She plucked a white gown from her dresser and hoped the gods would bless her. After a promise to wed, her beloved Hans had said, “Meet me in the wooded glen by the path where our new life will begin. We shall leave this crumbling village behind and seek all the happiness we can find.” Tendrils of auburn bounced down with grace as she let them fall to frame her face. Her heart skipped at the thought of her father’s wrath, for he disapproved of this marriage made in crass. Wrapping a flowered shawl about her shoulders, Galiena slipped out the window and headed toward the woods all aglow. A full moon lit the fragrant spring night, shining with the luminosity of fairy wings in flight. How she would miss frolicking with the fairy folk who befriended her but never spoke. Galiena avoided the main roads, dreading her father’s discovery. Her father was a man to fear, with a hatred for what she held dear. His was an evil so profound he crushed all her dreams into the ground. What she made with love and kindness, he destroyed in rage’s blindness. He knew of the couple’s intention and kept Hans from his destination. Under a rising moon, her blue eyes gleamed like a hyacinth’s bloom as the fairy princess guided her friend to meet her groom. Once they arrived at the path leading from town, Galiena leaned against a tree in her wedding gown. “Oh, Leona, I hath waited for this day since I was a girl. In Hans’ loving arms I shall soon curl.” Leona’s voice deafened mortals so words were not verbalized, but the young maiden saw reassurance in the fairy’s eyes. Her lover’s foot-falls were never heard, only the sound of a hooting bird. A sullen song played on rustling leaves in a suspiring breeze. The warmth of flowering love was replaced by the cold of a lover scorned; her tears were a waterfall of sorrow whose death was but a dew drop in the morn. With each passing moment, her heart fractured like falling pottery from a lofty perch. Inside her grew a curse as seeds of bereavement gave birth. Creatures of the mist gathered with Galiena to cry, who lay on the unforgiving ground nearby. When her deprived heart could bear no more pain, she called to the one whose trust she could gain. “Harbinger of Death, I beg of thee, take this life that was given to me. My lover hath shattered my soul and left me in this world so cold. I cannot bear to continue on for I am abandoned and all alone. This is the task I ask of thee. Please find compassion for me.” Death saw the truth within her eyes, as well as her father’s thicket of lies. As she stared into the breaking morning’s sky, he took pity and lowered his scythe. Her body twitched with the release of her final breath, and with it went forth thanks to the Harbinger of Death. The fairy princess was saddened by Galiena’s chosen demise; purplish-green flowers were the tears she cried. When fairy tears kissed the ground, little green sprouts grew all ‘round. Reverently, Leona watched the buds grow and bloom; pale tiny flowers became Galiena’s hair by noon. Death’s regret gripped the day, keeping leery travelers at bay. Fair Lady Galiena was gone as the evening light dawned. By day’s end, purplish-green flowers were all that remained; they haunt the roadside like the bereft maiden whose lover never came.
I wrote this for a Valentine’s Day challenge sponsored by Deep Magic E-Zine. I never thought it would be chosen from hundreds of entries & featured in the February 2005 issue.