Without a Light I See

Chapter Twenty-Nine

It felt strange to actually find myself considering the reality of being the Prince of the Nevaire.  While I had been raised among fairies, and considered a fairy myself, I had not thought of going among humans to be a problem.  My years of living with those not of the fey did not bother me.  I had actually felt at home.  No one considered me to be something apart, something peculiar, but gave me a bed, a place to stay, while speaking their thanks for what I was doing for them.  To find myself with the prospect of now making a life with a human lady and living in her castle however seemed strange with only my standing as being the Prince of the Nevaire being the justification for the possible change in my life.

Jelnaya was human.  While she had an exotic history claiming other worlds and the status of a divine champion, nothing spoke of her ancestry as being anything but human.  Any children we had would have some fey in their blood, but not enough to have them seek the Nevaire as a refuge.  The stories of Jelnaya and her family would be much stronger in influencing our offspring.

Approaching the dark whirlpool I felt an attraction, and reaching out with a hand I could sense a response.  Being asked who I was, I wondered about gaining a greeting in not being a fey of this world.  The ones I knew were very fixated on places and duties.  When I left the Nevaire I expected to feel the urge to return or for some fey to come to me and spend time lecturing on things of my nature.  That never happened, which bothered me, although what my mother told me did explain some things of my special status.   That knowledge however did not have me feel any confidence in gaining a response of allowing me to pass.

“You don’t belong here.”

Not being surprised with those words, I replied, “No, but you allowed another to pass that also did not belong here.  He had a key, a passage stone, that you took from him.  He had problems on his journey, problems that we are seeking to resolve.  To do that, we ask to pass.”

“What will you give for us to allow you to pass?”

Not having anything of my fairy life with me, except my sword that I was not going to part with, I tried a tactic that had a possibility of working.  “The problems have come here.  The problems were here.  We will give you the blessing of removing the problems before they become a part of you.”

“That is not a gift.”

“Then I will tell the others that you are willing to face this problem on your own.  Actually, we have another way.  Instead of going the way he went, we can go the way he came.”

What had been a strange voice now revealed itself to be more that of a man even as I saw a misty form rise from the swirling vortex.  “The one that passed did not speak of seeking one such as you.”

“He did not seek one such as me.  He did not find me, but neither did he find the one he sought.  One came for me to accompany him, and it was due to me that he found the one he sought.”

“You will vouch for those that pass?”

“They are an odd, powerful group, but they are able to resolve the problem.  I will vouch for them.  One of them, possibly the most powerful of them, I am entertaining the idea of having her as my wife.  The others will be gracious because of their relationship with her.”

The one that stepped out appeared very much like my father.  The resemblance was close enough that it took me by surprise.  There was however a youth, a strength, in his bearing that I had never noticed in my father.

He said, “I sense what you sense, and for that reason I will allow you to pass.  I wish to speak with you.”

I replied, “I promise that we wish no harm.  We only seek a resolution of the problem.  If there is an urgency, a rudeness, in us, it is because we do not want the trouble to continue.”

“Come, but you are their guide.  They need to know to listen to you.”

I heard the voice of Baron Ferrigote say, “We’re right here, Potorly.  Most of us have some experience with the fey, so should understand what instructions you give.”

Wondering about the truth of what was said, I asked, “Jelnaya, do you have experience with fey?”

She replied, “Quite a bit.  I have been given the family property on an island with a good population of fey.  My father gained it as a retreat where he would be completely away from work.  I expect my brother to end up using it for the same purpose.  I however struck up a friendship with the dragon, and have added a couple of dryads and a nymph to the property.  If you stay with me, I might take you there one day.”

The man asked, “Is that the one you are entertaining the possibility of having as a wife?”

I answered, “Yes.  This is Honored Duchess Jelnaya of Phanigist, although has a rich history from other places.”

“I now know why this has happened.  Come, as if I stop you, you will be correct that the problem will become a part of us.”

I looked to see the ones that had been identified as coming with me.  Strangely, I reached out for Jelnaya and found her to take my hand.  That contact gave me the confidence to begin moving, and I found the one that had been speaking to smile as I stepped forward.  Looking to assure the ones with me were coming, I proceeded into the vortex.

There was more of a sense of passing than I experienced with the portals between worlds.  With them there was a sudden realization of being in a completely different reality.  The vortex felt like a tunnel, another passage down below like the one we took from the church to enter the room.  As I found myself surrounded by trees with only a path through some undergrowth, I spoke to let Jelnaya and the others know that I found some familiarity with the experience of passing into this realm.

“Going to the Nevaire also has you feel that you are traveling below ground.  It’s not.  There is the sun in the sky, wind, rain, and all the other experiences of being outside.”

Baron Ferrigote said, “Well, no one to meet us.”

“It’s not like they were expecting us.”

“Why not?  They should have at least had someone on guard.  They had the monsters outside.  Surely our attacking them would have alerted these people.”

Jelnaya said, “You’re thinking like a military leader, Great-uncle, and not like the fey.  They exist for a purpose.  Their purpose is not to wage war.”

“And how do you know that?”

“I told you that I own an island where there is a strong population of fey, which I have added to.  The dryads are fey.  The nymph isn’t, but the dryads are.  What I learned there had me speak with the pixies of the centaur world, and I learned more.”

“You agree with her, Potorly?”

“Uh, yes,” I said actually surprised to be put on the spot.  “As nobles, there is a responsibility to protect the land.  That is why I was taught to fight.  It is part of my purpose to defend those being troubled, which helped me feel comfortable in a role as a local hero.”

“Okay, so, any advice on where to go.”

Lerdiyo said, “I can take you to where I was taken.”

“No.”  Jelnaya countered, then turned to me to ask, “What is out of place, Potorly?”

I was again fascinated by her appearance.  The red and yellow hair did not appear out of place.  No lady would have hair like that, but it did a wonderful job of framing a very lovely face.  The dark eyes also did not look inappropriate, but pulled me in with a desire to simply gaze at her appearance.

“Uh,” I muttered attempting to get my thoughts on the topic, which was hard as I had to turn my head to try and gain an answer.  “That tree.”  It helped that she turned to see where I pointed, as it broke my fascination with her face.  “It’s a hybrid.  Not natural.  It’s a product of the work of men.”

Baron Ferrigote said, “I cannot see what he is taking about.”

Jelnaya replied, “It’s through the trees.  I believe I do see it, but no reason not to trust Potorly.  We go in that direction.”

Lerdiyo mumbled, “Off the path.”

“Our purpose is not to follow the path.”

I had to support those words.  “Yes.  We go where necessary.”

Baron Ferrigote said, “I can understand that.  Okay, people, we go in that direction.”

Oprillot actually helped in that his small size helped us see where there was a lack of trunks and the start of plants enabling us to advance with as little disturbance of the foliage as possible.  I appreciated the fact that Baron Ferrigote did not go forward hacking at the growths.  I however found myself having to voice my observation about what should have been disturbed by our movements.

“There are no fairies.”

Jelnaya said, “That is not what concerned me.  Potorly, can you say how long they have been gone?  Has this place gone wild, or have the fey been around tending to things?”

I should not have looked at her, but I had to in order to tell her something.  “That is a good question.”  Again surely being obvious in my enjoyment of her features, I said, “It’s going wild.  If men had been here working, the fey will go.  One of the reasons the Nevaire needed to be sealed.  A fairy land without fairies is an improper place, and it will not survive.”

Lerdiyo made sure we knew, “It was fey that directed me.”

“There will be resistance.  If we can find the rulers, they will let us know what to do.”  We broke through into a grove with me adding, “For this much to have been done, they might be weak or very secluded.”

Baroness Dirchein said, “There is no fruit on the trees.  What kind of trees are they?”

I replied, “Strawberry.”

Oprillot said, “Well, the trunks are not healthy.  I believe they are dying.”

Jelnaya replied, “It’s a fairy land.  If the fairies do not tend to things, it dies.”  She knelt to pick up some dirt, then dropped it while speaking a conclusion, “Yes, the soil is going bad.  For the trees to be this big, at least a decade.”

Baron Ferrigote admitted, “You are much more knowledgeable on some topics than I am.”

“You had Uncle Althery and Aunt Neselle in charge of building your castle.  You then put Nuchirg in charge of running it.  I actually take an interest in things I gain control of.  Have to assure my people are fed, so I took time to learn something about the problems my farmers must face.”

Baroness Dirchein commented, “Terish told him the same thing.”

Baron Ferrigote seemed annoyed with him speaking as if to redirect the conversation.  “All right Potorly and Oprillot, what you heard is a warning of what to expect when Jelnaya gains control of you.”

I had to say, “I liked what I heard.”

Oprillot declared, “I won’t mind her being in control of me.”

Baron Ferrigote mumbled, “Yes, I understand the feeling, but you guys were warned.”

I did not see any eruption of birds or fairies.  There was no tremor from the ground.  Something just seemed wrong.  I turned attempting to see what was bothering me.  While I enjoyed watching Jelnaya, it gave me some satisfaction to see her step next to me and speak of staying aware of what I was doing.

“Are you sensing trouble or possible aid?”

I answered, “Trouble.”

“Get ready for a fight!”  She then softly said to me, “Don’t worry, I will be cautious,” before giving another command.  “Wait for my command!”

Not exactly what is expected, so a need to reevaluate.