Standing at the edge of her balcony banging an angry three-beat rhythm with her fist upon the railing, Musa watches as Riven mounts his wind rider and speeds off towards Red Fountain. Her evening with him, in her opinion, was a monumental disaster. The meal she had so lovingly prepared for him was eaten without comment or compliment. The conversation amounted to a series of non-committal grunts. As for their lovemaking that evening … “It didn’t even rate as a passionate grope in the dark,” thinks Musa bitterly. Something had his mind distracted.
“Darcy!” spits Musa angrily to herself. “That witch has her claws into him again! Most likely he was not even aware of with whom he had spent the evening. Well, this time I’m not occupied devoting my time to Bloom and the protection of her Dragon’s Fire so this tug-of-war for Riven is going to end here and now. If she wants Riven, then she’ll have to fight me for him!”
Meanwhile, a raging thunderstorm is brewing over Cloud Tower which is normal and to be expected. It is the storm on the inside of Cloud Tower that is unusual as two Witches square off with each other like angry cats hissing, yowling, and spitting into each other’s face.
“Darcy, let him go!” shouts Ishandra, who was once known as Icy, to her brunette sister. “It will never work out between you. Riven belongs with Musa not with you.”
“Riven and I do belong together, Icy!” shouts Darcy in return. “We have opened our hearts to each other and we are in love the two of us with each other. I will marry him, keep his house for him, be is good little Witch wife, and bear his children.”
“That’s just it,” says Ishandra exasperated. “If you are hoping for children, it won’t be with Riven. By the Goddess, Darcy, Riven’s not even human!”
“What would you know about that, Icy?” yells Darcy. “You are not only the Mistress of Ice and Snow but also the Queen of Frigid. You wouldn’t know where to find the best part of a man unless someone drew you a diagram with a big red arrow pointing right at it!”
“That’s a cheap shot, Darcy,” snarls Ishandra. “I am only trying to spare you and, yes, him a life of misery.”
Ishandra takes a deep breath and once more tries to reason with Darcy. “Look, Darcy, we know that the Faeries are all female because we have been up close and personal fighting with them all these years. And every spring in Magix we see hundreds of Faeries who are about to become mothers. Well, how do you think they get that way? It’s not done with magic or with something found in a cabbage patch. Yes, Darcy, there is a male counterpart to a Faerie called a Faë or a Hero as they like to call them here on Alfea. Riven is a Faë not a human like you or I and Faën are a different class of creatures unto themselves.”
Darcy looks sullenly on with her arms crossed defensively as Ishandra continues. “You will never have children with Riven,” says Ishandra. “Faën and Witches cannot interbreed. Most attempts abort within the first month and any offspring that do make it into the world are wretched, deformed monstrosities who live out a short life of pain and agony. Do you really want to risk bringing such a creature into the world simply to have Riven quench the fire burning within your loins? Darcy? Darcy, look at me and give me your answer.”
“No,” drawls Darcy slowly and sadly with tears in her eyes. “But how can you be so sure that Riven is one of these Faën as you call them?”
“Ask him yourself,” replies Ishandra. “Yes, I know that on the outside he looks as human as you and I but on the inside he is completely different. Ask him how many hearts he has and where they are, or stomachs or sets of teeth. If he tells you more than one of each, then he is a Faë. And if that does not convince you, then ask him to let you have a good look into his mouth and if you see more than one ridge of teeth on the top and bottom, then he is a Faë. And once that you know that he is, then for both your sakes, release him and let him go back to Musa who loves him and can offer him a happy life together.”
Darcy looks as if she is about to concede defeat but then rebellion boils up in her again. “Lies!” she screams. “You’re just like M’Trika and Musa and all the others. You can’t bear the thought that I have found happiness with Riven so you want to take him away from me. It’s not going to happen, Icy. Never!” and then she raises her hands.
Ishandra, seeing Darcy raise her hands and knowing what is about to happen, yells, “Darcy! Darcy, don’t you dare vanish on me!” but she does leaving Ishandra blinking at the vacant space where Darcy was standing.
Ishandra sighs and then turns towards a couch whereupon sits her youngest sister, a Storm-Witch named Leffi, but who at one time in her life called herself Stormy. The pretty, young woman is holding her knees up to her chest and is scrunched up into a corner hiding her face in fear. “It’s okay, my precious Little One,” says Ishandra soothingly to the woman-child as she takes a spot on the couch beside her. “I’m sorry you had to be here to see this.”
“Did I do something wrong? Is Darcy mad at me?” asks Leffi.
“No, Little One, you’ve done nothing wrong and Darcy is not upset with you,” replies Ishandra gently, “but Darcy is not herself these days.”
“Why?” asks Leffi, looking up at Ishandra with innocent, blue eyes.
“Darcy has contracted a disease called love,” explains Ishandra to her little sister, “and I hope, for your sake, you never catch it for it rips away all your powers of reasoning and makes you go crazy in the head,” and circles her temple with her index finger.
“Will she get better?” asks Leffi.
“I hope so, Leffi. I hope so,” replies Ishandra with a sigh.
“But I need to leave here,” thinks Ishandra, “for, as the Werecat has warned me, Darcy will drag me down to a state that is worse than where I was when I was once Icy the Leader of the Trix. I am going ahead with my plans to build my ice palace between Cloud Tower and Alfea College. But I need to find a safe place for Leffi where she will not fall victim to Darcy’s rage and abuse when she discovers that I have left her.”
“I have a surprise in store for you,” says Ishandra to the woman-child. “How would you like to visit a world where there are only Faeries and live there for a time?”
“I would love it!” squeals Leffi in delight.
“I will arrange for Mistress Tecna to take you to Binos which is her home world,” says Ishandra, “and there she will teach you how to use your new cybernetic powers that our friend the Werecat gave you and you will get to meet all kinds of new Faeries like Mistress Bloom, Mistress Stella, Mistress Flora, Mistress Aïsha and even Mistress Musa. And I’ll come see you there sometimes too. Won’t that be fun?”
“Yes!” replies Leffi joyfully. “This is going to be so much fun!”
In a park just outside of Alfea College sits a woman under a tree with her legs drawn up and her head resting on her knees. But it is not in fear. No, Alessandra is dreaming: dreaming of love and the happiness she has found with a young man with purple hair shaped like a flame named Riven.
Her life has vastly improved since she left Cloud Tower and taken up residence at Alfea College, she reflects. The Faeries have been extremely kind to her and a few changed her life radically with their gifts. There is Flora, who specializes in botanical medicine, who diagnosed Alessandra’s eating disorder and then used her botanical skills and magic to cure it. Thanks to Flora, she now has some decent meat on her bones, her face has lost most of its hollowness and boney angularity, a new, healthy light glows in her eyes, and she feels stronger and better than ever before. With the weight gain, her passé and Witch style clothing no longer fit her. A Faerie named Stella helped her to abandon them and advised on how to dress in a manner that flattered her new body. But it is to Bloom, Alessandra feels she owes a special debt of gratitude. Bloom had used her new skills as a healer and the fine point of the Dragon’s Fire to reshape her face into the image of lasting beauty it is today. Her new looks are neither Witch nor Faerie in Alessandra’s opinion but a blend of the best of both.
Yet, despite these changes, her mind-set is still that of a Witch. No, she is not evil or wicked but the differences in opinion and viewpoint are, nonetheless, the cause of many long and loud disputes among her and the Faeries. Even her best and lifelong friend, Mirta, tends to side more and more with the Faeries in any given argument. But what irked and surprised the Faeries and to some degree Mirta the most about her is when she suddenly receives her Charmix and in short order her Enchantix after the daring rescue of Flora when a dragon she was treating broke the tethers restraining it and came after her with its maw wide open and breathing fire. Flora had folded her wings to work on the dragon without them obstructing her movements but, when the attack came, there was no way she could unfurl them in time to lift off and to get away. Witches, however, use levitation not wing power to fly and that was the crucial, lifesaving difference. Alessandra, who was there and saw Flora in danger, swept in, and levitated with Flora a split second before the dragon’s fire hit and its huge maw snapped shut. When they land, there is a glow about Alessandra, and when it lifts, she is dressed in a formfitting and somewhat pixyish black dress and from her back has sprouted a pair of blue-black butterfly style wings with silver, witchy-looking scrolling.
Alessandra had hoped that obtaining her Charmix and Enchantix status would bring the Faeries and her closer together but instead it seemed to drive a wedge between them. Yes, Flora and the Winx Club Faeries accepted her and her new status but among the others and especially the younger Faeries it sparked a furor of outrage and perhaps also jealousy. Many state that Charmix and Enchantix powers are for Faeries only and that a witch with either is an abomination while calling her a counterfeit Faerie. Finally, Miss Faragonda assembles all within the courtyard of Alfea College and tells them, while Alessandra is standing by her side, that the bestowing of Charmix and Enchantix powers is not determined by Faerie opinions and wishes but by the Goddess Herself and if She decides to bestow these powers upon a Witch then that is Her indisputable prerogative. Then she further astounds the assembly already stunned into silence by having Alessandra kneel before her to receive the Sisterly Kiss of Acceptance upon her temple which Alessandra returns upon hers. “Arise, My Sister!” exclaims Miss Faragonda in a voice loud enough for all to hear.
After that, the arguments and grumbling stopped but still Alessandra felt like she was always on the outside of the circle during any function looking in until Riven came into her life. One thing led to another after he had asked her to dance with him, and soon, she found herself falling head-over-heals for one she knew was a Faë but who still won her over with his understanding of Witchkind.
But there were others who laid claim to him. One was Darcy of the infamous Trix. She boiled inside thinking how she once admired the Trix and wanted to be like them and accepted by the most powerful trio of Witches on Alfea. And what did she get and especially from Icy: lied to, cheated, deceived, dissed at every turn and forced to do their homework for them so they could get good grades while they goofed off. And she and Stormy were no better. Finally, when they forced her to spy for them and to collect information for them so they could steal the Codex and then abandoned her, she snapped. When Mirta came shortly thereafter with the offer that would allow her to attend Alfea College on a student exchange program, she jumped at the chance to escape the Trix and their abuse. Well, Icy is no more, and Stormy has been reduced to the state of a child against whom she can hold no malice but Darcy is still Darcy and payback is long overdue. The other laying claim to Riven was Musa, the Faerie of Music, and a friend of Bloom, Stella and Flora who had helped her so much. Musa, Alessandra did not want to hurt. But it is said that Musa had first claim on Riven and Darcy stole him from her. Perhaps if she helped Musa to get Riven back, then perhaps, just perhaps, she would be grateful enough to share Riven with her.