The moon was full of light at its peak, and Sylvia lie awake staring at the pocked ceiling. She was anxious for sleep, yet frightened. For the past two months she had been dreaming of a distant world, one that she clung to and prayed to see again. Fae of good and evil, wise elves, magical craggy trees, abandoned castles, illusive water nymphs and whispers of a dark prince became inspirations to art. Living in a house surrounded by woods alone made her nervous at night now, since the dreams recently took a darker turn. In this new world she began seeing dark figures with glowing eyes always just escaping her view, and wolves watching her in the distance howling at the moon when darkness fell.
Sleep finally came, and Sylvia dreamt again of this place only on this night, it called for her. She saw the path within her own woods that lead her to a hole in the side of a large hill. When she peered in to see a light at the end, a deep voice called her name and she was shaken awake with fear. She had only been asleep for half an hour. Energy filled her and she sprung from her bed. She ran down the steps and out the door knowing exactly where to go. The dogs bellowed and barked, confused by her odd behavior.
Into the woods she ran, following her well work path. The dogs were barely audible now and Sylvia relied solely on the light of the full summer moon. The path was hard to follow, in fact nonexistent. She was following land marks now for she had only seen this hill once before. A screech owl called to another in the distance and frogs chirped with the crickets. Finally coming to the place she warily approached the opening. Fear and excitement washed over her, making her mouth dry and fingertips numb. This was the escape she had always prayed for.
Sylvia burst forth to the other side, brushing off spider webs and twigs. She was amazed by what she saw. The sky was in its evening colors and the moon was in its early ascent to the sky. Large twisted trees stretched far and tall with lush leafy plumes and strong branches. The ground was smooth with soft vegetation and large boulders covered in moss. A soft tug to the strap of her gown made Sylvia turn around to a small glowing fairy, smiling at her with wide green eyes.
"I see you have decided to join us, fair girl. Please, tell me your business here." Sylvia smiled at how the fairy sounded scripted. In her dreams, they barely spoke.
"I have dreamt of this place many nights, and in my dreams I was shown how to get here." The fairy tilted her head in confusion. Then, as if remembering something, she grinned.
"I know where you must go. Please, follow me." Before Sylvia could ask, the fairy flew high and away, making Sylvia run to keep up. She was quickly winded from running before, but pressed on trying to keep from losing sight of the fairy. After what felt like an hour, she found the fairy in front of an open field. She hadn't realized how much darker it was now, and bent over to catch her breath. "I can take you no further, but you can see from here where to go. That castle by the lake, I know it looks ominous, but trust me. This is where you must be." She flew away laughing, and Sylvia stood alone staring at the immense fortress.
She came up to a large wooden door with black cast iron hinges and a raven crest in the center. First she knocked and waited, then again a little louder. Anxiety filled her as she began thinking that the fairy had tricked her, that she could have been evil.
The door opened and a ghoulish girl stood looking past Sylvia. Her golden hair was tangled, face pale and grey eyes that were empty and glazed over. Sylvia stepped back in horror but the girl grabbed her and with amazing strength pulled her through the door and slammed it shut.
"Stop, stop please!" She pleaded, but she was being pulled by the arm through many rooms filled with lush furniture, brocade and wraithlike animal mounts. Across a vast room filled with weapons and armor, a 20 foot tall door opened to a long deep blue carpet, adorned with a silver pattern, led to a tall chair in which a cloaked figure sat. Two great grey wolves lay on either side of the chair, and more ghoulish people surrounded them. After a long moment, the girl let go of Sylvia and stepped back. Sylvia stood staring in shock at this figure which stood and started towards her. Tall narrow stained glass windows and candles lined the wall, and the same fabric pattern on the carpet appeared in the long curtains which hung draped from the ceiling and drawn at either side of the wall.
"I will leave and never return, never speak of this place if you
let me go." Sylvia boldly stated. The figure only moved closer.
She tried to back away, but the hands of the ghoul girl pressed
her forward again. It was right in front of her now, and in a
deep resonating voice the tall figure said
"You answered to my call quickly, I didn't expect that." He reached up and pulled back the hood. Sylvia gasped and pressed harder against the hands of the ghoul.
"Let me go." Sylvia was peering into solid white eyes laced with blackness; pale skin, long raven hair and curved horns on either side of his head. He smiled.
"In time you will see that I am no monster, and born of no evil." Sylvia was convinced by now that she was in a dream. "I will take care of you here, Sylvia."
"How do you know my name?" He took a step back, still smiling.
"Soon enough." He turned away and both of her arms were grabbed by the monsters around her. She let out a screech and fought back, but she was swept away and quickly taken up winding steps where she was tossed to the floor of a tower and locked in. Sylvia slammed herself against the door and screamed;
"You wicked demon! You can't keep me here forever do you hear me?" She slid to the floor and turned to the wide gothic arched window. Red curtains fluttered in the soft breeze. Though tears fell, she couldn't feel the sorrow through the disbelief. The room was large with a bed and vanity, large dresser and another door that was open to a bathroom. It was undeniably lovely and whimsical. After a while, a shimmer caught her eye outside in the night sky. She walked over to the window and as it drew near her it became clear that a fairy was headed her way.
"No! You aren't welcome here!" This fairy had blue eyes and dark wavy hair, like Sylvia.
"Hush! I'm here to help."
"Like hell you are."
"I'm a good fairy, Sylvia, smell me."
"Smell you? What? And how do you know my name?" Sylvia was becoming shaken with the stress.
"I smell like honeysuckle, don't I?" Sylvia raised a brow, and did indeed smell honeysuckle. "Good fairies smell of honeysuckle… and can bypass the Prince's fairy repellent. Did that other fairy not stop at the edge of the woods? He planted flowers that keep bad fairies from being able to get anywhere near here."
"Alright… why would you want to help me, though?"
"Sylvia, every being has a job that they are nothing without. It balances things. Fairies are known for being bad here because we have a special curse; all fairies, good or bad, must do his or her own job when the opportunity presents its self or we turn to dust." Sylvia nodded slowly. The fairy flew into the room and stood on top of the dresser. "The reason why I knew your name is because you were in need of help, and I was presented with it. That other fairy may have known your name too, and led you here because it is a place of evil." Sylvia took a deep breath, and let it out slowly.
"I'm scared…" the fairy nodded. "Please, do you know anything about this prince?"
"I know very little facts; all I have heard has been rumored. There isn't much you would want to hear, it would only worry you and no one knows if it's even true. Either way, I know you want to go home. I have something for you." From a pouch she had on her back she produced a blue vial that was almost as big as she. "A piece of advice, never take a potion from a fairy that is any shade of red, orange or yellow. The reason why is because more than likely it has been made from a narcotic, or worse. If a fairy says she is good and gives you a red potion, don't use it… ever. Not even on someone else. Now this potion will temporarily put him to sleep if you drink it, but you must be in the same room as he is which will be tricky. Oh and another thing; good potions never go bad. If you receive one from a fairy you think is good and she tells you to use if before a certain time for example, before sundown or after the first rainfall, it's a trick. Potions can be good and only be useful in certain settings and situations, but will never have an expiration." Sylvia smiled and took it gently. "I wish we could talk more Sylvia, there isn't much good left in this land…" She trailed off and began fidgeting with the hem of her tiny dress nervously.
"Thank you. I seem to have no other choice but to trust you if I want leave." The fairy nodded and flew to the window.
"Don't worry, Sylvia. I know you can do it. I'll be waiting to show you the way back when you've done it." Quickly, the fairy disappeared. Sylvia lay back on the bed and stared at the vial. The blue liquid shimmered and smoldered against the flickering candle light, and Sylvia debated on whether or not she would use it. She couldn't bear the thought of killing him, or hurting him for that matter. Sylvia was known for being soft hearted, even when she had every reason not to be. It was one of her true downfalls.