In the high country of forest-hidden land—the one that passes as a portal between the realms of mortal and immortal—a royal faerie sat upon a throne of Fae glass, and through a tiny lens that spoke of stayed destiny and inflicted grief, she surveyed the worlds.
Cold she had been in demeanor and in body for time beyond memory, but that was mere water to the ice that pierced her when through her lens memory broke and she saw a man she had known of old.
Surprise came as it should, for the Fae queen was used to permanence when death was rendered by her hand.
Cold fingers tightened around the arms of her glass throne, then pushed off, only to have her body caught by wings. She would meet him and find out his aims.
‘Tell me, Laodius,’ the queen began when she stood before him, ‘how came you back to the realm of the living?’
At the question the man looked up, and a small smile played upon his lips.
‘My queen,’ he said, and inclined his head, ‘Though, perhaps the bond between crown and subject breaks when one has taken the life of the other.’
‘And yet, you live.’
‘Do I? Perhaps I am no more than a haunt, sent to torment you for wrongful death?’
At this, the Fae queen extended two fingers, and delivered the man a brutal pinch that caused him pain.
‘It is unlikely,’ she said. ‘For you are real. And more than that, I have no heart for you to torment—as well you know, for it is what coronation demands.’ The man looked as though he would speak, but the queen brushed his words aside. ‘It is of no consequence. If you would like to live amongst us once more, I will consider it. But first you must fetch me forth the pink jewel that sits at the center of a lake of fire.’ For the jewel would render her joy unparallel, that of which she had not felt since first she reigned.
Laodius’ head fell to the side; his smile had not faded. ‘Thank you,’ he said, ‘no.’
The faerie arched her regal brow. ‘Then I must kill you,’ said she.
‘Again? Surely, Arela, it will become tedious.’
‘How dare you?’ The queen’s gaze was colder still in sudden anger, and her wings beat behind her in a fury. ‘How dare you speak the queen’s name? My subjects do not dare!’
‘Ah,’ Laodius said, ‘but I have suggested that I am not your subject. And once you allowed me use of your name freely, Arela.’
‘We shall see,’ the queen said, her nostrils flared in cold rage.
She raised her hand to strike the mortal blow—but memories long forgotten began to tease at her mind, and her arm sunk to her side as though it were iron in water.
‘Have you no wish to kill me, then?’ he asked.
‘I do not know why it is that I remember, and in memories so long lost, it has come upon me that I have no wish to do so,’ the Fae queen answered, perplexed.
‘Perhaps it is because I have sought the wide world for this?’ he asked and opened his hand to reveal a beating heart.
The faerie looked at it and felt the power of his hand around that which was her own. He walked toward her and pressed her heart into her chest. Suddenly all was warm and breath and beating.
‘Death cannot stay one who holds the heart of another, my queen.’
‘Am I once more your queen?’ the faerie looked upon him strangely.
‘If you would but have me…’
The Fae queen looked at him in wonder, then put out her hand. And all was as it once had been.