The following is a short story that will one day be part of a much larger series of books surrounding Elspeth, Shepherdess of the Fae. You can read a longer tale of Elspeth in The Crux Anthology as well as further short pieces surrounding other characters on my Tales of the Faerie Shepherds Page.
Leaves and branches bowed before the wind’s ominous whispers. Raisie shivered as its ill feelings spiraled around her. Shutting her emerald eyes, she tipped her face up toward the hiding sun above, willing its rays to warm her. As the Darkness had gathered all around her own little garden and rumours of its might across the realms poured in on the wings of the butterflies, birds, bees—and even in the forced smiles of her kin, the other Faeries—this icy pang had grown within her core where it had settled and taken hold of her heart, her dreams and her thoughts.
No warmth responded to her internal pleas, so Raisie bowed her head and sighed before moving amongst her flowers. Long ago, when the great gifts were handed down from Dhae, Creator of all, her line of Flower Faeries had been granted the Power of the Rainbow. From her fingertips flowed the creative force of Colour. The hues of her flowers in this tiny, hidden garden rested unmatched in all the other realms.
In her earlier millenia, the Faerie would float and flit carefree and proud through the rows around her as she danced and sang out every colour she could imagine to dress each plant in turn. Her hair flashed in the sun’s light then, the brightest red ever seen upon the head of a being—human, Faerie or other. It would dance around her head of its own accord, as she coloured the garden within the hedgerow, and continued to wave happily as she conversed with her friends and aided in other daily tasks. Laughter trickled from her then as swiftly as waters flow from the falls.
These days, her hair hung lifeless, lighter than ever. Smiles did not appear often on her face; her lips had lost the feel of laughter upon them; and her shoulders sagged under the weight of the burdens they bore. The Evil and Darkness felt too great, too matchless; and the Hope of the Light had faded within Raisie’s soul. She walked now between the rows, her fingertips lightly brushing petals in her passing, leaving behind dark and dreary colours spreading out from her wake.
Her darkened thoughts discovered interruption in the form of a lighter Faerie’s glowing form. She stepped in front of Raisie and earned a gasp from the preoccupied Colour-giver. Her brightness shone all around, but her expression was stern and concerned as she stood, cross-armed, in the midst of the path. She tapped a dainty toe in the earth as she waited for Raisie to reach her.
“Look behind you, Raisie. Take in the darkness you’re spreading these days. You are a Light Faerie. Create like one.”
Lailiana’s silver hair fanned out and floated around her as she spoke and, though her tone was firm, a kind urging lifted up each word as her eyes covered Raisie with care and affection.
Raisie again lowered her lashes as she considered the earth beneath them—the earth they cared for and nurtured. Once her thoughts formed into a verbal response, they came softly, cautiously.
“What can beings as small as we do against the Evil Force growing ever stronger across all of Creation?”
Clouds of softness and strength passed across Lailiana’s face as she reached out to gently lift Raisie’s pale chin until their eyes met.
“Nothing,” came the simple response. Though a smile wrapped it up and promised more as Lailiana continued. “Nothing but put one foot in front of the other every day. Tend our flowers and breathe our gifted beauty into them. And, believe. Believe that all the prophecies—the promises—will come to be and that we will be willing to give aid when they do; when we’re called upon.”
Lailiana took the Colour-giver’s hands into her own then. “No matter the call. No matter the task. No matter … ”
Fear lingered on the edges of Raisie’s eyes, though determination and Hope spread like the brightening colours behind her as she finished, “No matter the cost.”
“Hope’s Colours” Copyright © 2019 by Joy E. Rancatore. All Rights Reserved.
I’d love to hear what you think about Raisie and Lailiana! This is the first time I’ve shared a tale specifically surrounding a Faerie, but their tales have been building in my imagination for a couple of years. Thank you for reading!
This month’s story flowed from the inspiration of a delightful monthly online writing prompt, #BlogBattle. As you will read on their site, “Blog Battle is a monthly writing prompt meant to inspire writers and entertain readers.” To read several outstanding stories inspired by January’s prompt, “Flower,” head on over to the BlogBattlers site!
For more detailed weekly updates on my writing process behind this short story as well as my other tales, please subscribe to my newsletter!