An African Faerietale

Prologue

Once upon a time, the earth was a single mass of land called Afrikaana, and all creatures lived together in relative peace and harmony. The Gods had retreated to watch their creations grow and flourish, giving power over the land to a single race, so that they might keep the peace. They called themselves the Fae, but these were not the Fae of modern lore. These creatures stood almost as tall as the first grown oak, with skin as flawlessly black as the midnight sky. Their eyes, too, were black and warm, and filled with the kindness of a race of guardians.

Blessed as they were by the gods, the civilisation of the Fae flourished, supported by magic and the promise of eternal peace and life. With power over the Earth, they never wanted for food; with power over the sky, their kingdom never washed away; with immortality, the set their hearts to knowledge and magic, art and beauty. Their Queen Mariana ruled without prejudice and cared for the creatures of Afrikaana as their sister.

The peace ended not long, merely centuries, after the Gods created humankind. With the creation of the humans, came the need to care for a sentient race with the ability to create a kingdom of their own. The humans flourished, though they never reached the greatness of the Fae, for lack of magic. They held peace and friendship with the Fae for many years, though their rulers passed into death more quickly, without the immortality of the Fae. Their crops died in the extreme heats of mid-summer, for they did not have the connection to nature the Fae did.

One cruel summer though, the humans starved. They cried out for help, but the Fae Queen was uncertain. At the creation of humankind, the Gods forbid the Fae to interfere with the natural destiny of mankind. The Fae Queen reminded her people of this, and they were greatly saddened. One group of young and foolish Fae ignored the Queen's orders, and stole an apple from the Tree of Life in the Queen's private orchard. The rebellious Fae took the apple to the humans, who were angry at the Fae for abandoning them, and warned them not too eat too much of the fruit, only one for each person a day. The fruit's power could sustain them with merely that.

The humans planted the apple, and feasted on the fruit that grew quickly. The humans grew addicted to the fruit's sweet power of life, and ate more and more, ignoring the Fae's warnings. The women gave birth to more children by the fruit's power, and soon there were too many humans; and too little fruit to satisfy the greed of the humans. They demanded more from the Fae, and the Fae Queen realised she had been betrayed by the young Fae. She refused to give more to the humans. They grew angry, and lost control of their minds in their greed for the fruit. They attacked the Fae, forcing the Queen to place a wall against them. A war waged and the human's attacked, even when their numbers dwindled. For the apple had given the humans extreme fertility, and their numbers easily out numbered the Fae's.

The Fae, terrified at the killing, and wishing for peace, compelled the Gods to interfere. They came from their heavenly homes and did what they could. They divided the land, sending them to the furthest reaches of the globe, changing their landscapes due to Mother Earth's protests to remain one mass. They separated the army, and wiped the memories of the Fae and the Fruit of Life from their memories. Later, the Gods realised the seed of hate and the memory of war were still lodged in the deep recesses of the minds of humankind, but by then nothing could be done. By this time, the Gods had retreated to the heavens.

The Fae remained at the centre of the Earth in Afrikaana, with the few humans who had not eaten the fruit, fearing it as sacred, and not succumbing to its addiction. They had not joined the war, but they too forgot the past, in the hope that they could forget the pain of war, and the hate caused by needless death. But the Fae could not forget what had happened, and hid their kingdom from human eyes, and exiled the Fae who had betrayed them. For without the fruit, the humans would have eventually grow back their crops and the peace would have reigned. They were stripped of their immortality, and cursed to live among humans. As they left the hidden kingdom of the Fae in the centre of the harsh desert, they wandered for many years, crippled without the magical protection of the Fae kingdom. The harsh sun blinded the eyes of the Fae, turning them brown, then green, then blue, and they had to see with the little magic they had left within them. The human sun bleached their hair blonde and white, and when they left Afrikaana and crossed the seas to the other lands their skin lost the striking blackness, and faded, eventually to a sour white. They were tired, ill and afraid.

The majority of them landed somehow in the northern regions of Scotland, and found their way to an isolated island, later named Eire, after the eerie creatures that haunted the greenest places. Soon, the exiled Fae flourished here, their sickly skins becoming flushed and filled with health, their colourless hair beginning to burn brighter, the colour of gold, but they still remembered their true home, and they were no longer had immortality. They lived long, sometimes hidden and sometimes among the humans, but they always knew that something was missing. The burning sun softened by the Fae magic, the food of the Fae, infused with magic , the simple feeling of truly belonging. This all was lost to them.

But they lived, had children to tell the old stories to, and taught them what little magic they had been able to keep. They hid their secret from the humans, and learned to survive. But soon, the exiled Fae were living shorter and shorter lives, and their magic was waning. Something would happen after the many hundreds of thousands of years since their exile to regain what little balance they possessed. A little girl would happen. She would save not only the exiled Fae, but in doing so would save the Fae hidden reclusively within Afrikaana, not knowing yet that they needed to be saved.

This is the beginning of An African Faerietale.