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Beware: you’ve entered the far reaches of the imagination. Here is where magic lies.
Once upon a time, in a realm more ours than you now know, there existed two intelligent species (amongst numerous other, less intelligent species): the Fairies and the Vampires. Each species viewed the other as vulgar and insolent. So, by now, you have probably deduced that they did not coexist peacefully. But there were two whom, if given the chance, could change the way these creatures viewed and lived with each other, and, in doing so, change the realm forever.
The princess of this realm was not fair, nor was she beautiful. She could not sing or sew, nor could she conjure a single civilized note from any instrument. But she was the king’s only child, and she alone would inherit the kingdom. Her name was one of the greater ironies in her young life, for her name was Ai, meaning “love”, which, at the tender age of sixteen, she was yet to find. Although, unbeknownst to her parents, there was one man. Ai did not know his name, or even if he was real, but she did know one thing about him: he was a vampire. This fact alone cursed the future of her love.
For the past ten years, at night, when the castle was asleep, Ai would steal away to the Forbidden Forest of Dirth-Vardeen. Every time she entered the forest. Ai was drawn to the tree that grew in the very heart of the forest. The tree seemed to breathe, and if you stood close enough to it, you could feel its pulse, much like the soft rise and fall of a sleeper’s chest. But what was even more peculiar about the tree were the three words etched into its bark. Diligo est eternus. These words were of the ancient language and the meaning of such words had been lost ages ago. But Ai felt that, even though she was ignorant of their meaning, those three words were the essence of her life.
All of her nights were very much the same, and as the night drew on, Ai would grow weary and fall into an almost trance-like sleep curled up underneath the boughs of the living tree. Every time Ai slept in Dirth-Vardeen, it was of the same thing: him. She would always awake from these dreams remembering every detail as if they had actually occurred.
Over the years, Ai and the vampire boy had grown close to each other. “That’s just like me,” Ai would think to herself. “The only man I have ever loved is a figment of my imagination, and a vampire at that!” But on the night of her eighteenth birthday, everything changed.
Upon the day of her eighteenth birthday, Ai was dressed head to toe in the latest finery, and the finest fairy men of the kingdom were brought before her, each requesting her hand in marriage. Much to her parents’ chagrin, Ai refused them all. That nameless, mysterious vampire had some sort of grip on her heart.
That night, just like every other night, she stole away to Dirth-Vardeen, eagerly awaiting dreams of her mysterious lover. But that night, sleep did not come. Dawn was rapidly approaching, and as heartbroken Ai stood to fly home, a hand grabbed hers. She turned and found herself staring into the eyes of the man of her dreams. “My name is Diligo,” he said. Ai fell into his arms and they tumbled to the ground in an embrace of true love’s passion.
Ai arrived home just as the castle was beginning to wake. Even though her night had been sleepless, she danced through the day tipsy with love’s intoxicating effect.
Every day, for nearly a month, Ai’s parents paraded suitor upon suitor in front of her, and she rejected every single one. “One day I will marry my sweet, sweet Diligo,” Ai would say to herself. “And perhaps we will be able to unite our people and live in harmony, no longer having to hide our love…perhaps.”
Curious about Ai’s continuous rejections, her parents appointed a servant to secretly watch her every movement, all day…and all night. The servant was loyal to the king and queen (and he valued his life) so he went about his new job diligently. When Ai flew off into the night, to be with Diligo once more, the servant followed obediently. Although he faltered at the edge of Dirth-Vardeen, he continued on, completely aware that if any harm were to befall the princess, his head would be had. The servant looked on with terrified amazement when Diligo appeared, and a permanent blush stained his cheeks as the night continued for the two lovers.
The servant rushed home before Ai and informed the king and queen of what had occurred that night. It was by pure fate that Ai returned home earlier than normal that morning and opened the door to hear her father yelling. “A VAMPIRE! MY DAUGHTER?! HOW DO YOU EXPECT ME TO POSSIBLY ENTERTAIN SUCH AN IDEA?! I COMMAND THAT YOU FOLLOW HER AGAIN TONIGHT!”
“But sleep today,” the queen put in, “So that your report won’t be full of half-awake human tales*.”
Ai slipped away to her room, pretending to wake up, acting as if she had heard nothing. Today she would devise a plan.
By moonrise she had an idea, one that would leave her and Diligo together forever in peace.
That night, Ai took her time getting to the forest, making completely certain that the servant was following her. When she arrived at the tree, Diligo was already waiting for her
“You’re late. I was worried about you,” Diligo said as he pulled her to him and gently kissed her neck.
“My father went to sleep late tonight. I couldn’t risk anyone seeing me leave. Especially him.” She responded with directing his lips to hers.
After a minute, she drew away and looked deep into his passionate eyes. “I love you,” she said. Before Diligo could form his response, she leaned forward gently placing her lips on his as she drove a stake deep into his heart. Tears fell from her face, washing the blood from his chest. She laid him down beneath the living tree, vowing to return to him.
Ai fled from the forest and informed her parents of what had just occurred before the poor servant had even arrived back at the castle. She was certain that, upon hearing the scandalous things their daughter had done, they would see no other option, but to kill her alongside of that “dirty blood-sucker,” reuniting her with Diligo, her one true love. But to Ai’s agonizing dismay, she was quickly stripped of her wings and cursed to never die. She was banished to Dirth-Vardeen where, as the years passed, she watched her true love’s body erode and disappear, all the while longing for death to steal her soul and reunite her with the one she loves. But sometimes, whenever she would touch the mysterious tree that grew in the heart of the forest, Ai could still hear Diligo whisper “I love you, too.”
Now, you may be saying “Well, they never changed their realm like you said they would.” But allow me to ask you a question: Do you know where their realm lies? It is in your imagination. So, maybe they did change it, but that’s for your heart to decide.
Diligo est eternus. Love is eternal.
*If this story were pertaining to humans, then it would be fairy tales, but to the fairies, we are just as fictitious as they are to us.