In the interests of honesty, I will admit that this is a word or two over the 1000 word limit. I had it a hundred over at one point, but managed to edit it down as far as I could.
The Weight of the World
“This place is huge!” Flame said, looking around the large space that the Flower Clan called home.
Winter didn’t disagree. “Will you take us to your Queen?” she asked Spring. “We have a message we need to deliver.”
“About the new powers appearing? And the world changing?”
“Yes. How much do you know already?”
“I can feel the change happening. The flowers want to rise from the ground, but they can’t. Winter is holding them in place, holding them tight in their bulbs underground.” He looked sad.
“Oh.” He could feel the world? Why couldn’t she?
“Anyway, you want to see the Queen? I’ll take you to her. Though be warned, she’s young, and kind of, well, eager.”
“Oh,” Winter said again. She was lost for words.
Spring leaped into the air again, prompting Winter and her friends to follow. They flew up to one of the doors near the ceiling. Vines snaked around the door. No flowers bloomed on it yet.
Spring touched one of the green vines. “They should be out by now.”
Winter touched another. “You know, you’re the one who can bring them out. Probably. We think-”
“Maybe this should wait for the Queen,” Birch said, hovering beside her.
“Oh, yes, probably.” She gestured to the door. “Do you just knock?”
“Pretty much,” Spring said, with one of his characteristic grins.
He tapped on the door five times. And an answering knock came – four this time – from the inside. He tapped three times, then two answered, then he knocked once.
The door finally opened.
What a strange way of gaining admittance, Winter thought.
Spring led the way inside, past a young female fairy holding the door open. When they were all inside, she closed it behind them, then flew past them to stand by the Queen’s side.
She was certainly a colourful Queen. Her dress was a mixture of colours, and the material looked so delicate that Winter thought a strong wind might tear it.
The room itself was lit by those same dancing lights as outside, but they were all different colours, giving the impression of colours bleeding into one another.
The Queen smiled. “Welcome. What can I do for you?” She looked to Spring. “I’m assuming you have a good reason for bringing them here?”
He bobbed his head. “Yes, Your Highness, I do.” He indicated Winter first. “This is Winter, she has a power like mine, as do the other fairies who stand before you. Except one. Who seems to be along for the ride, as he put it.”
Winter saw Birch glare at Spring out of the corner of her eye. It must be hard for him, suddenly being the different one.
The Queen looked at Winter, and her gaze was piercing, her eyes sharp blue. “And what is your power?”
“Ice. I create ice.” She swallowed her nerves. “I can show you if you like.”
“Oh, no, that won’t be necessary. I believe you.”
Winter was surprised. That was the first time that had happened.
“If you don’t mind me being forward,” Flame spoke up, “why? Why would you just believe her?”
“Because I can feel the power emanating from her, as I can you, and your friends. You see, I have a gift of my own, I am in tune with the world. I can feel the sky, and the water, and the soil. I can feel the animals, the fairies, and the humans.”
Winter wasn’t quite sure she believed what she was hearing. “Really?” she blurted, then regretted it.
“Oh, yes. I’ve been this way since I was born, as I imagine you have.” She closed her eyes. “I can tell, for instance, that you are here with a message. I can’t tell you what it is, but that is your intention, to deliver a message.”
“Yes! I am here to deliver a message, but I think you already know it anyway. My Queen sent me and Birch,” she pointed to him, “on a mission to find out if the world really is changing and if there are any more fairies with powers like mine. She wanted me to spread this message to any other fairy Clans I came across.”
“You are quite right. I am aware of the changes in the world, the challenges nature is facing, and the need for the powers that are now arising. I suspected there would be problems with the season changing this year, that’s why I have been keeping Spring close and helping him develop his powers.”
Spring frowned. “Why didn’t you tell me that?”
“I wasn’t sure. And it wasn’t necessary.” She turned back to Winter. “There are two more fairies that you need to find in order to keep the seasons changing as they should. Only when the four of your powers are united will each of you have the power to effect change.”
“So until we find the autumn and summer fairies, we can’t have spring?” The implication was huge. And the responsibility huger.
“That’s correct,” Flower Queen said.
“How do you know all of this?” Birch asked, clearly suspicious.
“Some of it, I feel. Some of it I learnt from a lore book passed down through my family. You can see it if you like,” she offered.
“I think I would like to,” Birch said. He looked to Winter. “What about you?”
She couldn’t take anymore. “I think I need a rest.”
He looked concerned. “Are you all right?”
“Yes. But I want to go outside for a bit. Spring, could you show me the way?”
“Of course,” he answered, glancing to the Queen for permission. At her nod, he said to Winter, “Let’s go then,”
She followed him back the way they had come, feeling like she was suffocating. Outside, it was like she could breathe again.
This was too much.
Her attention was caught by the pink birds on the other side of the garden.
Maybe she needed a distraction, and they might be just the ticket.