Chirping in the trees, a well traversed path, a bright sky to illuminate his morning stroll. Moursh was happy. No longer did he have to fight the same wild game, hunt down mysterious rumors of treasure, carry out eccentric quests, fight over scraps, or group up with those self-proclaimed adventurers: damned jack-of-all trades. That life was over. He picked up the bucket he had left hidden by his marked tree. Now he was a man of presence. This job he had now was said to be dangerous, more so than scouring a hagar’s den, which he found hard to believe. He had seen those ragged nails rip apart men, but he hadn't seen or sensed a bit of danger since he started this job. Life was good.
"Moursh!" Moursh heard a yell down the trail he came. "The boss say you take your time and the Light Priestess will be—".
"I'm going. I'm going. I don't want to be hung either," Moursh spit to the side and kept on strolling. He took a glance forward and saw a cliff side, roots sticking out, liquid droplets dripping from the end of each. That liquid was his goal. He raised his left arm and swung the wooden bucket behind him only to notice a small opening on its side. He put the bucket down and walked up to a gurgling stream. He stuck his hand, searching and prodding for clay. He collected a handful and brought it back to the bucket.
"Light Priests," he mutters under his breath as he fills in the slight leakage potential. "I haven't seen one of them since they left back to the capital. Except for the one holed up in that church, they're all gone. They come offering protection and leave as soon as they have what they want. Well they won't be having all of it."
He smoothed off any excess clay from the bucket and looked forward again. There he could see roots dipping into holes full to the brim with Life's essence. Rejune they called it and one hearty gulp would make a dead man walk. A barrel would wake an army. Just what he needed. After all, the Light Priests would not protect the town and they refused to provide them any aid against the beasts of the Dead Lands. The fairies are protection enough, he clicked his tongue. A good number of monstrous creatures still managed to avoid the fairy grove to cause them trouble. Their numbers only grow while the town guards only dwindle, death after death. The church can bring them back, sure. If only that priestess wouldn't charge an arm and leg.
As he neared the pools of Rejune, Moursh lightened his steps and carefully placed himself behind a tree. The fairies kept every living—and dead—creature at bay with their presence, anything that came too close. They protected the Rejune. "Well they would if they knew it was welling down here," Moursh snickered but searched warily for any stray pink lights before making his way to the pools.
Looking up to the plateau, as he always did, Moursh saw no fairies, but, instead, a white figure standing on the edge. He felt its stare down to his stomach, a chill through his blood. But upon squinting, he realized the figure was his imagination, the pale stump of a tree. He shyly laughed at himself and unkinked his body. He quickened his pace, traversing the leaves and sticks and brambles as quickly and quietly as possible. He was almost to the pools of Rejune when he noticed. One of the pools was a pearly thick color, a complete contrast to the clear water like substance just neighboring it. A splash of liquid from the unique pool sent him stumbling. His face contorted; nothing could live when covered in Rejune. Taking more than a sip was courting death. Being dunked in it, naturally, you had to explode.
The white figure stood on the edge. Behind it, the remains of the fairy grove. Black trees fell onto themselves with a snap, pink little things strewn all over the floor; they no longer gave off a glow except for the suns morning illumination. Sharp fangs glint and traverse the grove, shadows that inspect and prod the little bodies, caressing them with their snouts. These four-legged creatures, who proudly rippled their shaggy dark fur, gulped. Each fairy swallowed lit the pointy crystal on their forehead, a wave of white flashing lights in that dead grove. But they were not the only visitors. Small humanoid creatures, red and yellow in flesh, the tallest as high as a grown man’s waist, carried clubs and sticks that they swung at each other, fighting to take what the black beasts left. And the fairies that met their end in the hollows of the trees did too become nourishment for foul beasts. Dull dirty wings slammed into the dead trees, pecking and piercing to find their treat. Smaller colorful ones shared their pink bounty with hidden outstretched hands who preferred scheming to clubbing. And as the fairies disappeared the center continued its purple glow, a marking of arrival.
The white figure narrowed its eyes as it stared at Moursh who had been paralyzed with fear. It contemplated ending his life, but it decided to ignore him and instead focus on the task at hand. Extending its bony hand, it clenched. Black smoke formed and gathered into a ball that darkened and darkened until it seemed as if it was no longer a ball but a hole. The hole dropped, and the white figure vanished in a puff of white smoke.
Moursh was gathering his wits, slowing standing himself up, when a black bur crossed his vision, a vertical black line that slammed into the mysterious pool. He was only able to yelp before he was sent flying, rolling into the brambles and twigs he had so carefully avoided. He shook his head, looked, and saw a white pale hand pulling itself out from the pool.
"Dan! Dan!", Moursh sprang up and screeched frantically as he ran. "Call the light priest! Call the light priestess! It's a damn ghoul."