“Wait, do you mean…”
Opale vibrated with energetic glee. She bounded off of the lop of the cliff with ferocious gusto. Gabbie yelled out and grabbed Silverskin by his middle, thinking that this was the end.. Silverskin had tricked her and they were all three plummeting to their bloody doom. But then the girl felt the whisper of air softly caressing her face in gentle, swift strokes. Gabbie tentatively opened her brown eyes. They hadn’t jumped to their doom after all. No. Opal was balancing on the tiniest slivers of hanging rock along the mountainside, just like wild goats did back on Earth. This dreadful balancing act felt like Gabbie was riding in a dizzy tightrope walker.
“You could have warned me about this bit,” gasped Gabbie as Opale jumped to another small rock. Said rock was barely as wide as Gabbie’s palm.
“I thought you knew. You said something about deerne before.”
“Ugh,” replied Gabbie. She had to close her eyes for the remainder of their descent. Now wonder why Glue Pot and Adriei were so terrified if heights!
“Hey, you can open your eyes now,” Silverskin said. He bumped her shoulder with his.
“How far to the lake?” Gabbie asked to keep from feeling a sting of embarrassment. She was always the brave twin, and she wore that honor like a badge. Why, out of all the scary things they saw so far, did the thought of falling off a mountain make her act like a frightened three-year-old?
“About twenty or so minutes. Look. All three moons are full.”
Gabbie saw the moons’ reflections off of the lake first. They were bright and yet hazy, even when she stared up at them. She immediately felt better. Frightened or not, this was an adventure, and she would try to enjoy every last bit of it.
“Sorry about kind of saying that you weren’t pretty. From where I live, we were told that elves were tall and sinewy. They’re suppose to be majestic and beautiful and wise. Not to say you’re not. It’s just that, um, you’re different.”
“It’s okay. I forgive you.” Silverskin sounded like he had something else on his mind. He stared grimly at the lake, and the light from the three moons illuminated his silver skin. Right then and there, Gabbie could see that there may be some beauty yet for the race of elves.
Opale trudged on until they reached the lip of the lake. The two children jumped from their mount and let Opale graze the at the plump blades of watery grass at the lake’s edge. The lake stretched out far and father still. Gabbie wondered how long and how deep the waters went. She thought of the Great Lakes back at home. She’d been to Lake Erie once, and it was cold enough for even her bones to shake when she visited with her parents, brother, and sister. This lake was the same but different. Instead of the cold, an odd sense of foreboding wrapped her up in a vice grip.
“This place isn’t good,” Gabbie said aloud.
“Yeah…” Again, Silverskin sounded far away. He blinked his shinning eyes up at her, opened his mouth, and then closed it.
“So, there’s really a god in there?” Gabbie asked to break the tension.
“I’d believe it. That lake is enormous. Sometimes, when there’s been no rain, my mom says she can see the tips of large fins skimming the surface. Then there’s a massive rainstorm, and the find are gone.”
“Why aren’t we allowed to be near the lake in the first place? It sounds like this god doesn’t want to be seen.”
“My mom says its because the god will eat anything with a great deal of magic. There are some elves that go missing, but that’s because the got too close to the Forest of Death. Good thing you’re just half human, right?”
“Gabbie, what I’m trying to say is that the only place where we are said to be uncommonly beautiful are the stories that are told on Earth”