I sat in the plush white chair that sat in the corner of the bedroom that had been deemed mine. I faced the window, looking out at the tall trees that lined the backyard of Rupert’s home. The sun was high in the sky, shining brightly against the treetops. Birds moved from tree to tree, stretching their wings as they glided through the air.
My mind was a cluster of thoughts and emotions. I was confused about what my feelings really were about being in this place. I was confused about how I felt about Rupert, but most of all my mind grasped to understand what had happened out on the cliffs the other day. I looked down at my hands that held the pink ribbon. The only thing that remained as proof. The pink ribbon had a few droplets of blood on the edges from the hands that it had once been wrapped around. Despite the stains, the ribbon was still silky soft, thin and delicate beneath my fingertips.
I kept the images of what I saw fresh in my mind. I didn’t want to forget, I wanted to understand. Who were those people? Why did they seem familiar? What was it about their ceremony that left such a conflicting feeling in my chest? Why was the magic in this place so drawn to me?
I glanced up at the door as a creaking noise met my ears. Nix’s petite frame stood in the doorway. Her long dark hair was tied back into a tight braided bun. She wore simple black pants with a grey t-shirt. She gave me a soft smile before she made her way into the room and sat down on the edge of the bed across from me.
“So, I hear you had some weird things happen on your trip out with Rupert the other day.” She said.
I nodded my head in response and looked back down at the pink ribbon. “Can you be honest with me,” I said.
She sat back, her eyes going wide before she collected herself. “Of course.”
“Why am I being kept here? It doesn’t make any sense. If I were to go back into my world, I would be considered a nut job and probably put under a heavy psych evaluation. No one would believe me if I even wanted to talk about what happened here.”
“It’s better for us if you’re here. Ninety-nine people may think you’re crazy, but there’s always a chance that one person could believe you and we can’t risk that.” She responded after a moment.
I rolled my eyes, her reasoning not making any sense to me. “What I don’t understand is why I feel so attached to this place. Why do I feel so safe and relaxed here? No sane person that gets kidnapped by mythological people would be feeling like I do.”
Nix leaned back and looked at me for a moment as if she were contemplating what exactly to say to me. She positioned herself on my bed before she leaned forward and replied.
“You are one of us.” She began.
“But I’m human.” I looked her straight in the eye.
“I know.” She put her hand up, telling me to stop talking. “Let me finish.”
I closed my mouth, looked back down at my hands and nodded my head for her to continue.
“You are one of us in the sense that there’s something about your soul that belongs here.” She said. “When you first walked through the gates the magic of this place attached itself to you. It added more of its essence into you, more than what already existed.
“I say that because you shouldn’t have been able to see the changeling ceremony at all, but you did.” She cleared her throat before she continued. “For some reason, your soul was already attached to our magic, it was calling out to be seen. So when you came through the gates, the golden magic attached more of itself to you. Your spirit calls to this place, it wants to be here. That’s why you feel like you belong... because you do. Your spirit and heart want to be here, it’s your mind that’s stopping you from completely accepting the fact that you belong.”
Nix moved from the bed and came towards me. She stood looking out the window at the same trees and sun that I had just been admiring moments ago. “Your heart and soul belong here because they belong to someone else.”
I frowned, I looked at her, unsure of what she meant. “What do you mean?”
“There’s a lot that you don’t know about the changeling fairies, Ariella.” She continued to look out the window. “One thing that you may not understand is that we love. We love fierce, and we love for life.” She turned to look at me. “Our spirits choose who we love, and our hearts grow to accept that over time. Your spirit has chosen, but your mind is stopping your heart from loving.”
“My spirit has chosen?” I lifted an eyebrow. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” I tried to brush off her comments.
“This isn’t a joke, Ariella.” She turned to glare at me. “This is the ways of our life. You asked for honesty I’m giving it.” Her voice was serious, angry.
“You need to open your mind,” She leaned in closer to me, putting both her hands on the armrests of the chair, trapping me in place. “You need to allow your spirit to grow, to be happy, allow yourself to feel.” Her golden eyes were on fire with anger. “Do not take for granted what the magic of this place has given you. So many of us have lost what our souls chose for us. Don’t be so selfish.”
Just as quickly as the anger came, it was gone and replaced with sorrow. Nix blinked her eyes, to rid of the water that built up on the edge of her eyes. She pulled back and stepped away from me.
“Live the life that you were always meant to have.” She whispered before she quickly left the room.
I sat in the chair staring at the empty doorway. The things Nix had said were rolling around in my brain as a jumbled mess. I understood what she was saying in some ways, but in a lot of ways, it made me want to ask more questions.
My soul and heart have already chosen? I thought. I felt like I was Alice in Wonderland, I was stuck in the rabbit hole and couldn’t get out. Everything felt overwhelming, and confusing. More questions arose in my mind with the answers that Nix had given me.
I looked back out the window, the sun was still high in the sky. I moved from the chair and made my way to the back door. I stepped out on the back deck and took in my surroundings. The backyard went back about fifty feet before it was met by the tall evergreen, spruce and maple trees. The sun felt warm against my skin, I took a few steps out and sat down on the top step that leads down to the grass.
I sat there and closed my eyes to take in the sounds of nature. Birds sang their sweet songs from the branches of the trees, the leaves on the trees rustled together as the breeze moved through them.
I sighed as I leaned back on my elbows. I looked up at the sky as the white wispy clouds moved slowly through the blue sky.
The golden magic has attached itself to you. Nix’s voice rang through my head. It already existed inside of you.
I shivered as a cool breeze hit my warm skin.
“What are you doing out here?” His deep velvety voice met my ears.
I turned to look back at him. I smiled, as I sat back up. “Just thinking.”
“Anything in particular?” Rupert sat down beside me and stretched his long legs out in front of him.
“I...I talked with Nix earlier.” I started. “She said a bunch of things about the golden magic here. She said that it added more of itself inside of me when I came here and that’s why I feel like I belong here.” I shook my head. “She said my heart and soul have attached itself to someone here...whatever that means...and then she got all emotional and left.” I shrugged my shoulders.
Rupert sighed. “You know how geese mate for life?” He said. “Changeling fairies mate for life too. Our soul and hearts attach itself to someone and it’s a relationship that builds over time as any other relationship does.” He explained. “Nix would have gotten emotional because she lost her husband.”
I looked at him surprised. My heart broke in my chest for Nix. I was being selfish to question and make fun of the things she was explaining to me earlier. She clearly cared about the ways of life as a changeling and I had no right to question that.
“S-She lost her husband?”
“Yeah, a long time ago this kingdom was at war with our neighbours to the north. We had been at war for years, battles upon battles, lives lost, families left broken. Nix’s husband was in one of those battles and lost his life.” Rupert looked out at the trees as he explained. “A part of her soul is missing, which I think explains why she has episodes every now and again. She’s lived a long life, and a lot of her years she’s spent alone.”
I looked down at my hands that I had clutched in my lap. I blinked away the tears that were beginning to form. I felt bad for what I had said. My thoughts were blocking my true experiences here, I wasn’t allowing myself to truly take in the culture of this beautiful place. My mind was stopping me from understanding what exactly I felt.
“D-Do you have a mate, Rupert?” I hesitantly asked.
He paused for a moment before responding. “I do.”
I quickly looked away, unsure of how I felt about his words. “Where is she?”
“I’m not sure.” He said, his lips pursed together. “She left a long time ago.”
“Yes, when we were children. She’s younger than me, your soul doesn’t choose your mate until you reach the age of ten. If you’re lucky enough, they end up being someone you already know or live in the same kingdom you do. I was lucky that way, but because she was younger she didn’t know.”
“You didn’t tell her?” I asked confused.
“I was only ten. I didn’t really realize what was happening. I was so young, it wasn’t until she left that I felt a huge void in my life.”
“That void is still there. I’ve tried looking for her, but I haven’t been able to find her.”