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A Fairy's Tale
Author's note: I've already posted some of this, I think, but it's been edited a lot. One of my first novels, as far as the idea goes. One of my most worked on novels, too. I hope that this is good. Please give good criticism if you can! I don't mind harshness (though I might defend some points). I'm not gonna post all of it.
Silversky shivered. Frozen-Ice was especially bad this year. It fit her current mood, though. Icy cold and harsh. Ever since she’d had that one vision, she’d been scared for the future and what would happen. She hadn’t told anyone till she finally gave in to her best friend and Guardian. She’d expected them to be mad at her for hiding it, or at least disappointed in her. They were, but it turned out that mostly they were worried about what the prophecy meant for them.
And now, she’d already presented her story to the Fortune-Tellers of Itari, although shakily and nervously. They had stared at her. Silversky read their emotions easily. They had not at all been impressed with her, and most of them only wanted to keep her around because of her prophecy. Most of them thought that she was an insolent child, and at first thought that she just made up the prophecy to get attention.
And now I have to present it to the entire city. But not just the city. After this, the scribes will record it, and the news will be spread by messenger sprites and falcons, and the whole world will know, she thought nervously. I’ll have to go up and say it in front of so many people? But this is my only chance to impress those Fortune-Telling bigheads. Insolent child, really? I’ll show them. I’ll be the greatest Diviner this world has seen.
For a long time before she had to go up, she reviewed the whole vision in her head, and thought about what exactly to say. She refused to talk to anybody and very rarely left her meditation.
Finally, it was the night. Silversky took the stage and faced the thousands of eyes glittering nervously in starlight.
And the words came to her.
“It may not be soon. It may take millennia, but it will come. The days of darkness. The days of blood. The one that has been wronged will summon her army. She will prepare to rise and conquer in revenge.
“But all is not lost; there will be ten. They will have their similarities and differences…they will each carry different powers, those that they are born with and those that are unique to them. They are heroes that should not be underestimated.”
She looked out to the crowd. They seemed absolutely scared at the days of blood, but now seemed relieved that there would be heroes.
“That does not mean that they will absolutely win.”
The calmed fairies now seemed absolutely startled and muttered amongst themselves.
“They should not be underestimated, yes, but that does not mean that they will win. The powers of blood and the powers of heroes are equally matched. What the outcome is will depend on the heroes. How many will still be in good health? How many sacrifices will be made? And most importantly, how will, not their friends, but the good common people...you...help them?”
The hordes of people in front of her were now completely silent.
“For without the help of others, the heroes’ cause shall be most definitely lost.” Silversky narrowed her eyes and gazed out at the crowd. “Shall you help them?”
At first there was nothing except perhaps some slight murmuring, but then, one brave soul shouted, “Yes!”
It was what humans called a domino effect. After that one yelled out, two others did, then three for both of them, and four for each of those.
A grin slowly spread across her face. They’re good people. They’ll help the heroes when the time comes, Silversky thought.
Standing right there, she was genuinely and absolutely happy. She hadn’t felt that emotion very much. Her Guardian had been well known as a prophetess, and it seemed that the burden of carrying on the family profession was all on her, Silversky. But now, that burden was off her. She was free.
Yes, free, Silversky thought, just as another thought occurred to her. It wasn’t her own thought. It was as if someone was talking to her through her mind, and told her what to say next, what would happen next.
And she spoke.
“Spiritsong has decided. She wants me in her company, to be her messenger. She is watching us now. She smiles down on us, and hopes that you all will follow the promises that you made. And now, I leave you, to be with her.”
Silversky scanned the crowd, and found her Guardian’s face. She was so surprised, probably because she hadn’t expected this last part from her. She was sad, obviously, to lose Silversky, but at the same time happy, because for Silversky to be in the company of a Goddess…!
She closed her eyes. “I leave you now. May the powers of Spiritsong be with you all.”
I’m free, I really am free. I am free even of the earth. I am bound only by sky, the fairy thought to herself.
Silversky lifted her hands into the sky as they quickly turned to dust, along with the rest of her body, and drifted off into the sky, carried by an invisible wind.
Below her, the fairies of the crowd weren’t sure whether to cheer or cry – but the brave fairy who first agreed to the prophecy started a traditional funeral song, and they sang to her passing.
Silversky, dance among the stars,
Lose all burdens among the night.
Let yourself, let yourself be carried afar,
Let yourself be taken by the dark light.
But how it turned out wasn’t meant to be. Slowly, the tradition of telling the prophecy to the next generation died out, and Silversky’s legacy died – although she remained alive in the stars.
Fairies are creatures of magic. We are formed of the stardust that falls on our world from the sky, sparkling silver powder from the heavens. Nobody knows why it falls or how it forms into this shape and transforms into a living, breathing thing – or why when a fairy dies, they disintegrate into the same shining dust. Even though many have pondered the answer, or experimented in the hopes of finding out why, all have been failures to explain the phenomenon. Most people decided that we have a Goddess, whom we have named Spiritsong, who controls the dust and watches over the world. (I’m not even sure I believe that.)
What does that mean for us? It means I have no real parents, no mother or father, nor sister or brother, merely a Guardian, although just she is fine with me. In fact, as far as we know, male fairies do not exist in this world or at least this region of the very vast universe we live in – and again, nobody knows why. But it does mean that within us, every single one of us is made of the same material, used over and over again in an endless circle of life and death, that all of us are related and that at formation, all of us are the same. Famous human words are “All men are created equal,” while for us it is “all Fairies,” which means no men, and we are very literally “created equal”. Fairies at formation are all of the same body shape, similar to a young human child – no hair, no wings, and eyes without pupils. But as soon as we touch the earth we are bound to it and change into a type, according to what we first touched after forming, growing hair and wings and getting pupils and irises in our eyes.
Those who first touch the soft life of plants become the type Grass Nymph, and their natural talent is with flora and foliage of all kinds, often caring and protective of friends but suspicious of outsiders, a good defending type.
Those who first feel the caress of wind form into the type Wind Sprite, whose magic instinct is with wind. They are quick and nimble, the fastest type, usually good at invisibility spells and blending in, for they can move so rapidly that they seem to disappear.
Those whose first feeling is the calm touch of water transform to a Water Nymph. They have a marine nature and are usually kinder and quieter except for their dangerous rapids. They are more smooth-moving and calm, a healing type.
Those whose first awareness is that of soil or sand form into Sand Sprites, a down-to-earth type whose power is within the ground, the soil and dirt below their feet. They can be dry and serious, or humorous and friendly, it all depends on the exact individual, but they all seem to be very observant; they are a good sensing type.
Those whose first sensation is the flicker of flames become Fire Fairies, the ones who were born in fire and have control of it ever after. They strike with vigor and energy, and are often proud and bold. They are willing to fight, good at fighting magic.
Those who first feel stardust, the same material that they themselves are made of, can go two different ways. The ones who touch less than one rock-weight become Dark Fairies, secluded ones of night, whose power lies in telekinesis. They are often misunderstood, and they are good at fighting while remaining unseen, and often the overall strength of their attacks. The ones who first touch more than one rock-weight of the dust form into Sky Nymphs; they are the most knowledgeable and wise type, whose magic lies in divination. They excel in many areas of magic without one central kind, and are said to be closest to the Goddess Spiritsong.
There are some sub-types – Ice Nymphs are a sub-type of Water Nymphs, and Metal Sprites are sub-types of Sand Sprites, for example. Some people say that there are even more completely new types besides those, that we just haven’t discovered them yet.
Why are there types? Why do they have these powers? Why are we not powerless like the humans are? Does it have to do with the world we are in? Most fairies have taught themselves to not question it, to just go along with the ride and enjoy life while you have it without wondering why you have it. I’ve decided that not knowing is easier, but I still want to find out, even though it’s hard, because I think our race has a right to know what we are.
My name is Flameblaze. As you may have guessed, I am a Fire Fairy. (Many fairies are named after their type or guardian.) And though the general stereotype for Fire Fairy is loud, bold, determined, and courageous, I’m not really most of those. You could probably say I’m determined; I’m just quietly determined. I’m shy. I do attack with energy, but my personality does not reflect that. Maybe that’s why I didn’t have so many friends at the academy, compared to all those other fairies of my year. It was our first year, and already, they had so many friends.
Or maybe it was because of Flamearrow. She is my Guardian, another Fire Fairy – or half Fire Fairy. People always called her a half-breed. I knew she was only half fairy, but I never cared that another half of her was human. Other children would taunt me, asking what it was like to have a “filthy half-breed” for a Guardian, and the half-sympathetic “at least you don’t have a father like she does”. Even grown fairies would occasionally talk to her about it while I was there, saying something about fathers and not being related to Spiritsong. She acted as if she didn’t care, but I could tell it actually hurt her.
Or maybe it’s because we’re a joint family. Flamearrow has a best friend named Whitewind, and she’s a (full) Wind Sprite. Whitewind is a Guardian, too; she takes care of the Wind Sprite named Glasswings. Since Flamearrow and Whitewind are such good friends, and both are having some troubles, they’ve decided to take care of both of us together, becoming a joint family, which is a less rare than “half-breeds”, less often occurring if it has fairies of different types like ours does. But Glasswings is like a little sister to me (she’s one fairy-year – about two human years – younger than me), and I don’t think any of us could think of separating now.
Anyway, the first day of that Frozen-Ice (the cold part of the year, known to humans as winter, which is a name I actually like) break, we were at home, and Glasswings and I were discussing what we were going to do on the Frost Festival, while Flamearrow and Whitewind were arguing heatedly. I stared out of the window, pondering whether I should keep my fancy dress on after the prayer service and through the celebrations for the rest of the day and the night, or if I should change so I didn’t look as good but didn’t have to worry about getting burned (since I was a Fire Fairy, I had power over fire, and was immune to burns, this happened often, where I didn’t get hurt, but my clothes did) or dirty.
Just as I decided I would change after prayer, Flamearrow turned away from Whitewind, and called for Glasswings and me to pay attention. We turned and stopped talking. What now?
Flamearrow took a deep breath before saying that we weren’t going to have Frost Festival in Lumena City like we always did; we would be moving – permanently – to a region a little further south, named Jade-Leaf.
I tipped my head questioningly. But we’d always lived here in Lumena. It was home, where I felt I belonged, even if the way the other fairies at school acted or said otherwise. Glasswings piped up, voicing my concerns.
Whitewind softly and gently assured that it would be fine in Jade-Leaf; the Frost Festival would be a good place to start over and make new friends.
That did appeal to me, because I didn’t really have friends in Lumena besides family. I nodded, accepting, although I would miss the blue lanterns and black paper moon decorations hung in the snowy trees, a custom found only in Lumena. What did the Jade-Leaf ones look like? Who knew what Jade-Leaf was like at all? I’d never visited anyplace outside of the Lumena Region, and didn’t leave Lumena City (the capitol of the region) much.
Glasswings took a little more persuasion, but we managed to get her to agree grudgingly, for the same reason I did: “I don’t have friends and it might be nice to move somewhere else, but this is still home, and I’ll miss it.”
The world of fairies is divided into regions. Two of these are the Lumena Region and the Jade-Leaf Region, the Jade-Leaf region directly south. Lumena City is the capitol of Lumena Region; Jade-Leaf City is the capitol of its region. The regions are large, so we decided to travel by transporter instead of flying or walking the distance. That was the first time I used a transporter.
Transporters are devices that let fairies travel long distances, whether it’s to two different places in our world, or to places in other worlds. Transporters can take you to anyplace another transporter is, controlled by a special transporting type of magic that only a few can access. They’re usually well hidden or guarded, because it’s been rumored that transporters can do weird things when ones with transportation magic access it in different ways.
The Lumena City Transporter is in a dark cave. I remember walking through it, shivering, not from the coldness of Frozen-Ice, but the dampness of the inside of the cave; being a Fire Fairy, I am immune to cold, but sensitive to heavy moisture. Flamearrow took the lead, lighting a fire in her palm to light the way through the cave. Finally, in the center, there sat a fairy who asked for our identification. Flamearrow and Whitewind took off the heavy backpacks they carried, holding most of our things, and found whatever it was that they were looking for. I was too young to understand that, and besides, I was distracted by the large glowing sky-blue circle not too far away from us. I stared at it; it illuminated the cave in a way that resembled moonlight in the night sky; not like fire but like the light of heavens.
Eventually, we all stepped onto the large circle, with all of our things, and the fairy manning it stood next to it and murmured a spell. I remember the light getting brighter and me closing my eyes as it seemed that the hand of my Guardian on my back disappeared and turned to wind and fire, rushing around me; wind that was cold and fire that did not burn. Fire never burned me; in fact, I enjoyed the tickling, warm sensations I felt when it was on me. But the wind was a strange sensation. I’d never really felt cold before, only damp-cold. Cold sent shivers up my back and made my limbs a bit numb.
When the wind and fire stopped, I cracked open an eye, and saw that we were now on a different circle. We stepped off of it, and I looked around. We were now in a room surrounded by wood on all sides. After more discussion with some other fairy, we finally could leave. We stepped out of a door.
I could now see that the room we had been in was within a huge, huge oak tree, its trunk yards in diameter and roots spreading around in a circle; reaching above all of the other tree tops. I could see hills, then mountains, in the distance. There were trees everywhere and snow built up on their branches. Jade-Leaf had even more trees than Lumena! I imagined how amazingly emerald green it must have been in Bright-Sun (humans' summer). Now, it was in Frozen-Ice, though. There was a thin layer of snow covering everything, but not thick like in Lumena, because it was further south here. The dead of Frozen-Ice here wasn’t so dead after all! Sometimes in Lumena, we’d have bad blizzards, or the snow would pile up, and the only way to get out of the house was to dig, so many stayed inside those days. But here, in the middle of Frozen-Ice, there were people out, chatting, lively! Maybe this place wasn’t so bad, I reasoned.
We took a house in the middle of town, a house that was like the one back in Lumena: a shop in front but a house in back, so this could be White Fire, the store where Flamearrow and Whitewind worked, and where we lived, at the same time. Glasswings and I would be sharing a room, but I never minded; besides, we’d be starting school soon as Green-Shine (spring) returned. We wouldn’t be using it much.
Glasswings and I entered our room, now, and stared. It was square and fairly roomy, and empty except two beds pushed up against the upper left and right corners of the room. Like everything else here, the house was made of wood. I made a mental note to be careful not to catch anything on fire. That would be disastrous.
I set my bag of stuff next to my bed and flopped down, not willing to unpack, just wanting to rest, to sleep. Glasswings, however, had outstretched her wings, and said she planned to explore the town, I said all right, just don’t get lost and come back soon, and I just slept until Flamearrow made me get up again.
The Frost Festival was coming up soon; it was what Glasswings was looking forward to. She’d met a Grass Pixie and was asking her all about what was going to happen. She refused to tell me any of the secrets, though; all she said was “It’s not that different, but it’s still great.”
I had just stayed in the background while everyone else hung up decorations. People here hung up green and gold lanterns, not blue and white, and put up suns and moons and stars, all of them. Some fairies even made their own unique decorations; I saw a few young fairies hang up folded paper that resembled birds. I remembered reading something about “origami” in the human world, the art of folding paper. It seemed interesting now.
I’d done a little research into this place. The most common type of fairy living here was the Grass Pixie – no surprise, there were so many plants around here. Those mountains I saw in the distance yesterday were called the Bone Mountains, and were in fact quite dry and rocky. Although this place was named for the explorer who officially found it, named Jadeleaf, it also fit what it looked like in Bright-Sun, at least according to the book’s reporting: “leaves of the color jade everywhere.”
Flamearrow caught me reading once. She’d put her hand down on the pages, looked at me curiously, and asked, “Why are you reading now?”
I shrugged. “It’s interesting.”
“Why aren’t you out like Glasswings?” she said. “I don’t mean to pressure you, but really, why are you?”
“I don’t pick up friends as easily as she does,” I replied, choosing words carefully.
Flamearrow bit her lip. “Whatever you say.” She paused for a second before quietly adding, “When I was your age, I’d wanted to pick up as many friends as popular, but I never got any. People couldn’t look past the fact that I was half-breed. They laughed at me when I got burned by my own fire.” She shook her head. “Do what you want, but take advantage of your situation.” She got up to leave, but right before she left me in peace, she stopped in the doorway to say, “A custom here is to make your own unique decoration for the Frost Festival. I’ve made mine. The festival is in three days. Perhaps you should think about it.”
I shrugged, returning to my book. The book had noted that custom. Maybe I should make something. Maybe it would make people notice me more.
The Frost Festival took place on the coldest day of Frozen-Ice. In the day was a service that had to do with the religion that most people believed in here. We prayed to the Goddess Spiritsong, thanking her for what we had, asking that she would continue watching over us. There were various rituals, some for newly formed (or newborn) fairies, a few for the elders, some for only one type, and others for everybody to participate in. But nobody ever really looked forward to the service except the most religious. It wasn’t that we didn’t like it – it was just that afterward, the real festival after the service was more interesting.
Outside, there were tables set up all around the Jade-Leaf tree, the one that we had come out of after arriving through transporter. People who could afford to miss the service had placed food on the tables during it, and after everyone else left the service, everybody there dug in, helping themselves to the feast. I only took two pastries, sweet and stuffed with sugar and fruit. Nobody really paid attention to me. Meanwhile, Flamearrow and Whitewind were out talking to other fairies – I don’t know how they do it. Glasswings was chatting with her new friend, a Grass Nymph, and came trotting over soon. She introduced her Grass Pixie friend, whose name was Ivyflower – “But please, call me Ivy.”
Even when some of the entertainers had taken up fiddles, guitars, and flutes, and started to play all the traditional, familiar tunes, I stayed out of the crowd, looking around the tree’s branches for my decoration. Sure enough, I’d soon found my small, simple orange paper lantern hanging down from a low branch, the symbol for fire painted on its front in black. While looking around and admiring the other decorations, I noticed another fairy, a Dark Fairy my age, walking up to the tree, carrying her ornament. I didn’t see it clearly until she climbed the tree and placed it on a branch. It was very simple – a black paper circle with a sideways red eye with a slash through it painted on either side. A red eye? That wasn’t a Dark Fairy symbol. Being a rather young and inexperienced fairy, I didn’t really know what it meant, but it seemed strangely familiar like I’d seen it before, and what I thought it was…was a sign of evil and forbidden magic.
I gulped. This was a strange Dark Fairy. Why was she putting up an ornament with a sign of evil on it? Why was she even climbing the tree physically to put it up, when she could fly up, or even just use the telekinesis that she, that all Dark Fairies were born with?
After she jumped down, she glanced around nervously, as if she’d done something wrong and she hadn’t wanted anyone to see. She glimpsed me, and after seeing that I was staring at her, glared at me. I wasn’t sure of what to do as she started walking towards me. I blinked, deciding. I stumbled backwards, then ran, disappearing into the crowd.
Who was she? What was she doing with a symbol of forbidden, evil magic? Whatever it was, I didn’t want to be a part of it. Not even the liveliness of the crowd I just ran into could really shake it off of my mind.
I hoped nothing strange would happen, especially not on my first year here. It was likely that nothing would happen and I was being paranoid (as usual).
But, of course, I would probably be wrong.