Lage’s Game: Chapter Twelve, Part One

I caught Rebella by surprise. There was a smear of blood on the Grandmother’s lips, but it was tiny. Rebella spun with a yell, but I had the dagger.

I stabbed blindly – but she caught my arm.

And we were stuck. Me bearing down on her with all my strength, her sitting, half falling backwards, bracing up against me and the dagger. The dagger which was so, so, close to her eye that it was maddening.

Fury pumped through me. I willed this with all my might. To murder her.

“Guards!” Rebella yelled as her hands slipped ever so slightly. The tip of the dagger grazed her cheek, cutting a slim line.

It was not enough! I wanted her dead!

The door behind us burst open. Hands seized me and I was flung back, the dagger wrenched from my hand.

“What on earth are you doing?” yelled a voice. As my mind spun, I came to on the floor at the foot of a guard. Before me was the tall figure of the other princess, who was holding Rebella by a blood-spattered wrist. “What are you doing?” she screamed.

Rebella wrenched free. “What needs to be done!” and she turned to her grandmother.

The moment seemed to stand still. Rebella gasped. Her dagger clattered to the floor, splattering my blood across the planks.

“No!” gasped Rebella, shaking the elderly woman, who now bore a slight smile on her face. But the woman was limp. “No!” Rebella screamed, shaking her some more. Desperately, she smeared blood on the grandmother’s lips – only to be wrenched back by the sister.

“Don’t do that! You can’t!”

“I can and I will!” screamed Rebella, wrestling free from her sister. “I don’t care! She can’t die! We need her!”

“Stop being so selfish!” screamed the sister, grabbing at Rebella again. “It’s not about you! Let her rest!”

“No!” Rebella screamed, stamping a foot. “We need her! I don’t care if it curses us all! We need her!”

I staggered to my feet, determined to try again. The sister turned, our eyes meeting. Her eyes swept me up and down – and she nodded to herself. “Guards! Take this one to the healing ward! And this one-” she gestured to Rebella. “To her room! And keep her in there!”

“No!” Rebella yelled, but the sister yanked her forward and away from the Grandmother. A squabble began, but the guards quickly seized Rebella. With a slam Rebella bodily shoved one aside, punched the other in the visor, and stamped past me out of the room.

“See to it that she stays in her room!” called out the sister at the guards who rushed after Rebella.

I was left in the custody of one guard. They picked me up in their arms, limp and head spinning. The last thing I remembered was watching the ceiling twirl above me – and then nothing.

Time passed in lurches. I saw darkness, then I was beside Lage, watching him fish in the ice.

“You’re here?” he asked. “So soon?”

Then, the world lurched. Ekundayo was beside me, humming as he drummed happily with a stick on a rock. “Child, child,” he said, shaking his head with that strange grin.

Then, I spun downwards.

With a gasp, I sat up. My chest was seizing with pain. Two pairs of arms belonging to robed people were stretched above me. They were chanting incoherently. A sense of panic was crashing over me. I had to get out of here. They were going to pullt he card out of me!

I lurched to the side, falling clean off the bed and before a pair of feet. I grabbed onto a hand and helped myself up – and was faced with a sneering Rebella.

“Well,” she said.

Hatred swelled in me- but I was pushed backwards onto the bed.

“You should sit,” said Rebella nastily.

I breathed, heart hammering in my chest. Rebella. How I hated her. The monks, healers, whatever they were, lowered their arms. A sense of static electricity left the air, and my panic left me. Cool calm came over me. I focused on Rebella, wonderign how I could kill her.

But Rebella wasn’t herself. She was fidgeting, looking from me to the door beyond the curtains that framed the bed. “They won’t think of coming here,” she murmured. Then, to the healers, she snapped “Get out!”

The healers bowed, scraped their feet back, and shuffled away without another word. Rebella followed them. Once the door was shut, she latched it shut. Then she pressed her back to the door nad glared at me.

It dawned on me then that this wasn’t an infirmary. The room was small from what I could see, but – it was a personal room.

Rebella marched towards me. “Who are you? Why do they want you? Hmh?”

She was now at my side, drawing out a dagger from her belt with a hiss of metal. She held it between us, eyes flashing.

“They?” I asked. “They’re here?” Could there be more than one ‘they’?

“They want you,” said Rebella angrily. “They are saying they will kill the new Queen if we do not hand you over.”

Her hand was trembling. Her eyes flicked over me like a spider darting all over.

“Who are they?” I asked, feeling a sense of control. A sense I could finally get some answers.

“They?” she hissed. “You know them! They are the Associates. They rule your world, or so they say.”

I made a face. “They do not,” or so I hoped.

“Why do they want you?” she hissed, prodding the dagger at me. But I knew she wouldn’t hurt me this time. She was too uneasy. Or maybe that was the danger.

“Where am I?” I asked, drawing back the curtains from the other side of the bed. My fingers barely grazed the fabric before my shoulder was seized by Rebella. She shook me, making sharp daggers of pain burst in my chest.

“What do they want?” she hissed rabidly. “You- who are you?”

She had dropped the dagger in my lap. In a flash I knew I could take it and slash her throat- but somehow I chose not to. I grabbed her wrists and pried them off me.

“I am no one!” I answered coolly, shoving her back so I could stand. “I-”

“They wouldn’t threaten my sister for just anyone!” and the dagger was back between us. Then, with a flick, she slid it back into her belt. “Tell me – or I will bring you to them!”

That stilled my heart. That meant … “If I tell you?” I asked cautiously.

“I will keep you safe from them,” she said too swiftly. Nodding to herself,she held out her palm. “Word of honor.”

There was a catch. Obviously. But I didn’t want to be turned over to ‘them’, did I?

I looked around the room, hoping for some escape. I gripped at my robe, a strange flimsy white thing. I was barefoot, too. I wouldn’t get far.

“Five,” declared Rebella. “Four,”

I scowled at her. What a stinker she was.

“Three,” she said, challenging me.

“I ate Lage’s card,” I snapped.

Her jaw fell. A choking sound came out of her throat – then she turned to disbelief and started laughing. “You did what now?” But then she tipped her head back and laughed.

Humiliation burned over me, but she seemed relieved when she was done with her laughter.

“You idiot,” she said happily. Then she clapped a hand on my shoulder and squeezed. “You are stupid, you know that?”

I fueled all my anger at her through my eyes, choking up on words. How I wanted to tell her that I hated her right then. Maybe I should try and kill her again.

“Don’t worry,” she clapped my shoulder. “I will keep you safe. Now,” she pressed a finger to her lips and looked me up and down. A smirk drew itself on her lips. She looked smug. “We need to find you some clothes. Come.” She snapped her fingers at me and motioned me to follow her.

We drew to a large chest, from which she drew out some old clothes. They were worn through in their colors, but still solid looking. Several shirts were held up to me until she found one that she found suitable. From there she gave me a tunic to put over, a sort of bra to wear under, and pants. Boots – she gave me some soft slipper-like things in leather.

“They will have to do,” she muttered, cluckign her teeth. Then, she gave me a belt. It was set with a snake biting its tail worked into the metal ring. She set a dagger on it and set it about my waist. “Here,” she said. Then, stepping back, she looked me over. “Good,” she declared.

I had a sinking feeling that something was wrong. Something about the satisfied gleam in her eyes. I felt like a pig being dressed for slaughter.

She took a gray cloak trimmed in white fur from the chest. It was old as well, but fitted me a little largely. It occurred to me that I must look like a younger version of her – was I to be some decoy?

“Now,” she took a white globe from down her shirt, fishing it out with some difficulty. “Hide this in your shirt. Don’t eat it,” she added with a chuckle.

It was cold like ice, so much so that I almost dropped it. It was marble perhaps, smooth white with shoots of glimmering gray woven through it.

“When you are ready to escape, call out the name-”

“Escape?”

“Of course, I’m going to hand you over to them. Then you will escape.”

There it was. The betrayal. “But you had promised-”

She held up a finger between us. “I can’t hide you. If I do, they will sack the city. No, I will hand you over. You have my dagger, and my spirit-weapon.” she closed my fingers over the white ball. “Call their name when you are ready to kill them, and they will appear and fight with you.”

“Kill them?” I gawked. I’d never killed before!

“You must strike the killing blow,” she said softly, “and don’t leave it to the spirit to do.” Then, sensing my dismay, she added “You must kill them. If you don’t, they will follow you back to the city. Killing them will buy us time. Take it,” she pushed my hand to my chest. “Kill them. Then come back to me.”

On remote, I put the ball down my shirt. Then, numb, I felt myself turning to ice. This couldn’t be. It was too awful to be true.

But it was. Rebella whispered a name to me, then nodded. “Come back to me, and I will take care of you,” she announced.

Like hell I would.

Lage’s Game: Chapter Ten, Part One

The rush of prisoners before us scattered at the top of the stairs, parting left and right into corridors. The creature, whatever he was, led me to the right. There we rushed down a narrow corridor. The prisoners ahead of us tangled with guards in brawls they lost. We wove around the messes and he drew to a halt at a window. The glass pane opened outwards, and he climbed up, sidling sideways so his body could slip out.

A guard yelled at us. The creature held out a hand to me. I hesitated.

I was seized from behind by the shoulders. I burst, a wave of anger suddenly crowding my mind.

I screamed, I lashed out. I felt the surge of power and adrenaline taking over. I wrenched myself free, jabbing elbows against armor and thrashing with all my might. The world had dissolved in a haze of red. The guard grappled at me – but was slammed back by a kick from the creature who was half back in through the window. Again, the hand was thrust at me.

This time I took it. I was yanked up, onto the window’s ledge. My hands gripped the edges of the window, and a rush of cold air greeted me. A drop opened up beneath us, one large story down.

“Climb on my back,” the creature said, taking one of my hands and putting it on his shoulder. I climbed, swinging my legs around his waist and gingerly grappling at his neck beneath the hood.

Too soon, the creature, man, began to scale the wall. I yelped as we moved away from the window, tightening my grip on his neck and locking my legs around his waist. But we did not fall. Instead we scurried down, to the side, and climbed atop the wall that separated the castle from the rest of the city.

He didn’t stop to set me down. Guards rushed us, but they were too slow. He had already jumped off the wall, scurrying down like a spider to the ground below.

The guards shouted from atop the walls, but they could do nothing it seemed. He ran, darting through the crowds of people to slide in narrow alleyways between houses. After several dizzying turns, he slowed to a stop.

“You can get down now,” he said gently, bending over slightly. “We should be safe here. At least for a little while until the guards recover their senses.”

Trembling, I set myself on the ground. I gripped my hands into fists, trying to calm myself.

In these shadows, I could see the one who had set me free much better. He was certainly tall, but maybe he was still a human. Yet something about him forebade it.

“Show me your face,” I ordered. What was he? Some monster? He had already admitted to being an assassin. How much worse could it get?

He smiled, flashing those white teeth. “Bossy. That’s good. But here, just for you,” he bent over before me, lifting the beaded fringe from his eyes and with it, the hood up off his head.

His eyes were brilliant golden set with sparks in them that gleamed. They reminded me of cats’ eyes in their roundness and their tilt. He had a tall forehead, from which grew a myriad of thin silver dreadlocks. Beside those dreadlocks, pointed ears poked out.

An elf?

He ran a hand through his hair, flashing me a grin again as he stooped before me. “You see? Our hair is the same. I’m just much older than you.”

I was pretty sure I’d never have actually silver hair. Just gray, if I lived long enough to get old. He was trying to make me like him. I was determined not to, putting on my most sour expression.

His smile didn’t falter. He straightened, brushing his hood back up. “The sun hurts my eyes,” he explained as he set the fringe back into place. “And the fringe helps me hear the spirits. I’m a shaman, you know.”

I didn’t answer, looking around. We were in a tiny crackle of a space between four buildings. A crossroad of sorts. The snow was trampled into the mud, proving that this was a well-used path.

“We’ll need to find you clothes,” he hummed. “Something practical.”

I didn’t answer, but I knew he was right. My yellow and pink pajamas, now covered in filth, were sorely out of place even if I hugged the guards’ red cloak around myself. And something besides socks would be good. Now that I relaxed, my feet were frozen. They stung with cold.

The elf looked around. “Should I kill someone? It would have to be a young woman, or do you wear mens’ clothes?”

“Don’t kill anyone,” I griped, deciding that there had been enough death already. “We can just – steal.”

He laughed. “How ideal. How shall we do that?”

I looked around again. “We should get moving,” I muttered, not wanting to admit that, unlike in movies, there didn’t seem to be laundry hanging haphazardly around for easy plucking. Did people not do laundry in winter?

“This way then,” said the elf, nodding to the right with his head. His fringe’s beads caught the light and glimmered. “I know what we shall find for you.”

As we walked, he began to talk. “My name is Ekundayo. What about yours?”

I didn’t answer, glaring ahead.

“Very well,” he said cheerfully. “I will call you simply ‘apprentice’. How is that?”

I frowned at him. “I am not your apprentice,” I hissed between my teeth.

“Oh but you see, it shall be useful,” he said, lifting a finger at me. Then, he winked. I scowled.

We walked for several more minutes in silence until several people appeared beside the buildings. They stepped out of the alleyways and barred our path.

I hesitated, slowing. These people were all hues of dirt and scuffed even worse than the ones I’d seen when entering the city. They meant trouble.

But Ekundayo put a hand on my shoulder. “Don’t be afraid. They’ll smell it,” he murmured happily.

And so we walked on to greet these bandits.

They seemed baffled by this behavior, or more so by something about Ekundayo. They looked from him to me and back again, frowning. There were four of them, and they looked at each other with arms crossed and large knives at their belts.

Ekundayo inclined his head and said something in gibberish, starting with “Shee, shee.”

The bandits shuffled their feet. They looked at me. The woman that stepped forward with a lifted chin answered in that language to Ekundayo, nodding at me.

Ekundayo placed a hand on my shoulder, and he laughed softly before saying more gibberish.

After another curt exchange, the bandits stepped aside. Ekundayo patted my shoulder and we walked on past them.

“What was that?” I hissed after we were out of earshot. “What did you say?”

He chuckled, pulling the hood up onto my head. “You’re going to have to learn the language of the poor to live here, apprentice. Only the rich speak your language.”

I paused. It had never occurred to me before that English was not universal. But now… “Teach it to me,” I ordered. I’d need it, certainly.

More smiles. Another chuckle. “About what was said. I told them you were my daughter, spawned with a noblewoman, and that I’d finally rescued you from their clutches.”

I gaped. He winked again. “It explains you not speaking a word of the poor speech. And why you look so out of sorts.”

Anger rose within me, a steady burn in my chest. “I’m not your daughter, and I’m not your apprentice. Stop imagining things!”

He shook his head, tutting. The fringe on his hood rattled. “Children these days,” he scoffed before chuckling again. Then, he pointed to a shack that looked no different from the others. “There,” he said. “We will find our friends there, daughter.”

“I’m not your child!”

He laughed.

Escape! ~ Lage’s Game: Chapter Nine, Part Two

I stared at the nearly invisible creature. Of course I wanted to get out. This was a trap question. Of course I wanted out – but what would it cost me? I peered so hard at the creature, trying to think and guess at what it wanted – and then it laughed.

It was a clear, high laugh. Menacing? Cold? It sent chills down my spine.

“I said! Enough!” the guard marched over, banging a thick sword against the bars. “You there!” and he rounded on the last cell, the one with the monster in it.

“Are you talking to me?” the hoarse voice asked. The shape twisted upwards, stretching up, up, up until it was like a tall human, facing the guard. “Do you want to fight?” It was curious, questioning like a child. The hands wrapped around the bars before the guard. But the guard had brought a lamp with him, and I finally saw the creature as he held it aloft.

It was a humanoid shape, wreathed in a large purple cloak with silver-white embellishments shrouding the eyes in a fringe that hung down to the cheekbones. The skin was black like the darkest hue of nighttime, the lips were thin, the nose hooked, and there was a grace to its smile.

“Stand back!” barked the guard, banging at the bars where the creature’s hands had been.

“Oooh,” murmured the creature. “Frightening.”

The guard paled. “Enough!” But he had already lost this battle.

“Shut up,” hissed the creature, turning away from the guard to face me. Beneath the cloak I saw a fluttering of a grey robe, a sash from which hung dozens of braids, and boots. But then the cloak was drawn fast around the creature once more.

It is probably a human, I thought to myself, but I wasn’t sure. Was it?

It crouched again before the bars separating us, its dark hands coiling around the bars. “Who brought you in here, child? Far from your world, aren’t you?”

I didn’t answer, huddling on myself. The guard bellowed again. “Quiet!”

The creature turned to him, then back to me. It was a strangely silent movement. Their fabrics barely rustled. They sat down and crossed their legs before themselves. They must be human.

Breathing a sigh, the guard turned and walked away. With him went the light, and some semblance of safety.

Once the guard was back at the other end, the creature whispered. “I was brought in for murder. But you can trust me. I’m an assassin.”

I wanted to clap my hands over my ears and curl up into myself. I wanted to block out this entire strange world.

“I kill in cold blood. I don’t make them suffer. I’m not like them,” he whispered.

My senses prickled. Them? Did he know- he couldn’t, could he?

I found myself turning to look at the creature. His tilted eyes were glowing faintly, just enough to be discernible. He had a hand reached out for me, palm up.

“Come with me,” he whispered. “I can see who you are. I can tell-” and his voice dropped to barely a whisper. “What you’ve eaten.”

My breath caught. The creature chuckled. “Yes,” he murmured, coaxing me on. “Come with me, child. You won’t be safe here once they bring you to the priestesses. What they will do to you – even I wouldn’t.”

I shuddered. Now that I was looking, I couldn’t take my eyes away from theirs.

The hand drew back, and I felt that they were satisfied. “Tomorrow, no- tonight. Soon. Brace yourself, child. Rest. We will be free soon.”

I looked away then, feeling caught and guilty. Would I run with them? Was this some trap? It couldn’t be – I hadn’t given them anything! And I could still change my mind, couldn’t? Besides, how could they get me out of here?

I found myself curling up on myself, my head between my knees. As if following orders, I fell asleep fitfully.

I dreamed of Lage. I dreamed of Mother, of Father, of Kayla and her final bottle smash. It was terrible.

I woke screaming, to find the air silent and cold. There was a crispness to the air that smelt of the outside.

I looked around, wondering where I was. For a moment I was completely lost, baffled, and it wasn’t helped by what I saw.

To my right, where the creature’s cell was, a silver light was glowing. It expanded, radiating out with a breath of coolness and frost out into the cells. Then it swept back in, shrinking somewhat. It was someone’s breath, I realized. The creature’s breath, their form hidden as a shadow behind this glowing frost.

I slunk backwards, looking around for some sense of normalcy. No one was coming. No one seemed to even notice that something strange was happening.

For what felt like an eternity, I sat there with my arms around my knees. I reached out within myself, pleading with the world for help, for something.

With my head burrowed between my knees, I was jolted from my thoughts by the creature shouting. “Guard! Guard! Come quick! The girl is dead!”

I jolted up, lifting my head and looking around. The creature was standing by the bars, their glowing breath now gone. There was the sound of cursing and feet running. The guard rushed into view, lamp in hand and keys in the other.

I just sat there, frozen. Wondering what was happening, even as it unfolded before me.

It was a trap. The guard rushed up against the bars of my cell, and the creature reached out through his and yanked the guard close. In one yelp and a snap, the guard was over. The keys were now jangling in dark hands, the lamp smashing to the floor.

The silence that followed was punctuated only by the hammering of my heart in my ears. Then, the door grating open. The flames licked at the oil on the floor, lighting up the creature as he stepped out. He was a ghastly shape, tall and strange as he stepped over the fire to unlock my door.

“Come,” he said sweetly. Then he turned and walked away.

I had a choice. I could sit in this cell, or move. I moved. I didn’t know what the princesses had in store for me, but neither did I know what this creature wanted. At least with the creature, I could hopefully still run away. Find my way back to Lage, then go home. But what home was there to go back to?

I shoved that question aside as I stepped over the smoldering flames and beside the dead guard. I was going home. That was that.

As I made my way down the corridor, the creature was unlocking some doors, ignoring others. Then, as if to spite everyone, he tossed the keys into the far corner of an already locked cell that held only a skeleton.

Prisoners were rushing out, pouring and stumbling towards the stairs that led away and up. The creature turned to me. He flashed a smile of immaculate white teeth.

“Here,” he drew a cloak from the guards’ chair. “Put this on.”

Remembering the biting cold of outdoors, I did, wrapping it clumsily around my shoulders. He nodded, and we turned and ran after the vanishing prisoners.

Lage’s Game: Chapter Nine, Part One

Rebella nearly threw me at her grandmother, she shoved me at her so harshly. I stumbled forward, and the elderly Queen touched my face briefly. I straightened, scowling, and her touch was gone. But she was smiling now.

“An ancient,” she whispered. “Too bad I am leaving as she arrives.”

But she did not sound sorry at all. Rather, she sounded mischeivous. Playful, even. The eye looked at Rebella, then her sister. “You two have your work cut out for you,” she said gleefully.

The two sisters did not seem amused.

“Perhaps if we do a spell of reversal, her death will save your life,” said Rebella swiftly, the way you blurt something out so no one can interrupt you with a ‘no’.

The grandmother hummed as she looked me over once more.

“No,” she said finally.

I let out a breath I didn’t even know I was holding. Al-alright? I guessed I was safe then? Somehow I didn’t feel any safer. At least not with Rebella around.

“We must save you!” Rebella cried out, shoving me aside to step up to her grandmother. “Your life is worth more than hers!”

“Then it would not be a fair spell, would it?” chuckled the grandmother.

“Rebella,” warned the sister, stepping to my other side. I was trapped between them.

Rebella seized my shoulder. “It is her people who did this! She must pay-”

“Why?” I barked, glaring up at Rebella.

She seemed utterly shocked at that. At me speaking up? At me daring to question her? Either way, she was astonished. She almost let me go. I wrenched free with a twist, and almost punched her in the stomach. On a whim, I didn’t. I resisted that rage that was beginning to boil within me.

“’My people’, as you call us, could not have done this,” I snapped, gesturing to the elderly woman. “The gun you showed me couldn’t have done this-”

“It did!” barked Rebella, seizing me again to shake me. Now, I gave in to the anger.

I shrieked, kicking and clawing at her. I aimed for the eyes. With a yell she lunged back, shielding her face with her arms.

I didn’t chase her. Instead I stood my ground, seething and glaring at the astonished princess. “Brat,” she hissed between her teeth.

“It was them who must have done this,” I hissed back at her. “They have killed my parents! They attacked me! They murdered my aunt-,” and those words silenced me. Was Kayla truly gone? Had she – finished her fight? Was she happy?

“Well,” said the grandmother, but then she took a cough, and then another, and then a whole fit of them. She doubled over, the other princess and several attendants rushing to her side to pat her shoulders and fuss. Rebella stood where she was, looking guilty. Our eyes met. She looked away, then fiercely glared back at me as if she’d changed her mind. She would not look away now.

After a hacking spasm, the grandmother breathed again. Leanign back in her throne, she looked Rebella over. “Child,” she said softly. “Take care of this one,” and she nodded at me.

Rebella startled. “Of, course?” she said, pausing as if she was not entirely sure what had been said. Neither was I.

The Grandmother smiled, eyes closing. “Don’t let Lage get his claws into her.”

My stomach vanished. Was Lage somehow to blame for all this? After all, he had appeared with ‘them’.

But Rebella was quickly bowing and murmuring that yes, she would be sure to keep me away from Lage.

“That man is trouble,” sighed the Queen, eyes still closed. Then, she seemed to drift off into sleep, peace and relaxation coming over her good features.

The sister spun to Rebella, hissing under her breath. “Get her out of here! You’ve done enough!”

Rebella lifted her head angrily, but the sister gestured at her to leave. “Take her with you!” Then, shoving me towards Rebella, she added “How dare you bring her here! I will talk with you later!”

“No, you won’t!” snapped Rebella as she yanked me to her by the shoulder. Then, dragging me after her, she whirled and marched away.

We crossed the courtyard of greenery, then entered into the castle through another door than the one we entered into. Once that door was shut behind us, Rebella shoved me towards a guard. “Put her in the dungeon,” she said ruefully as she kept walking on, leaving me behind in the guards’ grasp.

I squirmed, wanting to throw myself after Rebella and give her a beating. But the guard held me fast. Muttering something under his breath to the other guard at the station, he began hauling me down the corridors.

We descended a meager flight of stairs, the walls growing darker and darker as there were fewer and fewer lamps to light the way. The air grew dank and humid and foul with the smell of decaying flesh. Then, at the end of these stairs, the dungeon appeared.

It was a small landing where a guard sat with his feet propped up on a desk. “Another one?” he asked, rising sloppily to his feet.

“This one’s special,” said the guard, shoving me forward. “She’s not from here, if ye ken what I mean.”

“Oh,” said the dungeon guard, sounding astonished behidn his helmet. I made a point of glaring at him.

“The princess brought them in,” said the first guard. “So put her alone, away from the others. The usual for their type of scoundrel.”

The dungeon guard nodded, taking me by the shoulder and hauling me off into the darkness beyond the light of the last lamp. There he seemed to know his way, walking straight on. As we walked my eyes grew adjusted tot he dark and I saw large cells on either side, full of ragged figures who clustered together. There were squeaks of what I supposed was rats.

We walked on and on, and I wondered why there were so many prisoners. There were dozens of them, of not a hundred in total.

Past those large cells were smaller ones. These seemed emtpy, put the darkness was growing so thick that it was difficult to tell.

I was shoved into one that was not the last, but before the last. “There!” the guard barked, locking the door behind me. “You stay there!”

I stumbled, caught myself, and turned around.

The cell was tiny, just long enough for an adult to lay down in either direction. There was spongey grime in one corner and scrapes of straw that were scattered across the rest. Tired and altogether frustrated and mad, I sat down in the corner against the stone wall and the bars to the other cell, as far away from the spongey stuff as possible. There, I wrapped my arms around my knees and hugged them to my chest.

Finally, I caught my breath. Finally, I had time to think. The world, having moved so fast, was now slamming to a stand-still. I let out a loud breath, just to hear myself.

The dungeon, for the amount of people it housed, was eerily silent. The footsteps of the guard faded away, and then there was utter silence.

My mind whirled. I was in some world. In a dungeon. I was being blamed for a Queen’s death- which was certainly not the result of a gunshot wound. These people were completely lost and out of their league against ‘them’, it would seem. They were –

I shrieked as something slipped through the bars and touched my shoulder. It was soft yet smooth and solid – rather like a hand.

I scrambled back, crawling backwards across the floor. Beyond, on the other side of the bars, I could just make out a set of tilted golden eyes that seemed to glow ever so slightly.

“Shee, sheee,” a voice whispered as the hand waved through the bars at me.

“Silence!” the guard roared, banging something against the bars far away. I knew it was a threat, and I’d better shut up.

I gulped down my fear, staring at the strange shape that was too close to me. I could only make out the eyes, and the ghastly shape of the hand.

“Shee, shee,” it shushed, or was that some word? It was a male voice, low and hoarse. It murmured some gibberish then, the hand reaching still for me.

A madman, I thought. Or a pedophile. Or – some creature?

“Little one,” the voice whispered.

I startled. A human then? Then again, could monsters speak english?

“Here, tsk tsk tsk,” the hand snapped its fingers.

“I said quiet!” bellowed the guard, banging again on the bars.

The hand grew limp and drew away through the bars. But the voice continued. “Little one, here, come.”

I crawled back some more, squishing my hands into the filth. The stench was terrible so I recoiled – but that drew me closer to the creature.

Huddling between the filth and the monster, I clutched my knees to my chest again.

Silence settled. I felt myself calm somewhat. The creature could not reach me –

“Little one,” it whispered. “Would you like to get out?”

Author’s Rant ~They’re HERE!!!! (Spoilers!)

Gah! So if you’ve read the latest Chaos, you will see that those two weirdos at the beach are actually starting to be super useful/important. The thing is, these two are MAJOR CHARACTERS (yes, I had to caps all that) from Kuryo’s story. Like, not really villains but really close. I like to play the grey zone. They’re the main fuckers going around and fucking things up and manipulating everyone. But to what end? What means? Gasp! Well, you’d have to read ‘Dreaming of Lights’ to find out (which you can’t, because it’s an unpublished mess right now). Anyways, the thing is, I’m just so excited to see them coming back in for round two! And Lucifer and Bella pitching it off against them? Hah! I kind of almost pity Bella, if she wasn’t such a psychopath. I mean, she’s absolutely getting used by Lucifer (I won’t tell you what he’s planning, but hey, God is now overthrown and Lucifer’s legions are taking over the earth – coincidence? I think not), but she’s totally got a bag over her head and doesn’t see what’s happening. And this glittering woman? She fucked enough with my head during the whole writing sequence of Kuryo’s story, honestly. It was such a hectic book to write (kind of like Chaos’s story… but a smidge worse -> I’d actually trashed a whole 60 page section and rewrote it basically almost the same but with minor and important changes. Painful.).

So my author’s dilemma right now is not really a dilemma. I’m just super excited to see what this power couple tries to pull over Lucifer and Bella (I’ve got a hint of what I think they’re going to do, and that’s EVIIIIIIL), while Lucifer pulls stuff over Bella, while Bella thinks she’s in control of it all.

And then guess what’s coming in for the next section? Oh yeah, the ‘cule. We get to meet all the girlfriends. I can’t wait to see how this is going to turn out.

On one final note, I had the most bizarre author’s experience the other day. Buckle down, this really screwed me over in a ‘what levels of reality are real’ kind of way.

So, I’ve been working on Farfadel novels (three of them) on the side. One of them happened to feature persimmons. I was just typing dialogue, and the word ‘persimmon’ came to mind, so I chucked it in. I wasn’t even sure what the word meant, so I researched it and found out it was a japanese fruit. I’ve never heard of it before, don’t even know how I know the word, and have NEVER seen it in a grocery shop or around. It’s just not a thing. Thinking it was funny, I worked it into the story as being a joke, because this Queen wants persimmons even though she doesn’t even know what they really are.

Well, two days later me and my wifey go to get our food basket from a local charity organization. When we got home, I looked at the stuff that my wife picked out. And fuck me sideways, she’d grabbed persimmons, thinking they were tomatoes. PERSIMMONS. I didn’t even know they were sold in Canada, nevermind Quebec. I’ve never seen them in a grocery store, never heard of them, and never ever seen them in a food basket before. Just – two days after writing about it in my Farfadel novel – it just pops into my life?! It’s the kind of coincidence that blows your mind. It felt like a sign from the world of Farfadel, the world itself waving at me and saying hi. I just – wow. Wow.

So I ate one last night, and they were delicious. Unfortunately, the kind we got given had no seeds in them or I’d be trying to grow them and call them my Farfadel trees, haha.

But seriously, have you ever had a coincidence like that, about your writings? It really makes me wonder on the reality of stories, and whether we’re tapping into an alternate reality, or even, creating one? I dunno, it really tripped me out. Thoughts?

“Help! Opened a portal…” Part 2

I sat in the office chair, my hands clasped around a cooling cup of ‘relaxing’ tea. I would smash it against the wall if I could. But I had to look ‘presentable’ and ‘calm’ and ‘put together’. Which meant I had to look anything but like the hysterical mess I was.

After seeing my own husband possessed by a demon, I’d then seen him vanish before my very eyes. I was left screaming in the carnage. The other guards had dragged me out and gotten some fresh air into me, thankfully. Now, after a quick check-up with the healers, I was waiting on the verdict, the plan of action, from my boss.

Now, my boss being my dad (being guards ran in the family), things were conflicting. But rest assured, he had brought in his own boss on this case so everyone was thinking as straight-headed as could be. And by the time it was taking them in that office, they were brewing a proper war plan. It made me almost smile. We would rain damnation down upon those demons! How dared they, sneak in and kidnap not one, but three, of our own? Ones so peaceful and helpless too? They had certainly sealed their fate. This was war.

“Hey,” Alza drew to a stop beside me, mug in hand. She had one arm crossed across her chest, making her entire stance awkward. She didn’t want to be here, but she’d probably been told to ‘cheer me up’ or keep an eye on me or something.

“Hey,” I held up my cup in explanation. “I’m fine,” I fibbed. But what else was there to say? That I just wanted to scream at our king and Queen to send out the armies already? My children were suffering! My husband was possessed – one of the worst fates possible for an elf!

Alza nodded, but just stood there. I stared down at her feet. “Well,” she said awkwardly.

“I’ll be fine,” I repeated. It was going to be fine. I wouldn’t be allowed to join the rescue mission, but that was okay. I was too close to the situation to be cool-headed and critical. I would just stay home, find us a new home- I cricked my neck and smiled up at Alza. “I’m fine.”

She had the expression of one who was staring pestilence in the face. “Y-yeah,” she said cautiously. “Drink that tea.”

“Chipper,” I muttered half heartedly. “Just what I need.” But my hands were shaking and I fibbed the sip. My throat was dry and water would choke me.

Alza nodded some more and stared down at my boots. They were charred and burnt from my scrambling through the ash. My children were fine. They must be. The demons must have been needing them for something – they’d keep them alive for a small amount of time – we would have time to rescue them.

And if they were harmed, it would be all out war. War as we’ve never before seen…

The door to my father’s office creaked open. I jumped up, and Alza startled at my sudden movement. She was saying something placating, but behind her Father was steppign out of his office with the commissioner. I resisted trampling around Alza, instead trying to be composed. Everythign would be alright.

But Father looked dejected. The commissioner was marching away at all speeds, the edges of his robe fluttering through the corridor. Father slowly made his way over, then seemed to rethink things. He nodded at me to follow him, and he turned and stalked back into his office.

Father’s office was typical of elvish modern tastes. There was a hint of leaves and branches in the corners of the room, but the rest was clean and clinical. It was, after all, supposed to be a neutral space where even humans would feel at ease bringing their woes forward.

And father, well, he looked ancient in that ageless way elves have. But now he seemed haggard. His dark skin seemed flushed, his dreadlocks were out of place. His uniform seemed to be constricting him as he tugged at his collar and cleared his throat. We sat down.

“What’s happening? I understand you probably can’t tell me everything but I’ve got to know at least something! Who is being sent out? When are they leaving-”

Father held up both his hands, and I quieted. He was somber, but understandably so. He’d never been fond of Abeba, but even he must know the severity of the situation. “Desta,” he said solemnly. “I need you to stay calm.”

I rolled my shoulders and sat back. “I am calm. I am not worried. I know you will get them back, and everythign will be fine. This is – just a hiccup.” My voice cracked, but I nodded stiffly. Everything would be fine. The demons would be punished!

Father looked like a man facing down a great beast. Determined. “No one is being sent out,” he said sternly.

My world jarred. Impossible. What did he mean? “A covert mission?” I asked softly. Were the assassins being sent?

The muscles in his jaw worked. “There was summoning circle marked in the ashes of your house. Photographers caught the last remnants of that magic. Ancient, arcane, magic.” He took a deep breath. “Ailbhe summoned the demon who possessed him.” Another pause. “So there was no breach. The demons were invited, and we cannot blame them for doing such.”

My mind was whirling. Ancient, arcane, magic was certainly right up Abeba’s field but he certainly hadn’t willingly summoned a demon to possess him! But no breach – did that mean…

“We are not sending anyone,” Father intoned. “I am sorry, but we cannot.”

My jaw fell. “What?” I said hoarsely. “This must be some joke.”

“Your husband summoned the demons, and we are lucky that they didn’t leave the cirlce they were summoned within,” he said coldly. “We cannot risk starting a war over his foolish actions-”

“He did not do it on purpose!” I screamed. “He would never do that!”

“Desta,” father chided. “Please stay calm.”

I tried, but I was on my feet and my heart was pounding in my ears. My husband, my children – “Is no one really being sent?” I asked hoarsely, eyes transfixed on the crystals nestled among the leaves in the corner of the room.

“It cannot be risked,” he said softly. “You have to understand, peace is too fragile, and the demons haven’t done anything worthy of an attack.”

“They kidnapped my children!” I shrieked, snapping out of my haze to find my fist slamming down upon the desk. “What about them?” Surely, if not my husband, then the children! They were innocent –

But the regret in his face said it all. “I’m sorry,” he said.

A sob tore from me.

“Of Adelaide and Shadow” Chapter Eight

Prince Shadow awoke feeling woozy and sore. With a groan he sat up – only to discover that he was in a bed with the sheets and blankets tucked up over him gently. He was no longer in his armor, instead being dressed in a light sleeping tunic. By the scent of flowers and perfumes, he had been bathed and his hair had been washed.

Blinking in astonishment he looked around. The room was sparse, a small round thing with a domed roof. The rock it was hewn into was a light grey. Sunlight streamed in through light purple curtains.

Gingerly the prince moved. Oh, his body ached. Oh, how there was a sore spot in the middle of his back.

But the prince was stubborn and so he moved, dressing himself with a set of clothes and boots that had been set beside the bed. Then, he stared down the dozen elaborate hair pins that were atop the bedside table. There was even haircombs with gems set in them for his use.

What on earth are these all for?” he muttered to himself. Choosing the plainest comb and pin, he set about pulling his lovely hair back into a braid. That being done he pinned his hair up so it was safely out of the way.

After all, he thought, who knew what sort of horrid and dastardly adventures were about to happen? The last thing any adventurer needed was to have hair in the way!

Now ready to face the day, the prince stalked to the curtain. He brushed it aside and ah! How the light glowed gently over him! How the mountain cried out happily at seeing his face!

For beyond this tall window was a balcony, and beyond this balcony a courtyard, and further yet was the valleys and peaks of the craggly mountains.

With a gasp the prince realized he was in the Dark Queen of the mountain’s castle. Or a section of it at the very least. For where else would there be such a magnificent view?

Drawing the window open, he stepped cautiously out onto the balcony. Warm air greeted his face. Soft music drifted on the wind towards him. The scent of the forest filled his lungs.

Ah, what a lovely moment it was.

Then – he looked to the left.

Oh,” he said, seeing someone looking back.

Hallo,” said one prince to the other. For there sat the elven prince on a cushy velvet pillow, strumming a guitar. His long silver hair was coiffed in long braids that hung down his back. His tunic was simple but elegant in shades of green. His fingers were glimmering with gems as he played.

You kidnapped me,” announced prince shadow, gripping the railing in fury.

Oh don’t be so dramatic,” sighed the prince who was known for being the most dramatic thing on this side of the mountain.

My beloved awaits for me to rescue her!” snapped Prince Shadow. “And you’ve gotten in my way!”

The elf prince strummed louder. “I don’t want to hear about her!” he called over. Then, stopping his music and setting his guitar aside, he rose to his feet. In three steps he was at the edge of where his balcony ended and Shadow’s began. “I’m your beloved now,” he announced.

That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard yet, and believe you me I’ve heard a lot of stupid things. Now give me back my sword and armor.”

No,” said the elf snobbishly. “Aren’t you too sore to wear any armor?” Then, he added with a sneaky grin. “Have you any pain in your back?”

The prince scowled. Ah, he thought, the ruffian hath laid a curse upon me! But for all his sneakiness and cleverness, he was honest. “Well yes,” he admitted. “What spell have you cast upon me?”

I placed a pea underneath your mattress,” said the elf prince most smugly. “I heard only the most refined and noble of human princes can’t sleep unless they are on the softest of beds.” The elf grinned victoriously. “This makes you worthy to be my betrothed.”

Prince Shadow scowled, straightening his back. “Ah, it is but a miserable little back ache. It does not prove a thing!”

The elf prince grinned. “It means everything!” And then, perhaps just to be irritating or perhaps he truly was attempting to woo the prince, he sat back down on his pillow and began to play a love tune.

Oh bugger!” said Shadow, snatching at some moss off the wall and holding it to his ear. “Stop playing!”

Hey!” squealed the moss. “Lemme go!”

Ah!” the prince yelped and threw the moss at the other prince. The moss, which was a talking moss native to the talking marshes, landed with a soft thwump on the guitar. It oozed and squelched down to sit atop the elf prince’s knee. There, it hummed and began to sing along (just to irritate prince Shadow).

Prince Shadow threw a tiff. He marched back into his room, shutting the glass door that led onto the porch. He yanked the curtains shut as well!

But still, just to irk him, he could still hear that elf warbling on about their unending love. And still, he heard the moss singing along ‘sha la la’ in the background.

Prince shadow pulled out his hair pins and shook his hair down (for all glorious and dastardly villains think with their hair down and framing their face most evilly). Hair now suitably evil looking (and gloriously beautiful and glossy in the darkened room) he began to pace. And plot. And plan.

Finally, he tried the door to his room. Just to be sure it was locked.

It was.

Then he went back to pacing. And planning. And plotting.

After the third ballad was crooned to him from across the balcony, he came up with a plan.

It was a most dastardly plan. It was reckless, it was bold, and it was glamorous, er, uhm, brilliant.

So the prince set down and began tearing the bedsheets up into long and thin strips. This was harder than it seemed, as the seams were quite strong. But he channeled all his princely frustration into the ripping thereof, and he soon had quite a number of long strips. These he then began to braid together.

Picture if you will, gentle reader, the dark prince sitting in the shadows, smirking as he twisted and wrenched the fabric together. Beyond the curtains the sun was setting and shadows were creeping up the walls.

Just about as the prince wound the last braid and knotted it shut with a frustrated yank, the strumming stopped from the other balcony. The moss finished its last ‘sha la la’ and there was the sound of someone clearing their throat.

Will you be coming for supper?” called out the elf prince. “My parents are expecting you.”

Prince Shadow yanked again on the knot just to be sure it was tight. “No!” he called out. Viciously, he imagined himself kicking a number of royal elves in the buttocks.

Why?” whined the elf prince, his voice closer. “They’re going to imagine you don’t want to meet them!”

‘because I don’t’, mouthed Shadow. Then, he straightened and walked to the curtains. With a villainous sigh he composed himself and tossed his luxurious and quasi-hypnotizing hair over his shoulder. Then he brushed the curtains aside, pulled the glass door open, and marched on out.

It was a good thing he had chosen to do it too, for the elf prince had one leg slung over their railing. “Oh,” he said, “I was just about to come say hallo-”

Prince Shadow took him by the shoulders and pushed him back onto his side of the balcony.

Oh!” said the elf prince, completely miffed. “You’re acting like you don’t like me.”

Oh, woe, thought prince shadow, pressing his lips together tightly. Then, with a glamorous sigh, he put the second part of his plan into action.

First, he swept his hair from his face. Ah, how the dark elf prince swooned, dazzled by such beauty.

Listen,” Prince Shadow said in a most sweet and seductive tone that he could manage. “I need to be alone tonight.” And, for good measure, he combed his hair again from his face. “Men like I, who are so sensitive of heart and skin, we must be left to meditate upon things.”

The elf prince merely blinked, oblivious to all but how beautiful this mesmerizing creature was before him. Shadow might as well have been listing the virtues of one ox in the marketplace for all the elf prince noticed his words.

Shadow smiled sweetly, leaning forward across the railing towards the elf. “So you are going to leave me perfectly alone tonight? You won’t send anyone to disturb me? I really need to be alone.”

Of, course,” said the elf prince as he leaned forward with stars in his eyes and heart a-flutter.

Great! See you tomorrow!” and Shadow whirled away so fast his hair whipped the elf prince in the face. With a dart and a duck he was back into his room with the door and curtains shut.

The elf prince sighed and plunked his chin into his palm. “He likes me,” he murmured, staring off into the distance where his beloved had just been.

In his room, prince Shadow was gleefully holding a series of keys he’d just stolen off the crown prince’s belt. Holding it to his chest, he stifled a villainous chuckle. He combed his beautiful hair back from his face, and began to plot some more.

Now, as the elf prince skipped off to supper with his family and the stars began to shine in the sky, the dark prince by the name of Shadow had several plans in his head.

Firstly, the dark and nefarious prince wanted to rush out the window and be free! But he knew he would not get far without a sword, or armor. So he must find a way to get some.

Now upon this, he thought and thought and thought. And then he thought some more. As a plan of the most cruel and dastardly sorts came to fruition in his mind, he tiptoed to the wall on the side of the prince’s room and pressed his ear against it. There, he waited for some time.

Finally, he heard the sounds of the elf prince returning from supper. He was alone (perfect!, thought prince Shadow) and he was soon laying down with a creak on his bed.

Prince Shadow smirked. He hid the series of keys in a pocket in his tunic. He combed his hair back and stuck a very sharp hairpin in it. He selected a series of three other hairpins and placed them in his belt. Then, he stepped out onto the balcony.

Much like the elf prince had done earlier on, he slung himself over from one balcony to the other.

A cool breeze gusted over the prince, ruffling his hair and setting it to dance in the wind. His face reflected in the glass, and it was beautiful and almost innocent looking. Beyond, the curtains were drawn and so prince Shadow could not see into the room.

He tried the door, and it was locked fast. So he knocked gently on the window, calling out “It is I,” in a very soft and gentle voice.

There was a rustle and the sound of footsteps. The curtains were brushed aside, revealing a most perplexed prince. He unlocked the glass door and pulled it open.

What are you-?” he started, but prince Shadow put a finger to his lips.

Shhh,” Shadow said. Then, trailing his finger down to the elf prince’s shoulders, he pushed him backwards into his room.

Eyes widening, the elf prince moved like a happy puppet. Shadow shut the glass door behind them and drew the curtain. Just in case guards might look up. Then, he drew the sharp pin from his hair.

With one glance around, he saw that this room was much like his own, except that it was not quite as empty. There was a chest of clothing, a hand stand, and a very large and comfortable looking bed. Shadow smirked at the sight of the bed. He pointed at it with the hairpin.

I am going to tie you to your bed with your shirt,” he announced in a whisper.

Alright,” said the elf prince most naively.

Shadow smirked.

Moments later, Shadow was still smirking. “I told you I was tying you to your bed,” he said as he sat down on the edge of the bed.

Mff!” protested the elf prince who, indeed, was tied to the bed posts by virtue of his torn-up shirt. He was also gagged by virtue of a piece of shirt as well. He aimed a kick at Shadow and badly missed.

Now,” Shadow said, reaching into his pocket. “If I recall well, you had peas placed in my bed. A thing I am quite sore about,” he muttered viciously while drawing several dried peas from his pocket. These were the ones that had been placed under his mattress and which he had discovered while plotting and rummaging around earlier on. “And since you are such a curious elf,” he stooped over and lifted the side of the mattress. “You shall find out if your skin is as thin as mine. There!” and he tossed the peas under the mattress. “Have a good night!”

Mff!” said the elf prince in horror, knowing full well that he too would have a sore back by the morning if he slept on peas.

Shadow chuckled darkly to himself and let the mattress down with a thump. Then, sweeping his glorious hair from his face, he marched to the chest and began to rummage in it. Several moments later he found that the sword he was looking for was directly beside it.

I’ll be taking this,” Shadow said, taking the sword and its belt and tying it around himself. “And this,” he said, stealing a magical chest plate that made one look most manly and handsome. “And this,” he said, taking the shoulder pauldrons that magically never mussed one’s hair or snagged them in any way. “And this,” he said, taking arm bracers that magically … something or other.

Then, dressed and ready to run for his life and that of his beloved, prince Shadow drew open the curtain. But first, he, like all true villainous people, had to monologue.

Good bye my not-so-beloved,” he snarked, executing a bow. “Rest well!” And then he drew the glass door open and crept out onto the balcony.

The elf prince rolled his eyes and hmphed in disdain.

Outside, the moon was glowing gently among some fluffy clouds. The air was now crisp and cool. Gentle breezes rustled through leaves and carried the scents of the forest to the prince.

It was the perfect night for an escape.

The prince let down his rope of braided bedstuff. It was long enough to trail onto the grass of the gardens. With a gleeful smirk he thought himself so lucky.

And then, just as he swung himself off the porch and began his descent – the moss started to holler.

ALARM ALARM! The hostage/guest of honor is escaping! ALARM! ALARM! He’s braided a rope of bedstuff and is climbing down from the porch! ALARM! ALARM!”

The prince cursed. How he hated talking mosses!

So the prince scurried down that rope as fast as a snake! He scurried, he rushed, and he darted out into the dark garden.

Within moments a series of elven guards arrived upon the scene, their armor glistening in the moonlight and their lovely hair shining as well. Swiftly, under the clever orders of Sheer’na, they encircled the gardens and began to ruffle through the bushes.

The prince, meanwhile, was up in a tree and observing all this. Oh, how lucky he was, he thought. Unless they thought of looking up, he would still be able to sneak away.

And then he leaned against the mossy tree trunk.

ALARM! ALARM!” shrieked that moss. “The handsomely dastardly prince is up in this tree! ALARM ALARM!”

Oh, goodness. How the prince hated talking mosses. How he also hated blow guns as another sleeping dart thudded into his neck, narrowly avoiding the armor he wore. As wooziness and sleep claimed him, he fell from the tree with a thud.

When the prince awoke, he was tied to a bed by virtue of – not his shirt – but by what looked like very solid rope. He had been stripped of the armor and there was twigs and leaves in his lovely hair.

Several guards stood about the room with cross expressions on. Amongst them, with the most unhappy expression of all, was the humiliated elf prince.

The prince had a tunic on, but there was no clothing that could hide that look of damaged pride.

Prince Shadow looked at him guiltily. “I suppose you won’t let me tie you to your bedposts again?”

Augh!” the elf prince shouted, snatching up a pillow from the bed and beating Shadow about the head with it. “You horrid, stinky, awful, thing!”

There, there,” muttered Sheer’na, pulling the flustered prince away from the bed. “You said yourself he told you what he was going to do.”

But, but!” wailed the elf prince while Shadow spat out a mouthful of feathers.

Hush,” muttered Sheer’na. “Please be quiet until your parents arrive.”

Parents?” squawked prince Shadow.

Yes,” said the elf prince smugly, holding the pillow to his side. “You have broken our law by attempting to leave without permission – and so they will judge you harshly!”

A sense of dread settled over prince Shadow. What was he to do? For the Dark elves of the mountain were known for being cruel and just as mysterious and strange as the Great Queen who ruled above them. What sort of punishments would they reserve for someone … attempting to leave?

Ah! How Prince Shadow wondered!

And Ah! So shall you. For behold! Another cliffhanger.

 

Adelaide!

Be-fucking-hold! Queen Adelaide, Ladies and Gentlemen and folks in between!

adelaide victorious.jpeg

This, if you haven’t been reading along with the story, is massive spoilers, by the way. If you have, it’s probably still spoilers. This is Adelaide’s end form/final mutation from the story ‘Of Adelaide and Shadow’. So WHY oh fucking why am I sharing it?

To motivate myself, selfishly. I have been so focused upon Chaos’ story that I have totally left Farfadel in the dust. But you know, Farfadel is one of those stories that is close to my heart so… I must continue to share it!

So let me tell you a little bit about Adelaide, for those who are wondering ‘Is this a story I’d want to read?’.

Adelaide is a princess who grows into a Queen. She starts off insecure but devious, and ends up, well, bad-ass. She literally rules the world and shapes Farfadel into what it will be, and is constantly referenced in later Farfadel novels. So if you like humor, fairy tales centering around a woman who grows in strength and awesomeness -> this is the story for you!

Join me, one and all, in reading ‘Of Adelaide and Shadow’!