Chapter One: An Occasion
The lush lands of Trelia greeted the early morning sun as it danced over the lands. The fairies' wings glittered off the sun's light and dew that littered the grounds. Normally, these fairies would have stopped to enjoy such a lovely day, but today was different. There was no time to waste. They had to get to the castle.
The lead fairy, Amberfall, turned and looked back at her sisters. "We have to hurry!"
"Amberfall," Purpleflash huffed at her sister, "we are not going to late!"
Amberfall's wings flashed an angry red at Purpleflash. "We cannot be the last ones there! The king has personally invited us to this event and it just would not be good taste to be late!"
Honeylashes, the youngest of the fairies, stared up at the sky. "Are you sure we can't stop and dance in the sun? It's good for us, you know. It will be a good chance for us to renew our powers."
"There's no time!" Amberfall exclaimed. "The king asked us to be there and we are going to be there!"
Honeylashes sighed. "But they say the first sunrise of summer is the most important. It will bring us closer to the nature of summer."
Amberfall rolled her eyes. "Why was I cursed with sisters such as these? Are the gods really that cruel?"
Purpleflash shot Amberfall a dirty look. "We often wonder the same thing about you!"
Amberfall shook her head as she flew along the great waterfall. They were so close to the palace; it did not do well to fight amongst themselves. Besides, today was supposed to be a happy day. For it was today that Trelia would pick the name of their new princess. All of the leaders of the kingdoms had been invited to this special event.
The three fairies flew to the very top of the waterfall, watching as the fish jumped out of the water in greeting. Today was just a perfect day. Everything was in perfect harmony, just the way Amberfall liked it. Even the darkest of the creatures were not showing their faces.
Amberfall flapped her wings even harder. They were so close that she could almost taste the palace's famous chocolate cake. Ah, chocolate cake and cameras to take pictures of all of the lovely clothes. What more could a fairy ask for?
"Amberfall!" Purpleflash yelled. "If you don't slow down, you are going to be all sweaty for the party!"
Amberfall slowed. Sweatiness meant there would be stains on her dress and stains just were not proper. She was a queen after all. A queen must always present herself with the grace of one, no matter how excited she was.
Honeylashes flapped her wings alongside Amberfall. "What do you think they will name her?" she dreamily asked.
Amberfall shrugged. To be honest, she really hadn't given much thought about what the princess's name would be.
Purpleflash wrapped her arms around herself. "I'm sure that it will be a lovely name. Royalty always picks the most precious ones!"
Amberfall flapped her wings even faster. "Which is another reason why we have to get there now!"
The other two fairies exchanged long looks before flying after their sister.
Ahead of them, a long, dark shadow appeared, coming so quickly as death itself. Amberfall stopped and watched as the shadow slowly began to creep closer to her and her sisters. She pulled her thin clothes closer around herself as the warm air turned to a chill. The wind began to speed up, so much that the poor trees were shaking so hard that their leaves were starting to come off. She winced as the warmth left her wings, leaving them nothing more than cold limbs.
They tried to turn, but the shadow's powers were sucking the very magic out of them. Sparks struck clear around, but did not reach them. Amberfall watched hopelessly as something in shinning purple and black stepped through the shadow.
She narrowed her eyes in icy terror... trying not to cry...trying to show that whatever was in front of them that she was stronger. However, the object did not take full shape...Amberfall shook her head. It was still bad enough.
"Ah, little fairies, where might we be going?" the shadow asked, her cold voice ringing out of the darkened landscape like ice.
Amberfall stared down the shadow. "Nightstone," she breathed. The fairy Nightstone was considered to be the most evil fairy of modern times. Every land that she had entered has turned to rot, but an unknown kingdom had put a curse on her that left had left her weakened. It was this curse that had allowed for the Iron Fairies defeat in the Warynian Wars.
Nightstone's laughter filled the air. "Ah, so you aren't as dumb as you look. So, tell me, my fellow fairies, where might thee be going?"
Amberfall tried to flap her wings and turn around, but she couldn't. The Iron Magic was overpowering her Nature Magic. Nightstone's laughter only grew louder at her feeble attempts to get away. Purpleflash and Honeylashes hid behind Amberfall with their hands over their eyes.
Nightstone's shadow shook as she drew closer to the three fairies. "I think that you are going to the palace." Her voice dropped. "Come on, we're sisters, aren't we?"
Amberfall shook her head. "We are not the same and we never will be!" Her wings grew colder and heavier as the words came out of her mouth. Purpleflash and Honeylashes screamed as their tiny bodies started to turn a light shade of blue and their lips grew white. She just had to find a way to get Nightstone off their backs or they would all freeze to death.
Nightstone shook her head. "I think you are and it's not very nice to turn away your fellow fairy."
Amberfall sighed. "Fine, we are going to the princess's Naming, but it's not at the palace." She had to fight down the bit of vile that was forming in the back of her mouth as she spoke the words.
Nightstone's frown deepened. It was well known that fairies could never lie, so every word that came out of a fairy's mouth had to be true. "Then, where it is?"
Amberfall's throat was getting tighter and tighter. She swallowed. "It's near the Xandrian border. The queen decided to move it last minute. There were too many people showing up to have it in the palace. Besides, the weather has been simply lovely, so why not have it outdoors?"
Nightstone's eyes narrowed. "Yes, that would make more sense."
Amberfall allowed her eyes to shift toward the ground. "So, can we expect to see you there?"
Nightstone nodded. "Yes, after all, this is going to be the event of the century." The shadow turned and disappeared.
Amberfall shook as her wings slowly started to regain feeling. She could not believe that she had managed to pull that one off. She just hoped that Nightstone did actually go the border into of the castle. She flapped her wings. Ah, that felt so much better. Now, she just had to get to the palace before Nightstone.
Queen Iseut Eveneye of Trelia stared down at her sleeping daughter's form. She was simply the most beautiful baby that Iseut had ever seen. The princess's skin was so white and fair that it looked like the purest of snow. Her golden brown hair curled around the edges of her face as the warm, fresh sun hit it. Her eyes, when open, stared back with innocence and purity. Every day it never seized to amaze Iseut that she had given birth to something so precious.
" Rauffe," Iseut called into the dressing room. "We are going to be late if you don't get moving."
King Rauffe Eveneye grumbled unintelligible from inside the dressing room.
Iseut got to her feet and stepped into the massive room. "This is the most important day of our daughter's live and you are not going to miss it."
Rauffe stared up at his wife. He was not one for formal gatherings; he would rather be leading his troop across a battlefield. "I've seemed to have misplaced my gloves."
Iseut sighed as she started to look through the drawers. Her husband seemed to do this every time there was a public gathering.
Rauffe started pulling open the drawers around him. "So, how is she today?"
"Sleeping," Iseut replied. "I've never seen a baby act so calm before."
Rauffe came over to his wife, wrapping his arms around her waist. "You mustn't worry. Some babies just are calm."
Iseut closed her eyes, remembering all of the children that she had birthed who had not made it to this special day. "I suppose you're right."
Rauffe began making small circles on his wife's waist. "You know I'm right. She's fine; everything is going to be fine." He kissed his wife's sweet neck. "Try not to worry about it."
Iseut moaned as she leaned into her husband's kisses. Everything was going to be okay. She just had to believe it.
Smiling, Rauffe pulled away from his wife and pulled out a pair of gloves from the open drawer. "Come on, let's go give our daughter her name."
Iseut slid her hand into her husband's. "I think I have the perfect name in mind." She pulled him into the main room.
Rauffe smiled as he looked down at his daughter. "I'm sure that no matter what you have picked, it will be fitting for a princess."
Iseut smiled. "Are you just agreeing with me or do you really like my name choices?"
Rauffe kissed his wife on the mouth in a way that would have caused most people to start blushing. "I'm just saying that because I fully trust everything that you do and have faith in everything that you do."
Iseut giggled. "That doesn't even make sense."
The king smiled. "Well, we are just going to have to work on that later, but right now, the kingdom awaits." He bent down and scooped up his giggling daughter. "And you are going to be to the light of our kingdom. No one is going to hurt you."
The princess reached up and touched her father's cheek. The warmth of the touch left an imprint of love on his cheek. She was way too good to be his.
Iseut picked up the ceremonial robes, handing them to a maid who quickly left. "Shall we?"
Rauffe nodded as he followed her wife out of their chambers. Nothing was going to go wrong today.
The roar of the crowds could be heard from even this level of deepness in the palace. It seemed like everyone was out to see the princess for the first time. Iseut and Rauffe laughed along with their daughter as they were lead down narrow, never ending stairs by the palace guards.
The crowd roared as they caught a glimpse of the happy royal family every now and then again in one of the tiny windows. Iseut looked at her husband, whose own smile was so large that she feared that his jaws would break. She was glad to be a member of this family, who was loved rather than feared.
Rauffe took his long robe from Isake Dayfist, the captain of the guard. Isake was so young that many of the other guards did not obey him, but Rauffe considered him to be something like a son and would put his trust in another man. "Thank you."
Isake nodded. "Anything for you."
Iseut rubbed her hand over Isake's arm. "You're looking rather peaky. Maybe you should take a day off."
Isake snorted. "No offense, my Queen, but I cannot allow something as common as a cold stop me from doing my job."
Rauffe smiled. "Your health does need to come before me. I shall send my personal Healer to look after you?"
Isake bowed his head. "Thank you. You are too kind."
"Nonsense, I would not be the man I am if I did not care for you." Rauffe leaned in closer. "Besides, you have covered for me more than once."
Iseut gave her husband a look. "What are you two talking about?" Though she tried to be harsh, the question came out way too good-natured.
Rauffe smiled at his wife. "That is between the captain and me."
Isake shrugged. "Sorry, my Queen."
Iseut shook her head. "Isake, how many times have I asked you to stop being so formal?" She smiled. "It's Iseut."
Isake blushed and looked down at his boots.
Rauffe laughed. "Now, look what you have done."
Isake shook his head. "It's no problem." He looked at his watch. "We really should be leaving or we are going to be late."
Iseut peered out the window, sending another round of cheers up through the castle. "Today your fairy tale starts," she whispered to her daughter. "Today is your chance to lighten up our world and bring in even more goodness."
The princess giggled as she reached up and touched her mother's cheek.
"Yes," Iseut whispered as she followed Rauffe and Isake down the steps. "Yes, you are going to be light that our kingdom needs. It's not as if we are dark nation, but you can never have too much goodness. We need to remind people that the Iron Fairies really are gone."
Isake stopped outside the main doors. The guards standing on either side of the massive doors all stood in attention as they realized who was standing in front of them. "Whenever you are ready, Your Majesties."
Iseut and Rauffe exchanged warm looks.
"I think we are ready, Captain," Rauffe said.
Isake nodded to his men. The man on the far right started to turn the wheel and the doors came whirling to life. Iseut watched as the little crystal lights on the doors danced off her daughter's skin. A few times, the princess tried to touch the lights, only to look at her mother with a frown whenever she could touch them.
The crowd roared as the doors opened, revealing the royal family in their finest clothes surrounded by the best soldiers in Trelia. Banners of all the noble houses of Trelia proudly stood in the sunlight. There was nothing in the world that could divide them, not today and not ever.
Amberfall flew out way ahead of her sisters, ignoring their cries for her to slow down. She had sent a Fire Message, but no one had answered. She really hadn't expected anyone to be staying by the fire on a day like today, but it still had been worth the shot.
"Amberfall!" Purpleflash screamed as Amberfall almost flew into a tree for the third time that day. "Getting yourself killed will not solve any of our troubles!"
"Nightstone is coming and we must warn the court!" Amberfall screamed as she picked up her pace. "It will not take her long to figure that we tricked her!"
Honeylashes sighed. "Purpleflash is right! Dying before we can get to the palace is not the answer!"
Amberfall ignored them as she flapped her wings as hard as she could. "Nightstone is not good news for the kingdom! I don't care what she claims to be! She's still mad about losing the war!"
"We know that and the court knows that!" Purpleflash flew beside Amberfall. "They are not going to fall for her tricks!"
Amberfall rounded her sisters. "Nightstone can transform into anything! She could be in the court before they even realize that she's even in the area!"
Honeylashes dodged a bird. "We know, but it's still not worth it! What good are you to anyone if you are dead?"
Amberfall rolled her eyes, kicking her wings into high gear. Everything was going to be okay, she just had to believe it. However, she still could not allow herself to slow down. Nightstone was still far more dangerous than anyone could ever imagine. The Iron Fairies' defeat in the Warynian Wars had only added to her anger.
The outline of the palace appeared over the next hill. Amberfall let out the breath of air that she had been holding. Even from this distance, she could hear the cheers of the crowd. Cheers were far better than screams.
Honeylashes stopped next to Amberfall. "See, you had nothing to fear."
Amberfall flapped her wings, heading toward the growing cheers. "It's not over yet!"
The colours started to get brighter as she flapped herself forward. The wonderful banners of all of the great Houses lined the crowd, beating ever so gently in the calm winds. Up on the arms of adults, the children held balloons the princess's face drawn on them.
Amberfall pushed her way above the crowd. The great doors were already open and the royal family stood in front, waving at the crowd.
Amberfall's eyes scanned the crowd as she dug into her magic. The only fairies that she could sense were herself and her sisters. She could not be sure that Nightstone was not able to hide her magic, but she just could not be sure.
King Rauffe raised his hand as the crowd grew quiet. "Honourable guests! We have gathered here today in honour of my daughter's naming. We thank you for taking time out of your bust schedule to be here with us on this amazing occasion." He paused and smiled warmly at his family. "It is our wish that you will all follow us into the throne room to greet the new princess and to hear the announcement of her name!"
The crowd roared as it pushed forward.
Honeylashes put an arm out to stop Amberfall from flying forward. "You must remember that we are also here to give the princess our gifts."
Amberfall gave her sister a long look. "I know that, but we first must save them!"
Purpleflash sighed as she followed her sisters into the castle.
Amberfall flew high above the crowd. The number of guards began to thicken the closer she got to the throne room. However, none of them noticed the three fairies. Amberfall was about to curse at them whenever she caught eye of the cameras following her every movement.
Good, at least there was some kind of protection besides these useless guards.
The king and queen were just settling into their seats when Amberfall landed in front of them. "Forgive me," she whispered.
King Rauffe's eyes widened as the sight of her.
Queen Iseut smiled kindly at her. "What can we do for you, Queen Amberfall?"
Amberfall bowed low as she sisters fluttered behind her. "We come here with not only gifts, but a warning." She looked the king and queen in the eye. "Nightstone is coming!"
The man closest to the king frowned. "King Rauffe, you really aren't going to believe the word of a fairy, are you?"
"Fairies cannot lie," King Rauffe said, holding his hand up. "She is also a queen and an ally."
The man who Amberfall now recognized as Duke Metody Honoraxe shook his head. "That may not be true about not being able to lie, but it doesn't stop them for bending the truth. Allies change sides all the time."
Purpleflash flew forward. "Please, let us show you our loyalty by giving your beautiful daughter our gifts. If you find our gifts fitting, then you will know that we speak the truth." Her voice was so small as she spoke the words.
The duke rolled his eyes. "Your Majesty, there have been rumours of Nightstone for years and, yet, no one has seen her. She lost the war and knows she's been beaten."
King Rauffe looked kindly down at the three fairies. "Nevertheless, let them see if they can pass the test."
"Oh, yes!" Purpleflash exclaimed.
Ambefall gave her sister a dark look, but Purpleflash just shook it off.
Honeylashes pulled her out her small wand and waved it over the princess. "To you, my little one, I give you the gift of song. May your beautiful voice bring joy to all of those who live in the kingdom for many, many years." Small green sparks flew out of the wand, landing on the princess, who giggled.
Purpleflash flew forward, her own pink wand gripped tightly in her hand. "Your Highness, I give you the gift of beauty. May your beauty allow you to see the truth and kindness in everyone." She waved her wand, allowing the sparks the dance over the princess in a wave of wonder.
King Rauffe and Queen Iseut smiled as they nodded to Amberfall.
Amberfall flew forward, gripping her blue wand. So far, her sisters had given the princess such wonderful gifts, but she just couldn't think of anything. If she messed this up, there would be no going back. The court had to believe her. They just had too, not only for their sakes, but all of fairy kind. The word of the fairies would be considered nothing more than the human word.
She looked up at the king and queen. "Can I have her name?" She mentally winced as the shaking of her own voice. "It will make the gift mean more if I could have it."
Queen Iseut leaned down next to Amberfall. "Her name is Jessimond," she whispered. "I will give you the honour of being the first to publically speak her name."
Ambefall nodded, staring down at Jessimond as she laid in her mother's arms.
"Well, well, well, what is this?"
The entire room turned just as the entry way filled with a shadow that extended out into the main room. Those closest to the shadow, stepped back, knocking into the people behind them.
"Are we having a party and didn't dare to invite me?" The shadow laughed. "I really am hoping that my invitation was just lost in the post."
"Nightstone," Duke Metody Honoraxe breathed.
The guards all pulled their guns, pointing then at Nightstone.
With one final laugh, the shadow slowly crept back toward the entryway, into the shape of a human. Ambefall's eyes widened as the wingless fairy started creeping toward them. She had heard the legends that Nightstone had lost her wings during a great battle after the Warynian Wars with the dark god, Astus, but did not actually believe it until now. Nightstone slowly walked forward, using a large tree-like staff that pounded on the floor like a death march. Her purple and black gown reminded Amberfall of the darkest time of night. Nightstone's hair was piled up on top of her head in bumps that looked like horns.
Purpleflash and Honeyflash ducked behind Ambefall as Nightstone stopped in front of the royal families.
The entire guard moved as one, with their guns pointed at Nightstone, who only laughed. "Really, is this the kind of greeting you give everyone?" She shook her head at the guards. "This is really what Trelia calls its' the finest men?" She looked the closest guard up and down. "They are not men. They are boys and boys can be defeated." She waved her arm, sending those closest to her flying back into the crowd. They did not get up.
King Rauffe got to his feet. "Be gone, Nightstone!" He pulled a gun out of his robe and pointed it at her. "You are not welcome here!"
Nightstone's laughter rang out over the screams as little black fairies began to circle the hall. "I am just here to give your daughter a gift!" She pointed her finger at the princess. "Sure, the princess will grow in song and beauty! She will beloved to everyone she meets, but it is time for this kingdom to be punished!"
A guard moved to Nightstone's side, his finger resting on the trigger.
"I don't think so!" Nightstone screamed as she forced the guard to turn his gun on himself. The guard's eyes widened as his finger began to apply more pressure. The explosion caused screams as the guard fell to the ground.
Nightstone shook her head as she turned back to the princess. "Now, where was I?" She paused. "Ah, yes! On the night of her sixteenth birthday, right before the sun sets, the princess will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die!"
Another guard tried to lunge for Nightstone, but with a clap of her hands, the fairy disappeared.
Queen Iseut got to her feet, holding Princess Jessimond even closer to her. "Get rid of the spinning wheels!"
The crowd made a great rush toward the doors.
"WAIT!" Amberfall screamed.
Everyone turned to look at the tiny fairy.
"I have not given my gift to the princess."
King Rauffe gave Amberfall a small smile. "Please, don't take this the wrong way, but I think we have had enough gifts for today."
Amberfall tugged on the queen's robe. "Please, it can only help."
The king and queen exchanged looks.
"Okay," King Rauffe sighed. "Just make it quick."
Amberfall flew up to Princess Jessimond. "I will not hurt you."
Princess Jessimond smiled and reached up for Amberfall.
Amberfall smiled warmly down at the baby. " While I cannot undo the curse that has been placed upon you, I can weaken its effects." She pulled out her blue wand and waved it above Princess Jessimond's head. "The curse will not kill you. You will still prick your finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel before the sun sets on your sixteenth birthday, but you will not die." She tried to control her shaking voice, but failed. "You will fall into a deep sleep until you are awoken by true's love kiss." Amberfall waved her wand and blue sparks hit the princess.
King Rauffe smiled.
"It's the best I can do," Amberfall whispered. "I'm sorry that I can't do more."
Queen Iseut knelt down to Amberfall's level. "I know, but it is still better than death. True love does exist and I have no doubt Jessimond will find true love."
Amberfall nodded. "I hope you are right for everyone's sake."