Pippa is an early 20’s young woman who grew up in new york city. She was adopted as an infant by business owners in a closed adoption where the only requirement was that she be read a story book that was sent to the orphanage with her. The story book speaks about a war between the Fae and a rogue band of Elves. They gained strength over the years and eventually killed the king and attempted to kidnap the queen. The queen had come from non-royal bloodline and had an old friend that was able to help her and her infant daughter escape. To protect her daughter this old magic friend created a special portal where he took the infant to a land without magic and brought her to an orphanage.
Fast forward 20+ years and, Pippa, the infant--is off at college when devastating news of an accident involving her parents comes to her. Her adoptive parents have passed in an automobile accident. She finds her old childhood storybook and later meets a man. This man will be your character, Seka. This man will be the one who will help Pippa learn about her past and learn the Fae magic that exists inside of her. He has come for her because the rogue Elves have discovered where her real mother has been hiding and if she is killed the whole Fae land will fall into ruins. This man was an apprentice of the High Wizard that brought Pippa to the land of no magic all those years ago. The High Wizard had taught this man that three magic talisman were hidden within the lands of Zauberei.
The three talisman are hidden within the three kingdoms of Zauberei. The three kingdoms are the Kingdom of the Elves, The Kingdom Fae, and the Kingdom of the Wizards. The three kingdoms of Zauberei have worked well for centuries together. It wasn’t until a band of rogue Elves broke away from the Kingdom of the Elves. They wanted to conquer the two other kingdoms and rule the entire land of Zauberei. Their secret, yet not so secret, campaign of hatred and violence grew followers in all three kingdoms, thus creating an army strong enough to attack the first of the two Kingdoms, Kingdom Fae. Each Kingdom was given a talisman by the First White Wizard Aldrich. This wizard helped create the lands of Zauberei when magic was seen by non magic people as evil. Zauberei became a safe haven for those that needed to escape from persecution. The talisman were given to each Kingdom to protect them, as the one who holds all three will become the greatest ruler of the entire lands of Zauberei.
Zauberie: These lands were created by the Great White Wizard as a refuge for those persecuted for their magic. It consists of three kingdoms. These kingdoms are ruled by Elves, Fae, and Wizards. However, these are not all the magical creatures that live within the lands.
Kingdom of the Elves: This Kingdom is cooler surrounded by ice and is described as a winter wonderland in all seasons. Great ice and snow capped mountains are found amongst its border dividing the kingdom from the other three. Located in the upper left corner of the lands of Zauberei it is the smallest of the three kingdoms.
Kingdom Fae: This kingdom is said to be an eternal spring. Flowers, forests, and waterfalls are found everywhere. Nestled in the upper right corner of the lands of Zauberei, it spans down into the Eastern portion of the secret continent.
Kingdom of the Wizards: Below the Kingdom of the Elves and the Kingdom Fae lies the Kingdom of the Wizards. This great kingdom stretches across the Southern portion of the lands of Zauberei from the Western coast to the Eastern coast. This is the largest of the three kingdoms in land mass, however the smallest in population of actual wizards. Forests line the border between Kingdom Fae and Kingdom of the Wizards, while jutting mountains line the border with Kingdom of the Elves. Reaching down from the mountains are caves, large rock gardens and deserts, where the mining Dwarves reside. Across from this land to the East are fields of flowers and meadows that wrap around the Southern base of the Kingdom. This is where the small villages of witches and wizards have made home.
Elves: Humanoid beings with nocturnal solar magic. They are fair in skin, hair, and eye colors. They are taller than the average human, ranging in size from six - seven feet tall. Magic was said to be bestowed on them from the creator of the moon, thus giving them magic that controls tidal waves, gravity, and can shape shift and control nocturnal animals.
Fae: Humanoid beings with tones of the sun in skin, hair, and eye color. They are slightly smaller than the average human, ranging in size from four to five feet tall. Fae magic was given by Mother Nature herself, allowing for the ability to control nature such as plants, trees, and flowers. Mother nature gifted two rather unique abilities--the ability to speak with all mammals and the ability to fly.
Wizards/witches: The most human in the magical lands, wizards and witches look and act just like non-magical people. They come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. They were blessed with the magic of the elements. Wizards and witches can utilize and control fire, air, earth, and water. This gives great abilities as they are able to conjure and control all magic forms. Having such great power does not come without responsibility--wizards are tasked with keeping peace across the magical lands of Zauberei.
Dwarves: Dwarves are humanoid in appearance with brown hair, skin, and eyes. They are short in stature reaching heights of two to three feet only. They tend to be stout and spend their days mining for treasures. They were given magical powers to wield tools against unmoving rocks and mountain bases in search of magical treasures. They are strong for their size and have temperaments that can change on a dime.
I never thought I would be doing this. I never thought I would be sitting alone in my childhood house. As tears rise from my heart to my eyes I gaze at the archaic red bricks scattered with mellow orange and yellow bursts of the main living room wall. The fireplace sitting solitary and cold--its warmth snuffed. The irony is not lost within me and I begin to shake to hold back the wave of sadness crashing into my soul. “I can’t do it, mom.” The phrase escapes me in a hushed tone I do not recognize as I lean back on the dark black oak pillars dividing the open kitchen and living space. “Why did you leave me, mom? Why didn’t you protect her, dad?” Am I going crazy? I know I am talking to myself here. I know they can no longer hear me. They have only been gone a few months and I still miss them so much. The emotional pain of losing my parents causes physical pain so intense I lose the ability to breath and my heart throbs and stabs me. I have sat here too long. I suddenly feel the urge to get up and run. This isn’t me, I don’t run from emotions.
As I slide up the pillar I was using to hold myself upright, I take one last gaze around this empty home. No. It is not a home, this empty house. I take a sharp breath as I notice in the corner of the room a book. The sunlight from the window gently outlines the cover with blue undertones from the glass it shines through. I take a few steps towards the book wondering how it could have been forgotten. I was sure I packed it before the estate sale when I was moving my room into storage? I bend down to pick up the contrasting worn yet smooth leather bound book and my long fiery waves spill around my slender shoulders. My small sunkissed hand slides across the black letters that make up the title, ‘The Fairy Princess and the Wizard.’ Memories rush through my mind. Tears begin to swell in my cerulean eyes as I focus on the last childhood memory I have of my mom reading this book to me.
“Mom! I am 11-years-old! That book is for babies!”
My adoptive mother with her dark curly hair surrounding her plump face smiles at me. How could she smile while I treat her so poorly? I always wondered how this woman did. My father walking in with his blonde hair and crisp business suit in brown tones furrows his brows at me, “Pippa! Your mother doesn’t deserve the attitude. Wash your face, it is time for bed.”
That was the last time my mother tried to read me this book, but even today at 23-years-old I could recite the entire thing. I close my eyes, clutch the battered book to my chest and head for the door. I cannot bear one more second in this miserable house where my hopes, dreams, and love died. They died that day my parents died just a few blocks down the road when icy roads and alcohol fueled teenagers mixed. My anger at the 16-year-old who unintentionally stole two beautiful people was speckled with sadness for the young man who would miss out on a bright future for adolescent mistakes. Despite what students in my cohort believed, I did have empathy.
I am shocked back to reality with the slow pounding of knuckle to door….
“Yes, I understand,” I responded coolly to Aldor, my mentor and the High Wizard of Zauberie. The lines and folds of his face told of a century of love and of loss, the weariness of battle long lost and won, and the wisdom he had to bear from it all. His face was coddled by an endless, white beard that stretched to his waist, well-kept and clasped along the way with beads of silver and marbles of swirling color. His shoulders were draped in various layers of soft pellucid turquoise and indigo blue fabrics and opaque stone-colored cloths. His aged hands reached out to clasp my shoulder and he nodded self-assuredly at me. “This is important, Cellian—without her, we may very well fail this world.” His words were casual but laced with warning and solemnity. I nodded again with understanding. I had learned much from the aging wizard, selected by him to be the next High Wizard, and I felt I still had much to learn from him but time was of the utmost importance—Aldor did not need to elaborate. I felt down to the depths of my bones, sensing the honesty and the significant of this task. I heaved a sigh and pivoted, the clinking of the iron layers as they collided made quiet approaches difficult, but with a simple use of the magic that pulsated through my body, I could cloak myself easily when I needed.
My feet passed down the stone, marble steps of the great hall, echoing in the empty halls. It was late into the evening and many of the servants and soldiers had retreated to their bed chambers for sleep. It was in this peace that I was expected to begin the journey. I was instructed to head up to Aldor’s study in the eastern tower, and I did just that. I waved my hand casually to light the torches lining the cobbled hallways as I made my way to Aldor’s study. I was tense and briefly doubted my own capabilities but quickly chastised myself for the negative self-talk I was ruminating on. It had been almost an entire phase of Lilium, one of two moons that illuminated Zauberie. The pale moonlight softly wove its way through the oriel windows as I made my way up the spiral staircase of the stone turret.
Creating a portal was one of the most archaic and powerful spells and it hadn’t been successfully accomplished for two decades. I silently wished that Aldor could be present; his guidance and presence undoubtedly would ease my fears, but he was adamant that he not be present. He had said that it would need incredible concentration to complete. I could hear his words ringing in my head: ‘You are far more powerful than you realize, Callien, I trust you—if I did not, I would not give you such an important task’. My hand raised to brush away the silver-blonde dreads that pushed into my face. I closed my eyes once I had positioned in the center of the small tower room. Aldor was the only one who knew of this plan—this journey—other than the Fae Queen herself. I hadn’t met her, but Aldor had told me of her great wisdom and beauty, as well as her sacrifice. I felt a pang of guilt for what she had to do—what she had to give up—to ensure the safety of the realm, and I had not yet been able to tell her, but I vowed some day I would bring her daughter to her and give her my respect.
My arms stretched wide, palms flat and fingers together as I took deep breaths to recant the steps. One wrong move and I would be hurling myself into oblivion. My heart began to race at the thought but I pushed it away with vigor. I felt the magic pulsating through my veins—igniting the marrow in my bones and the flesh over my body. I was buzzing inside, every inch of my skin tingling, and the room began to vibrate with an intensity that almost took me from my trance. I clasped my hands together then and channeled the energy billowing in the air and a burst of light cascaded from the touch. There was a loud cacophony of sound that eased into a low hum that gained in intensity, as well. I could my heart envelope my body as the space of the atmosphere and the pressure of the room ebbed. When I opened my eyes there was a gaping hole in the dimension, widening and spiraling, the blackness inside it showing scattered lights and bustling sounds I did not recognize. I hesitated for only a moment before I stepped forward and suddenly by body was weightless as it dropped in the sky. I attempted to use magic to ease my fall, but I learned quickly that although it was present, it did not seem to work quite the same in this strange world I had entered.
When I landed, peculiar humans bobbed to look at me, as if they’d never seen someone land from the sky. There eyes were wide and speculative and I coughed, realizing that I was very much out of place in this new world. My azure pools gazed upwards, analyzing the buildings that seemed to lap at the sky, and I gawked as those around me watched me. My gaze flitted around me as I took a few uncomfortable steps forward. Those around me were wearing clothes I’d never seen before—so tight-fitting and peculiar—but I realized they looked at me the same in my layers of armor and my indigo cape hanging loosely down my back. I slowly approached a woman standing nearby who took a step backward at my advance. I reached my open palms into the air and stopped, “My lady, I mean you no harm. I am looking for an address, 12530 Parkplace Drive, New York.” I had no idea what I was listing off, but I had strict instructions to do so. Although I had no idea the gibberish I was speaking the woman seemed to comprehend me, although that puzzled look on her face did not leave her. “Uh, yeah, it’s three blocks that way,” she pointed in the direction and I tilted my head in appreciation. “Thank you very much, m’lady, you have been most kind.”
When I arrived at the wooden building I analyzed it, baffled by the architecture of this world—before approaching it. I had many questions but knew only that we did not have much time. When I arrived at the door, I spun the knob and pushed inside—at least the doors functioned similarly, although they were much more uniform and modernized. I felt very out of place and had no planned too far ahead so when I walked inside the home and found the burning red-haired Fae petrified at my entrance I studdered to find my words. “Greetings, m’lady, I am the apprentice of the High Wizard and a Knight to the Wizard Kingdom of Zauberie, Cellian. I am here to accompany you home, but time is of the most importance, we must leave—[i now.”]
"What the hell?" The phrase escapes my lips a little louder than I had intended it too. The tall man that had just entered my house was dressed in a long indigo cloak. I live in New York City, so I have seen my fair share of weirdos. What I am not used to is seeing them on my stoop, walking through my door. In swift consecutive movements I bring my phone into my hand, take a few steps backwards, and plan my escape route, “Excuse me?”
The phrase comes out sharp and pointed, just how I wanted it to sound. My short stature, red hair, and Italian upbringing has left me loud, combative, and with a Napoleon complex. My mother always told me I was rough around the edges, and I needed to soften myself if I was ever to make lasting friendships. I was a loner, I had learned to accept that. However, in this situation, my personality traits would help me seem bigger and scarier than I really was, or felt for that matter.
I furrow my brows and glare up at him. His azure eyes pierce me like true daggers aimed straight for my forehead. A slight gasp flees my lips. I purse them again and puff out my chest to make myself seem bigger and more fierce than I really am. The broad figure takes a step back before he speaks and I finally get the full picture of him. The cloak was the least of it. His muscular chest is adorned with an armor made out of, well, not entirely sure what it was made of--plastic maybe?
His gaze upon me intensifies, and the statements coming from this stranger begin to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand at attention. I contemplate the fight or flight response I know is beginning. I settle on flight and I race through the house, grabbing my purse as I run by the marble topped island separating the dining room and kitchen. I turn left, pounding my heels on the hardwood as I run down the hall towards the back door. I fling the thin wooden door open and leap through, being a dancer by trade surely had its benefits--being in shape was one of them. I run through the thin alleyway and reach the main street behind my former home.
Finally feeling safe, my pace slows. I wander in the general direction of Central Park knowing that I can hail a cab with the flick of my wrist on the roads surrounding the preserved forest resting within the city that never sleeps. I close my eyes and walk the familiar streets, allowing my breathing to fall into a gentle rhythm that matches my stride. Before I know it I reach the edge of the park and sit on the first bench I spot. Tears once again threaten to break through and spill into my eyes. I raise my hand and flick my wrist, within seconds a yellow taxi cab, squealing brakes and all, is slowing to a stop before me.
“36 Central Park South,” I rattle off to the driver. My tone is exasperated and all I want to do is get back to the hotel and fall into a deep sleep, maybe even forget that these last few months have happened. I knew I could have stayed at the empty house that was my childhood home as long as I needed, but I had scheduled the showings to begin next week. I couldn't sleep in a house full of memories that I didn't want to remember right now. I wanted to be numb. Rubbing the temples on either side of my head I run through what had just transpired. Questions begin to fly across my mind. Who was that man? Why was he dressed like that? Did he really think I would go with him?
We pull up to the hotel and I reach into my purse to pay the driver. We exchange are thank you,'s and your welcome's as I exit the beat up cab. Still feeling unease I look over my shoulder repeatedly as I walk through the marbled halls and into my single suite. I quickly change into a soft white nightie, wash my face, and brush my teeth. Once finished with my nightly routine I flop on the stiff bed and sigh, "Well, I guess this will be my home now." My eyes close and I recite my favorite book to aide in falling asleep.
“The King and Queen of the Kingdom Fae welcomed their new daughter into this world. Her name would be Pippa. She didn’t know it yet, but she was destined to save her Kingdom from the Elves that threatened the world she would escape from.”
I had extended an open and inviting palm ahead but that seemed to scare her, I could see her pupils expand and I could feel her panic in the buzz of the air around me. I clasped my gloved hands behind me and rolled backwards onto my heal, then took a couple of slow steps backwards in an attempt to seem less threatening. I did not understand why she was quite so scared; did she not sense me? Then again, Aldor did mention that this world was far different than ours and that Pippa would have no memory of our place. Had she never discovered her magic, though? I had so many questions that went unanswered in that moment and I mentally noted that I’d be investigating all of this later. Something told me that I would find out eventually without much push, though. I typically followed Aldor’s wishes without needing the details—I trusted him completely—but right about then I wished I had been a bit more inquisitive.
I stood stoically, shoulders back and head level. I had learned long ago you do not bend to those shorter in stature because often times it was received insultingly. Dwarves were short and you did not want to get the brunt end of their wrath—not even I. The fiery red-head scowled at me with intense blue pools and I returned with an imperturbable stare. I almost smirk when I notice her concerned but intrigued eyes dance over my barrel chest and the silver cuirass glinted from the light fixtures. Although almost blotted out by the bright illumination there was an insignia etched into the breastplate—the one which represented the Wizard Kingdome. I hoped maybe that would spark some interest in Pippa or some familiarity but I realized very quickly that this was going to be much harder than I thought. I should have planned a bit better… Aldor had made sure to spend [i extra] time on studying and discussing strategy and planning. Although I was exceptional in raw strength and magic ability I could be a bit reckless—something Aldor had worked hard to get out of my system and had succeeded… For the most part, at least. Every muscle flinched when she made the sudden decision to run, and her spontaneous movement made me immediately defensive subconsciously. I didn’t realize until after her quick form had disappeared through the next room that I had my hand on the hilt of my sword. I wasn’t sure if she spotted it but I smacked myself in the head anyway and groaned. Running after her with my hand on my sword… [i What a great way to gain someone’s trust… You, Cellian, are a bloody fool.]
I rolled my eyes and heaved another exasperated sigh before waving away rebellious icy strands that fell haphazardly around my pale, ivory face. My eyes closed for a moment and I took a few slow, calculated breaths inwardly through my nose. Loud honking sounds startled me a couple of times but the third attempt brings me into my trance. Although I didn’t always need to do this type of meditation for my magic, there were a handful of energy-draining spells that I couldn’t use without this type of meditation back home on Zauberie. Here, though, it appeared most of my magic took some concentration and for a moment I panicked because the comforting feeling didn’t ease upon me like it typically did; but eventually I do hear a soft, distant buzz and I welcome it, opening myself to the sound and the feeling that began to wash over me. I needed to find her, Pippa, the Fae Queen’s daughter. I didn’t have time for this—I had hoped that talking to her would work but I realized that potentially I would have to take her by force. Maybe I’d give the magical creature one last chance to understand and comprehend, but if she couldn’t do that then I realized I would have to force her—there was no choice and she was in danger as well as my home. [i There!] It was a small tug—almost unrecognizable. I could [i feel] her presence. This world had no magic in it but yet there was a distant flickering—it had to be hers. It was almost unrecognizable, cloaked by decades of exterior deceit. The poor girl didn’t know what kind of magic she possessed—powerful; unmatched by even me and even the High Wizard, although he had almost a century of knowledge and study over Pippa and myself.
I decided to opt out of walking in the open, the danger of being stopped or hindered in any way too much of a risk. Also I wanted to avoid any stares like I had received when I landed. It made me feel like a creature of the sky; I was humble and didn’t much like too much attention. I sat down on the nearby seat to further concentrate. How was I going to get there? What was I going to say? Aha! I utilize the crystal in my pocket to help pinpoint the location I felt her coming from. It was like there were endless strings behind my closed lids and I was floating, drifting through the nothingness to pick out the brightest string to follow. It felt like only moments but in real time I had been in this trance for near an hour, I’m sure. Such a strange time-warp this new world brought with it. I reached out and tugged at it and when I opened my eyes my feet had firmly landed. I quickly find the woman tucked into bed, her auburn tresses sprawled out over the pillow and cushioned against her small, oval face. I traced my eyes over her supple lips and peacefully closed eyes, counting individual eyelashes for a moment before I broke my eyes away to look around the room. It was rather cold and uninviting but I paid no mind. Instead I approached her slowly, my brain trying to decide if I should wake her up or wait until I opened the portal to grab her and jump through. I opted for the latter and repeated the same steps that had gotten me there earlier. My hands clasped together as the energy around the room began to buzz once more, rattling with intensity. A spiral opened, bright colors swirling as it grew in intensity and opened. I turned to Pippa to grab her when I saw large, peculiar eyes staring up at me. “Princess Pippa, Zauberie and your mother, the Fae Queen, are waiting for you—I’m sorry but there’s not much time.”
My eyes pop open with the quivering and quaking of the room. Instantly fear engulfs me. I begin to question the situation. Is this what an earthquake feels like? What am I supposed to do? Do we even have earthquakes in New York? My mind brings me back to middle school history class-yes. Yes we do, but not since the 1800's. It was at this time, while spanning the room quickly that I see him. My fear changes from the earthquake to the psycho that followed me here. I grapple with the blankets and pull them up over my shoulders. The stranger hasn't seen me yet, he's too busy doing something. I blink and quietly rub the sleep from my eyes. A bright white light with lavender and indigo undertones is growing behind him. A gasp escapes my lips and the stranger turns to me.
I want to move, to run, but I have no safety to race to. In the midst of my contemplating fight or flight his lips begin to move. In one quick movement I grab the lamp resting at the bedside and raise it above my head as I hear the words he says. Questions again begin to fly across my mind. Who was that man? How did he know my name? He said that my mother needed me? If he knew anything about me wouldn’t he know that my mother was dead? I needed to focus on the task at hand of getting away from this lunatic and I decide it's time to hurl the lamp and launch it straight at his head with both hands. It wasn't as hard as some may think for my tiny physique. Lifting weights had become routine as I wanted to eventually make it into Juilliard, and to do that I had to dance longer and stronger.
The stranger moves swiftly and agilely as he dodges my trajectile and reaches for me. I instantly recoil, but it wasn't enough and his rough hand wraps around my thin forearm and before I know it I'm falling. Large screams are emitting from me as darkness mixed with green and yellow twinkles rush passed me. He's pulled me over the balcony and now we are falling to our deaths. I close my eyes, prepare for impact, and smile at the thought of seeing my parents again. Seeing their smiling faces brings a tear to the surface of my eye and a smile dances across my lips. The tight hand that had been on my forearm has slid down to my hand and the rough fingertips entwine into mine. I open my eyes and see the man who will be my murderer. His eyes so blue I can't decide if they remind me more of a beautiful sky or the ocean I loved to swim in. He pulls me closer to him, I try to wiggle away, but before I know it we are walking out of the twilight and into a cold room.
Fear is not the emotion that I have lived my 23 years in, but in the past 24 hours I would have to say fear has been the prominent one as the emotion engulfs me once more. Once my feet are firmly rooted to the cold stone that surrounded me I yank my hand away from this horrible stranger. Backing away from him I take in my surroundings. The light colored stone was everywhere-the floor, the walls, and the ceiling. Cold and uninviting the room was lit with rot iron lanterns placed on each wall. I shiver involuntarily and continue to allow my eyes to dart around the room. A long wooden table with a dark blue runner embroidered with gold hanging down it's ends was situated in front of a large fireplace. A large round cast iron cauldron hung within the fireplace. Above the fireplace was a portrait of a man in a cape with armor similar to the strangers'. He was older with long hair and a long beard. Adjacent to the fireplace was a wall lined with windows. The wooden shutters, encased in rot iron, were open. The moon shining through it was kissed in green hues from the glass that lined the window.
"Where the hell are we?" "Where did you take me?" "How did we get here?" Each question pouring out of me louder and louder. I spin around and race to the window. Rattling it to see if it is locked. I look out and see a large river with a stone mote surrounding it on either side. A wooden bridge arches across, inevitably the path away from this place. Trembling with fear and anger, tears begin to rise, and create rivers of their own down my soft cheeks. I place a finger to each side of my temple and ruminate on the events that have just transpired. What was it that he said before kidnapping me? My mother, the Fae Queen needed me?
I spin on my toes, glare at the man before me, and scream, "tell me who you are and what the hell is going on right now!" Anger is now my dominant emotion.
Teleporting is a strange experience; Aldor had taught me years ago how to effectively utilize my magic to transfer myself through space without physically traversing the land. That being said, I had only teleported throughout the land of Zauberie and never through time so that made this all the more unique, daunting and frightening. I tried to keep myself tranquil—partially to offset the panic flailing of Pippa—because I needed to concentrate throughout the process, even in transit, in order to return to the correct place and time. It was a winding process and by the time we swiftly landed in the greyscale stone tower I had to find the nearest wall to lean on. I normally had no qualms with my deep midnight linen cloak, but right now I wanted to take it off as it caught the wind behind me and made the stumble steps to the wall a bit harder. I was heaving breaths to catch my bearings, my lungs painfully expanding as I brushed the strands out of my view. I try to keep an eye on her in my peripheral vision, though, knowing that this endeavor was truly only the beginning.
I let her eye the surroundings while I step urgently toward the comfortable chairs calling my name propped peacefully in front of the low cracking fire. I sit and lean my head back and finally allowed myself to feel accomplished for a moment. I knew I didn’t have much time, but surely just a few minutes in this intricately carved and silk-cushioned chair would be tolerable. Besides, it quickly appeared to me that I was going to have to explain a bit to her to implore her to calm down. My gloved fingers pinch at the bridge of my nose and I close my eyes to fight off the impending pressure I feel forming behind my pools.
“Princess, please calm down,” I sighed and slowly came to a stand. I first reached down to the wrought iron rack with stacked logs to throw onto the dying fire and then a come to a full stand, bending backwards with my palms pressed against my lower back to stretch. Finally, I step towards her by the window and silently admire her bewilderment. Truth be told, Pippa has no knowledge of her magic, of her position, of her origin, or of this land—her birthright, partially. I ignore her questions as I anticipate more; the inquiries are rolling off of her tongue and I can’t keep up so instead I bide my time. I can feel how overwhelmingly baffled she is and so I do not flinch at her tone and instead nod at her hoping offering her some validation will quench at least some of her brimming emotions. My heart aches for a moment as I notice tears welling in her eyes.
“Shh, please, Princess, I do not wish to hurt you—I have been ordered to retrieve and protect you,” I stop for a moment and look out over the bridge and the rolling hills outside it. “Look,” I point North where off in the distance grandiose foliage and rolling hills are just barely visible through the mist from the wet weather and waterfalls. “That is the Fae Kingdom, Princess. That is where you were born—that is where you are from. It is beautiful there, Princess, but I do not know all. We must find Aldor, the High Wizard of Zauberie and King of the Wizards.” I motion toward the colossal illustration of the High Wizard hanging above the fireplace. “Please, come along,” I urge her toward the door. I understand that I may not have answered her questions but I hoped that at the very least she understood I was not meant to hurt her.
I head toward the door and hope she follows; I need to find Aldor either way. My quest was to find her but now I didn’t know what to do—she was asking a lot of questions and I had no idea how to answer most of them. To be honest I didn’t have a lot of patience—I was a disciplined, systematic and methodical. I didn’t know how to help the Princess to fathom the events that had unfolded and understand as each moment ticked by that the feisty red-head truly had no idea what was unfolding and she was no doubt terrified. I didn’t know what to say or do—but Aldor would. We passed through the hall first, and I waved my hand once again to light the lanterns lining the cobbled hallway. The hallway was cloaked in darkness but quickly burst into light, “This is magic, Princess, and you have it, too. Aldor can explain this all to you, I promise,” I just hoped she’d make it through the palatial castle without stirring trouble; I didn’t want to force her.
Through my angry tears and words, Cellian stands and I finally see just how tall he is. The armor and his height intimidate me. I feel so powerless in this moment. He is the only thing I know, if you could call it that. I watch as he walks over near me and through my muted sobs I listen to him. His voice is gentle, with low undertones. I see him gesture to the world outside the thick glass window. I follow his gaze and stare out to see giant rolling mountains and the tops of tall ancestral trees dusted in hues of greens. [i That’s my home?] More questions bubble inside my head and I can feel a slow pulse rising under my temples. I shake my head and try to follow as I hear him state that this ‘Aldor’ is the only way to discover my answers. He motions towards the colossal painting above the fireplace. Surrounded in gold the painting is of an older man with a beard too long to be fully painted in the portrait. His eyes hide a weariness, yet I can tell he would have been handsome in his prime. The throbbing begins again. [i This is all too much.] I close my eyes and reach up to gently massage them. When I open them Cellian is standing by the doorway beckoning me to follow him. Fear once again is struggling to escape from within me. As much as I do not want to follow this man anywhere; it looks as if I will have to in order to get the answers I seek. I breathe in deeply, square my frame, and raise my chin. I need to show him I am not afraid of him. I begin to follow with a slow pace.
We turn the corner into a dark hallway. The air is heavy with humidity. Even though I am trailing behind by several feet I see Cellian wave his hand and a flicker ignites the candelabra lining our path. [i What. The. Fuck.] My eyes are wide and I repeatedly glance from Cellian to the flames he produced. [i Magic? Did he drug me?] I realize I have fallen quite a bit behind my guide and my pace quickens to close the space stretching between us. As much as I was afraid of him he was the only thing in this place that I knew. He had been gentle to me and didn’t actually seem to want to hurt me. I mean, if he did he was going through an awful lot of trouble when he could have killed me while I slept in my hotel room. My gaze is now focused solely on Cellian. It’s not like there was so much to look at while walking through the cool hall. Cellian’s hair is long, longer than mine even. The front strands were laced together in simple loose dreadlocks, but the back was loose and soft. The glow from the fire bounced off his hair and made it seem like he himself was emitting light. I was so lost in thought that I almost didn’t see when he stopped moving forward, and turned to smile at me. I return the smile-only slightly forced-and watch as he uses a large wrought iron knocker to sound his arrival to our meeting with Aldor, I assume.
A few seconds later the brown wooden door, squeaking loudly, is pulled open. Fear begins to burn and threatens to rise inside of me again. I shiver and shake away the feeling. I need to learn to keep this feeling inside, it would do me no good here. I want answers, and to get them I needed to be brave. I wanted to go home, and the man behind that door was my ticket there. Cellian leans forward with a slight bow and speaks softly, I strain to hear but it was a useless endeavor. Time seemed to be dragging on as the whispered conversation came to a close and my guide reached out to me. My gaze rests on his outstretched hand-a simple and gentle gesture. Pausing for just a second, stealing a quick glance up into his eyes, I see softness behind them and raise my hand to meet his. The rough outline of his fingers and palms clasp and wrap around my delicate ones. He is warm and the safety of his warmth is welcoming as we walk together into my unknown.
As we cross the threshold and into the brightness of the chamber confusion hits me. Up until now this place has boasted wrought and cast iron, candelabra, and no electricity. The room we entered was as large as my highschool gymnasium. There were large windows beginning at the ceiling and landing at the floor spanning the far wall. Daylight spilled through them, but with the low overcast day there wasn’t enough light to fill the room. Drinking it all in I tilt my eyes upwards and see glowing orbs dancing across the ceiling. [i More magic?] I feel Cellian’s hand leave mine and he chooses to rest it lightly against the small of my back. A slight pressure from his fingers urges me forward and I take a few steps to fully enter the room. The walls are made of more stone. If I didn’t know any better my guess would be that this was a castle straight out of the 1800’s. There were wooden tables running the sides of all four walls with enough seats to entertain hundreds of guests. To the right sat a large throne and the walls were lined with paintings encased in gold and brass frames. Some were of men in battle, some were of landscapes, and some were of individual creatures and men. My eyes danced from one to the next until finally resting on one of a woman dressed in white. She had long hair spilling like waves around her shoulders and framing her face in gentle curls. A gold tiara atop her crown with a large ruby wrapped in diamonds marking the center. Her white dress reached to the floor where she stood surrounded by wildflowers and a soft playful smile raising her cheeks. The artist captured her soul within her eyes and I could feel the laughter bursting from behind her pools as if I was there with her now. I had momentarily forgotten about Cellian’s hand until he removed it and stepped a few feet behind me.
“She’s beautiful isn’t she?” The husky voice from the stranger I could only guess was Aldor spoke and brought me back to the moment. Looking at the elder man before me, all I can do is gulp down air and nod. Aldor was tall, even taller than Cellian. What is it with these people? They must have stocked up on their Wheaties. His amber eyes glowed against the luminescence from the dancing orbs above. His face was lined with the memories of days passed and the achromatic strands of his sleek hair spilled down his robust frame. As with Cellian, a small gathering of strands rested atop his crown with the same soft dreadlocks framing his face. His beard, tight with curls, dusted the top of his knees. Aldor was encased in the same armor as Cellian with the same cloak-only his was a deep mahogany. After taking this man in I come back to his eyes-piercing as they were. This was the man that will give me the answers I need in order to go home.
With that thought I roll my shoulders back and lift my chin, “Aldor I assume?” The man standing before me smiles a real smile, you know the ones, where you can see it in their eyes, and nods. “I don’t belong here. This isn’t my home, and I want to go home,” tears are threatening to break through my eyes. I raise a hand and gently wipe one away as it tries to escape from within me. Aldor holds out a handkerchief in my direction, as any gentleman would do. I reach up to grasp the soft fabric and whisper, “thank you.” These were the first questions I could get out, but as I regain my composure I begin again, “Cellian mentioned my mother, Aldor, she’s dead.” The tears begin again. I have been so emotional lately which is not the me I know. Losing one's parents would do that to anyone, even strong willed me.
Aldor walks over to me and rests his tattered hand on my shoulder, “Princess Pippa, it is okay to be confused, I will try to enlighten and console your mind.” With a wave of his hand two chairs from the tables lining this great room position themselves behind us. “Sit Princess, I will explain what I can.” I stepped back and sat in my seat as the mysterious man in front of me took his. With a wave of his hand the paintings surrounding the room began to quake and shiver. One by one they lined up almost as if I was in a scene from [i Fantasia.] I could hear the music from the scene with brooms clearly as I watched each painting take its place in a circle around us. The first painting aligns between our two chairs and my eyes rest upon it. A man with similar features to both strangers before me-dressed in all white-resting in an inordinate throne. Aldor speaks again, “This is the Great White Wizard. He created the lands Zauberei,” with these words, his arms open wide and gestures out the picturesque windows behind us, “these lands are where we are now, Princess.” The next painting whirls in to take the place of the Great White Wizard. This painting is of a map with bright colors and detailed topographical intricacies. The wizard continues, “Zauberei consists of three kingdoms:” Aldor points to the top left of the map, “Kingdom of the Elves,” he slides his finger down, “Kingdom of the Wizards-this spot here is Castle Eldor, we are here now,” he moves his gaze towards me as he moves his forefinger towards the last kingdom in the upper right, “and Kingdom Fae, this is where you were born Pippa.”
My eyes move from the painted cartegraph to the bearded man before me. Our eyes meet and he pauses his speech to hear my response to the last Kingdom. A moment passes where I am frozen in time. I cannot seem to breathe. Eventually I close my eyes, open my mouth, and exhale, “What does that make me?”
“The Fae Princess,” is the response I hear from the husky voice echoing inside this enormous hall. I don’t understand. These are fairy tale creatures. This isn’t making any sense to me. Why are these people doing this to me? Angry tears well once more and I feel as if I am losing control of myself. I clench my fists ready to fight my way out of this crazy place when I feel a soft touch on my shoulder, the same fingers that had entwined mine not long ago. I am not sure why, but Cellian’s presence is reassuring and I remind myself of the things I have seen today. This is real. As if the old Wizard could sense my next thought he snaps his fingers and the painted portrait of the woman in white appears between us. “This is Aurora.” Gazing at this woman I feel emotions I never thought I could. How was it that I could feel what she was feeling the moment this painting was created. I hear his voice again, “twenty-three years ago there was an uprising from the Kingdom of the Elves and your father was killed. To protect you, Pippa, Aurora brought you to me and we sent you to New York to keep you safe.” It was as if I was losing my parents all over again. I had already lost my mom and dad and now I was being told that my birth parents were gone too. As a child I had thought about my birth parents, and my mom would gently correct me if I spoke ill of them. However as I grew I rarely thought about them; never really feeling the pull to find them like some adopted children do. My mind was racing yet again, will this ever stop, and overwhelming sadness crashed into me. The tears began to flow freely as I cupped my face in my hands. Through my quiet sobs I could hear Aldor addressing my guide, “Cellian, take the Princess to her chambers. I think this is enough emotion for one night.”
Thankfully the small sprite begrudgingly follows me; I almost smirk but there’s far too much whirling around in my mind. I cast intermittent glances back towards her to ensure she continues to follow me, although our echoing footsteps down the empty cobbled hallway ensures that I can hear her even when I cannot see her. She’s bewildered, I can deduce this by the simple, small inhales, the little sound of her lips parting and then returning together, and the way her movements are erratic as her eyes gaze around the beautiful castle. Likely she’s never seen one, at least I assume so from my brief trip to her world. Buildings lapping the sky and sounds louder than any celebration or festival here in the Wizard Kingdom. There was far too much clatter and I am glad to be back home in the peaceful silence of my world and this kingdom. It is a welcome reprieve to see the large dark-stained door, and after knocking to signify our arrival I slowly push through the door that’s already in motion on its own accord. There were guards standing outside his door and I nodded my head as we passed; my qualms for Aldor’s safety had finally been subsided. I knew well enough he could protect himself, as he’d remind me on every occasion I pressed my mentor, but with the stirring of dark forces I’d heard about in the whispers and low chatter of town I was left uneasy. The castle was on high alert at my very command, and most doors and entrances, including the iron gate to the castle and the draw-bridge into the kingdom were overly staffed with soldiers. I’d even assigned my knights to look over certain posts around the kingdom and thanked my small group of excelled warriors for taking on some of the burden protecting this kingdom brought with it.
I guide Pippa along, and eventually fall behind her and press her forward. These are the answers that she seeks and Aldor is the only one equipped in all of this land to truly give her solace. I hang back after, clasping my hands behind my shoulder to allow Aldor to explain and answer Pippa in what I know will be an engaging and endearing way; another reason Aldor was best for this particular mission. I would have simply told her all in one casual breath and been on my way; undoubtedly that wouldn’t have worked to the fiery flame-wielder before me. At one point I had approached the duo and gave Pippa a comforting pat on her shoulder; I could feel her anxiety jittering through her flesh and into the energy around her. No doubt Aldor could feel the emotion as well, a torrent that even I felt a pang of guilt for. I stepped back once more when Aldor began to pull the illustrations from the walls and I watch admiring the skill and grace Aldor holds within him so casually. He is graceful and his motions are without thought although I could nearly do the same, I do not hold the simple grace and poise that the old man does.
My heart does crack when the young woman begins to cry; I’ve never been one with much emotional intelligence and I stay frozen behind them. My hands are clasped behind me once again and I begin to slowly pace down one of the long tables adjacent them, watching my feet as I go to avoid and give privacy. I am tempted to leave, but I do not want to disturb by opening the door now. I also understand further that I am the most familiar to Pippa now and as much as I’d love to escape now I need to provide her with some type of comfort and guidance. She is—after all—the Princess of the Fae Kingdom. She deserves respect with the potential strength she possesses; one that could equal mine as I have come to understand. The thought leaves me paused for a moment; Aldor typically divulges all information to me—there is no reason to withhold—but now I am reminded that I had felt there was more to all of this than Aldor was explaining. I made note to return to my mentor to press him; as the High Wizards apprentice I am owed the truth. I clench my teeth but continue to lend an active ear to their conversation in hopes to fill in the gaps in my knowledge. Aldor keeps things mostly surface-level so I glean no insight and I start to walk toward them when I hear Aldor’s command. Her sobbing escalates and my eyes pan to hers but quickly snap away from the scene. I feel a tingling crawling up my spine and I push it away to approach her. Her pale face was luminescent with the glowing orbs dancing above us in the high-ceiling great hall. I noted it was beautiful and glowing, but it was turgescent; a redness increasing with each passing moment that cried into her hands and rubbed her face. I cringe at the scene and walk up to her carefully, calculating my response to the scene unfolding. “Her chambers are ready for her,” Aldor added as I took a gentle caress of her wrist to guide her toward the door. A hand weaved behind her back nearly cupping her waist and I pulled her near. My heart quickened at the close proximity but I just pray she stays close and does not fight this. I hope, in some way, I can bring her comfort or at least a reprieve from her losses. Losing all four parents could not be easy and as I’d come to realize, Pippa had recently lost the two she envisioned as her parents and then learned shortly after that her biological ones were gone, too, though her mother was still alive in hiding. I knew more than anyone that Aurora’s pain was undoubtedly breaking with the knowledge that Pippa was here with us and not her; I hoped that the knowledge that I’d retrieved her successfully would at least bring the Queen some comfort that she was protected and in the safest hands.
We walked slowly out into the hallway where I took a step away to give Pippa more room but my hand staid softly wrapped around her petite wrist to guide her along to her chambers. A few servants scurried past us and I wondered why they were not in their own chambers for the night until I realize that it was nearly morning. This whole ordeal had taken far longer than I had anticipated and with that realization came the heaviness of exhaustion. It tugged at my lids and I spontaneously couldn’t help but to be excited to get her situated and find my own chambers for the afternoon. After a few long hallways, some smaller than others weasling our way into the interior of the castle, we finally came across the chamber. I opened the door quietly and softly tugged her inside with me. A blonde woman with her pulled back into a pristine bun turned to blink doe brown eyes at us. “Analee,” I nodded my head to her and she returned the gesture, finishing prodding the fire she had started. The room was warm, the cackling fireplace emitting a warm light in the dark room. There was no window within this room and I felt a pang of jealousy that Pippa would not have to fight with the sun today. The servant turned then and approached Pippa and I instinctively dropped her arm now and took a few steps back. “Welcome, Princess, I am Analee and I will be your lady!” She was far too bubbly and cheery for me this morning but I hoped it was just the right thing to quench Pippa’s emotional turmoil and help her get comfortable. My eyes lingered on the four-poster bed, made and ready for Pippa, and I had a pang of guilt--I needed to get out of this room. Under most circumstances--this being a special one--it would be scandalous to spend time in a room alone with a woman. Then again her lady in waiting was here, so maybe I was safe after all. I heard some clanging near the door and turned to find Dorian and Castiel by the door, hands on their hilts and adorned in their matching shining plates. They both pounded their fists against their chest in salute of me and I waved them away.
“Thank you for your timeliness, you two; I will be retreating to my chambers for the afternoon, it has been a very long night,” they nodded to me in understanding, their unwavering loyalty did not allow them to fear of my lying. I heaved a breath and turned to Pippa and Analee, “I am going to find my chambers for the afternoon, Dorian and Castiel are going to stand guard at your door for you protection, Princess. I will see you for the feast this evening,” Castiel and Dorian couldn’t hide their childish smiles of glee. Everyone loved a good festival and we were celebrating the arrival of Pippa although many did not know. I mentally noted I’d need to again find Aldor to discuss that, as well; how to address her and introduce her to the court without questions or was the intention to let the court know and have them swear be secrecy? Ugh. A splitting ache came from my temple and I cringed and brought my fingers to press on the bridge of my nose. [i This is too much.] I pivoted to face Pippa now and took a couple of steps forward to close the gap, the soldiers lagging outside the room with the door only cracked. “If there is anything else I can do, Pippa, or any questions you still may have, I am at your service.”
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