Monday, 24 June 2013

The Family Stone (Chapter 14)

Chapter 14

Alex feels disoriented. She doesn’t move, feeling cautious. Possibly 'paranoia' should be the word to describe how she is feeling right now. She feels Boon wake. She makes a slow movement, tilting her head slowly to her left where she can feel Boon. He’s looking at her, shifting closer to her and holds her hand. Domina, he says, just forming the words without a voice. She hears Teg get up, mumbling. She doesn't feel any immediate danger so she decides to get up as well, still holding on to Boon’s hand. That’s when she notices that it was very windy.
‘Are you alright?’ Teg asks her, half shouting, as disoriented as she is.
‘I am. Are you?’ she asks him with concern.
‘Still in one piece, Domina,’ he assures her, grumbling something under his breath.
‘What the hell was in that drink?’ she says as she struggles to get up as well, still holding onto Boon’s hand as he helps her get up.
‘Ack! Qweutyej Keripuj!,’ Teg shouts, spitting on the ground, ‘Pardon my language, Domina. The King likes to give that to unsuspecting subjects…if you know what I mean…’ Teg stands up and dusts himself off.
‘Wait…what….did he…did he…kiss me? Or was I already asleep and was in a dream?’ Alex felt her lips, not knowing whether to feel disgusted or even, god forbid, feel good about it. She stops her train of thought when she realizes that she is still holding Boon’s hand. ‘Right, where are we Boon?’
‘I can’t be certain, Domina,’ he admits, looking around him, still as disoriented as she is.
‘We’re in the safe passage that I asked for.’ Teg informs them. ‘It won’t last very long though, Domina. You have to decide where to go.’
‘But…I don’t know where to go.’ She looks around her. It was dark, windy and all she sees are the stars in the sky. ‘I really don’t know how to do this, Teg. Even if I have the same soul as Stēlla, I am not exactly as knowledgeable.’
Teg sighs. ‘My sincere apologies, Domina. Sometimes, I forget that you are not Stēlla.’
‘It’s quite alright. It’s not your fault.’ She lets go of Boon’s hand slowly, dusting herself as well. ‘But will the King keep his word?’
Teg looks out at the darkness. ‘Yes he will but the question is how will we ever get to Tellūs when we are on the run from Terra?’
‘I can’t believe I let him trick me like that! Ughhh! But I just wanted you to be safe…and I felt so damn confident.’ She can’t believe she can be so stupid, agreeing to do impossible feats. ‘What kind of position did you have in the kingdom, Teg?’ Alex asks curious. ‘I’ve been wondering about it since the King told us about how he will restore you to your high position.’ Teg doesn’t reply to her question. ‘I was just curious, Teg. You don’t have to tell me about it,’ she adds quickly.
‘My mother is a part of the royalty. My father is a common dwarf. He saved her from a bear when she was outside the forest, looking for herbs for her mother’s ailments. To make a long story short, they fell in love. I don’t know how but I’m sure it was beautiful. Luckily, I inherited all her talents and her wings, of all things. I believe it’s the only reason why they let her raise me as a fairy. But I have my father’s rowdiness. I am still my father’s son. So you can imagine all the sorts of trouble I get into. And not to boast or anything, it’s not so bad since the Fair Folk ladies likes me a lot,’ he chuckles.‘My father’s gone, of course. And my mother passed away just recently. She misses him every day. It’s a rare gift, love is…’he trails off and cleared his throat.
‘Right, we need to get to Tellūs. Any suggestions, Boon?’
‘I wish I could help but my privileges to seeing Tellūs and Terra directly have been taken away from me when I was branded as a traitor,’ Alex can feel Boon’s shame flooding in her mind.
‘It’s alright,’ Alex puts a hand on Boon’s back.
‘Honestly, that would be a horrible idea. I don’t think Terra would even miss a beat in taking your life,’ Teg tells Boon. ‘We need to find another way.’ Teg starts to look frustrated.
‘How does this passage work anyway? Alex looks around; she couldn't see too far because it was too dark. ‘I don’t think we can go very far without any light.’
‘You have to think of the place,’ Teg starts to explain. ‘Once you think of that place, it will directly port you there but mind you it has to be safe.’
‘I don’t think we’re going to be safe anywhere else.’ Alex feels she needs to be more honest with herself.
Suddenly, they found themselves in a dim lit room.

‘I hope that spell lock works, Teg.’ Alex turns around and smiles at her shocked parents. ‘Hi Mom, hi Dad – these are my friends.’

(Written for 2012 NaNoWriMo.)  

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Family Stone (Chapter 13)

Chapter 13

‘I have her soul?! Nah, that can’t be true. I don’t know magia, I know jack shit!’ she says exasperated. ‘.....your Highness.’ She heard a soft ‘ting’ go off inside her head.
She stammers. ‘Wait, why are you telling us about these things that happened? Did you not keep mentioning that aiding a traitor is execution in your kingdom?’ Alex raises an eyebrow, she feels she’s on to something and she has an idea what’s happening, more or less.
‘Or does this mean you are quite able to pardon Teg – if we do something for you in return?’ she concludes.
‘My Domina, my word, you are quite the clever girl! Beauty and brains, I expect nothing less from such an extraordinary being like you. But honestly, I prefer my association with any of you not to be known.’
‘And where will that get us, your Highness? Possibly getting ourselves into another trouble with another kingdom?’
‘Perhaps but if you are careful, surely you will dodge petty inconveniences.’ Gywn teases, trying to convince the trio that they are capable of being incognito.
‘Does this completely pardon Teg?’ Alex bargains.
‘We will welcome him back to the Kingdom, restoring him all his rights as a citizen of the kingdom of Tylwyth Teg and earning back his high ranking position. And before I forget, he will gain back his honour IF all goes according to plan. You have my word, Domina.’
‘You have not discussed what we need to do in order to gain all this back for Teg. What is the condition?’ Boon is quite impressed at how Alex is negotiating with the King. When Stēlla was his Domina, he was repeatedly instructed by her to negotiate, talk or clean her house. This is quite a scene to behold.
‘Oh, I only need something very simple, Domina,’ he chuckles. ‘I would like to resume the annual visits the mortals were permitted to during the month of May.’
Alex was taken aback by this request. ‘Why don’t you go ahead and do it?’
‘I wish things were as simple as it seems, Domina. But what I need is the approval of the old Gods to open the gates of my Kingdom again.’
‘Which old Gods…like Cthulu?’ Alex asks him, without missing a beat. Gywn stares at her, wondering what she means. She hates it when no one gets her jokes. ‘I mean, which old god are you referring to, your Highness? You don’t have to be subtle with us.’
Gywn smiles at her. ‘I like that you are very open to suggestions, Domina. Well, if you must know, Tellūs would be the most appropriate god to approach.’
‘You’re asking for the impossible,’ Alex couldn’t believe his request. How the hell will they get to Tellūs? They can barely hold off a bunch of shadowy creatures.
‘It’s not impossible if you get things right, Domina.’
Alex gives it a thought. It may not be as simple as they think but surely they can figure a way to do it. After all, Teg is a good friend, perhaps even a better friend in the last life.
‘Good,’ Alex gets up, stands in front of the King, spits on her hand and puts her hand forward towards him. ‘I will do this quest for you. Now, give me a spit shake, pretty boy….I mean, your Highness.’ She smiles at him, hoping she’s dazzling as he thinks. Whatever it takes, she thought. No matter how insane it is, she adds.
Gywn gets up, facing her and stares her down. Alex doesn’t budge, still smiling at the tall menacing figure. A smile breaks into the King’s face, spitting on his hand and takes her hand. ‘I like this. This is intimate and I approve.’
‘We have plenty of witnesses. I hope you keep your word, your Highness.’ She curtsies.
‘Why of course, Domina.’ He bows deeply, grinning.
‘Okay.’ Alex looks back to her companions, ‘what now?’
‘Perhaps a safe passage…for a short time,’ Teg suggests, poker faced.
‘A splendid idea, Teg,’ the King praises Teg openly in front of his subjects. Gywn claps his hand together twice. A row of ladies, with covered faces appears. Their eyes can still be seen and Alex swears that they were sparkling. They were carrying a single mug on a tray. The serving ladies approach Alex, Boon and Teg elegantly as if they were floating by them. Alex is amazed; Boon remains nonchalant while Teg remains indifferent by it all. They leave a mug in front of Alex and Teg, surely recognizing a Libra that doesn’t need to eat or drink. Then they proceed to pass the rest of the subjects, leaving them a mug one by one. Alex wonders where the mug itself is being refilled since they are only carrying one of each.
‘I’m sure you are all weary with the arduous journey that you just had,’ he tells them. ‘I wish your luck will improve and I am optimistic for a safe journey ahead.’ He lifts his own cup, ‘I propose a toast. May you find what you are looking for, Domina Alexandria’ He proceeds to drink from his cup, emptying it. Alex takes the cup in front of her. She doesn’t think she had any choice but to drink from it too. The last thing she wants is to embarrass her friends, especially Teg. She lifts her cup to her lips, and hesitates but drinks from it anyway, emptying it like the King.
As soon as she swallows the drink, everything quickly becomes hazy. Alex feels herself slouch towards the ground. She doesn’t seem to have any control over her body. She sees Boon’s silhouette not far from her and he’s already lying on the floor. Arms sweep her up and she sees Gywn’s hazy silhouette.
‘You promised…’ she says struggling to speak.
‘Shh. Sleep, Domina. If I may be bold, I will steal a little something I’ve always yearned for.’ Before she can protest, she felt his lips on hers; and like a snap of the fingers, she opens her eyes to darkness and she first thing she sees are the twinkling of the stars in the sky.

(Written for 2012 NaNoWriMo.)  

The Family Stone (Chapter 12)

Chapter 12

Alex was still silent. She did not know what to say.
‘Uhhh, charmed, sire,’ she curtsied. ‘Will you help us?’ Gywn straightens himself up and looks at her.
‘What? You did not even think about it.’ Teg shushes at her, giving her looks to be more polite.
‘I have orders to execute Teg.’ The warriors flank a non surprised Teg.
‘But why would you do that? He saved my life, our life,’ she points at herself and Boon.
‘Libra, you are supposed to be dead.’ Gywn looks down at him. ‘Permission to speak.’
‘Domina Stēlla saved me, your highness. She knew what would happen,’ Boon defends.
‘Terra will be after you. Maybe not now - but soon.’
‘I believe it’s already begun, sire. She tried to kill Domina,’
‘Because they want you dead, not her.’ Gywn says bluntly.
‘Sire, if I may speak…’ Alex interrupts.
‘Walk with me – all of you.’ He commands as he turns to walk, the soldiers’ turns to follow on both sides.
The three of them look at each other and followed the King as he walks deeper into the forest.
Alex couldn’t believe her eyes as they walk through the forest. It was abundant with fruits and flowers of every kind you can think of. The people of Tylwyth Teg were all beautiful that no words can describe how fair they are. She notice that there are no birds flying anywhere, not even butterflies. There are no animals in the forest but she can still hear the sweet soft music hanging in the air.
They reach a large clearing with a throne. The king sits and he instructs them to sit on the grass below him.
‘Domina, how long has it been since I saw you…’ he asks Alex.
‘Ahh..I don’t think we met.’
Gywn laughs loudly at her reply. Alex wonders if she ever met anyone that looks like him. She gives it a thought but she clearly can’t remember seeing him, ever. Despite his odd appearance, he was very beautiful in his own way.
‘I must be honest to you with everyone. I watched Domina Alexandria when she was born, just as I watched Domina Stēlla when she was born. The alignment of the cosmos was too enticing to ignore.’ He pauses to drink from his cup. Alex and Boon are wide eyed at this sudden disclosure from the King. ‘Times have changed everything. We believe its better that mankind forget about our kind. After Terra believing you and Domina Stēlla dead, Tellūs convinced her to pardon the remaining magic folk, alone – to live. Everything was quiet until Domina Alexandria was born. The shifts of the cosmos were different. I got curious, unfortunately. You have to understand that my weakness is your spirit. Your physical form may die but your spirit, oh, how it glows like no other. I was not the only one who was curious but as I relayed earlier, you were not a problem unless you are bonded to a Libra. As I asked you earlier, if you remember me…do you remember seeing a man with a tall hat, hair with curls, approaching you inside a church?
Alex’s eyes went wide. A quick flashback on the day – she was sitting on the seat, waiting for Aunt Hera and her mother finish confession. A strange man approaching her, curtsying and she giggles. She thought he was funny looking. He looks at her with curiosity and tells her not to be afraid of the dark. He placed his hands on her head and she felt her heart skipped. There was something behind her. She screamed when she felt the shadow behind her burn.
‘It’s….it’s you…that shadow…’
‘It wanted you. It wanted to take your essence.’
‘I was bedridden for a year! Surely you didn’t kill it as you planned.’
‘Oh I didn’t kill it. I couldn’t. There are things that the King of Tylwyth Teg is not allowed to do. We follow rules.’
‘Rules of what?’
‘My dear Domina, do you really think I can kill a Chaos shadow?’ He smiles at them, knowing he’s got their full attention.
‘The chaos was after me? Even when I was a child? I thought I was harmless?’
‘You are but you were vulnerable. With your essence, you can easily be manipulated.’
‘I think not!...sire!’ Alex says, defending herself.
‘You are a child, dear Domina. You would not know what is right and what is wrong. I exposed the Chaos’ treachery, perhaps getting them out of the way for another thousand years. And who else can get rid of them…?’ Gywn pauses, watching Alex, Boon and Teg like a teacher expecting an answer to a dutiful student.
‘Terra.’ Alex says, under her breath, unbelieving.
‘She is the only one who can punish them since she is Terra. You have to understand that the Chaos is a result of what could have been good.’
‘Domina,’ Boon is talking to Alex in her mind, ‘remember I told you that we stayed with your family? My brothers and sisters were considered traitors after that.’
‘No cheating,’ Gywn tells Boon. ‘No mind talking here…you know what also interests me?’ Gywn gets up from his throne and sits in front of Alex and Boon. ‘You are bonded…how?’
‘It’s a very long….embarrassing story…,’ Alex answers, ‘….sire’
‘Do you remember this old lady that took care of you?’ he asks.
‘Yes, I do, kind of but I can’t be sure actually…’
‘Do remember her well, it will serve you best.’ He muses. ‘You know what else, Domina? It would be quite amusing if I don’t tell you this bit of knowledge but I must,’ Gywn is feeling quite ecstatic all of a sudden, ‘ Domina Alexandria, what if I told you that your family knew that this day would happen?
‘I am not allowing myself to feel surprised anymore…’ Alex replies.

‘Domina Alexandria, you were not born on the same auspicious day that Domina Stēlla was born but what you do have is her soul essence.’

(Written for 2012 NaNoWriMo.)