"The Sapphire Rose"

By: Allison Treese

Once, in a distant plain, there lived a kind, but lonely fairy, whose sacred duty was to guard the secret of magic. She lived for thousands of years in her own celestial garden, surrounded by pink and red roses. Her hair was long and raven black, and she let it flow down to the ground as she went from rose to rose, gazing into their petals, allowing her to see various events in the land of mortals.

Then, one day, under the crimson sky of her garden, she noticed something very strange. A blue rose. It was sapphire blue, in the middle of the red. Confused, she glided to where the rose was and peered through its petals. Through them, she saw a mortal man. He had hair of gold and eyes of jade, and his gaze, though she did not see where it was sent, made her heart quiver. After thousands of years of solitude, the fairy fell in love.

For many years of mortal time, she watched him. She watched his joys and his sorrows and all that he did, which only made her love him more. Finally, she decided that she must see the man in person, if only for a glorious moment. She dreamt of walking with the man hand-in-hand, as if she was a mortal woman. She imagined the warmth of his hand, and his gaze upon her, his gentle voice uttering her name. Then, she was dragged mercilessly away from that dream world, for she knew it would never be true. Thus she wept. She wept and wept so sorrowfully, that her roses heard and said softly in the language of flowers,"What troubles you, milady?"

Wiping her tears, she confessed that she was in love with a mortal man, but could only see him through the sapphire rose, and could never be with him.

"That is simple," they said, "All you have to do is feed the blue rose the right thing, and it will be so grateful it will send you straight to this man."

The fairy begged them what food she should bring.

"Hm...That's a tough one," they said, "You should ask the three gargoyles of Lunar Castle."

Hearing this, the fairy spread her rose-red wings and flew through the stars, yet still feeling the cold metal chain that connected her to her garden. Eventually, she came to a soft, milky white world that shined through the darkness like the full moon. In it rose a large, elaborately built castle made of silver and gemstone. The topmost spire was the nest of three gargoyles. The ones that she was seeking.

She fluttered her wings with extra effort as she rose and rose and rose to the spire, letting out a gasp as she was suddenly gazing at the ground, and found herself falling upwards before landing painfully and clumsily in the gargoyles' nest.

The three stony figures peered at her through eyes of red, wondering what on earth would have the nerve to disturb them. The figure on the farthest left was like that of a buzzard, its beak twisting over at the tip and touching the bottom. Its wings were like torn bat wings, and its tail was like that of a lion. It had a large, dagger-like horn on its head and seemed to be the most blood-thirsty of the three. The gargoyle in the middle appeared to be a small dragon, chubby with three horns on its head and nails that were longer that her arm. The gargoyle on the farthest right was like an elderly woman, crouched over with her face hidden under a hood, and miniature heads gazing from her shoulders and back. Her walking stick was a beautiful thing, intricately twisted with three moons carved onto the top.

Nervous, yet determined, the fairy told her story to the three gargoyles and asked for their help. The first one merely held its blood-thirsty gaze on her, making her blood run cold. The second one chuckled, amused that a silly little fairy girl would seek them out for such a ridiculous purpose. The third, however, seemed thoughtful.

"If you truly love this man," she said, "Then, I will help you. Tell me, fairy, would you seriously give up your immortality and sacred duty just to see this person, knowing fully well that he will most likely fall in love with another woman? I want you to carefully consider this."

The fairy pondered, seriously looking at things from that perspective. She would probably end up stuck on earth, with nothing but the memory of that one moment. But, then again, she thought of those jade eyes and of that gaze and knew her answer was clear.

"Yes," she said, her voice clear and loud, her eyes burning with passion, "No matter what, I want to see him. I want to actually hear him say my name, no matter what."

"Good," the gargoyle said, handing her her staff, "Present this to the sapphire rose and chant the name of the one that you want to go to, and you'll be there. However…"

It was too late. The fairy had already descended from the spire and flew like she never had before to her garden; to the sapphire rose! The stars had never shone so brightly, her world never so marvelous and filled with joy!

Soon, she landed and sprinted over to the sapphire rose. Holding the staff in front of the blue flower, she chanted the name of the man, and felt wings fluttering through her hair and a heavenly breeze taking her to her beloved in the land of the mortals. Softly, the roses whispered,
"Goodbye."

The man with golden hair exited the boutique and shuddered as a sudden cold breeze blew through. He pulled his scarf up higher over his mouth and continued down the crowded street. Suddenly, a young woman with raven black hair collided with him, sending them both down to the ground.

"Oh, I'm sorry!" he said, "Are you alright?"

The young woman gazed at him, as if in a trance. The man realized that she wearing a thin dress and no gloves, despite the snow on the ground.

"Y-Yes!" she said, seemingly unaware of the cold.

"Aren't you cold?" he asked. The young woman looked around, surprised.

"Cold?" she said, "What is that?"

Puzzled, he said "Are you joking or something? I'm pretty dense, so I probably don't get it."

"No!" The young woman exclaimed, springing to her feet, a very serious look on her face, "You are NOT dense! How could you say such a thing?! Don't ever say that again!"

This is one weird girl, he thought, Is she right in the head?

"Anyway, let's go inside" he said, "You must be freezing."

The young woman nodded and smiled. She looked very pretty when she smiled. Once inside the nearest store, he said to her, "So, what's your name, anyway?" She flinched and looked at him as if he had just asked her to marry him.

"What?!" he said, confused.

"N-Nothing!" she said, blinking her eyes, "My name's Faen."

"Faen," he said thoughtfully "That's a good name. Strange, but good."

Faen smiled, her tears forming. After that, Faen and the young man started seeing each other regularly. (They saw each other frequently still when he learned that she had no home, living relatives, or even a last name.) Soon, the man fell in love with Faen, and the two eventually married and had children.

One day, when Faen was in a happy old age, she felt something that made her heart sick. It was the cold metal of her old chain, connecting her to the garden. She was never seen in the land of mortals again.

The roses whispered, "Hello."