The boggart, Rumplestiltskin, slithered in the deep night. His short stature and natural colored clothing camouflage his appearance amongst the thick forest backdrop. He’d chosen to walk lightly this night.
Somewhere nearby, there was a distraught, young woman. His kind couldn’t resist young women who needed help. It felt like a compulsion. He fed off their dismay. He delighted in their confusion and pain when forced to keep their word. He smiled to himself.
It was a good night.
It was the night for his kind. The night they ran free in their true form. Their brutal faces reflecting their natural personalities. Not forced to mask their appearance and prance about like little elves.
Leprechaun, the local folk called them. He frowned in distaste. Leprechauns were not in this area of Ireland. He had personally made sure of that. Actual leprechauns were cousins of elves. Magical and fairy like in their appearance. Sweet. Ha! His kind had easily chased off their kind. They were tricksters like the boggarts, but they were like children playing at being dad—lacking in foresight to see the bigger picture.
Now he and his fellow boggarts. Rumplestiltskin stopped and squatted, feeling the greenery between his fingers. They knew how to make the most of the big picture. He closed his eyes as he tuned himself into the vibes radiating off the live leaf in his hand. Yes, he has chosen the correct way. The pain and despair were growing stronger now. The flora in the area was soaked in it. The fauna were starting to thin out, running from the scent, their symphony of cries warning others to leave.
They knew instinctively that the scent would bring something far worse than strong emotions—namely, him. The closer he was coming to his target, the faster his heart beat in anticipation. He felt the quickening that meant his body was preparing for the absorption. He breathed deep through his nose and the scent in the air permeated his senses. He no longer needed to touch anything to know he was going the right way. The sadness seeped slowly into his pores.
He had to work hard to keep from swallowing up all that was in the air. If he did, he would lose the scent entirely and be unable to track it. He would miss out on the real feast. Still, he was unable to resist a little taste. His enjoyment halted abruptly as a disturbing thought hit him. A morsel this sweet wouldn’t be left alone long.
Especially this night.
He grinned. His pointed teeth gleamed in the moonlight, the contrast eerie to the darkness of the blood on his teeth from the last human to lose against his tricks. This night was a good night. He reveled in being in his free form. In not losing magical energy to keeping his appearance more human or leprechaun. In being a boggart. He was the best of his kind.
He was the leader.
He sent out a burst of magic that would leave his scent over the traces of the human’s emotions. All would know he had claimed this one as his alone. She was so strong in her despair. His magic leaped in power. Itd been so long since he’d felt this level of power he’d forgotten how truly empowering it felt to be in the presence of absolute despair. It was getting stronger with every step he took.
He started to jog through the underbrush. There was a clearing not far from him where an old farmer and his daughter lived. From the direction the emotions were emanating from, he’d say they were coming from one of them—the female from the taste of it.
He broke out into the clearing and stopped at the sight of a woman on her knees, weeping. She sat near a log, her cries wrenching a deep hunger pain from him. Yes. This was it. He breathed in. Immediately a surge of power swept through him. He dropped to his knees, his hand clutching his chest. He hadn’t felt that kind of power in—he frowned.
He’d never felt that kind of power. It was both exhilarating, surpassing the greatest feeling he’d ever known, and it hurt. Bad. He felt as if someone was ripping his heart out of his chest. He stopped the intake of energy and stared at the girl. What was she that her emotions were both aphrodisiac and poison to him?
Her dark blue cloak shimmered in the moonlight. It was ethereal and almost black in its appearance under the moon. Her chestnut hair reflected slivers of light beams that he knew no human would be able to detect but that his kind, and all elf kinds would see. It was the presence of magic. She was magic.
He’d never taken the sadness from a creature of magic before. Usually he killed them outright. Nevertheless, he’d heard stories—suddenly he remembered. Only those great in power could take the magic from another without it killing them. To steal magic was akin to stealing a soul. It can be done, but you have to be careful. Now, if they give the magic to you… An unpleasant smile crossed his features.
That was a different story entirely.