Location: Winged Boar, Aven, Askavi, Terreille
Fatima flinched visibly when Jassen was lifted from the ground. She hoped he wouldn’t get hurt. She hoped she wouldn’t have to hate a member of her Court. Jassen was lowered and she released a breath she didn’t realize she had been holding. She turned her attention to Xander, white-gold eyes taking him in and her heart hearing his words. She was about to respond, give him her name, but the Widow intervened. Her gaze met Faeril’s and she felt nothing but anxiety until the Blood Opal power slipped past her open barriers to enter the deep annals of her mind.
The scraping up of things in her past was inexorably uncomfortable. It turned her stomach to pure bile and her bronze skin paled. The hands she clasped beneath her breasts tightened their grip on each other as her knuckles turned white and blood seeped from puncture marks created by her nails. But she did not move. She did not rescind her decision to allow the Widow in. She breathed and remained as calm as she could.
Shadow figures came to the forefront of her mind’s eye. Her breath caught at their “images” - each one creating a strange slew of emotions. The first bathed her in a musky heat that danced along her spine. It cried danger and excitement. The second brought her a feeling of warmth and protection. A fire on a cold night in the wilds. The last was hard to grasp as if it were sand slipping between her fingers. At last, she replied with confusion, “Triangle?””Even the Twisted Queens ought to know of the Queen’s Triangle. How naive.”
The Eyrien woman murmured with annoyance, her icy eyes studying the tiny Queen. ”The First Escort, sometimes the Consort, the Master of the Guard, and the Steward. The Queen’s Triangle.”
Faeril furrowed her brow. What was she to do with such a naive Queen? Surely her spell, her webs, were mistaken? Surely this foolish girl was not the Queen who would be their salvation, for she would surely be their doom.
Fatima blanched at the statement. She went from pale to a burning red of embarrassment. She felt so stupid, there was so much she had not properly learned. She had the basics, yes, but even some of those appeared to be missing. She loosened her grip on her hands and brought them to her upper arms in a self-hug. “I see. Well, I am not the sort to back away from a challenge just because it could be difficult. That is to say, I will do what is needed and learn what I must - even if it is something I do not like - in order to save my village, the land, and its people.”
Faeril closed her eyes briefly in a grimace. ”Then you cannot make the sacrifices that would be required.”
Perhaps it was her lack of sleep lately that was making her voice harsh and sharper than usual, but this girl was useless! ”Why would my spell bring a timid little girl, when we need a strong Queen?”“I don’t know what you are on about, Widow,”
she spat like a wild cat, her words a hiss of her dissatisfaction. Her eyes narrowed and her hands came down to her sides. Her anger swirled inside of her stomach, making the bile feeling turn to burning. “I am not here for your pleasure but mine. I am here to save lives, not be the puppet of some grand scheme. I ask for your help. Timid girl? Cannot make sacrifices? You saw inside of me. The whole of me. And yet you would weave such claims?”
Unbidden, her Grey came swirling about her, a night tempest which rustled loose papers and picked at her clothes and hair. She walked toward the Black Widow, her face set in a determined scowl. “I am not here to fight you. I am here to do what is needed.””Then do what is needed and surrender your village for the time. Take up the Realm. I saw within you the strength, but stepping up to that line is another matter. You took the step once before. For the Jewel you do not wear.”
The Black Widow’s ring finger tapping Fatima’s Sapphire Jewel. ”That is my price for my service. Pay it and I shall serve in your Court.”
Words she never thought to utter and perhaps a fool’s promise, but for a chance of hope, she would break her own Jewel. Her face was a mask of rage while she snapped against the windblown dramatics of the Queen. ”Stop with the dramatics, child. They do not impress me.”
Though she did like this bit of spine the child had.
The swirling, invisible wind of her Grey slowly settled as shock replaced her rage. She blinked and stared in confusion at Faeril who was now within arms reach. She glanced down as the Widow tapped the jewel and then she shook her head. “The Realm? You mean… All of Terrielle?”
Her words were hollow as if she had never tasted them on her lips before. Fatima had not considered herself being a part of something so big. It was mind boggling. To save ALL
of Terrielle. “My Court?”
She was never supposed to have a Court. Of course, this woman would have seen that.
Fatima looked toward Jassen and Jandar and then at Xandar. She shook her head again as if trying to rattle things into its proper place. Give up her birthright - that which her mother had bequeathed her - to save everyone. Not just happy faces in the village but in all of Terrielle
. Could she do that? Her attention came back to Faeril. “It will get bad before it gets better.”
It was more a statement to herself. “What would you have me do, Widow?””That is an answer that lies with those males who would make up your First Circle. I would have you gain their loyalty, not to mention finding them.”
Faeril gave a sideways look to Xandar with a raised brow. ”I can confirm that she is indeed free of the corruption that plagues this Realm, Prince. But the choice remains yours. Would you join her First Circle? She lacks the experience or skill, but her heart is pure if extremely naive and foolish. But we are lacking good and honest Queens. I could think of no one better to be the Master of her Guard than the Reaper.”
Shifting slightly to regain her balance, Faeril withdrew her shields from the building and her power slipped fully from Fatima’s mind. Closing her eyes for a brief moment, Faeril gritted her teeth in annoyance. She would need to rest when they reached her eyrie. Fool was she for pushing herself too hard of late, but time was running out.
Relief filled her as the Blood Opal power slipped from her mind. The Grey immediately threw its fortifications back into place. Her mind was ready to take on anyone who dared enter without express permission. One uncomfortable entrance into the secrets of her inner world was enough. Her whole body relaxed in response to the removal of power from the room.
Turning toward Xandar fully, her stance was open and welcoming. Her palms turned toward him and arms held slightly away from her body - almost a mimicking a stance to pull the man into a hug if he were to approach. Her face was one of stony determination. “Or would you kill me dead?”
She slid her eyes briefly toward Jassen and Jandar, she made a slight motion of her hand to indicate that they should do nothing. Then her attention was on Xandar again. “There is much in this world that is wrong. Atrocities that have taken place by the hand or word of those like me. I would not blame you. I do ask that you give me a chance to prove my worth.”