Seven Days Of Mourning
Bloom has hardly time to realize that she is now the Acting Headmistress of Alfea College before all the duties and obligations of the position are heaped upon her young shoulders. Dressed in her dark-blue mourning attire, she feels that she should indeed be mourning the passing of Miss Faragonda but she is kept so busy flying here and there arranging this, checking that, delegating tasks to this one, that one and all in between that her feet barely get to touch ground for more than fifteen minutes at a time. By the time she gets back to her room the first day, she is so exhausted that she falls asleep the moment her head hits the pillow even before she can get out of her clothes and into her pyjamas.
Ms. Griselda and all the Winx Club girls come to aid Bloom with her many tasks. All are touched by the passing of Miss Faragonda but Flora is doubly impacted when she recalls the death of her fiancé, Helia, who was only recently slain along with all the other members of a peace envoy when their ship was ambushed and destroyed whilst en route to a rendezvous point there to assist in negotiating a peace treaty between two warring planets in his home solar system. “At least he died doing what he wanted,” thinks Flora tearfully but even that is cold comfort and now the one that she loved as a mother while on Alfea has been claimed by the passage of time.
One strange thing that Bloom never knew about Faeriekind before her arrival to Alfea is that, when a Faerie closes her eyes for the final time, enzymes are released that quickly decompose her body so within a few hours all that remains of her is a chalky white residue like dust. The moment the old Headmistress died, her body was quickly transferred along with the sheets into a glass sarcophagus to lie in state until the final service in seven day’s time.
And they come from far and wide to pay their last respects to Miss Faragonda. There are many of her former students, Miss Griffin and several of the Witches who fought side by side with her and the Faeries during the Alfea College War against the Trix. Also come King Sky and Queen Diaspro of Eraklyon (whom Bloom carefully avoids) and with them Brandon the High Sheriff of Eraklyon now Stella’s husband. From Red Fountain come Timmy now officially engaged to Tecna, Saladin, Codatorta, and Riven who remains at Red Fountain as an instructor. King Radius and Queen Luna of Solaria, Stella’s parents, call a truce in their on-going feud to come to Alfea to pay their respects. Sadly, Bloom’s parents, King Oritel and Queen Miriam of Sparx, remain lost in one of the magical dimensions where Baltor banished them but, by special accommodation at Bloom’s request, her adoptive parents, Mike and Vanessa, are permitted to pass through the magical barrier of Alfea to attend Miss Faragonda’s funeral and the inauguration of Bloom as the new Headmistress of Alfea College. Ishandra comes to pay her respects late at night and is quietly brought by Bloom to the chamber where Miss Faragonda’s remains are at rest. “She was a great lady,” says Ishandra sadly and respectfully, “even if for a time we were enemies. She proved herself several times over to be a strong and wise leader. May she now find her peace with the Goddess.”
By the sixth night ships are coming in from the farthest reaches of the Alfean universe bringing with them peoples from planets and star systems that Bloom had not even heard of until that week. The accommodations at Magix are filled to overflowing and all the parks around the perimeter of Alfea College are filled end to end with ships that are also serving as temporary living quarters. And during the night they continue to come until the Huntress, the golden sun of Alfea, comes over the horizon to begin her arc across the Alfean sky.
Early on the seventh day, Miss Faragonda’s sarcophagus is loaded upon an open bier that is drawn by a single land dragon draped with a dark-blue banner bearing the crest of Alfea College and a dark-blue mask over its face. A slow procession makes its way from Alfea College to a bluff overlooking Lake Roccaluce. At that point, the sarcophagus is removed from the bier and set upon a raised platform around which stand the High Priestess of Alfea and several lesser priestesses. A flight of nine dragons in three V-shaped formations from out of Red Fountain glide over the assembly bugling a lament as they pass. The priestesses follow with a polyphonic dirge during which all stand in quiet contemplation. This is followed by eulogies pronounced by Ms. Griselda, Bloom and the other members of the Winx Club, Miss Griffin and several other dignitaries from near and far. Then Bloom is called to stand alone on the platform before the High Priestess who, after saying a short and quiet prayer over her, announces aloud to the crowd.
“Bloom, I hereby pronounce you the new Headmistress of Alfea College,” while draping a ribbon with a crystal over her head. The High Priestess next hands Bloom a staff with feathers glued into the top. “Headmistress,” intones the High Priestess, “I now command you to carry out your first duty.”
Bloom makes her way reverently to the sarcophagus and shoves the end of the staff into a slot designed for it. The sarcophagus opens and its floor rises. Bloom opens the sheets and sets free the dust of Miss Faragonda’s body, which is caught up by the wind and sent floating over Lake Roccaluce in a glittering gold and silver cloud. A procession, led by Stella, ascends the platform to join Bloom. All grab the edge of the sheets and shake them to release any of the remaining dust. Then as the others fold the sheets, Bloom removes the staff from its slot and uses it to sweep away all the dust that remains on the floor of the sarcophagus. The task completed, all walk slowly to a brazier which has been lit by one of the priestesses and together they place the sheets and also the feathered staff into the flames. The crowd waits in silence until all of the sheets and the staff are completely consumed by the flames. Then the High Priestess turns to the crowd and pronounces to all, “Depart now in peace and with the blessings of the Goddess.”
“So let it be!” chants the crowd in many languages and then disperses most following the bier headed back to Alfea College and the feast awaiting them within its court.