This story broke my heart. It’s nowhere near perfect. There’s a lot about it I want to change, but I’m leaving it as it is because it was written in a moment of raw feeling and I want to share it with you as that.
I hope you enjoy.
Lysandra rode the North Wind through the night and squalls of snow. It bore her over the earth, above the great buildings of the cities, above the small impoverished towns, above those rare patches of land still untouched by human hands.
Three thousand years, Lysandra had roamed this land. She had seen it transformed from a green globe to a grey one. She had witnessed the mutation, the eradication of forests, the rise of steel towers cresting heavenwards. The change had affected everything: the landscape, the weather, the life of her people.
Her blue grey eyes shimmered with the memory of the destruction that had been wrought against her kind. It pained her still to remember the number of snow sprites who had perished in the melting in the North. She did not hate the humans for the devastation they had unwittingly wrought; she only wished they could do better.
As the wind carried her over a small, pastoral village, Lysandra felt that emotional tug she had been waiting for.
“Here,” she said.
The North Wind obeyed her, gently depositing her on the frozen ground.
Her small, silvery form, alighted on the snow with barely a sound. The North Wind blew on. It would be back when she called.
Lysandra leapt towards the home before her, a small single level cottage. A wooden dwelling, it had been painted a daisy yellow now faded overtime. She left no footsteps in the snow, no path for anyone to follow, no trace for anyone to ever know she was there.
As a sprite she stood barely taller than a small dog. It was not something that intimidated her in this world of giant beings. There security to find in knowing that she could easily conceal herself if the need ever did arise. And, of course, size did not matter when one was in possession of magic.
A dog slept on the porch, an elderly basset hound. It stirred as she approached, appraising he with tired eyes. With one look, it was mesmerized, lulled back into sleep. It was never a good idea to meet eyes with a sprite. The power of persuasion was well on her side.
Lysandra snuck into the home through the dog flap; it was definitely not her most graceful entrance. She paid little attention to the room that she entered or what it contained. The only point of interest in the house was a specific chamber holding a unique inhabitant.
The door was ajar, the room within cast in perfect darkness. She crept into it, her footfalls soundless upon the wooden floor.
She leapt upon the small bed, landing beside the legs of a sleeping child, a girl. She did not wake, even at the light bounce of Lysandra’s added weight.
With delicate attention, Lysandra stepped up beside the girl’s head. She was a pretty young thing, with strawberry blonde hair and freckles. She slept with the impression of one at peace, but Lysandra had sensed the distress in her slumbering mind held miles aloft upon the North Wind.
Her hand hovered above the girl’s head and she summoned the images of her thoughts into her own mind.
She saw the girl kneeling in the garden with a woman—her mother—tending to the flowers. She saw her walking hand in hand with a man—her father—along the path to the forest. She saw the three of them, asleep together by a fire, huddled close. She saw a bed, shrouded in darkness, a hand dangling over the side. She saw a small gathering of people in black garb standing a little behind the girl and her father in a cemetery. She saw the girl standing in the garden alone.
Lysandra withdrew her hand, tears crystallizing in her eyes. So much pain. So much loss. So much heartache. She observed the little one and wondered what solace she could bring to a child who only wanted to have her mother back. She could not bring the dead to life; it was one of the only tasks well beyond her capacity.
She had spent many years now looking for children in need of happiness, children with pure hearts who had suffered more than they deserved. Every night on the winter’s solstice, she set out on this quest. To these children, she brought what comfort she could; some were easier than others. Most only needed that small glimpse of hope. What hope could she provide here?
She knew well enough the pain of losing a mother, though her own had passed nearly six hundred years ago. Loss of a loved one was the kind of loss that never really disappeared.
Lysandra considered again the images she had seen, and in them found the answer she was looking for. It was not perfect, but it would be enough.
Leaning in closer to the little girl, Lysandra rifled through her dreams again, perfecting the image of her mother. She plucked out names too: Ellie, Marianne and George. She committed them to her memory. Then, she planted a thought of her own, of Marianne alive and well, standing over her daughter in the garden, watching Ellie as she grew, a constant presence. Even if she was not physically present, she promised to stay with her daughter, never able to truly die as long as she remained within her heart.
Lysandra withdrew with a final gesture of love, a gentle kiss laid upon the brow and a wish: “Be brave, Ellie.”
Out into the night she emerged once more and worked her magic. It had been many years since she had felt such emotional bonding to a human child. She wanted this one to be special; she wanted this one to work. Her heart and soul guided her work. Exhausted by the effort at its end, Lysandra sank on her knees in the snow.
The North Wind came for her then, knowing her weariness. It bore her aloft in a tender embrace, wanting to carry her home.
“No,” she told it, grateful for its compassion, but assured in her choice. “There are still more to help.”
She bestowed small gifts on three more children before the dawn broke. Upon the North Wind, she returned home, wearied but satisfied, her heart light.
In the hours that followed, Ellie emerged from her home, buoyed by hope. In the garden she found, as she had known she would, a statue of her mother carved from ice. It would stand there forever, a promise that she was never alone.
© 2015. Faith Rivens.