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Monday, 21 September 2015

HoveWine (Fantasy Story) Chapter 1

Chapter 1    

     A mild breeze drifted through a crop of sweet chestnut trees running northwards alongside the River Colne. Apart from the branches of Hawthorne, Hazel and Birch trees nothing else stirred.
     In the warmth of the mid morning sun, in a deep gully within the ancient Wivenhoe wood, a spring rose into a small stream on which a tiny boat sailed. On the boat was a Stiggle named Tom who was about to finish his early morning watch.
     Stiggles are modest but suspicious creatures. They spend most of their time fiercely protecting their habitat and are generally helpful but can be irritable and stubborn. This morning Tom was not feeling particularly helpful but he was feeling especially irritable. This was due in part to him not having slept that much the previous night, which in turn, was due to a large part from Tom having drunk way too much HoveWine at a party to celebrate the declaration of a complete ban on unauthorised tree felling and timber trading in the wood.
     The winter had been particularly long and harsh. A dwindling pile of fallen wood lay at the approach to Elm
     Something behind the woodpile suddenly caught Tom's eye. He didn't know if it was something or someone as he peered between an arching sycamore tree. As he wondered, he felt a smack of pain in his neck then lost his balance and fell face down in the stream. The dwindling pile of wood was soon no more.
     Word had circulated that shadowy figures had been gathering in the dense southern acres of the wood in previous days.

     Few really wondered what the outsider was searching for. It was easy at first to believe they were just looking for a pile of wood to swipe as winter fuel. But since it was understood that the last known egg from a Wyvern (A legendary reptilian winged creature with a venomous bite) was found on the saltmarsh banks of the Colne, no one was safe. Pilfering, ransacking and looting was commonplace in the wood in the hopes of finding the elusive egg. The last Wyvern egg found and sold brought the owner wealth and affluence but not before a fierce and lengthy battle took place between the Stiggles, Dorges and Gawthrights who lay claim to it.

      Dorges and Gawthrights work the busy and lucrative River trade at the port and reside in the outskirts of the wood although few thought they would stoop to the wicked act imposed on Tom Stiggle. Outsiders were the best bet.