tagSci-Fi & FantasyFey World Ch. 11

Fey World Ch. 11

bymadam_noe©

I fell asleep in Angoralt's bed, draped over his hard, warm body, and fell into dreams. At first I did not realize it, instead I felt whole-heartedly I was a child of nine in my mother's house.

She was sitting in a window, letting the warm, summer air come from the ocean to blow across her beautiful face.

"Does he come?" I asked, knowing it was my father she waited for.

There was no love between them, their marriage had been arranged and they both had many others in their bed. My father was a harsh, cruel man in many ways, but he was the perfect Viking jarl, warrior, sailor. She waited because our clans were shrinking. More and more men sailed off to the far eastern lands never to return. But dark rumors suggested they might, and this was what she feared.

"I see ships sailing away, foolish young men to the south for raids, even more foolish men and boys sailing to the east where their doom lies."

I stepped to her and took her hand; she drew me into her arms. "Mother, they speak of dark things in the night, they tell of-"

"And who are they?" She raised a brow.

"The slaves."

"A superstitious lot, most of them are not like us, they come from the south, and seek freedom with fear. Rumors are to be ignored."

There was a tinge of fear to her voice, and it sparked something in my mind, something that pulled me from the dream self I had been to my adult self and-

"Anni?"

I blinked to realize I was in the woods of my own home, the waning moon shining down brightly on Elfgwyven . His hair was tightly bound, highlighting the angles of his face. While Angoralt's was broad and silver-toned, Elfgwyven's slim and golden, it was nearly the same face.

"Elfgwyven," I said with a plea and ran into his arms.

He hugged me close, kissed the top of my head. "What is wrong? Angoralt is too your sennschat, and just as I do, he exists to make you happy. What can be wrong?"

I trembled, afraid to speak the truth. Angoralt was so different, spoke to such a dark, unknown part of my soul. I had grown up in a land of sensual indulgence, and my mother had worked so hard to shield me from it, to change me to the Angorlandian sense of virtue and chastity. What Elfgwyven's brother showed me scared me to my core.

"This is all so strange," I said simply.

He hugged me tighter. "It has been a long time since a human was the sennschat of a fey. The books of history record these things, the adjustments, have been much discussed, but none address when the human has two, and never before has a human had one Seelie and one Unseelie sennschat.

"I know what you must be dealing with is difficult, but sadly it is your place, as well as mine and my brother's to blaze a new path."

I didn't say what was in my heart; it would be far easier if we could all live together. It would be far easier if there was one kingdom, not two. Royalty myself, I knew this was an impossible dream.

"I will try, but it's difficult."

He kissed me then, and it was slow, soft, wholly consuming. His lips slid across mine light as a butterfly before returning to part my own. When he sank in he tasted of honeyed drink, and magic. Gripping his arms tight, my body softened, melting against his. My heart slammed in my chest as his hands trailed down my sides, over the sensitive curves.

My body came alive, and when he pulled back, I opened her eyes to see he was glowing. "Oh," I said softly.

He moved down slowly, and to my surprise a cloth covered the soft, damp earth. He laid me down as if my body was something fragile and precious.

I wanted to touch him, but slowly. I traced his face with my fingertips, marveling at the beauty of Elfgwyven. He smiled and it was beauteous.

Magic swept over us to leave our bodies naked, and on the cool night our skin was feverish.

I leaned up onto one elbow and I cradled his cheek, bringing his face to mine. Instead of a kiss, I licked his skin, delighting in the taste of him, of his breath sucked in. One trait shared with his brother; he would not let me retain control for long.

His body covered me, one powerful thigh between my own, sliding against my damp core as our lips met. He rubbed there, slowly, forcefully, and I gasped into his mouth.

The kiss was raw, strong, consuming, and I felt the pleasure build. Slower than with a hand, his mouth, or his cock it built steadily. One hand rolled a plump nipple back and forth, and it burst upon me then, the climax, the crest, and I screamed his name until it was a senseless wail between our lips, over our tongues.

Shifting now completely between my legs he entered me smoothly. Still long and impossibly hard, it was gentle, and the rhythm uniquely his began.

I curled my legs around his firm backside, let my hands climb to hiss shoulders where I gripped hard, nails digging into his beautiful, glowing flesh. Still the kiss did not break, and my mind was hopelessly lost to the pleasure of my husband.

The next peak to crash over me was a tidal wave, his hoarse cry matched my own, and I felt him shake and spend deep inside me. It was a wonderful feeling, and when he collapsed on top of me we were both replete.

"Is this how it is to be? The pleasure of one husband in the flesh, the pleasure of another in dreams, as we switch?"

He rolled aside then, magic cleaning us. Leaning over me he stroked loose hair behind my ear. "Is that so bad? I cannot set foot in my brother's kingdom nor he in mine. The only place where we may dwell together is your human world, and to do so would be to allow our kingdoms to fall. I am sorry Anni, but this is the way."

Sadness filled me. I loved him yes, but I knew I was beginning to love Angoralt too. The fervor of new love made me crave the company of both men day in and day out, but this was to be denied.

I wished, for the thousandth time, to have been lowborn, of little importance.

"Anni, there is something I must discuss, the true reason I entered your dream. Though I must confess, this has been a most welcome bonus."

Frowning I scooted up to sit. "What is it?"

"Bornagold visited some villages you and Pietyr mentioned traveling through. He told me some villagers mentioned seeing blonde men, strange tall men, who spoke of seeking their queen."

My blood froze. "I had seen them too, but it seemed impossible. Magic could have turned their hair, but now..."

"What is it?" His hand rested on my back, making small, soothing circles.

"If they were my countrymen, indeed, I would be their queen. Unless a higher-born jarl or male heir, or wife of a jarl survived, I would indeed be the queen."

Elfgwyven pulled me into his arms. "But they tried to hurt you, we saw it twice. In wolf form. They tried to kill you."

I shook my head. "They tried to capture me. By the gods, Elfgwyven, this means my people are not dead."

The realization rolled over me, and even within a magical dream, darkness claimed my mind.

***

I sobbed while Angoralt held me. In our dark bed, his massive presence was comforting. I cried for so many things; the senseless loss of my people, the years alone, a stranger in a strange land, and now it appeared they had returned, but as true demons.

He soothed me, but I felt his mind working. A king and commander for human centuries, he was weighing possibilities and evidence, working towards a decision.

When I was cried out his magic cleaned me, took the red from my eyes, and I smiled. "Thank you."

"Thank you, for sharing this with me, for letting me comfort you." He kissed me then, on the top of my head.

How incongruous it felt to know this man had such dark, demanding appetites, but also possess a soft side like his brother. I hugged him tighter.

"I am safe here, be in Unseelie or Seelie, right?"

"Yes, my love. It will be best to wait and see. If they return to Norselund and keep to themselves, there is little harm. We fey know nothing of wolves that walk as men."

"There are many human tales, but they say men such as that hunger for human flesh, bear unimaginable rage, destroy all in their path. If they are my people, how can I let this happen?"

"Shhh," was all he said, and I knew in that moment, my great dark king was as lost as I was.

***

"My gods," I said in awe.

Angoralt was by my side, both of us mounted on horseback, and the woods that stretched in front of me seemed like heaven.

Behind us a team of guards watched, but as we began to walk the horses deeper they stayed behind. "Why do they do that?"

Angoralt glanced behind him and back to me with a smile. "They know we are safe here."

Around us strange animal calls trilled like music, and birds flew overhead in bright colors, contrasting the silver and black scenery of Unseelie.

"It's amazing." When I looked to him he smiled with pride, as if I were a child performing some great duty unassisted. "What?"

"Hannah, you are by far the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and the perfect Unseelie queen."

I blushed and turned away, unable to form a reply.

A beast stepped out in front of us and it was a unicorn. Legends persisted in my world of their existence, but none had ever been spotted. Pure white with a great silver horn, it seemed to shine.

I stopped my horse and dismounted, walking towards it with the eagerness of a child, and it did not shy from me.

When I touched the massive beast its fur was silky smooth, and it snorted low and stepped closer. Stroking it with both hands I felt its own kind of magic swim over me as if covering my soul.

I looked back to my husband to see him smile. For all his darkness, his smile was bright like the full moon. "Your soul is pure," he said softly.

I thought of the men I'd killed in battle as too young a woman in my homeland. I thought of the slain wolves, perhaps my own countrymen. I couldn't meet his gaze.

The unicorn nuzzled me and I was lost once again, meeting its demand by stroking its muzzle. Here in the lands of Unseelie it seemed to never be day or night, instead always the soft glow of twilight. Yet this creature seemed to have the energy of a sun, and simply standing next to it made me feel...something wonderful I could not describe.

"I simply cannot believe I'm touching a unicorn. For more years than humans can remember we've searched for them, heard tales. How many like me would give their lives for this moment?"

I felt him behind me, so close his heat warmed me. "Hannah, for all time, all this will be yours. All of my world I lay at your feet."

I turned to him and before he could see the tears in my eyes, I kissed my second husband soundly.

***

Angoralt's soldiers returned two days later announcing Elfgwyven, his men, and my ladies had arrived. Elisabeth would be my lady in Unseelie it was decided, but she needed rest before another journey could be made. No further attacks had been made and no one had come to harm. I thanked the gods for that, but I still felt unease at the wolfmen.

When the time came for me to join Elfgwyven, I expected a very human show of jealousy, but none came. The fey were truly strange; Angoralt seemed almost overjoyed that I would soon take my rightful place in his brother's kingdom. But a deal had been struck; 4 days in Seelie as I had spent in Unseelie, then I would begin to leapfrog through each kingdom one month at a time.

How could I be expected to rule justly and fairly as I'd been raised to do, when only half my attention could be given to any one kingdom? However, I had to adjust to the Seelie ways, come to accept the Unseelie, and discover just what the wolves meant. No matter what title anyone might lay upon my head, I was only human after all.

Angoralt's captain of the guard, Morraving, was my escort to the Seelie land.

Here his black armor and pale skin looked strange. Where Unseelie was perpetual twilight, Seelie seemed to be either dawn or dusk, when the sky was a thousand colors and promise. It seemed strange, and made me smile, to think I had always seen dusk and dawn as a kind of death, and twilight a kind of birth. All of fey would argue with that mightily.

Elfgwyven wore again a strange suit, but the light grey of it complimented him greatly. He was so striking I could see no other but him.

He looked over my black dress with the silver rope and smiled forlornly. With a wave of magic it was a white dress, the braided rope the pink of his hair.

"Morraving, good to see you. I commend you for the delivery of your queen and mine safely. Please send the regards of all of Seelie to your king."

Morraving bowed and with magic, disappeared.

Elfgwyven embraced me then, and his familiar warm hug filled me with joy. "Come my queen, and meet old and new friends."

Bornagold, Elfgwyven's captain of the guard, smiled and bowed. Next to him Saran and Elisabeth, freshly scrubbed and wearing jewel-like dresses did the same.

I greeted each in turn with a hug and a smile, and turned to another fey with golden hair, golden skin, and brown eyes, reminding me of a slim lion.

"This is my prime minister, Roragon."

He bowed and when he stood, I shook his hand. "I am very pleased to meet you, sir."

"And I am deeply honored, your highness."

At last I noticed the parapet around us and the stone floor were gold. My husband's castle.

Elfgwyven smiled down at me. "I shall take you on a tour, introduce you to the staff, and then tonight we shall have a ball to introduce you."

I gulped, thinking of the dark pleasures I'd witnessed at Angoralt's ball. I knew Seelie were different, but just how much?

Only time would tell.

***

Of all the rooms I'd seen, my new bed chamber was the best. Here too husband and wife were expected to share a bed, unlike humans, and I was secretly glad.

The golden walls were offset by white furniture, and the massive gilt-edged bed bore sea-blue sheets matching my husband's eyes. The moment we were alone, I found myself on the soft sheets, and in his embrace.

It was slow and sweet, a smoldering fire that burned hotter and brighter until we peaked together.

Afterwards I lay in the circle of his arms, my back to his front, and rested my head against his heartbeat. "Will you announce me to your- our people before the ball?"

He kissed my temple and drew me closer. "Here I will present you to the aristocracy first, and then the people. We will put out a call, a festival, and announce you there."

It seemed momentarily odd, but this was how things had been done back in Angorland. My mother and bond-father had spent days locked in their chamber before a ball for the aristocracy. After that a faire commenced, and as knights competed, meat pies were sold, the entire kingdom was there to welcome my mother and I, the newest queen and princess.

"Elfgwyven, the wolves...they were after me, to capture me. If they are my countrymen, what would they want with me?"

His large, rough hands stroked my arms soothingly. "Anything I would say, Anni, would be merely an uneducated guess."

"That would be fine. It's not as if I can enact anything from what we discuss."

Another soft kiss. "A true leader, then. If I had to guess, either they need a leader they can all identify with, and mean to turn you, or..."

I heard dark thoughts in that "or," and turned to face him. "Or?"

"Well everyone who has seen them sees only men. Perhaps, if your people are to continue, even in changed form, they will need a female to mate with."

The horror and revulsion I felt must have shown in my eyes and he pulled me to his chest, comforting me with his warmth.

"I will protect you, my brother will protect you. You mean the world to me, Anni, without you, I am nothing. You must never fear. I would sooner die than let any harm come to you."

I didn't doubt his words, not for a moment. "Elfgwyven, do you understand? These are my people. If they terrorize the innocent, I am responsible. If they bear a terrible curse, I am responsible. There are other things I must attend to, but I cannot forget about this."

"I know, my wife. Were you not my sennschat, were you not so beautiful, for your fierce intelligence and loyalty alone I would love you until the end of time."

I had no words for this. My love was newly discovered, and split between two men. I had not been raised for this, trained for this, I had no idea how to handle it.

All I knew was that either I must change, or the situation. For a woman now royalty of four worlds, who had seen her own people return from the dead, I had a feeling impossible was all my future held.

And I welcomed the challenge.

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