Here's some more from The Adventures Of Mungo Tim
For those who wonder, Tim is a young dragon (100 years old) on a fly about, Miranda is a girl on the run from a forced marriage to a not so charming prince, and Will Von Leonhardt is a dis-inerited direction challenged prince, hero, and all around good guy....
The Black Knight
Will crashed through a particularly dry bit of bracken and leaped over a fallen log. Surely the road is just ahead, he thought, emerging into another clearing surrounded by tall trees. Frowning, he scanned the clearing, then sighed as he sat down on the log. He looked down at his boot which was flapping open at the front. Completely done for, he sighed. He looked up, hoping to read the direction of the sun, but the shadows were too deep. “I just don't understand why I keep getting so turned around,” he said aloud.
“Could it be because yer a great stupid oaf who don't know better than to wander the woods without knowing a even a wee bit of woodcraft?” commented a scratchy voice somewhere in the direction of his knee.”
Will looked down, eyes widening in amazement as he beheld a brown skinned man the size of a small child. He was so thin that he looked more like a bundle of sticks tied together than a living man. “Don't know much about taking care of boots either,” added the stick man. He pointed at the ruined boot.“Might as well throw it away, which would be good since you almost stepped on me and I'd rather be stepped on by a barefooted giant than one clad in heavy boots.”
Will pulled off the boot and set it at the base of the log. “I...I...am sorry. I wouldn't have stepped on you. I didn't see you,” said Will.
“Course ye dint, ye big lug. Ye don't see what 's in front of yer face let alone below it. You've nearly trod on a slithy tove and a passel of mome raths and that's just this morning.”
Who are you?” asked Will.
“Now, would I be tellin' that to a giant? Won't tell ye me real name. Just call me Styx.”
“Well, Styx, I am not a giant,” said Will.” Just a rather tall man.” He reached out a hand to the stick man. “I am Wilhelm of Wallesia, a knight errant, sometimes called Wilhelm the Black” he said,” but you can call me Will if you like.”
“What I would like,” answered the little man,” is fer ye to leave the Darkening Wood and stop disturbin' the peace.”
“I'd like nothing better,” answered Will. “That's what I've been trying to do, but I keep getting turned around, somehow. I'm lost. I guess I shouldn't have left the road.”
The little stick man laughed, which sounded like wooden reeds rubbing together. “Don't I just know that. Were bears been following ye as ye stumbled about fer days now. I thought at first they might kill you but I reckon they liked the way ye ran off them scurvy dragon hunters. Appears like they been content just to follow ye ter see what ye're gonna do next.”
“Lucky for me, I suppose,” Will said. “I have no desire to fight were bears. I am a town man not a woodsman, as you have so aptly noted. I'd be obliged if you would tell me where the road is and I'll gladly be on my way out of the forest, for I am hungry and tired and would like to sleep in a bed that isn't made of pine boughs.”
“Road out ain't far,” replied the stick man. He peered upward where a small ball of light bobbed in between the stout oaks which lined the clearing. “Ye wanna take him Dexi, since he has proved himself to be no friend of them dragon hunters?” He winked up at Will. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend thing, eh?”
The small ball of light descended to hover over Will's head. “I'll show him out, Styx, if you like,” said the ball in a sweet piping voice. “I was going that way already so it won't be a bit of trouble.”
Will squinted and beheld a tiny female fairy, her form shimmering with light. “By Odin's black hammer, he exclaimed! “You're beautiful. Like a tiny red gold sun. What are you?”
The fairy smiled and beat iridescent wings, flashing beams of golden light into the air. “I am Dixie Dexi, a pixie,” she said. “Though some call me a will-o-the-wisp. Follow me.”
“I don't know about that, golden one,” Will said. “For, no offense to you, but I have heard that will-o-the-wisps like to lure unwary travelers into bogs and rivers where they drown. Of, course,” he added, “I am probably able to do that on my own with no help from you.”
The will-o-the-wisp bobbed up and down. “Nay, sir, I shall not drown you in a bog but take you all the way to Killarty if you want in return for the compliment you paid me. Most mortals, if they see me as I am at all, do not call me beautiful,” she smiled, revealing tiny pointed teeth. “They fear me for my reputation.” She pointed at Will's sword and scabbard. “You are a knight, yes? There's a tournament at Killarty in one days time.”
Will reached for his boot. “Wonderful!” he exclaimed. “A tournament is the very thing I've been needing.”
Unconsciously, he patted his pocket with the hidden coin inside. “I guess one more night in the open won't hurt me.” He looked at his boot in amazement. “Its all mended,” he said. “As good as new. How can that be?”
“Yer welcome,” chuckled a brownie in a pointed red hat and green coat, perched on an a oak root that protruded from the ground. “Like most in Darkening Wood, I am no friend of dragon hunters. Go with me blessing, Sir Will. Just have a care not to step on the mome raths on yer way out.”
Will stood up. “I thank you all friends,” he said. “I'll watch my steps more carefully from now on. And if ever I can repay your service, I shall.”
“Let us be off,” then said Dexi. “Ta-ta Styx. Don't take any wooden franken from those were bears.”
“I will not, light of me life,” smiled the stick man, lifting a twig-like arm in farewell.
Will was surprised how quickly the journey to Killarty went with Dexi as a guide. He was in the center of town by full dark. “Thank you, little lady,” he said to the will o the wisp as she bobbed overhead, casting light into the gloom. “I will say good bye here for I must find a place to bunk down. Fare well. I shall not soon forget your kindness.”
“Good fortune be yours,” she answered. “As I think it will, for you have the mark of Lady Luck upon you.”
“If I do,” said Will, “I cannot see it, for I have lost kingdom, and home, and my purse is too often empty.”
“But, that will change soon,” she laughed. “Perhaps, even on the morrow.”
“I hope so, Lady Dexi,” Will replied. “Right now, hope is all I have besides a prodigious hunger and thirst.”
“Then satisfy both at the inn of the Six Swans just down the street on the left. Use the coins hidden in your pocket and see what the new day brings. Farewell,” she added soaring up into the night.
Will reached into his pocket. “I only have one Frankel,” he said into the sky, “which I must use to enter the tournament, although I don't know how you could know that.” He frowned, as he pulled out three franken and a snickel. “How did they get there?” he asked.
The will-o-the wisps voice floated on the breeze. “The world is full surprises isn't it,” she commented, as her fairy light winked out.