The night was perfect and exactly how she loved it; quiet, cold and barren. Skylight walked slowly through the darkness, pausing every now and then to touch the ebony rich tree barks devoid of foliage. It was the beginning of winter and it was her time. The world came alive for the fairy ice queen when the temperature dropped and the heat of his rule diminished.
To the distance, she could still scent the dying rays of autumn. There was still a part of him awake and throwing his influence out into the world. However, his touch was receding with each passing night as hers was growing. How she loved and loathed this part of the cycle when control ceded to her dominion. How it frustrated him and made her heart fill with sorrow.
Jomei was always one to hate conceding to the cold. It was understandable because he danced in the warmth of the sun’s rays, delighting in the laughter of the beings that inhabited the otherworld. She preferred the snow and ice, the absence of sound infiltrating her world.
A cloud broke the horizon and the pale full moon bathed her surroundings in a soft glow, causing her lips to tilt gracefully in a pleased smile. The beauty that was her domain filled her heart with such joy and never failed to astound her. How she loathed parting from this world when the sun won dominance and it was her time to sleep. How she missed her people as they slept and she walked alone among the trees. They flew to their slumber weeks before she did, and rose weeks after. In those moments, she was truly alone and that was what invariably pulled her feet towards him.
Loneliness drew her as it drew Jomei. They were opposites and yet the same, capable of such beauty that fell under their opposing remit. Like most beings, they craved the company of their people and became lonely when they slept. Like most beings that need drew them together.
Skirting the very edge of her domain, Skylight stared at the small clearing, feeling him close. He remained from view and she could walk no further, his waning autumn holding too much sway. She knew it was the same for Jomei, that he wanted to be able to walk closer and could not.
“Well met, my heart,” his deep voice whispered across the expanse, sending a flutter of pleasure within her. It had been too long since his voice had caressed her hearing.
“Well met, my beloved.” Skylight tried to keep the yearning from her voice but knew she failed, as had he when he spoke. “I ache to see you, Jomei.”
“As do I, my love, but your presence withers my domain as it should. I can come no closer, however just to hear your voice is more than I could hope for.”
A lone, crystal tear crept from the corner of her eye, making a slow trail down one alabaster cheek. “Hearing is such sweet sorrow, Jomei, when I long to see you, to touch and hold you. This must truly be the most bitter of punishments.”
A short laugh echoed on the night air, lacking in humour. “Even the Gods could surely not have foreseen that Fire would love Ice, dearest one. If they had then I feel sure they would have found a way to enable one touch, one caress of your flawless skin.”
His voice held such faith but Skylight was not so sure the Gods were that ambivalent. Each waking and sleep cycle was a torture beyond measure and she was sure the Gods watched each moment and obtained much enjoyment from them. “If only…,” she whispered, brushing away another errant crystal from her cheek.
A rustle of sound as the last leaves finally fell from the trees across the expanse. The fleetingness of glimpses, as she held her breath in wonder. The tall figure of her counterpart swam into view, wavy golden hair framing a bronzed face. Pale blue eyes shining brightly for a moment before the light began to dim.
“You are so beautiful, my heart, with your flowing white hair and deep brown eyes. How I long to trail my fingers across your alabaster skin and press my lips against yours. One day, Skylight…” His voice trailed off, becoming sleepy in sound as his form began to waver.
Skylight turned from his receding form, feeling her coldness reaching out to engulf him and send him into his winter slumber. A shard of ice scored her heart as she leached his warmth and sent him away. “Sleep well, my beloved, and hold my heart close.”
It was so unfair they could never be together but for two brief moments in time. Skylight tried to shake the sorrow from her heart but it was hard when the one she wanted to be with most dearly was the one she sent to sleep each winter as he sent her to sleep each spring. Jomei truly believed one day they would touch but she was certain that day would never come.
Skylight looked back and was met with a view of her domain, white frost slowly creeping forward to gather all in its wake. There was no longer any scent of Jomei; his slumber had truly begun. With a sad smile, she turned away again and traced her icy path back into the heart of the trees.
A flutter of light caught her attention, and Skylight’s sorrow diminished as her smile grew. With Jomei’s departure, her beautiful people were beginning to wake. The illumination gathered strength as a handful of the early risers drew closer, small fairy wings beating frantically on the night air.
“Good evening, my darlings,” she whispered spreading her arms out so they could flutter around her, tiny voices full of happiness as they greeted their queen with joyful song. It was the purest sound, so melodic and hypnotising, that she closed her eyes and breathed in the cold air, luxuriating in their greeting.
With each passing song, the sorrow receded, replaced by a joy that completed her. Her time of loneliness was over and for a while, she would bask in the glow of her dominion, singing and dancing her cold touch across the landscape. Until the day her people slept once more and she would return to the clearing to bid goodnight to her love.