I have been working on this scene for book 2. This is both and informational, and pivotal scene in which Keysa finds out a lot about her peoples past. I’m not sure I am entirely happy with it yet, but I wanted to share. Any comments would be appreciated, even if you think it stinks.
Keysa moved to stand next to where Laia knelt before a small rise in the earth. No higher than her waist and twice as wide. At the top was a tangle of roots and branches that resembled a chair and upon that one of the most beautiful creatures she had ever seen. He looked much like an elf but much smaller, about as tall as her leg was long, sitting straight backed on the tangled throne. His hair shone golden and hung about his shoulders. On his head was a crown of brambles woven with white roses. His silver eyes seemed to glitter as he looked her over as she just stood there in awe of the entire scene.
“Two elves in my court. What a day this must be.”
Keysa blinked when he spoke. The speech surprised her for some reason as if she hadn’t expected him to be able to communicate with them at all. He speech was flat but lilted. There had been no true joy or surprise in his statement.
Keysa almost jumped when Laia moved, placing the plate of polished stones at the foot of the hill and looked up in time to see the creature upon the hill smile.
“Keysa of the Taurhin clan. What drives you to follow my servant into my realm this twilight?”
Keysa started again as he spoke her name. “How do you know who I am? Who are you and what are you doing to Laia?”
The creature gave a dismissive wave. “Questions, questions questions. Something you always seem to be full of child.” His face tightened and a shadow seemed to pass over it. “I am the one who asks the questions here.”
“I am not a child.” Keysa huffed, a bit louder than she had intended.
“Quiet. Do you even know where you stand Keysa of the Taurhin. In the summer court you have no sway.”
He stood from the tangled throne and moved forward two small paces. “Your people know nothing anymore. You have spent too much time with the humans, are too much like them. Once you and I were one. The elves and the seely holding court together every solstice. Now you work and arrange order in your lives.”
Keysa started to tremble. She felt like a child being scolded by her father. It was not from fear that she shook but from anger. She hadn’t done anything wrong and only wanted to look out for Laia. Confusion at all the things this creature was throwing at her.
The creature stepped forward again, quickly flanked by a handful of others, some male, some female, all shapes and sizes and even some with wings. She suddenly felt defensive and reached into the ground for the magic and gasped.
Nothing. There was nothing her for her to draw upon.
The creature and those around him laughed. “You cannot use your power here. Even if you can use the deep magic, here the power is mine alone.”
Keysa took a deep breath and let it out slow to steady herself. Her anger had gotten the best of her and the situation was only getting worse.
“I…I only wanted to help Laia. I wondered at where she went at night.”
“The elven girl brings me my offering at twilight.” He laughed again.
“For what? What purpose could there possibly be in brining you a plateful of shiny rocks?”
“Because I can. Because they look good in my garden.”
Keysa stood there for a moment, not expecting such a flippant answer.
The creature on the hill waved his hand and two of those next to him flew down to snatch up the plate of stones making Keysa take a step back in surprise. The others on the hill flitted over to the right and Keysa watched at the branches and underbrush parted with a sparkle of light leaving a path paved with the same polished stones that Laia brought.
Keysa looked to the hill again as the small creature there sighed heavily. “I suppose the only way to solve this matter is to educate you. Come and I will show you what no one but the fae have seen in a thousand years.”
The eyes that watched her flashed and she felt compelled to move so she did. Walking over the stones with stiff steps that did not seem to be her own. She took a look back at Laia, still kneeling at the base of the hill.
“She will be fine and she will wait until I dismiss her.” The creature had suddenly appeared beside her, walking the path next to her.
As they went the foliage along the path spread out father and farther and until they moved past it and entered into a grove that took her breath away. Flowers of every kind, tall broad leaved plants, sparkling stones all surrounding a glittering pool of water. Golden sand sparkled in the filtering rays of sunlight and the creature with her sat down on it waving her to do the same.
“Do I start with who I am, or with who you are?”
“Are you always so confusing?”
“Another question.” He frowned and looked out over the pool. “Who am I then. I am Amanon.”
“Are you king here?”
“Of a sort I suppose. Mostly just someone to speak for the rest of the fae should the need arise. Which it does very little these days.”
Keysa’s brow wrinkled. “The fae, the summer court, so many things you talk about that I don’t even know of.”
Amanon sighed again. “It maddens me to know what an influence your people leaving has cost you. You do not even know what or who you are anymore.” He paused, looking over at her, looking into her. “Though you, you are different Keysa. And because of this I will explain to you.”
The fae king waved his hand toward the shimmering pool and a breeze blew across it bringing with it leaves and dust, colors and glittering sand swirled over the water and began to take shapes in front of Keysa’s eyes. She only stared at the scene before as Amanon began to speak again.
“A thousand years ago, before the elven queen, all the fae were as one race.”
“There was a queen?”
Amanon waved a hand at her. “Hush!” Her mind quieted and she was drawn to the images over the pool again.
“The races you now know as goblins, fairy, bovar, harpies, elves and more were all the fae. Magic was free and used wantonly for any reason that suited our needs. Our whole life was a childhood, playtime. There was no order, nor cares for what the future might bring. The only differences being the seely and the unseely.”
Keysa watched over the pool as colorful glittering images of these races ran thorugh the forests together, ate together and seemingly played all sorts of games. There were fights but they ended in laughter and more games. There were no farmers, no gatherers, no builders and no blacksmiths. Sleep was only taken when exhaustion took over.
“We here in this wood are what remains. We are the summer court, the seely. Mostly we bother no one unless one of us takes to some mischief now and then. Your friend kneeling before the knoll for example.”
The images above the pool lost their form and sparkle and became various forest flotsam again, blowing back to wherever they came from. Keysa found she was breathing heavily and her heart was racing.
“Why are you making Laia bring you the stones?”
Amanon chuckled, “She had wandered into the wood. She should never have been able to find us but there is something special about her, and something broken. It was only a prank at first to frighten her. But after I ordered her to start bringing me polished stones, she did. She comes every three days at twilight. I saw no reason to stop her.”
“What’s wrong with her?”
“She has been broken. Someone or something has tried to split her from her magic. She is fae, she is magic. There is no way to separate the two and it has left its mark.”
Keysa stared at the fae king and shook her head. “Why, why would someone do that?”
“There is an answer, but not one you should seek.”
“I need to know, for her.”
“And for someone else I think.” Amanon replied then nodded. “If you truly want the answer than you will to seek out the winter court. Find the unseely, speak to the sluagh, they will have your answer. I will warn you now. I do not advise this action. The unseely are too unpredictable and do not tolerate visitors. Though it could be entertaining just to watch what happens to you.”