Dusk. That is the hour she always showed up in the clearing. Only now that I'm old, do I realise my foolishness of ever longing to make her mine. And even though fate has treated me kindly, blessing me with a woman that I love and she loves me back, even now that my hair is laden with snow and even blessed me with five spectacular and healthy children, I will never forget the first time I set my eyes upon her
It was that evening in the nineteenth September of my life when I intentionally walked away from my parents who were trying to barter in the annual carnival that visited my village and walked deep into the forest, leaving the path, heart blissed by the beauty of the autumnal nature. After quite some time and after I realised the sun had set and it was gradually growing darker, I reached a clearing and froze as I saw her; she was sitting by a pond, her elegant bare feet submerged in the water. She wore her golden hair half loose and half plaited in two magnificent braids that were gracefully fastened on top of her head, adorned with shiny little gems and jewellery shaped like leaves. She also wore some kind of headdress shaped like deer horns. Her face, as much as I could see from afar, was painted in myrtle green, above and below her eyes shaping two crescent moons and contrary to her much plumed head, her clothes were made of plain leather, in the colour of cinnamon. I tried to get closer but as I was parting the bushes to make way, she suddenly lifted her head, sprung up in alarm and began to run. I surely must have been quite a sight, running gawkily behind her, tripping on tree roots and rocks while her delicate feet barely touched the ground as she went. Unexpectedly she disappeared from sight and as I kept on running, looking around for her I fell heavily, head first, on a tree trunk. When I came round with my head pounding I understood that it must had been close to midnight judging by the position of the moon. It was a miracle I managed to find my way home where my sick with worry mother told the daylights off me.
The next day I decided to go back to the forest to look for the lass that had taken my mind. This time I luckily remembered to let my poor mother know I would be late and I left wearing very light clothes and shoes so as to make as little noise as possible, having the last light of the sun on my back. I reached the clearing sooner than the day before since I wasn't strolling but walking steadily with determination. My lady was again by the pond like last night, only that time she also bore a bow, sitting there carefreely but at the same time alert. I patiently sat there watching her and listening to her singing in her melodic voice until I fell asleep. When I woke up she, of course, was gone.
This went on for several weeks. Fall was almost at its end and I had to wear heavier clothes day by day resulting in becoming more and more uncouth needing additional time to get silently to the clearing. My lass kept on wearing her light leather clothes and bathing in the pond despite the cold. It was the last day of October when I arrived in the clearing but she wasn't there. Surprised I tried to go closer to the pond when a shadow leaped from a tree landing in front of my feet and I found myself staring at an arrow aiming between my eyes. It was her. She was staring at me suspiciously and angrily while I stood there speechless not only by her beauty but also by the fact that her eyes seemed to belong more to a deer than a human being. Added to that I noticed that the horns weren't fixed on a headdress but sprouted from her head above a pair of pointed ears.
“What do you want from me?” she asked in her melodic voice in my language but it was obvious by her stiff accent that it was a dialect she knew but seldom spoke. “Why do you keep spying on me for so many tendays?” So she knew I was watching her all along. What a fool I was believing I sat in my nook in secret.
“Please, my fair lady!” I stammered “I seek not to harm you. I love you, I've loved you since the first moment I set my eyes upon you. I wish to take you as my wife!”
Her startled look soon changed into a sad smile and she hesitantly lowed her bow.
“This cannot be. Now please leave and never return to this clearing for I'll be forced to do things I do not desire.” she replied and before I had time to blink she was already running away.
“Wait!” I yelled after her, “At least let me know your name!”
She paused and turned to look at me. I saw her lips moving and although she did not shout and was already far away, I clearly heard the sound of her voice: “Innoriel”. Then she was gone and I never saw her again.
Dusk. That is the hour she always showed up in the clearing. Only now that I'm old, do I realise why I could never make her mine. For despite the fact that my hair is laden with snow, hers is still golden. For Innoriel was wild. For my lady of the forest was of elven blood.