Death comes to Dreamscape
CHAPTER 1 : DEATH COMES TO DREAMSCAPE
No one knew why Celeste committed suicide. As most of the fairies of Dreamscape said when they found her shrivelled grey body, drained of all lifeforce and magic, in the bottom of a Vortex, she was the last person they expected to do something like that. At first they thought someone pushed her in. Maybe one of the Magicless who snuck in through the woods. Celeste had been one of the most brilliant students of their Academy. Her talent and charms were known by everyone in the Dreamscape. Everyone envied her. Yet it was she who ended up dead. She who brought death to Dreamscape after 100 years of peace.
The Guardians of the Dreamscape held a meeting immediately after she died. The most ancient one of them, who called herself Siren spoke first. They were gathered in the sacred woods not far from the Vortex in which they discovered Celeste’s body.
“You do see the magic dwindling, don’t you?” Her voice was calm but the anger underneath was unmistakable. The other four Guardians winced. “Take a look around…The winds have grown chilly. The light is dwindling and the trees…”
As her voice trailed a leaf blew in the wind towards her. With a shake of her long silver hair she caught it. The decaying leaf crumpled at her touch. Her slivery wings shuddered.
“It could be nothing…” The youngest of the guardians spoke up. She was a woman who looked like she was in her twenties with bright red hair. Unlike the other guardians who were all dressed in white, she was wearing a red dress. “It doesn’t have to mean the Magicless crossed the border.”
Siren laughed. Her voice was pleasant, like a wind chime. “Rosa…What do you know about the magicless? You weren’t here when they destroyed their own world.”
“Neither were you.” Rosa retorted. “I’ve heard the story Siren.” She paused as she stared directly into Siren’s hazel eyes. “After the ashes of the final war settled and the remaining magicless came out of hiding…” She recited. “The air was glittering. And in the air they saw a creature more beautiful than anything they ever saw. They named her Siren.”
Siren laughed again “And you are saying I don’t know anything about the magicless because I came into existence after the majority of them died? You naïve child… I protected them…healed them…helped them survive the worst of the aftermath. None of the others have known them like me. They came into existence long after peace returned to the lands.”
Rosa bit her lip. “You were also the one who exiled them to the edge of the woods and you installed a Vortex in four places to keep them out. A Vortex in which one of our own has died.”
“I won’t have you blaming Siren for that Rosa.” One of the guardians who had been listening intently, stroking a shiny sword said. “What the magicless did to her was unforgivable. She had to protect herself. Protect us…”
“What did they do?” Rosa asked firmly, her bright blue eyes fixed on Siren. “And why have you never told us anything about that? Why? Do you know, Knight? If you do…Why have you not said anything as well?”
“It is something I don’t wish upon anyone else of our kind.” Siren’s expression was stony. And believe me when I say this Rosa…IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN TO OUR KIND IF WE ALLOW THEM HERE.”
“She is right.” Knight said, putting his sword aside and standing up. “I know you mean well Rosa and I know that you have a kind heart. But kindness means nothing to the magicless. They are ruthless destroyers…They think nothing of sticking a knife into someone who was kind to them.”
“I think most of us have made a decision.” The fairy sitting beside Rosa stood up too. “I agree with Knight and Siren. This tragedy is the result of the actions of the magicless.”
“How can you say that Irene?” Rosa said. “No one has investigated anything! How!”
“Only a magicless can convince an exceptional fairy like Celeste to take her own life.” The blond haired fairy wearing a bright silver armour stood up. He smiled mockingly at Rosa. “Only a naïve dumb idiot would speak for the magicless.”
“That is enough, Eric.” Siren raised her hand. “She had concerns and has every right to voice them.” She looked at Rosa. “You are young and inexperienced with the way the world works. I know you think you are speaking sense but you are not. You don’t know what the magicless are capable of.”
“Summon the Chief of the magicless immediately.” Siren said. “And ask him to investigate who crossed the border and made contact with Celeste. And tell him if they are not found and executed in five days…” She paused. Rosa felt she could detect a glint of satisfaction in them. “The Magicless will all die.”
There was applause. Rosa felt all hope draining from her. She thought of the sweet little girl…
“How can the magicless cross the border though? Rosa asked desperately. “The Vortexes…”
“There is a way.” Siren said. Rosa felt a shiver run through her as Siren’s eyes met her own. “Someone cast magic on them and brought them here. Someone who believes the magicless and us can coexist in harmony.”
“I wouldn’t dream of bringing danger into our world, Siren.” Rosa could feel the anger bubbling inside her but she tuned it out. It wouldn’t do to rise to Siren’s bait. She thought once again of the little girl, carefully hidden with magic, in her house. The purple bruises on her tiny body still gave Rosa nightmares. “And I agree there are dangerous Magicless who deserve to be put down. But what about the defenseless ones? The innocent ones?”
Siren chuckled. “Innocent? Is destroying an entire world an act of the innocent?”
“What about children? And babies who can’t even raise their hands to protect themselves? Would you put your sword on a child’s neck, Knight? Would you slice a baby’s throat?”
Knight flinched. So did all the others. But Siren merely looked amused. “You honestly don’t know, do you? How babies are already being murdered…How children are being torn apart? The innocent among the magicless are already dying. If anything I’d say we’re doing them a favour by slaughtering the monsters.”
“We are no better then…If we kill them all, we are no better.” Rosa looked around with pleading eyes. “Do we want to taint our world with bloodshed and war? Do we?”
“My foolish child…Death is already here. It has already taken Celeste before her time. And it will take a lot more unless we act soon…” Siren said. “We are going to need help. Send a message to the head witch.”
“The witches?” Rosa said horrified. “You are really going to…”
Her voice caught in her throat when she realized no one else was objecting.
“Yes, I am aware that the witches are foul creatures but they are better than the Magicless. And they hate the Magicless as much as we do.”
“You mean you do!” Rosa said hotly. “You hate them and you’ve poisoned the minds of everybody against them! I will not stand for this. As a guardian, a witch is never going to step inside the sacred forest under my watch. I will not disable my share of the protective spells so that those things can enter our world!”
For a minute, which seemed like an eternity to Rosa, the air stood still. The wind stopped. Even the birds in the sacred wood fell silent. The other guardians looked at her like someone sentenced to die. She felt so too…That Siren would cast the expulsion spell. Her magic would be drained and she would be thrown out into the world of the Magicless. Or worse…The annihilation magic which would leave her cold and dead like Celeste…”
“I will not taint this world with death.” Siren said and there was a small collective sigh of relief. “Not with the death of one of our most talented Guardians. The prodigy who made Council at such a young age.”
Rosa felt her breath catch in her throat. She could feel the malice behind the smooth words. She bit her lip and braced herself for whatever was coming. Her flaming red wings flapped furiously behind her.
“I will also not remove you from the Council even though your attitude today deserves it. I know you are reasonable and intelligent. So I simply urge you to make the right decision. We need allies.”
“Inviting the witches to our land isn’t the right decision, Siren. You know what they can do. I found three of my charges dead at their hands. Three…I trained them. I swore to protect them….My Anna, Jean and Marie…They were boiled alive and half eaten…” Rosa tried not to let tears overwhelm her. That would only make Siren think of her as weak.
“Guilt can make us do terrible things, Rosa. I warned you then not to let those feelings define who you are. But you still did…And it made you commit a terrible mistake.”
Rosa tried not to let the surprise reflect in her eyes. A numb sensation started somewhere in her mouth and travelled painfully to her stomach. “I never made a mistake so terrible that it is unforgivable.” She blurted out. “You know I’ve done my best as a Guardian. I committed my life to protecting our lands and people.”
“I know you have. You are perhaps the bravest among us, Rosa.” The Siren’s smile made Rosa nauseous. “A natural protector…A kind hearted Guardian. Is that why you protected the little Magicless girl? Did you really think I wouldn’t know?”
Angry murmurs rose amid the other guardians. In the part of her mind not clouded by fear she heard Eric calling for her death. Knight was speaking for her but not any of the others. What would happen to the child who was too traumatised to speak…Tears welled up in her eyes again and this time she didn’t stop them. Without even a second thought, she knelt before Siren.
“She was almost dead…” Rosa wailed. “I found her by the Vortex in the east. Someone had beaten her half to death and her arms were broken. She was going to jump in…She was only five…”
“I have seen her.” Siren said calmly. She waved her hands in the air and the girl appeared beside Siren bound tight in magical bindings. Her gentle blue eyes looked at all of them, terrified.
“Please Siren…Do not…Please...” Rosa cried bowing as low as she could, tears now streaming down her cheeks. “I was the one who made the mistake…please…punish me. Leave her…”
“No…”A little voice, barely above a whisper startled all of them. Rosa looked up into the girl’s eyes. They were strangely calm. “She was kind. Please don’t hurt her.”
“Lavender…please don’t say that.” Rosa stood up and ran towards the little girl. She wanted to hug her. To tell her that her that her life was too precious to throw away. But before she could reach, she crashed against an invisible wall and fell down. She looked up to see Siren smiling.
“The girl is far more sensible than you are Rosa.” She said. “She understands the situation and what she must do.”
“No…Please god no…” Rosa cried. She couldn’t bring herself to get up. The bruises all over her skinny arms…The marks all over her small body…Her broken teeth…The pain the little girl must have gone through tore into her again like a knife. The mere thought of what was going to happen made her want to crawl into a hole and die.
Suddenly she felt a gentle hand help her up. It was Knight and she was relieved to see that he looked as sick as she felt.
“Do not get yourself killed over a futile argument.” He whispered. Rosa felt tears in her eyes again but she rubbed them away.
It was Lavender who answered. “Don’t die for me.” She was smiling a little although there was a glint of tears in her eyes. “You are good. I don’t want you to die.”
“Imagine if I allowed you to take care of her Rosa. When she grows up she is going to be exactly like all of the other Magicless. And I would have to kill her…painfully. Now she is an innocent and she can die painlessly. Which do you want for her, Rosa?
Knight squeezed her shoulder and said. “Just agree to her Rosa. I beg you.”
But Rosa simply stood there, a thousand emotions whirling inside her head. More hot tears spilled down her cheeks. Lavender was just a few steps away and she could do nothing to protect her. The thought incited a new emotion inside Rosa. One the kindly fairy had never known in her life. Pure rage and a desire to hurt.
“I take it that you have no objection.” The Siren wave her hands again and the magical bindings were off Lavender. “Now I’m going to put you to sleep.” She said with unusual kindness. “You will know nothing.”
Rosa’s mind was screaming. Her heart was in unbearable pain. Yet she was aware there was nothing she could do to stop the injustice happening. There was nothing she could do to spare the innocent life.
“Thank you.” Lavender said. “Can I say something to Rosa?”
After Siren nodded she turned to Rosa and said, “Thank you Rosa. You were very kind to me. No one was that kind to me. Ever. I know you call me Lavender but my name is Marion.”
Rosa covered her face and wept, unable to look into those blue eyes.
She barely saw Siren putting the girl to sleep and then carrying her away. Knight took her home to her little cottage and tried to comfort her but she was mostly unaware of that too. When she came to her senses she was lying down on her soft bed, looking out of the little window opposite her. The Dreamscape was bathed in a golden light. Cottages almost fully covered with flower bushes looked too cheerful. Too bright for the thunderstorm in her head. Once again she felt the strange hot stab of hatred.
“Damn you Siren!” She yelled
Tears started in her eyes again. She thought of the tiny room she had prepared for Lavender, full of toys and…
“What the hell!”
There was fog on her window, totally obscuring the light. As she watched the fog turned black.
“Who is that?” She got up and ran towards the window. She touched it but it did not melt away. Words began to appear as if an invisible hand was scribbling them.
DON’T YOU WANT REVENGE?”