Carole Giorgio

Brielle had done everything by the book, from anointing herself in pure lavender oil to having no animal products adorning her body. She was free of chemicals and man-made scents, and carried no forbidden articles of technology. She arrived at the edge of the woods as pristine as nature had surely intended us all to be.

The young womyn dropped her cloak at the entrance to the forest, and barefooted and clad only in a natural cotton toga stole quietly into the woods. Clasped within her closed hand she held the Blue-Foot Psilocybe, psilocybe caerulipes that she had so lovingly cultivated. She looked down at the small, knobbed mushroom cap, its cinnamon-colored gills still attached to the greenish-blue stalk, and she watched as the fungus began to turn blue in her palm.

She went over her itinerary in her mind. Onset of psychedelic response, 10 minutes. Duration of effect, up to 8 hours. Time noted before leaving home, 10:00. One hour to get here. One hour to find the fairy ring after ingestion——I need to eat it soon.

Brielle had been obsessed with the study of fairies for over half of her 26 years, and this obsession went hand in hand with the study of psychotropic mushrooms. She would never, in a normal state, find the fabled fairy ring. Only through the magic of the mushroom would the ring make its presence known to her. This All Hallows' Eve she felt confident that she would be successful and come nose to nose with the small winged creatures she had been studying for so many years.

As a child she had sworn to her best friend that she had seen a fairy, and when her friend laughed at her, she vowed that some day she would prove the world wrong about the mystical creatures. She would produce concrete evidence that the beings of myth and poem were not figments of overactive imaginations. Well, perhaps not exactly concrete; she could not risk taking a camera into the sacred place with her, but she would bring something back to prove she had been there, perhaps a fairy wing or magical dust——something to prove their existence. She would also have answers to questions that might arise, and those answers would be indisputable. Not only would finding the elusive fairy ring bring her self-satisfaction, it would bring her fame beyond her wildest dreams.

She stood in the middle of a small clearing, opened her hand, and looked down at the now bright blue cap. Heart palpitations increased threefold as she brought the acrid-smelling fungus to her lips. Perhaps just a small bite will do. No, Brielle, you know the instructions demanded that you ingest the entire cap. Involuntarily her hand began to shake as doubt spread its shadowy fingers and attempted to creep into her mind.

She would have nothing of fear; she quickly threw the thoughts back into oblivion and popped the entire mushroom into her mouth. Chew, you idiot, chew and swallow! It will all be good. You will find the fairyfolk and fulfill your destiny.

Slowly she bit down on the soft form. O-n—e . . . "Arghhh, what a horrid flavor!" Her first reaction was to spit out the offensive object, but her mind overruled her natural instinct.

T-w-o . . . "By all that’s holy . . . " Burning saliva filled her mouth, and as much as she wanted to spit, she knew she had to swallow or forfeit the reason for this entire adventure and return to the realm of only wishing to be a fairy hunter.

T-h-r-e-e. Gulp. Yuck! What a rancid, bitter taste. Her stomach heaved as the liquid and meat of the psilocybe slid down her throat. I certainly hope this does the trick. Again she held back the desire to spit and cleanse her mouth; she wanted to scream as her taste buds rebelled, but she didn’t for fear that her cries would be heard by the fairies that she was intent on discovering.

She had spent the past five years making herself familiar with the woods she now traveled. She knew every inch of the area she was walking by heart and had a good idea of where a fairy ring might be located from her studies of the small woodland beings. There were several clearings in these woods, but only one held all the signs, including a circle of tall conifer trees with their branches rising to the sky, blocking all light save that of the moon at the stroke of midnight on All Hallows' Eve. Prickly brushes were abundant, making passage into the meadow hazardous for those who didn’t belong. Because the glow of the full silver moon was strong, spotting mushrooms that only appeared minutes before the midnight hour on a night of lunar fullness would be a little easier. Although the mushrooms normally grew close to the base of the protecting trees, on a night such as this they shed their shyness and ventured to spawn the fairy circle in the middle of a meadow clearing.

She paced her steps carefully. Keeping a cadence that she had used many times when she wore a watch to gauge how long it would take her to arrive at the center of the clearing, she could mentally regulate her progress to within a minute of when she wanted to arrive. Tonight would be the culmination of years of study and preparation.

She knew she had to keep sharp eyes as she searched for the strange combination of mushrooms that would form the fairy ring. Two mushrooms would make up the mystical circle. The one she would be least likely to spot was the harmless and edible boletus edulis, also known as the porcini or King Bolete mushroom. Its unlikely companion, the poisonous but beautiful amanita muscaria, or fly agaric, which in contrast sported a bright red cap with white dots, would undoubtedly flank the broadly convex buff-brown cap of the dull mushroom. The amanita always stood out among the other foliage in the forest or the meadow.

As Brielle neared the inner edge of the wood, she smiled. She felt in her heart that she would soon reach the culmination of a long quest. A step later and without warning, her face contorted and her stomach involuntarily rumbled as an excruciating pain radiated from the pit of her abdomen and encircled her entire being. The woods-borne fruit was working its magic. She clasped her hand over her mouth to keep from screaming and closed her eyes to focus on her inner eye. Her imagination saw her through the apex of the pain as she envisioned herself finding the beings of her desire.

The night was dark and crisp and the aroma of pine mixed with her own scent of lavender permeated the air around her. When she opened her eyes again her visual acuity was intensified. She not only saw the trees and bushes surrounding the small meadow she was about to enter, but the glowing circle of life that surrounded each living thing within her sight.

Suddenly, her entire body began to tingle. The young womyn shook from the depths of her soul as uncontrollable spasms started at her toes and worked their way up to the crown of her head. She lost perspective as she watched the trees accelerate in growth, reaching toward the sky at a lightning speed. This can’t be happening, there is no way those trees . . . wait . . . the bushes are becoming gigantic! No! This is not the way this is supposed to happen.

Where there had been only shrubs around her ankles and calves, she now found herself steeped in thorns that scratched at every inch of unadorned flesh. Thoughts swirled through her mind in whirlwind fashion; a cacophony assaulted her ears. The sound of a fallen leaf was inexplicably thunderous, as was the wailing screech of an owl.

What’s happening to me? This was not written in the books. What have I done to myself?I feel like I'm in the middle of a bad Twilight Zone episode! Tears flowed freely as she closed her eyes and grabbed her throbbing head to stop the insanity. When she opened her eyes again, she screamed. Her entire body was covered in a soft material that she soon realized was her toga. There was a break in the material and she stepped out and onto what had seconds before been her garment. She stood completely naked atop an article of clothing that from her present perspective looked like it belonged to a giant.

The trees were not growing, stupid! She reprimanded herself. The bushes were not expanding! You shrunk! That was definitely not in the books. What am I to do now? She tried to focus her thoughts on what was happening to her and still keep her mind on her intention. How am I to get to the ring in time now that I am the size of a . . . oh, dear, I’m the size of a . . . damn! I’m the size of a fairy!

"Goddess, help me," she screamed, no longer fearing that her voice would carry any distance. I only hope when the effects of the mushroom wear off that I return to my normal size. Hey . . . perhaps this is how fairies are born. She shook her head and admonished herself for thinking like a child. Fairies were not born of humans being shrunk to their size. She scolded herself back into practical thinking.

A cool wind blew, reminding the now small womyn that she was totally naked and vulnerable in her newly acquired diminutive stature. There was no time for tears if she was still going to attempt to fulfill her dream.

Her toga lay all around her and she needed to find some way to rip a piece of it off and cover herself. After a little bit of searching, Brielle came upon the sash. If I can find a pine cone small enough for me to handle but sharp enough to tear at the fabric, I might be able to make another toga out of this. She slung the tip of the material over her shoulder and dragged it away from the discarded garment.

As luck would have it, there were a few small cones scattered within walking distance, and Brielle set to fashioning herself a new toga. Surprisingly, she found that even though she was a mere reflection of her former self, her strength remained at full power. She tore through the material easily and found that she hadn’t needed the cone she had searched so diligently for. She worked quickly and within minutes was securely wrapped in the warm cloth.

Standing just on the edge of the woods, the young womyn had never felt so totally alone as she did staring out into the now enormous expanse of wilderness. She had to stand on a pine cone to see above the blades of winter grass; how was she supposed to complete her mission? She could surely get her bearings occasionally if she could climb on something to see above the grass, but she was never going to be able to cover enough ground in an hour to reach the fairy ring at the stroke of midnight.

She sat with her head between her hands and began to whimper, then chided herself again for showing such weakness. "An adventurer doesn’t act like this," she murmured. "A warrior is meant to beat all the odds and still achieve her goal. Midnight might be the ideal time to watch as the fairies come out to play, but I have a full seven hours before sunrise. I know I can make the distance in that amount of time."

She dried her eyes and began to formulate a plan. It was then that she again heard and finally saw the owl. It was a beautiful creature, fluid and graceful in its descent as it scrutinized the earth below, looking for a morsel of food on which to dine. It was only through her quickness of movement and thought that Brielle escaped being just that dinner.

I must look like a mouse to her. The small womyn searched for a place of refuge and as she did so an idea came to her. I could use that bird as a vehicle of transportation if I can connect with it the next time it thinks to have me for a meal.

She gathered up the remainder of the sash from her toga and tied a noose around one end of it, then ventured out into the clearing. It wasn’t long before she saw the reappearance of the nocturnal creature. On nearly silent wings its ghostly form approached.

Brielle steadied herself and positioned her arm to swing out and lasso the owl as it swooped down to make a pass. She ducked out of harm’s way and in the same instant threw the sash. Her aim was true and she could feel the leash tighten as it found its mark. Eureka! Mission accomplished! Damn, I’m good, and with so little pra . . . whoa . . . hey . . . oops . . .

It was up, up, and away, and she held on for dear life, finally realizing that having caught the bird she also was being spiraled up above the meadow. It was at that moment that she noticed another plus from having imbibed the mushroom. Along with increased visual acuity and super strength, her agility was also heightened. Brielle had no problem whatsoever holding on and then shimmying up the sash and crawling adeptly onto the body of the owl. She straddled it as she would have a horse and within minutes was steering the owl in the direction of where she was sure the fairy ring would appear.

"I never doubted that it would turn out this way," she giggled to herself. Don’t go getting too cocky, Brielle, my girl, you’re not there yet. Ah, but I soon shall be!

Brielle was right. The moon was now positioned close to the center of the clearing, and far below there was a sparkle in the meadow that appeared to be growing as the owl neared it. Brielle’s hearing had also been heightened, and she tilted her head and listened intently to the soft melody of a foreign chant.

The small womyn tightened the rein on the owl and maneuvered it slightly to the right of the now-glowing circle of light. The airborne creature was close enough to the earth for Brielle to slip off its back without harming herself, and she landed in a dense carpet of creeping phlox.

The sound of drums echoed in Brielle’s head, along with the odor of burning sage. She climbed down from the bed of flowers and followed the music to an area where the grass was only knee-high and she could see, within walking distance, the stalks of the mushrooms she had originally hoped to observe from far above. It was disconcerting, looking at a mushroom from a level where all she could see was the stalk, a side, and the underview of the cap, but she knew that all the signs were present and these had to be the King Bolete and the mesmerizing amanita.

The closer she got to the sounding drums, the larger the stalks of the mushrooms appeared and the faster her heart beat. She was trying to figure out how she was going to view the fairies without being seen when she felt a vise grip on each of her arms.

"Human," a husky-voiced fairy addressed Brielle, "how fortunate you have arrived on this celebration eve."

"Fortunate for me or fortunate for you?" Brielle asked in as unruffled a voice as she could muster. She turned her head to the right, her eyes leveling at broad shoulders. Turning to the left gave her a similar view of the second fairy. Each of her captors was at least a head taller than the small blonde womyn.

"You shall be the judge of that as the night progresses," came the formidable answer.

Without another word the fairies fluttered their wings and with ease lifted Brielle off the ground, carrying her toward the drums, the mushrooms, and the revelation of secrets that had been kept for far too long. She wasn’t sure whether to be frightened or elated that these two had found her and were escorting her to her desired destination.

Before she could decide, they were beyond the border of the mushrooms and within the center of the mystical fairy ring. Brielle was deposited a few feet away from a roaring fire and admonished not to venture any further. The area was void of inhabitants, but huts dotted the perimeter, evenly spaced between the mushroom stalks. A soft glow of iridescent light flooded the entire area, accompanied by the stark blue-white that poured in from the heavens and illuminated an intricately carved throne that stood almost within Brielle’s reach.

Her senses still heightened, she knew that although there was no one in sight, she was not alone. The drumming had stopped and the silence was eerie. This was not at all the way she had expected to be introduced to the fairies.

In the blink of an eye the entire scene transformed as fairies came flying in from all directions. The drums reverberated and from far above their heads the caps of the mushrooms rained down glistening specks of rainbow-hued confetti. The area now bustled with excitement as hundreds of fairies made themselves known.

The two who had originally brought Brielle to the spot upon which she stood returned and again flanked her.

"You will follow us, human," the larger one commanded.

"Okay," Brielle responded softly, her stomach beginning to flutter.

They moved her away from the fire and even closer to the ornate throne.

"You will wait here!"

"Um . . . okay," Brielle answered, fear gripping her insides in anticipation of what the fairies had in store for her.

The fire was now rimmed with a dozen or more scantly clad fairies dancing to the undulating music.

The musicians were now in plain sight, and joining the drummers were fairies playing flutelike instruments and rattling objects that reminded Brielle of castanets and maracas. The rhythmic tribal beat was mesmerizing and she found herself swaying to and fro while watching as dancers assembled around the blazing fire pit.

They were beautiful, yet nothing like Brielle had expected. She had imagined storybook beings with gossamer wings, delicate and colorful. These creatures did, indeed, have diaphanous wings, but that was where the similarity stopped. The clothing was camouflage, blending into the green, brown, ash, and burnt orange of the surrounding area, and many were adorned with feathers. Moccasins or boots covered the fairies’ feet. Looking around, she also noticed that all of the creatures were female; there was not a male fairy to be seen. She hadn’t remembered reading anything about totally female clusters of the small creatures.

Her thoughts were disturbed when the drums stopped and the sound of a horn brought everyone to stillness and silence.

A well-muscled fairy entered the area from the hut directly behind the throne. "All hail her majesty, Anex," the fairy roared, and Brielle found herself being pushed down onto the ground. She attempted to lift her head and was immediately reprimanded. "Do not attempt to move until the queen gives you leave."

How am I supposed to know when that is? Brielle silently complained.

The horn resounded again and from her position of compliance the small human could feel a change in the atmosphere surrounding her.

"Stand tall, human," she was ordered.

Brielle stood, afraid to open her eyes for fear of upsetting the gruff female who had a firm grip on the top of her arm. But when the drums began to softly beat, she did open her eyes and beheld a creature more beautiful than anything she could have imagined. Brielle’s astonished green eyes were caught and held by an intense sapphire gaze. Before her stood a female fairy, larger in stature than any of the others. Unlike the others, she was dressed in a leather outfit adorned with a metal breastplate, as well as wrist- and armbands that glistened in the moonlight like spun gold. The queen’s raven-colored hair was pulled back into a single thick braid, while bangs kissed the gorgeous womyn’s forehead. Iridescent wings shimmered on either side of the broad shoulders.

I’m looking at a dark angel. The thought kept repeating in the young human’s mind. No one will ever believe a creature such as this exists.

"Come forward, human," the queen commanded. Brielle felt her knees buckle, but had no choice but to move toward the queen as she received a motivating jerk on her arm and then a release of the guard fairy’s hand.

"Come closer," the queen insisted.

Brielle found her legs and walked the few feet to the queen’s throne.

"So . . . you are an ingenious human, now, aren’t you?" Anex asked. Although Brielle had found her legs, her voice was still in hiding.

"Are you mute, human?"

Brielle sputtered, coughed, and cleared her throat, "Ah . . . no . . ." She shook her head. "Not mute, your . . . umm . . . your highness." The small womyn curtsied, not sure exactly how to address the queen of the fairies.

Anex nodded and a crooked smile graced the beautiful face as a single eyebrow raised in a knowing glance toward the human captive.

"Not quite what you expected, are we," she continued.

Regaining control of her emotions, Brielle squared her shoulders and took a deep breath. "No, to tell the truth, you’re not."

"You’re just a human. Did you expect to infiltrate our tribe, observe us, and flee without any thought to the consequences if you got caught?"

"I really didn’t expect to be this size," Brielle answered. "And, as a matter of fact, I thought exactly that. I intended you no harm, I just wanted to prove to the human world that you existed." She surprised herself with her answer. She had had every intention of speaking in an apologetic tone, but instead she was being demonstrative. What in the world is wrong with you, Brie? Keep it up and you’ll never get out of this little adventure alive.

Now a full-blown smile graced the face of the fairy queen and Brielle’s heart did a flip-flop at the beauty it imparted. She was still terrified, but there was something in the attitude of the fairy that touched her heart, and for some reason her fear was beginning to dissipate.

"My, but you are the feisty one," Anex said. She then turned to her companions. "Let the festivities begin. I will speak with this human in private." With a wave of her arm, the volume of music increased and the fairies all turned their attention from the queen and her prisoner.

"Come with me . . . do you have a name?"

"Yes, Brielle."

"Well then, Brielle, come with me." She motioned and Brielle followed the queen into her hut. "Sit," the fairy demanded and the human sat.

"You seemed to have gone through a great deal of trouble to enter our world. The least I can do is to give you some sort of satisfaction before we decide what’s to be done with you."

Emerald eyes grew wide at the thought of what exactly it was the queen had in mind to do with her, and she ordered her heart to stop beating so fast. She had a suspicion that the fairy could see into her very soul, and although it should have frightened her, it didn’t. Suddenly, all her fear had vanished. She knew, as surely as she had believed there were fairies, that this vision of loveliness standing before her would never hurt her. With a different set of senses, she now listened intently to the fairy queen.

"First, let me assure you that our dealings with humans are not normally under conditions such as these. You are the first who has ever attempted to penetrate our village at our own size. Did you think we would take you as a rebel fairy who had abandoned her wings?"

She knows now that I had no intention of meeting her like this--I didn’t know the mushroom would shrink me. Brielle breathed deeply, figuring that being small might just be a plus in this situation. "No, I already told you I hadn’t intended on being this size, but once I realized I had shrunk, I guess assumed that if I met you on your own terms that you would have no fear of me and might allow me to . . ."

The queen began laughing so hard, Brielle thought the fairy was going to fall off her chair. "Fear of you? Do you honestly think fairies live in fear of humans? Come now, you are more of a child than you look. Humans have no defenses against fairy magic——don’t your stories mention that? You, my dear Brielle, have ventured into the realm of the Amazon Fairies; we above all fairyfolk have no fear of mere humans. In fact, we customarily have only one use for the likes of your kind and only in those dealings do we bring ourselves to have contact with humans. Furthermore, humans who do end up having dealings with us never remember the encounter beyond the edge of the woods. Do you not wonder, now that you have seen us, why there are no tales of the Amazon Fairies in the annals of fairy history?"

"I guess I never really thought about things in that respect, Your Highness. I only know what I’ve read in books. And you’re right in assuming that I’ve never read any research or stories on Amazon Fairies."

"Of course you haven’t. It simply is not allowed." The queen had bent forward to listen to the smaller womyn’s answer, and now their faces were mere inches apart.

Brielle broke eye contact because she felt as though the fairy was searching her soul, making sure that she was telling her the truth. In reality Brielle’s discomfort did not stem from the conversation, but rather from the fact that she could not keep her mind from wandering as she listened to the queen speak. The soft contralto voice was weaving a magic of its own and Brielle found it extremely difficult to keep from losing herself in the indigo eyes of the fairy queen. She lowered her own eyes to keep from revealing too much emotion to the beautiful creature in front of her.

Seemingly content with Brielle’s answer, Anex continued her discourse. "This is All Hallows’ Eve, as you have named it in your world. It is a fitting night for us to appear to humans. But mark my word, we only do so once every 500 years." Her voice softened and she stared intently into the eyes of her captive listener. "I not only knew of your arrival in my woods——I was expecting you this evening." She saw a small smile of disbelief flicker across the lips of the fair-haired womyn before her. "I didn’t actually know it was you who would arrive, but I knew that your soul would be seeking my company.

"You see, my dear Brielle, I am the queen of the Amazon Fairies, and it is my duty to find a consort and produce an heir. In all these long years I have not found a partner among my people, so I sent out a call to my soulmate on this dark eve——I knew she would enter my woods with desire in her heart." She reached out to the womyn sitting in front of her. "Brielle, take my hand. Not only will I allow you to see into the depths of my heart, I will enable you to see into your own, as well. You will see what is in store for you, if you go back to your world, and you will see what you will gain if you remain in mine."

‘Remain in mine’? What’s she talking about? Is she bewitching me? It doesn’t feel like she is. I know fairies must have more magic than humans can ever comprehend, but I don’t feel as though she is trying to trick me. Brielle gazed into the bluest eyes she had ever seen, and in an instant all her suspicions dissolved into oblivion. No. There is no trickery here. In fact, I would trust this person with my life.

"Listen to me, Brielle. I sent my scouts out with this decree earlier this evening: they were searching for you, for you and for two other souls who are as dark as you are light. The other two will certainly suffer a much different fate, but one that will undeniably be easier than the path they had already chosen for themselves thus far in their young lives. The darkness will leave them and their remaining years will be spent in peace. We are not evil as some may depict us to be. Here . . ." She handed Brielle a parchment scroll. "Read." Then Anex sat and watched as tears formed in malachite eyes she had already come to adore.

Two souls with hearts devoid of light

Have entered into my woods tonight

Although they know not where they’re bound

By Amazon Fairies they will be found

A third bright soul will meet her mate

And then through love will seal her fate

My soulmate dwells in the woods this eve

Bring her safely here, our love to conceive

"You really knew I would be here," Brielle whispered. And you knew I would find myself hopelessly falling in love with you, without regard to the differences between us.

"Yes, I knew, at least in the respect that I knew the other half of my soul was venturing into my woods. But I have no control over your answer to my question. You must decide totally on your own what will happen from this minute forward."

"Okay, you have my full attention." Brielle tried to put a touch of sarcasm into her voice, but it fell onto deaf ears.

"First, put your hands in mine, experience your heart’s desire, and see a vision of the rest of your life as you will choose it to play out. I will try not to influence you in any way. When we are finished I will not need to ask you the question, for I am sure you will have drawn your own conclusion."

Anex cradled the small womyn’s hands in her own and watched in anticipation as two distinct futures were revealed to Brielle. In the first she was a lonely, bitter spinster who could not convince anyone in her world that she had truly been in the company of Amazon Fairies. Her heart ached to recapture the feeling of elation that she had felt in the presence of the Amazon Fairy Queen, and she regretted her choice to go back to the world of humans. In the second vision, two small fairy children with features that looked to be a combination of her own and Anex’s surrounded Brielle. The feeling in her heart when she looked upon the happy scene was one of contentment and love, and she giggled as she gazed upon a vision of herself with fairy wings. But the thing that tugged at her heart more than anything else was the feeling that filled her very soul when Anex walked into the room and took the three of them into an embrace. Never in her life had she ever felt so loved and wanted. There was no choice to be made here. She had wandered into the woods on this fall evening desiring to prove beyond a doubt that fairies existed, but instead she had walked into an enchanted fairy tale in which she was to play one of the main characters. At the bend in the rainbow, under the full moon’s light, she would find the soul that she would never have found in the realm of humans. Love at first sight had always been another fantasy that Brielle had believed in, and now not only had she found her elusive fairies, she had also found her soulmate.

Anex squeezed Brielle’s hands and the visions disappeared. "I’m sure there is no need to ask the question," the queen said.

Green eyes blinked as if to awaken from a dream. The small womyn tilted her head and spoke in a voice barely above a whisper. "When two halves of the same soul are placed within proximity of each other, there’s no question as to whether or not they should remain together. The question would be if either of them could ever again be separated, and my answer to that would be definitely not."

The queen pulled the womyn into an embrace and whispered into her ear, "You will never regret your decision, Brielle. You will be loved beyond your wildest expectations."

"I was hoping you’d say that," Brielle answered as she felt her heart leap with joy. "But I do have a few unanswered questions."

"I definitely knew you would say that," Anex replied. "Ask away."

The music outside the hut continued and with it, songs of celebration. The queen paused and held her hand up as she tilted her head and listened to the change in the rhythm of the drums. "I’m sorry, go ahead. It seems it is timely for you to ask."

Brielle breathed a heavy sigh. She needed to dispel her fear that she would be unable to remain in the land of the fairies once the effects of the magic mushroom wore off. She assumed that the queen had stronger magic than that of a mere fungus, but she still needed confirmation.

Anex smiled at the query and affirmed that fairy magic could not be compared to that of vegetation. She assured Brielle her diminutive stature would remain, and because of their cosmic link, her transformation from human to fairy would be a rather simple effort.

The second question was more difficult to formulate, and Brielle was careful to pick her words so as not to offend the queen.

"You spoke of two other souls that entered the woods tonight. What is to be their fate?"

"What have you read of queens and kings of fairyfolk?" Anex asked. "What do you know of the legends of immortals?"

The smaller womyn thought for a few minutes before answering. "I remember that their immortality is not something that comes naturally and that only those of royal blood and their consorts are even eligible to become immortals. It has been speculated that the average fairy lives to be over 100 years of age, but no one has ever attempted to put an age on fairy royalty."

Again Anex smiled. "You have definitely done your homework. Now I will tell you the truth of the matter. Most of my people live to be well over 200 years as expressed in human time. But those of us who were born to be leaders, either by birth or marriage, are blessed with a natural life span of at least double that. When we reach maturity, we no longer physically age. When we have lived 400 years, we must determine whether we want to live out the final years of a natural life or extend our innate existence. If we decide on the latter, we must go in search of the essence of youth, an elixir that will rejuvenate us for an additional 500 years each time it is taken."

"Where do you go to find such an elixir?"

"We have a code that we live by, and that is to do no harm to those who would not harm us. We also have the ability to help those lost souls in need of salvation. Although extracting the elixir depletes the human of their youth, in return they are given peace of soul, and believe me, these tortured beings are the better for it."

"How did you come to pick the two souls tonight, and why two?"

"I hope these are your final questions, my dear, because the tribe is beginning to grow restless. I should be out partying with them, and with you by my side my people will have a double reason to celebrate." She looked deep into Brielle’s eyes and explained how she came to choose the individuals who would give up their youth before the break of dawn, but be blessed in the process.

"For months now I have sent out scouts in search of young womyn who would actually benefit from the loss of their youth. Two such creatures were found, and then the scouts worked a spell on them to lure them into the woods early this evening." She saw a look of horror cross Brielle’s face and immediately continued. "You must understand that these womyn are evil of soul, and that is why it was so easy for the scouts tonight to establish their whereabouts in the woods.

"One of the gifts of the fairies is that we can distinguish through vibration the difference between good and bad. These young people have already tarnished their souls and created a living hell on earth for themselves. They would never, without our help, be able to rise above the deeds that have already damned their souls to eternal condemnation. Their hearts are black, and even though they will lose years of existence, they will change for the better and their souls will be saved. It is not a vicious thing we fairies do; in fact, you might even say we are giving these humans a second chance. It’s true that we do not give them the choice, but they would not believe us if we told them that what was about to happen to them would save their immortal souls.

"One or both of them will leave these woods a changed person. The fate of one is in my hands and the fate of the other in yours."

"Mine? How can I be responsible for the fate of another human being? "

"Do you think I want to live my extended years with a mate who will grow old before I have even begun to use my time? When you become my confidante you will gain the opportunity to receive the gift of immortality with me. After your metamorphosis, you will be given the elixir, which will extend your life. The choice is yours, Brielle."

"You’re sure that what becomes of the two humans is for their greater good?" Brielle asked.

"I promise you it is," Anex answered.

The smaller woman smiled and nodded her approval.

"You will never regret this decision," Anex vowed, as she held out her hand to her new companion. "Come; it’s time for the ceremonies to begin."

Hand in hand, the two walked out of the hut and stood before the queen’s throne. Anex then made the announcement that she had found her soulmate and the love she had been seeking for so long. The tribe rejoiced in food, drink, and song, and the two reunited souls were congratulated by each Amazon fairy that they passed on their way toward the center of the circle.

The newly devoted couple clasped hands and stood in the middle of the clearing for everyone to see. As she gave her heart and soul to the Amazon Fairy Queen, Brielle looked up into the early morning sky. The moon shone directly overhead and bathed the duo in its silver glow. Shimmering through the celestial light was a rainbow resplendent with colors that the young human had never before seen. It was a fitting visual conclusion to an evening that had been filled with surprises and ended in a dual proclamation of love.

After some incantations and a short ceremony, Brielle stretched her newly acquired wings and kissed the full lips of her new mate. She had never been happier in her life, and it no longer mattered if the skeptics of the world did not believe in fairies. She not only knew the truth but would spend eternity living it.

All Hallows’ Eve was officially over. The night of witches, goblins, ghosts, and fairies would be put into the realm of memory.

The forest was quiet in the pre-dawn light as two frail and pitiful crones slowly emerged from the wooded area. With shoulders bent and hands and legs gnarled with age, they unhurriedly raised their heads to get a glimpse of the first beams of sunlight as it streaked across the horizon. A smile graced both sets of lips, and there was a peace in their hearts that neither had known for many years.


The next time you go walking in the middle of the woods

And you come upon a brilliant fairy ring

Be content to walk around it ~ pretend you just don’t see,

Or prepare for all life changes it may bring.

If you believe in fairies they might do their best to show

And reveal their ancient secrets unto you.

Please be careful for they also might demand your very soul,

And the pluses of their taking it be few.

Do you want to live forever within the fairy realm?

With a heart that’s pure and true say you believe.

Or remember well the ancient one, who lost her youth one night,

And avoid the sacred woods on Hallows’ Eve.

The moral to the story is let love become your guide.

Do not harbor any poison in your heart.

For the wicked can’t escape them, evil has no place to hide.

Fairies have a knack of making sin to depart.

You’re forewarned should you now enter ~ the rest is up to you.

Happy hunting, you might even make a friend.

Trust your heart for love awaits you, if your sentiment is true.

Now what better way to have a story end?


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