Without a Light I See
I heard a number compliment me on how I managed my time with Jelnaya. Vulge admitted that a number of suitors had been stymied by lacking something to say. Mother spoke of her amazement with me. Having her not speak of her pride in me, I managed to maintain my composure as I spoke of something I considered important.
“I listened to myself, Mother, and realized something. We are not fey. I know you said that you would speak of things tomorrow, but I want you to know that some little tale won’t suffice.”
I felt she was just going to tell me a little story when she replied, “We were not cursed.”
“Yes, we were. I should have known you were at least there.” Wanting to stress my conviction, I said, “I don’t believe Jelnaya would stay away from her children.”
The face of my mother showed that I had hurt her. I did not care. Well, I did, but I felt my situation demanded that I get some answers. Hoping to soothe the feelings of my mother, I added something I really had not yet told her.
“I do want to love you.”
“I have always loved you. Now, let’s get some rest.”
It was still dark when I was awakened. Being told to get dressed, I found myself appreciating that an outfit was handed to me. While I could see, I would suspect that my choices would not match when brought into the light. There was no fireplace in the grand front room, but some light boxes provided enough illumination for people to see their way around. Stepping outside the grand building, I however again found myself in the dark.
Fairies do glow, but their light is not the persistent radiance like that of a candle. People ignore the presence of the tiny beings simply because what catches their attention does not have the properties they are used to. The glittering sparks I however was familiar with, so was able to know my way by following the lights of fairies.
Seeing the cattle lying down had me think of rain, but somehow I knew it was a result of the fey. Seeing the woods lit up while the sky was still black seemed improper. Hearing the voice of my mother telling me to come to her had me think that I might finally gain answers I had sought. The pond was very still, and acted as a mirror doubling the amount of light from the fey making it easy to see my way.
When I came to the side of my mother, the surface of the pond changed to an image of a woman holding a sprite, then my mother said, “Her name was Weshorra. She was a simple, plain lady who washed clothes for people. Her work had her outside at a pond, even in the rain. It was in the rain she met Ipshecorrid who had been wounded by a cat. She cared for the strange little person. Our history speaks of her feeling the need to care for him, and Ipshecorrid finding himself amazed at the kindness of the lady. It ended up with Weshorra doing more than simply caring for the sprite, and he needing to respond to the emotions of the lady. That is the start of your bloodline, Potorly. Yes, there is fey in us.”
I listened as she recounted the usual history of a family between worlds. Some sought human spouses to bring them back in line to what was perceived as a normal life, while others sought to turn our history to become absorbed into the ways of the fey. Mother did try to rush through these ancestors in a manner of letting me know they were really unimportant, but I listened to catch what names I could.
She then said, “His name was Kormakend. He was mostly human, and wanted greatness. It was he that claimed the Nevaire, and he set in motion the events that tied it to the reality of men. He had no support from other men or fey, but won all the same and in that victory our family became the rulers of the Nevaire.”
I had to ask, “Was he mostly human or fey?” Thinking about the history she skimmed through, I admitted, “I would think human, but you really did not speak of the heritage of those we married. Some of those who were human could have been partially fey.”
“All consider that he was human. What the history also says is that he was actually a good ruler. The Nevaire was not brought fully into the human realm. It stayed fey. We however gained the blessing of trade. We gained the recognition of humans, and due to our rulers the fey of the Nevaire was never abused. Kormakend died with all speaking well of him, and his children proud to carry on his traditions.”
Not really knowing any relatives, I asked, “And that was how long ago?”
“I cannot say. Our history becomes clouded with rivalries, incest, and other faults of those seeking power while also claiming to see good. In the middle of those struggles is a heavy influence of the fey seeking to maintain their own interpretation of life. That is where I come into the story. I watched my brothers burn as they sought to claim the Barony of Ikenstell. Their death left me in charge, and I hated our history. Watching over me was a young man who protected me even as he sought my heart. Probably intending to console me, he asked me how he could help restore honor to my home. I told him we needed to see the Nevaire returned to being a refuge for the fey.”
“You mean,” I interjected, “you intended to separate me from you?”
“No. There’s a house. It has always been there. On that property is the Nevaire. We remove the tendrils of humanity and allow the house to return to being the only connection between the haven of the fey and the world of men. Your father and I could then settle in the house as the couple we wanted to be. From all appearances we will be a normal couple with most probably believing certain small forms to be our children. You can visit as often as possible.”
Thinking what my mother said was a good thing, I asked, “What do I need to do?”
“Need to do? There is nothing you need to do. You however are nobility. You are the last heir to the Nevaire. While I am its queen and your father the king, once we do this we will no longer have the traits that make us human. Your father is fey. I am fey. What humanity we had was invested in you. With that gift of humanity also went our desire for power, for dominance, for a relationship with other humans. While your father and I will be considered by those of the Nevaire their king and queen, we will be fey with the purpose and mentality of fey. What true connection will be with the royalty of the Nevaire rests solely within you. Being the last of the bloodline of Kormakend provides you with status. You are more than worthy to claim Jelnaya as your wife.”
While I heard what she was saying, I still had my own goals. “I help people. That is what I have been doing. That has been my life. Are you saying I cannot help you?”
“Your father and I knew what we were doing. Your birth was no accident, but once I became pregnant there were a number of concerns. The tendrils of what had been done to the Nevaire were many, but with your marriage it can all be undone. Stay good, Potorly. Make your nobility a blessing and not a curse. I ask this for the Nevaire, your home.”
Curious, I had to ask, “What has my status to do with marrying Jelnaya?”
“You are the last heir to the Nevaire. Well, you won’t be the last if you claim it. Marry outside the Nevaire, and make your life there. This would be a good home for you and your family. Break the bond with the Nevaire, and all can be set as it was originally. Your father and I can rule as fey and keep the Nevaire truly as it was meant to be. The only fear was a mortal marriage, and you feeling at the death of your wife alone with a desire to return to the Nevaire. No, Potorly. Jelnaya is immortal. Make your life with her and never desire to live again in the Nevaire. Keep us separate, and all should have a wonderful future.”
I thought about what was said, then admitted, “Well, I really do like Jelnaya.”
“She’s a fabulous choice. Acknowledge Onathia for allowing your heart and hers to find each other.” The tone of mother’s voice then changed as she admitted, “I had to stay away. I was the one with the bloodline. Your father had to raise you without its influence. He was to turn your heart from the Nevaire. With you leaving to find a home around Etrasky, his job was done. Now it is my job. I am to assure that you find a life somewhere else even as your birthright is acknowledged. If you want your family, you need to see this courtship through. Of course you can claim any other woman, but here is a lady with her own history and bloodline that will fully remove you from the Nevaire.”
Attempting to think things through, I said, “The Nevaire will still be there.”
“Your father and I will be the caretakers of the passage between the world of men and the haven of the fey. Our nobility will assure our worthiness as the ones to maintain the house. Should you want to return for some reason, come home. Just do not return to make your life there.”
“Just what do you think my chances are with Jelnaya?”
“Very good. Now that I am fully letting you know your birthright, stand proud and feel yourself worthy of gaining her hand. I am here for you. As Queen of the Nevaire, I will aid you in every way possible. It is my time to have you in my life, and I want you to grow to love me.”
I looked around at the surrounding fey, then said, “You said they would ever be in attendance.”
“You are the heir to the Nevaire. What Kormakend did was to alter the reality of the Nevaire. Upon the end of his lineage the Nevaire will no longer exist to the bulk of humanity. For that reason, what your father and I had to do was make you part of an immortal pact. That is what makes Jelnaya the perfect wife for you. She is immortal as well. With her as your wife the fey can feel safe that the Nevaire will ever be their haven, and that will benefit them and this world of men.”
I lifted my eyes, and seeing the light of the sun I said, “Well, I guess I have to return and get to work.” Seeing my mother look at me, I told her, “I have a book to read.”
She smiled as she replied, “I’ll try not to disturb you.”
Going back to the castle I heard my mother speak of some of the stories of those years when her ancestors were in power. They really were not interesting, but what I would consider the usual tales of any powerful family. I still appreciated hearing those stories, as I did want to know. I had to hug my mother after one series of events just to let her know that I would listen to everything she had to say.
I broke from the group of fey seeing a farmer in trouble. He had a horse that had gone lame. Fey really did not perform healing, but they could do things just as good. While the animal was not restored, I led the horse away from the fields letting the farmer know the animal would make a full recovery.
Some boys were doing something they should not have, and the rope to a bucket in the well was broke. While others berated the lads, I climbed down to recover the container. It did help to have a couple of fairies fly down with me, as they provided me with the directions to where the bucket had settled.
Returning to the castle, I saw Jelnaya with her horse at the gates to her estate with her saying, “I told you that the things you did would be reported to me.”
“Nothing to be ashamed of,” I replied.
“No. Everything deserving of honor. The usual thing for you to do, which you have been doing, is to request a meeting with me during the afternoon. I told Vulge to do that for you. As you know, you can actually do it in the morning as well, and I am here telling you that I was informed of what you did for my people. Of course, there are also times you can simply show up. Nothing is usually usual for me, so opportunities can happen with it understandable if you find yourself able to take advantage.”
I looked at my clothes, then admitted, “Well, I need to get cleaned up.”
“Do that, then we can eat something. I would then like for you to join me. Gear up, as it could be trouble.”
“Don’t know. Great-uncle Ferrigote spoke at length with Lerdiyo, then Great-aunt Dirchein showed up to tell me about getting something to eat and going with her husband. If Great-uncle Ferrigote and I are going off together, you can expect there is a fight involved.”
I nodded, then said, “Give me a bit. I don’t believe the clothes mother has been making for me are really up to the demands of what my life can be.”
Getting the impression she expected me to excuse myself, I said, “I’m going to win you, Jelnaya. I am going to become a part of your life. What mother told me this morning just reinforces my conviction. Yes, Jelnaya, wherever you go and whatever you do, I’m going to be a part of it.”
“This could get scary.”
“I help people, Jelnaya. I brought Lerdiyo to you. I have done things for your people. Don’t think I have not faced scary.”
“It could get worse than scary.”
I smiled as I said, “I am seriously in love with a Champion of Fergush. Already expected whatever you bring me to face. What I am worried about is having something to talk to you about the next time I come to your balcony.”
“Don’t worry about it. I might teach you a song or two.”
And it is time to move the story along.