The lead in the pencil scratched aginst the canvas to silhouette the shadowy outline of a faery. A simple sketch, yes, but to Eyna, it had to be perfect. It had to capture her mother, as she once was. They lived alone now, her and her mother. The nights grew cold and bitter with her father gone. She remembered that day he died. It was that same day that Eyna decided to paint. She painted everything she could see and captured it so it would not change. A painting could never leave. It would never die. It was a deathly cold day for France that day, especially since it was summer. The hills around the little cottage were covered in snow. Eyna loved the cottage in spring, usually. That was before the snow, and the war. She once danced in the summer thunderstorms, honeysuckle sweet on her breath and bare toes being tickled by green blades of grass. Her family played town historians then. They regaled the townspeople with stories of folklore and beauty. The French women would take their round faced children to listen to EynaÕs mother, Armelle, who told them of the faeries who guarded the lost souls of the townÕs passed kin. The town was full of tiny mirrors that it was told the souls slept in while the faes kept watch over them. It was Armelle who told of the secret world. Everyone called her mother Armelle. It ment princess and was passed on to her since her childhood when it was discovered that she had such a talent for charming the town. It wasnÕt her real name. No one knew her real name, not even Eyna. When Eyna wanted something, she too called her Armelle. Only EynaÕs father knew ArmelleÕs real name and he only whispered it into the small of her ears to make her smile, his arms around her waist and lips pressed lovingly to her temples. When Armelle smiled, silence was accompanied by it. Her smile so perfectly fitted her, no one dared move or speak, afraid they would cause her to frown instead. Of course, she never did. Perfection was the word that most described her mother as, but that was long ago. That was all before the war came, and the snow. Father had been in the war, on the local fronts so he was always close to home. His weary feet dragged him home. The town was filled with glistening mirrors in the bright snow. One tiresome morning he was shot in his leg with a cannon while in battle. All Eyna could remember was the blood everywhere. When the men carried him home in the snow, everything was red instead of white. She looked up, eyes wide in fear. Eyna didnÕt know her feet were moving until she was in her room mixing paint. Her eyes never focused on her brush strokes depicting the scene outside. She painted the garing, crimson blood black instead and had the shadows from it seep over the trees and flowers, killing them. In the corner, she painted her mother as she was to her that day. Pale and shivering, cold down to her soul, but still so unnaturally beautiful. She painted a pool of tears around her crouching body and put shimmering wings on her arched back, her hair cascading over her shoulders and face dripping with tears and snow. When she was done she watched silently out of the window until the men had finished burying her father. The red snow was gone, overturned over his grave so that it looked presentable. Her feet flew down stairs, again comotose, while picking up a startiling red rose and a circular mirror. She smashed the mirror to the ground and picked up the shards in a closed fist. She let her warm blood drip over her fingers and over the smooth petals and thorns. Her tears mingled with the painof the deep thorns and sadness overwhelming her. She walked outside in the freezing cold, dropped the bloodstained rose on her fathers grave, fell to her knees and screamed until her lungs were sore and the men carried her back into the house shivering with loss, not cold. Since then a headstone was made, mirrors hung, and then taken down in bitter remorse. Armelle wandered the house alone and in darkness. She didnÕt even converse with those who still believed in the magic of the faes. Her body seemed like the life of it was falling out of her slowly. Her hair went days without washing, making it thick and sticky. Her clothes hung off of her pale frame. Worst of all this though was that Armelle rarely spoke to Eyna anymore. She just wandered, lingering only to look dismally out of the window. Eyna knew without doubt that she was waiting for her father to come home. In their home, dust clung to everything, glinting in the sunlight that barely shone through the clouded windows. Every week though, Eyna bought her mother red roses, just like her father used to do. Even if she could only find one because of the snow, she would. After that night, it snowed often. Even in the spring and summer blankets of white covered EynaÕs world. Her mother went out every morning, her only time outside the house, and with shivering hands wiped the haunting powder furiously away from her fathers stone. One night was so covered in snow, one spring, that her mother tied a blanket around his headstone to keep freezing mist. That night, Eyna had bought her mother roses. She didnÕt speak to her about them, but placed them in the vase conceled by the gauzy curtains that seperated the living room from the kitchen. She looked around her, transfixed by the difference in the house since that shadowy snowy day. The high ceilings Eyna adored seemed somewhat menacing while they were so clouded with cobwebs and shadows. The large wooden pews stood like gargantuan overlords of trees looking down at her with disgust. Translucent curtains that seperated the foyer from the once inviting kitchen now hung lifeless with dust. A gauzy fingertip lifted up from where they hung in death and brushed aginst EynaÕs pale cheek, reaching for the drops of warmth that promised life. Eyna didnÕt feel her feet as they flew silently up the stairs. She didnÕt understand why she took the vase with her until she sat safely in her room and the tears flowed fresh over the red petals. As she looked at them she realized they symbolized the one thing that had not changed since her fatherÕs death. Their perfection mocked her and turned her delicate face dark with hate. She tried to strangle her own pain into the robust body of the bouquet only to pull back fingers bloody and scathed by thorns. She sat in a slowly growing pool of misery and, as a final effort, satisfied herself by smashing the glass vase into the wall and watching the shards fling back defeated onto her bedroom floor. The roses fell upon the glass, the water dripping over them in overpowered perfection. She climbed, clothed, into bed and let her pain, her tears, and the deafening silent nightfall cloak her in a cast of numbness. The night was eerily silent, and she loathed that silence that invited memories to climb back into her aching head. She didnÕt believe in things like faeries anymore. She believed in pain because she knew of it more than any other truth in her insubstantial world. ~ So silent but cumbersome was the fog that cluttered EynaÕs mind and home that no one noticed little Fawna. She came dancing in on her tiptoes, encased in glittering light, and drawn to the scent of rosewater. Her tiny body shuttered, nervous to think that the shadows of this faithless world had even spread so deep as to seep into Armelle and her daughterÕs hearts. Her wings rustled like paper leaves in the wind as she treaded softly towards the seductive rosewater scent, licking her lips. Her black hair fell over her round eyes that shifted between EynaÕs cold body and the warmth of the rosewater. She crouched and sprinted in a single bound, shooting away in a cloud of sparkling dust. She smiled behind tiny teeth and pink lips and drank with ravenous thirst. She let it swim around her head as she drank it all in, the delicious smell reminding her of the old times before The Winter. Everywhere, in graveyards all over the miserable France that once believed, thousands were crushing mirrors in their lack of hope. Without the faeries to protect them, the humanÕs spirits saw no purpose in staying. Slowly they were dwindling as a candle that has been burning too long. They were losing their light. Without the faith of the living humans, their family and the faeries that protected them, would surely die. Fawna shuttered, shaking entire her petite frame, at the thought of her whole race dying in the wake of the storm all this faithlessness and pain had brought. As if connected to FawnaÕs fear, Eyna snapped suddenly awake with an icy spine sending torrents of chills down her back. Fawna gasped almost silently, unconsiously hiding behind the shards and dripping water. Her efforts were wasted. Her glimmering body cascaded through the glass and sent the entire room into glittering radiance. EynaÕs wide eyes searched her room and quickly found the source of such a light. There little Fawna stood, cringing because she sensed EynaÕs aura and was so terrified of such a human once so devoted but now trapped in so much dark. W-what is g-going on?Ó Eyna stuttered, groggy and disbelieving. Despite herself, the question had fallen to her lips before she could convince herself Fawna wasnÕt real. I know. SheÕs not real. IÕm tired. IÕm still sleep--.Ó She stopped, eyes wide, as the tiny fae attempted to speak. IÕm real. IÕm Fawna.Ó She had tried to say, but already Eyna had thrown herself out of her bed and bolted for her door. The light emitted was so bright that she was blinded. She reached for where the door knob should be but she found herself clutching at open space. Fawna looked at her sadly, seeing only a frightened girl who once encompassed such passion, faith, and beauty. She decided then that she would take a great risk and let her light grow. It spread over EynaÕs silently protesting eyes and covered all the black of night and snow. Fawna fluttered softly, her wings rustling like fall leaves in wind, over to where Eyna searched around in dispair. Her heart pounded steadily aginst her ribs. Still, FawnaÕs light drapped over everything, bleaching out the stain of dark. What are you doing?Ó Eyna screamed in the deafening silence of light. Armelle! Help! Armelle!Ó Shh.Ó Eyna heard, barely above a whisper. Almost not even audible, but still there. Comfort. Instantly her flailing arms stopped mid motion before swinging noiselessly down by her sides. Eyna, my name is Fawna.Ó What are you?Ó She said in more hushed tones, feeling the need for calm behind the other voice. I am a faery, or a guardian. That is what your people call me.Ó YouÕve never spoken to me before. YouÕve always spoken to Armelle.Ó Armelle isnÕt listening anymore. We are a people that live to protect. That is why your people call us guardians.Ó What are you really called?Ó Samarias.Ó That word sounds so distant. Like itÕs far away, lost. It sounds like a forgotten world.Ó We are.Ó Everyone knows about you.Ó What ones knows by knowledge, one does not always believe by faith. We only survive off of faith. We are dying because people are forgetting. We are being forgotten. We need your help, Eyna.Ó How can I help? Armelle should help. She always has. Just try harder to make her listen.Ó You are a child, and so are pure. Your heart cannot be peirced by this fog, only tainted. If you clear this fog, if you show your people the faith they once possesed, you can save us and in turn save them. They are as lost without us as we are without them.Ó Her eyes expanded, taking in the gossomer form of the fae, the Samarias. She felt the truth of her words. Since her mother had lost the will to listen, the darkness seeping from her misery had infected the people around them. No one hung mirrors or laid flowers to bloom in the moonlight. No one believed in hope and beauty anymore. They, the humans, had forgotten and by doing so sacrificed their very happiness and peace. Still, Eyna was afraid. How could she help? If even Armelle could not awaken from this repressive slumber, how could she stir up the people of her cloudy world? Her mind spun, not knowing if she were in part of a horrible nightmare or if she were, simply but consequentially more terrifyingly, awake. We have never exposed ourselves except to those who would help us,Ó Fawna spoke. We need them to truly believe in us by faith. True faith is believing in what one cannot see.Ó How do we do that?Ó Exactly my point.Ó Now Eyna was truly troubled. Now what would she do? How could she determine the faith of an entire populace if she couldnÕt even be sure if her mother would emerge the same from this foggy snow. The light around her cascaded in warm torrents like water. She felt more comforted as she focused on it. Fawna had not witheld her blinding light even when Eyna had stopped screaming. It continued to grow and grow, embedding warmth into her bones. How are you doing that?Ó Fawna smilled shyly. We emit light naturally. This is how I look. When humans come close to us we supress it as much as possible so as not to frighten them and draw unwanted attention.Ó If just your light is bright enough to blind me from the dark and warm enough for me to feel it in my bones, what if you all did it?Ó For the first time, it was FawnaÕs turn to look surprised and confused. What would that do?Ó Eyna smilled, envisioning ArmelleÕs ice-cold hands feverishly brushing off snow on her fatherÕs grave. Melt the snowÓ. She dressed quickly and silently. Armelle did not sleep as of late, but sobbed through the entire night. She appeared in the morning looking as if she had drowned in her own tears, only to wake alive but drained of life. Eyna had become so used to the noise in the night, she was surprised to find silence. She hoped her mother slept soundly as a sign of what would come after tonight. Peace was all she could hope for. Eyna walked briskly but silently down stairs. As she had been about to turn the bend to the narrow walkway, just before the front door, she saw a flash of herself in the mirror in the hall and turned back. In the last few days she had passed by the mirror without noticing, or wanting to. The mirror was a oval shapped disk surrounded in a bronze filigree like flames. As she looked at herself she felt compelled to change the reflection she stared at. She touched her slender face and waved a finger around her deep set brown eyes, so much like her fathers. She ran a hand through her hair, stopping at her freckled and nearly bare shoulders. Suddenly she flew to the kitchen table, grasping a pair of scissors with trembling fingers. She leveled the scissors to her chin and took the first cut. With a dull metalic sound as the blades pushed together, she watched brown curls fall from the face of the girl in the mirror. She grabbed another fistful and cut again and again until her hair stopped falling to the ground and her fingers stopped moving. The mirror showed a new girl than the one who had stood before it a moment ago. She had changed because through the darkness she had found light and held it within her. She stepped into her shoes by the door silently, still smilling. She grasped the door handle with just as much stealth and enthusiasm. When she walked out to the cold night air she instinctively looked instantly to her fatherÕs head stone. There she saw a tiny light, no bigger than a pin, glowing steadily without falter. Fawna waited next to the tomb with a quiet smile and rustling wings. Above her the wide oak flickered with thousands of lights like stars caught in the branches. Fawna fluttered backwards, never taking her eyes off Eyna, and joined the collective. She sat, crouched low to the branch as if prepairing to sprint. She realized then that they were waiting for her. Eyna looked toward the steadily rising sun. ItÕs approach seemed so monumental. She could feel the sunÕs gentle light on her eyelids, trying desperately to break through the dark, snowy, fog. She thought of the painting she did when Armelle fell before her fatherÕs bloodied body in the snow. She remembered how she had painted the black darkness all around them. How true it was. Now.Ó She whispered. The Samarias covered the darkness until the light overtook every corner and every eye. The light escaped and drowned out the nightmares. The country was emersed in it like water. Every darkness was engulfed and brightened with intensity so vast. The light travelled like a phoenix and burned out the oily dark until all that was left was a purity that covered everything over. The snow melted like rivers and the lands engulfed it completely. New flowers bloomed from the ground into lush gardens as if in spring. All around the sun and the faery lights fought back the sickening darkness and evoked the breath of life yet again. The people woke to find tears streaming down in torrents across their faces and ran to hang delicate mirrors in every window. By the time the light receded back into the Samarias, they lept from the trees and danced away energized by the human power of faith. All Eyna could do was smile and watch as the little faery Fawna danced on the warm wind before disppearing entirely as if from a dream. She could feel the clearing of a heavy hopelessness lifting in the air. She felt the overwhelming sting of fresh tears in her eyes. Eyna.Ó She heard, just barely a whisper. Behind her Armelle stood, her hair glowing in the light, her eyes shinning with delicacy again. Her mother had walked through the clouds at last, and there she emerged changed, just as Eyna. Armelle.Ó Eyna answered. They turned to look at the tombstone as it glinted in the sun. I love you, Danniell,Ó Armelle smilled between tears, her fingers twining themselves in EynaÕs short hair. I love you, Daddy.