The Fey Bride of Elfland
Palace of the Ice Queen
The ride to the castle of the Ice Queen did take longer than I suspected. I would not say that it was enough time for the ladies to have a lengthy conversation, but they certainly could have done more than exchange simple pleasantries. I looked at the window of the coach and saw a blur from our rate of movement, but the ride still was long enough for Chamorrick to get some minutes of rest.
As I had noticed earlier, there was a deep layer of snow around the castle. I however stepped out of the coach seeing just a shallow covering in the immediate area. Looking about, I almost gained the impression that the icy substance had been landscaped. Seeing men at work clearing an area however indicated that if the snow had been landscaped, it had been done in the usual fashion and not by any mystical means.
I was actually interested in a tour of the castle, but as the Ice Queen and Queanay began showing the pure fey about the building Chamorrick pulled me to a side. "I am going to contact father and have him send Rabbit and Berliat here."
I knew Berliat. He was an advisor like Fathall, but with an expertise in local customs. I considered what Chamorrick was doing as far outside the knowledge of Berliat, and felt it my job to say so.
"I believe that you are more in need of someone who can handle the strange and unusual."
"Sorry, but that is you. Should things turn positive, I will need Berliat to assure that all the formalities of a proper marriage between me and Lasotherral are managed."
Considering that I had simply been awarded a wife, I had to ask, "Why can't your father simply say that you are married like he did with Rabbit and me?"
"Because I am to be the next king. What I do and how I do it can affect how my reign is perceived. I have to do this right, Kevin."
Could not fault the man, so accepted his decision. I then accompanied him as he sought to find a balcony. The soldiers on duty in the castle were helpful with one leading us to an appropriate place. Chamorrick did not treat his desires as secret, but freely admitted why he wanted a balcony. No fault was placed on his desire, and soon my half-brother was acting on his decision.
Chamorrick pulled out a dagger, then after unscrewing the pommel nut he removed the covering over the tang enabling a glowing crystal to be seen. Holding it in a manner that had me think of the metal blade as an antenna with the electronics in the handle. I actually wondered why I had never seen such a device in any spy movie.
"Safe and all is well. At the Ice Queen's castle. Please send Berliat and Kevin's ladies."
From the glowing crystal I heard a man say, "Good to hear from you, Prince Chamorrick. Will deliver the message to your father."
As he put the dagger back together, I had to ask, "You had that on your person during our previous escapade?"
"Yes, but there are wards in a castle, so you need to be careful about what magic you use. They either will not work, or will alert someone. That is why I went ahead and admitted to the guard that I was going to do this."
I accepted the explanation, so handled another thing I felt was important. "Well, thank you for sending for Rabbit."
"Well, she is fey. Well, Berliat is as well, but your wife is a woman. Well – Hells, you know what I mean. I believe your wife could notice something that we men will not. Not that I don't trust Queanay, but with her mother she will confide to her and not necessarily to us."
I could not help but smile as I said, "I guess that my wife needs to get used to the fact that she cannot always be a dancer."
"Dance, you know that I did not speak to Lasotherral about dancing. If she is of the air, she might dance."
"If you ask me, simply the fact that she is a lady means that she will probably enjoy dancing. Anyway, yes, it is something to ask her. I however do not know what type of entertainment Queen Bessinadar will have."
"According what you just said, the fact that she is a woman will mean that she will have a method to dance."
"No, I said that she will enjoy it. They do not like dancing alone however. I however have no idea whether this place has musicians or not."
We were simply coming back into the hallway as we talked. What Chamorrick felt we had to do next I had no idea, but was actually enjoying the exchange. We both however stopped upon seeing Queanay floating down the hallway toward us.
She curtsied, then said, "I am to show you to your rooms."
Chamorrick bowed then replied, "Rooms, yes, as I just sent for Kevin's wife. I also sent for Berliat, and he can share the room with me."
"I know Berliat, Chamorrick, as I met him on some social visits to your castle. He also exchanged letters with my mother and me concerning you. I will be glad to see him, and will let him know what you said." Queanay turned to me and said, "How should I treat your wife?"
"What do you –"
I interrupted my half-brother's question to simply state, "I would hope with at least the same grace that you show me. Chamorrick feels that a feminine viewpoint will help my advice to him."
Queanay said, "I would be honored to come to know your wife, Kevin. Yes, another feminine presence could help things. Lasotherral is nice, but not with any of the qualities my mother really feels that a noble lady should possess. She is thus unsure about Lasotherral, and my mother is not one to keep her opinions from affecting how things progress."
Chamorrick asked, "Has another meeting with the fair lady been arranged?"
"It's late in the day, so you will see her at supper. Mother is planning for us to have fish. Do you know when your people should show up?"
"No. I cannot say that there is cause for them to rush here. I would say probably midday tomorrow." Chamorrick paused, but I suspected he had more to say and Queanay's expression stated she was waiting as well. "Considering that this is a prospective bride, it would not surprise me if my father comes."
"Mother was suspecting that you would be requesting his presence."
"Does she really believe that my father and I have that good of a relationship, or that he was influential in my quest to gain Lasotherral?"
Instead of answering, Queanay turned to me ask, "What about your wife, Kevin?"
I smiled as I answered her question with a question. "Do you like to dance, Queanay?"
Chamorrick said, "Kevin was saying that Lasotherral would enjoy dancing simply because she was a woman."
"Oh, yes, I guess that I should of thought of that." She paused for a moment, then said, "I could put together a string quartet. We could then dance after supper." Queanay turned to me to say, "You would have to have me for a partner."
I replied, "There should be no shame in me dancing with you. I also should be able to dance with you. With my wife it is more of her treating me as a prop."
"Oh, I'm sorry."
Both Chamorrick and I laughed at that response with my half-brother saying, "Father attached Kevin to one of the court dancers. She is full fey with some fantastic moves." I had to support those last two words by repeating them, after which Chamorrick added, "I had to get Kevin away just so he could have some time to relax."
Queanay replied, "She sounds like a very interesting lady. Okay, I will inform mother. Let me bring the two of you to your rooms so you can prepare for supper."
"I would like to escort Lasotherral to supper."
"Certainly. I will inform the castellan. He will see that you are contacted at the proper time to do so."
Queanay led us through the corridors while mentioning certain works of art along the way. I cannot say that she gave me the tour that was provided to Lasotherral, but I did get a sense of the layout of the castle. It helped that the passages were much larger with windows giving a sense of openness than was present in Castle Florinew. There was a moment of levity when my half-brother looked over a railing and pointed out the passage from which he and I had escaped from the dungeon then the castle by means of breaking open a window. Queanay mentioned that the window had been repaired with the letter from King Naderron causing her to have to perform certain duties to make up for the expense.
Chamorrick said, "But you came back to pester me. Sounds like whatever the extra duties were, they were not enough."
"My intent, I assure you, was to gloat over your doom."
"No – I don't know." I believe it surprised both my half-brother and me to hear a more subdued tone from the lady. "I accept what you are doing, Chamorrick. Also, honestly, Lasotherral does not seem that bad. If this works out for you, I might turn my attention to some men I had divined to be improper although I privately feel might be a match for me."
"If you need other advice, please do not hesitate."
"Seriously, I appreciate that both of you have been such pleasant companions. I could have been in trouble for being out alone with you, but I stressed to mother that Kevin was married." Queanay looked to me to say, "I believe mother is very interested in who you have as a wife."
I replied, "Well, I really do not care if she approves or not. I am more than pleased with my wife."
"I hope to see that tomorrow." She turned, then strode to a door. "This is your room, Kevin. It is little more than a basic suite. Chamorrick, you room is that one right next to his. You might find yours lonely, while Kevin might not find his roomy enough."
My half-brother said, "Probably the opposite until Rabbit arrives. I will be pacing about worried about what might happen at my next meeting with Lasotherral while Kevin pines away for his absent dancer."
I looked to Queanay while saying, "I actually am not going to argue with that. See you at supper."
And things do not go very well.