The Fairylands

As if the sky only cast down despair beneath its people, the vast lands awaited the birth of war. The armies stood with death, knowing their families would inherit their place. New mothers plead their unborn children be dead, for this world was soon a graveyard. Hope now just a word that the tongue forgot how to use. With an arrogant king or not, the war of fairies and humans gave no future.
A village abandoned by the kingdom, held cheerful on the coldest night in celebration of love shared between a fairy and a human. A feast held during the endless night as the refreshing air held joy was breathed in. The villagers, more drunk with joy rather than the beer. The worry of war had left their minds, but only to be quickly reminded. A group of passing fairies spotted the village and set fire to everything that could be viewed as firewood for warmth. The threat of war that loomed in the skies was beginning to rain upon the lands.

Chapter 1

Exhausted from her travels, she turned her head and sent in a daze, unprepared for the rise of the sun, she lost her balance. Unaware of how tired she was, she accepted the confirmation the ground would provide. She ate no decent food after leaving the forest, unable to eat for two days of travel. She could finally rest being safe from any inhabitants of the night, hoping to find food on wide open fields. As she fell, she noticed not the ground but water, and in a significant amount. Landing in the cold water, it began to drag her along. Through the current weak, it still sweeps her below. As she struggled with the last of her strength to resurface, her body gave out and her vision faded.
A boy passing near the streams from the hilltops, surprised to have spotted someone in the distance. Seeing that someone had fallen in the river he began to run, some kids weren’t lucky enough to survive, especially the ones that couldn’t swim . Rushing down the slope wondering if they were uninjured for they didn’t move, among the frantic thoughts in his mind “No one out is here this late in the day, how long were they stranded for”. Quickly he kneeled down and reached around her arms and chest to lift her out of the water, careful not to drag her against the rocks beneath the water.
Outside the reach of waters, ‘she’s still breathing though cold” he sighed with relief that her life wasn’t an immediate danger. Seeing that it wasn’t one of the villagers,
what’s a traveler doing out here, no she’s too far too young to be a merchant, maybe she’s lost. Wearing drenched clothes, he removed the multiple outer layers of cloth surrounding her. He planned to carry back to the village to warm her, but stood confused at the sight of wings on her back. He laid his hands where the wings connected to the back.
The fairy slowly awakened but in shock as she felt something touching her back. She quickly jolts up to see a boy beside her. “What Are You Doing!” She shouts in surprise.
Still memorized by the wings, he answers “I wanted to see if the wings were real”.
” What do you mean real! Of course their…” She sees the boy doesn’t have wings and looks up to see the lack of pointed ears “What is a human doing here!” She shouts, turning her head away and points her hands up and gathers magic around her palm.
“What if I’m a fairy without wings”
“Then what about your ears?” She shouts and shoots a ball of water at the boy. The boy barely dodges the water magic and falls backward, he hears the water exploding against the ground sprouting up dirt.
“What are you doing on this side, How did you even get over here,” she said panicked, preparing to summon another ball of water
” I’ve always lived in my village, you’re the one that came here.” He swiftly shouted back.
The fairy hastily turned her head towards the sun “it’s setting … on this on this side of the barrier”. Her wings instinctively flies her forward. Speeding toward, she hits the barely visible barrier and is knocked backwards. To weaken to continue flying she falls back onto the ground.
The boy brings her up to the withered shrine; the shrine with half of its walls still standing, but would provide shelter against the icy winds. He starts a fire on the stone floor, after setting her on one of the few intact benches. He leans against a wall and eventually falls to slumber while gazing upon the sky.
The fairy slowly wakes up to see the sun rising on the other side of the barrier , past the barrier was the lands she grew up on. The boy sleeping nearby with his back leaning on what’s left of a stone wall. The fairy curled up and started weeping, lost from her home and stuck on the human’s side unable to complete her reunion. Only until the sun was bringing to creep above her did she tilt head slightly up to see the sun. Her eyes long dried out, she glanced at the ruins and in disbelief at what lay at the end of the shrine.
She slowly goes over and kneels down. She softly shakes the boy awake while still staring down the hall, memorized at what stood there. He wakes up realizing he overslept from tending to the fire much of the night.
In shock she asked, “Why is there a statue of a fairy here?” To see such a noble statue of a fairy, built on human lands, left her mind in a frenzy.
The boy still waking up glances over at the statue. All the village knew of its story, while it surprised passing travelers that stumbled across it, maybe a fairy finding it would be even more in disbelief. He could recite the story, even in his sleep but shortened it this time around. “That’s Asriel, before the war among humans and fairies.” “A fairy lived in the village. When the crisis broke out, he refused to attack any village. An army later came to attack the villages. He tried to stop the fairies from attacking but the village and its people were caught in flames. After watching the human girl he loved pass away, he sacrificed himself to place the barrier separating the races”.
The fairy found it very difficult to accept the story, “the war broke up over 500 years ago and it was said the humans had set up the barrier using whole cites as sacrifices. Not even the fairy queen’s magic could accomplish this.” Every fairy was taught to blame the humans, for they were greedy and veil.
Already expecting her not to believe the story, “that’s why there’s a statue of a fairy here. We still hold many ceremonies to remember what occurred”.
While too many it would be beloved as a story, to us it’s just as definite as the moon. He notice she was still speechless, “By the way, what’s your name”
Her mind still suspended, so her tongue replied instead,” Ariel”
She must be really exhausted, “My name’s Asriel.” he gets up and reaches his hand out toward he’s “Less start heading toward my village. You can rest and eat plenty there”.
There was no excuse she could make to stay hidden, she was trapped on human lands, if caught by humans, death would be the easiest way out. But without any hope, she decided to have faith in this boy.
She took hold of his hand and pulled herself up, leaving the withered shrine that provided them shelter. The open fields past the river now out of sight, she now had truly lost any hopes of finding her father.

Chapter 2

Two traveling kids trailing towards the sun, a boy with brown hair that was shaped by the wind, and rarely descending past his matching brown eyes. Next to him with slim contrast in height, a fairy of faded blonde hair, with strands easily intertwining another, the stream of hair ending at the shoulders partially hiding her wings and occasionally flowing past her light blue eyes. Her wings with four feathers made of silk protruding to the sides, the tip of the wings like the edges of a smooth leaf. Translucent in the light, the sides are streaked of light blue. Two silvery blue lines curled around the wings from the top to bottom of each side, both lines ended curving around a ring. Four rings or rather auras on the ends, they resembled an Iris of dark blue, fading lighter towards the center. The wings in flight would extend from one palm to the other. As of now the primary wings folded over the bottom, so each edge faced the soil.

Below them a firm dirt path that’s been used countless times to reach the shrine, the landscape scarce of grass due to the harsh winter. With winter subsiding spring could return at any moment. 

Slowly pacing herself to keep upright, her gaze aimed at the ends of each hill, and Asriel by her side for when she would fall over. It was painfully obvious that she kept slowing down but even still she struggled to keep moving. He didn’t know why she refused to give up, but it grew painful to watch someone suffering. You can’t keep going like this, you have fallen in despair for good reason, but pushing yourself till you collapse won’t change the outcome.“If you need to rest, do it here and then let’s travel before night” he said while halting his pace, unable to look up to meet her eyes.

She ignored most of it and continued walking, but it sounded as if those creatures didn’t exist at night on the human’s side, otherwise staying up at night was suicide.

If she sleeps here, we’ll be able to start moving again at sunset. Luckily the days have been getting warmer, but if we’re out too late in the night. Ahhh, damn it, if only I brought hunting gear, or even better my sword. It can’t be helped, there is no reason to carry dead weight. If we can just get close enough to the village I might just be able to carry her the rest of the way. Or rather I could, he stands in front of her blocking her path, and gently places his knee against the ground. There’s no time to make this awkward, I would rather not be forceful but there isn’t a choice,” I’ll carry you to the end trial so you may rest before you enter the village, that way we can make it before nightfall”

She stops walking and stares in discomfort, only wanting to move forward.

It’s either I convince her or drag her, “At this rate, we’ll be stuck outside once night falls, you should rest at the village,” he said, not attempting to alarm her. If we’re outside at night, she’ll be unable to run if a beast finds us, even if I was armed I would rather not risk the chance. 

“It’s either you rest while I carry you, or you rest now. I’m unarmed and you’ll be unable to run if we run into trouble”. 

So it is dangerous at night for humans also. The thought of giving up once never crossed her mind, but now if she stopped walking now it would break any spirit she had left. Though it was too late she leaned forward allowing Asriel to catch her. As she peers from his shoulder she fights to stay awake but eventually succumbs to sleep. Though it never actually felt like giving up, rather it feels like you’re not alone anymore and there is someone there to help.

After a while, he begins struggling to keep hold of her, each step more difficult than the last. We’re gonna die, she’s far too heavy for me to carry. Tensing his grip he sets his focus on the trail that’s yet to be behind him. After nearing the end of the trail he lays her on the ground and lays next to her catching his breath before he wakes her up. 

After calming his breathing he sits back up and shakes her shoulder to wake her up “Soon we will enter the outer part of the village”

She tilts her head, with her eyes barely opened. Even if it was just for a short while it was still like waking back up into a nightmare. After failing to even lift her arm, she closes her eyes again to concentrate. I can’t even get up on my own, I’ll be sore for a while from the constant use of magic but if it’s just for walking I should be able to squeeze out enough.

“Once we get to the inner part of the village, your entrance will attract everyone, though we can’t waste time, we’re gonna head straight to the chief, so we’ll just have to ignore them for now”. 

After a while of being awake, she finally pushes herself against the ground to stand up. Unable to peer past the top of the hills she looks down at Asriel who is still sitting. The sun is beginning to set, he must have carried me the whole time. “Thank you for carrying me,” she said awkwardly after turning away from him. 

“It wasn’t an issue at all” He stopped trying to spit out more words, but choked on-air ”it was great exercise”.    

With the lack of air right now almost just ending him, he was clearly lying, “O, so you can carry me the rest of the way” she couldn’t help but smirk.

“I’ll be carrying you to my grave,” he said while slowly getting up.

Shortly after crossing another hill, the first dwelling came into sight, and an abundance of trees laid out behind it. Thin slabs of decaying wood, unnaturally cut and stacked on top of each other to form walls and more slices of wood placed to seal off the top. Its reason for existing showed no purpose.  “ What’s that?” She asked while looking at the ominous structure standing in plain sight. 

“That’s a house, we make a shelter out of smaller wood due to the lack of colossal trees and magic to mend rooms out of. ”

“You would have an easier time convincing me that humans can fly, than proving this cut-out wooden cave could provide shelter.”

“Hey, you’re pretty late. You got back just before nightfall” It was Joseph that called, the first son of Ivan who was head of the hunters

Asriel went tensed for a brief moment, releasing how unprepared he was to avoid a commotion and Ariel contracting her wings even tighter in a futile attempt to hide them more. 

Joseph steps farther out of the forest nearby his house “See you’ve found a lost wonder, is she alright it’s a long way to get lost here” 

 “One can’t get more lost than this.” he turns to Ariel who was nervous standing there. 

The villager sees the outline of her wings, and is shocked, “ what’s a fairy doing here” he murmured.

Boy “We’ll have to talk more, I need to inform the village chief first”, “Would you mind getting him, I would rather not cause a disturbance in the village”

Joseph, “Of course…” his conclusion to why a fairy was here froze him in place, yet once he started to move his pace rapidly broke out into a sprint. “I’ll bring him as quickly as possible” He shouted before the small trees that surrendered this place hid him from sight.

He wasn’t the fastest among the hunters, but at that moment those who saw him run could only assume an army was behind him. Fear driving his body forward, fear that barrier finally dissipated, fear that fairies could arrive at any moment, fear that peace would go deceased, and everyone he knew would soon die in despair. He knew it was only a possibility, but the thought clouded his mind.

Even if Joseph is quick the chief will take the chief a while to get here “Let’s go sit over here till they get back” Asriel suggested, he showed her the neglected stables with a pile of hay recently piled up in the corner. The stable had enough room for three cattle, and only in use when Joseph’s father needed someone to look after his.  

Piles of dried-out grass tightly packed against the corner, this house without walls except for the roof. Everything humans make first seems useless but serves some purpose. 

As soon as Asriel got to the pile of grass he dropped right in. She sat nearby on the heap of dried-out grass, this is much more comfortable than laying on the ground, is this where humans sleep? “What’s the reason for alls this dried out grass” 

He fell backwards letting the hay break his fall and eyes already closed. Might as well lie down now, if the chief finds out I’m worn from just carrying a girl. I can see it now, he’ll have me carry him to the shrine and back, it was a nice life while it lasted.  

“Food for animals that we grow and raise”

“Is it edible?”, if she came too exhausted to use magic, she would faint from starvation without the constant flow of magic acting as a replacement for energy

“I wouldn’t recommend stuffing your mouth with hay, you can ask the chief for a banquet and he will gladly provide ”

Her appetite was being suspended, but this was an opportunity not to miss “ Can you promise such a thing?” 

“I’ll hunt the food myself if needed”

“If you have any mercy don’t mention the whole struggling to carry you thing”

“Why’s that important”

“The chief like to make excuses for me to participate in what he calls his special exercise training, I know of many ways to describe it, and that’s not one of them” “Age 4 it started as playing around, age 6 it went to jumping jacks, age 8 is when it began a fight for survival”,

“No worries”, “Is the village chief usually that harsh” already wanting to avoid his person’s bad side.

“It’s because I’m still in training as a guard or guardian of this village, and he likes to constantly remind me that”

“So your following in the footsteps of your savor Asriel, protecting the village ”

“If anything I’m taking my father’s place”

The tone of his voice instantly went dark, he was already prepared to explain but Ariel didn’t bother continuing. 

He laid up and sat against the hay bale, he learned most of what occurred, though everyone in the village already knew.“ Before I was born a wraith broke into the shrine we were at earlier, my father the previous and only guardian was killed protecting my mother. It was in vain as my mother fell ill to the wraith, some humans last for a few days at most at the cost of their sanity. But the illness slowly progressed for an entire week and in just enough time to give birth to me, she died soon after. Everyone considered it a miracle that I lived, the chief ended up taking me in and gave me the name Asriel ”

To have both parents die by wraith’s hands, how dreadful that must be. Yet, to be lucky enough to survive a wraith from feasting on your soul is one hell of a miracle.

“ASRIEL WHAT IS GOING ON, JOSEPH CAME BANGING ON MY DOOR NEARLY A GHOST TRYING TO INHALE HIS SOUL BACK IN HIS LUNGS”

“Chief in the stables!” he shouted back

“NOT COMING OUT YOURSELF, CALLING THIS OLD MAN OUT HERE JUST TO HIDE FROM ME”

“I’d like to give our guest a chance to sit down,” he said as the chief came went around the house to see someone else besides Asriel,

“Where’s my manner… ” His mind was caught off guard the moment he saw the wings, “My bad it’s just one around here doesn’t often see a fairy, though if you’re here I won’t doubt Asriel’s reasoning”. He turns his head to Asriel and changes his expression,” Though you have somethings to explain”, “but before that, I must ask you one question, how did you cross the barrier”

She wasn’t able to recall much before she fell in, all she knew was she was swept under a river, “I fell in a river and after Asriel pulled me out I woke up on this side”

“Is the barrier still there?” 

Asriel could understand the concern coming from his voice, but the barrier proved itself to be still working, “It’s still up, she hit the barrier pretty hard trying to get back”

“Is there possibly any rips or cracks anywhere”

I’ll investigate the barrier near the river, but it doesn’t seem to have any openings, “ Do you know where you fell in at”

“I was too exhausted to see where I was going*

“Ah, Chief we should ought give her food before she starts eating the hay”

“My apologies you must be starving, I’ll have someone get food right away”

Her body was deprived of food, she couldn’t miss this chance, “I was promised a banquet” she glared at Asriel with eyes of a starving animal.

“Only a mere banquet, please forgive this boy for being impolite, we will hold a feast for our guest!” 

Once Joseph came back to his house, he was ordered to escort Ariel with a cloak over her to Asriel’s house which was originally his parents and can house up to four people. Soon Joseph went back to give her food and then left without ever mentioning the fairy to anyone.

Joseph did carry as much food as he could, but it was enough for now, with the flow of magic ceasing, she quickly grew tired, after constant usage of magic for two days it was impossible to pull any more magic out.

Why did I cross the border, how did I end up in a village that would accept a fairy, what am I supposed to do

It just must be fate that I’m here.

With Ariel peacefully falling asleep, the chief and Asriel hold a meeting beneath the night.