Elise is a faerie who has experienced terrible heartache and just needs a change before she is forced to choose the path she will walk forever. She will risk everything for one chance at happiness. But is the cost of the risk more than Elise bargained for?
Here goes nothing. My shoes make a light tapping noise on the polished floor as I make my way across it. Normally you probably wouldn’t hear it, but the echo off the domed roof is deafening. As my heart thuds away in my chest I have to wonder if they can hear that too. Are they used to the children sounding nervous?
The elder who walked me in takes to the air instead, crossing the chamber in half my time. I watch her drop delicately into her seat, smiling at a few fae on either side of her. Flying was a good idea, I wish I’d thought of it.
I reach the middle of the room and stop. The man before me has so much gold on his wings you can no longer see any clear. It sends beams of light flying out in every direction around him, giving the impression that he is glowing. He has years of impressive service to this community. He wears a long white beard, but it doesn’t hide the youthful expression in his eyes. I wonder what this man does for our society.
I tip my head downward in greeting. “Thank you all for seeing me.”
“We are here today to allow Elise an opportunity to choose the path of her future. Today she will choose the direction of her training. Elise, today you will tell us what future will earn color in your wings. What say you?” the elder asks. His voice echoes through the chamber.
I swallow the lump that has formed in my throat. Here goes nothing. “Can I request a manifest period?”
There’s an audible gasp from a few of the elders assembled. They range in age, I know. Some are no older than me, really, but have shown themselves to be adept at their field. Each sector of our society, each job held, has an elder who presides over it. They are all here today to hear my choice. Evidently, this is not what they wanted to hear. My wings begin to flutter nervously. They are well within their rights to tell me no, although it’s not normally done that way.
“Well, yes child. This would allow you a one-month period to travel to other colonies and decide where you would like your future to play out.” He commands the attention of a few elders who have reverted to whispering in the back by clearing his throat. “I believe we are surprised, Elise, because this practice is typically reserved for fae who have family in other circles. To be blunt, my dear, we are all you have.”
“But I could be allowed to try?” I ask.
The man looks to his right. A beautiful faerie sits along the lowest row of chairs beside him, her wings sending off silver rays instead of gold. She is our leader. Once she chose her path, the change was instant. Her silver wings are rumored to have fully colored right then, in the prediction of service she would do. It is strange that she has been our leader for as long as anyone can remember, and yet she looks so young. Her face is thin, her eyes forgiving. Her long white hair reaches her waist. The hair tugs a little as she nods once to the speaker. My eyes immediately lock back on him.
“Yes, of course. We would need to see you again in one month’s time to hear your decision. You would be required to return for that second meeting and the decision you express at that time would be final.”
My heart flutters with the permission. I’m so close now. “That is what I wish, then. Thank you.”
It has gone dangerously quiet in the chamber again. All eyes are on me; I can feel them melting into my face. I gulp. They have to have the final word. It is not official until they speak.
The face of the speaking elder reveals nothing. He remains stoic. Finally, he nods once. “So be it.”
Tabatha is the author of the Kingdom of Fraun series,Projection, and 30 Days Without Wings. She believes strongly in the power of helping others and is always willing to help out a fellow writer or reader. Find and connect with her on whichever social media platform you love best.