This is the third of my five-part novelette The Great Kasdran and the Fairy Queen that I am posting here and on Wattpad on Sundays. There is adventure, action, some drama, and a bit of romance against a mythological, legendary backdrop.
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The Great Kasdran and the Fairy Queen – Part 3
The great hall of the Palace of the Queen was effervescing with life and joy. It also seemed enlarged somehow. Quite differently from the last time the Great Kasdran set foot on it, the hall was full of light – even brighter than the outside. The round walls exhibited luxuriously colorful flowers all along, where the fully white stones were bound together by lively branches and greener vines. The throne across the hall was like the sun itself, its precious stones shining rainbow tones with leaves resting upon it – not of somber dead colors as before, but green and yellow, orange and red, burgundy and violet, blue and silver.
Fairies of all kinds could be seen at the Palace, and the Queen’s court was diverse and present once more. Fae of all sizes, all colors and shapes, from river fairies to wind ones, from noble and ancient and wise to wild and young and silly, childish ones. Royalty from the wilderness awaited the Fairy Queen as well: the Lizard King, known as the King-of-a-Thousand-Faces, engaged some fairy maidens of the court in an exciting conversation about recent events – he also grinned at Kasdran every time he passed along; the Lion King stood much lordish beside his Lioness Queen; Azinvarsh, King of Birds, the oldest and wisest of all eagles, stared at the Sword Sorcerer for quite a while. He wondered what such legendary being could see in him that entertained his mind for so long.
All guests were waiting for the Queen, for only she could initiate the celebration. Kasdran looked outside through the doors of the hall, and the air was full of leaves floating every ways. Some of them made their entry through the holes and open windows of the hall – Autumn had come. Alynna explained the seasons flow was not the same as in Kasdran’s world: one could never foresee what season would come next. This time Autumn followed Spring, but after that there could be Summer, Winter, or even another Spring.
The sorceress would come in alongside the Queen and the maidens of the court. She and Kasdran had retrieved the Queen’s jewelry, and, above all, her very heart – that she did not even know was taken away; when she opened the little chest with silver trappings, her loving soul returned, and so did the life in the Day Lands. The Fairy Queen was so grateful she gave them two of the greatest gifts one could hope for.
To Kasdran was given the White Tower, a remarkable building erected by the Fae of old. It could not ever be undone – not until the world itself falls apart. Much of its arcane powers were still to be uncovered. The uppermost room, the Queen told him, had a portal to her Palace, and he would be welcome whenever the time he visited her.
To Alynna was given the position of Sorceress of the Court. Never before a human had being appointed to such role in any fairy court, and Alynna was very happy to accept the position. It was more like she was being accepted than the other way around – an acceptance she yearned for all her life.
There was someone, however, that did not appear to be so pleased with the outcome of their quest in the Night Lands. The Counselor was not able to disguise his surprise when the Great Kasdran and Alynna came back to the Palace alive or his dissatisfaction of the gifts they were granted.
He was there in the hall beside the throne, fondling the crimson stone of his scepter. The Counselor’s black hair was spread over his deep blue robes as he tried to sustain a semblance of amusement. Kasdran knew he was vexed, and that he would never display it out to the crowded hall – especially to the Sword Sorcerer.
When a commotion circulated the whole tower, the Great Kasdran knew they were coming. The guests beheld astonished the first maidens entering the hall followed by the Sorceress of the Court and, finally, the Fairy Queen. The ruler of the Day Lands was in an emerald dress with purple strips adorned with little sapphires. Her hair was wholly white, which matched her necklace that bore stars as well as her crown.
Nevertheless, Kasdran was not mesmerized by anyone other than Alynna. She wore a sparkling golden dress with crystal adornments. She also had her red hair cut differently, and the ruby necklace highlighted it even more. Her blue eyes met his, and the Great Kasdran knew he was in love.
The Fairy Queen stood before her throne and addressed the guests, “Welcome, beloved friends and honorable beings. I am very pleased to receive all of you here, for it is a time of happiness and celebration. The shadow was cleansed from the Day Lands, and the Kingdom is much grateful to Alynna, Sorceress of my Court, and Kasdran, the Sword Sorcerer, whose endeavor brought peace and life and good dreams back to my dominions.”
Many looks were cast on both of them, with much curiosity. Kasdran saw Alynna blush, but not much, and smile proudly. He was already used to the eyes that had been following him, the human, since he entered the hall.
“Another season commences. Autumn arouses renovation. Let us live our lives anew. Let us enjoy them the most. It is time for the Dance of Seasons!”
Alynna instructed the Sword Sorcerer that after the Queen’s announcement, she would choose someone to dance with, and only then everyone else was allowed to begin their own celebration.
The fairies and wild beings made way to the Queen when she started walking through. She went straight to the young human who inherited the late King’s sword. She offered her hand to the Great Kasdran to the utmost surprise of all, including his. He knelt, kissed her hand, and they positioned themselves in the center of the hall. All eyes were on him – the Queen’s and Alynna’s. Yet, something in the way the Fairy Queen look at him gave him confidence. She made herself closer and put his hand on her waist.
“Do you know how to dance, Sword Sorcerer?” she asked.
“I am afraid not quite, my Queen.”
“Do not be afraid. I am certain you learn fast. There is much I can teach you.”
The Great Kasdran only smiled. The Fairy Queen ordered music, and music began. She led him, and soon they were spinning around the hall surrounded by the circle of guests. All of a sudden, she declared, “Dance away!”
The ball flourished around them. All living beings rejoiced as the Kingdom and the Queen were themselves once again. For a long time, she enjoyed the company of the Great Kasdran, who politely asked for a pause, and then if he could spend some time with the Sorceress of the Court. The Fairy Queen did not appreciate the idea, but – politely – conceded.
“Where is my Counselor?” he heard her asking someone. The Counselor was nowhere to be seen, but Kasdran paid no more attention to the matter. He found Alynna dancing with a Fae Lord of many smiles and much flaunt. The Sword Sorcerer put himself behind the Fae so that Alynna could see him. And as soon as she did, she dismissed the Fae Lord, who felt insulted and left the hall.
“Why did the Queen spare you this soon?” she asked. “She usually dances a whole hour or until her partner is exhausted.”
“She spared me not,” he explained. “I halted our dance for I intend to spend my time with you.”
“Did you lose your sanity, Kasdran? No one stops dancing with the Queen unless she so desires!”
“Apparently, I am no one.”
“You are mad.”
“Indeed. Would you grant me the pleasure of a dance, Sorceress of the Court?”
They held themselves in each other’s arms and combined their movements with the music, with the universe itself. There was no one else to them. They danced like one merry soul. If there ever was a first moment when the Great Kasdran and Alynna both wished time to stop forever, that was it.
However, life is never still. Change always ensues. And sometimes it comes faster than we would appreciate.
The light went cold, as well as the wind. The sun was masked by clouds, and a disturbance awoke in the hearts of every being in the Palace. The dance and the music stopped. Kasdran and Alynna returned to their senses – something was not right.
Azinvarsh, King of Birds, left the hall and soon came back to tell the Fairy Queen what he saw. “Your Highness,” he said, “I lament to be the bringer of such words, yet they are the truth for they speak of what me and my eagles saw with our own eyes.”
“Eyes I do trust,” said the Fairy Queen. “Tell me.”
“An ancient evil was set loose in the Night Lands,” Azinvarsh said. “The portal to the Infernal Dominions is open once more. Your Counselor did it. There is an army of demons marching towards these lands led by the Yllysh as the sun is being darkened. The nightmare of eons past has returned. Your Highness, they are willing to tear your Kingdom apart.”
All eyes converged to the Queen. She thought for a moment, and then delivered her words with confidence. From white, her hair turned to blonde and reddish.
“The War of Tears is reborn. I never imagined reliving those bleak days of my childhood. And I shall not! Neither shall any of you! This threat shall end fast. It shall not be another chapter of the war, but its epilogue. Return to your homes or stay in my Palace, the choice is yours. My guard shall remain here. I convoke the Syllanthari! The Army of Light shall march once again!”
The calling for war was heard across the Fae World. The Syllanthari Lords heard it, and promptly heeded the call. The Queen went out to a garden with a balcony where she had an open sight of a great portion of her Kingdom. Kasdran, Alynna, Azinvarsh, and a few guests followed her. A ferocious tempest was coming, and its dark clouds had already covered the sky.
“Come to me, my Lords!” the Fairy Queen called. “Descend upon us all and shed your light on our hearts! I need my people, my family!”
Alynna told Kasdran that the Queen was a Syllanthari herself. They were her kin – the Firstborn, the most powerful, the wisest and the brightest of all Fae. And they answered her.
Amidst the clouds many holes were made and the sunlight pierced through them. From above the clouds, by each open passage, stars were coming down. None who saw that vision ever forgot it: a rain of stars pouring over the Day Lands of the Fairy Kingdom.
As the light of the stars diminished, they revealed themselves as ships, and every one of them was full of Syllanthari warriors. They were fair, of white and golden armor, and their hairs were black. Kasdran saw many different skin colors, and he knew the black hair was a dangerous sign alike the Queen’s.
From every ship came a Syllanthari Lord. From the biggest of all stepped out to the garden an old and majestic Fae. He possessed a spear with a blade of lightning. His voice was deep and limpid when he spoke to the Queen, “I heard your calling, Your Highness, Sovereign of the Firstborn and Queen of the Fairy Kingdom. How may we serve you?”
“Lord Eudalos, my faithful master, Warden of the Skies and Protector of the Light, I wish our meeting had taken place in a different setting. The Kingdom is in great turmoil. Yet again the gates of the Infernal Dominions are open; war is upon us. The Yllysh are leading demons and devastation crosswise all lands, and they shall advance no more. They are coming here, they are coming for my throne. Hold position at the twilight zone; if your line breaks, retreat here and defend the Mountain of Clouds at all cost. This shall be our last stand. I shall depart on another quest to grant us ultimate victory, and I need all the time you can give me in order to do so.”
“As you command, my Queen. Do you wish for the escort of any Stellar Guardian?” he asked, making a gesture to comprise the Syllanthari warriors behind him.
“I am grateful, but I refuse, for my companions are chosen already. It is time for us to part ways. All my blessings go with you, Lord Eudalos.”
“You honor us, Your Highness. We shall meet again.”
Lord Eudalos sailed his ship on the air to the west towards the Night Lands. The Syllanthari intonated a magnificent chant which echoed the wonders of the stars and the millennia of life’s beauty and resilience. The Great Kasdran had never heard such inspiring music.
“Azinvarsh, take me to Angels’ Dwelling,” the Queen ordered. “Alynna and Kasdran, you shall come along too. Each of us has a role to play in this war… Then let us play.”
The King of Birds took them on his back, for he was the largest of the eagles. On their flight north to Angels’ Dwelling, they could feel a strange coldness in the air. A shiver ran across the Kingdom. The Fae World was being hurt, and it feared its fate. It let all who lived feel it. At distance, the Primal Tree had its leaves bustling.
[End of Part 3]
Part 4 next sunday. See you!