You are walking along a rushing river on a warm fall day. The sun filters through the pines as you descend down a sloping path that closely follows the cascading, frothing waters. Ahead a stone bridge crosses the river and beyond this, the trees change.
The tall, thin pines with their green boughs and gangly branches give way to massive white-barked giants that stretch to the skies. Their leaves are golden and bright and form a canopy that stretches as far as the eye can see.
You pause at the foot of the bridge. Something in the air, invisible energy, tingles against your skin. It does not harm you but it warns you of a power that lies beyond this span. An ancient magic guards this land, watching and preserving it, keeping foul things from entering its borders.
Uncertain you will be welcome, you almost turn back, but then you spy it, something glinting halfway across the bridge. Curious, you walk to it, and find an elegantly crafted broach in the shape of an emerald green leaf. You pick it up and look around. No one else is here, so the traveler who dropped the broach must've moved on. It seems a valuable thing to have been left behind. As you passed no travelers on your way to this location, it is more likely the owner of the brooch is ahead than behind. If you are to find them and return their trinket, you must press forward.
You cross the bridge and follow a winding path beneath the trees. Speckled light, tinted gold, pools around you and warms your skin. The breeze through the branches far above you sounds almost like the waves of a great sea, and you pause to listen. Birds sing somewhere in the forest, but other than their melodies and the wind, the world is silent, peaceful.
Between the trees, green grass grows, spangled with flowers of many colors. You stop to admire a white, star-shaped blossom that seems to glow brighter than the others, as if a star has fallen from the sky and is now resting quietly between the blades of grass. Leaves flutter from the trees like dancers on the air. It is all so beautiful that \you forget your quest and just stand taking it in.
When you open your eyes, you see fair figures standing further down the path. They wear long robes of pale green and their hair is golden and long, flowing behind them like water over glass.
Fear grips you. Will they be angry that you entered their realm? Will they insist that you leave?
They draw closer, their faces serene, and you choose to approach them in turn. One asks you what your business is here and where you are traveling to, and you hold out the broach, explaining how you found it.
The eyes of the male elf light up, and he puts out his hand to take the broach. He knows who it belongs to and believes they will be very glad to have it back. In return for your honesty in returning this item, he would like to offer you a meal and a place to rest before you continue on your journey. He guides you to where a ladder hangs down from a mighty tree, and you look up in amazement to see a platform within the branches. You swallow, but he assures you the climb will not strain you. He will be right behind you in case you fall.
With some effort, you make the platform and find a table of food already prepared. Your host offers you pillows to sit upon and fills an intricately carved wooden goblet with rich red wine. You take it with a word of thanks.
The light has turned from gold to pink, and the birds have fallen silent. Without a word, the elves set up a bed for you, soft blankets and pillows gathered into a nest for you to rest upon. You thank them again.
The female elf smiles at you and places a lit candle beside the nest. Its flame flickers as you rest beside it, watching as the light fades and the stars come out to peek between the branches over your head. You will rest well tonight. Tomorrow, who knows what adventures you will see?
The Golden Glade is part of Mythologie Candles' Atlas Collection