if Leda ever fancied a romp through the sunlight.
But now was not the time nor place, for she was looking for something--someone, she preferred to think. She had seen him lurking just outside the meadow last night in the dusk, and though his kind could move quickly without a trace in a single night, she thought maybe he would still be nearby. After all, she had met him many times that spring. Perhaps he wanted the company again.
Fey Village was small, hardly worthy of the title, for it was only a gathering of about twelve families in the clearing. A faint trail ran south to the nearest village (a real village this time, having a few hundred inhabitants) but other than that Fey was isolated. The people liked it that way.
Leda knew that she was on the threshold of the marrying age. Soon her parents would bundle her off to one of the larger villages to find a husband. Fey Village was made up of two extended families, so the elders tried their best to keep young members from marrying one another and fusing the village into a giant clan.
She paused under a tall pine tree to look around her. And then she felt the tap on her shoulder. She turned slowly with a half smile, knowing what she would see.
The silver-white unicorn watched her silently out of obsidian eyes, blinking slowly in the dappled sunlight through the branches of the trees. His horn rested on her shoulder, and as she turned he lifted his head, then bowed it with a soft whuffle through velvety lips.
"Good afternoon, my friend. How doth the day find thee?"
He only blinked again, an expression that brought her to mind of someone smiling to humor her fancy language. She stroked his smooth neck, worked out a tangle in his long mane with his fingers. He turned, and with her hand on his shoulder she followed.
He led her to a low stump, which she climbed upon and then mounted him. He dipped his head low once again and moved through the trees in a sedate walk, moving away from the village. Once out of earshot, he moved into a smooth, ground-covering trot, then into a smooth canter, weaving his way in and out of trees and carefully placing his feet in between gnarled roots.
She leaned forward slightly as he leapt over a fallen tree, her skirts bunched up over her knees and her legs bare to cling his sides. She had found the unicorn earlier that spring--or rather, he found her, and she had ridden him through the trees ever since.