Well in the important news, our little man Smokey seems to be recovering. Still not sure what happened but Saturday night we found him in the cage, extremely cold and not very responsive. He is roughly eight years old, so for a ferret an “old man”. We lost his brother about this time last year so we figured it was the end. We tried our damnedest to warm him up and hydrate him. We spent yesterday feeding him duck soup and nutrical and throughout the day he continued to recover. This morning he is pushing things around in the little “sick bay” that we created for him. So I think today I will introduce him back into our main cage again. But thank you all for your thoughts.
Onwards to the tale. Yesterday I was a bit of a slacker and only wrote around 2000 words. I am hoping to add to that this morning since I have the day off. Right now I am up to 17190 word count. Here is the story so far, for those who want to catch up easily.
- Shadowed Stone
- Little Giant Girl
- Birthday Wishes
- The Gifts
- The Incursion
- The Watch
- Rough Landing
- Dragon Bone
- People of the Storm
10 – The Lady
They had been walking for what felt like days when on the horizon Jace saw a glimmer of light. Just as quickly as it had arrived it was gone again, but he felt that they were being watched. He kept catching little glimmers of light to the left and right of him. Brief flashes of green almost like the after images from staring into a bright light. The grove of trees was filled with inky blackness of high shadow, were it not for the warm glow of Dimcy swirling around them they would have been unable to proceed. The little firesprite landed on Jace’s shoulder briefly before buzzing off to take the lead again.
He turned to look at Kale who had been confidently striding towards some unknown destination, and she looked no less determined that they were going the right way. He wanted so badly to ask “are we there yet” but didn’t want to seem like a child. He trusted her far more than he should having only met her a very short while ago. She seemed determined to fulfill the mission his mother had given her, and I guess that was good enough for him. It still seemed to odd to say Mom… instead of Aunt Beth. He would be angry about it… but he knew Benj was just trying to protect her, and him too to some extent.
He felt a sudden pang of fear as he realized he had no idea at all if anyone was okay. Benj was strong, and he had no doubt he would have fought his hardest, but there were just so many of them. Bemel, Morrow, Josah… he didn’t know if any of his family was okay. He hoped they would be and that he would be able to meet up with them again soon. For the time being he had to focus on getting to his mom and helping her out. What was he to do when he found her though. He didn’t have any special powers like Kale did, he didn’t suddenly get stronger or quicker… he was just a boy. Oakswurv had magic and he watched through the window as he was struck down. How was he supposed to stop anything from happening.
While lost in thought he did not notice that they were inching closer and closer to a faint glow nearby in the woods. Apparently Kale had known exactly where she was going. Out of the darkness around them there came what looked like hundreds of fireflies circling them as they moved forward in a big wide ring. Dimcy flew close to Jace, flying little circles around him in what he could only imagine was her trying to protect him. She had not spoken much since he let her out of her vial. When he had done so she stretched her back unfurling her wings and with a little smile on her face only said “Thank you my prince.” From that point onwards she had simply been lighting the journey.
From the dim yellow glow on the horizon came a ball of green light, and as it got closer Jace could make out individual blips that added to the larger glow. Kale had explained that we were in the territory of the Wildfae, and that they held no allegiance to any particular Elfen court. She had been befriended by one of their leaders and had been granted safe passage through their realm, but she was not sure how they would react to Jace. He could only assume that the ball of lights heading towards them was the “welcome wagon”, he felt a deep dread as he thought that they may not be welcoming at all.
Kale turned around to look at him raising her hand to signal him to slow “You better wait here Jace, I will go out to meet them. Dimcy… you watch after him okay.” Jace slowed and with this Dimcy sped up her circling forming what looked like a solid ring of light around him. Kale continued along the path and as soon as she had moved a bit forward the various green blips from the sides of him formed a ring around him essentially pinning him in place. They were not advancing but the provided a blurry green wall keeping him from moving forward. As he could make out now, they were very much like Dimcy… hundreds and hundreds of tiny sprites.
Kale was getting a bit concerned, this was less than welcoming. She neared the larger group of sprites and noticed the familiar outline of Dobin the chief of this little enclave. Within a few moments he had flow up close to her and she stopped. “Kale.. why do you bring an outsider to our enclave?” the little man said motioning to the wall of green behind them. Kale swallowed the lump in her throat and spoke “We need your help.” She explained to him over the next few minutes about the attack on the farm house, and that Jace was a prince of the Summer Court. She explained how his mother the Queen of the Elfen Courts had sacrificed herself so that they could escape.
When she had finished explaining that the Queen had been captured into a crystal the little man spoke. “She allowed herself to be captured?” He stroked his tiny beard for a moment and then like a light bulb coming on he exclaimed “We need to go see the Lady, she will know what to do.” Dobin muttered something in a language she did not understand and the sea of green lights parted freeing Jace from their cage. He ran to her side glad to be free of that. Dimcy eyed the little man, and there was what Jace could only guess was a look of distaste in her eyes. This did not go unnoticed by Dobin. “Your friend does not like Wildfae, she thinks we betrayed the courts. To a certain amount she is right, we did leave the courts to find our freedom in the wilds.” Jace looked at Dimcy “It will be okay, if he can help us, we need whatever we can get.”
With that the little spite and his retinue buzzed off towards the enclave. Kale and Jace has to struggle to keep up. Within moments they had cleared the part of the enclave she was familiar with and had gone into what looked like an older area of the shroomspire forest. The mushrooms were more tightly packed and the vegetation more overgrown. The air became warmer, more humid and as they went the night time seemed to lighten. In the distance he could see a warm amber light.
The shroomspires broke way to ferns and lush vegetation as the light became something akin to late afternoon. In front of them stood a circle of fir trees, and in the center of them was a tall plant reaching at least 30 ft up into the sky. The top of it appeared to be on fire with light and the amber castoff radiated throughout the area bathing everything in a warm afternoon glow. Underneath the plant was a small hut which appeared to be the destination that Dobin was taking them. As they got to the ring of fir trees the other sprites that had been following along with them, broke off forming a circle around the stand of trees.
As they reached the small hut, Jace realized that it was not a hut at all, but a large mat of naturally growing plants that had been shaped into the form of a house. He could make out individual vines and flowers. Where would normally be wood were trees grown into the shapes of doors and windows. The entire thing was alive but also serving the purpose someone had intended for it. Dobin pushed out in front of them, and clearing his tiny throat he bellowed “Lady, forgive us but we have visitors that need your assistance.” There was a tinge of fear mixed with a clear tone of reverence. He did not want to disturb her, but felt that he must.
The tree that would be the door creaked open revealing a tall slender woman with long flowing green hair. She surveyed the visitors taking time to look deeply at Jace, Kale, Dimcy and then back to Dobin. “Dobin, why have you brought before me a Prince of Summer, an Ortkin and a Firesprite of the Summer Court.” Jace felt his jaw grow visibly slack as he wondered exactly how she had known when even he himself didn’t before the events of the last few days. “Lady my forgiveness, they came to us seeking help.”
The woman waved off his apology “You were right to bring them before me, I can see to them from now on. Please if you three will join me in my house I will tend to your needs.” She motioned for Jace, Kale and Dimcy to enter. Dobin who had been obviously been dismissed hung his head slightly as he flew off beyond the fir circle. Kale nodded to the woman and entered the house, followed by Jace who did so more cautiously and trailing slightly behind him was the fire sprite.
“Has my sister sent you to retrieve me? As I have told the others who have come… I am no longer a member of court and do not wish to return to Avalon.” said the Lady in a very clear and unmistakable manner. It was clear she had delivered that message many times before, and she had long grown passed being aggravated by it. “No maam… I don’t know who your sister is, but we need your help.” Jace went through the events of the farmhouse and when he reached the point at which he explained about his mother and the crystal the other exclaimed “Bethilda did what?” Jace was taken aback… he had not given her name.
“What of Morrow? or Josah?” The lady demanded. “I don’t know if they are okay… when we escaped they were still fighting the Orts” Jace explained shaking his head slightly. “My sister was always the strong one… I have to believe that Morrow found a way to survive” The lady said sounding as though she was trying to reassure herself. “I am Merowyn, her sister… I was the one who was supposed to be the Spring Scion. It was I who was supposed to marry Josah. It was I who would have been fighting those Orts.” She looked down at the ground shaking her head slightly.
“Morrow always was the strong one. I couldn’t accept the responsibility being asked of me, so I ran away. I came here and over time the little sprites looked up to me like some sort of a goddess. They know my name… but they prefer to simply call me the Lady.” She let out a deep sigh. “I don’t deserve their reverence… I am just a coward… and my sister has suffered because of it.” She sat back down “That changes today… I will help you and I will help my sister.” Jace beamed because since shifting into this world that was the first really good news he had heard.
“The wildfae scouts have told me of a war on the north east coastline. The summer wall has long protected the Valkore village of Hagengarde. The forces of the Trogjan empire are massing on the border there.” Merowyn paused for a moment before continuing “I believe that the crystal was meant to break through the summer wall. On the far side of the summer wall there is a place known as Fort Kraken.” she paused again slightly “I believe Bethilda is in that Fort, it is there we must go. There is an enclave of wildfae near the border that may be able to help us.”