It was rare to see him in the forest. And to see him always meant something was going to happen. Creatures that hadn’t seen in a long time would appear. These creatures were not always the friendliest and were feared.
It was a late summer day when the mage arrived. He arrived in many forms and this time a male deer. The magic swarmed around him with glowing stars that hovered around him. These were the creatures that he brought with him. Some thought these were his warriors that fought and won wars for him. But no one knew for sure.
This time things in the Mistwoods were quiet as if they all left. Maybe someone got news that the mage was on his way. But not all left.
A little sprite with the curiosity of a cat stayed to watch the mage. The bright lights flew around like dandelion fluff in the air and the little sprite knew they were searching. Mushie stayed hidden in the knot of an old oak that the woodpeckers and hollowed out. He felt safe.
Mushie’s marbled eyes widened as the male deer transformed into his true self. He stood so tall thought Mushie. As tall as the young trees around him. An ethereal glow burst from his robes sending light thought the entire forest. Mushie slipped into the darkness of the hollowed out hole in the oak but he felt a light warmth touch the top of his tuff of green hair. He tucked himself further down the hole to hide. Now he was scared that he had been found.
Within minutes he felt hands wrap around his tiny body and lift him out. He couldn’t scream for the fear inside him shoved his voice so far down that he could barely breathe. He flew through the air and landed on the ground with a thump.
Mushie was too scared to look up at the eyes that were peering down at him. Then he heard a soft rumble. “Look up my little one. Nothing to be scared of.”
Trembling Mushie looked through his knobby fingers. Bright blue eyes stared down at him. The face of an old man with a long white beard that almost touched the ground stood in fron of him. The mage held a staff with gold antlers that glowed like he did.
“You are the only one brave enough to come see me. I commend you for your courage little sprite. And for your show of bravery, I will give you gift that comes from where I live.”
Mushie’s mouth dropped. “A…a…gift for me?”
The mage laughed softly. “Yes, for you.”
He reached into his robes that appeared to be nothing but light and pulled out a gold ball. “Take this ball and keep it with you. It will keep you safe and warn when danger is near.”
He held out the gold ball to Mushie. With trembling hands, he reached out for it and quickly took it. It was heavy. He carefully slid it in his deep pocket that he used to gather his nuts. He looked upat the old mage. “I…I…thank you.”
“You are welcome,” the mage replied.
Mushie stepped away with his new treasure and was going to leave when one of the glows of light landed in front of him stopping him. He slowly and carefully looked back over his shoulder to where the old mage was standing. He gasped. The old mage was a deer again.
“Come with me and I will take you for a ride to your home. You are a ways away.”
It was true that he was a distance away from home as he now had to venture out further to find his food. Mushie was going to decline but thought better of it since he was given a gift. The light led him back to the deer and without effort lifted him onto the back of the deer.
Like a magic carpet the lights around them and the deer took to the air. Mushie held on tight as they flew over the trees. The other lights were right beside him. He could almost see what they were inside the light. They looked like dragons from far gone days. Mushie wondered if they were. Maybe these were the spirits.
They came down in a clearing and Mushie felt himself being lifted up and let down again. This time without a thump. The mage’s deer eyes looked at him and nodded. Mushie silently nodded back.
Then light a lightning bolt, they all shot up into the sky leaving Mushie all alone in the quiet. Home was not far as he started to walk towards the old path. He stopped half way thought and took out the gold ball. It shone in the darkness. He wondered how it worked. But for now he tucked it back in his special pocket and headed home.