Eiraurs stepped out of the portal into the Fading Woods, on the border of the ice providence. All around them, trees lifted their bare, stubby branches to the sky. Orange, brown and red leaves carpeted the forest floor. There was still enough light to see by despite the clouds blocking the moon and stars. Here, magic pulsed from every living thing, and that energy illuminated the night.
“Why is it nighttime?” Willow glanced around; her eyes wide. “It was barely noon on Earth.”
He chuckled. “Time flows weirdly here. Sometimes the inhabitants of an area can encourage the landscape and other times the land does whatever it wants. This is my favorite region. A reminder that there is beauty in death.”
The fairy air seeped into his cells and reinvigorated him, an alluring call to become one with the world around him. He’d forgotten how much magic he’d lost in his exile. Effervescent power flared from his fingertips and snow crystals swirled around him in a joyful display.
“Ahem. Can you tone it down, Frosty?” Amusement laced his wife’s words.
Pulled from his revelry, he glanced around. A circle of snow enveloped them up to Willow’s knees. His face heated at the lack of control. “Sorry.” He lifted Willow at her waist, swung her around, and then carried her down the shadowy trail.
Her delight was a draw on his senses that eclipsed the enthralling grip of magic. He would do anything to make sure she laughed every day. After gently lowering her to the ground, he couldn’t resist a kiss.
She tasted of sunshine and a hint of maple syrup from breakfast. Her delightful spirit became an anchor that kept his wild tendencies in check. Without her, he would’ve become a pitiful and aimless manipulator in his exile.