Hidden away, in the most mountainous and inhospitable area of their world, the Queen of the Light Fae sat staring into the crude fireplace of her temporary abode. She rubbed her temples to try and ease her tired mind. A quiet movement and brief swish of air were her only warning that someone had entered the room.
She tensed to leap away if necessary but relaxed in the next moment as she recognized her brother, who walked toward her and took a seat in the other chair across from her.
“You look very tired, Sorcha,” he said in quiet concern as he slumped, stretching his long legs out before the fire and folding his wings tight to his back.
“I am, Conall, but there’s been no time for much rest as you well know,” she sighed.
“Aye, that I do.”
Silence fell for some minutes before she asked, “So, what is the news?”
He sighed and stared up at the high ceiling above him as if it would have the answers he sought. “The Dark King has moved his forces through the Aziza’s territory, chasing the good people before his dark hordes. They seek sanctuary with us, and I granted it.”
She moaned in distress. So many of her people were being chased from their homes, many killed or captured with the remnants barely managing to reach her meager place of safety. The war was wearing on her. After more than a century of fighting, all were sick of it but not the Dark King. His need to rule drove him onward.
Truly, he must be mad, for no Fae would fight this long for so little reward… Dead Fae could not be ruled over, and, if he persisted in this mad quest, that was what he would have. It just made no sense to her, but she’d long since given up trying to make sense of Gareth’s mind. Once they tolerated each other’s presence because that was the way of the world… light and dark balancing one another… but he no longer wanted to share… he wanted it all and the reason was still unknown to her.
Shaking her head to clear it, she shoved the unproductive memories of what once was from her mind and focused on their one and only hope.
“Any word on my son?” she asked.
Conall shook his head. “Not since that brief moment when the portal was open and you were able to feel the medallion activated plus the sudden excitement caused by the King’s most prized Hoblin being killed and tossed through the portal.”
“Yes, which tells us Lorcan is alive and well and powerful since he shut the portal as well, but nothing else,” she said, unhappily.
“That is still good news, Sorcha. At least now there is hope this will all end soon,” he soothed her.
“Aye, you are right. I must not lose hope or my people will. Perhaps it’s time to remind them all of the prophecy, let them know my son lives, and to try and encourage them to fight just a little while longer,” she said, slowly.
“A wise idea, my Queen. I have noted many losing heart over this long struggle and the fears that it will never end. The only thing they can’t be reminded of is the significant time difference between here and the other world,” Conall said, ruefully.
She grimaced at that reminder. Time moved so much faster here than the snail’s pace on Aristal where her son now dwelled. But, there was nothing she could do about that. “I’m certain he is aware of that as well and is working hard to ready himself to come here,” she said stoutly.
“I’m sure you are right, to think otherwise is just too depressing,” he said, dryly.
She closed her eyes and remembered the sweet little kitten she’d cuddled so short a time before unwillingly abandoning him on his father’s world, praying to all her deities that he survived and was being raised by good people. Oh, how her arms ached for him still. It hurt to know she’d missed his growing years and would only see him as an adult now.
But, what an adult he would be, she was certain. Gloriously handsome and strong. Lorcan being a half breed would be far stronger than any Fae, which was why the Dark King feared him.
Which was why he desperately needed to be trained. All true blooded Fae were born with the knowledge and skill to use their powers, but Lorcan, as a half breed, did not, which was why she had made the training medallion with Conall’s essence. Her brother was a powerful warrior and excellent teacher and the only person she trusted to do what was necessary to make her son ready for his destiny.
It tore her heart to pieces to leave his small body under that bush and hated even more the necessity of binding Lorcan’s powers and true appearance into his body, but it was the only way he could live undetected on Aristal.
Now that he was an adult, the medallion she’d left with him should have told him his history and begun his training. She was assuming by the death of the Hoblin, Lorcan had learned enough to defeat it and close the portal. At least she had to hope it was he that had done that. The thought the Kats of Aristal had somehow managed to become conversant with magic enough to do, made her uneasy. But, the last time her kind had visited that world, she had seen science held full sway and she could feel only remnants of Queen Callista’s magic in her descendants.
No, she felt certain that it had to have been Lorcan and his newly restored powers that had done the deed. She dearly wished she could peer through a portal to see him, but the Gareth had blocked all of them from her. At least she had managed to keep him from realizing her son had survived the attack that had killed her beloved Alister. Hiding Lorcan on Aristal was the only way her son would live to adulthood without Gareth being aware he still lived.
Unfortunately, very recently, Gareth did learn of her son’s hiding place and had sent that Hoblin to find him. Well, at least the Dark King must be feeling some fear now when his ugly minion was returned very dead.
‘Now you feel the fear you’ve inflicted upon us at last, Gareth… May it choke you,’ she thought with dark relish.
Her momentary glee vanished when her mind turned to her son again. The weight of saving his world now rested on his untried shoulders. It was a lot to ask of him, but she knew he would not fail her… a tiny part of her mind feared he might not want to come home or see her after what she’d done, but she squashed that traitorous thought quickly. She could not afford to doubt herself or her son now or all hope would truly be lost.
No… she must fight on in the belief her son would come to the rescue of his people and do it soon before there was no one left to save.
In a dark castle many leagues from the Queen’s pitiful hiding place in the mountains, the one under discussion was sitting on his throne, brooding.
He was furious when he learned Sorcha’s son had succeeded in surviving and had been sent to that ridiculous place called Aristal by its mortal inhabitants. He must snatch the prince before the Queen could retrieve him, but in planning the mission, he failed to remember the difference in time between the worlds so thought the prince was still a kitten and easily captured.
Keeping the Queen’s forces at bay, he sent his best warrior, huge Hoblin that had been in his army for centuries, to retrieve the prince. He wanted to see the kit first then dangle it before its mother, hoping to trap her and gain the throne of light as well as the dark without further conflict.
The first report he’d received had been only about their successful entry to that other world. But, the next time he heard from his warrior, it was in the form of the Hoblin’s dead body being tossed like so much offal, through the portal then the portal was closed. Not even his vaunted power could open it again.
This angered and scared him to the depths of his dark heart. The prophecy seemed much closer to fruition than he’d ever dreamed. When he deigned to ask one of his advisers, it was then he was reminded of the time differences and realized Prince Lorcan was an adult, not some mewling kitten.
He’d nearly killed them all when his temper exploded, but for once he managed to rein it in. Now wasn’t the time. And, time was what was against him now. He had no real idea how soon the portal would reopen and the Prince stepped through to fulfill the prophecy and kill him.
Cursing, he called all his generals together. His plan now was simple… send his forces to guard every single portal. The Queen, now that she knew her son was alive and well, would certainly make a concerted push to get through one of the portals herself. He had to prevent that at all costs.
This war had now stepped up a notch… the life of the prince being the pivotal piece that would decide who would win all. After all his dreams and plans, he would not fail now. He would be king of all Alaria.
This new development made his fury even more deadly, making his army and advisers very wary of him. Many were nervous and concerned that death awaited them all since the King’s madness overtook him. A cruel leader he’d been before, but he was respected and honored for the powerful leader he was, however, ever since he began to unravel, everyone in his kingdom were leery of him.
Gareth did have his die hard warriors that would lay down their lives for him, but for the others with more level heads, they felt the winds were changing and made plans to bring down their own King before he destroyed all of Alaria with his madness.
So, while the King planned his strategy to protect the portals from the Queen and kill the prince before he could step foot on Alaria, this small band of traitors made their own plans to undermine him and help the Queen to restore their world to a normal balance.
It was shortly after word had been received of the Hoblin’s death and the portal’s being closed that the Queen went to hold a conclave with the leaders of her armies and of those who didn’t fight but were just as important to their well being as the warriors.
They gathered around her in a huge circle, silence filling the large space as they waited for her to speak.
“My good people! You’ve fought hard to save our world from the darkness that threatens to engulf it all with no hope of reward. I am here to tell you the end is here at last. My son, Prince Lorcan, lives and it was he that dispatched the Hoblin and closed the portals. The prophecy is coming true. When my son is completely trained in his powers, he will come through and bring down the Dark King.”
A roar of relief and joy filled the room. She smiled benevolently down at them as their enthusiasm poured over her. Raising her arms, she asked for their attention once more. They went quiet and listened, smiles on their faces and a renewed hope filling them.
“Now, what we must do is make a push to cease the portal the Hoblin was sent through. It’s obvious to me that will be where my son will enter. Unfortunately, the Dark King has learned of my son’s survival and the attempt that killed the Hoblin was the result so he will be trying to keep us from all the portals and press us even harder.
I know we are all tired of this war he’s brought upon us, but I implore you all to have the strength to hold on just a little longer. We are closer to freedom than ever before. Just a little more effort and we’ll have peace again.
Are you with me?”
A roar of approval and cries for the King’s head greeted her plea. She smiled in relief and joined them in their roar of defiance against the King.
Author’s Note: Places and terms I’m using explained:
Aziza: A beneficent fairy race that lives in a forest and provides good magic to hunters. They also give practical and spiritual knowledge to people. Many of their elders are called the White Fae and hold positions as the Queen or King’s advisers.
Hoblin: A goblin type creature, cruel, ugly, powerful and hard to kill. They are the main fighters of the Dark King’s army and his guards.
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