NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 28 Part 2.

Fairies : Mystica and Merlin

Chapter 28 : The Campfire

Scream was enjoying the campfire very much. He loved the way that Mystica could make it burn for hours on end, and not run out of wood. It’s not something that was supposed to happen, but with the White Mage, it sure could. She’d explained it to him once. That all she really did was turn it down a few notches, so it didn’t burn as rapidly as it could. But she let it burn just enough to generate sufficient heat so that everyone felt nice and cozy around it.

All Merlin had done when she’d explained that to Scream was just laugh. “You still have much to learn, young dragon. Very much indeed.”

He loved to hear the story of how Mystica met Merlin, and how they became friends, and decided to start their family of misfit fairies together. He wasn’t sure they’d planned on having a half fairy, half angle among them. But, even Scream had to admit. If anyone among them was a true misfit, Miss Hooters certainly was. And cute as a button too… Ah… Sometimes, Scream thought, it might be fun to be human for a few days…

He knew all about the fairies around the fire. He’d been there to see each one of them as Mystica and Merlin had rescued them from what would have been almost certain death. Each of them had been abandoned by their people. That still made Scream want to destroy everything. But, he was older now. And wiser than he’d been a few centuries before, when this had all began.

He sometimes wished that Oceana would visit them more frequently than she did. But it was a long way from the ocean of the west to the little lake where they all lived. If you ever visited that lake, or found it as you were just passing by, you’d never know that anyone lived there. Every house was a natural thing. Where the trees had grown places to live for each of the fairies of the family.

And that’s what they had become. A family. That was the only way that Scream could describe it. Especially when it came to the fairy, Sunshine. Hers was, perhaps, the greatest wild magic of them all. For however she felt, that’s what the local weather did. If Sunshine cried, it rained. Is she smiled, the sun shined. If she was angry, well… Let’s just say that the wind can be very strong indeed for something that you just can’t see. He like it most of off when Sunshine was happy. Because that’s when the breezes flirted with him. He could feel different breezes everywhere. Little eddies in the air. Currents that tickled his ribs. Or that blew right under him, between his legs.

He loved to fly in those breezes. The breezes weren’t strong enough to even blow around a bird, but if you depended on the breezes to keep you heading in a specific direction, when Sunshine was happy, it would drive you mad. ‘Cause the breezes blew in ever direction known to man. And to a dragon too.

He’d had such fun watching the other fairies as they had to learn to change the way the flew when Sunshine was around. More than one of them had gone swimming in the lake getting used to the way the air moved. Miss Hooters had actually made a game of it. Closing her eyes, and letting the breeze guide her. Sometimes it was headfirst into the water. Sometimes, it was beautiful, as it ran parallel to the lake. Just an inch or two above it. And Miss Hooter’s fingers and toes had left trails across the lakes surface.

Dream was, like Sunshine, exceedingly gifted with wild magic. While her magic wasn’t as strong, or as powerful as Sunshine’s was, in many ways, she was perhaps the most dangerous fairy Scream had ever known. Perhaps the most dangerous being Scream had ever known. For Dream had the gift of dreams. And it was when she had nightmares that things could get really bad. More than a few people had died when Dream was asleep.

Mystica didn’t have to watch her every night any more. But there was a time, when Dream had first arrived, when Mystica and Merlin had used their magic every night to keep themselves, and everyone else safe from the dreams that Dream would have.

Let’s face it. A nightmare of being hacked to bits by swords, or being eaten by a dragon, or attacked by wolves. Those were potent things to have all on their own. But when Dream had such dreams as those, the people around her had them too. And those dreams sometimes became real. That’s why the village she’d lived in had abandoned her. They’d woken up one day to see Dreams birth parents bloodied, and chewed up, and very much dead indeed. Dream had had an awful nightmare on that night. Of fleeing from the wolves. And failing to get away. And that dream, and the wild magic that was hers, had cost her the lives of her parents.

It was quiet a bunch of fairies that Mystica and Merlin had formed. The way the animals of the forest loved to play with Fauna. Oh, he’d never seen anyone play with wolves, and bears, and foxes before. Of play flying games with eagles and with hawks. But Fauna could. And did. That was her wild magic gift. The ability to talk, and live, and play with all the animals, of every single kind. She could ask them to do things, and they always would. But she’d learned long ago to never ask them to do anything, except to play. Scream had to admit it was great fun to see a rabbit and a fox play hide and seek.

And everywhere you looked, you could see the work of Flora. Hidden in the trees, and in the underbrush. She had this way with plants of every single kind. They all just seemed to know what she wished for them to do. If she wanted flowers to grow by the side of the lake, they would. And somehow, the wouldn’t drown from all the water they received. Plants just did what she asked them too. And like her sister Fauna, Flora never asked for anything. Except for their help in keeping their home safe without hurting anyone.

Of course, Screams favorite fairy was his best friend, Musica. She was the one that had saved him. He knew that much for certain. It was a funny thing, he thought, how Eyela, at her birth, had saved Merlin, and 10,000 years later, a little fairy child name Musica had saved him. He’d destroyed her village. He had. For what they were about to do to her. For their plans to abandon her in the mountains. Where she would have died. And where Scream would not have been able to help her. He’d known, of course, that Mystica and Merlin would have found her. And given her a home. But he was so angry at the time. It just wasn’t right to do such a violent thing to a little fairy child. Just because she’d had the gift of wild magic.

He’d destroyed more than a few towns and villages because of that. Because of the way that people in the forest, the mountains, the Grey Hills, and the Southern Plains treated fairies with the gift of wild magic.

He tried to force them to change.

But when he’d destroyed Musica’s village, he’d left her alive. And taken her to the kingdom of Eyela herself. And then he’d changed. He knew it was in part because of Musica’s wild magic gift. She had the gift of music. Not just any music. But the music of the heart and soul. That wild magic music had touched Scream. And slowly made him whole.

Yes. Scream loved his fairy family. He loved each one of them. And he knew, as he laid there on the ground, right next to that fire, that he was exactly where he belonged.

Leave it to Sunshine, of course, to put it best. For when Mystica’s telling of the story was all done, Sunshine got up to her feet, and walked over to Mystica. Then she hugged her. Just like a daughter hugs the mother that she loves so very much. “Thank you, Momma. for telling us the story once again.”

They all stayed there, around the campfire. Where they spent the night. Right there by the lake. They told stories. They sang some. And several hours before the coming of the sun, they fell asleep. Even Scream.

But Mystica and Merlin stayed awake. They went to the lake, and they had themselves a drink. Then the two of them floated across the lake, to the trees that were the home of Mystica. Where they spent the hours before the dawn sitting on a branch that overhung the lake. Mystica enjoyed every minute of letting her toes hang down to touch the water. Feeling the water flow through them, as she swung her legs. Merlin laid down on the branch. His head in Mystica’s lap. And he looked at her, and spoke, “And so it dig begin. The story of Mystica, the fairy White Mage. And Merlin, the Black Mage Dragon. And what a tale it’s been.”

They sat there on the branch, and watched, as the sun came up. And the colors of the world returned to life again.

THE END.

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 28

Fairies : Mystica and Merlin

Chapter 27 : The Princess Ivy

On a beautiful day, when the sky was a crystal blue, and looked like a big bowl covering the ground. A day when the clouds were cotton candy white, and hung in the sky, almost motionless. So that they looked like the universe itself had painted them in three dimensions.

The trees were all green, with new leaves everywhere. Many of them were filled with the blossoms of the spring. The magnolias were especially beautiful, with their large yellow, white, purple and pink blooms.

And daffodils were everywhere. They were in all the gardens of all the fairies of the kingdom. From tiny white blooms with their white cores, to the full size white ones with their peach colored cores. Many of the female fairies in the kingdom had placed a daffodil bloom or two in their hair.

Stephan was a nervous wreck. Standing in the bedroom. Knowing all he could really do was watch. Watch the care givers that were in the room, taking care of Eyela, his one true love. All he could do was watch, as Eyela gave birth.

It took hours, and hours. And through much of it, Stephan stood next to the bed, holding Eyela’s hand. It struck him as so silly, all the times that Eyela asked him, “Are you doing OK, my love?” Was he doing OK? Hell, yes! He was fine! It wasn’t him that was prone upon the bed, in obvious discomfort, giving birth to a new life. All that he was doing was standing there. Praying to the universe that his lady love, and their child would come through the day, and be fine. So that he could do his very best to take care of both of them.

For the 16 hours that Eyela was in labor, Stephan never once left the room. He stayed by her side the entire time. He didn’t eat. He didn’t sleep. He stayed by his lady’s side. It was where he belonged.

Word had spread through the entire kingdom, like the warmth of the sun itself. Every fairy within the walls had known that today was the day that Eyela would give birth, by the time the sun had risen, and the colors of the world had come alive once more.

The entire kingdom waited for the word that a new prince, or princess had been born. After all, it wasn’t every day that a prince or princess came along. This was the first time it had happened in better than 10,000 years. The birth of a royal fairy was very rare indeed.

The kingdom was so very much excited. They’d been worried for centuries that Eyela would never find someone to love. That she would never have a child. That the last true member of the royal bloodlines would someday grow old, and die. Ending an era. That they’d have to find a new bloodline. That there would have been a war of succession to determine who the new royal family was.

Now, there was to be an heir. A child of royal blood. Eyela was over 10,000 years old. Fairy history told them that. The story of the dragon Merlin having spared her life. Giving her to the last few families of fairies, as they hid within the forests of the Southern Plains. Merlin, the black magic dragon that had nearly destroyed every fairy everywhere.

The story was a legend. Every fairy knew the tale. It was in their written history. The story of how Merlin simply disappeared, after giving Eyela to the fairies that were left. No one knew at all why Merlin had spared the fairies on that day. He could easily have wiped the out. As he’d done with all the fairies in the north. In the Northern Forest, in the mountains, and the Grey Hills. The only fairies being left alive having fled to the Southern Plains.

Every fairy knew the stories of Eyela, as she grew up, and became the princess of all fairies everywhere. How she started a new kingdom, here in the Southern Plains. How she guided the fairies back from near extinction to become the people they were now. How even now, she was still the princess of the kingdom. Teaching the fairies to exist with other races. Making bonds between the fairies, and the humans, and the elves. So that the kingdom would be stronger than it had ever been before.

And now, the princess herself was giving birth.

As the sun was setting on that beautiful spring day, Stephan cried tears of joy. As Eyela held their daughter for the first time. Their daughter. The princess had been born. Eyela held the newborn in her arms. She was exhausted. But she smiled anyway. And she looked at her beautiful daughter. Her and Stephan’s child. She gently touched the cheeks of her daughter’s face.

“What should we name her, my love?” Stephan asked of Eyela.

Eyela smiled. She held her daughter close. And felt her breathe. “I think we should name her Ivy, don’t you?”

Stephan knew she would say that. Knew that if the child was a daughter, she would be named Ivy. After the mother of Mystica. Someone that had changed everything in the kingdom. The mother of the princess Mystica. Yes, while Mystica was not of royal birth, she was very much a princess of the fairies. They child of the stable girl named Ivy.

Ivy, who had been murdered right here in the kingdom. In the marketplace. The reason that Mystica had left. Yes, he thought. The name of their child should be Ivy. He looked into the eyes of his one true love, and smiled a smile so pure that Eyela couldn’t help but see it in his eyes. “Yes, my love. I do believe that Ivy is the perfect name for her.”

And so it was that as the sun set on the fairy kingdom in the Southern Plains on that day in spring, the princess Ivy joined the world.

The fairies celebrated her birth for an entire week.

In the Northern Forest, by the lake, Mystica had watched it all. She’d seen the story as it happened, painted by white magic, on the mirror like surface of the lake. She found that she cried tears of joy. She was happy for Eyela and for Stephan both. And she was deeply honored that they had named their little girl after her mother. That there was a princess of the royal blood named Ivy. Well. Mystica knew that her mother was smiling, and singing about that, from beyond the veil of life.

She spoke to the white magic, and told it what she wished to do.

And there, in the bedroom, in the kingdom, where Eyela, Stephan, and the newborn child named Ivy were. Mystica appeared. She was drawn in white light. But everyone there knew that it was her. “Queen Eyela, and King Stephan. I wish to congratulate you, on the birth of your child. And I wish for you to know that I am deeply honored that you have named her Ivy. In memory of my mother.”

Eyela smiled, “Would you like to hold her for a time?”

Stephan gently carried his tiny baby girl to where Mystica stood. Then he let the image of his adopted daughter hold Ivy in her pure white magic arms. He watched as Mystica cried tears of joy. Mystica gently kissed the girl on the top of her head. “Please remember, dear Ivy, how much that you are loved.”

Then Mystica had handed Ivy back to Stephan. “Thank you,” was all she said. At which point her image faded out. And she was gone again.

Eyela held her daughter close. As she looked upon her one true love. “I have the feeling, my love, that the story of our dear friend, the princess Mystica, is only just now starting.”

Stephan leaned down, and gently kissed his lady’s lips. “Somehow, my love, I can’t help but believe that after all these centuries, there will once more be a fairy kingdom in the great forest of the north.”

Mystica sat on the ground, next to the dragon Merlin. As she watched the images on the surface of the lake. She looked at Merlin, and she smiled. “I don’t know that I would call it a kingdom. But someday soon, there will be a family of fairies here, within our home. Wild magic fairies no less.”

Then Mystica looked upon the lake once more. At the images of a second birth that had happened on that day. The birth of a fairy girl in the kingdom of the fairies itself. Born to a family that ran a shop in the marketplace. They were not rich, but they were not poor. They lived a simply, happy life.

But there was something that the fairies didn’t know. Something that was evident to Mystica and Merlin both. The fairy girl was born with wild magic in her heart and soul. And somehow, Mystica just knew that this child would one day soon be known as Rain. And would become the very first member of the family that Mystica and Merlin would raise.

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 26

Fairies : Mystica and Merlin

Chapter 26 : Scream

It was a black night. The night of a new moon. So there was no moon light in the sky. The clouds were out that night. Storm clouds. Although it didn’t rain. Dark grey clouds hung low in the sky, just above the trees. There were no stars to be seen.

Mystica, as she slept in the home the trees had made for her, had dreams of such beautiful things. Until suddenly, the flowers, and the birds, and butterflies, and warm breeze, and the baby rabbits, suddenly disappeared. Being replaced with a thundering scream. On that shook the ground. On that struck pure terror into the heart and soul of everyone that heard it.

It was a nightmare.

In that nightmare, she was in a little village, in the foothills of the mountains. Just outside the forest. She stood in the middle of the village. In the middle of the night. The sky so dark that you could not see anything at all. Not eve your own shadow. As she stood there, she heard a thundering scream. It came from the sky. It woke everyone in the village that night. She heard the sound of gigantic wings, pushing against the air, as a second scream tore through the night. Then she saw a dragon, dropping from the sky.

That dragon struck with fire. Casting fire down on the village on the ground. Fire that burned everything it touched. She heard people screaming, as they ran from houses. She saw people running in sheer terror, as they were burned alive. She saw the dragon’s fire burn everything, and everyone. Setting fire to every house, to ever shop, to ever building in the village. She saw people drown in flames, as they tried to escape. As they tried to run.

The dragon’s assault on the village was ruthless and unrelenting. The dragon that was striking had no mercy at all. He screamed, and then breathed fire. Time and time again. His voice thundering in the night. All that anyone could tell was that a dragon was there. But they could not see him, could not find him in the sky.

It was only when the last breath of life left the village on that pitch black night, that the dragon grew silent. The dragon flew in a circle, around the burned out remains of the village he’d destroyed. And then, he screamed. Mystica could hear the sounds of his wings pushing against the air.

Mystica woke up. Her heart aching in her chest. Her soul crying tears of pain. For the dragon she had seen in her nightmare that night, had been the dragon Scream. She got to her feet, to stand inside the place the trees had made for her. And as she did, she heard a scream. One that cut through the air like a sword. That was all she needed to be absolutely sure that what had happened in that dream had happened in real life. That the dragon Scream had destroyed a village, his dragon fires burning away every shred of life that had been there.

Her heart ached so very much, and her soul’s tears were so strong, that she staggered from the home the trees had made for her, and was barely able to keep herself from falling to the lake below. She floated, haphazardly, across the lake to the clearing at it’s edge. Merlin was there, waiting for her. He was very much disturbed too.

He spoke with Mystica, his voice sad and quiet. Sounding much like thin sheets of metal being folded up. “Scream has struck tonight.” Merlin looked to the sky, and then he screamed himself. The sound of plates of iron being torn into tiny bits. “He watched as you cared for the abandoned fairy child. As he watched, his anger burned.”

Merlin turned his fire red eyes to look right at Mystica. “Dragons do not treat their young that way. And any dragon that ever has, has been destroyed by fire from the dragons of its clan.”

The ache in Mystica’s heart surfaced at that point, as tears began to fall from her eyes. Running down her cheeks, and falling to the ground. “Merlin,” she began, “his heart is broken, isn’t it?”

Merlin reached up, with his dragon hands, and the razor sharp claws that each one had. Oh, so very gently, he brushed away the tears that Mystica’s eyes shed. And then Merlin said, “It’s true. This marks the second time that Scream has burned a village to the ground. In both cases he did so because those villages had abandoned a little fairy child. They’d left her to die. Alone. And in great fear, and pain. In the wilderness.”

Mystica sat down on the ground, for the aching in her chest would no longer let her stand, and the tears her soul cried left her short of breath. “Can you tell me why?”

Merlin sat down on the ground, right next to Mystica. “For me to explain to you why Scream does things the way he does, I’ll have to tell you a story that’s been lost in time, for better than 10,000 years. For I know why Scream does what he does. There was a time when I did the very same thing.”

When Mystica’s breath had grown stronger once again, and the tears no longer fell from her eyes, onto the ground. Merlin told her a story from very long ago. A story that he knew so very well. A story from his life. And this is the story that he shared.

—–

There was a time, more than 10,000 years ago, when the fairies lived in the Northern Forest. They had many towns and villages in the forest then. And a full kingdom, with a castle, and its walls.

In those days, every now and then, a fairy child was born that carried wild magic in her heart and soul. It was those fairy children with wild magic that caused the fairies to fall. A dragon named Merlin had left the fairies all alone. Never bothering them. Letting them live in the forest that was his home. Until one day when a tiny fairy girl, only two years old, who had the gift of wild magic. Every time she cried, it rained. And the harder that she cried, the harder it rained.

The fairies did their best to teach her not to cry. They explained time and time again to her, why. They tried to keep her happy. They tried to find her friends. But no matter what they tried, the little fair cried. She cried so very much, that the other fairies named her “Rain.”

One day, she cried so hard, that there was a flood. And lightning from the sky. The storm that her tears caused had caused other fairies to die. And that was all that they could take. They couldn’t figure out how to work with a child whose magic they did not understand. So in her second year they took her to the kingdom’s castle. To meet the king and queen.

The little fairy girl didn’t want to go. She missed her home so very much she cried. And as she did, it rained. But the king and queen decided that they had to try to help the village she was from. So they took the little girl into the kingdom, where she lived within its walls.

But the little girl was all alone. Surrounded by people that she didn’t know. With no one to play with. And missing her mother’s love. The fairy child named Rain, cried. And she cried like she had never cried before. As her tears ran wild, so did the storm that formed. And the storm raged on until the little child had fallen asleep from sheer exhaustion. When all was said and done, several of fairies of the kingdom had been killed in the storm that had raged that night.

The king and queen had to make a choice. To continue trying to help the child, at the risk of more fairies being killed, or to find a way to protect the kingdom, and all the other fairies. So, for the first time in the history of the fairies, they took the little child, Rain, and had two full grown fairies fly her to the foothills of the mountains. There, they set up a tent, and spent the night.

The next morning, when the little girl woke up, she was all alone. The tent was gone, for the two grown fairies had taken it with them. The little girl cried. And got lost in the foothills. She fell. She got bruised. She broke her leg. And her arm too. And then, the wolves found her.

I watched the entire thing. I watched. the fairies abandon the child. I watched them leave her there, alone. To die alone. And to die in great pain. I saw what they did that day. And I swore that the fairies would never be allowed to do that gain.

And I nearly destroyed the fairies to make sure that they never treated another fairy child the way they’d treated Rain.

———-

With those words, Merlin’s story ended. And Mystica understood why Scream had destroyed the village that had abandoned the fairy child, and left her there, in the foothills of the mountains. Where she died alone. Terrified and in great pain. He’s struck back for the child. Something she had been unable to do herself. Scream had treated the people of that village, as they had treated the little fairy child.

She couldn’t condone what he’d done. But she could understand it. She couldn’t condone what they people of that village had done. But she could understand that too.

“Merlin,” she declared, “we have to find such fairy children. Those that have wild magic. And we have to help them. We can bring them here. To the lake. Where they can live with us. For with the white magic, I can protect us from whatever the wild magic may unleash. And I can show them they are loved. And help them learn what their wild magic does.”

Merlin nodded his head, yes, “And, Mystica, my friend. By doing that you will bring change to the dragon Scream.”

Mystica got to her feet, and looked out at the water of the lake. She called forth her magic, and collected up a ball of white light. Then she spoke to it, “Find the dragon, Scream. And tell him I know what’s happening. And that I’ve got a way to change everything. Tell Scream that I’m going to find those fairy children. And I’ll help them. And care for them. They’ll become my fairy family. Please, find Scream. And let him know.”

The white magic ball then launched itself into the sky. Where Merlin knew it would find Scream. And show him what Mystica had planned.

Merlin knew that the plan Musica had would change everything. Starting with a little fairy child whose name would be Rain.

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 25

Fairies : Mystica and Merlin

Chapter 25 : The Abandoned Fairy Child

It was the middle of the night. Mystica was sleeping on the tree branch above the lake. The branch had settled into a permanent home for her. It had begun to widen out a bit, so it was better to walk on, and sleep on. The limbs on the branch had branched up, and were slowly growing and wider too. As if the were turning into boards to make up walls. Limbs from other branches were also blending in, filling in the walls, and making a little roof.

She was sleeping peacefully in her place there in that tree, when she heard the sound of a large sheet of metal, being ripped in half, time and time again. She knew that it was Merlin. And she could tell by the sound of his voice that he was very much disturbed.  The sound of Merlin woke her up. She put on her pale blue corset, and her three colored skirt. Then she looked out between the leaves of the branches, to see what was happening.

She couldn’t see Merlin in the clearing. Or above the lake. So she left her place on the tree limb, and floated out above the lake. That was when Whisper flew up to her, and landed on her shoulder, and whispered in her ear, “Merlin’s on his way here.”

Mythica hadn’t seen Merlin since she had returned to the lake, after that long trip to the kingdom, and Eyela, in the Southern Plains. She had never been worried about him. After all. He was over 10,000 years old. And still the most dangerous of all the dragons that there were. And he was her friend. But, to hear the way he’d sounded, she knew that something was wrong. Something was very wrong indeed.

Merlin just appeared in the clearing. The way he always had. Stepping out of the shadows of the trees, and the night time sky when he was almost ready to land on the ground, right next to Mystica. When he did, he looked into the lake for a little while. Then he spoke, in a soft voice, “Come. You should see this.” And then he took off.

Mystica had to use her magic to keep up with him. They flew through the trees, to the very edge of the mountains. Merlin lead her up to a small clearing in the brush, at the foot of a mountain. It was rocky terrain. Not the place that anyone would really want to be.

That’s when Mystica saw what Merlin wanted her to see. The body of  a very young fairy child. Only a few years old. Two or maybe three. Mystica didn’t need to be told what had happened to the child. The bruises and abrasions on it’s limbs, and head told that the child had died horribly, and in great pain. The look on the child’s face was forever frozen in plain fear.

Merlin spoke, “They brought her here, to the foothills of the mountains. And they abandoned her. Left her to die. I’ve seen this happen many times in the last one hundred years.”

Mystica landed on the ground, and walked up to the body of the child. It was a little girl. With such pretty wings. Very translucent, with a yellow tint to them. The bones within her wings were very fine, not yet fully formed. They were delicate lines of off white, that Mystica could easily see within the wings.

She called the white magic, using it to heal the abrasions, and removed the bruises. To reconstruct the bones within the girl that had been broken. The child that was revealed had starved to death. Nothing but skin and bones.

Mystica’s heart ached within her chest. And her soul cried out in pain. With tears falling from her eyes, she turned to face Merlin, and she asked one single word, “Why?”

“Wild magic.” That was all that Merlin said. But that was all he needed to say. Mystica knew, and understood, why the child had been abandoned, and left to die. She’d had the gift of wild magic. Something the fairies no longer understood. Something the humans couldn’t deal with at all.

Wild magic was unpredictable. It was different in every fairy child that it appeared in. And the villages, and towns, had learned, more than a thousand years ago, that if they didn’t deal with such a gifted child, that child’s wild magic would hurt them.

“Do you know what her gift was?”

Merlin shook his head, “No. I wasn’t looking for her. I didn’t know that she was here. I just found her tonight, as I was flying by. I hear her crying. And that drew me here, to her. I got here, just before she died. There was nothing I could do for her. Nothing at all.” Merlin shook his head. “Black magic cannot heal.”

Mystica knelt beside the body of the little fairy girl. Then she picked her up. And hugged her. For a while. Until the sun came up. Then she gently placed the child’s body upon the ground. And called the the white magic once again. “Return the body to the world.” The rocks upon the ground moved. Forming a pile upon the ground. The pile was flat on top. The body of the child floated across the ground, and then up into the air, to land upon the rocks. Once the body was in place, the rocks began to heat. Heating up so that they held more heat than any fire.

Mystica and Merlin watched as the body of the child was burned. Her ashes returning to the world that had granted them to her. “I hope to meet you someday, child. When it is my turn to pass beyond the veil of this life we lead.”

Merlin looked up to the sky, and wailed. His voice making the sound of sheets of metal being torn apart. Musica couldn’t help but hear the sorrow in his voice.

They stood there for a little while. In total silence. The only sound that could be heard was the sound of the breeze, as it rustled the grass upon the ground. Finally, Merlin spoke, asking Mystica, “What do you wish to do now?”

“You’ve seen this happen before? You’ve found the bodies of how many children that were abandoned, and left to die?”

Merlin bowed his head, looking at the ground. “More than 100.”

Mystica’s soul cried out, and her heart ached so much, that she gasped in pain. “Merlin! We can’t let this keep going on. This has to end. It has to. It’s not right. It’s wrong. It’s just so very wrong to abandon a child to face death all alone. That a child should starve to death, and go through such pain. There’s got to be a way to stop this awful thing from happening again.”

Merlin looked into Mystica’s eyes. She couldn’t help but see the dragon flames reflected in his eyes. “I told you once, dear one. Your heart will guide you. It knows what you should do. And it has never lied to you.”

With those words, the two of them returned to the lake. Returned to their home. Where they sat by the lake for several hours. As they sat, the animals of the forest came out, and gathered around them. Watching them. Treating them as if they belonged there, at the lake. As if they knew that so long as Merlin and Mystica were at the lake, they would be safe and protected from everything within the forest that would do harm to them.

Eventually, Whisper had seen all he had to see. He flew down from a tree beside the clearing. And he landed on the shoulder of Mystica. When he spoke, he didn’t whisper. He said out loud, “Listen to your heart, dear Mystica. Listen to your heart.”

It was Mystica that spoke next, as she scratched Whisper’s neck, “And I know what my heart tells me that I should do.”

She stood up, and then scratched Merlin behind his dragon ears. “I have to start searching for young fairy children that were granted wild magic at their birth.” Then she smiled. Whisper had spoken the truth. Her heart truly knew what she should do. “One at a time, I have to find them. And I have to help them. Teach them what to do. Who they are.” The animals, Whisper and Merlin all began to smile. Because they understood what it was that she was about to say.

“We’ll find them. And we’ll bring them here. Where we’ll take care of them. Where we’ll teach them. Where they’ll learn to use their wild magic.”

Merlin grinned. The dream he’d had centuries ago was now coming true. Mystica was the white mage he had dreamed of. The one that would bring the wild magic to the world again. That would bring fairies to the Northern Forest once again. At long last, his own heart would feel some peace, because the evil he had brought into the world would at last be undone.

Mystica looked at all the animals. She smiled as she did. She was very excited. The journey she was about to take the first step on, though it frightened her, was the very journey that she knew she was meant to take. That she was now on the path that she was supposed to walk.

“We’ll start a fairy family of our own. Here. In the Northern Forest.”

And so, the next step of her journey had begun.

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 24

Fairies : Mystica and Merlin

Chapter 24 – Home

Mystica woke up with the coming of the dawn. Scream the dragon was long gone. He’d left after he’d carried Mystica home from the fairy kingdom. For some reason, he’d taken his time flying back. He’d flown past several waterfalls in the mountains. He took his time at each of them, circling them several times. It was as if he wanted to show them to Mystica. And she’d had to admit that each waterfall he’d flown past on that trip had been a joy for her to behold. She’d never really seen real waterfalls before.

Scream had also landed on a couple of mountain tops. The view from there had been majestic. And stunning. Mystica was amazed at how far she could see from those mountain tops. They were just bare, snow and ice covered rock. But the view from them was awesome. Mystica had enjoyed standing there, on Scream’s back. Looking across the landscape for as far as she could see. She could see the clouds up in the sky. And the shadows that they made on the ground, where they filtered the light of the sun. She could see whole villages, here and there in the mountains. She’d never really looked at the clouds from above.

Scream had made one last stop at a mountain top that overlooked the Northern Forest. The forest was so lush, and green. And with the fall coming, the leaves of many trees were starting to change colors. She could see splashes of yellow, orange, and red, scattered here and there among the green. She could see the river that she knew so well, as it flowed out of the mountains, and then meandered through the trees. It’s water sometimes looking as if it were made of liquid silver. She let her eyes trace it for a while. Until it came to the lake within the forest. The lake that was her home. The place where she lived.

Then, Scream and Merlin had taken her home. To the lake itself. Mystica had used her magic to float across the lake, and land on the tree limb that hung over the water. The sun was about to set. But there were several things she wanted to do.

She’s stripped off her clothing, and then dove into the water of the lake. The water felt so very clean, and pure. As if it could wash away the pain she felt in her heart and soul. Her house was gone. So were some of the trees. And the grass of the clearing had been destroyed. She felt the aching in her chest, as she remembered the way that the captain had died. Encased in with magic flame that burned away all the darkness in his heart and soul. Until all that had been left was empty. It hurt her very much to know that there were people with no light in them. People that had been consumed by the darkness that lies within each and every one.

She floated on her back for a time. Looking up at the star filled sky. She wondered sometimes, what stars were. She knew they looked like little dots of light, painted on a canvas that was the black of night. But she didn’t know at all what stars could be.  Other than beautiful to see.

Mystica took a deep breath, and slowly let it out. Letting go of everything that she worried about. She felt her hair, floating in the water. And the way the water caressed every little bit of her. How it felt on both her wings. How in the water her broken wing never seemed to hurt at all. She loved the way the water felt, as it flowed between her toes, and fingers. How exquisite it felt as if flowed across the palms of her hands.

She dove down into the lake, sever times.  Holding her breath. And enjoying the silence that there was beneath the surface of the water. After a time, she had returned to the tree limb above the water. But she hadn’t gotten dressed. She let the air dry her off. Enjoying the breeze, as it flowed past her body. And across her chest. Enjoying how, as her hair dried, the breeze would flow through it, moving it about every now and then.

She’d then used her magic, to make a little place on that tree limb where she could spend the night. The magic caused the branches of the tree limb to arch upward, forming little walls on each side of the limb that would keep her from rolling off. All the lumps and bumps on top of that limb smoothed themselves out, forming a flat surface for her to sleep on.

Mystica stretched out on the tree limb. That night, she slept naked on that limb. The breeze of the early fall night caressing her skin. The stress she felt from the events of the past few weeks floating away on that breeze. For the first time in days, she slept peacefully. With no nightmares.

And the dawn had come. As the black velvet of the night time sky started to fade into the crystal blue of a new day, Mystica woke up. The magic then returned the tree limb to its natural state. Mystica thanked the tree for letting her sleep safely through the night.

Then she dressed. Putting on her underclothes, then the skirt. Putting on the corset last. She floated through the air, across the lake, to the remains of her house, and rummaged through the few food supplies that she had left. That had not been burned in the fire the night of the captain’s attack.

She ate beef jerky that the villagers had given her. She ate the last of her fruit. Raspberries and blackberries. She ate the last of her bread. Then, she washed it down with water from the lake. And she sat down, by the water’s edge, in what used to be the clearing. It was now just barren dirt.

As she sat there, on the dirt, she wondered what to do. A sparrow flew across the little clearing, from one of the burned trees. Mystica held out her hand, and the sparrow landed on a finger. It looked at her. And sang. As it sang, a baby rabbit came into the clearing. It was not much bigger than Mystica’s hand. It lightly hopped across the dirt, and when it got to her, it made a great big leap, and landed on her lap. Mystica placed her free hand on that rabbit. Scratching it delicately, and tenderly, right between its two big ears.

A deer fawn walked from the north. Following the river’s edge. It took a drink one time, as it walked on its awkward legs. It stopped when it got to Mystica. And then it nuzzled her, and settled down onto the ground right next to her. It’s body brushing up against her leg and hip.

Mystica cried tears of joy. For she knew that this was the way the animals of the lake had chosen to welcome her home. Several animals came out of the forest, and walked across the clearing to the water’s edge. Where they stopped and drank.

It was as if they all said the same thing to her “Welcome home.”

The sparrow fell soundly asleep holding to the index finger of her right hand. The bunny closed its eyes and slept for a little while. Right there on her lap. And the fawn took a nap as well. Leaning against Mystica. The animals trusted her. Both the old and young. They knew she would never hurt them. And they welcomed her return.

When the sparrow, rabbit and deer had awakened from their naps, they had gotten up and moved on. But Mystica knew that they had shown her what they wanted her to do. They wanted her to stay here in the forest, by the lake, with them. They’d told her she was home.

She didn’t know what she could do about the damage from the fire to the clearing and the trees. But she knew one of the gifts of the white magic was the gift of healing. So she felt she had to try to heal the scars the fight that had happened in this place had left behind. So she closed her eyes, and held up her staff. White magic light shined brightly in it’s crystal ball. Then Mystica had whispers just one word. “Heal.”

The burned and dead grasses on the ground did not get up and turn green, coming back to life. Instead, she watched, as new grass grew in just a few short hours. So that the burned and scarred dirt of the clearing was covered by green grass once again.

The burned trees that were not dead, healed. Growing new bark, limbs and branches. But if you looked at them, you could see the scars of the fires they had lived through. The dead trees had fallen to the ground, and then decayed. Returning to the land everything that it had given them.

When the sun set that night, the clearing was as heald as it could get in just one day. And Mystica was exhausted from the time and energy she’d spent guiding the white magic on that day.

She’d floated back across the lake, to the tree limb once again. And that limb had made a place for her to sleep.

Mystica slept well that night. With no nightmares again. As the tree limb cradled her, almost tenderly, its branches keeping her from falling to the water below. Making sure that she was comfortable. Branches shifting so the leaves of the tree formed a pillow for her to rest her tired head upon.

Mystica slept that night with the peace that comes when your heart knows you are truly safe. When your soul knows you are home.

NaNoWriMo 2011 – Day 23, Part 2.

Fairies : Mystica and Merlin

Chapter 23 : The Captain’s Remains

The fairies of the kingdom woke up one day, in panic, and in fear. There was a dragon in the sky. And that dragon was screaming. It’s scream shook the leaves on the trees, and rattled paintings on the walls, and rattled dishes in the cabinets.

They woke up very much afraid that the dragon was preparing to attack them. As a dragon hadn’t done in centuries. As a dragon hadn’t done since the stories of he legendary dragon, Merlin. The castle guards, and troops rapidly gathered all the bows and arrows, preparing to take to the sky.

Eyela stood on the balcony, overlooking the people of her kingdom. The people saw her there. Saw the she was not afraid. Saw her look to the sky. Saw her order the castle guard, and the troops to put down their bows.

Eyela recognized that scream. She’s heard it before. She knew it was the large dragon that had been with Mystica. She knew it was the dragon named Scream. And she couldn’t help but feel that Mystica, and even Merlin himself, were not far behind him.

Scream circled the castle. And then he flew outside the kingdom walls. Where he landed on the road, leading to the castle gate. And then he waited. Eyela ordered guards to the turrets on the walls. Not to prepare to strike the dragon. But to see if Mystica and Merlin could be found anywhere in sight.

She was Queen now. Married to Stephan. Stephan was king. And soon, their child would be born. Stephan stood next to her, on the balcony. Eyela spoke to him. “I wish to go speak with the dragon, Scream.” Stephan didn’t even ask her why. He just nodded his head, and took her hand, and walked through the castle. When they reached the main entrance of the castle, Stephan picked his loved one up. And then he took to the air. And flew, carrying Eyela above the kingdom. Above the walls. Outside the main gate. Where he landed, and gently placed the love of his live upon the ground.

And the two of them stood there, hand in hand, before the dragon, Scream.

Scream, screamed. But this was a different scream. It was almost gentle. Almost polite. And far quieter than Eyela had ever heard him scream before. And both Eyela and Stephan knew what that scream said. “Mystica comes.”

Scream moved silently to the side. So that the road was open. And there, just coming into sight, was a small group of animals. There were some rabbits, and some foxes. And some deer. There were small birds, Bluejays, Wrens, and Sparrows. And behind them came the hawks. Following them all were a small dragon, and a fairy, carrying a staff, that had crystal ball on top. Eyela’s jaw dropped. It was Mystica. And the entire fairy kingdom, watching as it was, couldn’t help but see that she had been through a lot.

She wore a light blue corset. It was low cut indeed. And very revealing. Mystica looked very grown up. And just beautiful. The way her hair ran down, draping itself across her shoulders. The tan color of her skin.

As she walked closer, Eyela noticed that Mystica’s left wing was damaged. Broken. And she knew, by looking at it, that Mystica’s ability to fly had been severely damaged. If she could fly at all, she could only fly short distances. And it would be very hard for her. When she was closer still, Eyela noticed the nasty looking scar on her left shoulder. A new scar. No more than two weeks old. And probably less than that.

The dragon, Merlin, walked next to her. Standing, he came up to her waist. But Eyela could feel the raw power coming off of him. He had more color than Eyela expected. His body was two shades of green. A deep, dark forest green. There were horns on his head, colored silver. His claws and teeth were silver too. You could look at his claws, and see that they were razor sharp. As he walked, the claws on his back legs left cut marks on the ground. There was a light of intelligence, and experience in his fire read eyes.

Right behind Mystica and Merlin, there were villagers. Eight of them. Eyela didn’t know them at all. All that she could assume was that they were people Mystica knew. People she had befriended in the place she lived. The great Northern Forest. Perhaps these were people from the villages that Mystica had met.

One of the villagers carried a vase. It had been sealed.

Stephan and Eyela waited, while that group walked up. Then Mystica and Eyela hugged. Mystica then looked at Stephan, and she hugged him too. “May I call you Uncle, from now on?”

Stephan laughed. “Of course, dear. Of course.” Then he smiled as he looked at Mystica. She had grown so very much. Even Stephan could feel the raw power of the white magic that was hers to command. “I have always wished you would.”

Mystica then stepped back a touch. And nodded to Stephan, and then to Eyela. “Queen Eyela, of the fairy kingdom of the Southern Plains. I have brought visitors that wish to speak with you. These are visitors to the kingdom from the Northern Forest. They wish to discuss opening trade routes through the mountains and the Grey Hills, so that they can trade with your people.”

Mystica turned, and motioned the villager holding the vase to step forward. He did. And as he did, he held out the vase. “Your Majesty. In this vase are the ashes that are all that remains of the former captain of the guard. He made the mistake of attacking the White Witch, and her dragon guardians. His soldiers fell. Most of them died. Those that didn’t, fled into the mountains. Where they have hidden.”

Stephan reached out, and accepted the vase. Eyela spoke, “Thank you.” Then she looked at the villager, and asked, “May I ask the entire story of what happened to the captain and his guard?”

The villager stepped to one side, and looked at Mystica. Mystica just nodded her head. Then she held her staff aloft, and the crystal ball came to life, white magic pulsing through it, as Mystica said, “Remember how the captain ended.”

And there, hanging in the air, pure white images formed. Those image displayed a picture of the lake, with Mystica’s house, there in a tree, next to the clearing. The entire kingdom watched as the story unfolded before their very eyes. They saw the dragons strike. They saw how useless the cross bows and the swords had been against either dragon. That eventually, the dragons would have killed every soldier there. That it had been as if the dragons were holding back. Waiting for a special fight they knew was yet to come.

They saw Mystica float across the lake, the captain having found her. They saw him as he repeatedly loaded his cross bow, and fired bolt after bold at Mystica. As rapidly as he could. They watched as Mystica approached the captain, by the edge of the lake, where the captain physically launched himself at her. They watched him try to hack her into bits with his sword. They watched as Mystica struggled to her feet. Cross bow bolts sticking from her broken wing. A very ugly bolt sticking from her shoulder.

They watched as the captain struck at her, time and time again. They saw that Mystica was unharmed. They saw how the fighting of the dragons, and the soldiers had all stopped, and were watching the fight between the captain and Mystica.

Everyone then watched as the captain drew back his sword. And then struck as hard as he could at Mystica’s neck. And they hear Mystica utter just one word. “Burn.” Then they watched the captain’s sword melt, turning to liquid metal. They watch white flame shoot up the captain’s arm. They watched that flame engulf the captain. They watched his body ignite into fire. They watched it turn to ashes. They watched the four dark forms with spears impale the black soul of the captain, and draw him down into the ground.

Then, the images were gone. And Mystica spoke. “There was no light left within his heart and soul,” was all she said.

Then, the villagers spoke. “We are hear to discuss opening trade with the fairy kingdom, your Highness. We have learned about your efforts against the captain. How your people freed the villages and towns from the captain’s control. How they have been helping the people of the Grey Hills, and of the mountains rebuild.”

Eyela then declared that the villagers would be staying in the castle that day, and that night. That they would be treated properly as guests. The entire party was allowed to stay. The dragons stayed outside the kingdom’s walls. The animals stayed with them. Mystica stayed with them also. Sleeping on the ground, underneath one wing of the dragon, Scream.

The villagers held their meeting with the Queen, and the King. A trade agreement was reached. And a celebration was planned for the next day. Eyela returned, outside the gate, to where Mystica was. And the two of them spent time talking. Telling stories of the things that had happened while Mystica was finding her way through life.

Eyela told Mystica the story of how she and Stephan had fallen in love. How they’d been married. How she’d become the queen, and he’d become the king.

Mystica told the story of her home. Built by her two hands. Of her battle with the soldiers so many months ago. Of the battle with the wolves. Of the villages she’d protected. Of the friendship she’d formed with the villages. Of how they’d helped her build a real house. Of the destruction of that house. Of the entire clearing. And of some of the trees. During the battle with the captain.

As they spoke, Merlin listened. When the stories reached their end, Merlin walked up to Mystica, and sat down on the ground next to her. Then he spoke, in an almost human voice, “She’s become a white mage. A full grown white mage. And in time, she will become stronger than any black mage can ever be.”

After the celebration the next day, Mystica, Merlin and Scream said good-bye to Eyela. Mystica hugged her, knowing they would not meet again for many years. Eyela wished her well, and told her that if she needed anything, all she ever had to do was ask.

And then, Mystica took her place behind the head of Scream, and the dragons flexed their wings against the air, and in a few heartbeats, the three of them were gone.

NaNoWriMo 2011 – Day 23

Fairies : Mystica and Merlin

Chapter 22 : Burn

Mystica was in her tree house. It was an hour before the dawn. She was sleeping soundly. She felt safe in her home. It had been a long time since she had felt safe. She’d had a good few months. Making friends with the villagers in several villages around her. She’d visited villages, and healed sick and injured people there. And the villagers had helped her. They’d given her some tools to help her build her tree house into a better home.

Merlin had helped her too. He was an amazing craftsman. Probably because he could use his claws to slice through wood, and make boards, and trim them to size almost at will. Like scissors cut through paper. Her house now had a real roof. And three rooms. The main room, a bedroom, and a kitchen. And in the bedroom, there was a real bed. Without a mattress of course. But it had some nice blankets on it. Including one that she slept on. Blankets filled with down.

The birds, and geese and ducks had donated that. As they shed their feathers, they provided them to Mystica. And she made her blankets and quilts, and pillows filled with feathers, and with down.

She had several sets of clothing. Including clothing that she’d made from the cloth she could get from the villagers. Her favorite was that light blue corset, and the brown, red and white skirt. The two looked good to her. And wearing them made her feel pretty.

She even had a pair of sandals. She didn’t wear them very often, but she had them. And she had a brush, so she could brush her hair. She had everything she needed to live happily in her home. And she found that she was happy.

She was peacefully sleeping, having beautiful dreams of flying over the Northern Forest, exploring it, with her friend Merlin. Visiting villages, and meeting people. When the dreams suddenly changed, and she was suddenly fighting for her life against soldiers.

The dream woke her up, to see Merlin standing next to her, with Whisper on her pillow, next to her head. Whisper whispered into her ear, “The captain and his minions are nearly here.”

Mystica was stunned. “The captain? He’s alive?”

“Yes, dear friend. He is. And he’s nearly here. He’s coming to kill you. That’s what he wants to do. It’s time for you to get up, and get ready. They will be here very soon.”

Mystica got out of bed. And then she got dressed. She put on a white corset, and a long white skirt. She got her staff. She left her tree house, and used her magic to rapidly cross the lake, and stand on the tree limb that she loved so much that hung over the lake, so close she could sit on the limb, and run her toes through the water. There, she waited. And she watched.

Merlin flew into the trees at the edge of the clearing, where her home was. And simply vanished from sight, hiding in the shadows. She was surprised, even after spending time with him for the past few months, at how silent he could be. And how motionless. He could hide in a shadow mere feet from you, and you would never know that he was there.

Whisper flew to a perch, high in a tree, overlooking the lake, and the clearing both. He would not be much good in a fight, being just an owl. But Merlin had given him a mission. And he’d followed it through. And when the time was right, Whisper knew what to do. He would fly up above the trees, and the he would scream. And when he did, the dragon Scream would descend from high up in the sky,  and fight with Merlin, and Mystica.

They all waited.

As the sky started to change from it’s velvet black color to daylight, the captain and his men arrived at the clearing. They spread out. Moving to form a circle around the clearing, and the trees adjacent to it. So that no one could get past them, and escape. The captain then took six of his men with him, into the open of the clearing. They all had their cross bows. Mystica watched as they formed a semi circle looking at her home, where it was in its tree. Then she watched as they prepared to fire their cross at her home. Even more than that, she watched as they used extended bolts, that had flaming tips. They fired the bows into her home. Setting it on fire. Then they watched it burn.

The captain informed his men, “Be ready. She’ll come out at any time.”

Mystica watched as her home burned. And the fire did not stop. It took hold of the tree her home was in, and then began to spread through the trees by the lake. Destroying everything she loved. Destroying her home, the trees, the clearing.

Mystica called the white magic. She help up her staff, and she spoke, “Rain!”, and rain began to fall from the sky. It fell in torrents, only on the fire. Only on the clearing, and the trees near the clearing. An isolated storm. Rain that would put out the fire, and keep it from spreading further.

The captain thundered, “She’s here! She’s here, somewhere! Find her! Find her!”

Mystica used the white magic to move high into the trees. As she moved, the soldiers spotted the white light that surrounded her, and that glowed so very brightly in the crystal ball on her staff. “There! There! Across the lake!” They loaded bolts into their cross bows, and began to fire them at her. Whisper watched it all. It was time. He flew into the sky, and screamed at the top of his lungs.

Scream the dragon, screamed. His scream shook the trees. And caused ripples on the lake. He flew down, toward the soldiers that were firing at Mystica. He breathed out flames. White hot flames. It felt as if the air itself was on fire. And the flames struck the ground among the soldiers. Setting two of the six on fire. “Dragon! Dragon! Take cover!” The soldiers fled into the trees.

It was there that they ran into Merlin. Merlin moved silently. And with blinding speed. Flitting through the trees. His razor sharp claws wrecking havoc among the soldiers that the captain had brought with him. Soldier after soldier fell. Swords blindly swung at nothing, striking trees, and thin air. Cross bow bolts flew into the forest, embedding themselves in trees. Or missing everything, and just falling to the ground.

Mystica knew what she had to do. She knew that it was her place to deal with the captain. She knew that Merlin, and Scream would not deal with him. He was after her. She would have to face him down.

She used her magic to float across the lake, just above it’s surface. The captain saw her coming, and he raised his crossbow, firing bolts as rapidly as he could load them, right at her. She felt two bolts embed themselves in her broken left wing. She felt one bolt pass clean through her left shoulder.

She said, “Protect”. And the white magic around her intensified a hundred fold. And the cross bow bolts became deflected by the magic light she was surrounded with. Bouncing off to either side.

She landed on the burned ground of the clearing. The grass there was now gone. There was a great sadness in her heart that such a thing could happen to such a beautiful place. She looked at the captain, and she asked, “Why?”

The captain said nothing. He screamed in hatred, and in rage. He drew his sword, and charged at her. His sword hacking uselessly at the wall of white magic around Mystica. He changed his approach, and simply hurled his own body weight at her. The magic protected her from injury, but not from his body weight. Mystica was knocked backward, falling into the water at the edge of the lake.

The captain stood above her, his sword swinging relentlessly. “Die! Die! Die!” he screamed. Again, and again, and again! “Die! Die! Die!”

Mystica struggled to get to her feet. But the captain kept on swinging. The magic kept her safe. She looked around the clearing by the side of the lake. She saw the bodies of the dead soldiers. She heard the chaos in the trees, where Merlin was wrecking havoc, as only the most deadly dragon of all time ever could.

She saw the soldiers firing bolts at anything that moved. She saw them even shooting each other. She saw Scream, standing on the ground. With soldiers charging him, swords raised.

And the captain screamed, on and on, “Die! Die! Die!” Pure hatred in his eyes.

Mystica spoke, her voice filled with sorrow, and sadness. Tears falling from her  eyes at the violence that was there, all around her. With the knowledge that the soldiers were like the wolves she’d stood against just a few months earlier. Knowing there was no good at all left in their hearts and souls. She uttered just one word.

“Burn.”

The captain swung his sword, right at her neck. With everything he had. The sword struck the white light around her. And the white light locked onto it, and wouldn’t let it go. Mystica watched as white flames shot up the length of the sword. White hot heat flowing through it. The sword blade melted. Turning to liquid metal. Falling to the ground. The the flame reached the captain’s hand, and the captain screamed, as the flame consumed him totally.

The captain screamed in horror. He screamed in rage. He screamed in hatred. He screamed in pain. He kept swinging his sword arm, as if he still carried a sword. As the flame engulfed him, the orange light of fire erupted from his skin. His arms, his legs, his body.

He became fully consumed by flame. Real fire. And he burned. His body burned  in the heat of hatred that he felt. The flame was more fierce than any Mystica had ever seen. She watched, tears falling from her face, as the cleansing fire of white burned through all the darkness inside of him. The darkness of his heart. And his body turned to ash as the fire raged. Because there was no light at all left within his soul. All there was to him was darkness.

The ashes of his body fell to the ground. Forming a small pile of the body that once was. And still the captain stood there, encased in the white magic fire. Screaming of his hatred. Of the seeking of revenge. Of the things he’d do to Mystica one day.

And still, the fire raged.

As it burned, the fighting in the trees stopped. The soldiers there came out into the clearing. And they dropped their weapons, and they watched. The soldiers in the clearing, fighting with the dragon Scream, dropped their weapons too. And stood there, faces showing pure terror, at the things they saw.

As the captain’s soul stood there, in that pure white fire, the captain’s image changed. He became pure black. Darker than the darkest night. He grew black fangs from his mouth. And a long black tail. And black horns on his head. And his voice changed from words, to growls.

Four black shadows came up from the ground. Forming the corners of a box around the white fire that was consuming the captain’s soul. Two of them had long black spears. With very nasty, penetrating points. The plunged those spears into the captains pitch black soul. Passing clean through it. Forming the shape of a big letter, “X”. With a dark shadow holding each of end of each spear. And still the captain screamed of his hatred, and his rage. And his need for revenge.

Then the four black shadows, returned to the ground, taking their spears with them. The captain’s soul remaining impaled on the spears. As they drug the captain into the ground.

Then, everything was silent. And that silence lasted for a while. As the soldiers stood there. Frozen in their places. Terrified with fear at the things they’d witnessed on that morning, as the sun was coming up.

Scream walked up to Mystica, taking a place beside her, to her left. Standing at his full hight. Towering over Mystica. Merlin came out of the shadows, there among the trees. To hover next to Mystica, where she stood, at the edge of the lake. Blood slowly leaking from her re-wounded wing. And from her impaled shoulder.

Scream screamed. And somehow, everyone within that clearing new exactly what it was that Scream had said. “The captain had no light at all within his heart and soul. He’s gotten everything he wished for. He’s been drawn down into hell.”

Merlin spoke. His voice sounding like sheets of metal being torn apart. “Leave this place,” he spoke to the soldiers. “And never do return. Tell everyone you see what happened here today. And then simply stay away.”

Mystica cried tears of sorrow, and of pain. “There was nothing but darkness in his heart. There was no light at all. How can someone be that way?”

Merline answered her, “It was the choice he made. He chose to banish all his light, leaving only the darkness that is left, when the light is gone.”

Whisper floated down, landing on Mystica’s right shoulder, and whispering into her ear, “This fight is over, little one. Now it’s time to heal.”

Mystica heard the words of her dear friend, Whisper the wise old owl. They caused her to speak one more word of magic on that night. “Find the injured soldiers, and heal them.”

White balls of fire lanced outward from the crystal ball on the top of Mystica’s staff. The flames lanced into each of the soldiers that was left standing. Broken bones healed. Open wounds sealed. The soldiers were soon, physically alright.

Then, the soldiers fled. They dropped all their weapons, their cross bows, bolts, and swords. And they simply ran. Fleeing the lake as fast as they could.

Merlin, Scream, and Whisper gathered Mystica up. Then they carried her up into a tree. Where they’d set up a little platform, on which Mystica could sleep. And Merlin stayed there, in that tree with her. Watching over her. As she laid down on the platform. And soon fell fast asleep. Merlin watched as the white magic took care of the mage. Healing the new injuries to her broken wing. healing her left shoulder, where the cross bow bolt had been.

She slept until the dawn of the next day. And on that dawn, when she woke up, she knew that through the rest of her days, no matter how many there were, she’d never be able to forget what she’d seen happen on the day the captain and his men had attacked her.

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 21

Fairies : Mystica and Merlin

Chapter 21 : The Grey Hills and the Mountains

Eyela spoke with her troops the next morning. She told them that their homes were safe. The captain had been defeated. And he had returned to the Grey Hills and the mountains beyond them. Then, she asked her troops what they believed they should do next. She asked if they should help the people of the Grey Hills, and the mountains. If they should work with them to free them from the captain’s rule. If they should let the people of the Grey Hills solve their problem on their own. She asked them what they believed it was best to do.

Eyela told them of the report from Stephan, the captain of the guard. Of the villages they’d seen in the Grey Hills. The way the people of the hills had treated them. The way they’d been afraid. They number of stories of violence and death that they had told.

And then she asked he people once again what it is that they should do. And one-by-one. Each fairy in her troops took a step forward, and declared, “He’s our problem too!” So it was decided that the fairy kingdom would pursue the captain and his minions into the Grey Hills. And then into the mountains too. To free the people there from the captains ruthless rule.

Eyela’s chief commanders told her she should return to the castle. That they could handle the battle that was to come. But Eyela was the leader of her people. Their heart and soul. The one that they looked up to when they needed someone to show them what was true. What to believe. What to do. So she refused. She informed the troops that she would be going to. That she would always stand by them. Fight with them. And cry for every one of them that was injured, or died, in the days to come.

Everyone now knew that it was time to change. Time for the fairies to renew their contact with the people in the Grey Hills. So that such a thing as the ruthless rule of the captain could never happen again.

So the fairies entered the Grey Hills. Moving forward. One village at a time. Day after day. As they freed each village, and each town from the captain’s rule, the people of the Grey Hills joined them, to fight the captain and his men. Women fought with them. And the stories of the number of women and girls too, that had been abused, raped, and beaten, and then killed, by the captain and his men, grew and grew. As did the stories of what happened to anyone that happened to not follow the captain and his men. And behave like them.

Families cried for the loss of their loved ones. Their daughters and their sons.

The captain and his troops fell back to the mountains. They all knew that the battle they were fighting was already lost. That they would fall, before it was all done. Each day their number shrank. Each day more of the lands they ruled turned against them.

The war between the captain and his troops, and the fairy kingdom would be won by the fairies. This much the captain knew. There was nothing he could do to change that outcome. He had struck at Eyela too early. His forces hadn’t been the strength that he needed to complete his plan. But at least he’d see her fall. Shot by cross bow bolts. Falling from the sky. There had been no way at all she could have survived.

And yet, he knew she was alive. Leading her troops against his. And he knew too that the only reason she’d been able to stay alive was because of the witch. The white witch. Mystica. Who lived in the Northern Forest. So he decided that if he couldn’t win, he’d at least have his revenge, and kill that witch himself. She would die by his own hand. So the captain took fifty of his men, and headed through the mountains, to the forest of the north.

It took five months, in all, for the Grey Hills, and the mountains to be freed. By that time, everyone could see that Eyela was with child.

The fairies opened trade agreements with the people of the hills. They promised the people of the hills that they would always work with them, to the benefit of both. They apologized to the people of the hills for not acting sooner than they did. For letting the captain, fairy that he was, run loose among them for so very long. The people of the hills were happy to accept the fairies help in rebuilding their damaged lives.

In the sixth month of her pregnancy, Stephan arrived at the front, to help take care of Eyela. That was when they both announce the child that Eyela carried was their child. Everyone, the fairies and the people both were happy to know that there would be a fairy princess once again. That the royalty would not die when Eyela did.

When Eyela and Stephan announced they were to wed, the fairies and the people of the Grey Hills both decided that it would be a blessing, and a reinforcement of the peace that they were building if Eyela and Stephan would get married in a village in the hills. If they would take their honey moon in the hills, Or maybe even in the mountains.

And so it was that Eyela married Stephan on a winter day, while the snow was falling from the sky, in a tiny village, deep in the Grey Hills. At the foot of the mountains. Fairies, and people from the Grey Hills, and the mountains, all attended. The wedding had been beautiful indeed. There had been so many smiles, and so very much laughter. And from that day forth, Stephan became king, and Eyela became queen.

They set up a temporary home in the village where they’d married. For they wanted to grow the friendship that had formed between the fairies, and the Grey Hills, and the mountains to the north. So that all the people of those lands could learn to live together. For the war that had been fought, and the captain’s rule of the Grey Hills, and the mountains north of them, had taught them all that they were stronger together than they could ever be apart.

But search as they might, in every part, every glen and valley, every mountain top, they could not find the captain. The captain was just gone. He’d fled to the the Norther Forest. As it became apparent what had happened, and where the captain had gone, everyone knew that the captain had decided there was something that he had to do. That the captain wouldn’t give up until he’d found the White Mage of the north, and took his revenge on her, by tearing out her heart.

So the people of the mountains, the Grey Hills, and the fairies put together a small force, and headed to the Northern Forest. To find the captain, and thus solve the problem of the captain, once and for all.

As they did, Eyela and Stephan went with them. Hoping all the while that the White Mage of the north, Mystica, the princess of the kingdom, was still alive. And that the captain hadn’t found her yet. For they knew that Mystica knew nothing of the ways of war. And had no way at all to stand against the captain and his men.

They had to find the captain before the captain found their friend.

Go Back To Your Life

In the days before I was sent home.
The days before I had no choice
But to take medical leave.
She was in a battle for her life.
Fighting breast cancer.

She was my friend.
She still is.
I cared for her then.
I care for her now.
I’ll care for her even when
I’ve passed beyond
The veil of life.

I will care even though I know
That she will never speak to me
Again.

It is the way I am.
The way I’m meant to be.

In those days she said these words to me.
“Mark. I just want my life back.”
I didn’t understand.
I didn’t.
I had no idea what the words she’d said
Really, truly meant.

I was the only person
In the place that we worked
That reacted
Like I did.

To me,
Everyone reacted as if
They didn’t care
If she lived or died.
They didn’t care
About the battle that she fought
To simply stay alive.

It took me 12 solid weeks to figure out
That they cared at all.
It took me 15 months
To figure out how much they cared.
And how they cared.
And why they cared
The way they did
For her.

It took me 15 months
To figure out the actions
That she took.
The things she did.
And why she’ll never speak to me
Again.

And I cannot help but wonder,
How do people get so broken?
How do they become
So very much afraid?
How can they not see
What their actions
And decisions
Do to them?

So that you may understand
The things that I say,
I will share a story
Here with you.
A story that will never happen.
A story that is not true.
For I know this simple truth.
She will never speak to me
Again.

The story starts with me at work.
In my new job.
In my new life.
A life that she’s not a part of.
And there I am.
Working one day.
Checking in the computers
Of customers.
Making sure I’ve taken notes
On what is wrong
And what is broken.
So the technicians that work on them
Can fix them
Yet again.

And there she is.
Standing in the line.
As I finish with the customer
I’ve been working with.
I look up, and wave
For the next customer
To come to the counter.

And to my surprise
The next customer is her.
And her husband.
“Hi, Mark,” she says to me.
“Hi,” I answer back.
“What brings you in today?
How can we help you?”

“I came in to see you.
To see if you’re alive.
If you are doing well.”
And then she smiles.

“I’ve been well for quite some time.
Why come see me now?”

She looks around
At the place that I work now.
“This isn’t you, you know.
You shouldn’t be here,
Working in this place.
It’s beneath you.
You should be working in a place
Like you used to.
When you worked with us.
When you worked with me.”

“Why have you come here?”
I ask once again.
“No, really.
Why have you come?
You haven’t spoken to me
In more than 15 months.
Why bother now?”

She looks at me,
Surprised.
“I just want to see
That your OK.
There’s nothing wrong with that
Is there?”

“You could have sent me a message.
You know my email address.
You know both of them.
Just like everyone
In the land of grey.”
That was my name
For the place I worked.
That was all the place
Would ever be
To me.

Her husband spoke.
“Mark, please.
She came to see you.
Just to let you know
That she is OK.
Just to find out
How you are.
If you are healing
Finally.”

I looked at him,
And smiled.
I looked at her.
And smile once more.
“I am fine.
As you can see.
I’ve got a job.
And a brand new life.
One that you’re not part of.
That was the choice you made.
It wasn’t made by me.”

“I see.”
She said.
Very quietly.
Then she looked into my eyes.
And asked,
“You said you loved me.
Do you still love me now?”

“Yes.
I loved you then.
I love you now.
You will always be
My Lenten Rose.
That just how I am.”

Then I looked at her husband.
“I was never once
A threat to her.
Or a threat to you.
My only wish had been
That the two of you
Would have many years of time
That you could spend together.
Making your dreams come true.”

Then I looked at her.
“You told me once,
When you were ill,
Before I got sent home,
That all you wanted was
To have your life back
Once again.”

I smiled.
“And so it is.
You’ve got back the life
That cancer took from you.”
I took a breath.
Then let it out.
“As for me,
The life I had back then
Damn near destroyed me.
It tore my heart and soul
Apart.
I had to change.”

She looked at me.
And I smiled at her.
“I don’t want my old life back.
The one that nearly killed me.
I have a new life now.
With new people in it.
And new friends.”

Her husband took her hand.
It was as if he knew
What I was going to say.
“We both got what we wanted.
You got your old life back.
With your family.
And your house.
And job.
A life where everything
Is planned.
And known.
And safe.
A stable life.
A secure life.
A life you’re happy in.”

I reached across the counter
And I gently took her hand.
“I got what I wanted.
I got away from the life I had.
The one that was killing me.
I have a new life now.
One that isn’t safe.
One that isn’t stable.
One that changes
Rapidly.
One where I don’t try
To control everything,
Or everyone.
One that acknowledges
That the past is gone.
And the future hasn’t come.
And may never get here.”

I looked into her eyes.
Filled with that magic light
That I love so very much.
“All I have
Is now.
And I know
That you can’t live that way.
So it is that you should go
Back to your old life.
The one in which you’re safe.
And forget me.
For I’m never going to be
In that type of life
Again.”

As she walked away,
Holding her husband’s hand,
I knew that she was sad.
That she believed that I was broken.
Someway, and somehow.
That she thought it very sad
That I’d lost everything I had.
The job.
The income.
And the respect
And trust
Of the people I once knew.

I knew she didn’t understand
That I could not return
To the life I’d had.
For that life had nearly
Killed me.

I wish she knew
That I am sad.
That I cry for her.
And the people I once knew.
That I cry for those I see
Everywhere I go
That are so very wounded
By the life
They’ve chosen to lead.

A safe life.
A secure life.
Where nothing ever changes.
Where everything is known.
Where there is no risk
Of ever getting hurt.
And all there is
Is what there’s supposed to be.

She may even believe
That I’m angry with her,
And all the people
That I once worked with.
I’m not.
I can’t be.
How can I be angry
At people
When they are so very hurt?
At people that have chosen
To live the life they lead.

A life I know
Is slowly
Killing them.

I wish somehow
That she could see
The world that I see.

But I know she doesn’t.
And I know
She doesn’t want to.
For I know that she believes
The way I see the world
Is broken.
And just wrong.

So it is that she’s become
A part of what I once was.
And will never be
A part of this new me.

But as I said at the beginning.
She was my friend.
And as far as I’m concerned.
She still is.
And always will be.

Even though
She’ll never talk with me
Again.

NaNoWriMo 2011, Day 19, Part 2

Fairies : Mystica and Merlin

Chapter 20 : Eyela Is With Child

It was the next morning, when Mystica woke up, she found Whisper sitting on her table. He flew over to her, and landed on her shoulder. “Welcome back,” he whispered in her ear. “I’m sorry that you were injured. That the confrontation with the wolves went the way it did. That you’re wing is damaged. I’m sorry, Mystica, that you won’t ever be able to fly like you once could.”

Mystica scratched Whisper’s neck. She knew he loved it when she did that. Then she took some of the fruit and bread that the villagers had given her, and ate a small breakfast. She washed it down with water from the lake that she kept in a wooden flask on the table in her home.

“I’m OK, Whisper, my dear friend. I really am. I understand what happened. I understand the words you spoke to me the day I left. I found a way to listen to my heart. And you were right. I will guide me.”

Whisper watched Mystica as she ate. When she was done, he whispered to her, “There’s something outside that you should see.” Then he flew from her shoulder, out through the window she had made just for him. So that he could visit her whenever he wished to.

Mystica got to her feet. The scars on them from all the cuts were beginning to fade away. All the scars on her arms and legs, and on her face too, were fading away. And would soon be gone. But the scars on her left wing would remain. Forever. That much she knew.

So she followed Whisper from the tree house. It was hard for her to fly. But she didn’t have to fly very far at all. Just from her home to the ground. She could walk to the lake. It wasn’t more than 50 feet or so. A nice small clearing. She’d grown used to her home. She liked very much living by the lake in her little tree house.

Whisper landed once again on Mystica’s shoulder. When she got to the lake, he whispered these words to her, “Merlin comes.” And there he was. Merlin. The dragon. On the far side of the lake. In his hands he held a wooden staff. One with a crystal ball on one end. A staff that was as tall as Mystica herself.  She recognized it in a glance. She knew that it was hers. The one that she’d put down more than a year before. That she’d promised to never use again.

Merlin flicked his wings, and took to the air. The power that he held to fly so easily was simply breathtaking. Mystica watched as Merlin flew across the lake, and landed. Right next to her. Then he spoke, softly, so he wouldn’t hurt her ears. His voice sounding like a sheet of metal being torn in two. “I believe this belongs to you.” Then he put her staff upon the ground. “Listen to your heart, white mage. It will tell you the truth. It will not lie to you.”

Then Merlin was airborne once again. Flying back across the lake, and vanishing into the shadows among the trees.

Mystica looked at her staff, resting on the ground. Where Merlin had placed it. She reached down, and picked it up. And moved it to the grass. Where she stood it on it’s end. Pushing it down into the ground so that it would stand on its own. She knew that someday she would pick up her staff again. But her heart told her it wasn’t time just yet. But that the time was not far away.

Mystica looked out at the lake. And she knew what she wished to do. She stripped off her clothing, and then carried it into the lake with her. She soaked her clothes thoroughly in the water of the lake. She placed her clothes on the grass of the clearing. Then she went swimming. She swam to the center of the lake. Enjoying the feel of the water. Enjoying the way the water washed the dirt and sweat off of her. The way that it caressed her ribs. The way it flowed between her fingers, and her toes. The way her hair floated in it.

After more than an hour swimming in the lake, Mystica walked onto the grass. She stood there, letting the sun bake her until she was dry. She then ran her fingers through her hair, until it was smooth and the tangles in it were gone. She thought that someday, she would like to have a brush, so that she could brush her hair. It was a luxury that she missed. Such a simple thing, brushing her hair.

She gathered up her clothes, and made the short flight up to the tree house. She hung her wet clothes on the branch outside the house, to let them dry. Then she went inside, and took out some of the new clothes that the villagers had given her. She put on a pale blue corset, and a long flowing skirt that had brown, and red, and white stripes that ran up and down it’s length.

That corset was low cut. And had wire along the front to hold it in its shape. The back was so very low that it passed beneath her wings. She found that she liked the way the corset felt. The way it left her shoulders completely free to move. The revealing look it gave of her. She’d never felt very pretty. Not in the castle, surrounded by the housemaids. Now the housemaids. They were pretty. But, in that corset, with it’s revealing cut and fit, she thought she looked very pretty indeed.

She flew back to the ground, and walked over to the lake, so she could see her reflection in the mirror of its surface. She hadn’t really paid attention before. But she’d developed a nice tan. The light bronze of her tanned skin contrasted well with the pale blue of the corset. She liked that look very much. It really was pretty.

As she stood there, looking at the lake, her reflection changed. She saw two armies. Fighting. She saw people on both sides dieing. She saw that one side was the fairy army of Eyela. It had to be. It was clearly fairies. The other side had cross bows, and swords. Mystica knew that was the army of the captain. She watched as the armies fought. It was a battle that had been going on for some time, from what she could tell.

As she watched, it became apparent that the captain’s army was losing. She watched as it began to retreat from the plains back into the Grey Hills. She saw Eyela’s troops pursue the captains. As the fight continued. Through one night into the next day.

Then she saw something that made her heart go cold in her chest. She saw Eyela, the fairy princess, get struck down by two cross bow bolts. One striking her in her right shoulder. The other striking her in the right arm. She saw Eyela fall.

As she saw Eyela fall too the ground from where she had been in flight, she knew she had to find a way to get there. To help Eyela. She knew that now, she was far stronger than she’d been when her mother had died. Her heart was crying out to her, “Help her! You can help her!”

It was then that she heard a dragon scream. It was a thunderous scream. It shook the leaves of the trees, and caused ripples on the lake. She looked up, and saw a dragon. An angry dragon. A dragon that was so angry that it had grown huge. And very dangerous. She realized it was the dragon that had destroyed the village she’d seen that was at the southern edge of the forest. As she watched that dragon, she saw Merlin flying next to it. Merlin was much smaller. Merlin had stood next to Mystica the previous day. And standing, he only came up to Mystica’s waist. This new dragon landed on the ground of the clearing, and nearly filled the entire clearing. It towered over Mystica.

Merlin spoke to Mystica. “This is Scream. He’s young. And strong. We’ll need his help to do what we have to do. Since you can’t fly to where you need to get, Scream will carry you.”

Mystica knew that it was time to pick up her staff again. So she did. And then the dragon Scream bowed down, low to the ground, as Merlin asked him to. Then the two dragons took flight. Mystica riding just behind the head of Scream.

She never knew how very fast dragons flew. Just by the power of their wings, the dragons flew out of the forest, then up and through the mountains, then the Grey Hills. Until they reached the edge of the Southern Plain. They arrived less than two hours after they’d left the lake. It had take Mystica 6 days to make that flight, when her wings were healthy, and she could fly her best.

The dragons approached the camp of Eyela’s army from the sky. The tiny Merlin, and the giant Scream. They landed in the middle of the camp of the fairies. The fairies were greatly disturbed. They recognized Scream. Scream the dragon that was terrorizing the Grey Hills. The dragon that the fairies couldn’t fight. They did not recognize Merlin. Until he spoke. His voice sounding like sheets of metal being ripped in two. When they saw that Scream did as Merlin asked, they knew that this tiny dragon that only came up to a fairy’s waist was the greater of the two. And the more deadly.

Scream lowered his head to the ground. And Mystica climbed off. The fairies recognized her. And a murmur raced through the camp. “Mystica! The White Mage is here! Mystica, herself!”

Mystica spoke to the fairies that had surrounded the two dragons. “Yes. It’s me. Mystica. This is Scream,” she introduced the giant dragon. “And this is Merlin.” Every fairy fell silent. They knew the name Merlin from legends. The dragon that had nearly destroyed the fairies.

Mystica looked at the guards closest to her. “We’ve come to help Princess Eyela. She’s been injured, hasn’t she?”

The guard blabbered out, “Yes. She’s very hurt. And the healers are not able to help her. She’s dying, Princess Mystica. She’s dying.”

Mystica held up her staff. White light shined in it. A pure white light. A strong white light. Far stronger than any of the fairies could remember having ever seen it when Mystica had been in the kingdom. “Take me to her.”

Quickly, the fairies took Mystica to the tent where Eyela was being cared for. Mystica walked up to Eyela. She saw that Eyela was indeed very badly hurt. She saw where the two cross bow bolts had been removed from Eyela’s shoulder and arm. She saw that Eyela had broken bones from where she’d struck the ground when she fell from the sky. But she saw something else. Something that she knew no one else would see.

She stood next to Eyela. “Don’t worry, princess. I’ve come to help. It’s not time for you to die.” Then she closed her eyes, and raised her staff. The white light that came from the staff was so strong that it made the walls of the tent transparent. Those outside could see the shadows of the figures that were inside. Mystica gently lowered the crystal ball of her staff until it touched Eyela’s chest. Right above Eyela’s heart. Then she whispered a single word. “Heal.”

The light from the crystal ball settled into Eyela. As it did, the tent went dark. Everyone inside the tent watched as Eyela’s broken bones mended. As the wounds in her shoulder and arm healed. And in less than an hour, they all realized that Eyela was asleep. Eyela was healed. And was going to be fine.

Mystica then sagged to her knees. The healers in the tent picked her up, and carried her to a cot. There, they laid her down, and she fell soundly asleep. She slept for a solid day. When Mystica woke up, Eyela was sitting on a box, next to the bed. Watching over her. “Thank you, Princess Mystica. Thank you for coming here, and healing me.”

Mystica smiled. Then she sat up. Eyela ordered that drink and food be brought to Mystica. Then the two of them shared a meal. And then they sat in the tent, and spoke with each other. Mystica told Eyela of her adventures. Including the battle with the soldiers, and the battle with the wolves. Eyela told her of the war with the captain and his followers.

When they’d finished sharing stories, Mystica looked into the eyes of the last true princess of the fairies. The last of her bloodline. “Eyela. There is something you must know. Something I did not wish to speak of when anyone else was here, and listening.” Eyela nodded her head. A questioning look in her eyes. “Eyela. You are going to be a mother.”

A look of shock crossed Eyela’s face. Then a smile. Mystica asked, “Does Stephan know?”

Eyela shook her head, no. “Are you certain?”

“Yes, Eyela. I’m certain. I can feel the presence of a new life in you. A life that grows stronger and stronger.”

Mystica stayed with Eyela through that day, and into that night. The dragons, Scream and Merlin, waited patiently for Mystica’s return. The fairies spent a lot of time trying not to look terrified of the dragons. Knowing that the dragons could wipe them off the face of the world any time they chose to do so.

That night, Mystica returned to the dragons. Eyela walked with her. She spoke to all three. “Mystica, Merlin, Scream. Thank you for helping me. You will always be welcome in the kingdom of the fairies. You will always be considered friends.”

Mystica smiled. And then the two dragons took flight, Mystica sitting behind Scream’s head once more. And the three of them returned to the lake in the Northern Forest. Where Scream took flight, and left.

Mystica smiled as she stood before the lake, next to the dragon Merlin. “She’s with child, you know. The fairies are going to have a royal family again. After 10,000 years.”

As she looked into the surface of the lake, seeing her reflection, and the reflection of Merlin, she couldn’t help but think that the dragon smiled.