The Court Of Shadows
The heat of the tea burns Gwinevere’s pale hands as she pours raspberry tea from the teapot into the teacups. Gwinevere carefully sits down in her rose red dress, across from Queen Clarabel of Iseadour who is scowling, making herself look twice her age.
“Careful, Queen Clarabel. The tea is still quite hot.” Gwinevere says this as friendly as she possibly can, but she is still able to hear the distaste in her young voice.
Queen Clarabel gives her a tight smile. Queen Gwinevere of Grithen thinks to herself: If only this conversation could be as calm as the raspberry tea that she is serving, but no. The Queen of Iseadour and Gwinevere have political matters to discuss between their lands. A war could break out if they disagree on much today.
Gwinevere feels the impatience of her dearest Cole lurking around the entrance to the sunroom, but he wouldn’t dare enter with the ladies’ tensions rising.
“Your Majesty, first I wanted to thank you for inviting me over for tea,” Gwinevere nods in response and Clarabel’s shrill voice continues. “Second, I was hoping we could discuss the matters of expansion of my kingdom. Iseadour is quite tight-”
Queen Gwinevere cuts her off with her surprisingly sharp tone, “Iseadour still has undeveloped lands so why would you need more?”
Queen Clarabel smiles, “Who doesn’t need more land, Your Majesty?”
Gwinevere would snarl at the old queen if it wasn’t so frowned upon so she restrains herself against doing so. She has her own digging to do with this enemy from Iseadour. It had started a few weeks ago when humans in all of the kingdoms nearby started dropping like flies. Granted, there were few humans after The War but what kind of Fae would arise the issue again? After she and Cole had sent their own men to investigate the murders, they returned with news of some kind of ancient, dark magic. The Queen had immediately suspected Iseadour’s Court for they have the most atrocious witch of the lands in their Court: Katherina La Croix.
Gwin, trying to figure out how to approach this dangerous matter only remains silent. Queen Clarabel’s wrinkled lips curl into a wicked smile, thinking she has won this battle with the Queen of Grithen. And so with that she went on to dream of all the land she would seize from them. But if only she had known that this battle had only just begun.
“If you wouldn’t mind, Clarabel,” Gwinevere snarled with disrespect, “remind me of your court members. Lady Katherina La Croix is the witch of your court, am I right?” Queen Gwinevere smiled cunningly, proud of herself for surprising Clarabel with this.
“Why… yes,” Queen Clarabel falters at the mention of the witch, “but why must you change the topic? We are supposed to be talking of our lands and Iseadour’s expansion.”
It was Gwin’s turn to smile. Although she was only a young fae to be crowned as Queen of Grithen, she was as cunning as a fox. “It had only popped into my mind especially with all these human attacks occurring – it is my job as queen to wonder and protect.”
Gwin sighed softly as Queen Clarabel’s brow furrowed and her mouth open ajar, lost for words. And then the ancient fae queen remembered the biggest weakness this young and foolish fae had revealed to her awhile back – Gwinevere’s love from another kingdom, another court.
“Of course, your majesty, I was wondering if you could remind me of that boy’s name from Naevacia? Oh, what was his name!”
“Aerien…” Gwinevere whispers, now she was the one at a loss for words because of the mention of her first love.
“Oh, yes – Aerien,” Queen Clarabel cooed his name with a bright smile on her face, “and what does King Cole think of Aerien of the Naevacia Court? Do you and he still meet at the River of Grithen like you did in the olden days?”
“No,” Gwinevere frowned, surprised how much this queen knew about her past life with Aerien, “King Cole is very aware of Aerien and the feelings I once had for him, but let me remind you that King Cole is now my love and my husband and that is that.”
“Oh, yes, forgive me, your majesty, for being so nosey, but the topic is just too irresistible to not approach,” Queen Clarabel looks around boringly and takes a sip of her tea.
With just enough discreet power that Queen Gwinevere has she makes the tea freezing cold to the touch with just a blink of her eyes before the teacup reaches Clarabel’s smiling lips, so when the malicious woman drinks the raspberry tea she chokes at how cold it has turned so quickly.
Queen Gwinevere of Grithen smiles at her enemy, “Is something wrong?”
Fire burns in Queen Clarabel’s eyes, “No, but if you excuse me, your majesty, I will be leaving now.”
Gwinevere chuckles to herself as the queen scurries out of the sunroom to return to her corrupted kingdom. It is only a matter of days before war will break out between the kingdoms. She will have to tell Cole about this meeting with the Queen of Iseadour and how she was startled at the mention of Katherina. They just needed a little more proof that the witch was using dark magic and then they could declare war with Naevacia at their side.
Gwinevere is so looking forward to the day she slays the foul Queen of Iseadour.
The fields in Kentucky were my favorite places to be, specifically the larger one that was closest to my shack of a home. I would venture out to this field daily and lay down in the tall, dying grass and stare up at the sky whether if it was storming or if it was as clear as the ocean.
My favorite time was when it would storm and I could see the bright and colorful flashes of lightning paint the dark clouded sky. A million different brushstrokes and I would feel content.
But on Sunday mornings, right before another beautiful Kentucky storm when the heat was still in the air, pressuring me to do nothing but lay there in the itchy grass – I would hear the locusts buzzing and the birds chirping dim and then the grasshoppers would sing to me. The locusts tune were a perfect background noise for the grasshoppers’ song.
I only saw the grasshoppers once. There were fifteen of them, each one a different color like my lightning that filled the black sky above me.
Thousands of different colors
That I can mix and create new,
The paint splatters and spits
Painting me as I paint the canvas
In front of me.
The brushstrokes dance together
And create new imagery that only
Exists in my mind.
And by the end,
The paint has not only made the canvas
But it has made me one, too.
A crisp fall breeze pushes and pulls at the angering ocean, bringing it alive and turning it into a statue of a man. A man who laughs along the roaring ocean. A man who stands taller than a thousand buildings combined, but he is just a man. A teenage boy even, who pickpockets and rummages the New York City streets. Weaving and diving through the tunnel-visioned New Yorkers who yap on their five hundred dollar iPhones. A mischievous boy with bright blue eyes that reflect the ocean on a sunny day. This boy with golden hair like the sun that makes the ocean glimmer on these days, but he is just a boy. A boy who wishes to be as great as a God.