Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 111,439,808 Issue: 182 | 17th day of Running, Y7
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The End to All Joy


by _sunset_phoenix

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Also by slayer_596

She wanted to wish it all away. To wish that it had never happened. She thought that she could feel the radiance of magic sweeping up in her, but she thought then that it might just be hope. Then, in a jolt, she realized that it was neither, because she could never hope again.

      Closing her eyes, the fallen faerie tried to feel for the swish of a spell, but all that came was a hair-thin thread, hardly enough to wish away a wart. But when she opened her eyes, she was still in the cold place, the place that was closed in on all sides. When she saw the grey walls looming in on her, the same color as her dress, her eyes, her tears… There was a single opening, but that was way at the top of the cold building, and it was too far to reach out for in her bedraggled state. Maybe tomorrow, thought the faerie. Maybe tomorrow when my wings are rested…

     She sat upright. Where were her wings? On her back was a dress, purple and grey like a foggy morning. She could feel the familiar bumps that were the roots of her wings, but she knew that there was nothing for them too root onto. They were now just stubs, and her wings were eternally gone. For the fallen faerie, this knowledge felt like she was losing them all over again.

     Losing her wings. The grey Faerie's mind floated back to that dreadful day. She was flying gracefully above the plains of… some place in Neopia. Where was she? In Central, Roo Island, in Tyrannia? None of these seemed to ring a bell. Mystery Island? No… Terror Mountain? Why couldn't she remember where her homeland had been?

     Her head drooped, and, exhausted from thinking through pain, it hit the floor of her dank dungeon, and she fell asleep.

     Just as suddenly as it had drooped, her mind was filled with pictures, memories that she didn't know she still retained. They were foggy, diluted with shrieks from who-knows-where, but some stood out, and they shone with a certain truth. As a child, calling her friends and fluttering past a meadow; a little older, learning how to cast a spell, an incantation, and then, as an adult, a full-fledged spell caster.

     Her mind shot forward. She remembered that day again, when she had lost her wings. Was it yesterday? A week before? She had used to have flaming hair, matching her abilities and personality. She was a rebel, trying something new, always spying and spotting a better way. And one day, she had gone too far. The Dark Faerie Kythra had asked her help to perform a necromancy, and she had refused. The Dark Faerie had stood under her, a mere five feet to her tower of over six, but the evil eyes had flashed once, twice, and then Baelia knew that she had done something wrong.

     "If you shan't do it for me, I have the means to drain your magical energy to do it for you."

     And then Baelia was crying out, seizing up, and then she left her consciousness behind. Her magic drained, black covered her sight.

      Her magic drained, she flopped over the other Faerie's arms. Unconscious, Baelia gave herself up to the sky.

     She slowly opened her eyes, realizing that it had been ten minutes since she had been drained of her magic. She was in Fyora's court room, standing shakily in the prisoner's box.

     "Your Majesty, Baelia was attempting a necromancy."

     Fyora was looking as regal and imposing as a very old willow tree; grand but beautiful. She looked at the weeping Baelia, and then at the confident Dark Faerie, and then back again. She looked at the judges, nodding their heads, and then slowly began chanting. "Aye mayi fruuro daayi manka layi Baelia!"

     When Baelia heard the swish of a spell head her way, she cowered, trying to shield herself from whatever it was with her hands. Instead, she was ripped apart.

     The glowing shell that held her magic was being separated from her, and she was diminished that day, that hour, that minute. She knew that it was happening, and still she had hoped. But now, now in the gloom and dread of a dungeon, Baelia knew that she would never even hope to hope. There was nothing. Nothing to help her, to bring her happiness, not even the fact that she knew that she was innocent. It was that thought, neither happy nor sad, that kept her alive. She was not guilty.

     Then she dreamed no more.

     Something swished down the long chimney of her tower, and came to land beside her. Baelia opened her eyes, no longer asleep.

     "Who are you?"

     Then her eyes focused, and she moaned, incapable of even anger. She went up on one arm, and stared at the Dark Faerie who had brought about her ruin.

     "Why are you here?"

     Kythra replied, "I should ask you that question, my dear. What are you doing here? I would have thought that you'd be... elsewhere… by now." Her voice seemed to Baelia, who was croaking at best, as melodious and flowing as a stream.

     She thought and thought, and then replied, "I don't know."

     The same flowing, unctuous tone carried after her.

     "Would you like to go somewhere else? I know a place where you cam look out at all there is… growing, warm, and with life and magic." There was only a hint of a taunt in the dazzling voice.

     Managing a propped-up hand, Baelia said, "Yes."

     "Then I will take you there."

     Gathering the feather-light faerie up, Kythra narrowed her eyes and flew towards her destination. She was in the air and traveling for only a few minutes, and then lighted down.

     The two faeries were in a place so full of growing things that even Baelia felt her heart stir for a moment. Then it settled back into a slow, thumping beat.

     There were lilies and rosebushes, frogs and dragonflies, and so many more animals and birds that it seemed as if the place were a sky-blue and grass-green cushion stuffed with wildlife. Birds of rainbow colors flew in the sky, and the ground shook with the beat of the running deer and elk. There was only one thing wrong.

     It was silent. Baelia looked up at her captor with a tremendous act of will, and saw that she was staring intently at something in the sky.

     "What is this place?"

     But Kythra didn't notice. She kept on staring up at the sky, and presently she lifted up the drooping faerie in her arms as if to sacrifice her.

     "I have one wish, Sky," Kythra hissed. "That this faerie be imprisoned for what she has done. I want to have the ancient law fulfilled. The willing doer must be done to. I have resurrected your devoted workers; now you must take her in return."

     The sky stayed a clear blue, but Kythra had shifted her gaze to something else. The silent animals were running, and the force of their feet on the ground almost sent Kythra to her knees. Instead, she placed Baelia almost gently on the ground, and took of, leaping into the sky as if off a trampoline.

     "Wait!"

     But it was no use; Kythra had left her. And now… what was happening? Her breath was coming in gasps, and the meadow was rising up… or was she going down? In less time than her trial had taken, Baelia the Faerie was locked in a cage in a concrete building.

     Shadows danced along the walls, and even though they were shadows, Baelia envied them, because they had more life than she. Then came one more thing: the laugh of a triumphant Dark Faerie. Kythra had trapped her; with Baelia's consent, no less! Not of her free will, though. That was gone forever. And so was her joy; joy in life, in plants, in heat and warmth, and in anything beautiful. What Queen Fyora had taken from Baelia in ten seconds was her lifelong want and will to live.

The End

 
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