A/N: This story will have an omniscient point of view. Just thought I'd tell you that before you read.
Maria Maria's background: She's Forest Fairy lord's daughter. She's is mute but can communicate with others through her mind. Because of her appearance, many confuse her with St Christine, a woman who was killed by King Fredrick for questioning his rule. Some believe she is the reincarnation of the saint, others say she is her ghost....She's only a lord's daughter who spends her time alone with the majestic beast of the forest.
Days of May
Three village boys gazed across the lake as the majestic unicorn approached the awaiting maiden. They were hidden by the wall of rosebushes that protected the lake's southern borders. The golden-haired lass opened her arms to embrace the faerie beast but it merely nuzzled her hand. One of the boys, the biggest of the three, picked up a stone and drew back his arm.
"No, Jock," whispered the smallest one. "You mustn't."
"Hush, Jack," he replied in a soft, irritated tone.
Jock cast the stone across the lake and it landed at the fore hooves of the unicorn. It turned its shimmering head in their direction and the three ducked behind the bushes.
"Jock, you stupid fellow--"
"All right, which one of you damned fools just cast that stone?"
The boys turned to see a tall young man standing behind the winding tree, only a couple of yards away. He had a bow-and-arrow in hand and a quiver on his back. He was wearing earth-colored clothing of the Woodsmen. He stared at them fiercely.
"Speak for your lives."
"'Twas I, Miguel," Jock admitted faintly.
Miguel looked at the sky and sighed.
"Need I asked?" He turned his cold blue eyes to gaze across the water. The boys did the same. The unicorn had folded its legs on the ground and rested his head in the lass's lap. Miguel raised his bow and arched his arrow, his eyes staring unblinkingly on his target. As he drew the arrow back, a cold gust of wind flew past. He looked and saw the back profile of a woman with white hair, wearing a silver gown, floating about the lake. He watched the water below her feet part slightly as she passed over it.
Crying out, the young boys rose from their positions on the grown and fled. Miguel, however, rooted his boots to the ground and gazed across the lake at the golden-haired maiden and the unicorn.
"Isabelle," he whispered pleadingly, "don't move."
As if hearing this, the girl looked up and her brown eyes fell upon the approaching spirit. Silently she stood up and began to retreat into the woods. The unicorn leapt to its feet and stared at the white-haired being.
Angry and desperate, Miguel shot the arrow, aiming for the beast but hitting the floating girl. It went through her and barely grazed Isabelle's ear. Scared out of her wits, the lass tore into the forest. Cursing, Miguel retreated as well.
It took all of Mary Maria's strength to remain in the air after the arrow had pierced her. She had to wait until the man and the woman had gone before she fell into the lake, inches from the bank where the unicorn stood. Her wings keeping her afloat, she made it to the edge of the lake. Immediately, the unicorn took one of her flowing sleeve's in it's mouth and pulled her out of the water.
Maria turned over on her side, coughing roughly. Blood sprinkled her lips. The beautiful, pure beast lowered its head to meet her eyes. The fairy smiled weakly at her friend.
No need to worry, December. No weapon of Man can kill me.
She coughed again and grimaced. The pain was unbearable. She looked down at herself to see her wound. It was worse than imagination. There was no wound, only a dark violet bruise. Even so, it felt as if she was bleeding to death. December nuzzled her cheek. This time Maria didn't smile. She was pale.
I must go to Father at once. It is getting so painful I can hardly breathe.
December lowered himself and Maria climbed on after a staggering struggle. The unicorn then stood and galloped across the lake and into the woods. Somewhere between the passing of the Golden Poplar and the Tower Beech, Maria fell into a sudden, thick slumber.
Her mind was in a dream-like state when she awoke. She was in her own chambers, surrounded by the softness of her bed. Maria sat up and pulled back the silver, translucent veil and gazed about her room. Night had clearly fallen. Her walls and ceiling were made of snow sand glass, revealing to her the starry sky and sleeping forest. She swung her legs around the side of the bed and stood.
She then frowned and wondered why she couldn't remember a thing. Alarmed, Maria frantically rushed across the chamber. It seemed to take an eternity to reach the smooth ivory doors. She turned one of the glass doorknobs but it wouldn't open. She tried the other one in vain. Determined, she placed both hands on either doors and concentrated all her natural powers onto the obstacle.
An amused laugh came from somewhere behind her.
"Your father knew you would react that way and so he locked the doors."
In defeat she removed her hands from the doors and turned to face her visitor. He was sitting upon her oakwood desk, cleaning his sword. His light ginger hair id his face as he bowed his head over his work. His name was Gideon Allegani. He was a young lord in her father's court.
Maria looked at him in cold relief. Perhaps he could help her understand the hollow feeling she felt.
Why can't I remember anything? she asked him in despair.
"It's one of the symptoms of the herb Sinade," Gideon replied calmly but he began to clean his sword with fierce force.
But how did I come in contact with Sinade?
"You shot by an arrow that's tip was tainted with the herb's liquid form. You were trying to save December when the fool released the arrow."
An eerie emotion fell upon Maria. Deeper than despair, stronger than sorrow. Dare she feel regret for saving a beloved friend?
How deep was the wound? she asked wearily.
"It...it passed right through your heart."
The foreign emotion deepened and Maria struggled to fight it. She would not feel regret for what she did.
So I am to die then?
"You will grow fainter everyday and then, yes, you will die. So the Wiccan says," Gideon stated tonelessly.
Father and I trust the Wiccan. If she says I am dying than that is what is happening, Maria revealed sadly. But is there no remedy?Maria revealed sadly.
Gideon paused, then set his sword down on her desk. He looked at her with is cutting amber eyes, his face stone serious.
"She swore there was only one way to redeem your fate, if you wish to live." He sighed and lifted his head to gaze at the stars. "You must go to the only one wicked enough to grow the plant and give it to the Woodsman. She's the only one with the antidote."
The Witch of the Woods? It is she I must go to? Maria frowned. Then I am damned.Maria frowned.
"Not yet." Gideon lowered his eyes to her petite form. "The Prince is having a ball in three days. The Witch is somehow connecting to His Grace and she will have to go.
And so will I, she finished. I will fine her and ask of her curse to be lifted.she finished.
"Are you so certain she will oblige your request?" Gideon asked, picking up his sword once more.
Maria sighed. Yes. She may be a witch, but she's still human. She has a heart.