The Fairy Ball is a story a few of us built together on my author Facebook and Instagram pages. I supplied the picture and the first paragraph, then others joined in. Initially I thought I would need to write two stories, but the comments from both FB and IG flowed together to make a fun story. I hope you enjoy it!
The contributors were: Riff Niziolek, Shilo Niziolek, Veryl Ann Grace, Karen Lakis, Marcie Siders, Lisa-Rose McKenzie, Stacey Sannar, and Mark Brunsdon. Thank you all!
Magic swirled in the evening air, bouncing against the ancient stone tower like drunken fireflies. Sparks skittered into the thick woods surrounding the tower like a fortress, keeping its secrets safe from prying eyes. Ciara tugged on Liam's arm, pulling him down beside her behind a centuries-old beech tree. The earth, littered with years of long forgotten fallen leaves, gave of a musty aroma as they settled in to wait. Tipsy with anticipation, Ciara peeked out from their hiding spot. The hour was at hand. If the legends were true, a door would appear upon the mossy stone face of the mysterious tower and the lady with the golden hair would emerge just as the sun set. If what her grandfather told her was more than legend, they would have less than one minute to cross through the door before it closed again. If they didn’t make it through this time, it would be another month before they could try again. Liam began to speak but Ciara held her finger to her lips, straining her ears to listen in the strange hush that fell over the trees. Beneath the silence, a faint vibration thrummed. A raven, black and sleek, cawed from a branch outside the tower window, shattering the silence.
As they waited, the sun slipped away and not one thing from the legends had come to pass. Ciara wondered what she’d gotten wrong. Disappointed, she reached for Liam’s hand, ready to give up and return to the warm comfort of her grandfather’s cottage. But then the ground began to rumble.
Doing their best to hold onto the smooth bark of the beech, Ciara and Liam peeked around the tree to stare at the tower, which was now shifting as though the ancient stones had a mind of their own. The outside wall shifted and split at the base to reveal a staircase, soft light glowed from below. A woman dressed in an emerald-green gown, with long golden hair blowing in a sudden strong wind, beckoned to them from the open doorway. The raven sailed out of the tree and landed on her shoulder. Liam gasped.
As she gazed at the woman, mesmerized, Ciara suddenly remembered a time before she was mortal. A time when she lived in a magical land ruled by the Fairy Queen Isabella, who now stood before her. Ciara’s green eyes sparkled as she took Liam’s hand, leading him into the enchanted world below the tower. As the memories flooded back, she became increasingly excited to share this world with her love.
They descended the stone staircase taking care with each step to avoid the twisting roots of the ancient beech trees that entwined themselves through the passageway, always following the light below, encircled above by clouds of silver winged shimmering fireflies lighting their way. Which each step, Ciara and Liam shrunk in stature. As their feet touched earth at the bottom of the staircase, they were no taller than a dandelion. Ciara’s jeans and T-shirt morphed into a butter-yellow gown of the finest silk while a green woolen vest and knee breeches replaced Liam’s mortal wardrobe.
Up ahead, Queen Isabella turned and reached out a hand to Ciara. The raven who’d been her companion was now a dark fairy with hair the color of the blackest night. With a flutter of her gossamer wings, Ciara caught up to the queen, dragging Liam with her through the sparkling air. Soon the foursome arrived at a glen alive with music and swirling dancers.
Sparks flew as Queen Isabella clapped her hands. The music faded away and the dancers stopped twirling, though the air about them still slowly spun.
“Fae of Glen Fa’ilte. Please join me in welcoming Princess Ciara back into our fold.”
The sweet notes of an Irish harp swelled through the misty night air as Ciara and Liam were engulfed with hugs and laughter. The fairy ball continued until the last star gave a final twinkle and faded from the sky.