A Changing Of The Guard
The rising of the Huntress, the first sun of Alfea, sees Ishandra and the Faeries up and doing their morning ritual of exercises and stretches. The Faeries have spread their wings and are shaking from them the accumulation of faerie dust which has caked on them overnight which falls to the ground in a cloud of glittering gold and silver specks. The Huntress, although a yellow sun, is of a slightly different composition than Sol of Terra. Under her light, all colours take on a special brilliance which Faerie wings seem to be especially designed to capture and reflect in all their glory.
While the Huntress is the central sun of the Alfean solar system around which orbits the Planet of Alfea, the dwarf sun, called the Hart, with its bluish light orbits the Planet of Alfea in the same manner as her three moons. The Hart is said to be the reincarnation of a wicked wizard who during his conquest for domination over the universe caused the destruction of countless planets and the deaths of countless billions of sentient beings. The Goddess finally sent her greatest huntress angel after him. The huntress was successful in her mission and brought the soul of this wicked wizard to stand in judgement before the Goddess. “Because of your great evil,” the Goddess tells him, “you shall be punished thus: You shall be recreated as a small star that orbits the Planet of Alfea. My huntress shall stand in centre awaiting your immergence from behind Alfea at which time she will hunt you. When the two of you are in conjunction, she will kill you. But, because of your evil, you shall be brought back to life each day until you have suffered a death for each life you have taken.” And thus were created the Huntress and the Hart.
The Faeries and Ishandra roll up their bedrolls and secure them once more behind the saddles of their horses. Most of the dishes and containers have been picked up and stored into the saddlebags except for the blanket and the few items which will serve to break their fast.
Everyone is seated in a circle enjoying her breakfast when Ishandra says, “I have an announcement to make to you.”
“This must be it,” whispers Stella to Musa behind her hand.
“Don’t say I didn’t tell you,” whispers back Musa in the same manner.
“I’m taking over the leadership of the Winx Club,” says Ishandra flatly.
“What?” sputters Bloom nearly choking on her fruit juice and dropping her glass. “Tell me you’re joking!” she exclaims while the others look on in shock.
“No, I’m not joking about this. I’m dead serious,” replies Ishandra.
“Even if I decide to relinquish my position as leader,” asks Bloom, “what makes you think that you have the right to take over?”
“Yeah,” says Stella angrily. “If anyone takes over the leadership of the Winx Club she should be a Faerie perhaps Aïsha.” And some of the others chime in in agreement.
“I disagree,” says Flora. “We say that Ishandra is now a Sister to us all, therefore, she should have an equal opportunity to be our leader no matter if she is a Witch and not a Faerie … and have we forgotten so soon that, despite that Ishandra continues to call herself a Witch and not a Faerie, she is really neither because she has become a meld of both elements to become something that is unique?”
“Point taken, Flora,” says Bloom, “but I am asking you again, Ishandra, what makes you think that you have the right to take over as leader?”
“I have word from a source who is next to the Goddess Herself,” says Ishandra, “that a great battle is looming over the horizon for which I am the only one among you who has the qualifications required to prepare you for it before it breaks out.”
“So, whom shall we be facing?” asks Bloom. “Is Lord Darkar going to somehow make a reappearance or perhaps we have to do battle against the Three Ancestresses?”
“No, we shall be fighting against someone closer to home: Darcy,” states Ishandra.
“But I thought that Darcy was secured and locked away in Cloud Tower,” puts in Aïsha. « Where are you going with this, Isha? » she asks telepathically.
“Now that Darcy knows that there is a way to escape her prison at Cloud Tower,” replies Ishandra aloud to Aïsha’s question, “she is not going to stay in captivity much longer. She’ll not rest until she finds a way to lie, cheat, connive or deceive her way out of there and then she’ll be out for revenge on all of us.”
The Faeries look quietly but seriously on as Ishandra addresses each of them. “Bloom, I recognize that you are the best fighter among the Faeries, but, you and I are the only healers in our group. One of us has to stay behind the lines in case the other is wounded or killed. Aïsha, you are also a good fighter but you have had little experience fighting against Witches and especially one with Darcy’s mind-set. However, I am going to make you my second in command. Tecna, I’m inclined to keep you behind the lines too as our technical support. Stella, Flora, Musa, we will need your fighting skills as well but Musa, I would be watching my back from now on because, when Darcy breaks out, you are the first she’s going to come after.”
“Yes, I know,” says Musa. “Tecna told me about your visit to Alfea College and the discussion you had about Darcy, Riven and me. Forgive me for saying it, but that Witch must be out of her gourd.”
“No offence taken,” replies Ishandra to Musa, “and this time I have to agree with you. But Darcy is determined to have Riven for herself.”
“And for this she is willing to wage a war?” asks Musa in disbelief.
“Are you not willing to wage war for the same reason?” asks Ishandra. “On Terra, it is said that a woman will kill to keep the one she loves or has desires for and I can tell you that that goes double if she happens to be a Witch. Darcy would wage war and kill without regret or remorse to keep possession of the one she wants.”
“This makes no sense at all,” says Flora with a note of distress in her voice. “Can’t someone or all of us try to reason with Darcy and explain to her that a relationship between Riven and her is fruitless?”
“It is ironic that you should express it that way seeing that Darcy so wants to have children by Riven,” replies the Mistress of the White Ice Dragon’s Fire to the empathic Faerie of Nature. “If you want to try, then go for it but trying to reason with Darcy now I fear is also fruitless.”
“Seeing that a battle seems to be inevitable,” states Tecna, “Ishandra’s proposal makes good sense. But I want to know what your contribution to the Winx Club as leader will be, Ishandra.”
“None of you know what Darcy’s mind-set is truly like and the real extent of her powers as I do,” says Ishandra, “because even during the Alfea Wars I was restraining her to some degree. You will have to be trained on how to resist and counter her Gloomix and mind-disrupting magic and I am the only one here who can do that so that is my contribution to the cause.”
Tecna nods showing her agreement with Ishandra’s statement and turns her gaze to Bloom. There is a long pause after which Bloom finally says, “Very well, Ishandra, I shall relinquish my position as leader of the Winx Club to you so long as you understand that this is only until the danger posed by Darcy is over. Then, I will retake leadership. Can you agree to this?”
“I can agree to this,” says Ishandra to Bloom.
“Then receive the sisterly kiss of acceptance and agreement,” says Bloom kissing Ishandra’s temple which Ishandra returns upon hers.
The ride back to Ishandra’s palace is slow, quiet and full of deep thought. The Faeries stay only long enough to stable and tend to the horses and then as a group they fly back to Alfea College. Upon their return, they find Ms. Griselda waiting for them.
“I wish you six had told me where you went off to especially you, Bloom,” says Griselda but not in her usual cross manner.
“Come on, Ms. G.,” protests Stella. “It’s the weekend and we are allowed that time away.”
“I have an important matter to discuss with Miss Faragonda,” says Bloom. “I need to talk to her right away.”
“That won’t be possible, Bloom,” says Griselda softly and sadly. “Miss Faragonda returned to the dust last night.”
“She’s dead?” cries Stella bursting into tears with the others and regretting sorely her flippant remark. Stella turns to embrace Bloom and they cry on each other’s shoulders as the other Faeries circle around in a group hug to grieve.
“I think she knew it was her time for she urgently wanted to see you, Bloom, to ask something of you,” says Griselda tearfully.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t there,” chokes Bloom. “Do you know what she wanted to ask of me?”
“Yes,” says Griselda, “she wanted to ask if you would take over as the new Headmistress of Alfea College.”
“I would have told her ‘yes,’“ sobs Bloom.
“Then, in Miss Faragonda’s name, I am authorized to bestow upon you, Bloom, the kiss of acceptance as the new Headmistress of Alfea College,” replies Griselda, gently kissing Bloom’s temple.