Ela was about 6 when she first looked out at the river and new what she
would do for the rest of her life. It was the first time her parents had
taken her on a trip away from their home. The small girl had been so excited
she had babbled all the way to the ferry, and a good deal on the ferry as
well. But when the first glitter of sunlight had caught her eye as it
reflected on the Morning Fog River she had fell silent. It is hard to
describe what the river awoke in her but it was like someone had turned down
all the colours around her and only that river mattered anymore.
The light seemed to lazily shift from one shred of mist to the next in an
effort equal to carrying the whole world on it's shoulders. And in her
innocence she believed that something larger than life was behind the place,
ever keeping an eye out for the creatures that lived there.
Her parents had smiled at the sudden quietness of their daughter and had let
her take one of the caterpillars home to take care of. The little animal,
blazing red with black wings was so unlike Ela's usual choice of colours her
mother had been surprised. There had been plenty rainbow-coloured ones
around, but her little girl only had eyes for that single one.
Ela grew up over the years and proved herself to be a good caretaker. But in spite
all her good efforts it would take her small caterpillar, which was known
then by the name of Scarlet, 4 full years to gather enough strength to
One morning, as Ela awoke to caress her small caterpillar she could not find
it. An emergency search through her room finally turned up a small scarlet
red bundle perched on her window. Somewhere in the night Scarlet had flown
there and cocooned herself.
Ela, delighted by Scarlets change (at last), waited patiently for the pop to
hatch. At times she feared that maybe she was no good caretaker, that she
had killed Scarlet by neglecting her, or more of those depressive thoughts.
But the pop was undeniably alive. It quivered and squirmed inside, changing
Ela still carried the pop around with her wherever she went. To school, to
family, to playdates. And after a while Ela just grew accustomed to the idea
of having a pop in stead of a Star Dancer. She could still tell Scarlet
anything she needed to get out of her system and she always felt better
afterwards, knowing that she had been heard.
Five years passed and Ela went through high school and puberty still not
letting Scarlet out of her sight for even one minute. Her first boyfriends
passed and dreams of jobs that were not really what she wanted.
On one of these daydreams about where her life might guide her, Fate kicked
in. An old faded picture of that first trip fell out. The river, imperfectly
caught on two dimensions only barely resembled her memories of the place. Ela thought about Scarlet, the companion she had had for almost 10
years that still hadn't hatched.
In about 5 minutes her mind was made up. All her childhood dreams of the
river returning. Ela knew she would have to go back and see for herself if
she could work there. Having a pop that hadn't hatched yet might hold her
back, but she needed to give it a try.
And so, 10 years after her first trip there Ela was again standing on the
ferry, holding her breath for the magnificent sight that she was yearning to
see again. As she approached the estuary a strange feeling came over her and
she started to laugh. Not knowing why she was so happy, but enjoying the
moment in the sun she felt as if she was coming home.
Ela grabbed in her pocket to take out Scarlet so she could see her home too.
But the pop wasn't there anymore. Instead a small black-red butterfly
perched on her hand. Ela recognised the categories it belonged to. The head
of the dancer was animal, it's wings were butterfly and it's colours were
"I am Starlight Red Sorceress." the creature told her privately in
her head, "I want to thank you for how you cared for me all those
"But I was your friend... What else could I have done?" Ela asked.
"We shall like it here then," Sorceress said, "as we should
because we'll be here long." The deep yellow-gold eyes of the Star
dancer looked into her own deep browns and conveyed some kind of magic
secret, a glimpse of the future...