Thanks to the fabulous Dream of Fire (creator of Fairies and Finds), you will have a slightly less morbid story this week! All of my new stuff was a bit dark so I asked her for a piece of art to write about. She gave me these 3 adorable *doodles* to work with.
I can't say it's amazingly light, but it was fun and ends on a...well, I'll just let you read it.
Mena woke up to a dripping sound outside of her window. It was a light, yet steady rhythm that would have lulled most back into blissful sleep. Mena, however, tumbled out of bed in her hurry to see what was happening.
The few icicles that had graced her window frame for most of the winter were half their usual sizes and diminishing one drop at a time. Mena backed away from her window, her face a mask of horror.
"GRAMMY!" her screech was high enough to make her throat hurt. She didn't care, this was SERIOUS.
The tall, long-haired woman that rushed into the room carried metal baseball bat that had been flattened to resemble a narrow cricket bat. She looked around the room in alarm, ready for whatever was hurting her granddaughter.
Ginny rushed to the woman and hugged her tight. The seven year old was in tears and incoherent.
Not seeing any immediate danger, the older woman knelt down and embraced the girl, her silver hair mingling with the girl's black tresses.
"Calm, min kaere. Tell your mormor what has upset you so." The older woman rocked soothingly from side to side.
"T...the snow is melting!" Mena sobbed louder. "It's melting!!"
Emilie continued rocking her inconsolable grandchild as she looked out of the window Mena had indicated. She could see the slow drip of the snow and ice from the room as warm sun spread it's rays upon the cold.
"Yes, I see." Emilie kept her voice soft, though she was puzzled. "Spring is coming, lille mus. Every year is the same."
Mena buried her face into her grandmother's nightclothes. Her small frame shook no matter how tightly the older woman held her.
The pair stayed on the floor until Mena was finally empty of tears. She pulled away and looked her grandmother in the face.
"They said they would be back before spring." Mena's voice was barely a whisper. "They promised. If winter is over..." her voice trailed away.
Emilie had no words for her young granddaughter. The Fe Krig had torn many families apart and hers was no exception. It had been predicted that the war would quickly be over once the Magi Kraft were deployed. Both her daughter and daughter-in-law were drafted for this special service, leaving young Mena in Emilie's care. Their parting words to their young child were that they would return before winter was over.
Emilie looked at the thawing icicles again. She knew she could not stop time nor could she heal the aching heart of her only grandchild. They both wanted the same thing but neither could stop the war or the spring.
Mena sniffed loudly and wiped her face on the sleeves of her long nightgown, breaking into Emilie's thoughts. The young girl looked up into the face of her grandmother, her face set with determination.
"I'm going to stop spring from coming." Mena said in a firm voice.
Emilie wanted to laugh at the small child but recognized her look from one her mother had often had when she had set her mind to something. Emilie knew it would do no good to reason with the girl.
"How can I help?" Emilie asked, trying to keep mirth from her voice.
Mena looked around her small room, the room that use to belong to her mother, her mor. She went to her closet and started pulling out warm clothes.
"I'm going to look for the Forar and. I will tell them it's not time." The older woman again tried to stop herself from smiling at her granddaughter's pronunciation of the Danish words.
"You are not afraid to find the spirit of Spring?" The woman asked. "What if they are fe?"
The little girl did pause in her dressing, but only for a moment.
"Then I will ask them to stop the war if they won't stop spring." The child said simply. "I am brave like my mor and my ma and have a little magic."
This comment took Emilie aback. She knew her own daughter had magi talent, as did the woman she had chosen to marry. Mena was a kombineret, a genetic mixture of both parents, but had never shown any magical abilities. This is why Emilie was allowed to take her grandchild into her care instead of Mena being shipped off to the special magi schools.
"Puttemus, you say you have magic?" Emilie was almost afraid to ask the question.
Mena blushed but nodded.
"The tests..." Emilie stared at her granddaughter. "How did you..."
Mena's blush deepened.
"I said I couldn't." The child's matter-of-factness was not from Emilie's daughter Judit, but her mother Farai, as did the girl's dark hair. "They asked me to do some magic and I pretended that I couldn't. None of my teachers ever saw me do magic because I was very careful."
Was it so simple? Emilie asked herself. Could a young child simply say she had no magic and be believed?
"Could you show your mormor?" Emilie was breathless. "Could you show me your magi?"
Mena looked around the room before turning back to her grandmother. She walked closer to the older woman and held out her hands. A small blue glow materialized, growing larger until the girl had a blue orb the size of a baseball in her outstretched palms.
"I can do other things." Mena confided in a whisper. "I like this one best though."
The blue orb solidified into a perfectly round snowball which Mena plopped into the hands of her grandmother. The cold was refreshing in the warm room and Emilie could feel the snowball beginning to melt in her hands.
"So if I find the the spirits, I can..." Mena's voice trailed off. "I'm not sure what I will say, but I will tell them I want my mor and ma back and spring can't come without them."
Emilie closed her eyes to keep the rush of tears at bay. She wanted to gather her granddaughter in her arms again and try to explain how foolish the little girl's plan was. She wanted to tell her there was no Forar and. To explain there was nothing such a little girl could do to stop spring from coming any more than she could stop the war. She wanted to say all of this but she only nodded at the dressed and determined child.
"You may look." She consented. "But you cannot go beyond the acer clearing. If the spirits are not there, you must simply wait until they find you."
Mena looked as if she would argue with her grandmother, but closed her mouth into a firm line and nodded back. The older woman stood and moved towards the kitchen to provide her granddaughter with food for the outing
Armed with her winter gear and a backpack of provisions, Mena waved to her grandmother and headed into the small forest surrounding their house. Emilie's heart hurt as she watched her granddaughter go. She knew the child would not go beyond the clearing and didn't fear for her. She only wondered how long she would allow the child to continue to hold out hope instead of explaining the realities.
For Mena, the parting from her grandmother was exhilarating. She had been in the forest countless times on her own but never saw the place as one of adventure. Though she wasn't exactly afraid, she kept the little glow of magi power in her stomach just in case she might need it.
Mena had a plan that would require her power, so long hidden from everyone, including her family. She had secretly known it wouldn't be long before everyone knew she was a magi, but she had been scared. Scared she would be sent off to the special schools where you couldn't see your family except for once a year, like her friend Baqi. When he had come home for his first visit, he didn't want to play or talk to Mena anymore, not even about his new school. He had seemed sad to Mena and that scared her even more than being sent away from her family
Her plan would require a great deal of power, so much that it might get picked up by the space sensors. She only knew a little of how they worked but hoped they could not find her out in the middle of the forest. For her mor and ma, she was willing to take the risk.
It took her two hours to reach the clearing of acer or maple trees that her grandmother had warned was her boundary. Mena considered defying her grandmother, decided the clearing was probably as good a place as any to wait for spirits.
Snow still covered the ground but Mena could tell it was softer from the overhead sun's power. She looked around the clearing to be sure she was alone before pulling off her gloves.
The icy air prickled at her skin, but she didn't care. The one thing she knew was that she couldn't use her magi if her hands were covered. She didn't understand why but knew it was the same for her parents. Both wore special gloves when out in public, as was the law for all magi. Mena loved to hold the bare hands of her parents at the same time because she could feel the current run between her from one to the other. She wondered if they had known her secret all along, if they felt her power too. If so, they never breathed a word.
Mena closed her eyes to concentrate and held out her hands, palms down. The felt the air around her vibrate then little outlines formed in the darkness under her eyelids. Mena turned in a slow circle until she found the outline she wanted.
She opened her eyes and ran to a specific spot in the snow before dropping to her knees and digging with her bare hands. Under the snow was a small cluster of yellow flowers, each surrounded by cuff of green leaves.
She breathed a sigh of relief as she had been unsure if the small spring flowers would be found so early. Mena cupped her hands around one blossom and pushed energy from herself into it.
The power flowed from her hands until Mena seemed to fall into the center of the flower itself before seeming to burst into a white glow. She had done this only twice before and she would have been unable to describe it to anyone else. Mena called this glow 'the heart' because it seemed to her to fill everything all at once yet be at the core of all things.
Once Mena had found 'the heart', she called out in her mind for the spirit of spring to find her. Her hands began shaking with the amount of power flowing through her, but she did not stop. She continued calling and calling until suddenly the power pushed back, shoving her into the snow.
Mena opened her eyes and looked around. The forest seemed different to her. Small specks of white light drifted around the clearing like snow. Mena could feel her heart beating in time to the pulsing around her.
"Hello?" Mena's voice came out very soft.
A rustling behind her made her stand up too fast only to fall face first into the snow. Mena could hear two voices giggling softly. When she looked up, two girls were in front of her, Both reached down to pull Mena up.
Mena stepped back from the girls once she felt she could stand on her own. Her eyes grew wide as she took the sight of the two in.
One girl had deer antlers sprouting from her head, with little pink flower petals drifting down. Mena couldn't see where the petals came from, they simply appeared and drifted to sit on the snow.
The second girl held what looked like an overgrown carrot in her hands. The buttons on her winter coat made Mena think of a snowman she had once built with her family.
Who are you? The voice came from neither girl, yet both.
Mena took a deep breath and stood up straight.
"I am looking for the spirit of spring." Mena said. "My name is--" She cut off quickly, remembering the old stories she had been told that giving your name to a magical creature could give them power over you.
"My name is Mena." She said quietly. The two in front of her would never know her fully name, so she felt safe giving only a small part of herself away.
The two girls exchanged a look with one another before looking back at Mena.
You have called us, Mena. They both said, without saying anything. What do you want of us?
"Are you the spirits of spring?" Mena stood firmly in her spot, though she wished she were back in her grandmother's house.
The antlered girl nodded.
You may call me Ameyalli. Her voice was alone. I am the spirit of spring.
She waved her hand to indicate the second girl.
This is my sister Amihan. She is the spirit of winter.
Mena sucked in a breath. She narrowed her eyes to look at both girls.
"Ar...are you fey?" She shivered as she said the words out loud.
The two passed another wordless look between themselves before turning back to Mena.
We are in a way. They said. In a way, we are not.
Mena shrank back a step, forgetting her decision to be brave in the face of those who were warring against her people.
In a way, we are all fey. This voice came from Ameyalli alone. Every creature in this world is connected. What one is, all are.
Mena frowned as she tried to take in and understand what the otherworldly girl had told her.
"Humans aren't fey." She decided to voice what she was thinking. "that is why we're fighting the Fe Krig."
Amihan stepped towards Mena and touched the girl lightly in the stomach.
Your magi blood says otherwise. Amihan said. All creatures are from the same source, some are just closer to that source than others. The war that is being fought is between family that has forgotten they are indeed such.
Mena frowned again. She would need time to think about what she had been told. It was clear the two would not hurt her and she had a only one goal in mind.
"I need you to stop spring." Mena said to Ameyalli. "My parents promised to return from the war before spring, but it is happening and they are not here."
Ameyalli tilted her head to consider Mena. After a moment she closed her eyes and shook her head.
We cannot. The voices said in unison. The passing of seasons cannot be delayed.
"You have to!" Mena stepped towards the girls. "If spring comes and they are not here....they might never come back."
Mena started crying again. She had not heard from her ma or mor since they had left for the war. Mena worried they might die, as other parents had, but she kept believing that as long as winter held, her parents would be okay.
She felt warm hands, one on each shoulder and looked up into the eyes of the two spirits.
We too know what is like to miss a loved one. They said in soft voices. But we cannot do as you ask.
"I miss them so much." Mena's eyes overflowed with tears for the second time that day. "I just want us to be a family, like we used to be."
The two spirits engulfed Mena in a hug so consuming, it felt as if she were burning with the white heat of 'the heart'. The brightness overwhelmed her until she could see nothing else.
When the white light faded, she was no longer in the clearing. Instead of a snow covered forest, Mena was in a dark concrete walled room. What little light there was came from small barred windows.
It only took one moment for Mena to find the familiar face of her ma in the room. She ran to the woman and tried to embrace her. She found she couldn't touch her.
They cannot see or hear you. The voices of the girls said behind her. We are showing you what was, not what is.
Mena looked down at her ma. The woman's dark face was dirty. Her hair had been shaved away. Mena still saw her ma underneath it all.
Farai's leg was bandaged and her ma grimaced every time she readjusted herself on the narrow cot.
"She's hurt!" Mena wailed.
Before Mena could try to throw herself on her ma's cot, another figure to the bedside.
Just as dirty and tired looking Farai, Judit sat in a small chair beside her wife. The two reached out to hold hands.
"How are you?" Judit asked, smoothing back Farai's hair.
"Better." Farai grimaced as she tried to sit up. Judit's hand gently pushed her back down. "You?"
Judit smiled. "The doctor's say there's no permanent damage."
Farai frowned, her face almost identical to the one her daughter had made not long ago. "But?"
"But," Judit admitted. "I'm washed up. The spark is gone. Same as you."
Farai did sit up that time, her smile seeming out of place in the setting.
"So you mean...?" Farai breathed out, unable to finish her sentence.
"I mean we're both going home. How can we possibly be part of the Magi Kraft without magic?" Judit smiled and kissed Farai. "The paperwork is being done now. We'll be leaving as soon as the doctors say you're ready for transport."
Farai looked from her wife to the small window across the room. Her face took on a dreamy look.
"We'll be at your mother's in time for spring." Her voice was soft and tears began to well up in her dark eyes.
Mena reached out for her parents but was enveloped in another embrace by the two spirits. The white light again overwhelmed her. When it faded, she was back in the forest clearing.
The two girls were smiling at Mena.
We cannot stop spring. Ameyalli said.
But now would you wish us to? Amihan asked.
Mena grinned at the two but stopped, frowning in puzzlement again.
"You said..." She stopped to consider her words. "You said when I saw ma and mor in that place that you were showing me what was."
The two girls nodded at her.
"You showed me the past?" Mena asked, her eyes wide.
Again the two gave a nod, then smiled.
"Efemena!" Emilie's called from far behind her. "Where are you? You must come quickly!"
Mena turned towards the voice then back to the girls.
"Thank you." She whispered.
Remember this. The girls said. We can live in peace. This generation's war does not have to be your own. We are all family.
A shuffling sound came from behind her and Mena turned to see her grandmother coming in to the clearing. A look of relief washed over her as she saw her granddaughter safe.
Mena rushed to Emilie and held tight to her grandmother. The white flakes of light disappeared from her vision and she knew the two spirits were gone from the clearing.
"Oh, min skat, they are here!" Emilie's voice broke with happiness. "Your ma and mor are here! Come quickly!"
Mena grabbed her grandmother's hand and allowed the older woman to rush her through the woods. She risked a brief glimpse back into the clearing, seeing it as it had been before she met the two girls. She knew she would be back to visit them and learn from them. She wanted to make sure the Fe Krig was the last and had a feeling she would need their help to make it happen.
My lofty dreams of being a famous & brilliant writer were literally smacked out of my head. Now I plan to fill the void with copious amounts of subpar writing!