A simple gift?

Mora’s day started like any other. She flung open the balcony doors and stepped out to greet the new day. There was a slight mist in the air, a coldness to suggest the moving of seasons. “Good morning, my friends!” She said brightly and stooped to look at the pots of flowers and plants which still grew outside her door. She crouched beside them and let her fingers gently stroke across their leaves as she hummed softly. A robin flew down to her work table and watched the fairy, head cocked to one side. He saw how the fairy’s fingertips seemed to glow as she worked, the sparkling glow flowing gently to the edge of the leaves.

Mora saw him and stood up silently, smiling and bowing to him. “Good morning to you too, my red-vested friend.” Her attention was taken by the calls of the gulls from the harbour. She took two steps of run and sprang into the air, her wings carrying her slight frame in pursuit of them. “Wait for me!” Giggling the fairy chased after them, the strong gusts of salty air taking her voice as she called to them, wondering if today would be the day she saw Tal’s ship in the harbour. She swooped alongside the ship there, but it was not his. Her spirits dipped, but for a moment as something shining caught her attention. She saw the door open to the infirmary and smiled as she saw Morgause step out, talking to Nonny. She was fond of Morgause, but the sight of Nonny reminded her of the shells of men still under the nurse’s care. She frowned a little and banked flying over the walls and out into the surrounding countryside.

Flying low, the fairy giggled as the dew from the grass and plants sprang up, showering her in a fine spray which reflected the colours of the rainbow in the morning sun. Her fingertips stroked the plants she flew, lifting her spirits to where her song burst from her lips. She chuckled as a stag lifted his head at the sound of her, tendrils of ivy caught in his antlers. She landed silently on one foot and swept effortlessly into a low bow. “Good morning to you, Forest Majesty.” The strange little fairy was well known to the stag and he took a step close to her, exhaling loudly and surrounding her in a cloud of sweet, warm breath. She reached out a hand to take the ivy from his antlers, but then tilted her head. “You know, I think that rather suits you. I think… you should keep it.” Her fingers touched the ivy, and as they did, it snaked tidily around the creature’s antlers.
Mora’s thoughts went back to the challenge at hand. She needed to do something to try and at least provide some temporary happiness to the men of the village. Better than her home-grown flowers, the few blooms she saw around her had lived their life in the magic-soaked soil of the natural woodlands. She busied herself with singing again as her fingers caressed and plucked a bunch of late flowering plants, mixed with autumn bejeweled twigs and leaves. She would not fly back to the village, she needed time to weave thoughts of joy and love into her gift. Her spirit lived not in the taking of happiness from others. She had seen enough from her sisters of what it was to awaken the unbridled passion and love in others, only to remove all trace of it and consign that unhappy creature to endless dark.

As Mora walked back to the village she sang a song to the flowers she carried, weaving smiles into each leaf and petal. Any who would look upon them would feel a flurry of warmth at the promise of a new day, the smile of wonder at suddenly chancing upon the sight of a fox picking its way carefully through the autumn landscape. The warming glow of each sunset would pick up the spirits, to be replaced by the joy of the sparkle of stars at night. Mora knew this gift would not help them for long, but she was sure what had befallen them was at the hands of her kin, and human or not, they had done nothing in her eyes to deserve something so cruel.

The fairy paused as she reached the bridge which led to the village. Her curiosity was taken by the shelter built against the hillside. She had never seen anyone there, but felt sure someone lived there. She smiled to herself, she had plenty in her bunch to spare, and selected a slender twig which bore both russet leaves and scarlet berries. She lifted to the air a little and flew silently to the hut, placing the single branch outside the door, before floating back to the bridge.

She then made her way back across the bridge and smiled up at the guards on the gate. “Tis good to see you looking more… yourself” said one, as he smiled down at the small fairy. Mora couldn’t help but grin back at him. It was the first time one had shown her anything more than simple tolerance. Perhaps her actions in the battle had not gone unnoticed.

“Thank you… guard? ” came her voice, for she had no idea of his name. She smiled and looked from one to the other as she stepped through the gateway and headed for the infirmary.

She pushed open the door to the infirmary and smiled as the scents of herbs and the warmth of the room hit her. Nonny smiled brightly at her, always pleased to see the cheerful creature and sharing something of Morgause’s kindness towards the fairy. “Good day to you, Nonny!” Mora said, holding out her bouquet of autumn warmth to the nurse. “I thought these might… help cheer the place a little.”

It had been a long night for the nurse, but she smiled politely at the tattered bunch of weeds and twigs offered to her by the fairy, thinking to herself that they wouldn’t last long and she would be able to get rid of them. As she held them in her hand though, she couldn’t help but look at them, the deep colours lifting her heart and making her smile. “Why, why… they are beautiful!” the woman exclaimed, and wasted no time in finding a container of water to hold them, happy and renewed in her energies.

berries

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