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Trickster's GambitThere are many of us in the forest. Grimmlings, we are, imp-wraiths of the woods. All the same, each to each, such that even where there is one, there is no I. And we slither unseen through the prickly brush, and you do not see us, for you do not even know we are there.
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We are tricksy, foolish mortal, and it is best that you do not cross us, for we serve the Erl-King, and he is a vengeful lord, though fair and pleasing to the mortal eye. And this he knows, ah, this he knows too well, for he likes to lure the maidens to the forest there, and they do not often return to their village homes. Some stay with us and join our court, but others do not, and it is they who the villagers find floating in the streams, strewn with wreaths of flowers, and it is they who wake up dead upon the barren drifts of snow beneath the ancient pines, enveloped in brightly colored swaths of their own red blood.
There is a Man-King who lives above the village in a castle upon a hill. He had a son o