Neopedia : The Grey Faerie
Thunderclouds loom over the top of the mountain, rain coming down like hammers and nails. Locked in her iron cage, she shivers while the shadows whisper their teasing taunts. The thunder rolls, and she looks up at the sky.
Just then, the shadows peel away, and a darker shadow appears. Her eyes mocking and triumphant, she stands over the cage. "No one is coming to rescue you," the shadow tells her. "You are trapped here forever, because I know the secret: a Faerie without wings is completely helpless!"
The grey faerie said nothing. She kept her eyes low and to the ground, so she would not have to look at her captor. The shadow laughed again and walked away. "A faerie with clipped wings!" it said to its fellow shadows. "Lost all her powers, lost all her beauty..." The shadow paused for a moment, looking back at the cage. "Lost all hope."
The shadows disappeared, leaving her alone with the cold sunrise, but at sunset, they would be back, to taunt her further. She would cry, but her eyes had no more tears. There were no birds on this mountaintop, no friendly animals to hear her call for help.
The day crawled by, scorching sun burning down on her, without even a blanket to shade herself from the heat. The little water she got from the rain was already dried up. She tried to sleep, tried to escape to the realm of dreams, but the magical lock on her cage kept her from even that small comfort.
At around noon, she felt something move across her shoulder. She looked up. A shadow? She turned. Someone stood with the halo of the sun over their shoulder."Who?" she whispered, her parched throat hurting from even a single word.
The figure stepped forward. A little Kyrii with walking shoes, a cap, and a travelling pack. "My name is Tavi," she said. "Who are you?"
"I -- I --" the grey faerie paused, her eyes gazing down at the lock on the door of her cage. "Please!" the grey faerie whispered. "Please! Help me!"
The grey faerie pointed at the lock, afraid to touch the iron bars. "The lock. It has a name. If you whisper the name, it will open."
"The lock has a name?" Tavi said, putting down her pouch. "Do you know what the name is?"
The grey faerie nodded. "I do, but I cannot say it."
"Hm." Tavi looked at the lock. "What do you have to say for yourself?"
The lock chuckled. "You will never guess my name, little Kyrii, and I will never tell it, for I serve Jennumara, and her powers are greater than any in the world!"
"A darkness faerie!" Tavi whispered. She took a step back, but then saw the grey faerie's eyes widen, the hope there being devoured by fear. Right then and there, she knew she had to help the faerie, no matter what the cost.
"I will play a game with you, little lock," she said, putting down her pack. "A game of guesses."
"What kind of game?" the lock asked, its voice ringing with suspicion.
"We each get three questions, and after each question, I'll guess at your name, and you guess at what's in my pack. I cannot ask you your name, and you cannot ask what's in my pack." She gestured back at the pack. "I have three things in there. If you guess even one of them before I guess your name, I will join the faerie in the cage; but if I guess your name before that, you let the faerie go free."
The lock laughed. "That's too easy!" it said. "You are obviously a mountain climber. I know what's in your pack."
"If it is so easy, why don't you agree to the terms of the game?"
The lock laughed again. "All right, foolish little Kyrii. I agree. Why, I'll even let you go first!"
"Very well," Kyrii said. "Here's my first question." She pointed at the grey faerie in the cage. "What's her name?"
The lock screamed out loud. "No! That's cheating!"
"Go on." Tavi smiled. She knew she had the lock beat, right there and then. "You have to tell me her name."
The lock grumbled. "Her name is Baelia," it said.
"Then, your name is Baelia, isn't it?" Tavi asked.
Again, the lock grumbled, then made a loud click. The door swung open and the grey faerie stumbled out of the cage.
"Thank you!" she said, hugging Tavi tightly. "But how did you know?"
"When I asked your name, you did not answer, but looked at the lock. When you said the lock had a name, I knew the spell must have used your own name to keep you inside."
"You are wise," the lock said. "But not wise enough! My lady of shadow will find you, faerie, and when she does, she'll trap you as she did before."
Tavi looked at the grey faerie. "Is it right?"
The grey faerie nodded. "Yes. I am powerless without wings. In order to get new wings, I must get a new name."
Tavi put her pack back on her shoulder. "All right, then, we have to get you a new name!" She started to walk away, then stopped, turned and looked at the grey faerie. "Exactly how do we do that?"