Seeded: Part One
In the darkness of the woods, a light faerie ran. Her slender body was draped in a dark cloak and a hood obscured her face in shadows. In her arms, wrapped in a moss green blanket, was a small earth faerie child.
She suddenly emerged into a clearing where two other light faeries stood in wait, glaring at her impatiently.
“You have her?” one asked in a sharp whisper.
“Right here,” the faerie said, extending her arms. The baby didn’t stir. “I put a slumber spell on the house before I took her. Her mother is out like a light. She won’t suspect a thing. And the girl shouldn’t awaken either.”
“And you’re sure this child will work?” the second light faerie asked nervously. Her hood was slowly slipping from her head and she anxiously yanked it back over her face, hiding her features as if she didn’t want to be seen.
“Yes. She has a deformity from birth.” She pulled back the cloth and revealed the baby’s tiny leafy wings—or rather, wing. The young earth faerie was missing the one on the right. “When she gets older and people shy away from her,” the faerie continued quickly, “she’ll just assume it’s because of her wing, not because of the Seed.”
“Let’s do it then,” the first faerie said decisively. “What are we waiting for? Put her inside of the rune.”
The baby was placed inside of an intricate circle already carved in the dirt on the forest floor. A slight wind blew, rustling the crunchy autumn leaves and throwing them in the air like confetti. The three light faeries stood in a circle around the child, holding hands, and began to chant.
The forest grew still, and their spell took shape. An ancient language rolled off their tongues into the night, whispers of dark magic. A small black mass slowly formed over the child, an undulating sphere that pulsed evilly and sucked up the starlight from the heavens like a black hole. The Seed hovered over her chest in wait for the faeries’ command.
Finally, with a sudden crescendo of incantations, the mass slipped inside the earth faerie’s body, disappearing from sight with a flash of purple light.
The light faeries let go, stumbling backwards. “I’m so drained,” one said breathlessly. She turned to others nervously. “Are you sure this will work?”
“Positive,” another answered with a nod. “As she grows, the Seed will grow inside of her as well, multiplying manifold in strength and power. And when she reaches the proper age...” She clenched her slender fingers into a fist. “We’ll take it back and be the most powerful faeries in all of Neopia.” Her eyes glinted manically as she swept up the child in her arms. “Now I must return little Isabelle to her mother. I’ll speak with you two again shortly. Farewell.”
The other two nodded, exchanging exulted smiles.
And so, with their spell complete, the three faeries fled the clearing, disappearing among the skeletal trees like ghosts.
* * *
Isabelle sat at her kitchen table, twirling her long brown hair with her finger as she re-read her favorite book for the umpteenth time.
“Isa,” her mom said, glancing at her carefully from the sink, “I hate to say this, but you read too much.”
“You can never read too much,” Isabelle said bluntly. Her green eyes never left the page.
Her mom sighed, rinsing a dish with warm water. “Why don’t you go outside and meet some new people? You’re going to be attending the Faerie Academy in the fall, and it’d be nice if you already knew some people before you got there. You know, make some friends.”
Isabelle turned the page. “I already have a friend, Mom. Ziya.”
Her mother frowned. “You know how I feel about her...”
“Because she’s a dark faerie?” Isabelle bit, shutting the book abruptly to stare at her mother. Her eyes blazed fiercely and her mom blushed.
“No. Because she comes from a family of Seers. And you know how they are.”
“No, I don’t know how they are,” the earth faerie replied sharply. “Ziya is the nicest person in this entire town. She’s the only one who doesn’t care about this.” She pointed to her back, where only one wing protruded. She had been born that way, missing her right wing, and her entire life people had stayed away from her as if she was surrounded by a gigantic magnetic field. Ziya was the only one who had penetrated that giant bubble and made her feel like a person, not an alien.
“I’m sorry,” he mother apologized, setting the dish on the drying rack. “I just wish you had more than one friend.”
“Me too, Mom,” she said bitterly, “but I don’t. And nothing is about to change that.” With an angry glare, she got up from the table and stormed towards the door, slamming it shut behind her to block out her mom’s frantic apologies.
She wants me to go outside? Fine. Here I am.
Isabelle stared at the outside world. The town she lived in was small, a few miles away from the gates to the city of Faerieland. It was an idyllic little haven of green grass peppered with flowers and small dirt roads lined with street lamps. She loved the town itself. As for the people...
She glanced upwards, watching the faeries soar above her in a game of tag. They laughed and giggled, oblivious to her watching from below. She flexed her one good wing weakly. No matter how strong her one wing was, she needed two to fly. And she would never have that.
“Isa!” someone called. Someone on the ground.
She turned her head and saw Ziya running towards her on foot. That was one thing she truly appreciated about her friend: She was never irked by the fact that Isabelle couldn’t fly. In fact, she walked with her on foot everyday to school, despite the fact that she had her own perfect set of dark purple wings.
“Hey Ziya,” Isabelle greeted, staring at her friend with a frown. “Are you all right?”
Ziya in fact did not look all right at all. The dark faerie’s long dark purple hair was stringy and her face looked paler than usual. Her eyes, usually lined with dark makeup, were blackened instead from what looked like lack of sleep.
“I was on Seer rest,” she said, her dark eyes weary but restless, flicking from side to side in anxiety.
“You had a vision?” Isabelle asked in awe. She had always found Ziya’s gift to be amazing, even if her friend disliked it herself.
“Not one. A ton.” She rubbed her face. Isabelle could see her dark nail polish was slowly flaking off her fingers. “It lasted three days. My mom made me stay in bed. Drink this horrid tea.” She gagged. “It was horrible.”
“Well, what did you see?” Isa pressed. “Good? Bad? Past, present, future?”
“I don’t know honestly,” Ziya admitted. “It was so odd. Visions are never straight forward,” she said bitterly. “I wish they were, but they aren’t. So I just kept seeing flashes, bits and pieces of the same scene.”
She took a deep breath. Isabelle felt her stomach churn. So far it didn’t sound like it was going to be a good vision, and whenever Ziya had bad ones, it tore the dark faerie up inside. To most people, Ziya seemed a bit callous, maybe even cold. But in all actuality, she was just quiet, and Seeing so many different visions, good and bad, took their toll on her.
“Are you sure you want to talk about it?” Isabelle asked quietly.
“Yeah, definitely.” Ziya nodded vigorously. “Because this vision felt important. Not just a stupid ‘oh, I’m going to fail my next math test.’ Like something big is going to happen. Or happened. Or I don’t know.”
She clenched her hair and sat down abruptly on the grass, crossing her legs. Isabelle joined her, adjusting her wing so that she was comfortable. She and Ziya had these sessions sometimes to help her sort through her visions. “Tell me when you’re ready.”
After a minute or so, Ziya looked into her eyes and began. “I saw these three faeries in the woods.”
“What type of faeries?”
“I couldn’t tell. They were all wearing black cloaks. But I’m getting a bright kind of vibe. Like fire or light or maybe even water.”
“Okay.” Ziya nodded. “Anyone look familiar?”
“No. I told you, they were wearing cloaks,” she said harshly. Isabelle ignored the jibe; Ziya was always testy from lack of sleep. That’s why they always went to bed fairly early when they had slumber parties.
“They had drawn this... figure on the floor. A circle of some kind.”
“A rune?” They had learned about them briefly in school. Nothing really detailed—they would learn the specifics when they finally made it to the Academy—but Isabelle knew that they were involved in certain faerie rituals, especially the older ones.
“Yeah a rune.” Ziya nodded. “And there was something in the center. A bundle of cloth or a doll or something.” She closed her eyes, trying to remember. “Fyora!” she cursed. “Why do the visions always try to slip away from me?”
“Don’t worry about it,” Isabelle comforted. “Do you remember anything else?”
“Well, the spell itself.” Ziya shivered. “One of the faeries called it a Seed. It was definitely some sort of dark magic. There was this mass of darkness about this big,” she indicated with her fist, “and I think... I think it went inside of the doll. Or the cloth of whatever. I don’t know exactly what it was.”
“Was it a voodoo doll?” Isabelle offered.
Ziya shook her head. “I don’t think so. But the thing was supposed to be a vessel of sorts. To contain the spell.” Suddenly her eyes widened. “I know! It was a baby! That’s what it was! I remember one of the faeries saying that.”
“A baby?” Isabelle repeated, appalled. “Oh Fyora, this is serious. They put dark magic inside of a baby? Whose?” She tried to think of anyone she knew who had a small child. “Mrs. Malla just had a daughter last month. And that one fire faerie has a girl who’s just over a year old.”
“I can’t remember,” Ziya moaned miserably. Her eyes looked so weary, so depressed, that Isabelle felt it like a blow to her heart. “Listen, I’m going to head over to the city. The library must have something about this Seed. I told my mom and she thought it was a good idea. She said if we can find out about this spell as soon as possible, then there’s a higher chance of us intervening. After all, that’s what being a Seer is all about. Want to come?”
“Yeah,” Isabelle said decisively, but a moment later she froze. “No, I can’t.”
She flapped her one wing. “We’d have to walk. And that’ll take way too long.”
“I don’t mind,” Ziya protested. “I don’t mind walking at all. Most faeries forget how pretty Faerieland is on the ground.” She glanced upwards with a glare. “Stupid others.”
Isabelle shook her head. “If this is time sensitive, you need to get there as fast as you can. I can’t slow you down.”
“Just go!” the earth faerie snapped, suddenly losing it. “Stop wasting time! Go!”
Ziya looked at her strangely for a second, a mixture of emotions etched onto her face. Then she stood up. “Ok then. I’ll be back in a few hours. Bye, Isabelle.” The dark faerie spread her wings and with a good kick off, bolted up into the sky.
And, feeling completely useless, Isabelle just sat on the grass, watching her friend until she was nothing more than a dark purple speck silhouetted against a pale blue sky.
To be continued...