It was All Round’s Moon eve in Orein’s world. A night when the huge, round moon shone bright and appeared to be within arm’s reach. In my world, some referred to it as the super moon. For some reason, this was a cause for celebration.

The clearing at the center of the forest was filled with floating orbs of different colours and sizes, illuminating the whole area. Garlands made of leaves, flowers and vines decorated the perimeter. Long tables covered with food and beverages occupied both ends of a rectangular space which served as a dance area. There were throw pillows scattered around where everyone could sit and enjoy the festivities.

Everyone was dressed in festive clothing in different colours and themes. Some had head dresses made with fruits, some with branches and leaves, and yet others had intricate designs of woven vines and flowers. A beautiful silk dress in fall colours was left on my bed in the morning, and that is what I wore to the festival.

There was a group of ladies in colourful costumes made of leaves and flowers performing an intricate dance to the soothing music playing in the background. I looked around to see where it was coming from and found a group of little folk playing their instruments. They were situated on a platform that floated in the air among the tree branches.

I had no idea how long I have been stuck in this other world with these other worldly beings. There were different species, as far as I could tell, such as fairies, the elves, nymphs and the little folk (of which I had no clue what they were.) They stood to about my waist, were skinny with long, thin arms and legs and narrow faces. All of them were quite friendly and accommodating. Quite respectful towards me, if I may say so.

Ever since the Lady Mara spoke to me in my bedchamber, making me realize that crying and moping in my bed would not help me escape this beautiful prison, I have started to communicate and get to know those around me. So far, though, not one of them was willing to share how to go through the walls of magic. They seemed to divert my attention to other things when I started asking questions. I just went with the flow, determined to find that one being who would slip and tell me something. I must admit that I haven’t given up hope of crossing over and going home. But as time passed, that hope was slowly fading away and I had to keep reminding myself to be strong and not to give up.

“Hello, my beauty. You look lovely in that outfit. Our clothing suits you.”

“Oh, thank you, Orein.”

“Have you eaten at all?”

“Yes, indeed I have.”

“Did you find everything to your liking?”

“Mhmm…Everything tasted wonderful. In fact, I am so full I feel like I would burst.”

Orein smiled widely, his eyes twinkling in the lights. He held out his hand towards me.

“Come then and dance with me.”

I smiled at him as I put my hand in his. He helped me up and led me to the dance area. The music was soft and mellow, and Orein held me close to him. One hand behind my waist and the other clasping my hand to his chest. My eyes were drawn to his and what I saw sent shivers down my spine. He looked at me with a smile that reached his eyes. The happiness I sensed from him seemed to radiate towards me, making me feel light and content.

The soft material of the dress I wore billowed in the air as we danced. Orein was an excellent dancer, guiding me as we swayed along with the music.

“You dance very well, my beauty.” I felt my cheeks flush at the compliment.

“That is only because you are a great dancer, Orein. Otherwise, I have two left feet.”

A frown formed between his brows as confusion showed on his face.

“What do you mean?” he asked as he gazed down at my feet. I laugh out loud, which brought smiles to everyone who watched  us.

“It’s just a metaphor. It means that I am not a good dancer.”

Orein smiled at me and it brought tingles to my insides.

“I do not know who told you such a lie, because as far as I could tell, you are doing an excellent job dancing with me right now.”

“Why, thank you kind sir. That makes me feel less awkward. Maybe it’s your magic that has made my feet light,” I teased.

The smile on his face disappeared. In a flat voice he replied.

“I would never use my magic to control you, Anya. You must know that.”

His words hit me like a blow in my face. His words and demeanour confused me and left me speechless. The air around us seemed to shift and grow cold. The light and happy feeling from earlier was gone as we continued to dance. He felt a million miles away from me.

Orein was silent and looked everywhere else except me. As soon as the music ended, he pulled away from me and led me back to where I sat earlier.

“Thank you for the dance, Anya. I believe I must leave now, you should stay and enjoy yourself. I will see you soon.”

Before I could even reply, he turned and walked away. I felt deflated as I watched him go. The fact that he called me by my name and not his usual ‘my beauty’ hurt.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered with tears in my eyes, “I was just kidding.”

Orein seemed to pause in his walk and for a very brief moment I thought he was going to turn and walk back.  But he continued on his way without a backward glance.

The hurt and confusion I felt stayed with me after he left. I didn’t hear the music that still played, nor did I see the others dancing and having a good time. The night which had started out to be such a lovely evening just grew dim and cold. There was no point in staying.

With a heavy heart, I turned towards the surrounding forest. A walk would be good. Hopefully it would ease the heaviness that squeezed my heart.

Orein had been very good to me since he brought me here. Though the circumstances behind it all was not ideal, I knew he had good intentions. He had been nothing but patient and kind. I had no idea that my joke would offend him and I hoped I could find a way to make it up to him.

The darkness of the night enveloped me as I walked deeper into the thickness of the trees. The cold night air surrounded me, chilling me to the bone, and yet I didn’t feel it as I dragged my feet, one in front of the other. I reached the edge of the forest where an outcropping of rocks gave way to a beautiful view of the mountains.

I sat beside a huge rock and gazed into the night. Among the company of the millions of stars and the bright moonlight in the heavens, I have never felt lonelier than I felt tonight. The tears started to flow from my eyes, falling to the ground. A sob escaped my lips and I found I couldn’t hold them back anymore and there I cried as the moon moved across the sky.