Ayla is one of the lead characters of Dark Fey. She was present in my thoughts from the initial dream that Inspired the story; yet she is very often misunderstood by readers. Although the story could not progress without her, even I find myself frequently annoyed by her overly emotional volatility, so I decided to give my readers a bit of background about her, as well as, perhaps, an explanation.
Born with extraordinary gifts, Ayla can easily distinguish truth from lies. She can look into the eyes and see the soul, Discerning beyond all the complications of guise. Empathy runs so deeply within her that she can even take on the pain of another and she is able to hear thoughts through Telepathic connection. This rare combination of gifts first drew attention to her as a youngling; then isolated her when she was sent off to the Temple, dedicated to a life as a Guardian of Childfey.
There she was guided by scholars who filled her mind with images of good and evil. While her friends sat in cheerful classrooms and played with other childfey, she learned about secret arts and magic. She also learned that using her gifts drains her own energy by an equal proportion to that which she extends to heal or ease anothers suffering. As a result, she tried to learn to protect herself from her own Empathic inclinations, but blocking the thoughts, emotions and pain of others remained a constant challenge for her and when she reached her eighteenth birthday and took her place amidst the communal life of the village of Hwyndarin, this difficulty compeled her to keep others at a distance.
Beautiful, yet socially awkward and frequently overwhelmed by those sentiments and passions of others that she was never able to fully master blocking, she has only one friend, but when this friend introduces her to a young malefey close to her age of eighteen summers Ayla discovers magic of another kind; the enchantment of first love. Even his love, however, cannot alter her feelings of peculiarity and isolation.
Only when she hears the whispers of one who comes in shadows and silence does she begin to understand her own strengths and her own desires. When he steps from the darkness, he throws her world in chaos, requiring her to make decisions she never thought possible; asking her to face dangers she only ever read about, and altering the course of her life forever. Yet, in the process, he helps her to understand the truth about her gifts, which have set her apart for so long.
***A Snippet from Dark Fey The Reviled ***
“You are the only person who can help me, Ayla, because you are the only one who can know with absolute certainty what I say is the truth; that I am not deceiving you to serve my own evil purposes.” Gasping in fear, she shook her head, but Gairynzvl would not accept her refusal.
“It is your gift, Ayla, and your purpose.” She stared at him silently as tears slipped over her flushed cheeks, utterly overwhelmed by him.
“Read me, Ayla!” He growled impatiently, but she reached up and shoved him away from her with as much force as she could manage.
“I cannot!” His eyes narrowed suspiciously.
“You will not.”
“You are overpowering me!” She snapped back acerbically, “I cannot read through all that emotion.”
He fell silent, considering, but he did not move away and he did not release her from the intense stare he had fixed upon her that pierced into her very essence and made her shudder. After a prolonged moment, he closed his eyes and slowly drew a deep breath; visibly calming himself before he stepped closer and re-affixed her with his resolute gaze. She watched him hesitantly, released from the waves of despondency and resentment he had again opened to her, yet still fearful of what he might do next.
Unhurriedly, he reached out for her hand, patient in a way he had not been before when she started away from him to search his eyes nervously for any indication of reassurance she might find there before offering her small hand to him. Holding it lightly in his warm clasp, he reached out for the other hand, waiting just as patiently for her to understand that he would do nothing atrocious should she give it to him as well. When she did, he drew both to himself, laying her hands upon his chest, palms down over his heart, before releasing his grasp upon her. Spreading his wings wide then, he turned his face upward, closed his eyes, and opened himself to her fully.
Ayla gasped in surprised revelation. She had never done such a thing before; never physically touched someone to read them while they stood, silently surrendered to her, revealing themselves in a manner that was intensely stirring and intimate……
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Beautiful Original Fairy Artwork by: Ruoxin Zhang