Mairon watched the stag leave, staring after the retreating form until the sound of horses neighing reminded him of the situation’s urgency. He sprang to the side and leapt for a low-hanging treebranch, scaling the tree as lightly as any elf. For all his weakness the tiny maia still managed to move with dancerlike grace. He climbed until he was in the thick of the branches, surrounded on all sides by leaves, and curled up. After a moment’s thought he loosened his scarf, tucking his hair into the fabric so it wasn’t floating around and drawing attention to him. Red wasn’t a very good color to wear while hiding in trees, but he hoped Langon’s plan was distracting enough that it wouldn’t matter.
He hugged his knees to his chest and settled down to wait.
The riders who came past were young men with cruel eyes and bold smiles, laughing as they rode. They did not look up — instead, one pointed ahead eagerly, seeing the flash of a white hide moving between the trees. They spurred their horses onward, and Mairon was left behind.
Time passed, and the hoofbeats grew dim and faded away. The riders sought ever onward, for the white stag they longed to catch, but saw only taunting glimpses. Onward they rode, further and further, horses growing weary beneath them. It was inevitable, perhaps, that they make a mistake, and at last they did; the white stag led them across a scree-covered slope, a horse slipped, and its rider fell, sliding down the loose stones to the bottom of the slope.
Some stopped to see to him, but those that continued… the white stag led them further still, and left them mired in a marsh they could not easily escape. Then, pursuers halted, Langon slipped from his stag form, and hurried back to the place where he had left his fellow Maia.
"Mairon? It’s safe now," he called.