Henry is fascinated by a glowing night. Every night, he waits up to see if he can spot it. One night, he takes a closer look.


1. Forever

From the darkness, a glimmering light sparked faintly and began to glow. Henry’s eyes widened. It was past curfew, no one was allowed outside. Yet there was the mysterious light as it always was every summer.

Henry was a prince. His father, the king of Scotland, had taken him along on trips to England and Ireland since he could crawl. Henry had been to a lot of foreign places, but not one was quite as mysterious as Scotland. The loch, for example, held a secret no one knew of. The surface would ripple with no external cause. Many claimed it was just fish below the surface, but Henry had grown up listening to his mother’s tales of witches and monsters. He knew something much larger than a fish lived in the loch.

The mysterious light grew steadily brighter. It appeared to be tucked into a corner of the courtyard, hidden from the sight of curious servants. Henry knew his chamber was the only one the light could be seen from. He stayed up late just to see it, for the glow only appeared after the moon had risen.

Henry squinted as the light began to blind him. If he tilted his head to the side… There; the source of the light. But no, it couldn’t be. The glow had taken the shape of a child.

It turned its head towards his window and Henry ducked down out of sight. His heart pounded in his chest like a war drum, though he wasn't entirely sure why. The light was now so bright it lit up his chamber. Leaning his head back against the bare stone, Henry watched as the light dimmed to a soft glow. Nervously, he peeked over the wall and through the window.

The glowing child still watched his window, although it was clearer to see. It raised one hand and Henry flinched. Would it blind him? Would it smash the fragile glass and hurt him? The young prince felt his knees knock together at the thought.

The child waved, its little fingers splayed. Henry hesitated, then waved back. A smile graced the strange child’s face and it began to glow brighter again. It beckoned eagerly and Henry found himself nodding.

As he pulled his thin slippers and robe on, he grew impatient. He wanted to be down there with the child. His previous fear had been replaced with eagerness and need. Yes, he needed to go down to where the child was. He needed to be closer to it.

The cold night air nipped at his bare legs but he ignored the feeling. He was steadily growing warmer as he neared the child. The feeling had started just below his heart and had grown considerably the moment he’d stepped outside. Henry pushed through the flowering bushes and came face to dace with the glowing child.

Closer now, he could see the child was a girl. Her long blonde hair fell around her shoulders gracefully, framing her pale face. Her features were small: a little rounded nose, petite pointed ears. Her eyes were yellow, though Henry was sure it was a trick of the light. A petal pink dress fell to her ankles, delicate hands clutching the sleeves. The light itself was a sky blue, radiating from the girl. She looked to be only seven years old, the same age as Henry.

“Hello,” the girl said, a smile lifting her cheeks. “What’s your name?”

“Henry,” the young prince replied. His mother’s warning of never talking to strangers rang through his head, but he quickly dismissed it. This girl didn't look like a spiteful fairy, and even if she was he doubted she’d steal him away.

“I'm Mary,” the girl said, taking a step towards him. “Henry’s a nice name. Do you live in this castle?”

Henry nodded. “My dad’s the king,” he told her proudly. His father had always told him to be proud of his heritage.

“Doesn't it get lonely?” Mary asked. Her fingers clutched the skirt of her dress.

“A little,” Henry confessed.

“Do you want to play with me?” Mary asked, smiling brightly. “I've never played with a prince before.”

“Alright,” Henry smiled. He hadn't really played with anyone his own age before, being restricted to the royal tutors and servants for friends. He had met some other princes his own age, but they were down in England and Ireland. Besides, he didn't particularly like them. They were snobbish and uptight, preferring to stay inside and learn rather than run around outside, and heaven forbid they get muddy!

Mary took his hand and pulled him along as she started to run. The two children ran parallel to the wall of the courtyard, feet pattering loudly on the stone. They giggled together and kept running. Henry blinked and stopped suddenly, having expected to have run into the far wall of the courtyard by now. Instead, the cold stone of the courtyard had been replaced by the grass and trees of a forest. A few metres in front of him was a ring of abnormally large mushrooms, people dancing inside.

These people were not like the people that lived in the village adjacent to his castle, Henry noticed. The people here were all very beautiful, with sharpened elven features, pointed ears and long, luscious hair. The women wore long dresses, hand stitched and made from the most delicate of fabrics, yet they were spinning and dancing as though they knew the fabric could not be ruined. The men wore what the pages in the castle had worn: short tunics with tights, though these men wore much brighter colours like rich blues the colour of a sapphire and deep reds the colour of the wine Henry's parents drank. The young prince blinked about in amazement.

“Where are we?” he asked, awed.

“We’re home,” Mary replied, smiling widely at him. She was no longer glowing. She took his hand again. “Let’s dance.”

“But why are they dancing?” Henry asked.

“They’re celebrating. You’re part of our family now, Henry. Forever.”

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