The Loss of Everdawn

Sunlight once shone continuously over the Kingdom of Everdawn. Not even the tiniest mouse knew what darkness truly was. Night had yet to find them.

High on the cliff over the Ocean of Trust, a castle proudly sat. Beings of great importance lived within those walls—some got to lead, others only were meant to follow. There was, of course, one exception to that. There was one meant for more.

When the kingdom was young, it was led by King Harold the Fantastic. He was a kind and honest man, who ruled with a fair tone and a wizard’s staff. He married Princess Poppy from the Land of Truths, a collection of islands in the north ocean. This marriage bonded the land in light for a hundred more years. No one thought of the consequences. After all, what could be bad about constant light?

King Harold and the new Queen Poppy had three sons in sixteen seasons. Their hopes were that each boy carried a legacy with them. Sadly, the eldest, a strong and handsome lad, fell in the War of the Plains. The second, who was even stronger and better looking, fell in the War of the Mountains. But, their third son, Prince Elric was the most handsome of the three. Though, nothing about him was a warrior, and he did not share his brother’s goals or strengths. No, Elric was a baker at heart. His views on royalty were different from most. He believed all should be equal in the land of forever daylight. So, when it became his turn to rule, he changed it all by marrying the sweet Sarilene, who worked the market every third day. When those two married, the sun began to shine even brighter, and the rain came even less frequently.

The ground started to crack deep under the kingdom’s dungeons and sewers. The cracks were small and went unnoticed by the people above.

Fifteen season cycles had passed after King Elric, and Queen Sarilene had their one and only child, Dalfinia, a girl with bright yellow hair and a kind heart. The days had grown hotter, and the rain hadn’t shown itself in two seasons. The ponds and lakes were drying up, and the next crop wasn’t growing. The kingdom had begun to spend their riches on food from other plains. King Elric began to worry about the future of his lands.

Delfina’s hair sparkled in the sunlight as she dipped her bare toes in the tide of the Forbidden Coast. All the other bodies of water were nearly dry, yet the Ocean Of Truths was rising. Her parents didn’t trust this, so they forbid everyone from the kingdom from going on the coast. Dalfinia didn’t like to break the rules very much, but she could not bear to stay away. She didn’t care to be indoors or to be still. She spent her childhood running through rainbow meadows with the wood’s wolf pups and hiding from ogres woken from their naps. Her father would say if the wind could be seen it would look a lot like Dalfinia. Every day seemed to involve some kind deed quest or another. For Dalfinia’s path was lined with helping others. Her kindness was so pure and rare; tales began to travel about the princess who was only kind, nothing else.

On the day when her life as she knew it changed forever, her parents were unable to find her for lunch. The midday feast was set down, but the princess never showed. Now, it didn’t take long for the Queen to find herself in a fit of worry, and before the lunch plates were gathered, guards and scouts were sent to find Princess Dalfinia. The King was calmer when it came to matters of the Princess; he was a bit more understanding of her free-spitted ways.

As the Queen was picturing her daughter being carried off by hungry ogres, Princess Dalfinia was scaling the Wall Of Might. Dalfinia’s hair blew in wild circles around her slight body. She reached for a large, jagged stone above her head and to the left. The angry waters of the Forbidden Coast beat on the rocky shores beneath her. She had only one more foot to go, and she should be able to reach the Rockbirds’ nest. She clutched a baby bird close to her chest. Dalfinia had found this bird washed up by her feet. Only Dalfinia would bring the baby back to its mother without thinking of herself. As Dalfinia carefully placed the bird back with its siblings, her eyes caught a glimpse of the OtherCliffs, the kingdom to the west. All that was once green was brown and yellow. Everything was dying. But, why? Sadness pawed at the princess. The mother bird flew in at this point; she’s looking in the same direction as Dalfinia. They both knew that the sunlight had become too much.

* * *

A dark blue and a hearty orange filled the ballroom. The smell of salty bread and sweet puddings filled the air. Usually, Dalfinia would be tapping at the foot for the festivities to begin, but that night she was only frustrated and concerned. After she had returned safely to the castle (by her own doing) the Queen was completely undone and did not want to hear of the dying lands to the west. Her dad, only asked, “Did the crowd of Rockbirds nests look healthy?”

“There was only one father,” Dalfinia had answered this realizing then that there should have been many more nests on the cliffs. She wondered and worried about the missing birds.

Now Dalfinia hung upside down from her mother’s throne in the empty ballroom. The King’s birthday was after all a big day, and even though the Kingdom should have been rationing all of their supplies they didn’t hold back for these festivities. The treats were lavish and the meat plentiful. Young children lined up with flutes and piccolos and were getting ready to perform a particular song for the king. Something deep in Dalfinia’s stomach told her something was wrong. Brown grass and missing birds circled in her head. Since the troubling thoughts were circling rather furiously, she did not notice that her parents and the first-choice-guests entered the room. It wasn’t until the Queen grabbed her foot, did Dalfinia realize she was no longer alone. She sat upright and quickly shifted into her own thrown. The princess chose that moment not to look at her mother in the eye.

Queen Sarilene sat down beside Dalfinia, her father beside her. A question sat on Queen Sarilene’s tongue. Just as it was going to come to light, a trumpet sounded, and the rest of the guests entered the ballroom. The Queen decided it would have to wait until later.

The feast carried on much like they usually do. Good smells, healthy laughter, and voices on top of voices. Dalfinia sat there much quieter than usual, only picking at her turkey leg. The King was in a loud debate about what makes parsnip pie so much better than turnip pie. Across from the royal family, sat four large men that Dalfinia has never seen before. She cast her eyes at the guards, the other villagers, and then her parents. Was Dalfinia the only who noticed these strangers? Just as that question tunneled its way through her head, the main doors flew open. A swirl of sparkles, then a puff of smoke. Three small-winged fairies floated in the large entrance-way.

“Too much of one thing, just too much.” The blue-haired fairy said to the other two.

Everyone in ballroom stood silent and stared.

“Everyone is staring at us you know. You talk to yourself, and people will think you’re crazy. You suppose, what can we do?” The smallest fairy said this. Her hair was short, purple, and poking every-which-way on top of her head.

“Ladies.” The green-headed one said. She then turned to the crowded room. “We came with a warning from the thistle. The sun has been shining on this land for too long. The night needs to come, or this place will cease existing. If that sun burns much longer without a break, this kingdom and all you in it will vanish, just like that.” She snapped her tiny fingers. “All gone.”

The King stood up. “What can be done?”

“The Dark Mountain needs a payment,” Blue said looking at her feet, her voice grim.

“What payment?” The king asked, but it’s possible some say that he already knew the answer.

“Something bright, something pure, something unlike anything else.” The green-headed one said.

King Elric was about to speak when Princess Dalfinia stood up with all the confidence of an entire army. “I will go. It must be me.”

The silence grew deeper and more desperate. Finally the green-haired fairy said in a solemn song, “There will be tests. It can only be one.”

As quickly as they arrived, the fairies were gone.

* * *

That next day, Princess Dalfinia said goodbye to her grief-stricken parents and made her way across the bridge into the village lands. Everyone came out of their storefronts and homes to watch the princess leave, all knowing she will never return to them. The Princess never gave herself permission to look back. Looking back is a side effect of not truly moving forward. Dalfinia didn’t want to do anything that would risk her failing any tests of any kind. She knew that she had to sacrifice herself to the Dark Mountains to save the kingdom from disappearance, and that was what she was going to do. Everyone has their path, destiny all their own written in the stars above. Bringing the night, was Dalfinia’s. She had imagined a long and full life for herself, expecting to be Queen some day and have children of her own. But, she accepted it for it was. She loved her kingdom and the people in it.

The first few days quickly blurred together, and her feet grew sore.  The sadness inevitably found her in moments when she was most tired. She wondered how her world was getting on without her.

The Dark Mountain grew closer as the princess entered a dense forest. As she entered the tree-covered world, she got a sense of what darkness was. The sun still found spaces between the branches, so some light still came in, but this was far more darkness than she had ever seen before. The darkness made her want to make her way through as quick as possible. Every ounce of Dalfinia feared the darkness corners of the forest around her. Fear of darkness was new to her. Then, she realized the real importance of her quest, her fate. The world without contrast won’t thrive. Everyone needs the two sides; the world needs both good and bad.

At the midpoint in the dark woods, Dalfinia heard a whisper and a cough. At first she saw nothing, then a shadow the height of her knee caught her eye. A fox. This fox was smaller than most, but still one should always be cautious around a fox. The fox got closer to the princess, then sat, and spoke. “Do you have water to spare, I’m terribly thirsty.”

Without hesitation Dalfinia reached into her satchel, pulled out her canteen, and offered it to the fox. “You may have the rest,” she said softly.

“What will you drink?” asked the fox. His pointy ears twitched.

“I don’t need to drink anymore,” She replied as she extended her arm further, insisting that the fox take it. The fox did, but the fox was curious.

“Why don’t you need water?” The fox asked. They were walking side by side now, still with no end to the woods in sight.

“I’m going to the Dark Mountain.”

“Why, would you do that?”

“To bring the night to my kingdom.”

“Night is important.”

“This is what I hear.” The princess’s voice in fainter than it was.

“Thank you for the water, and good luck,” the fox said before scampering away.

The princess carried on further when she finally saw a break in the woods and a bright meadow in the far distance, she also saw a wolf stalking something. Dalfinia continued slowly, keeping her eyes on the wolf. Finally, when she got right behind it, she was able to see that wolf had a rabbit in its sights. Just then, Dalfinia stepped on a stick, causing it to break. A loud snap traveled through the small patch of forest the three of them shared. The wolf’s eyes fixed on the girl, and the rabbit ran off without a glance in their direction.

The large gray wolf turned to look at the young and exhausted princess. “You did that on purpose,” the wolf snarled.

“I did no such thing.” Princess Dalfinia continued to walk to the meadow that she was so pleased to see in front of her. She reached into her satchel again and pulled out some trail rations. “You may have the rest. I no longer need food,” she said softly.

“What will you eat?” asked the wolf. His haunches relaxed.

“I don’t need to eat anymore,” She replied as she extended her arm further, insisting that the wolf take it. The wolf did, but the wolf was curious.

“Why don’t you need food?” The wolf asked. They were walking side by side now, the open meadow getting closer to them.

“I’m going to the Dark Mountain.”

“Why, would you do that?”

“To bring the night to my kingdom.”

“Night is important.”

“This is what I hear.” The princess’s voice was just above a whisper.

“Thank you for the food, and good luck,” the wolf said before running off.

The bright, wide-open sky was a relief. Dalfinia even though she was at her weakest state, was happy to be out in the open again. The massive Dark Mountain to the North of her was even closer. Dalfinia knew that today was her last day. She isn’t as scared as she thought she would be. By now, it appears that she’s ready.

* * *

A child’s cry filled the meadow. Dalfinia looked to the direction of the screams. Two children ran toward her. One girl was crying, and one girl was soaking wet.

Dalfinia without hesitation took her cloak and wrapped it around the drenched child.

“Thank you.” The girl said. Her hair as red as roses and her eyes as green as the grass in October. She then looked to her right at the girl crying. This girl was a little younger and a little smaller. Her hair was red like her sisters, but her eyes were a dark brown. “I told you we’d find her. Mom never goes far.” The older of the two spat, as she wrapped herself tightly with Princess Dalfinia’s cloak.

“I’m not your mother.” The princess said, her voice now was only a whisper.

“Sure you are. Maybe not yet, but you will be.” The eldest girl said. Her voice squeaked like a mouse.

“We are getting some tea,” the youngest sang, “come with us, mommy!”

“I can’t and I’m not.”

“Why and why would think so?”

“I’m going to the Dark Mountain.”

“Why, would you do that?”

“To bring the night to my kingdom.”

“Night is important.”

“This is what I hear.” The princess thinks but isn’t able to say. The girls were gone. A thick darkness cast an enormous shadow across the meadow. Dalfinia pulled in a deep breath as she turned to face the mountain.

“Hello,” she said. “I’m here.”

The mountain said nothing back. Its darkness reached out like a helping hand to someone fallen. Clouds came down from the sky, wrapped themselves around her, and brought up to the top of the mountain. The Dark Mountain continued to extend its reach. Dalfinia disappeared into the mists. The sun sighed as it set above Everdawn. As the moon rose, King Elric and Queen Sarilene looked at it with tears. Princess Dalfinia had her legacy, and so did the king.

Day and night took turns and the beautiful kingdom and the lands that surrounded it carried on, as did the story of the one meant for more.

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