Direct Accounts from the War of the Garden

Chapter 2

Aesta~Growth and Decay

by: pensively

You can do this.

I spread my hands apart, summoning the tingling warm feeling that surges through my body whenever I use my powers. I envision a plant emerging from the ground, one inch at a time, until the petals slowly unfurl to reveal a scarlet rose.

I sneak a peek through one eye. The flower is already almost as tall as me, and I allow a small smile to slip onto my face. My brief moment of excitement, however, suddenly vanishes as the tingling turns cold. I step backwards, sweat beading my face as I try to gain control once more, but it is no use.

Amber watches me, and she flutters backwards timidly as she sees the sign of an Attack (what I dubbed my frequent power frenzies) and perches delicately on a leaf. The stem of the flower thickens, and thorns suddenly shoot out from the stem. The ground rumbles, and vines shoot upwards, wrapping themselves around the stem of the rose and the leaves of the plant I am perched on.The iciness swarms beneath my skin, and I can feel my breath leaving my body as my chest locks up. No! Please don't do this!

My fruitless efforts to keep things under control only make things worse, and before I know it the once-smooth soil has been taken over by a furious mob of plants.

Once my Attack has subsided, I lay panting on the leaf. Attacks like this tend to drain my energy, and Amber whizzes up to me, a furious light glinting in her eyes.

"Aesta," she snaps. "What did I tell you? Control!"

"I'm trying," I mutter, my face reddening as I haul myself upwards. "It's just so...hard."

Amber's orange-tinted wings flutter subconsciously behind her as she lectures me. "We've been over this too many times!"

"I know. I'll do better next time."

"You say that every time, Aesta, and with the Marxles empire growing..." Amber sighs, twirling a strand of hair around her finger. "We need to concentrate. Can you try again?"

I hold my hands out, willing the warmth to return, but nothing happens. I am too exhausted.

Amber shoots me an icy glance. "We'll pick up on this later. Go rest." She sighs and rubs her temples. "And please try to get your powers under control!"

I nod, my face still red as I hop down the plant. I know Amber disapproves of my odd way of travel--fairies are made to fly, not to walk--but I can never seem to get my wings under control. There always seems to be a gust of wind shoving me in the opposite direction.

I quickly reach the ground and begin my stroll home. The fairy village is bustling with life; fairies flutter around, babbling and carrying baskets and flying everywhere. I continue to walk, ducking my head to avoid eye contact.

Somehow my thoughts keep returning to the Marxles empire and Naavin. I've never been associated with Marxles, and I would never want to be; from what I've heard, they seem like power-hungry, arrogant fools. I want nothing more than a peaceful life, but somehow it seems like war is on the way. And Naavin, weakened by the Proxus Plague, won't stand a chance against an entire orc army.

There is one hope. The Habite Dans Le Jardin still exists, but they are just a small group. There is no way they can take down an army. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to meet them. I know I shouldn't want anything to do with the war, but I feel a strange connection to that group.

Before long I reach my cottage, and I slip inside. It's really a hollowed old tree trunk that my parents used to live in before they passed away. I flop on my bed, still exhausted from the day's work, and speculate about the Marxles and Naavin and a new worry that has begun gnawing at me: my powers.

Since my full fairy powers have begun to grow, Attacks have become more and more frequent. Sometimes I can't breathe during one. Sometimes I've blacked out. I know it's just a part of the power process, but I can't help but wonder if the amount of Attacks I get is normal compared to an average fairy.

Something tells me it's not.

But I don't let it bother me. Well, I try not to let it bother me. Amber, my trainer, always complains about it, and it's hard not to let it get to me. I know that's just how Amber is, but it still bugs me.

A knock sounds on my door, and I begin to get up, but a scrap of paper is slipped underneath the door. I stoop down and grab it, unfolding it to become something much larger: a map.

Each month, every fairy gets a new map showing what territory still belongs to Naavin. Our little village is a little ways away from the center, but we are still part of Naavin, and the ever-growing Marxles empire worries us each day. The smaller civilizations on the outskirts of Naavin are disappearing every day as the Marxles continue to expand their empire. Today's map is just as grim as ever.

I glance outside my window. The leaves are rustling gently in the morning breeze, and sunlight shines onto the forest floor. It's a good day for a walk. An unfamiliar thirst for adventure thrives within me today, and I can't put my finger on why, but I decide to follow my instinct. It's too strong to ignore, clouding my thoughts and actions.

I slip out of my cottage and crawl around to the back, right to the outskirts of the fairy village. My heart pounds. I've never been beyond the village before. I've heard all the stories; enormous wingless creatures stomp around and shout in villages of their own. Sometimes they keep fairies. Sometimes they cage us.

Sometimes they kill us.

I know it's unsafe. I know danger lurks at every corner. I know I'm probably the weakest-willed fairy, and one with the inability to fly properly. But something inside me...something makes me want to go outside the village.

I don't know why. I know I can't fight. It's as if...something is drawing me outside. Something more than just a desire to walk in the woods on a lovely day such as this one.

Don't do this! It's dangerous! You could get hurt, or encounter a creature who's much bigger than you, or...


Without another thought, I stride forward through the tall grass, slowly marching away from the village.

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