By: Aaron E. Smith

“You will help me, yes?” she whispered.

Simeon searched his mind for the correct reply, but it eluded him. It should be there he thought... but it wasn’t. Instead, he faintly shook his head from side to side. The nymph engaged him then, caressing his lips with her hands until he became still again. She soothed him gently, the delicate wisp of her breath touching his lips.

Pressing her body against his cheek, she spoke softly into his ear, “Do my bidding mortal, and I will show you pleasure beyond bounds.”

Simeon pushed his face into her and moaned, raising his hands to hold her tighter.

“Yes,” he said to please her. “Yes, I will do your bidding.”

The nymph’s eyes flashed at that, pushing his hands gently away from her. Tilting her head slightly, she caught his gaze again, delighted with his words.

“Say it again mortal. I long to hear you speak it.”

Simeon opened his eyes wide to her. “I will do your bidding,” he said firmly.

“Again” she chimed, floating slightly away from him.

Simeon rose upon shattered knees and, with all the determination within him, raised his face to her’s and emphatically declared, “Please... I would do your bidding.”

The nymph let out a hearty laugh and began flying wide circles around him. Her soft voice echoed through the wood. It was the most beautiful sound Simeon had ever heard, the joy of the Fey. As she sped up, he struggled to keep sight of her. She darted around him so quickly she seemed nothing more than an intermittent pulse of light. He strained to look harder but soon became disoriented. Clinching his eyes shut, Simeon paused until the flashes faded to black. When he opened his eyes, the nymph hovered before him, her wings fluttering inaudibly in the night.

“Lest you forget your oath,” she said, extending her tiny hand before him.

The pain returned at her gesture. Simeon screamed and laid back upon the ground, writhing in agony. His entire body burned as if caught aflame. His vision wavered. He pleaded with her to make it stop, to bring him to ease. Over and over he cried out to her, begging for her mercy, but none came. His words became more and more incoherent as his ravaged voice lost control. When he fervently began pleading for death, she gestured again and the pain subsided.

Simeon lay panting upon the ground for some time, the remnants of his clothing soaked by the morning dew. His senses slowly returned, though what had transpired was quickly fading from his mind. He pushed himself up on one elbow and stared at his legs unnerved. He saw the Fey then, staring intently at him from a slight distance. He did not look upon her with the same desire as before.

“I am useless to you enchantress,” he conceded. “I know not what you bid me do, but I will never walk again... lest you think to carry me to my fate.”

“The mendings of this wood are powerful,” she replied. “I hold you to your oath.”

“You held me enthralled fairy! I gave no willful consent,” he cursed.

She looked at him for a moment, her face melting into a gaunt sneer. Slowly she rose, her tiny eyes sharp and cold upon him, and began to raise her hand again.

“Hold!” he pleaded fearfully. “Hold... I beg you. I will honor my oath as given,” he promised. “But when your bidding be done, you will set me free?”

Simeon knew that men who traded oaths with Fey often found themselves enslaved by their own words. He knew the less he said, the better.

She stared at him, considering, then looked deep into the forest. A moment of great concern came over her as he stared at her. Simeon thought he heard her sigh as she looked back upon him. Flittering nervously in the air for a handful of seconds she went to him, her eyes betraying an unexpected vulnerability.

“When your oath be won, I shall set you free,” she said, her soft voice emphasizing each word.

He sat unmoving, unsure if he could believe her; not that he would truly know until it was too late.

“Lay still,” she commanded. “This mending will be difficult. We have a long way to travel before nightfall.”

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