Fairn's head spun around, a halo of silver sparkles exploding in the light of the sun.
"Emalina! You must not speak that word," she hissed.
"Why not?" Her companion challenged. "What's going to happen to me that hasn't already happened? From what sort of tragedy will you say I'm saving myself?"
Fairn's eyes widened. "Everybody knows we must not speak that word. It doesn't belong here."
"We've seen much that doesn't belong here, of late," Emalina reminded. Fairn felt her companion's forlorn statement pierce her own heart. She gathered herself for an argument, wings rustling.
"But if HE is Love and HE is here…." Her head shook adamantly. "Then that word you just uttered is… it's…"
"Oh give up, stupid spryte," Emalina. "Don't you see it's all different now? Maldison… Everdym… Dynelda… they're all gone. The things we used to do, we can't do anymore. Some of our favorite places…." She looked deeply into the eyes of her friend. Fairn had to look away.
"Why did He do it?" Emalina asked through clenched teeth.
Fairn rose from her crouching position. "HE didn't do it!" She insisted. "They did it to themselves. They had a choice."
Emalina moaned and flitted to the lowest branch of a nearby tree. "I miss Maldison," she muttered.
Fairn's heart went out to her friend. Emalina was right. Nothing was normal in their world anymore. The fact that they were even together was an anomaly, as they should have been with their assigned Light Bearers. Fairn was given to Judisha, Emalina to the towering Maldison. But those folk had fallen. Been tossed out, rather. Down…. to THAT world that neither of the spryte-folk could even see. Creation was torn. Fire guarded gates once thrown open wide and welcoming. Everything WAS different. But when Fairn remembered the way things had become, before the end, she found herself relieved. Secretly she was glad she was no longer joined to the controlling Judisha. Yes, it felt unnatural, as did the growing darkness and the roaring of once-complacent tigers… But this was the first time Fairn could remember feeling free.
"I'm glad they're gone," she returned, trying on this new emotion. Emalina gasped in shock. Even the flowers glowing in the sunset turned in surprise. "Maldison turned cruel. You just don't remember."
Emalina rose to her full 13 inches, wings outstretched as she readied herself to take flight from such ideas. "You're mad," she announced, and then she was gone, zipping straight into the light of the sun. Fairn followed, only to find her path blocked by the One Who Created All Things. It took her a moment to figure out what had happened, but the splattering of spryte sparkles… purple… Emalina's color…. across the blinding whiteness of His Being, and Fairn's friend crumbled in a heap at His feet, spoke of their accidental meeting.
Fairn drew up, ecstatic, her grounded friend forgotten. HE was HERE. In THEIR part of Home. At the end of the day. Such a thing was quite unheard of. Her little body trembled with delight. So far in her young life she'd only seen HIM from a distance. But coming upon Him here - in her forest - was too good to be true. When He smiled at her, and she realized how close they were, how face-to-face…. Every thought in her troubled mind melted away. He reached out a hand to her, and she landed in it lightly, awestruck. Her excitement was interrupted as Emalina snorted something and tried to fly away, landing unceremoniously on a nearby rock, torn wings tangled up around her feet.
"She didn't mean it," Fairn defended her companion. He looked down on her kindly and the spryte realized He already knew. Everything. Even the part of her that was glad to be free. Her hands flew to her heart as she wondered fleetingly if that thought could be hidden. It went against what she knew of Him. But yet….
"No, she didn't," He agreed, lowering Fairn to Emalina's side. For a moment Fairn forgot He was there, as huge drops of liquid began leaking from Emalina's eyes. "What's..?" she managed. Her Creator bent low, and suddenly these same drops of liquid began falling from the sky, dripping off the leaves. Sparkling on His face.
"Tears," He replied simply. "Do not be afraid."
"But she didn't mean it," Fairn shouted, rising into the air despite the drops of rain that tried to dampen her wings. "She's just…"
The Creator of All Things rose to His full height, and everything around them trembled. The spryte flitted closer to examine the drops of this new thing that slid down her Beloved's face. His face broke into a smile and suddenly the heavens lit up, a bow of brilliant colors splashing across the sky.
"Comfort your friend," He advised, turning to continue on His way. "Life will not be this painful forever. Remind her."
"Yes." Fairn accepted His command, although in her heart she would much rather have followed Him wherever He was going. After all, it was in her nature to follow The Light. She hovered in mid-air, watching as He left them, finally sagging to the ground by Emalina's side. One glance revealed the damage already done by the word she'd spoken earlier. Tattered wings… Antennae brittle and twisted.
"Did you hear Him?" Fairn crouched before her companion. "Look what all this has done to you." She reached out to touch broken antenna, shivering as its end dropped into her hand.
Emalina wiped the tears off her face, looking dubiously at Fairn.
"He said it wouldn't always be this way. He promised." Reaching a hand to her friend, Fairn pulled Emalina to her feet.
"What did He promise?" Emalina challenged.
"A new day," Fairn whispered, trying her best to squeeze some of her warmth into Emalina's cold hands. "He promised us a brand new day. I believe Him."
Emalina shrugged and shook her head, but her sparkles were too wet to fill the air like they were supposed to.
"Come along," Fairn insisted, pulling at her friend. "We'll go watch the otter-folk play in the falls. That'll make you laugh." They made their way forward, Emalina responding only to the tugs of her friend.
"Did you see Him?" Fairn asked, excitement at being so close to her Creator bubbling from her throat. "I didn't know He was so BIG. And strong, and CARING…" she looked back at her friend, her grin contagious. The sound of her voice carried beyond them as they disappeared over the hill toward the waterfalls. Birds took up her excitement, as did dripping tree branches and drooping flowers. All of creation brightened as Fairn described their promised Brand New Day.