Herald of Darkness: Part Two
The Faerie Court was a large, circular room that was roughly the size of a small crater. Row upon row of golden benches encircled the entire Court like a coliseum, and in the center was a giant metal tree, which branched out to hold seven thrones, each one designed and representing a different main faerie element, for each of the faerie elders who had a position on the Court. Above those chairs still was the Throne of the Queen--the seat from where Fyora ruled Faerieland. Sunlit stained glass made the shining walls, and the center of the Court was also a giant stained glass picture of Fyora raising her staff above Faerieland.
Today, the Court was filled to the brim with almost two hundred faeries sitting on the golden benches. The seven floating thrones were filled with the elected representative faeries of water, fire, earth, air, light, darkness, and air. Fyora rested in her throne, which was slowly circling the room like a giant clock hand on a branch of the giant tree. The Queen addressed her Court with a magically magnified voice, and her normally cheerful eyes had dark, baggy circles under them. When she spoke, her voice was raspy with exhaustion and stress.
“My Faerie Court,” Fyora began, sweeping her hand to encompass each and every faerie in the room. “I come today with terrible news.” This drew gasps from several faeries, but they were quickly quieted as Fyora continued to speak. “We all know of Xandra, our own student, and of her deeds.” Many more faeries nodded solemnly, and a few more shouted some rude remarks about Fyora’s former student. “I have reason to belief that... that Xandra has escaped.” At this, the Court erupted into shouts and yells, screams of horror, and calls for the sorceress to be taken care of permanently.
“Now, I know that this is a frightening prospect, but let me reassure you that my suspicions are merely that--suspicions,” Fyora said calmly, trying to meet the eyes of as many faeries as possible. “There is no cause for alarm; Xandra... appears to be still under the stone curse. I do, however, suggest a higher level of vigilance until further notice, as-”
The Queen stopped when Seria, the representing light faerie sitting on the throne on the metal tree, shot a fistful of sparks into the air; a sign of someone wishing to speak.
“Excuse me, Queen,” Seria’s voice was high pitched and sparkly, matching perfectly with her dazzling dress, “but would you mind me asking why we need to be vigilant if, as you put it, Xandra is still a statue? It may just be me...” The light faerie paused, and looked out from her small throne out into the crowd, “but if the sorceress is indeed not escaped, then I think we may all agree that we have nothing to fear, do we not?” Several murmurs of agreement followed the faeries statement, and more than a few pairs of eyes turned accusingly on Fyora. Most of the faerie population was urgently needed in the restoration of their land, and calling together the Faerie Court took hundreds away from that job. To make matters worse, Seria was beginning to make it look like Fyora was jumping at shadows, and wasting everyone’s time.
“I know that you may question the necessity of guarding Xandra, and the caution that comes with it,” the Queen said in a firm voice, and her normally gentle eyes were slightly narrowed at Seria, “but let us not forget what happened the last time she was left unchecked. We would all do well to take caution against her-”
Once again, the Faerie Queen stopped as Seria let go of a few sparks.
“Forgive me, Queen, but unless Xandra is no longer contained within her prison,” Seria stood from her throne, and spoke largely to the assembled hundreds of normal faerie citizens in the coliseum benches, “then I think a warning announcement would have been more appropriate. Not--” A small smile touched the light faerie’s face, but it didn’t really reach her eyes. “--A Faerie Court. I believe our time here is finished.”
And with that, Seria walked down from her throne, and out one of the massive doors at the bottom of the Court room. Fyora had to resist the urge to stare at the faerie with her mouth hanging open, catching petpetpets. It was not like Seria at all to be so... disagreeable. Indeed, it was normally the small faerie’s nature to just sit quietly and smile politely in the Court. Not to mention, Fyora reminded herself, that it was the ceremonial tradition for the ruling Faerie Queen to end the court, not to simply walk away at one’s own whim.
The Queen absentmindedly banged her staff on her throne, giving permission to the rest of the Court occupants to leave. Fyora, however, sat on her throne for a long time, thinking. Something definitely wasn’t right. First the security charms being triggered in Xandra’s cell with no explanation at the cause, and then Seria’s most unusual behavior in the Court. And, the Queen couldn’t help noticing, when Seria left, she hadn’t flown, either. The faerie had walked, like their kind never did... Fyora had a sinking feeling in her stomach that this was probably somehow connected to Xandra, but she couldn’t prove a thing, and it wasn’t a plausible idea. How could the sorceress be doing anything, with her entire body incased in stone?
For now, it was all too much to think about. The Queen waved her hand, and the great metal tree that the thrones rested on gently twisted into a cocoon shape for the night, good-naturedly teleporting Fyora back to her chambers with its own magic. The faerie rubbed the dark bags under her eyes with her thumbs, with no doubts that she would soon have many more problems to add to the growing list.
The Faerie Court Palace
Two Hours Before Previous Entry
Xandra strolled down the tiny corridor, hands clasped behind her back, and a well cast concealment spell placed on her person. The Court Palace was just as nice as she remembered it, from the one time when she had begged Fyora to be allowed inside. When she had had to leave, the Queen had promised that the young girl would return one day. The Xweetok gave a bitter laugh, eyes narrowing. Oh, she had returned, all right, but probably not in the manner that Fyora had expected.
The sorceress rounded a corner, and her bitter grin turned into a wolfish smile. There, standing with her back to her, looking out the window, was just the faerie that Xandra had hoped to bump into. Seria was gazing dreamily out into the sunny courtyard, rocking slightly on her heels. Xandra smirked, and flicked a simple spell that would knock Seria out for a day or two at the faerie's head, and magicked her unconscious body to a special little pocket dimension that she had created the night before just for this. The sorceress then proceeded to cast a complicated glamour spell over herself, changing her outward appearance. There was nothing to be done for the fact that she couldn’t fly; there was no magic that could give her that ability. No, she would have to manage as best she could for today, until Jhudora worked something out with her. But then again, Xandra reasoned with herself, putting the finishing touches on her dress, once they had captured all seven faerie element reps, they would have to create magic-stuffed puppets. They couldn’t go around disguising themselves as seven people at once.
Satisfied with her appearance, Xandra proceeded down the hall, expertly taking on the personality of Seria. Jhudora had looked on her all last night from her crystal ball, and from what the pair could gather, the light faerie Court member wasn’t particularly loud spoken in her conversations with coworkers. Xandra knew herself well enough, though, to predict that she would try to outdo her objective once Fyora had called today’s Court. She had to downplay the fear of herself returning as much as possible; something that wouldn’t be easy given the chosen faerie’s manner. That, though, was also something that couldn’t be fixed. Seria was the least powerful of the seven faeries on the Higher Court, and neither Xandra nor Jhudora had much magic to spare in the way of battling. Their approach to domination was a different kind, very different from the blunt attack Xandra had tried, but one that still required just as much, if not more, magical expertise.
Finally, the great silver and gold doors to the Faerie Court appeared, branching off a large, circular atrium on the Palace. Xandra could already hear the buzz of hundreds of different voices talking at once through the closed gates, and wondered if Fyora herself had arrived yet. She was aware of the security spell mishap on the night of her escape, and that the Faerie Queen had taken it very seriously. So seriously as to be the main reason for the Court calling itself.
Xandra sighed, and rubbed her hands together. Now wasn’t the time for thoughts on failure, she thought. Now was the time to think of the task on hand, and to keep her goals in mind. Xandra checked once more to see if her glamour spell was in effect, and strode through the massive doors.
She couldn’t help thinking that once she had control of Faerieland, she would order a mosaic of her to be plastered over the mediocre picture of Fyora, the so called most powerful faerie alive.
To be continued...