Young Jhudora and Queen Fyora
When Jhudora woke up, the windows had been boarded up. She looked around the room and realized that something was wrong. She ran into the kitchen and gasped when she saw The Elder sitting on the floor, staring blankly at the wall.
Jhudora ran to The Elder and saw a piece of paper in her hand. There were no pictures, only words in New Fae. The Elder glanced over at Jhudora. The Elder stood and grabbed Jhudora by the arms, leading her back into the bedroom. The Elder pointed at a spot in the corner of the room and whispered, “Sit there and don’t move until you hear the coronation bells. Do not move until you hear them. I don’t know what will happen after they ring, but I do know what will happen if they find you before they ring. Please, please, sit still until you hear the bells.”
Without asking a single question, Jhudora sat down in the corner.
The Elder whispered, “Hide, pull your wings around you so that you could be mistaken for something else!”
Jhudora wrapped her small body up in her large wings.
The Elder paused. She saw the Fyora doll Jhudora had left on her bed. The Elder grabbed the doll and whispered, “Jhudora . . . One last thing . . .”
Jhudora unwrapped herself before looking up at The Elder. The Elder handed Jhudora the doll before hugging her tightly.
The Elder began to sob as she pulled away from Jhudora. “Don’t move until you hear the coronation bells.” With that, The Elder turned and bolted out of the door.
Jhudora held the doll close to her as she wrapped her wings around herself again. Jhudora began to sob as silently as she could. She instantly hated herself for not asking what was happening, but at the same time, she knew that The Elder had told her everything that The Elder thought that she needed to know.
She shook slightly when she heard nails being hammered into the door to the cottage. She wanted to run out and ask what was happening, but she knew that she had to honor The Elder’s commands.
Through the boarded doors and windows, Jhudora could hear screaming outside. There were strange faeries barking in New Fae. Suddenly, Jhudora could hear The Elder’s voice. She was shouting in Dark Fae, “We are peaceful. We will not protest. We will not fight. We will follow the orders of The Queen as any good faerie would. I hope with all of my heart that this will allow The
Queen to see that we are nothing to be feared.”
There was a moment of silence, and then The Elder screamed out her decree again. Then she screamed it out again. Jhudora hugged her doll even tighter with each proclamation.
Each time The Elder called out, her voice became fainter and fainter. With each subsequent shout, Jhudora became more unsure if it was The Elder or an echo in her memory.
Once the sun had set, the echos in Jhudora’s head stopped. She simply hugged her doll and stayed wrapped in her wings. However, she had not eaten that entire day. Every moment her wings stay stretched around her body, she felt more and more pain. She closed her eyes tightly and unfurled her wings. She nestled herself into a more comfortable position and promised herself that she wouldn’t move again.
She was able to force herself to sleep until the sun rose again. However, by that time her stomach began to growl loudly. She began to cry as she hugged the doll close to her. Not only did she not know why she was alone, she didn’t know how to survive alone.
That’s when she heard a scratching noise coming from above her head. One of the windows hadn’t been properly boarded. Outside that window was a bartamus holding a carrot, Jhudora’s eyes widened as the bartamus barged its way into the room and plopped itself in front of her.
The bartamus kicked the carrot at her. She picked it up and ate it as quickly as she could. The bartamus waddled over to her. Jhudora reached out and petted it. The petpet rubbed against her hand, cooing slightly.
The bartamus quickly flew out of the room. Jhudora covered her mouth with her hand as she let out a muffled sob. Not only had The Elder left, her newest friend had left too! However, the bartamus quickly came back, holding a stale biscuit. Jhudora smiled brightly and took the biscuit for herself. She petted the bartamus as she slowly chewed on the baked good.
She was afraid to speak, but she wanted the bartamus to know she was okay. With one arm holding the Fyora doll close to her, she used her free arm to scoop up the bartamus and hold it closely also. She looked up at the ceiling and sighed, hoping the coronation bells would finally ring.
In the heart of Faerieland, the preparations for the coronation were underway.
“Fyora!” An exasperated light faerie cried out, “Stay on task!”
Fyora glanced back over her shoulder and stuck out her tongue at the faerie. Fyora glanced back at the grey faellie on the table in front of her. She had already put an inane amount of ribbons on the petpet, but she still wanted to find ways to decorate it more.
The light faerie rolled her eyes, “Fyora, I need to show you your duties before the coronation happens.”
“I’ve lived in this castle with this queen for my entire life,” Fyora rolled her eyes as she wildly gestured at their surroundings, “I know what the queen does.”
The light faerie sighed as she glanced around the room. The dark wooden walls were decorated with ribbons and paintings haphazardly thrown about. The colors were much darker and more muted than one would expect from a faerie as feminine as Fyora, but Fyora loved confusing people.
“One of your greatest duties is overseeing the Faerieland Academy,” the light faerie groaned, “And since you were tutored privately, that means that you know nothing about it. So I need to show you what you’re supposed to do.” She stared at Fyora’s back before whispering under her breath, “Or so you can see what I’ll be taking care of for you. . .”
Fyora spun around and laughed, “Delegation, Luma! That’s what I’m doing!”
Luma stared at Fyora. Though she acted like a child, she was a grown faerie.
“Besides, Luma, being the queen gives you magical wisdom or something,” Fyora rolled her eyes again, “So I’m sure I’ll care about it after I’m queen!”
“Maybe so. Can we please go to the Academy so I can show you around?” Luma turned and began to make her way to the door.
Fyora grabbed a floor length coat and pulled it on. Luma glanced back and groaned, “It’s the middle of the day in the middle of Summer. It is hot outside.”
Fyora shrugged and casually made her way to the door. Luma opened it and ushered her out. Luma began to briskly walk towards the school. Fyora rolled her eyes and snapped her fingers. In an instant, they were transported to the grounds of the Academy.
“Fyora!” Luma quickly covered her hand with her mouth. She felt sick to her stomach from teleporting, “Don’t do that! You might hurt someone!”
Fyora shrugged and made her way to the entrance of the main building. Without waiting for Luma, she opened the door and let herself in.
The Academy was bustling. Fyora had timed her entrance perfectly as class had just let out. She made her way through the halls, smiling. The walls were lined with marble pillars which framed exquisite paintings.
Fyora studied the crowd and realized that none of the students were paying any attention to her. She sighed. Her old tiara was being cleaned in preparation to be displayed until a new faerie princess arrived. With her drab, brown coat, she looked like any other faerie.
Just as she realized why no one noticed her, however, a short earth faerie appeared before her.
The faerie was wiry and awkward. Her auburn hair tumbled around her freckled face with every movement. Fyora quickly noted that the young faerie’s uniform was boxy and loose on the girl’s frame. Fyora made a mental note that redesigning uniforms was a priority.
“What kind of faerie are you?” The earth faerie sneered at Fyora, “Purple is for dark faeries, and dark faeries aren’t welcome here.”
Fyora’s mouth involuntarily opened in disbelief. She stared at the girl, trying to figure out what to say. If she started by defending dark faeries, she might upset the current queen. If she started by yelling about who she was, she’d seem immature. So instead, she just let out a soft drone of confusion.
The earth faerie rolled her eyes, “So, what are you doing here, dark scum?”
Fyora squinted at the earth faerie and simply asked, “What is your name?”
“Illusen.” The earth faerie crossed her arms across her chest, “My name is Illusen.”
“I’m Fyora,” Fyora sighed, “The faerie princess who will become the faerie queen in a few days. I am not a dark faerie; I am a royal faerie.”
Illusen laughed, “Then pick a different color. There’s nothing royal about dark faeries!”
Fyora turned around, searching the crowd for Luma. She caved and shouted out, “Luma! I need you!”
Luma appeared from behind a group of chattering fire faeries. Luma’s face blanched as she saw Illusen. Luma held out her hand for Illusen to shake. “I’ve heard amazing things about you, Illusen. Please send the Earth Elder my best regards.”
Fyora let out another drone of confusion. Luma grabbed Fyora and pulled her away to a classroom that wasn’t in use. Luma shut the door and locked it. She turned to Fyora and frowned. “Did you do something to upset the Earth Elder’s pride and joy?”
“She . . . told me I was a dark faerie and that she hates dark faeries,” Fyora stared blankly at Luma, “Why would she say that?”
“Because she’s the Earth Elder’s pride and joy,” Luma groaned, “And the Earth Elder hates dark faeries as much as the Light Elder, but the Light Elder doesn’t play favorites.”
“Purple is enough to make them treat someone poorly?” Fyora stammered, “Purple is enough for you to accept her insulting me?”
“Fyora, you are a child in the eyes of the Elders. You are a child in my eyes. You are a child and you cannot do a single thing to upset any of the Elders,” Luma closed her eyes and rubbed her temples, “If you upset Illusen, you upset the Earth Elder. If you upset the Earth Elder, you upset the Light Elder. If you upset both of them, you upset all of the Elders. And then you are facing getting dethroned, thrown in Darigan Citadel’s dungeons, and Faerieland falling into utter chaos because The Elders wouldn’t know how to govern even if someone like me was holding their hands.”
“Why do you call me a child?” Fyora sat down on a desk, “I have the body of an adult. I have the mind of an adult. I am an adult. I’m simply a . . .” Fyora trailed off. She sighed and whispered, “Metaphor. Got it.”
“More so hyperbole,” Luma smirked.
Fyora glanced around the classroom. The walls were paneled with wood just like in her own bedroom. She looked down at the wooden floor and sighed, “This Academy is like being the queen, isn’t it? It’s beautiful on the outside, but once you get to the important part, it’s ugly.”
“Yes,” Luma sighed, “Being a queen is ugly to everyone who knows better, and beautiful to those who don’t.”
Fyora took a deep breath. “Luma, I don’t want to be around here knowing what clout that . . . dark faerie hating child has.”
Luma pursed her lips. “Why do you care about the plight of dark faeries?”
“Because,” Fyora sighed, “Someone just called me dark scum for having purple hair and wings. That is cruel.”
Luma sat down on a desk next to Fyora, “But Fyora, the queen just expelled all dark faeries from Faerieland. It’s a moot point.”
Fyora stared up at the ceiling, “Well, if we find another dark faerie in Faerieland, we’re going to treat her like a normal faerie.” Fyora began to swing her legs back and forth, “That’s my first royal decree. If someone finds a dark faerie in Faerieland, they are to be brought to me immediately.”
Luma nodded. “It’s too early, but I’ll have it drafted for as soon as you are coronated.”
“Good,” Fyora smiled, “That’s very good.”
In the Dark Elder’s cottage on the outskirts of Faerieland, Jhudora was listlessly staring at the boarded window. Her legs ached from inactivity and she still was starving.
The bartamus who had come to save her was bringing her food, but it could only carry so much at a time. Since she rewarded it with plenty of cuddles, it didn’t have much time to bring her food. As if by magic, the bartamus knew that.
Eventually, another bartamus appeared carrying a suspect piece of meat. Jhudora’s eyes widened as the bartamus dropped it before her. She quickly grabbed it and shoved it in her mouth. She could feel her stomach flip as she tasted the slightly spoiled meat, but she didn’t care. She chewed it and swallowed it and hugged the bartamus close to her. It cooed and purred as she began to cry. She whispered, “What did I do to deserve kindness like yours?”
At that moment, another bartamus appeared with more food. Then another, and another. She greedily grabbed the scraps they could carry and then hugged them all close to her.
“Thank you,” she whispered, “Thank you so much.”
To be continued…