Lightning snapped above the crooked spires of a bleak fortress, every window and crevice guarded by some macabre beast of stone. Thunder rolled along the infernal hellscape that surrounded Nightwell Keep, home to the elusive Dark Fairy Ravenshade. Deep in the dark recesses of the castle was a laboratory. Its shelves lined with all manner of things nasty and foul trapped inside jars and beakers. Hanging from a massive fireplace, a cauldron roiled and bubbled with the Dark Fairy’s latest noxious brew. A pulpit made of stone stood nearby with an eerie looking tome resting upon it. A single amber-colored eye stared out from the black leather cover.
Clad in a black form-fitting gown that hid her sable hair from view and continued straight to the floor, the lavender-eyed beauty held a vial of glowing liquid above her head in triumph.
“At last, I have it!” She cackled.
The heavy wooden door slammed open and Ravenshade jumped, swearing as the painstaking work of two whole days drained from the shards of broken glass that remained of the vial. The Dark Fairy scowled so vehemently at the uniformed intruders that the rookies took several steps back. Their boss, Captain Flavius Slender, was not so easily intimidated. His chiseled jaw set and brilliant blue eyes gleamed as he hooked his thumbs into his belt and swaggered toward her.
“You are the black witch Ravenshade of Nightwell Keep?” He sneered.
Ravenshade slowly looked about her, alluding to the fact they were standing in Nightwell Keep. “Dark Fairy Ravenshade is my name, Captain.”
“Dark Fairy Ravenshade, by royal decree I am placing you under arrest for the murder of her royal highness, Princess Primrose.”
“Primrose was murdered?” Ravenshade raised an eyebrow. “How?”
“As if you didn’t know, witch!” One soldier spat before withering beneath Ravenshade’s violet glare.
Captain Slender fixed her with a deadly gaze. “Her Highness was stabbed to death with a golden spindle.”
“A golden spindle. Gentlemen, I own no such spindle and I have not left this room for the better part of two days. I have been working on the invention of a new dye and now must start over thanks to you.”
“The only dye I am concerned with is the death of the princess!”
The Dark Fairy leveled her gaze at him. “Do not try to be witty, Captain Slender, it does not become you.”
A slight tittering made the puffed up strongman turn on his heel to glare at his subordinates before commanding. “Take her away.”
THE DAVENMOUR PRESS
MISSING PRINCESS FOUND DEAD
Primrose Aurora, only daughter of Peregrine, 439th King of Davenmour, and Queen Saskia, was found dead this morning in Howling Wood. The search began three days ago when the princess disappeared the morning after her 16th Jubilee. A gold, bloodsoaked spindle was also recovered at the scene. It is known throughout the kingdom the Dark Fairy’s heinous curse placed upon the princess at her naming ceremony 16 years ago. Sources indicate Flavius Slender, Captain of the Royal Guard, has arrested Dark Fairy Ravenshade in her home at Nightwell Keep on the peak of Scarwood Mountain. The palace could not be reached for comment.
Aryssa Thornhart lowered the paper with a sigh and stared out the window as her carriage rolled down the deserted streets of the city of Phaeton. She’d had a long night aiding another Fairy Godmother who was swamped with young maidens in distress as was common during ball season. Since the beginning of time, it was the truly destitute or people in extreme danger who required the help of their local neighborhood Fairy Godmother.
However, in a recent bid to ease Human-Fae relations some genius issued a decree that Fairy Godmothers could grant the wish of any human who asked so long as they wish did not violate the three major edicts of wish-granting law:
A wish must not violate the free will of any person.
A wish must not end the life of any person nor can it restore life to one who is already dead.
A wish cannot grant absolute power.
Like Aryssa, many Fairy Godmothers were upset by this decree and walked off the job. They’d sworn an oath to aid the deserving not some debutante with bad hair or a broken heel! It was for this reason Aryssa became a detective, to uphold her oath and bring justice to those without a voice; those like the Dark Fairy Ravenshade.
On the street, vendors and early risers were huddled together, weeping and whispering amongst themselves as they clutched newspapers in their hands. The death of the beautiful princess hit everyone hard, even in an aloof and bustling metropolis like Phaeton. Yet while the mourners were already calling for blood, Aryssa’s intuition was disquieted. It all seemed too neat somehow. The Fairy Godmother had never crossed paths with Ravenshade but in her years of experience when a person issues a threat which is later carried out, said person does not usually stick around for the aftermath, especially when the threat becomes the stuff of legend.
The carriage stopped outside the Fairy Godmother’s office. Located in a quaint brownstone painted a sparkling blue to advertise her presence, it sat between a cafe and a veterinary office owned by her old friend Rowena Ganso, aka Doctor G.
Unlike Aryssa, Rowena liked to keep a low profile. It was no secret Dr. G was the best vet in all Phaeton, if not all of Davenmour, her gift with animals bordered on magic. Of course, this probably had to do with the fact that Rowena was the one and only Mother Goose. As such, Rowena held dominion over all animals, the nondescript beasts of burden and those raised and bred for consumption, as well as the mystical creatures who spoke and lived as being of higher consciousness.
It was a complete surprise to the Fairy Godmother until the day she struggled desperately to break a malicious spell that bound several unhappy people to a single goose of golden feather. That was when Aryssa’s neighbor appeared in all her glory to rescue the poor creature and punish those who dared mistreat it.
Their neighborhood was among the poorest in Davenmour and many feared to venture the streets after dark but Aryssa realized the inhabitants were good, hardworking, and sometimes desperate people trying to survive. These were the humans the Fairy Godmother liked to help.
Aryssa stepped inside the waiting room and frowned. Pungent clouds of cigar smoke hung in the air and the room was littered with magazines, newspapers, and half-empty goblets. Multiple types of vermin helped themselves to plates left behind by yesterday’s visitors. Her assistant, Irk Underbourne, a cantankerous Dwarf leftover from her predecessor, lounged in a chair reading with his muddy boots crossed on the surface of his desk. Clouds of smoke puffed to the ceiling from behind his open newspaper like a locomotive. Aryssa counted backward to control her temper before speaking.
“Good morrow, Irk, kindly get your feet off that desk and get the office ready to open please.”
Her request was met by a sigh and grumbling as she swept into her office. It was seven years since they were first thrown together and it seemed impossible to rid the Dwarf of his bad habits. Irk was a retired cop better suited to investigating on the streets not tending the office and serving tea like a woman as he put it but the Fairy Godmother had no choice. Breaking a hip while tackling a suspect left the aging Dwarf with a severe limp and a bad disposition when he was let go. It was for his quick wit, a sharp eye, vast experience, and the fact he truly cared about his work that Aryssa kept him on.
Her train of thought was disrupted by a knock on the door.
“Enter!” Alyssa called.
Irk clomped in and glared at his boss. “Sommit here to see ye, ma’am.”