Once upon a time—because all the best stories begin that way—there lived a fairy princess in the enchanted woods now known as Foloi Forest. Princess Xylia was loved by her people, holding not only their love but also their deepest respect. Princess X—a pet name bestowed by her fairy family, The Glitter—carried the appearance of youth and the wisdom of age. She happily wore her long blond hair free, letting it flow behind her like a yellow river as she raced through the great forest. Under a carefree guise, she surveyed their domain with the cunning of a hunter. Her intelligent green eyes missed nothing.
The Glitter depended on her to keep them safe. Although they lived an immortal life, they were still susceptible to harm and potentially even death. A revelation painfully learned ages ago when the human world became a lot less hospitable to the fairy folk. For thousands of years, humankind and fairies had lived in harmony. In a symbiotic relationship. Until The Great Divide when a faction of fairies embraced dark magic and became wizards. Afterward, the humans began to distrust and fear fairy magic.
Fairies once roamed the earth, assuming the stature of humans. Now, they hid from the world outside the woods in their diminutive form, making their homes nestled in the majestic oak trees. The tiny creatures cared for their environment, using their magic to help the plants grow and the seasons change. For most this existence was enough.
A shrill voice resonated throughout the quiet woods. "Xylia!"
Princess Xylia wrinkled her nose in distaste. Her young sister Talia was the only fairy to achieve such a pitch. No doubt disturbing more than one fairy at work in the woods. "What do you want now, sister?" she muttered.
"There you are!" Talia bounced exuberantly toward her sister. "I have been looking everywhere for you. Didn't you hear me call your name?"
Intentionally ignoring the blatant criticism, Xylia reached inward for every scrap of patience she could summon to withstand the whirlwind exchange. It was difficult acting both mother and father to the high-strung sprite. "I thought your schooling occupied your time today, Talia."
Talia had the decency to blush. "I'm bored. Why must I study letters and sums on such a beautiful day?"
"Please, Xylia, may I go play? I'll study twice as hard tomorrow."
Xylia rubbed the back of her neck. Fighting with Talia always brought on head pains. "Very well. You may go, but remain in the woods. I don't want to hear of any more daring explorations."
Talia smiled demurely. She dropped into an absurd curtsy before dashing away.
"That girl." Xylia shook her head slightly and watched Talia's retreating form. "If anything becomes of me, then our future will rest in her hands."
Talia skipped through the woods, elated to escape the tedious yoke of her studies. Xylia would become suspicious if she begged off every day, but today was special. Fenix waited for her at their place just beyond the fringe of the woods. She nervously smoothed her unruly blond hair. Like its owner, her crown of golden locks had a mind of its own and refused to be tamed. Other than her striking green eyes and lithe figure, she differed from her elder sister, in all manners, like day to night. Xylia had been born old, knowing that she would one day hold all the responsibility of The Glitter. Her burden had only increased with the death of their parents during The Great Divide. Talia had been born with the freedom, and reckless curiosity, to move like the wind. Even so, she felt a twinge of guilt at shirking her own duties. Although seeing Fenix—the exciting adventurer she'd been meeting in secret for months now—was worth every sacrifice. Especially today. She was sure he would declare his love for her.
Talia was in love with Fenix. Perhaps it had even been love at first sight. Her heart skipped a beat excitedly as she neared her destination. She stepped through the barrier of translucent blue sparkles that shielded the fairy folk. As she passed over the magical gate, she assumed the human form, by increasing her stature and changing her clothes.
Stepping away from the safety of the trees, Talia was unaware of two things: how ethereal she appeared with the sunlight glittering through her hair; and how Fenix had betrayed her trust and, ultimately, her love.
Instinctively, she moved toward the sensuous voice of her love. She stopped in her tracks when she spotted Fenix. He was surrounded by strange men in uniforms.
"Fenix?" She evaluated the scene shrewdly. "What's going on?"
Remorse covered his face like a weighted blanket. He stood there woodenly except for the mournful shake of his head. His shoulders were hunched over in defeat, and desperation raged in his dark eyes.
One of the men stepped forward. His uniform held decorations, and he looked older than the others. "Good work, son." The man patted Fenix soundly on the back and assessed him proudly. "You've done well."
Fenix looked directly at Talia with a wild, panicked look in his eyes. "Run!"
Talia jerked out of her trance-like, surreal state and turned toward the woods. Sounds of the men shouting and moving behind her faded into the background as she ran. She connected sure-footed against the uneven undergrowth and made way for the gate. She saw the shimmery blue sparkles beckoning to her as the heavy net collapsed over her head.
"Xylia!" She extended her hand toward the gate as she screamed her sister's name.
If you liked this short story, then you may enjoy my paranormal romance A Vampire's Tale, available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Check out my publisher's book page for more details. http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Tyler_Maya/a-vampires-tale.htm
Also, stay tuned for more magic in the anticipated sequel of A Vampire's Tale about Kurtis Warde and the wizards of The Circle.