Written for the fantasy competition. A teaser for a much longer work.
|“Throw it to me, Gymbol!” cried Tampna, twittering.
The spark flickered and spun in the moonlight, as the faeries threw it back and forth. Gymbol shouted a roar of laughter and hurled the spark at Tampna, whirling it right over the head of the tiny sprite, Mollum, who could only duck to avoid getting his head taken off by the golden globe.
“Here, Tampna, I’m open!” cried Sezar, racing through the night as fast as his little wings could carry him. Tampna saw the sprites advancing on her menacingly, anxious to get their hands on the spark. She flitted right, feinted left, did a double-feint and then whipped up in a circle, expertly tossing the flickering spark to her brother.
Sezar caught it, and raced off into the trees, seeking the safety of their leafy branches. An old oak unexpectedly shot up a limb just as he was attempting a sneaky maneuver around the top. Sezar felt the wind barrel out of his body as the branch smacked straight into him at full flight. Leaves whipped his little bottom as he plummeted to the ground dazed. He lay there, inert.
Tampna and Gymbol arrived just in time to watch in horror as the ball of light rolled from his unconscious fingers. An ethereal figure drifted from the oak as the little faeries tried to revive him. Sezar opened one eye.
“Oh-oh,” he gazed up at the specter looming behind his siblings.
“Gymbol! Tampna! Sezar! You aught to be ashamed of yourselves!” Earth Mother Gaia squinted down at the trio, “that spark is very important to the sprites! You have no right to play games with it. Look, you’ve made Mollum puff up, he’s so angry!”
Sure enough, Mollum was approaching with his sisters. He had strained himself so much with exertion trying to retrieve the spark, he was swollen to almost three times his normal size. Fortunately, it was mostly fur. Gaia reached over and stroked Mollum, glowing fingers passing through his fine hair. As she imparted some of her calm, Mollum started to deflate, dropping back to roughly one-tenth of the faeries’ size.
“I tried, Mother Gaia!” Mollum complained, his sisters bobbing furiously behind him in agreement. “They were just too big for us! And now I doubt we’ll ever get there in time with the spark!”
“Whining little tattletale,” Tampna muttered darkly under her breath, “You’ve still got three days. We could get there in a day, you know. Faeries are simply better.” She stuck a tiny pink tongue out. Mollum glared back.
“Well, I guess that settles it then,” Gaia responded brusquely, “You shall all come and stay with me tonight. Tomorrow, you three naughty faeries will be entrusted with ensuring Mollum and his sisters deliver the spark on time. If you mess this up, so help me…” Gaia left the threat unfinished, but it hung there anyway, causing the three faeries to glance at each other uneasily. They all knew that Tampna’s boast was only partially true. They could do it faster, but with the sprites in tow? Oh-oh was right.
“Right, come along everyone!” Gaia turned and drifted into the forest, the sprites bouncing alongside her like eager puppies. The faeries trailed along behind, just keeping the points of light in their vision and bickering amongst themselves.
“What’d you have to say that for?” grumbled Gymbol.
“It would have been all right if Sezar had watched where he was flying,” Tampna snorted and crossed her little arms stubbornly.
“I feel sick,” Sezar did look like he was glowing a little green. Never mind, Gaia would fix him when she was ready. The great goddess would know if she'd done any serious damage.
“Come along, you three! I thought you said you were quick, these sprites are embarrassing you!” Gaia was heading into the hollow of a tree. She wouldn’t have been able to pass through if she was solid, and the sprites and faeries had to slip in though holes barely big enough for a gnat to pass through. Certainly a gnome wouldn’t have stood a chance. The inside was warm and inviting, a green fire glowing magically in the hearth and bathing everything in a warm yellow light. Gymbol wondered how this could be and would have asked if he wasn’t already in it up to his neck.
“The blue in the fire to make it green is absorbed by your essence, giving you that calm, placid feeling,” explained Gaia, either anticipating the question or reading his mind. Gymbol flushed, then immediately began to relax, against his will. Tampna had meanwhile managed to get a wing caught on the entrance and finally pulled herself free, hurtling past her brothers and coming to an inelegant skidding halt in front of the fire, scattering the female sprites. Mollum smirked at her over Gaia’s shoulder, while Tampna tried to dust herself off with some dignity. She met his gaze squarely, but couldn’t stop her glow going a bit pink.
“Now. Official introductions are in order, I think,” Gaia began to dish out a delicious smelling broth to her children. “Mollum, this is Tampna, Gymbol and the dazed one is Sezar,” she waved her serving spoon in the appropriate direction as she said a name. “Mollum’s sisters are Shelya, Truppet, and Caryka.” Each of the sprites curtseyed politely as her name was said. The gesture didn’t extend as far as a smile and the flint showed no inclination to dissolve from their eyes.
They all settled onto two large cushions, each according to their camp and began to eat in silence. The calm pervaded, making them sleepy, but neither group was willing to give in enough to consider liking or trusting their new travelling companions. Gaia left them to their thoughts. It will be good for them, she told herself as the worry seeped in.
Collecting the dishes from her sleepy guests, Gaia settled the cushions closer to the fireplace, humming a tune that would ensure full health and a good rest for all. This won’t be an easy journey for any of them, best to have them as ready as they can be, she thought privately, loving each of the little winged souls to sleep.
Tampna snuggled down beside her brothers, enjoying the softness of the cushion and the comfort of the green flames.
Well, she huffed to herself, this is going to be interesting.
Word count 1065
It is not necessary to blow out someone else's candle in order to make your own burn brighter.