Chapter 28: Bargain
“Ye can’t be serious?! We Fae are safe because humans don’t know the whereabouts of our home. Technically you don’t either, ye just know ’tis somewhere in this forest. I trust you and Skye, and maybe even that sweet Petrie fellow: but I will Not trust a human King,” Maevis was practically yelling at Tidas.
The prince didn’t think she’d react to his suggestion so harshly, but he didn’t really know much about Maevis. Or any Fae, for that matter. As far as he knew, Fae folk were just fairytales. Stories told to children at night to help them drift off to a dream world. But being familiar with the evil side of humanity himself, Tidas understood the raw emotion behind Maevis’ words.
He may not have known what pained her, but the scars from the act were clear: Maevis resented humans. Maybe not all, but it seemed linked to the Royals. Before Tidas could pry, Nicolas interrupted them. He simply flew over to Maevis, and put his hand on her shoulder. She scoffed, but didn’t remove it.
Nicolas gave Tidas a sad smile, turned to his old friend, and said; “You understand why he asked, don’t you Mae? Skye will need a shield while her prince is away. She’ll already be pained from their separation, and that will make her vulnerable. I don’t like the sound of this Crowned Prince. If his grasp and power will truly extend as far as Tidas said, we need to see for ourselves as well. And Skye will be happy to still be able to learn her new magic properly; from you.”
Maevis glared at Nicolas as he’d spoken. She knew of his original motives, from when the two were children. This would be his opportunity to secure a proper Sanctuary for the northern Fae. But these things always came at a cost, and it never ended well for the Fae folk. Even Nicolas had experienced the level of cruelty humans were capable of, but he hadn’t become embittered by it like Maevis had.
Nicolas had stayed in the Fae territory for most of his life, studying magical sources. Only a handful of times did Nicolas actually leave the Fae territory. His final time, he’d lost someone very dear to him. Only when Skye and Tidas came to the forest did he finally begin to act like his old self again. It was one of the reasons the two were already so endeared to her before they’d actually met.
Maevis had lived in the Fae territory for barely three hundred years, and not consistently. She was always off on adventures with her friends, who were more than just fairy Fae. But that was many, many years ago. The old fairy shook the nostalgia from her mind and replied; “I know, Nic... Shut it.”
Tidas felt bad. He’d obliviously stirred up bad memories that Maevis most likely would’ve preferred have stayed forgotten. But he would take whatever wrath he incurred. Introducing them to his father would be the main stepping stone of his plan.
“If you two come with me, and meet with the king, I know he will grant you Sanctuary here. He grew up with my grandfather telling him stories of when he was a wee boy. Of how he’d met real fairies as a child. It may seem a bit dishonest, but I know meeting you two will play on those nostalgic sympathies. Especially since I’m fairly certain those stories were about you two to begin with.”
Tidas had studied their reactions as he spoke, confirming his theory. Their expressions had shifted as they considered Tidas’ proposal, occasionally looking at each other in their silent contemplation. He almost wondered if they could read each other’s thoughts, but brushed the notion aside as ridiculous.
A few minutes went by before Maevis spoke: “Edmond was a good boy, and a good king.. It broke our hearts to hear of his passing.”
“Aye.. My great grandsire told me that my features reminded him of his father often. The painting of him as a child in the grand hall looks almost exactly like me,” Tidas replied with a warm smile as he reminisced.
The two old Fae looked at each other and grinned. There was something about that painting that caused their amusement, but Tidas didn’t ask. They were getting off subject, and they needed to head back to camp. The sun had already been in the sky a while, making it around nine in the morning. If Skye wanted any time to wash and get dressed before the wedding, they’d have to leave by ten or so.
“I don’t know why you take issue with humans, but I can swear this to you,” Tidas bent down on one knee before continuing: “I will secure sanctuary with Lucas Moonstone for the Fae first. I don’t think he’ll have a problem, especially considering how you’ve helped us over the years. My father will agree to my terms as well, but Not without proof that you’re real. He is open to your existence already.. But will not accept it without evidence. Trust Me: Protect Skye... And I will put my life on the line for you. I swear it by the Gods.”
The Third Prince of Alcon bent his head in humility. Royalty never bent the knee to anyone but the king. It was a gesture of honor on Tidas’ part. But the two Fae reacted just like Peggy had, minus the smack. They chided him for his action, but at least now they seemed at ease. Maevis was the first to speak again.
“I wish it were that simple, dear boy. I don’t know if our Queen will approve of it. I know she has been looking for an opportunity to build relations with humans, but the King Consort is not a fan. The majority of his family was killed by humans hundreds of years ago.. It’s took a long time for him to accept it-”
“But maybe there’s hope now! Skye!” Nicolas interrupted Maevis with scheming grin.
“What about her?” Tidas inquired.
He turned to Maevis with a quirky smile before asking: “What is the name of our Queen?”
Maevis sighed and gave Nic an exasperated expression before saying: “Celestia Moonchild; what kind of question is-Oh!”
Realization shined in Maevis’ eyes. She’d finally recalled that it was the King Consort, Aero that had been the one to send Nicolas to help Skye in the first place. Shock lit her features before she scoffed in awe at the whole situation. It was as if fate itself was clearing the way for the Fae to rejoin the world.. And Skye had been the trigger.
A sinking feeling filled Maevis as the pieces of a familiar legend came into her mind’s eye again. It was the same one that her and Nicolas had discussed multiple times already. The one they had dreaded being true. Maevis hid her worry from the two; not wanting to alarm them. She would discuss it with Skye first, and learn everything she needed to before confirming it with Nic.
Tidas and Nicolas had begun to plan their next few steps, but Maevis ended there good time by pointing out: “If they leave tomorrow, there won’t be enough time to discuss the situation with the Queen..”
Nicolas looked defeated a moment before Tidas chimed in; “Would they approve of you two as diplomats?”
The two fairies stared at Tidas in confusion a moment before he continued: “If we propose that you two are to accompany me: the Third Royal Prince of Alcon, on a diplomatic mission to establish relations with said human kingdom, by confirming the existence of Fae directly and discreetly to the king himself: might they would agree? Also mention that without proof of your existence, an official Sanctuary can never be established.”
The two thought in silence a moment before Maevis asked; “Can you swear no harm will come to our people? That your king Will grant us support in fortifying and protecting ourselves, and punish any who hunt or hurt us?”
“No... But I will do everything in my power to make it so. I have plenty of my own money, so the cost of materials and labor will not be an issue. But I cannot guarantee the king’s protection unless he understands what it is that needs to be protected. You must reveal yourselves before I approach him.. Even if I must give up my own land, my home, everything I have.. If helping your people will protect Skye, I’ll do whatever it takes. But a risk must be taken by both parties if we are to attempt this,” Tidas stood as he finished.
“I will go back and explain the situation to Aero and Celestia, if she is awake. Hugo is the fastest means to travel, so it should only take me until tonight. I will go straight to Moonstone Castle afterwards; I know the way,” Nicolas had played with his beard as he’d spoken.
Maevis fretted some more, but knew the prince was right. Their kind could never be fully protected unless they went back to the Fae Kingdom. The Fae Empress, Titania Mab; was powerful. She’d kept their kingdom hidden since before Maevis was born. No other Fae had the gift or power needed to do something like what she had done.
However, the Empress was getting old, and her powers were beginning to wane. Nicolas had been researching ways to boost her power with natural magic sources, but so far it hadn’t led him anywhere. As a secondary solution, he had come up with the idea of establishing relations with humans, but the Fae were used and abused badly in the past due to the purity of their magic and na?veté.
Anyone who met them could tell that Tidas and Skye were different. Their kind natures and pure intentions had won over the old Fae long ago. She knew it was mostly her own past experiences that made her fearful. Giving a final sigh of defeat, Maevis said; “I know you’ll do your best to keep your word, laddie.. I just hope it all works out.”
“We’ll make sure of it, Mae. We won’t let our kin down... That includes you as well, Tidas. We’ll do our best to protect Skye, and teach her whatever we can,” Nicolas lifted his hand off of Maevis’ shoulder, and grinned at her as he’d spoken.
“Now... We best wake Skye and fill her in. Don’t want her to think we’re keeping anything from her again, and you should be on your way as well, Nic,” Tidas stated as he handed Nicolas a few of the berries he’d picked before heading off towards camp.
The two Fae shared a nervous glance after watching the anxious prince walk away. He was several feet away before Nicolas coughed to see if Tidas could hear him. He leaned towards Maevis slightly, as he flew right next to her. Seeing no reaction from the lad; he whispered, “Don’t mention it yet.. Not until we know for certain.”
Maevis rubbed her hands together, worried; before whispering back: “You know what it means if it’s true, if Skye is the Catalyst.. We have to save her, Nic...”
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