End of summer, many centuries ago
Zephyr furiously kept her silence.
There were two seasons of the year. Their entrance into the world, and how quickly they came, caused a lot of bother in her family.
As always, her sisters were in an uproar over the coming winter. No one knew exactly when it would happen, but it would blow in suddenly and with all the force of rock hitting a mirror.
The signals for the world’s population to collect food, and store it quickly, were the changing colors she and her fairy sisters distributed. Their scheduling had to be perfect. There was no room for error. If they didn’t gather the proper plant matter from which to blend tones things would go badly indeed. Woodland barks, berries, and bushes were used to mix all the hues. The villagers were dependent upon them to do their jobs correctly, but this became more and more difficult with every passing winter and summer.
Without their color magic, winter set in with no warning to humans, and with all its blustery and billowy bursts of snow. Any food that hadn’t been harvested would be lost in the sudden frost. Likewise, at the end of winter, the bitter chill would stop suddenly. In a matter of days, the landscape turned to slush and every hut-dweller had to rush into the sudden, harsh heat to plant before the melting snow evaporated and the ground hardened beneath the sweltering sun. Again, the world’s population only knew when the sudden changes were about to occur—and when to leave their sheds, shacks and shanties—because of the application of the varying colors; colors she and her sisters prepared. But she and her siblings were always so rushed when the two seasons collided on top of the other.
These circumstances worried her.
Since colors had to be freshly made for them to magically stick to the landscape, gathering them at the exact time was crucial. This was what was causing the current argument between her siblings and what fueled her mounting frustration.
Among the four color fairies, Rain was eldest and gathered her colors first, for the others to build on.
Currently, Rain was in a muddle about whether to go ahead and gather deeper, blue hues squeezed from plants in the woods, or remain with the lighter, turquoise shades for a few more days. As for her garments, Rain’s wings were the exact blue of the summer sky but would change to a deep, midnight hue when winter finally decided to freeze the landscape.
Next in age came Terra. Terra fretted that, if Rain didn’t gather the necessary plant material to start the required winter mixtures in time, her work would be doubled. She’d have to move much faster, and there might not be enough time to mix her brown shades properly. Terra always donned a light tan tunic and leggings, as befitting the warmer season. Her wings matched her outfit to a T.
The third sister was Flame. As was always the case, Flame had to wait on the other two to gather their materials before she could turn the bright shades of summer from crimson to deep red and winter burgundy. Flame was dressed in a robust shade of crimson, and her flittering appendages also displayed a bright red shade that complemented her clothing perfectly.
Zephyr was youngest. It was her job to follow the other three and blow their mixtures of color into the surrounding woodlands, meadows and fields. As she listened to her three elder sisters’ squabbling—which they so often did—she tapped her fingers on the tree stump that currently served as her stool.
This same scene played out toward the end of every winter and summer. It was always hectic and always caused the same argument, almost down to the very last syllable...
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