Glorielle skipped into the room, petal-pink wings fluttering behind her as she called out in her young, sweet voice. “Dame Imraldera?”
The lady turned to small child, placing a quieting finger to her lips. Glorielle’s already large blue eyes grew wider when she saw a group of other Faeries gathered around someone lying on a bed. She tucked her light hair behind one ear and cocked her head. “Who’s that?”
Imraldera smiled gently. “He is the prince of Parumvir, and his name is Felix.”
“Oh.” A mortal boy. She had never seen a mortal before, and couldn‘t contain her curiosity. Tip-toeing closer as the Faeries moved away, she asked, “Why is he hurt?”
“He was attacked by a dragon.”
Even young as she be, Glorielle knew how dangerous it was to have dragon poison in you. Kneeling beside the boy’s bed and peering curiously into his face, she asked. “Will he live?”
“ … I think so.”
The boy suddenly groaned, and Dame Imraldera stepped closer. “You are awake.”
The boy grimaced, before his eyes focused on the lady standing over him. “Who are you?”
“I am Dame Imraldera; my Prince brought you here and asked me to care for you.”
“And I’m Glorielle,” the young faerie brightly said. She became thoroughly confused when the prince ignored her and continued to speak with Imraldera.
“Your what? Where is here? What’s happened?” His voice tightened with panic “I … where am I?”
Glorielle perched a hand on her hip, and said with childish innocence. “He doesn’t have very nice manners.”
One of the Faeries, Celetta by name, leaned closer. “He can’t hear you, love. He can’t hear or see any of us Faeries.”
“Because he’s a mortal, Glori.”
“Oh … It’s sad that he can’t hear us. I could cheer him up!”
Glorielle pitied the boy, who looked like he was trying not to cry as he said. “My father? Una?”
Dame Imraldera gestured for someone to bring her a wet cloth. “My Prince will care for them, child. Sleep now.”
Glorielle quickly grabbed the needed object and handed it to Imraldera, who gently touched it to the boy’s eyelids, and he sank into sleep.
“Who’s Una?” She asked, bouncing on the balls of her feet as she spoke. She never could sit still.
“His sister, the princess.”
“He’s worried for her.” With a nod of her head, she made it a statement instead of a question.
“I wouldn’t presume otherwise.”
“When will he hear me?” Glorielle wanted to meet the mortal, this strange prince who looked nothing like her prince.
“He won’t ever hear you, love.” Imraldera said, a soft smile playing on her lips.
“Oh.” Disappointment lingered on her face, before she brightened and fluttered into the lower boughs of the tree, where a Faerie named Elwind was perched. “Then I guess I’ll just talk to you!”
Imraldera shook her head and silently laughed as the cheerful child peppered the Faerie with question about the mortal boy.
* * * *
Glorielle visited the sick room many times after that, never certain herself if she came to see the mortal prince, or talk with Imraldera and the Faeries. But today she came to tell a story.
“And then!” She crowed in her best theatric voice, clinging the tree with one hand as she precariously perched on a branch. “The princess shouted in fear, and tumbled down the cliff, and was never seen again!”
With a dramatic swoon, she tumbled down from the tree and collapsed in a heap into Dame Imraldera’s arms.
Imraldera couldn’t help it. She laughed. Glorielle looked up at her with a pout on her face, choosing to ignore the other Faeries whom she knew were hiding smiles. “But it wasn’t supposed to be funny!”
“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to laugh,” the woman said, as Glorielle eased out of her arms. “You tell a very good story.”
That seemed to make the child happy, “I do, don’t I?”
Whirling in a circle, the faerie girl’s fingers brushed the top of a water pitcher, and would have sent it crashing to the ground if Dame Imraldera hadn’t leapt up and caught it. Glorielle blushed and her wings trembled with embarrassment, “Sorry.”
“No harm done,” Imraldera placed the pitcher back where it was, “but we don’t want to wake him. Why don’t you play quietly for awhile?”
* * * *
Glorielle continued her frequent visits, it was fun to be Dame Imraldera‘s center of attention while the Faeries cared for the strange mortal boy Felix. But in the back of her mind, she knew that Felix would wake someday soon, and things would change.
She just didn’t expect it to be today.
Skipping ahead of Dame Imraldera, she parted the ivy so that the woman could step in, and quickly followed behind her. But as soon as she slipped into the room, she noticed something was wrong.
Felix wasn’t in his bed. He was standing by the window, and his attendants lingered by the tree. Imraldera’s voice held surprise when she said, “Your fever has broken at last.”
Glorielle scampered up the tree and perched on a branch, watching the boy with curious eyes as Dame Imraldera offered him water. She couldn’t help but giggle when Felix asked if the water would do anything to him. And neither could Imraldera, or perhaps the young girl’s laughter was just contagious.
The boy accepted the water and drank it quickly, before handing the silver bowl back to Dame Imraldera and asking a question. “Are you a Faerie?”
Glorielle’s pursed her lips as she retorted. “Of course she’s not, silly boy!”
Imraldera sent the girl a gentle warning look, but shook her head at Felix. “Mortals cannot see Faeries within the Wood.”
“I can see you.” He said.
“But you cannot see the Faerie attendants around you.”
Glorielle brightly counted the Faeries on her fingers. “Celetta, Elwind, Lyra, Semara, Isiro, and me!” Her face suddenly fell serious, and she cocked her head as Felix glanced quickly over his shoulder. His eyes seemed to stare right where she sat. “Can he really not see me?”
Semara placed an arm around the girl’s shoulders and gave her a gentle squeeze. “He really can’t, darling.”
Felix turned back to Imraldera and stated. “Then you are not a Faerie. But can you see them?”
Dame Imraldera’s eyes strayed back to Glorielle, which made the girl giggle. “I can.”
“Then you’re not mortal?”
She smiled, and Glorielle couldn’t tell if she was smiling because of her or Felix. The young Faerie fluttered to her feet and daintily walked across the branches of the trees as Imraldera checked the Prince’s wounds.
Dangling her feet of the branch in a bored way, she asked, “Imraldera, I wish I could tell him a story. I’m sure he would love my stories.”
Imraldera paid the tiny girl no heed as she tended to the prince. Glorielle sighed and decided that she was quite bored. Bounced off the branch, she fluttered down to the unsuspecting Faerie below her. Celetta caught her in ready arms, planting a quick kiss on the girl’s forehead before setting her on the ground. Glorielle giggled, then waved a goodbye and fluttered through the ivy.
* * * *
The next morning, Glorielle was back in the Haven and humming to herself as she skipped around the room. Singing in her clear voice, she amused Imraldera as she tended to her patient.
Beyond the Final waters falling
The Song of Spheres recalling
You whom I chose to save
We can never be tore apart
One of the attendants, Isiro, looked affectionately at the sunny girl, who was scaling the tree to reach the utmost branches. “For how much you sing, little one, you might as well be a bird.”
Glorielle grinned down at him, teetering precariously where she stood. “I could be a bird.”
“Could you now?”
“I could, I’m sure of it!”
Imraldera watched the tiny fairy pace the branch, trying to think of a way to prove Isiro right.
Felix’s voice suddenly echoed in the room. “What’s that look for?”
“What look?” Imraldera blinked and turned away from the Faeries and back to the prince.
“That faraway, no-longer-paying-attention-to-what-you’re-doing look. Like you were suddenly a thousand miles away. “
“No, no! I am very much present.”
“Good, because you’re got a knife in your hand.” Felix added, “What’s wrong?”
“I was listening, that’s all.”
“To thin air?”
She laughed, and went back to work. “Remember, I can see and hear what you cannot, Prince Felix.”
Glorielle pouted as she popped onto a lower branch, blocking out Imraldera’s conversation with the mortal prince as she replied to Isiro. “Okay, maybe I can’t be a bird. But I can be a princess! I make a lovely princess.”
Lyra laughed, “That you do, Glorielle. That you do.”
Only moments later, and well into the middle of Glorielle’s newest act, a tall Faerie rushed into the room. His strong face was filled with urgency. Dame Imraldera turned to him, facing away from the boy that stood on the other side of the room.
“Chikato? Is something wrong?”
The broad-shouldered fairy nodded gravely. “The boy’s father, Fidel. He has just been taken by the Dragon.”
Glorielle paused, one hand hanging onto the tree as she prepared for her deathly fall. As Lyra reached a helpful hand to push the girl back onto the branch, the child whispered. “The Dragon?”
Imraldera suppressed a gasp, but she couldn’t say a word with Felix standing nearby. Chikato seemed to see her questions in her eyes.
“He’s alive. But …” Chikato shook his head. “Do not worry. Our prince will save him.”
Imraldera didn’t make a sound, but her furrowed brow and worried eyes spoke in great measures. “Felix?” She called, urgency ringing in her tone. “Felix, I’ve just received word of your father.”
The boy whirled away from the window, and Glorielle darted up higher into the tree as Felix’s hand reached to grasp it where she had perched moments ago. The sudden news seemed to startle him.
“What?” He demanded.
“He has been taken. By the … the Dragon.”
Glorielle crept lower as Felix sank to the ground. “Is Felix all right?”
Semara opened her arms for the normally chirpy fairy girl to jump into. “He’ll be fine. He’s just relieved … and worried.”
“At the same time?” Glorielle was puzzled.
The prince suddenly snapped. “You must let me go.”
Imraldera’s eyes radiated pity. “Felix, I-”
“You must. He’s my father!” Glorielle jumped as the boy slammed his fist into the ground. “You cannot make me sit here a minute longer when my father’s life is in danger!”
“Felix, there is nothing you can-”
“Don’t tell me that, he’s my father. That counts for something. I can help; I know I can.”
Dame Imraldera seemed to be slightly fazed. “The Prince will-”
“Aethelbald isn’t here.” Felix took a deep breath. “When was the last time you heard from your master? Honestly.”
Imraldera bowed her head. “Not in a long time.”
Glorielle looked up into Semara’s face as the Faerie lady put her down. Speaking quietly as Imraldera tried to explain the effects of the poison to Felix, she asked. “But Prince Aethelbald is coming back, isn’t he? So why does it matter?”
Semara looked to Elwind, who shrugged. “To him … it does.”
“Oh.” Glorielle looked down thoughtfully, but her train of thought was broken when Felix’s voice suddenly changed from angered to hopeful.
“But you will let me go?”
Glorielle was surprised. “You’re going to let him go?”
Imraldera chose to ignore the fairy, instead responding to the boy. “I will.”
The prince leapt up, pounding the fist with his air, before grabbing the very startled Imraldera in his arms and spinning her so that her tunic and flowing trousers swirled.
Glorielle giggled and clapped her hands as she bounced merrily. “Oh Imraldera, oh Imraldera!”
Felix set the lady down and smartly kissed her cheek. “You will see,” he said, excitement in his eyes, “I’ll save him, I truly will. And I’ll come back before the year is out, fit as anything, and you can do whatever you need to do!”
Glorielle skipped in circles around the prince, her petal-like wings waving happily, though he couldn’t see her. Shouting into thin air, he called. “Attendants! Invisibles! Can you get me some real clothes? Something other than this nightshirt! And boots and things. And a sword! Don’t forget a sword! A sharp one!”
Glorielle froze, one foot in the air. “ … did he just talk to us?”
Semara laughed. “Yes, but he doesn’t know who is here. But still, we best follow his wishes. Come little one, you can help.”
Glorielle sang happily as she left the room with the others.
Beyond the Final Waters falling
The Song of Spheres recalling
You whom I chose to save
We can never be torn apart
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