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Sancho had been in the forest for the past two hours, and although he was forbidden to be here particularly alone by himself. He'd spotted some berries he wasn't familiar with some weeks ago when he made the crossing to the other villages alongside his father and some guards to convince the other Chiefs to attend a meeting in their village today. He'd snuck into the forest earlier and here he was without permission and risking his life for something as silly as berries.

He'd been walking around and only the thought of going back home to punishment while still empty handed kept egging him on. What use was disobedience, when you didn't even get what you wanted.

Getting frustrated, he wasn't as careful as he was initially and the next thing he new he heard a crack as he stepped over a branch of wood on the ground. The motion was so quick Sancho didn't have time to think, and next thing he knew he was dangling upside down in a net from the top of a tree. This was the fear of every human, getting trapped in this forest.

Back home Sancho's mum was still cooking when his father walked in. Starko was the Chief of this human village and he was just returning from a meeting with the Chiefs from neighboring villages.

Evening Siriam he greeted his wife.

Welcome back, how did the meeting go? she replied

It went as well as we could hope for, the other Chiefs have finally agreed to form a military alliance he answered.

Sighing in relief, Siriam nodded her understanding and continued cooking. Starko went inside and looking round the house he felt something was amiss and then it clicked, the house was quiet. Which surprised him becauseusually you could hear his son making all sorts of noise around the house.

Errrm Siriam, where is our son? he asked coming out of the house again.

I thought he went with you to the meeting Siriam replied

Yes, but i sent him back earlier because he kept on distracting the meeting Starko replied

I haven't seen him since you both left earlier for the meetingShe replied a little bit of worry already obvious on her face.

Starko noticed the worry on Siriam's face and quickly tried to allay her fears
Hmmm, he must be at one of his friends place. Let me go round and check on him, he's probably playing somewhere around. I'll be back soon Starko said as he went with some of his guards in search of his son.

Sancho was still up the tree trying to cut himself loose but it was no use as he didn't have anything sharp to use. He couldn't shout for help as well, fearing he might attract the wrong attention.

This was the forest of the elves, and although the elves and humans were at a tentative peace for now. It didn't mean the elves would take it easy on him if they found him alone.
There were four human villages surrounding the Muriel Forest. Each village could only be accessed by going through the forest, unfortunately the elves lived in the forest and they weren't at peace with the humans.

The last peace treaty had involved a special condition where humans could only cross through the forest at certain days known as the crossing. Elves weren't biologically able to reproduce as fast as humans, hence they feared humans would populate their forest and easily take over. But elves were a lot stronger than humans, thus making the situation a bit balanced. Over centuries there had been battles and although both sides didn't trust one another, they saw the need for peace.

Sancho was still struggling when he heard a voice at the base of the tree

I don't think you can get down from there by squirming the voice said.

Struggling to see who was talking, he caught a glimpse of someone at the base of the tree. The voice was female but he couldn't see the face properly.

And what do you suggest i do, stay here and so nothing? he replied a little bit angry.

You could do that or you could stay still while I climb up and cut you free the voice replied.

Sancho thought it through, he didn't have any choice and how could he possibly refuse help in his predicament when every minute he spent here was dangerous. He'd already had enough time to think of how foolish he was coming in search of berries. But none of them were ever allowed to take anything from the forest whenever they crossed.

Alright I accept your help, please cut me free Sancho replied

A minute later he was tumbling to the ground. Standing up was a bit difficult as he was still covered in the net. After struggling for a while he was able to sit up, and he came face to face with a face he knew wasn't human by the slight elongation of the face and by her pointed ear. She was looking at him weirdly

You're not going to kill me right? he asked a little afraid.

And what makes you think i can do that, you're bigger than I am she replied.

You're an Elf he almost shouted

Sooo? she replied almost casually.

Things weren't going as he had expected. First she had saved him which baffled him, and secondly she was talking to him. He'd never heard of an elf talking to a human before, although as he thought about it he'd never seen an elf before only heard stories of them.

Isn't that what elves do? he asked, a little bit unsure of himself this time.

I think you've been hearing the wrong stories. Besides I hear the same stories about how humans are evil, it doesn't mean I believe them she replied.

Noticing he was still on the ground, she cut through the net to free him properly so he could stand.

Oh, if you're done thinking whether I'm evil or not. You can tell me your name, anyways my name is Yiriel she continued as she thrust her hand her in front of him.

Starko grabbed her hand, and stood up from the ground.

Pardon my manners, mine is Sancho.

Nice to meet you as well, can you let go of my hand now

oh sorry about that, I'm not used to any of this. You're the first I'm meeting

Really?, well I think it's time you met my father

Your whaaaaaa.... Sancho stammered

My father. Besides I think he'll want to meet you Yirilel replied.

She ran deeper into the forest beckoning to Sancho to follow, only then did he realize he hadn't even thanked her properly.

Starko had searched the whole village for his son and couldn't find him. The only logical place left was in the forest. But today wasn't a crossing, the other village Chiefs had arrived during yesterday's crossing to attend their meeting today. Going into the forest would be drawing a line.

But Starko couldn't do nothing, he could see the worry on his wife's face. Also he had to be careful of the situation so they wouldn't have a war on their hands because it was his son involved this time around.

I don't think we should go with weapons of they might not believe our story of searching for my son Starko said in conversation with the other three Chiefs.

Going into the forest now is almost suicidal. What if they attacked us Instead one of the Chiefs said.

We've not had a major war in a long time. I believe the elves want peace as much as we do

That's because they know we have the population and advantage over themanother Chief countered.

They continued to discuss and argue for a while without reaching a consensus when one of the guards came in with news. The guard went straight to Starko bowing down to deliver the news.

My Lord, your son has been found the

Where has that boy been all this while? Starko replied.

Erm, my Lord he's in the company of some elves at the village border the guard replied.

My Son, with elll what?. Lead me there at once.

They quickly rushed down to the village border and Starko was relieved to find his son unharmed. Apparently Yiriels father was the Chief of the elves, and he had decided to bring Sancho hike personally after finding out who's son he was.

Sancho explained how he had gotten trapped in the forest and how Yirilel had saved him. Starko thanked the elves for bringing his son back to him.

Apparently both sides had wanted a lasting peaceful solution for a long time but were not trusting of one another to attempt it first. Fear and hate from old wars had clouded their judgements but the elves gesture showed the humans they could be trusted.

Both sides decided to live in peace and design trade arrangements between their two species. Sancho's adventure became the reason why they would trust one another.
They went on to BLOSSOM in peaceful coexistence.

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