Deep within the forest, alongside the natural beings, exists a group of creatures known to humanity only through myths.
Only few live to tell the story of their encounter with these beings.
At the end of the day, when night is falling, you can catch a glimpse of a young woman at the edge of the forest. When you first see her you may think she is beautiful, but when she turns around to have you follow, her back is hollow.
Legends tell the story of a girl, who used to be human. She lived in a village, near the forest, where she was the apprentice of the local witch. This meant she often went into the forest to gather medicinal herbs. One day, she had gotten deeper into the forest, than she had ever been before. It was then she stumbled upon the clearing. In it lay a lake and it was there that she saw him for the first time.
A creature of the water. He was sitting on a rock in the middle of the lake playing a violin. The sounds, which came from the instrument, were exquisite. The tones were meant to lure people in. She could tell, even though the music wasn't the reason, why she wanted to go closer.
He was the alluring factor to her. Not his music, but him. The fluid motions as his body moved with the violin. Whether it was intended so or not, every part of him was enticing her.These feelings of attraction were new to her. Being the witch's apprentice had meant, she had to give up on love and, until now, she had dealt with that without any difficulty. There was no one in the village that could pique her interests. However, he did. This very moment she felt ready to give up everything she had in life just to be with him.
She was just about to walk towards him when she saw someone else walking into the clearing. She recognized that someone as a villager. "Why was he there?" she asked herself, but in reality she knew the answer before she had even thought the question through. The music. It was drawing him in. She hid behind a tree to stay out of sight. Not that he would notice her anyway.
The villager was fixed on the creature in the lake. Creature, yes. That was the word, because he was by no means an ordinary human being. She watched as the villager kept walking towards the creature. The man didn't stop as he reached the edge of the lake. Without hesitation, he walked straight into the calm waters. Soon he was in to his ankles, knees, hips, chest, soon only his head was visible, and then he was gone.That was the nature of the nix. He would lure unwitting people closer and closer until they walked into their watery death.
With the villager gone, the nix stopped his music and looked up, his sharp gaze focused on her. He grinned. She should have run away. She should have fled the clearing at this very moment. But she didn't. This beautiful creature had her completely mesmerized. Since he had already noticed her, she moved out of hiding. He rose from the rock and jumped into the water, swimming towards the shore, towards her.The creature walked onto the shore, his tanned skin glistening wetly in the sun. She looked boldly into his eyes, and in them she saw what she thought to be attraction. They both sat down by the shore and, incredibly, struck up a conversation. As they talked, he made it clear that he could never be anything for her as long as she was still human. Humans were his natural prey.
On her way home she thought about what he had revealed. 'As long as she was human.' Was there possibly a way to change that? Could she stop being human? That very night she started going through everything she knew of spells and herbs. Days and days she spent doing this, until finally she had put together a mental list of compounds that, when ingested, would allow her to be with the nix. A mix of herbs to stop her life, but at the same time prolonging it.
Ginseng to strengthen her vital organs.
Basil to enhance blood circulation and improve breathing.
Lavender to preserve the body, even in death.
And last and most important, the poison, Belladonna, also known as Deadly Nightshade to end her life.
At nightfall she snuck out of the village and headed into the forest. Once she passed the lee of the tress, she sat down and prepared the concoction. It was not easy work, but after several hours of meticulous grinding, chopping and boiling, she was done. It was ready. With one last fleeting thought at the life she was leaving behind, she gulped down the brew. Only seconds later she could feel it starting to work. Her vision darkened and she fell back, her mind fading rapidly...
It was still dark when she woke up. Disoriented. Then she remembered. It had worked, hadn't it? She certainly didn't feel normal anymore. And her skin! It was pale as in death. Then she heard it. The music. She must go to him. Show him what she had achieved. For him.At first she was stumbling along, her body not completely stable yet, but soon she was running through the forest. As she made it into the clearing she stopped. He was waiting. For her. Smiling. But it wasn't the smile she had seen before. It was sadistic. Confusing her.
"But you promised!" she shouted at him.
"Did I? I said there was no chance while you were human. You're not human any longer. Now you have a chance," he replied, obviously enjoying the situation.
Despite her fury at his trickery, his words reassured her. She had a chance. Maybe if she helped him. Perhaps if she got him more victims. He was bound to this clearing and relied solely on the unlucky humans entering the forest. A forest they feared because of him. However, she could leave, she could lure people in. Bait. That is what she would become.
She went back to the edge of the forest and surveyed the fields that separated the trees from the village. A few hours from now her fellow villagers would arrive, ready to toil once more under the sun. Unknowing of what had happened to her. Someone would come if she called for help...
And true enough. A gullible villager came as soon as he heard her call. She needed help carry some things, is what she told the foolish man. She had him follow her further into the forest. They hadn't gotten very far before he stopped chatting as the first distant strains of a violin could be heard. The atmosphere changed entirely. The villager had an empty look in his eyes, his mind was already caught by the music. She followed the villager, keeping a few steps behind him, as he walked deeper into the forest towards the clearing.
Just like before, she saw the victim of the nix walk straight ahead without noticing the water slowly covering his body. As the man disappeared into the depths of the lake, the music tapered off and silence once again descended on the clearing. And, then the nix looked up at her with acceptance in his eyes and a kinder smile on his lips.
"You've chosen to make yourself useful. Not that you will last long though. At least not by my standards of time. You're already slowly withering away," he said.
She then noticed what she had been ignoring this whole time. A sharp pain, centered at her core, as if something was eating away at her from the inside.
"You've realized it too, haven't you," the nix then continued. "How fragile your new existence is. No doubt you will live a long time, but not forever. And, for each second of that existence you will have to endure the pain. Trying to cheat the great creator does not come cheap."
And to this day a young woman can be seen wandering the forest, gathering prey among the villages surrounding the forest. She may look beautiful at first sight, but when she turns, her back is hollow.