By the time Dregor and I made it back to the beach, a fire was well on its way, the flames dancing in the moon light. The air was crisp, which felt good to the skin. It was hard, back breaking work being a sailor. A good chilly breeze was almost never a curse.
The air turned much colder as Nate came stumbling out of the woods. He was carrying a body. When he reached the sand, he fell to his knees, dropping the body. A crowd soon was around him. There were shouts and screams.
Dregor bullied his way through the mob which had encircled Nate and the body. Yelling, he said, "All right, get back everyone. The captain is coming."
I didn't want to come. I didn't want to have to deal with a dead body so soon. But, it was my duty, so I went.
"What happened, Nate?" I asked when I got through the crowd. I didn't beat around the bush. The sooner this episode was over, the better.
"It was an elf, sir," Nate said, a slur to his voice.
"A what?" Dregor asked, laughing.
"She called herself an elf," Nate repeated. "She said that if we kill another living soul, she would kill me."
If Dregor and I hadn't just witnessed the most peculiar site, I would have thought the sailor died from an animal. But, it was no animal that we saw. That I was certain. It would be some time later that night before I figured out what we saw.
"It must be an helphat," I told Dregor later that night. We were gathering wood for the fire on the beach.
"No, sir," he replied, a slight scorn in his voice. "Those are just stories. I never believed them even as a child. They were made up to make children behave. If not the beautiful helphatan would come into your bedroom at night and shoot you with their bow and arrow." He laughed at his own memory.
I remembered those stories as well. The name "elf" was very similar. I wondered if the ancient elphat creatures and these elves were one and the same.
My musings were answered in the affirmative the following morning. We were contacted by a group of elves.