This week’s #blogbattle theme word is flavour. #Blogbattle is a weekly event hosted by the wonderful Racheal Ritchey over at the new #Blogbattle site. Take a look at her website and books as well. It’s worth it.
Spring was the first one to jump. Winter the second. Flame the third.
The birds couldn’t fit in the hole, so they were resting underneath the rocks, taking advantage of a ready supply of worms. Tango had stayed with them, too afraid to follow Winter.
It wasn’t a steep drop down, but Winter had to flap her wings a few times to stop herself from landing hard.
It was dark at the bottom. Spring whispered to her, a disembodied voice. “Not sure how we’re going to find anything down here.”
Then a light flickered into life, and Flame appeared beside her, the flame dancing on his palm. “Problem solved,” he said.
The tunnel was just wide enough for them all to walk side by side. They made it about twenty steps when a voice called out to them, “Stop. Who are you?”
It was a male voice, full of authority.
“My name is Winter,” she called back. “I’m from the Rose Clan, and I need to speak to your Queen.” She was assuming that she was speaking to a fairy.
The owner of the voice stepped into the light. A male, with a frown on his face. “What about?”
“It’s about what’s happening in the world. Things are wrong. And we need to set it right. Have you noticed the change in magic?”
He looked uncertain. “Yes. But… wait here.” He spun around and flitted off down the tunnel before Winter could say anything else.
“There’s someone here with a power,” Spring said. “There has to be.”
Winter hoped so. If they could get just one step closer to stopping Spring’s Queen, and freeing Birch and Indian, that would be enough.
They didn’t have to wait long before the fairy returned. “Follow me,” he said.
“Thank you,” Winter replied.
He led them further down the tunnel, then out into a small cavern. Fairy light danced on the walls, always in pairs.
“Welcome to the Twin Clan,” he said.
“Because every fairy born here is one of a twin. No one knows why. It just happens that way.”
“That’s interesting,” Winter said. “Where is everyone?”
“In bed. It’s the middle of the night.”
“Oh yes.” She’d forgotten about that.
“The Queen has risen to see you though, if you want to follow me.”
“Yes, thank you.” Winter smiled and eagerly followed him. She caught the look on
Flame’s face and saw unease. She supposed it was because the last time they’d entered a Clan’s home, it hadn’t ended well.
They went down yet another tunnel. At the end a set of double doors, decorated with fairy lights so that the whole door shone, opened for them.
Inside were three fairies. One was the Queen, seated on a fairy-light throne, and the other two sat at her feet.
“Welcome,” the Queen said. “Please, sit down.”
Winter, Flame, and Spring all knelt on the cushions before her. “Your Highness,” Winter said. “We have been sent on a mission from the Queen of the Rose Clan, to find out any fairies with unusual gifts of magic, and set straight what has gone wrong with the world.”
“Yes,” the Queen said. “I understand.” She was golden-haired, with a while dress that floated around her body. Her wings shone in the light of the throne, and Winter thought she was the most beautiful of the Queens she had met. “I feel that the balance of the world is not as it should be.”
“No,” Winter said. “The seasons are stalled. We,” she indicated herself and Spring, “have the gift to put the seasons back into balance. But we must find those who have the gifts of autumn and summer as well, before we have our true power.”
The Queen smiled. “Then that you shall have.” She leaned forward and laid a hand on each of the fairies before her. “This is my daughter, Summer, and this is my son, Autumn. Both have gifts like you describe. Give them a flavour of what you can do, my dears.”
Golden-haired Summer held her hands out, and closed her eyes. Winter couldn’t see that she was doing anything, then she became aware of feeling quite warm.
A smile slipped onto Summer’s face.
“You’re doing that?” Spring gaped.
“I am,” she said, then opened her eyes and lowered her hands. “Neat, huh?”
“Very.” A grin spread across Spring’s face.
Then all eyes turned to Autumn. His hair was red, a much deeper colour than his sister and mother. He got up and walked over to a plant at the side of the room. He laid one finger on a leaf, and it rapidly turned brown, and fell to the ground. “My gift’s not quite as impressive,” he said, with an apologetic look.
“I think it’s amazing,” a small voice from the back of the room said.
Winter turned around, surprised. “Tango! What are you doing here?” And how did she get there?
“I got curious, and the birds were all asleep, and I was too scared to sleep, so I made myself be brave and come down here.” Her eyes went back to Autumn and a blush coloured her cheeks.
Autumn’s cheeks went as red as his hair.
Winter missed Birch.
“Is this another of your friends?” the Queen asked.
“Yes,” Winter said, “this is Tango.” She gestured her forward.
Tango tore her eyes away from Autumn, who returned to his mother’s feet, and came over to Winter. “I’m sorry for just coming in like this,” she said, her eyes downcast.
“Do not be sorry,” the Queen said. “But perhaps next time come with your friends in the first instance?”
“Yes,” Tango said, “I’ll try and remember that.”
“Good. Now, Winter, I think you’ve seen that my children are the fairies you are looking for. So what are your plans now?”
Winter wasn’t sure what to say. She had been hoping to find just one new power, and now she had both. Now she had the power to put right what was wrong.