Hayley and the Cat King
DATE: 6439 THIRD DAWN
PLACE: CASTLE IRIS, PARTHESIS
“Dead, dead, dead, all dead…” the King of Iris repeated monotonously as he scratched the words into the wooden floor with his torn and bloody fingers.
Hazel, ran to the king and pulled him away from the floor.
“What’s wrong? Are you okay?” Hazel said shaking him by the collar.
“We are dead, all dead, dead, dead….” the king mumbled as he now started to scratch into the air, blood dripping from the bone protruding from his finger.
“What’s happening?” Hazel asked Light.
Date: 5487 Fourth Dawn (Third Dawn ended in 6440)
Place: Castle Clifton, Three Kingdoms
In a castle on top of the cliffs in the far north, a baby girl was born. She came into this world like many babies do —slimey, bald, and crying. To her parents she was beautiful —the cutest, most precious thing they had ever seen. Just like all humans on Terra, the infant’s eyes were a brilliant light blue.
She peered up at the two people who loved her unconditionally. The mother’s long curly blond hair gently swayed as she rhythmically rocked her baby. Jen glanced over to her husband, whose overjoyed smile would have made even a heartless man smile back.
“She has your shade of blue,” said Jen. She was a petite woman with delicate features, making her appear much younger than she was.
“She has the eyes of a Clifton,” her father said as his smile grew even larger, “but let’s hope that’s all she gets from me.”
“Oh, George,” she said to the blond, thirty-four-year-old man in a silk royal blue nightgown.
“Have you thought of a name for her yet?” he asked.
“I was thinking…Hayley, I have always liked that name. What do you think?”
“My princess, Hayley,” he said as he took the baby from her mother’s arms and held her up above his head.
“George! Hold her head!" George’s smile dropped as he quickly cradled her in his arms, kissing her wrinkly bald head with his unshaven face.
“My princess, Hayley,” he repeated as he walked around the room.
The room had dark wooden floors and a vaulted ceilings painted to match the rolling clouds that hung over the Walden Mountain Range. The room was perfectly circular with large windows all around except for the southern curve of the room, which held a balcony looking out towards the Bleu Foncé Sea. In the middle of the room on a circular bed, the queen rested.
“George…she’s asleep. Put her in the crib and please close the balcony doors. The night breeze will give her a cold.”
“Of course, Jen.” He quietly walked over to the crib and gently laid his princess down. He bent over and kissed her forehead once more.
“George! Quick! The doors!” yelled Jen, horror flashing across her face. George urgently spun toward the doors and started to run toward them. He stopped when he saw what had frightened his wife.
“Jen, it’s just a big...glowing...bumblebee? What is that?” he said, perplexed. The glowing thing flew through the balcony doors, making several high-pitched shrieks. It made three trips around the room, slamming into George’s head each time before quietly landing on the sleeping baby’s crib.
“Oh—little princess,” squeaked the fat glowing bumblebee. Jen shot off the bed and dashed over to the crib, her white night dress whipping behind her, rage burning in her eyes. She raised her hand to smash the bug.
“Jen!” George grabbed his wife’s hand right before she flattened the creature. “It's not going to hurt her.”
Jen looked down and mumbled, “Just her being here hurts the baby.” George stared in amazement as his eyes focused on the very small and very, very round woman with translucent fluttering wings protruding from her back. The tiny round woman had on a white dress that radiated like a star in the night sky and gave her whole body a soft magical glow. Her wings flickered a different color every time they twitched, now jumping between maroon and bright green.
“Oh! Little princess,” squeaked the tiny woman. “She is so beautiful.”
“Can… I help you?” stammered George.
“Oh… no, but keep your voices down. She’s sleeping.”
“Who are you?” George asked as he watched the wings switch to a shade of bright indigo.
“Oh--Oh--of course how rude of me, I am Hayley’s guardian,” she said with a slight giggle. “And this is….” She looked around the room then rolled her eyes dramatically. “Hey, get in here,” the fat fairy bellowed, clearly forgetting the sleeping infant. George and Jen turned toward the balcony doors. A shimmer of light floated slowly into the room then shot back out. At first George thought it was dust reflecting from the torch light, but it moved in a sporadic pattern. The tiny speck of light changed color from white to purple. George jumped as the fairy bellowed once more, “Of course you can come in. Who cares if we weren’t invited. We are her guardians! Now get in here!”
“Please stop saying that,” Jen begged.
The tiny speck zipped over to the fairy; they touched, and as they did, they turned the same shade of bright green. “This is my husband,” announced the fairy.
“Go away,” pleaded Jen, much louder this time.
“Jen,” George said, “no need to be scared. It’s amazing. In all my years I have never seen a fairy. They’re supposed to be good luck. And one that wants to be our daughter’s guardian? It's a sign from Kai.”
“George, it’s not,” Jen said flatly.
“But we are good luck!” interjected the fairy, whose wings flashed to an angry red.
“I agree,” George said firmly. “Please, Jen. They should be our honored guests. Now what may we call you?”
“King Clifton, you are very wise indeed,” said the fairy, clearly trying to flatter George. “We should be honored guests, for you are right; we are good luck after all. You may call me Grand and my husband,” she pointed to the speck of light now a happy rosy pink, “Spark. Our fairy names are too hard for you to pronounce, so Grand and Spark will just have to do. Your daughter is very special.” George’s excitement mounted.
“Please, tell us more. When I was a child I loved hearing about the adventures of the orphan thief Hazel and his fairy, Light. I am so excited to meet you!”
“Your child is important. She comes bringing changes to Terra. A new dawn is approaching, and she is its herald. A prophecy has been foreseen and it is our job to see it fulfilled. We will be both her guides and protectors.”
“Amazing,” George said in an awed whisper.
“Don’t you two know anything? This means Jayde is on her way here!” Jen said angrily.
“Jen! Jayde the Soulless is just a myth that was told thousands of years ago. I think you need to lie down. You just had a baby.” George tried to guide his uneasy wife back to their bed.
“I’m not tired. Tell him the truth, Fairy!” Jen shoved her husband so hard that he stumbled back a few steps.
“That is the truth! Hayley will be under our protection, and before we leave tonight, I will tell you the prophecy we have foreseen.”
“No!” Jen said, fuming. “Why don’t you tell George what’s been happening for thousands of years! Tell him what has been happening to the people involved in a fairy’s prophecy. Go on, little pixy," Jen spat venomously.
“What a vulgar word from a queen," huffed the fat little thing as its wings twitched to a loathing red. "And that is just absurd; I know at least two humans that had their prophecies fulfilled last year. They are alive and happy.”
“Jen, please. There is no need to get so agitated,” George said attempting to pat her back.
“Tell me what those prophecies were,” Jen demanded, elbowing him in the chest.
“The first one was a farmer’s son in Stonelind across the seas. He saved his family when the drought came. The other was a knight in Calhoun. He found his father who had been lost for ten years,” said the fairy triumphantly as her wings pulsated a smug blue.
“Those are only minor prophecies.”
“No prophecy is minor. I can see we are going to have a difficult relationship, Queen Clifton.”
“If this deceitful pixie is not going to tell you, then I will. George, listen, we want nothing to do with fairies and their prophecies. Since the beginning of the Fourth Dawn, all the fairies that brought major prophecies—not those minor ones,” the fairy gave a loud huff, “found themselves face to face with Jayde the Soulless. She manipulated everyone involved. She collects people connected with prophecies and turned them into her Berserkers!”
“You sound as crazy as King Hazel. Jayde the Soulless is a myth. Jen, let Grand tell her prophecy. We don’t even know what it is yet. Besides, the physician said you should be in bed for the next couple of days; he said nothing about yelling at fairies.” Jen shoot George an angry look.
“Maybe I am overreacting.” Jen took a deep breath then said through clenched teeth, “Grand...Please, tell us the prophecy.”