The Rise of the Space Faerie: Discovery - Part Two
For a moment Laimane stood in the entrance of the courtyard,
getting her bearings and waiting for something to happen; for disaster to strike.
Every muscle in her body was tensed; her eyes scanned the shadowy courtyard for
movement. When nothing happened, she took another step forward. Still, nothing.
She wasn't going to play this game any longer.
Her strides long and purposeful and her leather sandals smacking against the
stone ground beneath her, Laimane confidently approached the cradle.
Peering in, she could see that the child had
not been well cared for. A small form lay huddled under a thin blanket, sopping
wet from the rain. The child, hidden from Laimane's view by the blanket that
covered it, was shivering. It was a miracle that she had neither frozen to death
nor smothered herself.
Cautiously, but with great tenderness, Laimane
scooped the child into her arms and pulled the blanket back from its face. What
she saw left her speechless.
She was looking at the most beautiful girl faerie
child she had ever seen. Her skin was a rich, dark shade the color of bronze
that seemed to glitter under the light of the moon. Two small and shrunken pairs
of wings, a light, washed-out blue color, sprouted from her back. She had hair
the color of twilight, flecked with silver and cut so that it brushed her cheeks,
framing her long face and large eyes. But those eyes! Laimane was mesmerized
as she gazed into the child's eyes; eyes that were so deep she felt as though
she was falling and would never hit bottom. Trying to understand them was like
trying to see the bottom of a dark well, the harder she struggled to find and
comprehend, the more lost she found herself. And their color…blood red, so bright
they seemed to burn with their own fire.
Even in Laimane's arms, huddled against her body,
the small faerie was shivering uncontrollably. Laimane held her closer, hoping
to warm her, and softly peeled the sodden blanket off of her skin, checking
her body for any sign of injury.
Again, Laimane found herself stunned. The child
was dressed in a ragged tunic that barely fell to her knees, exposing her calves
to the elements; it was no wonder she was shivering so much. But it was not
the poor state of her clothing that caught Laimane's eye, but her legs.
Laimane couldn't get her mind around them. Were
they translucent? Taking care to keep the girl securely huddled close to her;
Laimane lifted a hand and placed it behind the child's legs. No, she couldn't
see it. For a moment she hesitated and then, feeling almost silly, brushed her
hand along one of the legs. Yes, it was solid.
Laimane felt as though she held a small piece
of the night sky, for the girl's legs looked just like that: as though they
belonged to the sky above their heads, and not to the sad, skin-soaked child
that lay in her arms. The girl's legs glowed; they were a strange, deceptively
translucent color, a dark shade of blue that echoed the sky at its darkest.
They were dotted with large, glowing orbs of light; stars Laimane couldn't help
but think, and the star-like orbs were constantly, albeit slowly, rotating and
moving in an indistinguishable orbit across the faerie's legs.
Wrapping the girl in her blankets once again,
she took time to think about, and marvel at, the strange child she had discovered.
She wasn't sure, thinking back upon her experience, how long she stood there,
pondering the young faerie that lay in her arms. Her instinct, though it had
faded once she had reached the cradle, still pulsed through her veins, filling
her with knowledge she would not otherwise have. She is powerful…more powerful
than you can imagine…
And then a second flood of knowledge hit her
simultaneously with a strong gust of wind; its might and clarity far stronger
than the first.
Laimane barely had a chance to haphazardly deposit
the child back in her cradle before she found herself on the ground, lost in
the images that flashed before her fluttering eyes. She found herself gasping
for air like a fish freshly dragged from the sea; helpless to ignore the choppy
images that presented themselves to her, spelling out a dark and terrible fate
she could not tear her eyes from. Completely vulnerable, she lay kneeling on
the hard tiles, her legs buzzing, almost numb from the cold, her long auburn
hair writhing in the bitter wind. Every inch of her body seemed to be in pain,
and she found herself grateful for it; her aching limbs were some of the very
few things she could still sense from her present surroundings, along with her
frigid body, and the sudden wailing of the faerie child. She had no knowledge
of how long she endured it; how long she was forced to watch the wretched scene
before her, a grip like iron forcing her eyes to watch, even as they filled
to their brims with soft, pitying tears.
Finally the last image slid past her eyes and,
without warning, disappeared. For a few minutes Laimane found herself unable
to move, and instead was forced to lay on the tiles of the dark courtyard, spread-eagled
and trembling. Finally, now fully aware of the pain her position was causing
her, she found enough strength in her legs to stand, leaning on the cradle for
support. The child's wailing, which had persisted through the end of her vision,
stopped suddenly as Laimane laid her hand on the girl's cradle. Turning, she
again found herself compelled to simply look at the young faerie, who lay staring
at her from her cradle.
Laimane studied the child, pondering what she
had seen. Twice before her instinct had provided her with a glimpse of the future,
though neither of the incidents had shown her own fate as clearly as this one.
Many things had passed through her mind; the future of the child, the deeds
she had to perform. And just as clear to Laimane had been her own duty…and the
consequences that came with it.
As she stood there, studying the beautiful faerie,
Laimane thought she could hear a voice in her: "You have a choice…This is no
one's decision but your own…"
Laimane frowned as she attempted to identify
the voice. It was right, she was by no means bound to care for the child, and
yet for some reason her instinct now filled her with a sense of duty, and great
"No!" the voice exclaimed, as her instinct pulsed
again. "What makes you think she is your responsibility? Yes, her future is
already laid before her, both great and terrible. But why must you get involved?
There are others who could raise her…Your own future is not set in stone. Too
long you have risked your life for causes too large for you to even comprehend.
It is time to back away. Your job is finished here."
Displeasure surged through her as these thoughts
came, unbidden, to haunt her. She recognized the voice, even though she had
not heard it in years, and the thought of its owner saying such things caused
her blood to boil. Defiance and necessity flowed through her more powerfully
than ever, and, her head raised and her mind made up, Laimane neatly pulled
off her thick cloak that had been draped over her shoulders and wrapped it around
the child as she removed her from her from the eerie cradle, illuminated by
"Laimane! " The voice came again, strained and
obviously horrified. "Please don't, Laimane. For your own sake! If you take
this child there is no turning back."
Laimane was momentarily startled by the obvious
fear and pleading in the voice. The faerie it belonged to was not one to plead;
she was far too proud and self-assured for that. Her words haunted Laimane's
mind, pulsing cold fear through her bloodstream like a slow-acting poison. If
you take this child there is no turning back…
But then her gaze flickered down to the child
in her arms, gazing at her trustingly with her wide, deep eyes, a miniscule
smile beginning to form on her pale lips, and all doubt was erased from her
mind. She had just seen the child a short time ago, and already she felt a strange
sense of compassion and protectiveness for her. It dawned on Laimane that from
the minute she had seen the child, she had lost her heart to her.
Again the voice tried to dissuade her with a
haunting chorus. "There will be no turning back, Laimane."
But no doubt filled Laimane this time; her mind
was made up. Drawing the young faerie nearer, she raised her head to face the
courtyard, speaking to the bitter air around her as much as she was to the voice.
With that last thought, she turned and exited
the courtyard, running through the many passages of the Maze in her mind that
would lead her and the child back to their home.
To be continued...