The forest was lively that fateful morning. Winter was approaching fast and the plants and animals were working hard to prepare for the frost days. Trees were weary from three seasons of tireless upkeep and the animals were near exhaustion from trying to feed themselves. Of course, Heather seemed to take the weight of it all. What the plants couldn't do for themselves Heather had to do for them. Often forest responsibilities fell to her. It was all a part of being a maturing nymph.  At least in the fall season she didn't have to fight for territory or welfare with the other nymphs like she did in the spring season.

                Heather was busy dealing with a bad case of deer trampling that morning. The young forest bog laurel were struggling to stay alive under the constant weight of grazing deer, so it was Heather's task to fix it. The task was simple enough. All she had to do was lure the deer into another grazing spot. Deer, although sensitive, weren't always the most clever of beasts. All it took was a few dispensable huckleberry patches and the deer would migrate like a flock of birds. Simple.

                As Heather was tending to her new patch of huckleberry, she noticed something strange in the sky. Being a curious young nymph and prone to distraction, Heather stopped in her work to look more closely. The clouds were clumping and swirling together in a strange pattern. Heather straightened up. Something was not right. Storms did not look like this.

                Suddenly something dark fell from the center of the cloud vortex. Before she could process anything that was happening, the ground shook and the air moved with a big whooshing boom. Heather had to dig her roots deep into the ground in order to keep herself steady. The quake subsided and Heather retracted her roots. She could feel the cries of despair from the forest. Something terribly wrong had happened.

                Heather ran. As the plants of the forest cried to her in fear, she ran to the source of the trouble. The closer she got, the louder the cries became. Finally she reached what she never thought her eyes would see. In the middle of the forest, right where a young family of daffodil used to live, was a massive crater, easily ten feet wide and ten feet deep. Heather was outraged.

                In the middle of that crater, a dark figure crouched, seemingly motionless. Heather's surprise outweighed her anger for a split second, and she instantly gave in to her human form. Heather took a step forward. The figure's head shot up. The figure was dressed completely in black armor with ribbons of silver accenting the dark metal.

                Heather shook, part from anger, part from fear, and still part from excitement. Never before had she seen anyone like this. How had he come to her forest? Who was he? Would he cause any more destruction? Whether good or bad, Heather decided she needed to befriend him. Heather looked down at her pale, nude skin and flowing brown hair. She wasn't nearly handsome enough for a good impression she concluded .

                The figure in black armor stood up and Heather smiled. The figure grabbed for something at his waist and Heather took a suggestive step forward until her bare toes dangled off of the edge of the crater. The figure in black climbed out from the other side of the crater and started walking briskly away. Forget friendship, Heather thought. This mysterious person was making her angry.

                Heather caught up to the stranger in armor and stopped abruptly in front of him. "You've made me very angry," she said in her normal seductive voice.

                "Get out of my way," the man said gruffly.

                "Get out of mine," she replied back with unintentional sass.

                The man in armor paused and then none too carefully shoved her aside, continuing to walk in her woods and trample her plants. Heather only laughed and appeared immediately in front of him again.  He would have to do better than that.

                "You need to be careful of where you step," she said as she put her delicate hands firmly on her wide and much too exposed hips. "Or else something could get hurt."

                The man in armor snarled. "You're right. I think I might just slip and accidentally fall on you with my knife. Only that wouldn't be an accident. Do not try to tempt me forest wench and take my advice. Get. Out. Of. My. Way."

                Heather smiled.  Threats did not move her. She took a step forward. "Why? Where do you have to go?"

                The man in armor swung his closed fist up to her head almost as quick as lighting, but it was too late. Instead of the bone and flesh he had been anticipating, his knuckles met solid wood.

                The forest was filled his infuriated howl. 

The End

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