"Tell me a bedtime story grammie Carli! Pleeease!"
Carliarn Feye smiled down at her pleading 7 year old granddaughter. "Very well Lo'isha, but you must first brush your teeth." With a squeal of delight the child raced off to do as instructed. Carliarn settled into the cushioned chair beside the bed with a soft groan of relief. Her joints had been particularly painful today.
What story should she tell tonight, she wondered. At that moment a flicker of movement and a flash of colour caught her eye. With a smile she knew that it was time to start telling the precocious child THAT tale, or part of it at least.
Lo'isha raced into the room and leaped for the bed, scrambling into it as fast as she could. "I'm here grammie. Are you going to tell the story about Mayeve and Ahrode tonight?"
"Not this time Lo'i. Tonight I am going to tell you a new tale. A tale about another little girl who sent a plea to the heavens and was answered.
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The tale starts with a girl child the same age you are now. Her name was Summer... You see, Summer was alone in the world. Her mother, Aisha, had just passed into the veil of the stars and she did not know her father. She had no other living relations that she knew of and the only place for children such as herself was the orphanage. That horrible place mistreated the children in their care and turned them into slaves. Summer was desperate to find some way of not being sent to that place, so she ran away into the forest surrounding her home.
Aisha had often taken her child for walks there in good weather. Those memories were Summer's most treasured possession now. However, those walks with her mother had helped her learn the forest as no other person knew it, in or around their local village. Her favourite spot to play in, when Aisha went foraging, was a huge tree with a hollow at the base of it that was big enough for her to stand up in. The tree sat on the edge of a clearing where Aisha and Summer would have picnics and pick wild flowers.
When she reached her tree, she curled up in the darkest corner and cried. How long she spent like that she did not know, but soon her tears dried up and she walked into the sunlit clearing. 'Oh please', she though as she looked up at the sun and clouds. 'Please help me. I am now all alone. What am I to do? Where am I to go? If only I had another choice than that horrid orphanage.'
With that thought there was a light sprinkling of rain and a glorious rainbow shimmered into being in the middle of the clearing. Summer looked at the magical thing in wonder but could not bring herself to move, lest she cause the rainbow to vanish.
A figure appeared walking on the rainbow towards her. Summer wondered why she was not frightened. Indeed the only thing she felt was a building, bubbling excitement. The man who stepped off the rainbow was tall, lean and very tanned. He had hair the same colour as the bark on the trees, and he had the same vivid green eyes as Summer herself. The man knelt slowly to the ground in front of Summer and studied her as intently as she studied him.
When he spoke his voice was deep but melodious. 'Greetings daughter. It is past time we met and I wish it were in happier circumstances but Aisha wanted you to have a normal childhood, free from the burden of responsibility which you will one day bear. You see child I am your father but more than that, I am guardian of the fey. I watch over all and protect them from harm. One day, you too will be required to be the guardian. Do you understand this?'
Summer nodded and spoke softly, 'You are talking about magical people and creatures, the kind that the villagers do not believe exist.'
He nodded, 'Indeed, that is correct. But it will be many years before you are ready for that task. In the meantime, you will be a child still but you will see things that an ordinary child of the village will not. I, and others, will teach you all that you need to know. Do you have any questions?'
Summer nodded again, 'Yes sir, I do. What do I call you? Mother never did tell me your name. She said I was too young to understand and refused to talk about you.'
His eyes grew sad and he looked at the ground for a moment before once again meeting her eyes. 'My child, my name is Aubrey and you may call me father if you wish. Or you may call me by name or title, it is up to you. Are you ready to go now or is there something you wish to do before I take you home.'
'I want to plant a fruit tree in the clearing for my mother. We picnic'd here lots.' Summers voice quavered and her eyes filled with suppressed tears.
Aubrey's eyes lit with approval and from his coat pocket he drew a handful of assorted seeds. 'What fruit tree do you wish to plant for her? I have seeds for many kinds here.'
Summer looked at the seeds solemnly, 'She loved plums. The big juicy black ones.'
Aubrey picked out a single seed and put the rest back into his pocket. He held the seed to Summer, 'Plant this where you think your mother would want it.'
With no hesitation Summer knelt and dug a small hole in the ground next to the tiny creek that trickled nearby, dropped the seed in before covering it with soil. Aubrey watered the newly planted seed, 'We will miss you Aisha, more than you could ever know.' As one they stood and Summer placed her hand into her fathers for the first time and together they climbed the rainbow.
'Welcome to Everstone' Aubrey said as they walked through a veil of rainbow coloured mist into a clearing similar to the one they had just left except for one very big difference. In the middle of the clearing was an enormous tree with a house built into the branches. 'Welcome to your new home Summer Feye.' "
Carliarn looked down at her sleeping grand child and smiled. There would be time to tell the tale in full, now that the tale was begun. With a whisper of sound a butterfly landed on the sleeping child's shoulder. A tiny piping voice trilled from the creature that was not really a butterfly, 'We will watch over her Guardian Feye, never fear'.