The Withered Rose
A land far away, from either eye, or physical, conceivable science, lay an
Seasons change in the blink of an eye, life’s cycle completed with a brushstroke on
times canvas itself.
Living within this world, amongst the harsh, white, luminous landscape, existed two
Swept aside by a castle, peering through the clouds of a peek- a- boo tale, lay
Half-faerie, half human, she sat atop these clouds. By the side of her home, she
counted the faerie lights of her fellow kind, skirting up and around her. The Queen of
Faerie Land, tended over her flock. Whilst they danced and pranced, they braided her
long auburn hair, decorating with early primrose flowers.
Today though, Faeyln had emerged from her sleeping bough a little downcast.
She knew these feeling only too well. She felt lonely. Not in the sense of having no
company, she had plenty of that.
Nevertheless, she still felt a different kind of loneliness.
She knew no- one like herself. The fairies she looked after were sweet and small, and
they meant well, but it wasn’t the same. Faelyn yearned for a playmate of her very
own. Longed for someone her own size to skirt in and amongst the clouds and rivers.
Standing by The Well of Veiled Dreams, she gazed deep into the murky depths.
Asking it to show her innermost feelings, the raw, untouched emotions, left buried
deep inside of her. The aching she had experienced all this time. She wanted to see it.
If she could only name it, to breathe life into her essences she could not really
understand, could not properly control.
The waters cleared, to almost a transparent azure window.
The water revealed a couple, winged, swaying softly to a soundless melody.
Creatures that are bathed in delicious slivers of moonlight, liquid and fluid,
mimicking the movements of a dancer, tipping the bodies of the lovers, highlighting
their auras quicksilver.
Then, an image projected through small ripples of water, disintegrating, then
remerging as a collection of pigments. Faelyn’s lover gazed at her. He was wearing a
hood, emphasizing his large, blue eyes, and the smooth ridge of his aquiline nose.
Dark hair poked through the hood, sweeping across his eyes.
Eyes, large, child-like, they said it all. He had been suffering greatly with his own
He had never really felt complete without his princess. Denied of his queen for a long
time, he had hungered. He knew of her, knew she existed, and not just a delicious
figment of his lonely heart. She was real. He had tasted those kisses meant only for
Had savoured the tongue that had explored his own, had mingled, frolicked with.
She had visited him within his dreams, the only route available via his lover to take.
The day ended, the yolk sun descending beyond the horizon, ready to start the
renewal cycle all over again.
Draven looked into the starless sky, heart heavy. Oh! How he longed to entwine
lingering fingertips around his lovers hair. He would whisper all the secrets of the
universe into her ear. She would be put at ease, in the ever- changing, ever- lasting
world surrounding them.
Their energies combined, at the very at the core of their souls. Just waiting for that time when they are brought together, bound by the ties of their love. To infuse together a nucleus, connected together, shaped by their own destinies.
By random movement perhaps, or by something much greater than the two could
have ever thought possible.
None the less, it was there. There to stretch infinitely to the stars and back, lighting
up their hearts like a beacon. Pulses raced in synchronisation with one another, a
staccato of random beats. A private show performed together in the orchestra of
Only the two seemed to be of any existence. Nothing else stirred in their realm that
was their sanctity. Perhaps the most alluring montage of all dreams that play out a
dazzling sequence of events, experienced by the recipient, as a reward for not actual,
physical contact, ever realised. It was pure, raw emotion, a kaleidoscope of hidden
love and desires, and a seamless tie within a refractory chemistry. Encased in a vortex
between the two, separated them, denied by the very entities who lingered cautiously
in dreams, the Dream Weavers, Collectors’ of Dreams.
Faelyn scampered to the Garden of Unfulfilled Dreams. The light was fading,
but there was still just enough light to see, and comfortably walk down the pale
cobbled path. When the moonlight shone on a clear night, the path shimmered like a
plane of water. Tonight, though, it was too early for the moon to come out and play.
She made her way past the Statue of Gaping Del, a wretched woman turned to stone
via the Arc Eagle of Justice. Gaping Dell had done just that. Gaped openly at the Son
of Jacob, and indulged in impure thoughts. She still clutched the wreath she had the
day she had been condemned. She was indeed a spectator at her own funeral, grasping
her funeral wreath, in a macabre remembrance.
Faeyln came upon the wrought iron Gate of Plenitude, entwined with lively
geranium roots and vines, and pushed it open gently. The old gate creaked, and let out
a massive judder. She stepped inside.
The grass was rough and dry beneath her feet, making crunching sounds as she tip-
toed across, not the satisfying crunch of a healthy woodland floor, no, but dead, and
The trees hung over head, creating a dark, down ward spiral towards Faelyn.
She always imagined the trees to be standing sentry, poised to attack her, and carry
her small, lithe body away, mind and soul quite dead.
The sun had now completely disappeared, awaiting tomorrow, a fresh sunburst to
surmount the darkness.
The moon peered out from behind a lonesome cloud partially covering him. The
sky was clear, the moon full. The Garden of Unfulfilled Dreams lingered at the far
side of the small woods. Faelyn shivered. She wrapped her wings about her not for
warmth, but more for the comfort against her skin.
She mumbled an old fairy song to herself as she carefully picked her way over
broken branches, and loose stones.
‘How do thee hop and a- skip, and a-twitter and a-twirl, with the birds and the bees,
hidden amongst the trees? Dear elf, canst thou like it so much? That you would dare to risk, a human’s touch. Up there, in the world of old? Then a fool you are, a fool for
sure-’ she cut short abruptly. She had come to the Garden of Unfulfilled Dreams. All
she had left to do was call upon Sianna, the Elf Lord of Sleep. She wanted to pledge
to him her yearnings, her longing of the man she saw in her dreams. She had to have
the answers. She stepped up to the old raised stone alter dedicated to Sianna. It is said
that behind the alter lay the Crypt of Miseries, which is the resting place of The Lord
of sleep. Here he slumbered for all eternity, busily designing dream patterns for each
of his loyal subjects. Occasionally he would arise from such architecture, to find
inspiration, a muse to enrapture him.
Kneeling at the alter, she lifted up her see- through skirts, and letting them gather
about her in a smooth curve. She placed the jar containing the blue butterfly she had
brought with her, onto the raised platform. And caught her breath.
Reciting the Gaelic words, she closed her eyes, placing her right hand under her left
breast. She could feel her heart pound. It almost hurt her; it was so strong a beat.
Lying down on the sparse grass, she clasped both hands under her chest, solemnly, as
though she had lain to rest, a sleeping beauty herself, awaiting her freeing kiss from a
Her eyes fluttered, the long lashed casting tiny shadows upon her tiny face. Her eyes
tilted slightly, a fairy trait for beauty.
She slept soundly.
Nestled in a carpet of poppies, Faelyn stirred. The sun shone brightly,
momentarily dazzling her. She sat up; unaware she had been absorbing their heady,
intoxicating scent. Drugged in to a false slumber, dead to the world. Very much like
sleeping beauty in fact. Her head ached. Feeling disoriented she stood up, spreading
her double- wings for more support. The grass felt moist and sumptuous beneath her
bare feet. Her small feet glided across the striking flowers, elegantly and gracefully as
a dancer would do her warm-up steps, crushing not a single flower. She believed she
was still in The Garden of Unfulfilled Dreams, but it had changed somehow. Instead
of being dark and imposing, dead and spent, it was alive. Brimming with the very
essence of vitality and growth. But how could that be. Nothing could survive in the
Garden. It just was not possible. The Witch Folk of Narcissus had placed a curse upon
it years ago. Nothing dwelling in the garden would live out its days. It would die a
mortal death, but would be doomed to be immortal, the Immortal Dead. So, of course,
the Elf- race had moved to horizons greater, to escape the death that had come to be,
in their little Woodland of Sheer Paradise. That’s when it became The Garden of
Unfulfilled Dreams. Along with the woodlands dying, so to had all their hopes and
A punishment shared by all the Elf folk. Sianna had committed a crime, the worst
kind in any witch folks eyes. He had fallen in love and married a girl called Aribeth, a
white witch. They had a child together, and with their secret discovered, Aribeth sent
away to the clouds, doomed for all eternity to gaze down below, onto the fabric of
Sianna, on the other hand, was given an all- together different punishment. Executed
and buried in the Crypt of Misery, along with his enfant son. Now he only remained
an essence, an idea, not quite formed, but very real all the same
that existed once, and may return once more. And he did. He had found an outlet, a
way to remerge, within the dreams he shaped, sculptured.
Named the Elf Lord of Sleep, Architect of dreams He was a Entity. And he was
desperately trying to re-design the Garden of Unfulfilled Dreams, to give back to his
people the home that they had lost.
Faelyn moved across the poppies swiftly, making her way to the river at The-
Very- Edge- of- the- World. She had never been this far up the garden, had never
experienced the sheer beauty, the glittering anomalies that lay before her. The curious
shapes, colours that spiralled for as far as the eye can see. The world fascinated a
small, but very deep heart like Faelyns.
At the front of the river, Faelyn stood at The Bridge of Judgement Day. Where the bridge led after that, was anybody’s guess. There was absolutely nothing on the other side, as far as Faelyn could see.
Next to the bridge, grew a mature rose bush. This bush had somehow entwined
itself around the arched rail of the bridge. Fayleyn peered into the crystal waters.
Along the surface, bobbed countless rose petals, of every conceivable colour. The
petals carried along by the strong current, which Faelyn followed, to the other end of
the river, which stop above a staggering height of at least 40 feet. From this amazing
height flowed a noisy, but breathtaking waterfall. The water brimmed with petals,
which cascaded over the edge.
She looked down at the marvellous sight that beheld her. Her heart swelled.
Below, an oasis of blue, calm water. Elaborate status sculptured from ice, depicting
naked, but very beautiful women, fairies, elves, and witches scattered in and amongst
the waters. A pictorial timeline of all the greats, from Lucien the Fallen, to Pandora,
and her endless curiosity, which led to the inevitable opening of the Box, containing
the many destructive evils of the world. This was a shrine. At the head of the Oasis,
was a monumental structure. It was a Sphinx. Embossed in a deep bronze, the colour
was as rich as it was appealing to Faelyn. It beckoned her to look closer, with its
emerald cat eyes, but somehow she knew that she must not fall captive to its
She perched on a nearby blue rock. And waited.
The sun dropped beyond the horizon. The air grew chill, and Faeyln hugged herself
Sianna stood before her, in a frisson of spectacular light. He was an amazing,
awesome sight. He appeared androgynous; his face was smooth and delicate, and
extremely fine featured. He was exquisite! Dressed in a fine blue silk Chinese- style
tunic, white silk skirts flowing out around him.
His long, pale hair flowed around his shoulders like a cape of the finest angel hair.
When he spoke, his full lips trembled, as though, he too, stood in awe, shadowed by
his own greatness.
‘Faeyln.’ His voice soft, smooth. It reminded her of water bubbling in a river, so
clear, a rich, crisp clarity, with a slight Irish lilt to his accent. His eyes were of the
most intense blue, and this is what had struck Faelyn about him. They had done their
job of mesmerizing her.
‘You called out to me? Can you please tell me why you have disturbed my work? It
was not time for me to surface yet, and I am very puzzled as to why a Fairy, such as
yourself would do such a thing? Your heart must be in great anguish I fear, to go to
such extreme measures. What is it? Can it be, the flame, which stokes your fire, the embers have expired? Your dreams extinguished. Have they flown away, no longer
within your reach? Have you no colour within your dreams? Tell me now, so I may
put things right for you. A lovely creature such as you deserves no suffering.’
He smiled at her, showing a row of dazzling white teeth.
Seeing this, Sianna spoke, gently. ’Do not be afraid, I can be anything you want me to
be, for I am the Architect of your Dreams, and I can make all things possible.’ He
touched her face briefly, and then pulled away, seeing her eyes drop.
‘What is it? Tell me, Faelyn’, he asked again, patience exuding him.
‘Well, Faelyn took a deep breath. The simple matter of the fact is, well, I long for a
companion of my own. Every day I tell it to the swallows and the butterflies, but they
don’t understand. They have their own kind to frolic to the moon and back.
You see, I am the only one born of my kind. I am half- fairy, half- human. My father
was a human, my mother a winged creature.
I yearn for someone like me, to dance in the trees, to hide in the green forests of
Sianna bristled at the name Aribeth.
‘Aribeth? What do you know of her?’ He asked excitedly, and rightly so, for he had
not seen her for countless centuries.
‘Aribeth? She looks down upon the Core of all Life.
Trapped within walls of transparent glass, and sand, and can never be free. She was
encased inside an hourglass, and thrown high into the clouds by Madora the Warlock
That is what is known as Aribeth’s domain. If she attempts to escape, the hourglass
will shatter, the Sands of Time will pour, and she will be sucked down to the very
core of the sands, never again to breathe in the sweet air of Aribeth.
Sianna lowered his head and wept, silver tears flowed down his cheeks.
All the hurt in the world could never have prepared him for the loss of his only love,
dear, sweet Aribeth. The one who danced in the sunlight for eternity to come.
Sianna knelt before The Sacred Tree of Mortal Life, which was where they had
made their very first communion, and muttered a prayer. Plucking a seedling from one
of the branches, he kissed it reverently and placed it in his pocket, so that he could
always carry her close, and think of her often. He would plant the seed when had
come to terms with his own grief, which was too great now to even consider the fact
that he would one day get over it. Made of flesh and blood, he would bear the very
same human characteristics as the very witches who shunned himself and his love.
Revenge, honour, and bitter, bitter despair. He would gain revenge by restoring The
Garden of Unfulfilled Dreams, the way Aribeth used to delight over every single day.
She would sit for hours, writing fairy folklore and poetry. And she was good. She
had a way of bringing to life the subjects that she wrote about, breathing life into
them, and giving them an existence only conceivable to those light of heart, and broad
With Aribeth banished, the Garden had slowly dwindled into despair, without the
Writer of Dreams to tend to the roots, the eloquent words to help feed thirsty minds
and tired hearts, the garden died, thus the dreams remained unfulfilled.
Faelyn had entered the garden the way it used to be, the way Sianna had tried to
keep it within dreams. Nevertheless, the rose bush remained withered, in the garden as
Faelyn knew it, but here it had thrived, shedding its petals into the River of Dreams.
Aribeth had loved that rose bush, had tended to it every day, and it had blossomed like the love between Shiannia and herself, reacting to the sweet caresses of her soothing words, they had grown stronger with every intense breath.
Turning to Faeyln, Sianna spoke;
‘Whatever you wish may be, I will grant it for you, for I feel a heart as heavy as mine
should not be endured by another. I will take you to the Rose bush, where you may
pick a rose in full bloom, to take with you back to your own world.
Now beware, this rose will wilt so you must place it under your pillow tonight, in
order for your lover to visit you, instead of the usual way of things. Give him the rose,
and you will finally realise your dreams, where, sadly, mine have ceased to be. I wish
you well, dear Faelyn; your soul mate will indeed be the luckiest man on earth.’
He kissed her lightly on the cheek, a silver river trickled down his own.
When Faelyn looked up, he was gone, like a faint memory, delicious, but far away.
Faelyn rose to her feet, the grass sticking unceremoniously into her soft flesh.
She was back in the Garden of Unfulfilled Dreams, that cold, familiar dead feeling.
She clutched the rose that she had plucked from the bush tightly in her small, dainty
hands, and set off back through the woodland of gnarled hands that seemingly reached
out for her in sheer desperation, as if time were running out.
The moon filtered through the trees, as the trees bore no leaves, and the light cast eerie
prisms of light, bouncing off many silhouetted shapes, leading an over active
imagination into all kinds of fanciful monsters and creatures, lurking in the
Faelyn’s step quickened.
Reaching the Gate of Plenitude, she flung open the heavy door and scurried down the
cobbled path, which seemed to liquidity underneath her feet, but Faelyn barely
noticed, as she lifted up her skirts to run home. As she flowed past, a smile seemed to
play on Gaping Dell’s grey lips, as though she knew a clever little secret that no one
Later that night, Faelyn did as Sianna asked, placing the rose under her pillow. It
had wilted, just as he had said it would.
Dressed in a cream gossamer gown, she got into bed excitedly, albeit a little
apprehensive, to say the least.
It started, the same way that it always did, with Faelyn swinging underneath an
blossom tree. Her hair was braided intricately all over, with miniature roses woven
delicately through her hair, a crown of roses.
She was wearing a gold dress, slits on either side inches away from her thighs,
exposing creamy, soft flesh.
Her lips were scarlet, wet with anticipation. Her long legs stretched out in front of
her, as she swung back and forth, the loose plaits flowing behind her like a flame from
a glowing fire, intense against the summer sun.
Draven strolled along the fresh grass, dressed in a blue cloak, dark trousers, with black
laced boots, and a cream satin shirt. He wore no hood, and his eyes shone, glinting in
the strong sunlight, his raven hair loose about his shoulders. His face was lean, strong
featured, with a hint of stubble. When he came upon the swinging girl, he stopped,
fascinated by the little marvel in front of her. He had never known beauty such as this.
Never knew such immense love as this. It enveloped him, enslaving him.
He approached her. It was the girl from his dreams. But the dream was different. It
felt… closer somehow. As though it were happening for real, instead of the delicious
surreal visions that he had been used to. He had come to her. At long last.
Staring at each other for what seemed like millennia, time seemed exclusively
suspended for the both of them.
Faelyn’s heart swelled, to the point where she feared it might burst. Of course it
Time shifted, as the two gazed at each other. The sun disintegrated, the trees and the
grass vanished, and they were standing in vertical planes of time, Faelyn still
swinging, hanging seemingly in mid- air, swinging back and forth.
Remembering the rose, she tossed it to Draven, who caught it gladly in his hands.
The rose opened up its petals, in full bloom. Contrasting colour’s shimmered gold,
then silver, then red, pink, then finally resting at black.
Draven kissed the rose, seductively. Before, Faelyn had seemed higher up somehow, but now she was close enough to reach. He lifted her off the swing, holding her hands, gazing into her dark, brown eyes. Mesmerized, he still held the rose, and touched her face. She felt so soft. So wonderful to touch, the warm skin actually made his skin tingle.
He moved closer, and their lips touched in a lingering kiss. Something exploded
inside the two of them, pure adrenaline racing through their entire bodies. Drunk on
euphoria, Faelyn swooned. Draven held her gently as she swayed, kissing her neck
tenderly. A sunburst of correlating stars and sprites shattered the plane, which they
Aribeth’s laughter rang out along the Walls of Everywhere, the hourglass shattering,
causing shards of silver to rain down on Aribeth’s Domain.
The Garden of Unfulfilled Dreams exploded into a symphony of colour and beauty.
The roses bloomed; the vines coiled and snaked their way up along the walls,
covering the Gate of Plenitude.
Clematis spiralled their way up Gaping Dell, who shed a tear. Weeping Dell smiled
serenely. She was no longer grey, her wreath bearing life once more.
Sianna appeared. He was no longer bound by the dreams in which he created.
He called out to Aribeth.
Gazing at the two lovers who made All Things Possible, threw a final
look at the Crypt of Misery. He wept a single tear for his slain son, the blood of whom
had spilled out on to the soil, making the roses wither. The roses would now bloom year after year, the infant’s blood flowing through the stems feeding them, ensuring the Son of Aribeth will live on forever and a day.
Aribeth beckoned Sianna to the stars, where they could engineer the sun and the
moon, and shift heaven and earth for love to prevail.
The Garden of Fulfilment lived on again through Aribeth’s words, and through
Faelyn’s and Draven’s love for one another.
© Pandora Atkinson 2004
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