Ellie lagged behind as her two sisters skipped ahead, giggling and holding hands. Ellie’s mother exchanged a concerned glance with her father as they both wondered why their young daughter wasn’t displaying enthusiasm with her other sisters. As the fairy family of five walked along towards the most anticipated festival of the year where all the fairies gather, Ellie dragged her feet in hesitation. For years Ellie had always loved this special fairy spectacle. The dancing, the laughing, the celebrations of new beginnings! The Spring Fairy Festival was a gathering for all the families to celebrate each walk of life in the mystical world. To the new generations who were coming of age, the Spring Festival was especially inspiring, for it gave them an opportunity to discover their potential future paths. Ellie’s younger sister, Katara, had discovered her desire to become a Forest Fairy at a previous celebration. Ellie’s mother, Lily, happened to be the Queen of the Forest Fairies, which only gave Ellie a sense that there were certain expectations held by her family. As Ellie’s birthday was fast approaching, it was assumed that she would also discover her life path at the Spring Festival. Yet, Ellie felt unsure about what she wanted to do when she grew up. Stuck in her thoughts, Ellie was surprised when Holly, her youngest sister, ran back to grab her hand and gleefully pull her along. It wasn’t long before the family approached the ivy-covered gates outside the Kingdom of Ethereum, as the music swelled and welcomed them to the fairy extravaganza.
Ellie’s anxious thoughts slowly began to drift away as she was consumed by the magical ambiance around her. Ethereal fairies seemed to float all around her, scents of fresh flowers filled the air, and as the family split off to mingle with their respective friends, Holly began playfully encouraging her sister to dance with her. It was then that Ellie was reminded of her favorite event of the entire festival… the dancing! Tradition held that every year each group of fairies would present a dance as an homage to the Earth’s new blossoms, good fortune, and each fairy’s contribution to the kingdom. The dances at the gathering always began with the children, as the children represented all the potential in the fairy world! Following would be the Forest Fairies, Guardian Fairies, Sky Fairies which were always led by their respective Queens. Ellie just knew that this presentation would be the inspiration she needed to know exactly who she wanted to become!
Suddenly, there was a series of brass horns echoing through the air to announce that each Queen take their place to begin the annual dance. Twirling in and out, seamlessly floating in magic galore, the spectacle was awe-inspiring to anyone present. As each community took to the space to represent their domain, the kingdom was filled with an appreciation for all of the collective contributions each fairy brought to the land. As Ellie watched her Mother and sister prance around with the other keepers of the forest, it dawned on her that she wasn’t interested in following that same path. She became more and more unsettled as she watched each group present their performance. The Sky Fairies didn’t spark anything special in her, the Guardian Fairies were lovely, but still left Ellie confused.
Dazed by the color and joy all around her, Ellie began to feel dizzy as she became increasingly more aware that she STILL had no idea what her future held. She began to feel suffocated by the party, as everyone else seemed so at ease. She had no idea where her place in the fairy community would be, she was getting worried that she would never feel like she belonged anywhere. She felt ashamed, unable to fully communicate how she felt to her parents or siblings, as they would never understand.
Ellie decided that she would go on a journey to try to discover what her true calling would be. She would travel through different realms, maybe even going as far as a place called the city in the hopes that she would get some insight.
Ellie’s family and the rest of the Fairy Queens wished Ellie safe travels as she was determined to find her way in the world. As Ellie began her travels, the darkness began to consume her as the thick forest blocked out the full moon. Ellie realized that all of the Wood Nymphs, who would normally be keeping watch on the forest, were still at the party. She grew weary and vulnerable not knowing what could be lurking in the trees. Suddenly, out of nowhere, she heard a hiss-like laugh coming from behind her. She turned and saw nothing. Feeling a poke in her side, she jumped with surprise, yet was startled to see no one there. Ellie started to become extremely nervous. Was her brain playing tricks on her? A rustle in the tree branches above caught her attention, yet all she could see was the vast, dark blanket of spring blossoms in the night. As she slowly brought her attention back she jumped at the sight of a petite fairy grinning with a smirk. All around her she heard bursts of mocking laughter, as she saw multiple fairies with this same contemptuous attitude surrounding her from the forest. Ellie had no idea what to do. She had never come across such unpleasant and interesting fairies. She questioned what domain they must be a part of. Surely they weren’t Wood Nymphs?
The fairies toyed with Ellie, teasing her, dancing with her. Ellie was amused in many ways. Unexpectedly, all of the fairies began to bow around her. Although not to Ellie.. they were bowing to the most majestic, regal, and unwavering fairy Queen Ellie had ever laid eyes on. She stood with the strength of a statue and had a look so piercing, Ellie had to avert her gaze. Addressing herself as Queen Poneros, she beckoned Ellie to step closer. Terrified, yet intrigued, Ellie introduced herself. Queen Poneros, with a sly and evil grin, began explaining to young Ellie that she had stumbled upon her destiny, as this was the community where lost fairies came to thrive. The fairies snickered as they swarmed around their Queen. Ellie felt uneasy, but it was as if she was under a spell, that she began to feel captivated by this fairy group. Maybe she had finally found a place where she belonged! Slowly but surely the fairies began to persuade her that there was no truth in the notion that a fairy should find a serving purpose once adulthood is reached. With their fun and rambunctious dispositions, the peculiar fairies spouted the idea that the true purpose of life was indulgence. Why should any fairy care for others when the whole point of life was to spoil in one’s own desires? Queen Poneros tempted Ellie that it was here, amongst the lost and purposeless, that she should stay. Here, she would be powerful.
Ellie was feeling more and more as if she were under a magical trance. She felt drawn in by the promise of power. Unexpectedly, she heard the voice of her mother Lily, calling for her.! Ellie’s trance was broken as she understood that these fairies were evil tricksters who only cared about themselves! If she were to join them, she would lose her connection with her family! Shocked by her insight, she tore away from the fairies, running as fast as she could to escape. She ran until she could no longer feel her feet and just as she was becoming exhausted, she came upon a clearing with a sparkle of lights.
Tall tales had been told of this mysterious place. Ellie had come to know of it through stories as the “city”. This was where the non-mystic creatures lived. She believed they were called “humans”. Curiosity kept Ellie walking towards the strange land, the sparkles of light fading as the dawn began to approach. By the time she reached the city limits it was daylight.
Wandering on the outskirts, she came across what appeared to be a large, artificial meadow. It was perfectly green with strange metal equipment off to the side. For the first time in her life, she heard the sound of human children laughing. She peered across the meadow and witnessed kids playing some type of chasing game. It looked like a blast! Eager to introduce herself and meet one of these human beings, Ellie bolted across the field. She had no worries or cares of being seen by humans. She assumed human beings knew of fairies just as she knew of them.
Upon venturing closer she came across a scene that vaguely reminded her of the evil fairies she had just escaped. Although most of the children were running around playfully, Ellie witnessed one of the girls push another to the ground. Pointing and laughing, this girl was finding enjoyment in her actions. Ellie rushed over to the petite girl on the ground who had begun to cry. The little girl was spooked by Ellie. Although Ellie was similar, she looked different from human beings. Hesitant at first, the girl took Ellie’s hand and was guided back up to her feet. Timidly, the girl introduced herself as Lucy. Behind her, Ellie heard a sinister howl. She turned around and saw that the bully was now redirecting their tactics towards her. The bully ran towards Ellie to push her to the ground, but Ellie was light and quick, side-stepping just in time. With all of the force and nothing to push, the girl tripped and was stunned to find herself on the ground. At this point, the other children had gathered to witness the debacle, and simultaneously let out bursts of laughter. They were now all mocking the original bully.
Unnoticeable to the other children, Ellie perceived tears well up in the bully’s eyes. In an attempt to deflect this unwanted humiliation, she began to scream hurtful words towards both Lucy and Ellie. Even though Ellie was being publicly harassed, she felt nothing other than pity for this angry girl. She could easily leave her on the ground. Maybe she deserved to be made fun of as payback for her cruel actions? But this didn’t feel right to Ellie. Something encouraged her to extend a hand to this mean-spirited human. Deep down, she knew that it was the right thing to do. Spitefully, the human pushed her hand away and scrambled to her feet. Untroubled, Ellie kindly asked her for a name. The irritated girl revealed her name to be “Maya”. Ellie reached out her hand to Maya again, as a gesture of trust. Resentment melted away from Maya’s face and she softened her demeanor. Little did anyone else know, but this was the first time in Maya’s life that someone had shown her genuine and unconditional kindness. Ellie took her hand and led her away from the crowd of kids. She began speaking to Maya with a sense of wisdom that had washed over her, “Treat others the way in which you would like to be treated. Understand that you are not alone and that all beings face inner turmoil. The solution is to never break others down. Sometimes, it is by lifting others up that we are able to heal that within”.
Maya gave her a soft smile. She had never been given so much grace, let alone by someone she didn’t even know. She always felt better hurting others to escape her own pain… but maybe there was a different way. Humanized through Ellie’s eyes, Lucy was no longer afraid of her bully Maya. With confidence and a new inspiration of kindness, she walked over and asked Maya to play.
In the moment that the two children ran off together, Ellie felt something she had never previously experienced. Purpose! It was then that Ellie KNEW she had found what she wanted to be when she grew up! Her guidance of the two young children made Ellie realize the influence she had in the ability to help people. She felt good. Her selfless act and words of wisdom had come naturally, as if this was something she was always meant to do. Elated with this sense of fulfillment, Ellie began her return to the fairy world. She couldn’t wait to tell her family what she wanted to be: a Guardian Fairy!
Racing as quickly as she could back to her homeland, she knew she would once again have to face the evil fairies. Yet, Ellie was not worried. The fairies stood no chance at tricking her or putting her in a trance again. Approaching the section of the forest where she had first encountered the evil fairy tribe, she noticed a figure step out of the brush. Queen Poneros blocked her path, an evil grin on her face. Assuming Ellie had come back to join them she reached out her hand to envelop her into the group. Little did the Queen know, Ellie was no longer a lost fairy that could be manipulated. Ellie smiled at the Queen with a new confidence. Without hesitation, she passed the Queen. Never would the fairies feel true joy, Ellie stated, until they found themselves. She continued by claiming that staying lost and relying on selfish endeavors would keep them constantly unsatisfied. Ellie picked up the pace and leaving the other evil fairies behind, she exclaimed that it was never too late to escape Queen Poneros’ influence.
Reaching the opening of the forest, Ellie saw the gates of Ethereum in the distance. She wondered if her family would still be there. As she approached the castle, she noticed a small weeping fairy sitting on a rock just outside. Ellie instantly recognized her sister, Holly. Holly had been worried about Ellie, thinking she had been lost forever. Ellie bounded over to embrace her sibling and quickly began recounting her small journey. The two sisters then went to find the rest of their family and fairy friends. Overjoyed by seeing that Ellie had returned, all of Ellie’s family and friends erupted into an impromptu celebration filled with happiness, laughter, and dance.
Just a week after Ellie had returned home, the day had finally come… her 100th birthday! Her friends and family gathered to witness Ellie’s initiation, as the Queen of the Guardian Fairies inducted Ellie into their group. Ellie calmly took her oath to serve and guide the fairy world to the best of her abilities. Everyone cheered around at this momentous event in Ellie’s long life. Ellie stood content, acknowledging that from now on, she would be a source of guidance for all the fairies that came before her in need.