“This is not a time for us anymore, little one; we must withdraw.”

The child shook her head and looked for all the world as though she was about to stamp her foot as well.

“Shan’t. My place is here, and nothing is going to make me give that up.”

Her face was a picture of purpose and assertiveness as she answered her elder companion. He smiled, benificently, and shook his head making his soft, grey mane seem more like a cascade of water than hair. The child continued to stare back at him, her arms crossed across her chest and her mouth pursed in an immature attempt at a stony face.

“Little one, the church has established itself here to the exclusion of our kind. If we withdraw back into the Summer Kingdom we will be safe, but if we stay here the Christians will drive us mad with their bells and hymns and prayers. Their practices are anathema to our kind; you know this.”

Her face softened a little, turning from anger to fear, and then hardened again;

“Then we must fight them uncle, we owe the woods that.”

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