Chapter One: Fates Hand
~ Scene: Emberfrost Castle,
Timberest, Siog Rioght
Date : Eanáir 2, (January) 1618
The wee hours of the night
Sitting out on the balcony of her room, Miri tried to process everything that happened today. Her mind roamed through the chaotic events of the past 24 hours. How in just that short amount of time everything had changed. Her life was no longer what it had been. She couldn't stay hidden anymore, quietly kept within the safe confines of the castle. Now the whole kingdom knew her secret. Well at least everyone who was at the New Year's celebration anyway. As the girl had managed to out herself, dark magic and all, in a proper fashion before most of Timberest.
She had no regrets though. It was the only way to save West, King Brogan, Lady Elda, and Flynn. There was no other choice, they couldn't have survived a direct hit from that beam blast. Maybe if they had some warning of the attack. The castle guard and troops could have handled it. But as the scene unfolded they were caught off guard and undermanned. There was so much devastation. The castle square was destroyed.
The cold chill of winter stung her nose and cheeks a bit, making them rosy. That bitter smell of dark magic still hung thick in the snow-filled air. As the wind picked up Miri could hear remnants of the festival decorations flap loudly in the harsh breeze from below. Half strung twinkle lights and torn banners hung from booths, rattling and turning as the wind blew. There was the loud clip-clop stomp of the palace guards and army troops echoing through the empty courtyard as their boots crushed the snow. Looking down she could see their patrols, their tall hats, and cloaks decorated with the king's insignia.
As the troops marched the small bright multicolor lights of the Lumi's followed them. Only those with the strongest magic have these little light beings appear to them. From the sight she saw in the courtyard there must have been hundreds of them. The king had called out his strongest soldiers from throughout the kingdom. She could hear the medics moving the injured through the grounds. They had healed so many but there was an untold number who still needed help. The casualty count was high.
She recalled always being told "Fairies, don't fight." she must have heard that a million times. "Save the fighting for dwarves, humans & monsters.. they are meant for such things, not us." Today, however, proved they were wrong, they needed to fight. Realistically speaking, what people can survive if they won't fight for what they believe in. "Where did this idea come from anyway." she thought. "We are the race selected to be the keeper of the flames. The sole purpose of that power is to fight to keep the world safe." Everyone knows the legend of the Fairy Fire.
"Whoever owns the Faerie fire's
Controls all powers Dark and Light,
Needed they come to hold the flame,
Heavy the burden that carries the name
The Keeper's path starts with a fall
A long journey to answer the call,
We see the nations start to rise
Rallying to our steward's side,
As nightfall comes to devour
The fire will light our darkest hour,
Wielding flames of blue that ensure
An unyielding will that can endures
Born of the fairies royal line
The keeper learns in fate's due time,
Only when all dear to them is lost
Does the fae truly learn the cost,
To find the fire and gain the
Thinking on it there hadn't been a Flame Keeper in over 150 years. Most fairies were starting to think the last keeper was indeed the last keeper. Miri didn't believe this to be true though. She had heard the castle sages and the king arguing about it back in mid-Samhain. The sages were all in a fuss, saying all the signs are pointing to a rebirth of the Ancient Darkness and the return of the Keeper. This darkness was the reason the elders of olden times created the Fairy Fire, a spell born entity that combined all their magic, in the first place. It remains hidden, a bright blue flame that draws out the fate chosen who is destined to carry its indescribable power.
The darkness was a changeling, that found a way to harbor all evil and darkness within himself. He became pure dark magic, making himself immortal and almost unstoppable in the process. The elders found away and with the help of the Keeper sealed him in a cast stone. The stone's seal is said to last 5,000 years or so, according to the legends. Now the castle sages are saying that time was almost up. After what all unfolded today it seems they are right. Something terrible is coming and soon. The likes of which haven't been seen for millennia.
Place: Outside King Brogan's office,
Emberfrost Castle, Timberest
Date : Mid Samhain November
Late-night hours, 1617
She had heard King Brogan warn them to keep this worry to themselves. They didn't need a panic spreading throughout all of Siog Riocht. Miri had heard them arguing in the echoes down the hallway from his council chamber. She could see their shadows dancing playfully in the flickering fireplace light. More panic was definitely not something the people needed right now, especially so soon after the sleeping sickness swept through the kingdom. Besides they had no idea how soon it would happen. It was just an old book of prophecy and warnings.
"Beware of ambers lights falling
in frosty autumn skies,
If in the same year they fall.
before spring's moon's 1st rise, "
"Your highness you have to put the country on high alert. The amber lights have already fallen once this year, 3 days before the rise of spring's 1st moon. I implore you, please take precautions. For the safety of us all.'' Grand Elder Telfrin tried to convince the king. "Look I know that all these recent signs have you and all wisemen the world round in a tither. I will not start a panic amongst my people. It would do more harm than good. For now, I will keep the army posted at a higher threat alert and start stockpiling food, weapons and medical supplies. I will not start pandemonium." he was very firm.
"But your majesty we must do.." Elder Telfrin started but the king interrupted. "But what Telfrin, do what. Let's be completely honest if you gentlemen are correct and it is the return of this ancient evil, there's not a damn thing you or I can do about. We both know only the Keeper can stop them and we don't have one of those at this moment. This leads me to believe either your assumptions are incorrect or to be quite frank about it, we are all doomed." King Brogan continued. "Either way no good will come from causing a mass panic." He slammed his hands on his desk startlingly Miri, making her jump. She had never heard the light-hearted king be so serious.
His shadow hung its head. Elder Telfrin's did the same. He stepped forward "Have faith, your majesty, when we need the Keeper they will come." Placing a hand on Brogan's shoulder. "I am none too happy with the thought that the fate of my kingdom rests on ancient riddles and some non-existent savior," he said sitting down in his chair with a slump, his crown fell a little. That was all she had heard that night while sneaking out to practice her newest ability. If she had known then what she knew now she would have practiced longer.
Place: Miri's Balcony
Date : Still Eanáir 2, late night
"Princesa what are you doing out here in this cold in the cold night air." West rubbed the sleep from his eyes. His voice snapped Miri out of her memories. He put his cloak around her shoulders and set down beside her putting the blanket he had over both their legs. She could feel his warmth, West was always warm, it was his fire magic. "You should be resting West your arms still mending and your ribs too." she scolded him a little.
"Don't worry about me mi Querida, I'm fine, it's just a scratch," he told her with a smile but she could tell from the way he winced a little leaning back in the chair it was still hurting him. She could see in replay how hard a hit he had taken, it made her cringe. "You were amazing today." he nudged her. "Haha, I swear I could hear the king's jaw hit the ground when you cleared that electric fog. The look on his face when he saw you in the center of it, that was priceless. And damn both sides stopped fighting when you did that redirect. It was like I had done full-time freeze magic." West smiled trying to cheer her up.
He knew she was worried. Everyone knew about her dark magic now. Miri smiled back at him a little. "No, it was your time stops that saved us all West, you and Lord Eldhigh." He puffed up "Yeah I was pretty awesome. It's what I do." He smirked, full of that Bercelo confidence. At that, she had to giggle. "If only our army had your confidence they would be unstoppable." He ran his hands through his thick blonde hair and winked at her "I know." She laughed and put her head on his shoulder.
"Hey don't you worry about anything Princesa, everything is going to be Ok? We're safe now. Anyone who has an issue with your magic can take it up with me and all of Elvenguard." He nodded down at her. "You saved King Brogan, hell the whole kingdom. Had you not been there and did what you did this palace would be under a different flag tonight." She looked at him "I don't regret helping or saving the people there. I just wonder what will happen next." she sighed.
"The King owes you his life my dear" Lady Elda put a hand on her left shoulder. She sounded tired and worn from the day's events. Miri and West looked up as they heard her speak. "I told her that as well. Brogan and Timberest both are in her debt." He agreed. "Did you see the way they looked at me when the fight was over. I saw their faces, the fear. The way they stepped away from me when we went back to the soldiers. How they pulled away from me when I tried to heal them." Miri replied in a muted tone. "Who did?" West asked an angered look in his eyes.
"The soldiers, the guardsmen, the fairies in the crowd. Elders Brodie and Telfrin wouldn't even let me mend them. They looked at me like I was a monster. Master Brodie helped trained me to heal since I was a child and even he doesn't trust me now." she looked away towards the courtyard. West stood "Looks like he and I need to have a talk. You saved their asses too, both were hiding behind me and Brogan when the beam blasted at us. He would be dead right now if it wasn't for you." he headed for the door. Miri took his arm "No, West it wouldn't help now." He stopped and shook his head. "Chingado idiotas, malagradecidos!."
Elda leans against the chair arm. "You forgot cowardly, Brodie is scared of his own damn shadow." Her face showed her disgust. "He's a bloody git." Flynn appeared in the doorway. "For once we agree," West responded. "You did great out there lassie." Her guardsmen patted Miri's shoulder. "Thanks, Flynn." She smiled at him "You did well also Bercelo. I was surprised, maybe you aren't just some pretty boy prince." He slapped the prince on his back. "I have many sides." West shrugged, "All of them pretty." Flynn shook his Elda and Miri chuckled.
"So I've been surveying the crowd in the war room. Its bad, total chaos. The sages are in a frenzy, the generals are panicked. Between the attack and Miri's wee surprise. They are beside themselves. Seems Telefrin thinks ye might have something to do with the prophecies. "A teachdaire Dorcha" according to Lord Leary and Elder Brodie. I don't know what the hell that is but it doesn't sound good." Dorcha! West and Miri looked at each other they remembered that name from the library scrolls. "There's no way she's the Dorcha." the prince said with angered confidence
"What's a Dorcha?" Flynn question. "The dark messenger. It's what they call the changeling that will release the Dark one from his imprisonment" Elda sighed with worry. "There's no way our lassie is that. Seriously no one's even seen a changeling for a century or better" the captain was certain. West shook his head like that's what I said. "His majesty didn't think so either, neither did Lord Eldhigh.
Telefrin said it's just as possible you could be the aotrom Neach-dìon. So he seems to be on ye side as well." Flynn tried to reassure her. "The Neach-dìon of course. That explains everything" Elda said smiling as she stood and walked to Miri then sat down beside her. Taking her young pupil's hands in hers she looked directly at Miri. "Child I think this might be your path. If everything the sages are saying is true, that the darkness is going to return I believe you are apart of it. My brother and I have always known that you were a special spark. I think you might be the Neach-Dion.
"Woah!" West replied shocked. As Miri and Flynn blinked in disbelief. "The only thing that was missing was from what I know of the guardian was that you didn't have dark powers. But I saw today how you handle darkness and light at the same time. That is a spectacular feat. The scrolls never mention the Dorcha being able to do that but the Neach-Dion can." Elda lightly patted her cheek and nodded at her with a smile.
"You think I'm this Neach-Dion that I'm connected with the Keeper. Don't they have to be of royal blood? I'm just a plain fairy." Miri was completely shocked. "Truth is Princesa you might be. We don't know your parents so it's possible." West said logically. Elda agreed but she looked like she knew more than she said. Just then one of the kings messengers arrived on the balcony, the guards had let him in. The young fairy handed Flynn a letter with King Brogan's seal on it and left without speaking.
"It appears we are being summoned to speak with the king and his council tomorrow afternoon at 4 pm." He read the letter. "Let's all get some sleep," Elda said, "I will stay here with Miri, her aunts still at the infirmary taking care of the wounded." She got up. "No worries Lady Elda I'm staying with Miri." West grinned. "I know that's why I'm staying too." She patted his cheek. He had to chuckle at that. "I will take the couch." Flynn said, " I have my orders to stay with Lady Miri." "Yay, a slumber party" West grumbled.
Flynn and Elda fell asleep first. Elda took one bed Miri took the other. West slept on the fluffy chaise lounger in between them. "Great Elves this thing is comfortable." West wiggled down under his red plaid comforter. "Remind me to get one of these at home Princesa, I need me a new napping couch." He fluffed his pillow. Somehow managing to get even more comfortable than before. "Huh.. oh a napping couch ok I will remind you Westie." Miri was noticeably distracted.
"What's on your mind querida," he asked her. "The whole Dorcha / Neach-Dion thing." He got up and sat beside her on the bed. His dark blue pajamas where almost the same color as her blanket. "You're not the Dorcha princess. Don't even think about that." He put his arm around her shoulders. "How can you be so sure." Miri half-whispered. "That's easy. I've known you since I was 7 and we were best friends from the day we met. You are the only person that has refined enough taste to properly appreciate my charms." He smiled at her. "Seriously though.. you have the kindest heart of anyone I've met. You're selfless and caring. There's no evil in you. I know you better than anyone." He hugged her.
"That's just it West you know me" she played with his ring on her finger. "What do you mean?" He asked gently. "When I used the dark magic today I felt myself change. I wasn't me. To use the darkness I have to turn off the light. It takes away my restraint I just wanted to fight and protect. The darkness drained all of me. I didn't know myself. I have to use all of my focus not to let it consume me" West hugged her tighter. He felt so bad for her.
"My poor Princesa, so much power so much responsibility." He patted her. "I don't like using dark magic. What if it changes me." She looked at him with such concern. "Nah don't worry it won't change you, I won't let it." The prince reassured her. "Just until you master it don't use it for long periods of time. Once you have complete control of it, it won't bother you." He kissed her on the head. "Come on now you need rest. He got up and tucked her in.
As he pulled her blanket up she hugged him. "Thank you, Westie you always make me feel better". He smiled "That's what prince charmings do." They both laughed at that. West got himself uber comfortable again and was soon snoring again what if she really was the Dorcha. She would destroy everything she loved. Miri remembered how she came to be at Emberfrost. Her mind stayed there as she drifted to sleep.
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