In the deep, unforgiving darkness, which was almost completely silent, shone a bright and powerful light. It had a slow, but bright pulse to it, and each pulse would have normally brought a variety of sounds – anger as well as laughter; sadness as well as joy; fear as well as a roar of strength. However, all that could be heard now were screams of agony.
Not far from this light stood six spirits, each in a different form. One was a woman with long, brown hair and green eyes. She seemed dressed completely in wood or leaf or flower, with a green hue around the edges of her skin. Another was a young boy in a sailor's uniform, with a mischievous look about him and a blue hue to his skin. Next to the boy was an old, grandfatherly man, who wore long robes of pale blue and gray. Not too far from him was a sprite seemingly made of fire, from her body to her hair, and very obviously feminine. One would have mistaken her for a succubus, had she had horns. Beside her was a glowing spirit with seemingly no body, though that could just have been because the light was so bright around it that you could not see it's body. It was hard to tell if this one was male or female, until he spoke, and he had a kindly gaze that was now filled with worry. The last one was a woman, dressed in flowing robes of white and silver, with long raven hair and silver eyes. She had a haughty look about her, but right now it was more filled with concern than anything.
All six spirits stood staring at this pulsing, screaming light. They had no idea what caused it to be hurt so, but they knew one thing – if it continued, all would perish.
“She hurts...” said the woman dressed in leaves and wood and flowers with a shudder, “She screams.”
“Even I can feel it.” said the mischievous boy, who at the moment looked sad instead.
“The question is,” said the fiery sprite, “what is causing it?”
“I don't know.” said the grandfatherly man.
“Gaia ought to know.” said the haughty woman in the flowing white and silver robes, “She's the one who's the closest to our Mother. She's the one who bears the most of her power.”
“Even I cannot tell what it is.” said the woman in the leaves and wood and flowers, the woman the haughty woman had been addressing. “It is foreign. Humans did not do this, though I think they have contributed to it. Minari, you may not be able to feel anything, but I am sure the others have. It simply is not your Element. Hydros, have you felt anything?”
“I have.” said the boy, “The fish are getting sick from it.”
“And you, Aero?” she asked of the grandfatherly man.
“The birds scream in agony any more, and there is nothing I can do to heal them. This has never happened before.” he responded.
“Fia, have the fires of the mountains told you anything? What of the flames from the forests?” she said to the fire sprite.
The fire sprite just shook her head thoughtfully. “They've said practically nothing. Fire only cares to consume, and doesn't care what it consumes, so long as it won't put it out, like wood that is too wet. But some of the younger flames, who have not been desensitized like the older ones have complained of eating something that made them feel sick.”
“Helios, what about the people?” Gaia asked.
“The people are so far disconnected from our mother that they cannot feel anything. Most cannot, anyway.” the brightly glowing spirit said sadly. “There are few enough that can, and most of them have not noticed. But there is one...I think if she took a moment in quietness just to think, she might be able to notice it.”
“She has the affinity?” Gaia said wonderingly.
“I believe she does.” Helios said with a thoughtful nod of his head.
“Perhaps I shall seek her out, then.” the Earth spirit said. “We should all seek someone out to use our powers.”
“Why should we do that?” asked the spirit of Thunder, Minari, the haughty one. “They cannot live forever, as we do, and they can do nothing without our power.”
“Likewise,” said the old man, Aero, “we can do nothing without a body to use our power. I believe Gaia speaks with wisdom here. We cannot fix this on our own. We cannot even fix what is within our own realms on our own any more.”
“But that means helping those stupid humans!” the boy Hydros argued. “All they do is pollute the air and the water and make the Earth sick!”
“Well, they ARE useful.” said the fire sprite, Fia, “Some of them use my power to recycle nutrients into the Earth, or use it to refine metals from the rocks of the Earth.”
“Regardless,” said Helios, “good or bad, humans will be there, and it will take humans with our powers to fix this. If we don't fix it, all will perish. There is no picking and choosing, here, and even if there were I would not. Humans have more kindness than you would give them credit for, Hydros.”
Gaia simply nodded to herself. She was none to happy with humans herself for what they had done, and were still doing, to their Mother, but it could not be helped. Without a human body, they could not use their power, and if they did not use their power, there was no fixing this new sickness that made their Mother scream so in agony. Whether or not they liked it, it had to be done.
“Then let us go find those humans who have the greatest affinity for our power and make them our guardians. We can train them in our powers, and their bodies will be the vessels we need to do what we need to do. It is that or death, and I do not choose death myself.” Gaia said.
The others did not respond immediately. She knew that Hydros would probably be the most obstinate, while Aeros didn't really care one way or the other what happened to the people. All he cared about was the creatures of the air, and of the air itself. She thought Fia and Helios would be the most accepting, though, because they loved humans. It was surprising to see them hesitate. Minari, though, thought of humans as being beneath her, so she had expected some hesitation there.
“I am sure I could do it myself.” Minari said. Speak of the devil. “There's no need to work with those lowly creatures.”
“Then try it.” Gaia said hotly. “I dare you. Try anything and see if it works.”
Minari lifted her nose in distaste, but lifted her arms up anyway. She tried to call to her the powers of the storm, the lightning itself, electricity itself, but it would not come to her, so she lowered her arms. She showed nothing of the shame she felt. Oddly enough, that seemed to decide everyone else.
“Alright.” Hydros said, pouting, “I'll go look for a body, too.”
“I believe I will as well. It might be amusing, anyway.” Aeros said with a glimmer in his eye.
“Sounds good to me!” Fia said, rubbing her fiery hands together.
“Then I shall go, too.” Helios said with a decisive nod.
“Well, I must make sure none of you get into trouble,” Minari said haughtily, “so I will go as well.”
“It is decided, then.” Gaia said to the others. “When we've found our humans, we must train them, then try to get them all together. I don't think one spirit's power alone can fix this. I think it will take all of us together to fix it. We must not have even one of us missing, or we will fail.”
The others nodded grimly at this, and in a flash they were all gone, leaving behind the unforgiving darkness with that powerful, pulsing, screaming light.