Creative Writing Contest August Winner: The Courage to Hold On

Hey everyone!!
So we actually had a couple entries this time, and omigosh they were all awesome! 
Well done to everybody who participated. :)
This month's winner is: Cecilia Escobedo, who wrote The Courage to Hold On. 
Here it is! Enjoy!

The Courage to Hold on

          Nyall walked through the large hallways of the stone castle. His light, green armor clinked softly as he made his way from checkpoint to checkpoint. As he rounded a corner, another green figure came into sight. It was Est’en, his best friend.
After greeting each other in the usual Woodman fashion, Est’en spoke, “Did you hear about the prisoner?”
Nyall didn’t have time to reply before an ear-piercing noise came through the halls. Both boys covered their ears and dropped to the floor, their spears clattering to the floor. They had heard that noise enough times to immediately recognize it. It was a fairy scream.
Nyall turned to Est’en, “I guess there really was a fairy prisoner.”
Est’en nodded grimly. For centuries, the Woodmen had been at war with the fairies. Last night, there had been a rumor going throughout the castle that a fairy had been captured. It had just been confirmed.
“What do you think they did to it?” Est’en asked. Nyall shrugged.
“I’ll ask Tyll,” he replied.

Trust. He had asked her to trust him. And she, like a fool, had trusted him. She had trusted that Ildmor had reformed, that he had changed. He hadn’t.
Etani groaned and rolled onto her side. She had been out for several days. Her time magic told her that. Then her back began to burn again. Where her beautiful gossamer wings had once been, there was only open, red wounds.
As the pain grew stronger, Etani felt herself drift back into the world of pain. Where she was safe at home in Eulani. Where her memories of her childhood took over.

“Grandfather, will you tell me a story?” a curious Etani asked. As a young fairy, her grandfather’s stories about the ancient kings fascinated her.
“My dear Etani!” he would reply every time, “Why do you want to hear a story about war and evil when there is enough of that today?”
“Fine, but just because you are my favorite sprite!”
Etani giggled. Out of his three hundred and fifty-nine grandchildren (fairies had many children), Etani was his favorite. If Grandfather Meryl remembered your parents, you were well liked. If he remembered your name, even more. If he remembered your parents, name, and birthday, you were one of the favorites.
But nobody could rival Etani’s favoured position. Etani’s mother was Meryl’s youngest and favorite daughter. Both she and her husband had been killed by Woodman days after Etani’s birthday. The birth of their first and only child.
So Meryl, whose wife had also died in the Woodmen wars, undertook the task of raising Etani.
“Tell the one about King Ruhan and the goblin dungeon!”
Meryl’s eyes lit up and his wings shimmered, revealing a crack. When Meryl’s wife Mayberry died, he had tried to go and save her, but a Woodman spear had hit his wing, permanently damaging it. He could no longer fly, and was dismissed from the wars.
Meryl cleared his throat and begin his tale,
“There once was a great king. There had never been and never has been one like him. His name was Ruhan of the Wise Words. He was known for his courage and his wise words. Under his leadership, the fairies grew into a magnificent people. They were respected and fear, and they had the largest empire. But then the evil wizard of the North, Uniman the Hoarse, created a creature that was fearsome and evil to behold. They were green of skin, and had red eyes. They were strong, and few were very intelligent. And Uniman named them goblin.
“At first, King Ruhan paid no attention to them, they were not threatening the safety of Eulani. But when they started raiding villages, he sent out patrols. And then, a full scale war was waged. The fairies went out to the goblin’s dwellings, men and women clad in magnificent armor, the like has never been seen again. But, the goblins were more trouble than the fairies thought they would be.
“After many hard days of battle, the fairies were taken unawares, and King Ruhan was captured. Many long years he suffered in the dungeons of the goblins, such things, I dare not utter for fear of waking things of old, and it is not suitable for a child’s ears.
“Finally, King Ruhan’s noble son, Prince Duildale, set out to rescue his royal father. The rescue was successful, but the long years of torture had taken it’s toll on Ruhan. As he held his dying father in his arms, Duildale asked, ‘Why did you hold on for so long, oh noble and courageous father?’. The king smiled at his weeping son. ‘This is what kept me,’ he said, then leaned up to his son’s ear and whispered -”
“ ‘Nuythler eani canduan etani mlybus pontus’,” young Etani would always whisper, “ ‘It takes more courage to suffer than to die’.”
“Exactly my little one,” Meryl would always draw her close, “And ‘etani’ means courage. Your parents named you Etani because of it’s meaning.”
And suddenly Etani saw things that horrified her, such as her parents or grandmother’s death. And she would bury her face into her grandfather’s chest.
“Another vision?” he would ask. After she nodded her head, he said, “You have the gift of sight, you are a seer. One who can see the past, present, and future. You will be a great fairy yet.”
And she would feel loved and safe.


Nyall hummed a Woodman battle song as he took off his armor. He was tying up his normal boots when another guard came in.
“Tyll! Hey!” he said.
Tyll’s face was pale and tormented.
“Tyll!” Nyall repeated. He still got no response from his friend.
“We’ll have to do this the hard way,” he said under his breath. Then, grabbing Tyll’s shoulders, shook him and yelled, “TYLL WOODMAKER!!”
That got his attention.
“What?” he replied, his voice sounded weary and sad.
“Was there really a fairy prisoner?”
Tyll turned even paler.
“Was there?” Nyall waited for an answer. Tyll’s eyes spaced out, and Nyall sat him down on the bench.
“Are you okay?” he asked. His friend shook his head.
“Horrible things, we are monsters,” was all Tyll muttered.
So, something was very wrong.
“Tell me everything,” Nyall said, sitting next to him.
“Well,” Tyll took a deep breath, “As you know, I’m on prison guard. Three days, they brought in a ‘special’ prisoner. I was assigned to that cell. It was a fairy. And, today, I was ordered to chop off her wings.”
Tyll sobbed into his arms, and Nyall rubbed his back, horror-stricken.
“I can’t go back tomorrow,” Tyll looked up, his eyes were blood-shot, “I can’t.”
“I have holiday,” Nyall said slowly, “I’ll take your place until you’re better.”
“Thank you,” Tyll replied, gripping his sleeves.

Nyall stood nervously by the cell. When he had first gone down into the prison, he had purposely not looked at the fairy. Now, he decided to look. What he saw took his breath away.
Nyall expected to see a fairy in fierce battle armor, with gruesome scars. But all he saw, was a slim girl in a tattered blue dress. She didn’t look she had ever gone into battle.
How did she get captured? Nyall thought. She looked more like a court lady than a warrior.
“I know what you are thinking,” a sweet tinkling voice said.
Nyall jumped back. The fairy turned and looked at him.
“How is Ruhan’s name did I end up here,” she sat up.
“How - What - When -,” Nyall spluttered, “I didn’t know fairies could read minds.”
The fairy laughed.
“We can’t. I could just tell it in your facial expression.”
“Well fairy how did you end up here?”
“My name is Etani!” she spat. Then she cocked her head and closed her eyes.
“And your’s is Nyall,” she said, opening one eye.
He staggered back.
“How did you know that?”
“I saw it.”
Nyall gave her a confused look.
“I might as well tell you,” she sighed.
“I’m a seer,” she began, “Which means that I can see the future or the past, but not for anything that’s connected to me. It helped a lot during the war. There hasn’t been a seer for six thousand years.”
“That’s why the fairies were winning so many battles,” Nyall said under his breath.
“Because I was a seer,” Etani continued, “I served in court instead of the battle. My parents had both died in the war, and I was raised by my grandfather, who, because of his cracked wing, couldn’t fight anymore. He was the most important person in the world to me.”
Her face turned sad, and Nyall thought he saw a tear slip down her cheek.
“There was the official in court, his name was Ildmor, and he was a fairy traitor. My grandfather went missing, and he said that you Woodmen had captured him. I was to go to the edge of the forest to meet a group of Woodmen who had Grandfather. And, like a fool, I went. There was a group of Woodmen in the forest, but they didn’t have him. They told me that I had to bind my hands and blindfold myself. All I could think was I have to get Grandfather back. The next thing I knew, I was here in this cell. And then, they took my wings.”
Etani broke down and she sobbed into her hands. Nyall looked down, wondering how his people could do so.

Etani and Nyall spoke many times after that. Through Nyall, Etani found out that she was in the only Woodman prison, and was the only fairy prisoner. It gave her joy and sorrow.
Through Etani, Nyall found out that the fairies weren’t beasts as Woodmen were taught to believe. He gained a new respect for them.
Nyall didn’t think that Etani suffered much. Whenever they talked, she was calm, and almost seemed happy, except for the deep sorrow in her eyes. That’s why he was surprised when he heard this conversation in the dining hall.

“”Nyall!” Est’en stood up and waved him over to the table where he and three other Woodmen were sitting, “Over here!”
Nyall grinned and sat down next to his friend. As he ate, his mind left the conversation, and turned to Etani. He was to guard her again that night, and wondered what they were going to talk about.
“I’m surprised the fairy hasn’t died yet,” Cyall (another Woodman guard) said, snapping Nyall to attention.
“Same here,” Est’en agreed.
“Wha-What do you mean?” Nyall asked.
“You mean you’ve been guarding her this whole time and you don’t know how much she’s suffering?” another Woodman named Huthern demanded.
“Well, she doesn’t look like she’s suffering much.”
“Fairies have that gift,” Olyn, the only one of the group who had been in more that 2 battles, said, “They have the gift of always looking peaceful, when they die, they look like they were just sleeping. Believe me sapling, she’s suffering till the point of death. They ripped out her wings! It’s like if one of those flying villains had ripped of your arms. She could’ve died once we ripped off her wings, I don’t understand why she’s holding on.”
“Well,” Est’en stated, “Myall, who guards the left Stone corridor, was told by Wanh, who guards the corridor in front of the throne room, that Hyjk, who guards the throne room doors, heard from Byall, who guards the throne, that if the fairy doesn’t die by tomorrow night, they are going to have a spectacle of her execution.”
Nyall almost choked on his stewed beans.
“Well, he said, standing up quickly, “I have to go guard.”
As he walked towards the dungeons, a plan was already forming in his mind.


Hold on, Etani thought to herself, Hold on.
For what? Came a little dark voice in her head, Your grandfather is probably dead, and you’ll just suffer needlessly. It would be easier to die.
It would, wouldn’t it, a small, scared voice replied.
It would, the dark one sneered, And think, once you die, you’ll see everyone else that has passed on.
You’re right, the small voice cried out in despair, I am going to let go.
Good choice Etani, the dark voice cooed, Good choice.
Etani, she smiled gently to herself, Etani.
Yes, it’s your name, what of it? Just die! The dark voice snapped.
My name means courage, why was I given that name?
She sat up suddenly, her eyes widening.
Nythler eani canduan etani mlybus pontus,” she whispered under her breath, “It takes more courage to suffer than to die. I will not die.”
Nooo! Screeched the dark voice, Noooo!
“I recognize your webs, Ildmor,” Etani spat, “You’ll need more than simple mind tricks to get rid of me.”
Or will I? Was the last words she heard in her head before the darkness disappeared. She looked up to see Nyall standing there, looking shocked.
“That’s why you held on, isn’t it?” he asked softly. She nodded her head.
“I have to get you out of here,” he continued, “Now.”


Etani panted, they had been running for hours. And the pain had been growing stronger.
“Nyall,” she called out. She was alone. Nyall had left her. It was a trap.
“Nyall,” she repeated. The last thing she could remember before the darkness came over her was a voice shouting, “Courage!”


Nyall ran as fast as he could, holding the limp fairy in his arms. Something strange had been going on, but he was too busy to notice it. As they got closer to the fairy borders, Etani’s skin had begun to glow again.
This was the work of the fairies. They had the power to become rejuvenated as they reached the borders of their fair land.
“Set me down,” Etani whispered quietly.
“Set me down.”
Nyall did so. Etani limped to a tree, closed her eyes, then walked to a white birch. She closed her eyes, and there was peace and quiet.
Even Nyall felt more peaceful than he ever had. And then, Etani looked at him, and he gasped. Where her ragged black hair once was, there was long, raven black locks of hair. And her tattered blue dress turned into a beautiful blue gown.
They both smiled. Then they heard a voice from the forest say,
Etani turned around, and cried out with joy. Nyall saw a fairy come out, he was old and one of his wings had a huge crack.
“Grandfather!” Etani cried. And they embraced.
Nyall smiled again, and then turned around. His job here was done.
“Nyall,” Etani said softly. He turned around.
“Where are you going?”
“Back to the palace.”
“Stay here with us,” she smiled.
“I-I can’t,” Nyall said, although he wanted to, “I’m a Woodman, they would kill me.”
“A Woodman who rescued the fairies seer,” said Etani’s grandfather, “She is like royalty. Your people would kill you for helping her escape, but the fairies will hold you in high esteem.”
Nyall hesitated again.
“Stay,” Etani said softly, holding out a soft, white hand.
Nyall only had to look into her eyes before taking it.

The End.

Awesome, am I right? Super creative. Comment below on what you thought!! :D <3


  1. This is such a great story! I love it! :D Wonderfully portrayed all the way through! Fantastic job, Cecilia! Keep up the amazing work! <3

    1. Thanks! It's actually the first "short story" that I've ever written :P I never thought I was going to finish it :D

    2. Well, that's amazing work for your first! Truly! <3 You got real talent there, honey. :D

  2. That is a really neat story! Good job Cecilia!


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