Faedlands: Draft of Chapter 1
The changing of seasons come and go as but a dream, We do not still feel the sun’s embracing warmth in the dead of winter nor do we huddle to keep warm under the fiery gaze of summer’s reign. But with the passing of each season comes new tales to be written, new works to be unveiled, but in a world where time is bound by the deepest of magicks, A new season is about to begin.
Welcome to the Faedlands, where our story begins.
A soft breeze billows through the canopy of the tolyran trees, their silken blue fronds swaying gently in response as if dancing in silent rhythm to an unheard song. Majestic white falcons leap forth from the branches and take flight into the vast, violet tinged skyline. Mountains in the distance are shrouded in an enveloping mist far beyond the reaches of the canopy. And far below, nestled within the heart of the forest itself, lies a small village of Fae, Creatures born from magical energies that have heralded in the stories of magic to and from realms beyond time and space, though no such tales have happened here in many passing of the cycle. For it is said, that once the seasons had stopped, the everlasting cycle that transcends life and death, also ceased to be.
But time alas moved forward through the actions and lives of the fae. While at first they remained fearful of this change, many soon came to accept it. And as time passed memories began to fade. No one remembers what it truly was that caused the change within the world, nor does it matter to them. But as the people of this village are about to learn,
A single change is often the very thing that changes it all.
“Give it back!” Vex yelled, lunging forward. A young male pixie gracefully lifted himself up into the air, Dodging Vex easily. “Then come get it.” The pixie sneered and raised his arm outward, dangling the basket of Golden eggs that had taken Vex all morning to collect upon one finger. Vex growled deep within his throat and shifted his eyes to one of the pixies followers, a small goblin that stared hungrily upwards toward the swaying basket. As fast as he could manage Vex rushed forward a few steps, hoping the catch the pixie off guard, swung sideways, and leaped for the Goblin, hoping to use its well being as leverage in return for his delivery. Its attention now frozen in a mix of horror and surprise, the Goblin braced for the impact as Vex reached forward to pull him downward by the small patch of messy moss green hair that lined its scaly green skin. But before he could reach his target a sharp pain shot through his side and branched out rapidly, paralyzing him from within. He slammed headfirst into the Goblin and they both tumbled for several feet, finally landing sprawled out against the side of a nearby shed. Vex painfully pulled himself up and was the first to get to his feet. He glanced over towards the goblin to see the creature still grasping, trying to collect the stars that he was seeing flutter before his eyes. Movement drew Vex back to the Pixie whose fingers crackled with the sound of spent electricity. His wings flickered with branches of electricity flowing throughout the thin membrane. Vex began to take a step forward, trying to shake the feeling of the remnant electricity coursing through him. The Pixie landed gracefully upon the ground, still holding the basket upon his fingertip as it rocked gently. “Nice try, Freak!”
The words cut deep within Vex, although he cared less about what this creature thought or anyone else in the village for that matter, He also knew in his heart that he didn’t belong, and everyone had made that clear from day one. As a Fae without an affinity for magic, he was branded an outcast and was only welcome in the village because of his usefulness in doing the jobs that no one else wanted.
With clenched fists he stared defiantly ahead. Forcing himself to remain still even as the remnant electricity caused his muscles to ache and his body to tremble. He was not going to stand down to a challenge. If he lacked magic, he would make up for it in speed and strength. Anticipating what was to come next, the Pixie hurled the basket forward through the air, leaping back and sending out a blast of electrical energy that disintegrated it on contact, spraying the remains of the eggs in every direction. Vex raised his hand to shield himself but wasn’t quick enough as the egg splattered all along the side of his face and down his side, Its metallic innards dripping from his chin.
The pixie didn’t make it out unscathed however, by focusing all of his energy into the blast the release of energy had sent him forcibly backwards, landing flat on his back and gasping for breath. Vex felt the eyes of the villagers upon him as the scene had broken the tranquility of the small village. Many looked on, a few even shaking their heads at Vex before heading inside. But no one stopped to ask if he was alright. Several creatures moved forward to help the Pixie to his feet. He had only arrived a few days ago and no one even knew his name and yet people gathered to help him and invite him into their homes, just because he held power over the storms, Electricity and Wind magic that as Vex had just learned was quite powerful. But Vex received no such help. He stood there alone, covered in dirt and egg as the villagers helped the pixie back to one of the inns and returned to their lives without a second thought. Vex felt the tears begin to well up in his eyes but quickly wiped them away, replacing them with mud and yolk that had become sticky in the heat. He needed to get home he thought to himself. Even that thought brought him no comfort. The only reason he had anywhere to call home in the first place was because of his twin sister Reia, A beautiful water sprite with a powerful gift and a gentle hand. She had been the only one to ever help Vex try and learn to use magic. She was the only one who never turned their back on him.
As Vex walked back to his small home he could hear Reia coming up behind him. His head down, he kept walking, knowing that she would have heard about the event already. “Vex!” She called after him and he took several more steps before he finally stopped and turned to face her, his eyes scanning the ground, unable to meet hers. She approached him slowly and took in the ragged sight of him. His dark blue hair was ragged and caked with egg, his shirt frayed at the shoulder and a large scorched hole marred it’s side, as well as the spider web like pattern of burnt skin underneath. When he finally looked up, his deep violet eyes were filled with pain that made her heart hurt for him. She reached out to touch the side of his face but he quickly turned away and began walking again. “Please, don’t… You wouldn’t want someone to see you being nice to me.”
He looked back and saw the damage his words had brought. Her Lavender eyes shimmered, holding back tears. He had always hated to hurt her, after all she had done for him. Especially since his words were a lie. She didn’t care who saw them together, she treated him like he was her brother and didn’t care who saw while he was the one that stayed away, not wanting people to judge her just because they couldn’t stand him. He turned around and looked at her regret and sadness showing sincerely upon his face. She walked in closer to him and he reached forward to embrace her but quickly stopped. “What’s wrong?” She asked. He looked down at his clothing and held up his hands, still stained with dirt and egg. “I don’t want to…” She walked forward and wrapped her arms around him, Her sky blue hair sticking to the side of his face as he felt all the more uncomfortable. She released him and took a step back, knowing that he hated people being in his personal space. She smiled at him encouragingly. “So, what happened today with the new kid?” Vex sighed and turned and they began walking again.
“I was waiting for that.” Reia laughed softly and pressed further. “Do you want me to talk with him?” She asked in her best overprotective tone. Vex held his breath for a moment so that he could think of a response that wouldn’t hurt her feelings. “I’m used to people like him, don’t worry about me.” She hurried ahead of him and stopped. “I’m your sister; it’s my job to worry about you.” Vex rolled his eyes and continued on.
“I need to change and run back over to the farm to collect more eggs. The new guy took mine and broke them all.” Reia giggled. “And let me guess, you couldn’t say please give them to me?” Vex let out an irritated sigh, “Do you really think that would have worked…” Reia shrugged and dropped the subject. “He seems nice enough to me, there has to be a reason that he did what he did.”
Nice? The words brought flashes of his day and the anger that accompanied them. “Of course he’s nice to you. You’re not a freak like me! You can use magic and don’t have to do the things that everyone else is too lazy to!” Reia closed her eyes and thought for a moment. “Vex?” He turned around and kicked at a rock that was along the path. “I…I’m sorry, just had a rough day ya know? I’m tired and sore and have to hurry and get the stupid eggs before Ms. Craggwhistle decides to send me to a shop.” Reia, clearly confused, didn’t know how to respond to the odd comment. “Why would she send you to a shop?” Realizing that the odd faery’s threat didn’t make any sense Vex laughed at himself and smiled at Reia, picking up the small rock he was kicking at and throwing it far into the woods. “I dunno, maybe she thinks she can send me in to be fixed or something.” Reia gave him a warning glare for talking badly of himself before continuing. “Well, not today, when I heard what happened I sent someone to collect and deliver the eggs for you.” Vex would normally have been irritated by this but today it came as a relief. “Who’d you get to do that?” Reia smiled innocently. “The new guy.”
Vex didn’t know whether to be upset or laugh. “Why ask me if you needed to talk to him if you already did?” She gave him a knowing look. “Because you would have said not to and that goes against my sisterly duties to protect said…You” She made a gesture with her finger pointing to Vex. He smiled and shook his head as he turned back toward the road. “Thanks, sis.” She smiled. “Anytime, But right now we have to get to class.” Vex looked around. “Is it that late already?” Reia turned and began to walk back down the path towards the village. “Yep.”
Vex took his time walking toward the schoolhouse once it was in sight, trying to figure out if the rest of the students had left yet. Reia had talked the headmistress into holding special classes after the rest had left for Vex and herself so that Vex could have a fair chance to learn without problems arising from other students. He had been shocked that the headmistress agreed to such a proposal and had actually treated Vex as a real student despite his obvious problems within the village.
“Good evening Headmistress.” Vex said without making eye contact as he walked through the heavy timber doors and scouted on ahead to make sure the room was empty. The Headmistress was a beautiful Foxmaiden who had been found injured in the woods a short time after Vex and Reia had arrived in the village. Her golden-red hair flowed freely down her back, and her golden eyes held a deep wisdom, making Vex feel like if he looked at her she would be able to read his soul. So eye contact was generally out of the question. Reia and the Headmistress exchanged shrugs as Vex, satisfied of his position, returned to the front of the room. The inside of the school was dark, lit by candlelight and a small pyre burning in the center of the room. Its dark stone walls plastered with various works of art from students and former students that had always impressed Vex. The dome overhead that served as the ceiling had three large uncovered ports for the smoke to vent out of but magical seals kept the elements from coming in.
Vex took a seat next to the fire and Reia walked over to join him. Headmistress Lierya walked over to a cabinet on the far wall and removed a small amount of cloth, returning she handed it to Vex who eyed it suspiciously. “Place it upon your wound; it shall heal within the next passing.” Vex looked down to where the hole in his shirt revealed the burns and nodded graciously before tucking the cloth inside. “ I wanted to take a break from our usual lessons as I think it is time for you to learn of our history.” Vex raised an eyebrow at the statement. “You mean…Where we come from?” Lierya thought for a moment and spoke carefully. “Yes, if that is where you would like to begin, although I meant the history of our people as we remember it.” Vex stared off into the fire as his mind began to wander. A moment of silence passed before Reia spoke. “I believe that this will be a valuable learning experience, thank you for giving us the honor Headmistress.” She nudged Vex gently with her elbow, prodding him to speak up.
“I…I want to know where I come from, I want to know why I’m like this…” He looked up from the fire, his violet eyes dark and pleading for answers.
Reia felt her chest tighten at his admission and turned to the headmistress who looked somewhat shaken by his words. Lierya looked around the room, finally returning to look back to Vex who sat quietly, patiently waiting for a response. “That is a piece of knowledge that may take some time to acquire; I will commune with the stone and return an answer to you at our next lesson.”Vex was confused at the statement. “Commune with a rock?” Something dark passed through Lieyra’s eyes as she thought of a way to explain it to Vex. “It’s something that you will learn about soon enough in our lessons but let’s just say that it’s like a bank for your memories. I stored many of my own personal memories within the stone so that I would not forget them as time passed on. I will look through these memories and see if I can answer your question.” Vex smiled meekly and nodded, not wanting to get his hopes up lest he be let down once again.
Headmistress Lierya looked to Reia. “Since Vex would like to postpone our studies for this lesson, how are your studies progressing?” Reia smiled nervously, “I am doing well, Headmistress.” She looked around the room glancing at this and that before she narrowed her eyes upon a goblet sitting atop one of the study desks. Holding her hand out it began to move across the table before the water held inside lifted itself forth and took the shape of a beautiful swan. Reia lowered her hand slowly as her lavender eyes began to glow in the dim light. The water swan began to move as if it were alive and floated about the room as if it were flying. Clearly impressed, Lierya moved to touch the living water which was now forming the image of several butterflies.
Vex looked away, jealousy and envy beginning to burn within his stomach. Reia sensed it and the butterflies instantly reverted back to normal water, proceeding to pour downwards onto the headmistress. Reia, realizing what had happened, jumped up and ran for a towel to dry her off, apologizing with every step that she took. Lierya stood quietly with her eyes closed as her fox tail swung from side to side. Vex knew that this was his fault and waited for the consequences to come, but when she opened her eyes it was not anger that Vex saw but pity. “You are your sister’s weakness Vex, Just because you were born with the issues that you face, you must find a way to bear them and be her strength as well.”
Vex couldn’t respond to the comment, a deep ping within his heart told him that it was something he had already known. But no matter how strong he had become, No one would accept him fully, even the headmistress who was kind still pushed for him to learn the arts of magic that he couldn’t receive. The only one who ever accepted him for who he is was Reia, and he was just holding her back. Lierya toweled herself off and looked over to where Reia was still holding several towels and gave her a look that conveyed that she was alright. “Reia, Vex, I have much that I need to finish before the cycle is over, your progress is simply amazing my dear Reia, you are becoming more controlled with each new cycle. Please feel free to take this time to work on your brother’s affinity training and we will speak more next lesson.” Reia bowed graciously as Vex mumbled under his breath and did the same. Lierya walked them to the door and opened it for them.
The sun still hung high in the sky and it took Vex a moment for his eyes to adjust to the light. Reia stepped forward, basking in the warmth. “I heard once that long ago, the sun would fall below the mountains and that the land would become dark for half a cycle.” Reia closed her eyes as she spoke, imagining the thought of the world without light. Vex squinted his eyes and looked upward and then shrugged as his gaze returned to the ground below. “I don’t know, sounds like something someone made up to scare us.” Reia opened her eyes and looked toward Vex who was walking down the path heading out of the village.
“Where are you going?” she called after him. Vex stopped but didn’t turn around. “I’m sorry, I’m not up for studies right now, I just want to go to sleep so I can find out who I am.” Reia’s wings unfolded from the back of her dress and she fluttered over to where Vex was standing. Vex always loved the way Reia’s wings shimmered in the sunlight, like tiny crystalline shards of ice woven together in a shape similar to that of a butterflies wings. Vex had always wondered what his wings would look like if he ever got them. But the thought faded as his mind returned to his next lesson. “You already know who you are Vex, no matter what you find out nothing will change that.” Although it was meant to be comforting a swell of anger rushed through him. “I’m tired, I’ll see you later and we can do our studies before school.” Reia begrudgingly accepted that offer and returned to the village looking back several times as Vex walked alone down the dirt path leading to his home, letting a small glimmer of hope shine for a moment within his heart. “If I can understand where I came from, maybe I will understand how to change it.”
Reia watched as Vex disappeared from view before turning back toward the village. She took in a long breath and spoke quietly into the shadows of the canopy that covered the path. “I know that you’re here, please come out.” She held back her feelings of vulnerability as she heard a slow rustle from the brush to her side, a slight breeze brushing the side of her face as it swirled up from her ankles rose upward, spiraling gently against her form. Finally, the storm pixie stepped out into view.
“How’d you know I was there?” He asked quietly, his eyebrow rising in curiosity. His voice held a deep, calming tone despite his thin, youthful appearance. Reia could sense the immense power that he contained within him and even though she had never spoken to him before this morning, his presence in the village had made her uncomfortable since he had arrived.
“I can sense your aura.” She said softly. His expression shifted from curious to almost disappointed by her response. “I see.” He said as he took a few steps closer to her, the shafts of light through the trees illuminating his blue-gray skin. Reia looked directly at him as he stopped a few feet in front of her. He was quite attractive she thought to herself. His skin held the color of rainclouds and his eyes were the color of ice. His hair glistened in the light, a mass a swirling blue and silver spikes. But his expression was one of pain, hidden deep below the surface. It made her want to reach out to him and hold him close, a feeling that she had only felt for Vex until this moment. Reia pushed aside that thought and instead focused on the morning, where this same man had decided to humiliate her loving brother for a reason that Reia could not even fathom. No matter how much pain Vex went through he would never take his anger out on another like this pixie did.
“Why were you following us?” She said bluntly. The pixie obviously caught the edge that her quiet, innocent voice had pushed forth. His stomach turned as he tried to find what he wanted to say. “I…Listen, I’m not what you must think of me.” Reia was rarely angered, but when it came to someone treating her brother in such a hurtful manner her wrath could rip the world apart to find the one who hurt him, so this creatures words only enflamed the anger and confusion she was already holding within. “What would you have me believe? That you’re not a bully? or that you didn’t injure my brother just for fun?” This floored the pixie, his eyes began to darken and he clenched his fists together at his sides. “ I was just… I was trying to help him… I wasn’t trying to hurt him.” Reia’s eyes began to change, swirling from their light pastel to a deep violet that matched Vex’s normal shade.
The pixie tried to take a step back but his footing was lost. He looked down in panic to see water rising through cracks in the dirt, swirling into mud and encasing his feet, binding him in place. He thought for a moment about using his powers to flee but decided that it wouldn’t help the situation. “Please, give me a chance to explain.” His eyes pleaded with her and a wave of guilt for letting her anger overcome her so easily distracted her from taking this any further. She released a breath and let her body and mind relax, her mind moving back to a more tranquil state.
“You’ve really changed.” The young pixie said as he moved to sit down upon a stump to clean the mud from his feet. “Excuse me?” Reia questioned, confused by the meaning of the comment. The pixie’s face froze as he realized what he had said. Reia saw the reaction; dozens of questions began to flow into her mind. She had never even considered that she may have had a life before the one she was living now, not until Vex had asked about it just moments ago. She walked close to the young man who was staring up at her, waiting for what seemed like any sign of recognition that his words may have brought about.
“Who are you?” She asked quietly as she moved to sit beside him. He looked to the ground for a while before turning to look into her eyes. Eyes that he feared he would never see again. “My name is Tirys, We used to know each other.” A sadness washed over his face as his eyes slid back to the ground. There was obviously more to this then what he was willing to reveal. “Tirys...” She closed her eyes and concentrated on the name but it didn’t sound at all familiar. She looked back at him and noticed tears beginning to well up in his eyes but he quickly wiped them away and stood up. Reia knew somewhere in her heart that this man was telling her the truth. “Why don’t I remember you?” She said, as gently as she could manage.
Tirys pulled a small stone from within the pocket of his gray tunic and looked at it for a few minutes. “When I was born, I found this stone attached to a ribbon lying in the grass not far from me. When I touched it, I was able to remember everything that had ever happened to me.” Reia stood and walked over to where Tirys was holding out the small stone. It looked as if it had at one time been a piece of something much larger. Its surface was of polished blue marble and glowing runes of silver light pulsed along its edges. She reached out to touch it but Tirys quickly pulled away and returned it to his pocket. “I’m sorry, I don’t know what would happen if you touched it. I really don’t want to hurt anyone.”
Reia nodded to him and looked back down the road that led to Vex’s home. “I feel like I should believe you but please give me some time to take in what you have said.” Tirys walked slowly to her side and nodded. “I want to apologize to your brother; I never meant to hurt him. I thought… I thought that if I could make him angry enough it would compel him to use his powers against me.” Reia moved away from him and stared at him questioningly but he remained still, looking down the road. “I thought… Well…Anger is a strong emotion, it gives us strength when we are weak, and lets us do things that we would surely not do otherwise… But when he went after an innocent to use as a shield… I lost my focus… I am to fault for his injuries.”
Reia waited for him to continue, His voice held back the pain of experience. She believed him, but she wondered whether Vex would understand. “You don’t have to believe me, but when I came to this village… I saw you and hoped that you would remember as I have, When it was apparent that you didn’t I decided to leave you be.” He looked over towards her, His eyes dark and haunted as if his words were memories playing right beneath the surface. “On the day I was to leave I saw you and Vex in the forest training. I felt bad that he was trying so hard, and I saw the faith that you had in him… I don’t have anyone anymore, so I decided that I would try to help him because it’s what you wanted. You may not understand this right now but in our past life, you helped me… You gave me a gift that I could never repay, and whether you remember or not, I want to try and do the same for you.
Reia felt a sharp pain in her chest at his sincerity. Tears filled her eyes and before she could help herself she walked over and wrapped her arms around him, the feel of him was warm against her skin. She could feel the energy coursing through him just under his marbled skin. But as he wrapped his arms around her it triggered something within her, Something powerful but foreign, and she pulled back quickly, her head aching and her body shaking. Tirys froze in place, unsure of what to do. He wanted to rush to her but was afraid that maybe he had done something without meaning to. He still wasn’t fully in control of his old powers.
Reia finally regained her composure and looked over to where Tirys stood; fear overtaking her at what this creature was doing to her. She couldn’t let herself believe him fully, even if they had known each other before. “I’m not the person you remember, I have a life here and I don’t know you. Thank you for letting me know this but please, you have a chance at a new life as well and no matter what it is I may have done for you in the past that person isn’t me, you don’t owe me anything.” Tirys wanted to cry out, to somehow make her remember what they had gone through, The war had taken everything from him and the person who had saved his life when everything was lost didn’t want anything to do with him… But he knew in his heart that she was right. She was a different person now, with a different life, and he would not take that from her. “I’m really sorry Reia; I will bother you no longer.
Tirys began to walk down the path back toward the village, taking one look back at Reia who had begun to weep. He forced himself to keep walking, knowing that whatever had been sparked by their embrace would fade with time. Every step that he took felt heavier then the last, his chest tightened and his heart throbbed in his head as his own memories overtook him. Just as he reached the gate to the village he heard footsteps coming up behind him. He turned and his heart froze in his chest at the sight of Reia running up to him. “Please do not leave because of me, I was thinking… If you think you can help Vex, please stay and help him. I would deeply appreciate it.” She smiled at him but he could see that she spoke out of guilt and he felt even worse. “Plus, you kind of owe him for this morning.” Tirys chuckled and put his fingers to his temples. “Yeah, I guess I do.” Reia looked around, making sure that no one else could hear what she was about to say. “Tirys, you said you knew me… Did you also know Vex?” Tirys felt his throat closing up on a question he thought he’d never have to answer. Reia saw the look on his face and became worried. “Tirys?” She asked. He forced himself to look up into her eyes.
“He never existed in our time.”
© 2012 Ryan A. Smith