The Fey Bride of Elfland
Chapter Thirteen – Part Two
A Visit with Queen Titania
All I had seen were marble stones, but coming around to the front definitely presented the construction as a wonderful proclamation of it being the home of an important person. Thin columns to the sides of ivory covered doors broke one’s concentration on elaborate reliefs showing the creatures and items of famous love stories. Hearts abounded, but there were flowers, cups, weapons piercing the vital areas of monsters, and other such images in the stone.
At our approach, the doors were opened by a number of ladies in gowns of sheer material. They were quite lovely with it rather hard not to put my focus upon them. Puck led us through them with me having to catch the attention of Chamorrick a couple of times to assure that he broke his admiration of the ladies around us.
Coming into an elegant chamber where the marble blocks were covered by rugs and tapestries of silk, linen, or other soft materials, Puck commanded, “All right, you two, kneel in the presence of one more royal.” Chamorrick and I did as the fey man announced, “Most esteemed Queen Titania, two princes of Florinew have come to visit. One claims to seek advice of an amorous nature, which the other seems to feels is something he is worthy to provide advice about.”
A most pleasant feminine voice said, “Prince Chamorrick, it is glad to see you again. You were quite young when your father brought you previously, although most entertaining. Since then I have felt as troubled as the words of your father sounded, as I felt you should easily gain the charms of any lady.”
Chamorrick stayed down as he replied, “I probably could, but Florinew has its own problems of which I took seriously. The roguish nature of my father concerning with whom he would share his bed displeased me, although in studying the natures of my siblings I found myself having to look to what type of future I wanted for myself and my land. I have come to a decision, Queen Titania, of a most historic kind. I had set my mind to make this journey, and found it good to have the support of my half-brother, Kevin, who is training to be my advisor. Actual knowledge of my desire however has been lost to barely more than rumors, so I have come to you.”
I met the gaze of the lady when she said my name. Queen Titania appeared human, although of a very light frame. Nothing about her indicated that she was of a previous age. Her dark hair fell from a hat of silver to cover her back. The orange-red clothes fell loose around her barely revealing any of her body when she moved. No guards could be seen around her, but something about her said that she did not fear for her life. I smiled in pleasure at being recognized by Queen Titania, and waited for what she had to say.
“Do you agree with this quest of your half-brother and eventual king?”
“Our father bestowed a wife upon me at an early age, and I am most pleased with her. He surely could have done the same with Chamorrick, but did not. I thus have to give credit to our father that he agreed the direction of the future of the kingdom was a personal one, and I have to respect my half-brother for treating the matter with seriousness. The object of his desire is probably most improper, but it does have logic behind it and others have said that simply facing such a lady would be something that would do us both well. I thus am here supporting Chamorrick.”
“Well, I am now intrigued. Approach, both of you, and tell me about this lady.”
We rose to find ourselves directed by ladies to what were just gatherings of pillows and not actual chairs. I expected the embarrassment at plopping through in a most unseemly manner, but found there to be some substance to the place where I sat. I gained a comfortable position as a tray of pastries was set nearby along with some juice. I thanked the ladies while setting my attention upon Queen Titania.
Chamorrick did take a bite of a pastry and sent it down his throat with a sip of his drink before saying, “Dear lady, I have come asking for directions and advice concerning an ancient damsel by the name of Lasotherral.” When Queen Titania just looked at him with a stern gaze, he added, “According to my research, her marriage was never consummated, so she could be a most proper bride.”
“You don’t know what you are asking, Prince Chamorrick.”
“Another audience with a most esteemed lady? While I will surely come before her with a different desire than I have come to you, surely she should also be as desiring of some entertainment to fill her day.”
Clearly recognizing the tone of being prepared to face anyone who simply denied his intentions, Queen Titania asked, “What do you know of the pure fey?”
“That it will surely complicate my blood line, but in a most special manner. No longer should our children fear the longing of fey or the desires of humans. The people should not fear that our choices will impact their future with dire troubles for them. It should make us nobles of Florinew to be a most special lineage that can allow us to continue to focus on the greatness of the land and not the cycles of blandness and horrors.”
The queen mother looked to me to say, “You are correct that there is a logic to it, and that simply meeting this lady would be a learning experience.” She then turned back to Chamorrick to say, “There are more issues in seeking those of the pure fey than simply claiming to gain an audience. The fact that they even exist causes one to question things about our past and future. However, I must say that the years weigh heavily on the pure fey even more than they do on me. You are thus correct that they would not deny the audience. Relax, princes of Florinew, as I check my sources. The pure fey are no more confined than the court of my son or the court of my own husband before him. I will thus need to seek how to provide directions and what advice I might should give you.”
Chamorrick and I were delighted that the noble lady spoke of seeing to our needs. We rose from our resting place to be led to a room where a table was laden with food. Chamorrick settled in a comfortable seat and began to feast upon the abundance he had claimed would be present, but I looked around rather amazed at the home of Queen Titania.
Ladies served us, but not in any suggestive ways. They would flow out to almost appear whenever our eyes looked around as if searching for something or our hands reached out as if to grab something. None were dressed in anything but light garments of sheer cloth, although only the haze of the feminine shape beneath could be made out. Men whose forms would have also been so delicately covered had there not been thicker leather vests and leggings simply stood in corners and at doorways holding weapons that suggested we should treat the ladies with respect.
Chamorrick put down at least one full plate of food. I did find the selection to be quite tasty, but I felt it best not to get my body used to such abundance. After a healthy portion, I simply put some grapes and apricots on my plate and slowly ate while allowing time to pass.
Again there had been no chairs, but sturdy padded seats gave us a comfortable place at the table. As I felt that we would be waiting for a time, I moved to the door and stepped out to look over the Enchanted Sea. Across the water was a coast with many signs of habitations with a major civilization to my right. Wondering how much of this fantastic land I would truly come to know, I tried to at least get enough of a view to ask questions or make references later. When I turned to go back to the laden table, I saw Queen Titania approach.
“You are married?” she asked.
“Yes, to a wonderful dancer.”
“Did she seek you or did you seek her?”
Hoping to ease any discomfort with my words, I bowed as I said, “As I told you earlier, noble lady, my father bestowed her upon me.”
“With all the information and direct experience set before Prince Chamorrick, he still is set upon this quest?”
Those words came out with an ease that I felt the earlier statements were just to set up the question. I honestly felt that Chamorrick had presented himself properly earlier, so thought about what Queen Titania had said and the goals of my half-brother before making a reply. Not wanting to lose any standing with the lady, I decided to state my words to answer her question with a question.
“Is it truly his fate to just repeat the past should he follow the present options before him?”
“Many doom their future by seeking to avoid their fate.”
For a moment I wondered where the conversation would go, but then I simply asked another question, “Do you like speaking in such a manner?”
“I like giving good advice, especially when the matter involves love, or potential love. When dealing with the pure elves nothing is however assured. I thus find my mind drifting, and such a manner of speaking helps me to find the way.”
I had to nod even as I voiced my support. “Yes, I suspected that even you would have trouble advising us, but I did agree with Chamorrick that we would be wrong not to seek your wisdom. You have been most kind, and the two of us cannot hold you at fault.”
Her body reacted to look at me fully in the eyes as she said, “I am still a noble of this land. You and Chamorrick are nobles of this land. While wisdom can come from lowly sources, on matters affecting the future of this land we nobles have the most direct experience. I believe that concerning your quest I am the only source of advice. Maybe my son, the present king, could direct you, but I feel certain that his wife has yet to gain knowledge of those of before time. I will do what I can for Chamorrick. Just give me more time.”
“I was not seeking to rush you, Queen Titania. I was just attempting to get a sense of the expanse of this land.” As if I needed to support my words, I added, “As an astrologer, I was told that what omens I see in the sky will usually apply to distant lands.”
“But not to pure elves, as they are before the stars were set in motion. Should Chamorrick indeed gain the wife he seeks, he will put Florinew on a path that will take it beyond the ability of any to see your future. Your job advising him will be tough, but I agree that it could be that the two of you enter old age glad to have survived and your land strong.”
“I had the impression that was how everyone hoped to enter old age. Still, you’re right that Chamorrick is going to chance sailing an ancient, although probably wonderfully preserved, vessel in guiding us to the future.”
The lady now turned to also look over the water as she said, “That is a good analogy. It is the wrong type of association, but I believe good in helping me find the way to direct your half-brother. Yes, give me more time. Come supper I believe that I can send you to beds prepared to continue on your journey.”
“Then you will bless us immensely.”
“My time might have passed, but this is still my land. Only by having you blessed can I be blessed. Remember that as you counsel your half-brother. He will only succeed if his land and people succeed. Blessing oneself is truly a blessing to no one.”
I felt the words to be good, but not applicable to the topic at hand, which is what I tried to say. “I am sorry, Queen Titania, but a wife is a blessing to oneself that I believe can bless others. At least, a good marriage. That is what I would like your counsel on – whether or not this lady will be, can be, a good wife to Chamorrick.”
“That the two of you, especially Prince Chamorrick, can only decide for yourselves after meeting the lady. Let me go think again over things on how to direct you to make that meeting a reality.”
Advice is given, which means our men must set off again.