Hey readers! Just a quick note before you get started. If you are new to the My Telija series, then please click here for a list of the chapters with links. Get caught up, then check back for the latest chapter! Also for those of you who need a refresher on what happened last time, check out the same link from above. Thanks everyone and have a good night.
Things coming in the next week or so: A new QUICKIE and a new chapter of Yes, Master. :)
Telijah- my love, my heart, my everything
Unijah-treasured friend, part of my heart
Mellochi- the combining of two soul mate’s powers to unify their mating.
Ghea- true soul mates
Tanta- respected female of your family such as an aunt or cousin.
Skeenji- a smaller Fae species that hold the ability to read minds and emotional patterns, manipulate thoughts, and take over another person’s body for their own devices.
Elder species- the first of species that the Great Mother created. From these creatures, the twelve species were formed. They reside in the Elder lands as historians and teachers. Priests and priestesses are their protégés.
AniFae- Fae with the ability to shift into animals or half animal half human forms.
Spirit Fae- Fae with the ability to define energies around them, read auras, sense emotions, seek out abilities. Can also sense others who have passed on.
Blajah- Leader of the Fire Fae. Mother of Hazia (her eldest) and twins Dim and Lit.
Rain- Leader of the Water Fae. Mother of Lucy’s absentee father.
Guardwin- King of all Fae. Grandfather to Jordan. Father to Jameen. Abilities-Water and Air
Orla- Queen of all Fae. Grandmother to Jordan. Mother to Jameen. Leader of the Skeenji.
Jillian- Mother of Jordan and lost mate of Jameen. Reborn as Fae. Ability unknown.
Cellan- Leader of the Night Fae and second in command of the Fae guard. Vendish’s best friend.
Hazia- Fire Fae with a flame for Vendish. Ex-lover and friend of the prince.
Yarnah- priestess to the Elders and sister to Orla. Traveling teacher and guide to Fae. Great Aunt to Jordan.
MY TELIJA CHAPTER 6
An angry looking dwarf set a goblet on the table in front of me and the smell of something akin to pumpkin floated to my nose. I leaned forward and eyed the drink skeptically. It had been a long day…again…and I was beginning to distrust anything that seemed normal. I laughed a little and startled the dwarf. Yeah, what the hell was normal anymore? The bright eyed dwarf wriggled his nose and huffed before waddling away.
Elder Frawn sat at the table across from me, using his long elegant fingers to leaf through a book that looked miniature to his stature. He would hum occasionally or purse his lips as he studied the text but he never actually said anything and I was beginning to get ants in my pants. What was I doing here? What was all that welcome to the secret society bullshit back there? Why didn’t anyone seem to think I was going crazy? All these questions and more on next week’s episode of…duh duh duh...’As The Fae Turns’.
“Did you wish to inquire about something wee one?” Elder Frawn looked up and his sparkling black eyes locked on mine. Eight feet of predator wrapped up in an otherworldly beauty lounged in the chair across the way—his fingers drummed over the page he had been pondering over.
He was so beautiful yet creepy that it was hard to think and look at him all at the same time. “I…I…oh I uh…”
“Hm. Very well, when you can learn to speak again, then please do so.” He turned back to the book and Rain smiled slowly next to him but kept her head down towards the book in her lap.
“Okay, your majesty…” I swallowed and Rain covered a laugh with her hand.
“I am no majesty or king here. I am an Elder, yes, but I am not responsible for the decisions of your people. Guardwin is your king and Orla your queen. They are your majesties.” The magnificent creature swept a hand through his silken silver hair and let it pool around the legs of his chair.
“Elder Frawn?” I tried again and he looked up.
“Yes, Jordan?” Bingo.
“Would you mind explaining what’s going on? And where Vendish is?” I hadn’t seen the rat bastard in over two hours and I was getting really pissed off. I took a drink of the pumpkin shake in front of me and tried to keep the moan of pleasure back. It was like nutmeg and cinnamon that cooled my mouth and finished with a fruity after taste—simply delicious.
“He is busy at the moment.” That was all I got from the giant Fae.
“Rekwana melon. Only the Fire Fae can grow them because of the heat required to keep the soil at just the right temperature. I take it from that silly smile that you like it?” Rain closed her book and put it on the table. She stood and stretched, her tiny sigh echoing in the large library where we currently sat. Shelves stretched into the great beyond and disappeared into the darkness in all directions around the circle of tables in the middle. Pixies sat high up on the book cases and watched us and the Elder’s consorts or priests and priestesses wandered the rows in silent study.
Above our heads was a great glowing glass ball that bathed our tables in a warm orange light. The effect of the light and the drink relaxed me and judging by the faces of the two before me, I think that was the point. “It’s good.” I nodded and took another sip. No, it was fucking amazing but I didn’t want to overdo it on the enthusiasm.
“I am glad to see you at ease now. You were near panicked back there but you seem to be regaining your senses away from the others. Am I correct?” I nodded in response to Elder Frawn. “This pleases me. You are a rarity Jordan and that is not to be taken lightly. We care for things precious to us and you are precious. I apologize on behalf of the Fae for the ruckus of the past few days as that is not normal for any of us. You have been through so much in such a short time and I commend you for retaining your sanity and strength through such turbulent events. We are just not accustomed to your human upbringing and seem to be lacking in your routines and traditions. Luciana has expressed interest in bringing us ‘up to speed’ as she so put it and we will try our best to keep your ways in mind from now on.” Elder Frawn bowed his head slightly and I looked to Rain with a raised brow. She pursed her lips and jerked her head at the Elder for me to return the gesture.
“Thank you Elder Frawn. That is very…kind of you.” I bowed back and he smiled as if pleased.
“Now that you are more relaxed, I shall reveal to you what you are doing here. Ah here it is Rain. Yes, this is what we were looking for.” Elder Frawn smiled and pushed an open book across my table. I looked down and my eyes went wide. Black ink swirled in beautiful lines around a creature that looked like an Elder. His eyes were black and his body gave off the impression of power. In the distance were shadowy beings in the sky—their eyes penned in yellow and their wings spanned across the dark clouds. The male’s hands were extended as if he was calling the sky creatures to him and in his hand was the staff that was now mine.
“But Vendish said he didn’t know where they came from...” I shook my head—looking into the yellow eyes that had called to me before.
“This is something that the Elders do not share with everyone because we are not proud of how this piece of history came to be. If you were ashamed, would you tell of it?” The Elder crossed his long leg and his robe slithered to either side of his now exposed skin.
I shook my head and looked to Rain. “Why do you know about this then?”
“Before I was the Water leader, I was a priestess to Elder Frawn. As a guide and teacher we are privy to all of Fae’s secrets.” She turned away. “That said I…I feel the need to apologize for my initial rudeness towards you Jordan. I did not know you as you grew from a babe nor did I know your intentions. I worried for my Luciana and your influence upon her if you were indeed using your abilities for the hunters. Vendish and I have never seen eye to eye and I worried that he wasn’t seeing beyond his mating to you. You have to admit that you posed a threat to us all. Still, I am ashamed of my prejudice towards you and again I apologize.”
Elder Frawn raised a brow at me and I was beginning to see why he was revered by everyone. The guy could give anyone the warm and fuzzies, even Rain the bitch queen herself. “Thanks. With what happened with my dad, I guess I would be afraid of me too. Not that he is bad…I…I just get it. I want you to know that Lu is always safe with me. She’s my best friend and I would never hurt her Rain. Even if I am part dark side or whatever…” I grumbled and rubbed my eyes.
“You are what you choose to be Jordan and I above all people know that the best.” Elder Frawn stood and joined me at the table. “You have been told of our birthing as Elders?” I nodded. “But you were not told the full story of why we lost our powers. Yes, we fought amongst us and created mayhem to the land and the creatures of Fae but it was the creation of the shadows that created true conflict for our people.”
“The Great Mother had stripped us of our powers save for one that we would share with each other to create you and yours. It was a beautiful union for many and it would have stayed that way had it not been for Elder Zawah. He grew hungry for another Elder who did not want him and eventually, he took what was not his. Elder Hollia was impregnated with his hate and when she gave birth it was to something none of us had ever dreamed of—a child born of hate and violence that would become our enemy.” Elder Frawn took a deep breath and flicked his eyes to mine. “This male was the beginning of it all Jordan. This is Yazeem, the first Master of the Shadows and also…the first father of the Yukah.”
“What? How is that possible? I thought the Elders created the species and…” I looked up at my Elder and everything was written on his face. At least something made sense now. “There were only eleven of you weren’t there? And that’s why everyone is afraid of the Yukah…because they weren’t supposed to exist.”
“Yes. Yazeem took one of our Night children and their child was born with scales like a dragon. He was un-natural to us all—his mother included--and we did not know what to do, so of our own doing and fear of the unknown…we banished him and the other children that Yazeem created to the woods after the Yawah’s child fled to the other side of the Fae lines. It is because of us that the Fae fear those poor creatures. It is all our own faults.” Elder Frawn turned and his shoulder shuddered with grief. “Sena should have never been treated that way and even after he killed Yazeem to keep us safe, the Fae denied him. And even after that, he still hopes for peace among us. His hope for affection knows no bounds. He is dark on the outside and nothing but light on the inside.”
“That’s awful,” I whispered and Frawn turned back to me with glittering tears.“It is. It is also why I know your father would never betray us this way. A man who could stand above the hate and care for the Yukah as his own family would never shed the blood of his own kind. It is why I gave your grandfather the knife to kill that woman and her hateful spirit. Because Jameen deserved better, because he was our future, because despite the dark clouding his mind from Meeka, he is our light that will always burn bright.” He put his hand on my shoulder. “It also leads me to the next thing on your mind. Earlier, someone tried to get into your mind Jordan. That was where the
pain came from. Someone was trying to reach inside past all of your protective walls and control you from the inside. That is what Rain sensed as did we all. You were suddenly upset and angry?”
“Yeah, it came out of nowhere but Vendish said that getting my powers and completing our mating could be…uh emotional.” I clasped my hands in my lap. Was that what that was all about? The way Ven had looked at me was so tortured, the way I had pushed him away and because of what? Because he slept with some guy before I met him? Well I had too and he wasn’t being angry about it. Hell, I had let Hazia feel me up before I had even slept with Ven. God this was so messed up. And now there was someone out there to get me? Shit just kept piling up.
“Wee one? I sense you are distraught.” Elder Frawn brushed my hair out my face and I sighed at the older than old Fae.
“Do we know who it is yet? The traitor I mean?” I looked at Rain.
“No. But whoever it is has powerful Skeenji abilities. They are able to tap into someone’s mind when they are vulnerable and take over their body. It is a most dangerous power and one that the queen rarely uses unless she is teaching and even that is supervised. But…” Rain looked at Elder Frawn.
He continued to brush his fingers through my hair to relax me. “There was no other Skeenji here Jordan. Orla was the only one.”
“You’re not saying that my own grandmother had something to do with this are you?” I narrowed my eyes and stood—pushing his hand off me. “She wouldn’t do that.”
“We don’t think so Jordan. This individual seems to be having trouble covering their ability the longer they use it. Orla would have no problem cloaking herself from anyone else. Even for extended periods of time. But…until we have found the other Skeenji, Orla has agreed to be under constant watch from the Elders. She will stay here until we catch the traitor.”
“But that’s ridiculous. I’m sure Guardwin won’t allow that. That’s his mate.”
“Jordan, she volunteered. No traitor would volunteer to be under surveillance for they would eventually be caught. Even Orla.” Rain offered and I slumped back into my chair.
“Fine, then how do we catch this traitor? What are we doing about it?”
“We’re teaching you, that’s what.” Elder Frawn pushed the book back in front of me and I raised a brow.
“That’s it? There’s a crazy mind control demon on the loose and you want me to read? Seriously?” I balked.
“I am most serious. This is important Jordan. If you are ever to face such a ‘demon’ as you say, then you must be prepared. You must be smart to their ways and be able to use your own defenses properly. What would you do if a Hunter threw a mist at you?” He sat back and crossed his arms.
“A mist. Partially shadow based, it is a net of magic that when it attaches to the skin begins to slowly cover the body and suffocate its victim. It is a small skill but when infused within a weapon, it is most deadly. How would you cure yourself of a mist?”
“I…I don’t know.” I looked down at the table and realized he was right.
“Well for starters since you are of the same family of magic, then you could will the mist into you and recycle it back at your opponent. Rain?” Elder Frawn stood and Rain nodded.
They met in the middle of the circle of tables and raised their hands. “Because we are both water then we will use each other as energy. This will make it harder for us to hail a victor but eventually someone slips up. It is about smarts and endurance, not necessarily your level of power in this case.” His right hand closed and slowly opened with a ball of glowing water as his hand opened wider and wider the ball grew larger. “Begin.” He barked and threw it at Rain who spun and waved her hand in front of her body in an arc. A blast of water followed her hand and caught the ball from Frawn. It melted in a rainbow of liquid and gathered in a larger ball within her hands. She yelled and the sphere in her fingers shot back at Frawn with a violent whoosh.
He brought his hands up and roared, the ball now the size of a basketball splashing into his waiting fingers. The ball separated in eight small ones and steam rose from them as they boiled midair. “There are many ways to use water. Some for absorbing and some for pain,” he said with an evil grin and brought his arm in a circle to let go of the balls—catching Rain off guard with his explanation.
Rain grunted and turned to water with a splash in defeat. The balls of boiling water landed over the table with a hiss and burned right through the wooden surface. Reappearing with a raised brow, Rain sat back down and looked at her nails as if bored. “Truly Elder Frawn? That was a bit advanced for him don’t you think?”
“Don’t be bitter Rain. I was just having a bit of fun. It’s not every day that I get to show off,” he boasted with a small smile. “Come now Jordan, you give it a try.”
“Oh Great Mother, he cannot divide let alone boil. It is a waste of time.” Rain huffed.
“Or is that you are afraid he can, my dearest Rain?” Frawn shot back and she waved a hand. She obviously didn’t think I could.
I stood up and shook out my hands. What I had just seen was probably the coolest thing I’d ever witnessed and to know that I could one day do that was just…wow. “Let go of everything bothering you Jordan. Clear your mind and listen to your body only. Whatever comes let it out because you are safe to let it go here.” Elder Frawn raised his hands and a wall of watery mist rose to the ceiling all around us—closing us off from the rest of the library.
“Whoa…” I breathed and he grinned.
“Go ahead then. Let’s see what you’ve got wee one.” He nodded and sat back in his chair.
I took a deep breath and shook out my hands. I could do this. I had pulled something out of the hat when Brutus pissed me off back in the council room but now I wasn’t angry or really sad and I hoped I could save myself from embarrassment. Closing my eyes, I brought my hands up and called the water forth. But instead of just the water, the shadows came too. Instead of being scared this time though, I let them fuse with the water and my body relaxed. I felt in tune with everything inside of me and as one, we moved. Opening my eyes, I let two balls of black water form in my hands with a smile. Blue glowing lines crackled around the orbs I saw the shadows kick up on my arms.
“By the Great Mother…” Rain gasped and covered her mouth.
“Keep going Jordan.” Elder Frawn stood again and smiled. He walked in front of me and put his hands up. “Since we are beyond basic power orbs, I think you can safely absorb. Throw them here.”
I grinned and for the first time felt good about the darkness within me because I wasn’t evil. With a laugh, I threw the balls at Elder Frawn and watched my power in action.
I paced outside Elder Frawn’s suites. Now that his consort was resting in bed and Orla was under lock and key, everyone had settled down. With nothing to do, I had come to check on Jillian and Kimella but they were too enthralled with the Fire Fae infant. Stopping in my tracks, I looked back at Hazia who crossed his arms over his chest and watched me from the corner.
“You’re here for the child? Your mother was already here Hazia. I don’t believe you were summoned for a second.” I sneered and turned from him. Why was he doing this? I felt guilty as it was but now he insisted on making worse.
“Trust me your royal arrogance I am here for the child only. The wee one developed the cough and I am to monitor her for the night. I brought supplies with me if you don’t believe. My mother would have come back herself but the Fire Fae gathering is taking longer than usual. The farmers are trying their best to negotiate for more crop lands that border already seeded fields. Why do they bother? They know they can’t grow Rekwana next to Tilly grain. It’s a futile argument and they are just being greedy. That land could better be used to grow more berries. We’re already running low and the dwarves are complaining that they have almost used up last year’s crop.” Hazia was in his own head as he ranted and plopped into the seat next to the open door.
He truly was here for the newborn Fire Fae and was stressed to his limit over his people’s needs. One day, he would make a fine Fire leader and I couldn’t help but grimace at how rude I had been. He’d already heard enough bitter words from my mouth as it was and here I was now making it worse. I was messing up everything everywhere I turned. First Hazia, then Jordan…it was a mess.
I put a hand on his shoulder and sat down next to him. “I am sorry for being hasty in my words. I figured after earlier…”
“You figured I would try to seek revenge upon you and ruin your mating?” Hazia looked at the floor blankly.
“No, I just…well yes. Honestly that is what I thought and I am sorry for judging you that way. For everything that has happened today actually. We used to be friends once Hazia and I wish that we could get past this wall between us. But I would not be a friend if I flaunted my presence upon you if you still felt…”
“I will always love you Vendish. I have always loved you but it didn’t start out as a lustful love. It started as friends love one another and I admit to being selfish in my desires and forcing myself upon you at times. After this morning, I thought about it and you were right. I did know that you weren’t mine. I could feel something else out there for me but I denied it because I was blind to only you. It will take time for us to heal the void we have created but if you are willing…I would wish you as my friend again.”
“I would wish the same.” I turned to him and saw a smile on his lips. He really was a most beautiful individual when he smiled. I grinned. “You really have become quite powerful though. If you would have cranked that heat up any more this morning, I would’ve let you do anything to me you know.”
He chuckled and I felt our friendship returning to as it always was. He snorted. “Yes well it’s not every day that I get a chance to rape the prince in his own mating bed.” His smile fell as he saw something over my shoulder. I scented him before I saw him and I turned to see Jordan with a look of complete loss on his face. “Jordan I did not mean…” Hazia stood and Jordan walked up to him and slapped him across the face. The sound stung my own hand and Hazia palmed his cheek with a hiss.
“Yes. You did mean to. You’ve meant to from the start and you know what Hazia? Fuck you.” Jordan turned to me and his watering eyes. “How could you?”
I rose from the seat and looked down at him. “I couldn’t and I didn't. I would never take another after you Jordan.”
“Then what did you do?” He growled and pushed at my chest but I captured him in my arms.
“He did nothing. I tried to seduce him while you were asleep and he refused. It was all my doing and you don’t have to worry anymore. I won’t ever touch your mate or speak to him again. You have my word,” Hazia tearfully replied and rubbed his cheek.
“Hazia, I will talk to him.” I tried and Jordan wriggled out of my arms.
“Why do you want him around if he would do that to you? What do you want from him?” Jordan started to shout and his eyes were like swords through my heart.“Because once upon a time he was my friend and we were both fools desperate enough to crave love so
badly that we thought we could find it with each other. But we were both wrong. I just realized it first. I hurt him Telija—so badly that he has been tortured by me all this time. Seeing me find my Ghea made him angry and all the hurt came flooding back. After I refused him, he realized how wrong he was.” I pulled Jordan back to me and tightened my grip on his frame. He would not run from me this time. We would work this out somehow because I loved him above anything else in my existence and I would live to please him for the rest of eternity.
“Oh I’m so sure that he just magically realized that he didn’t want to fuck your brains out.” Jordan raged into my chest but I just nuzzled my face into his hair and sent all the love I had into him. Then Hazia did something that caught us both off guard. To his knees he fell and tears streamed over his glossy red skin.
“Please…forgive me Jordan. I have been nothing but deceitful and I wish to purge myself of all the anger inside of me. I have wronged you by touching your mate and I will never do so again in a lustful manner. If only you would forgive me…” He sniffed and put his palms on the cold stone floor with his head bowed.
Jordan looked down with sad eyes and looked back to me. “Telija, it is for you to decide what to believe. But know that what he says is the truth. I can feel his regret, his pain, his loss. Hazia does not wish to pursue me further. He feels another for himself.”
“You mean your Ghea?” Jordan narrowed his eyes with skepticism and crouched in front of Hazia. “How come you didn’t know about them before?”
“I think I was blocking myself off by being in...I just know." Hazia wiped his eyes and turned his head.
I watched my mate struggle with this information and knew that only he could decide to forgive the Fire Fae and move on from this. It had to be Jordan's decision for I had already made mine. I loved my mate and no other male would come between us. Now that Hazia was on the same path, that left the balance of peace up to the golden haired beauty crouched low to the ground.
"You swear to me that you don't love Vendish and...and I'll forgive you for what you did."
"You would forgive me?" Hazia's bright eyes flicked up in surprise and his cheeks seemed to glow with hope.
"Swear to me Hazia. Isn't that like a big deal around here?" Jordan turned his head to look up at me and I nodded.
"By Fae rule and by the Great Mother, if you swear an oath to another and you break it or are found to be lying...you are outcast from our lands. Or worse...killed. We take oaths very seriously." I looked at Hazia. "Swear to him if what you said to me is true. If you cannot in your heart deny you love me, then say nothing."
Hazia stared at me and nodded--a shuddering breath left his lips before he looked to Jordan. "I Hazia, son of Blajah the Fire Fae and child of the Great Mother do so swear that I hold no love other than friendship in my heart for Vendish, the Prince of Fae." The orbs of light above us flickered. A chilling breeze snaked through the hall like a whisper from the Mother herself.
Jordan looked around, wrapping his arms around himself, and stood. "Did you feel that?"
"Yes. She heard Hazia's vow and I think she awaits your answer of forgiveness." I stole a touch down his jaw and he slowly closed his eyes with an inhale. His hand covered mine to cup his face and he nodded before opening his eyes. Such a small gesture, but to me it was something I had longed for my entire life--those tiny touches that meant so much between the two of us.
I leaned down and kissed his forehead. "Forgive him and let us be alone for a while.
Jordan turned and pressed his back into my chest. Whether he was trying to show Hazia up or he just wanted to be close, I wasn't sure. But both worked in my eyes and I pulled him to me. "Hazia," Jordan began and looked around. I rubbed his shoulders and he stopped looking for the Mother and turned back to the Fire Fae. "I forgive you." He held out his hand to Hazia who immediately took it. Pulling him to his feet, Jordan let go and gave him a small smile.
The startling breeze seemed to sigh then return to the darkened corners from which it came. The Mother had witnessed the oath taken by Hazia and Jordan had finished it. She had gone. A shrill cry came from the door across the hallway and Hazia rubbed his eyes. "I...I have to go. Thank you Jordan. Vendish." He nodded and disappeared into the chambers of Elder Frawn's consort.
"Telija?" I whispered in his ear and my mate leaned back against me. "Let's go find somewhere private. I believe we have much to discuss."
"Yeah. We do." Jordan replied and I gave him a curious look but pulled him along--my arm now around his shoulders as we wandered towards our room.
Seeing the two of them didn't hurt anymore. It was strange that just a day ago I had wanted nothing more than to rip Jordan's hands off for touching Vendish. Now the pair seemed to make more sense in my heart because I felt something replace my hatred. Something else called to me and I yearned to find it. But even with this new found source of need within me, I still had a duty to the child and went further into the room. Stopping in front of Kimella, who held the child in her arms, I eyed the babe who was glistening with sweat and coughing up tiny puffs of smoke. It wasn't unusual for babes to get the cough in the first few days after their birth but Nuy's cough was louder and more severe than was healthy.
The tiny babe's arms flailed and it screamed to the room for help. In the bed, Frawn's consort Grigh was laid up and a dwarf was wiping her brow. She was burning up just like Nuy and I feared that she had somehow contracted the illness from the babe—if that was possible. Grabbing my bag from my shoulder, I opened it and pulled out the salves and drops from the Fire Fae's personal dwarves. I eyed my supplies, a mint tea balm to soothe the fever, and a Hujee berry potion that would rid the cough from the babe's lungs.
Before I could take the child from Kimella though, Jillian rose from the chair by the bed and silently glided over. Her hands wrapped around the babe and she pulled Nuy close to her chest. Everyone, including Grigh turned to watch her while she began to hum softly and sway back and forth. My eyes widened when a soft pearly glow began to radiate from her skin and the re-born Fae’s wings fluttered behind her.
“Jillian?” Kimella asked as Jordan’s mother closed her eyes and the babe quieted. The glow grew brighter and brighter until it was like Jillian was a captured star. As quickly as the light had come, it vanished and Jillian smiled down at the child. Nuy’s little yellow eyes looked up into Jillian’s, her tiny lips parted and the newest Fire Fae cooed.
“Much better,” Jillian murmured and kissed the babe’s head. “Oh.” She looked up and frowned as if she hadn’t noticed us before. “I…I don’t…I’m sorry…”
“You have nothing to be sorry for Jillian.” Kimella smiled and put her hand to Nuy’s head, feeling for a fever. Jillian closed her eyes and shook her head. “Jilly, it’s okay. Here let Hazia have Nuy.”
I reached for the babe and pulled the tiny thing close to my chest, where she immediately nuzzled close to me and closed her little eyes. She could sense I was Fire Fae but that wasn’t the strange part. Nuy no longer coughed and her body was warm but not hot any more. She was…she was healed.
Jillian looked up and swallowed. “She was going to die Kim. It hurt to breath and she was in so much pain.” Her eyes cut to Grigh.
“You healed her?” Kimella asked Jillian and then looked at me. The white winged Fae nodded and lifted her silken skirts over to Grigh’s bedside. “Is…is Grigh sick too Jilly?”
“Yes.” Her hands went to Grigh’s chest and Jillian shut her eyes. The room was once again engulfed in a captivating light and the Elder’s consort gasped—her eyes glowing bright as the fever and all infection were taken from her body. When the light dulled, the dwarf turned to me with wide eyes and slid off the bed.
“I’ll be leavin now.” With a small bow of his head, he waddled out the room with a stunned face—slipping past an equally stunned Elder Frawn.
“What is this?” The silver haired Elder gracefully walked into the room and set next to Jillian on the bed. His fingers slid through his consort’s hair before he bent to kiss her head. “Why did no one call to me?” His eyes narrowed and he held out his hands for his child. Elders did not have mates therefore they were not connected to their consort in any way other than when they were physical. Although Elder Frawn cared for Grigh, they were not in a committed relationship—the sole purpose of their union was to create a child. It was the way of all the Elders.
“I said not to disturb you.” Grigh cleared her throat and with Frawn’s help sat up in bed. “The boy is important and we were being looked after. All is well.”
“But you could have died Grigh and what of Nuy? I could have fetched a healer!” Elder Frawn cocked his head in anger.
“No ordinary healer has ever been able to heal the cough before because it is a natural process. But it seems we had an extraordinary healer with us.” The Grigh laid her hand over Jillian’s. “She just didn’t know it until now is all.”
“Grigh…” Elder Frawn sighed. “You could have really…”
“Be quiet Frawn.” Grigh clucked her tongue before turning back to Jillian. Elder Frawn looked up from Nuy in his arms and furrowed his brows.
“Jillian?” Kimella stepped forward and put her hand on Jillian’s shoulder. “Are you well?”
Jordan’s mother looked up with stricken eyes and put a hand over her chest where her hand began to glow. “Jameen?”
A natural hot spring steamed a few inches away from my feet. The cavern was dim with a few lighted orbs here and there but otherwise it darker than any other room I had seen so far in the temple. I followed Ven’s example and pulled my tunic over my head. My brain was running a mile a minute with all the things I wanted to tell him. My powers finally listening to me, the things I had learned from Rain and Elder Frawn today, the way I really felt about Vendish—all if it needed to come out.
Blushing, I turned my head away from his now nude body. “I thought we had uh swimsuits or something.”
“You would wear a suit to swim? Why ever would you wear clothing to get wet? Ridiculous.” Vendish laughed and the more I thought about it, the sillier that fact became.
“On my side, I guess we’re a little more conservative with our bodies than here. I never thought about it before.” I smiled.
“Here.” Vendish stepped into the steaming water and looked over his shoulder. “You swim with me and it is just the two of us. So there’s no need to be shy or wear a suit.” Ven barked in laughter, obviously really amused with the idea.
“It’s not a full body suit Ven. It’s just a smaller…” I murmured as he dunked his head under and then came back up letting his hair flip back. Closing my mouth so I didn’t drool, I turned around and pulled at my leggings.
“What were you saying Telija? Little clothing and what?” He teased and I rolled my eyes. The warm moisture in the air beckoned me into the water as it greeted my bare back and legs. Feeling nervous, I wrapped my tunic over my hips to hide my groin until he laughed outright behind me. “You hide that from me after I have already seen you? Telija get in the water.” The prince flicked water at me and I shook my head. Yeah, I was being pretty stupid. He’d seen little Jordan a few times now and he’d probably be introduced more than a few times in the future.
With a deep breath, I dropped the tunic and shrugged shyly. “Much better Telija. Now come here,” he purred and waded to the edge again. “You need to relax and then we can talk about whatever is bothering you.”
“What’s bothering me?” I snorted and slipped into the water with his help. Like warm honey, the water engulfed my toes up to my knees and then up to my waist in a blanket of perfect heat as my feet hit the stone beneath us. His hands slid down to my hips and he took us a few steps back until we were up to our chests in the spring. Steam hid us from the entrance and his lips pressed to my forehead then down my face and to my mouth. The water seemed to fill me like air to my lungs and for the first time all day I could breathe.
I wanted this with him. Why was it so weird to tell him that? He’d been more than open with his intentions and plans for us but when it came to expressing my self beyond the physical, I wasn’t really good at that. I guess it had to do with the emotional detachment issues previously instilled with my upbringing. Then on top of that, I still felt like a visitor here. No matter what clothes they gave me, what food I ate, or what I learned, I felt that at some point … I was going to be leaving.
“Tell me what you’re thinking now. You look upset.” Vendish rubbed my shoulders as he pulled away from my lips.
“I don’t even know where to start. I’m not upset, just trying to hard I think. Everything just keeps going you know? You and I are pushed together. Hold on I mean we like uh… found each other or…see? I don’t know what to even say! It’s so frustrating. You’ve known about all this since birth and I feel like I’m getting this head spinning crash course.
You want to know what I’m thinking?” I looked up at him and he smiled and nodded. “Okay but don’t say I didn’t warn you. I feel like I’m supposed to be here but I can’t fit in right. Even with my powers and my grandparents being the king and queen, I still feel different. I feel like everyone is going to look down on you for being with me. I want to know more about you but we can never find the time. I love…being with you but is that all we do? Is there a life outside of all this? Do we get time off?
Whenever I thought about being with someone like this, I thought it would be like…never mind it’s stupid.” I took a breath and Ven lifted my chin.
“Tell me everything. What do you dream of?”
“I don’t know. Doing yard work, going to the movies, making dinner together, having knockout drag down fights, getting a dog, having sex on the kitchen counter…but that’s not Fae. None of that is and I think I have to get over it. I really want to do this though, this you and me. I just want to have time for it to be you and me.” I swallowed. Damn I was feeling those tears coming back. Made me want to buy stock in tissues but then again they didn’t do that here either.
“But Fae is what you make it Jordan. We can do those things if you wish. I do not understand why you would want to fight me but I am sure you can find a way to make me angry.” He chuckled and his face lit up even in the lack of lighting. “And yard work? I take this to mean cleaning up your grass and greenery?”
“Yeah.” I bit my lip and blushed. “I guess you can do that pretty well though.” I laughed. Duh Jordan, that’s why everything was so well kept around here. These people could control the elements around them, including earth. Wait, these people? I was one of these people too, I just couldn’t feel it yet.
“Yes, we take care of our surroundings. I can do that.” He shrugged like it was the weirdest request he had ever heard. “What is a movie?” He cocked his head and I smiled.
“It’s where you go and sit in a dark room with your friends or uh a special person and watch…well it’s…like a play that they put on a big wall.”
“A show? In a dark room? And on a wall? How do you see it?”
My smile got wider. “You just do. It would be too complicated if I tried to explain it to you. Maybe we can talk to Lu and see if it’s possible to maybe get that kind of stuff here, though I highly doubt it.”
“We can try Telija. If it would make you happy, we will make this movie in the dark happen. And…” He smirked. “I can do sex in a kitchen fairly well I imagine.”
“But it’s so much better after you have a huge fight…or so I imagine.” I grinned and he pulled me to his chest. I tried to ignore how good he felt against me or how hard he was because this wasn’t about sex right now. For the first time since I had arrived here this was our chance to really get it all out there.
“It seems we both daydream then.” He kissed the top of my head. My body relaxed and I let him hold on to me. “Telija, I am so sorry about earlier today. Again I have been a horrible help to you and you were overwhelmed. I should have explained your formal acceptance better but there wasn’t any time and we were…well you know and…”
“Ven? It’s okay. Really, this is okay now. Yeah, today was long and I admit there were times when I wanted to kick your ass and Hazia’s but I got to do some really amazing things too. Rain and Elder Frawn showed me all kinds of stuff and…okay well I can tell you because he told me I could because you’re my mate.”
His fingers lifted my chin and I stopped talking. “Say that again. Please?”
“What? Oh. Uh…” I blushed and his green eyes brightened. “My mate.” His hands roamed down my sides and up again—the touch so right it melted me completely. His lips met mine briefly before he pulled away.“Now you may continue Telija.” He smiled. “Tell me this secret of yours.” Fifteen minutes later and
Vendish was seated on a stone bench with me on his lap. Water lapped at our chests as he tried to process the tale of Elder Hollia being raped and giving birth to the crazy Yazeem.
“The hunters were created by him though. Did you know that? The hunters were the product of Yazeem with humans. That’s why Sena killed him in the end. He had created a whole new race of enemies. After Yazeem died, the barrier went up as a gift from the Mother to protect us. She couldn’t very well kill off a whole race now could she? They are part hers and she is all about life and what not. I get that but come on! They’re crazy!”
His hand went over my mouth and he closed his eyes. Shaking his head in disbelief, he opened his eyes wide. “How could they keep that from us? The Yukah have been tormented for so long and yet they have done nothing wrong. And then there is this Yazeem. What does he have to do with you? Meekah was a descendant but you are not. Why do you have control of the shadows? None of this makes sense.”
I pulled his hand from my mouth. “Alright let’s take a deep breath. Do it with me.” He grabbed my elbows as I breathed against his chest. “That’s it.” I chuckled. “I should be the one having a panic attack here, not you. And I actually have an explanation for why I control the shadows. Are you good now?”
“I’m not a child Jordan. Just tell me.” He rolled his eyes and I rose on my knees so our eyes were level.
“No you’re not but I know what it’s like to have a lot of things dumped on you at once and if I can give someone else a little time to digest things before moving on, then I will. It’s the least I can do and you’re important to me, so…” I whispered and kissed his lips softly. He sighed into my mouth and pulled me close. It was becoming harder and harder to ignore the friction below and I pulled back and put a finger to his swollen lips. “Better?”
He nodded and reached for me but I shook my head. “Talk first and then we can, well you know.”
“Play?” He narrowed his eyes and I swallowed.
“Yeah.” I blushed and let him pull me back to him—his arms loosely slinking around my waist. “So as I was saying, I know how I control the shadows.” I couldn’t believe it myself when Rain had showed me their theory on the hand fasting ceremony but it was the only way that I could have technically received her powers. Elder Frawn had agreed whole heartedly on the research and I kind of had no choice but to believe them. “It was the hand fasting ceremony that Meena and my father performed because they weren’t Ghea. That’s how I got the shadows.”
Looking to the side in thought, I saw the light go off in Ven’s eyes and he turned back to me. “The blood that binds ritual? Each mate will slice their palm and place their hands together to show the bond they share. They become of each other’s bodies even though they do not share the true Fae bond. I forgot all about that. Meeka forced him to have one because they were not real mates. Jameen almost killed himself before the ceremony because he did not want any part of her inside himself. He felt Jillian out there somewhere. He knew his real Ghea was out there waiting for him.” Vendish looked down and his shoulders slumped—his forehead falling to my chest. “Meeka was trying to pass down her abilities to Jameen. Wasn’t she? By having her blood inside Jameen, their children would have been superior to any other Fae, a weapon against us.”
“Yes. Or at least that’s what Rain and Elder Frawn think. But as we discovered today, I have more power over my abilities because I am part human and I’m not some weapon of the dark.” I grinned. “I admit it was fun throwing those orbs around today though and oh my goodness you should see what I can do Vendish!” I had almost forgotten and my sudden excitement caused Ven to lift his head.
“You control them now?”
“I was pissed at first because you took off this morning but now I understand why Elder Frawn sent you away. I get a lot more done when you aren’t around to distract me.” I wiggled my brows and he snorted.
“Show me Telija.” He kissed my shoulder and I smiled before turning around in his lap and leaning against him.
Clearing my mind, I held my hands out with my palms up and took a deep breath. Stiffening behind me, Vendish inhaled and I knew with a smile that I had done it. Opening my eyes, two orbs sat in my hands and grew to the size of grapefruits. This time, I held in the shadows on my skin because we had discovered that when I went full blown, I tired myself out easily. Tomorrow I was going to learn about the staff and how to store energy. Now that I was catching on, I was kind of excited for my next lesson with Elder Frawn. For an exotic creep show, he actually got me pretty well and okay, maybe Rain wasn’t so bad after she dropped the ‘diva bitch from hell’ routine.
“Telija, I am so proud.” His hands slid over my arms and I lost concentration. The water slipped from my fingers and fell back into the spring below. “I don’t think I have told you that yet. I know that we…that we have not known each other long but I do know that for such a short time, I have seen you grow so much and I am proud to call you mate.”
In all my life, no one had ever been proud of me. Not when I learned to tie my shoes, not when I brought home my first A, not when I graduated from college. It was a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach that led to a tingle zinging across my skin. His love literally washed over me and I knew he was very serious about how he felt. I loved how he felt for me.
Turning back to face him, I palmed his cheek and thumbed his bottom lip. “I’m proud to be with you too Vendish. Any man that would fight to protect his best friend’s honor is a true male.”
“How did you hear that?” Vendish looked up and his eyes flicked back and forth between mine.
“I asked what ‘earned prince’ meant and Rain showed me. When Kimella couldn’t possibly step up to lead the warriors and with no male heir left, you fought your way through every candidate to save Jameen’s place for him. You never wanted to rule, you just didn’t want Brutus to destroy everything that Jameen had worked so hard for. You thought he was coming back and the moment he did, you would give him his troops and the crown back. Wouldn’t you?”
“Yes. That crown was for Jameen. Not only was he prince by blood, he was prince because he was loved by his people. He thought above the segregations and breaking factions of Fae. He loved Sena like a brother, Jameen listened to the Fae’s needs and had a way of giving everyone a say in how things were run. He was an ambassador for the palace and a true leader in every sense of the title. You are so much like him Jordan, that every time I begin to hate this title, I look upon you and it is all worth it. All the drama and the belittling, the nagging and yelling, the strain between all the Fae—you make it all worth it. Even if he does not come back to us, he gave us you and I will forever be in his debt for that.”
My lips were on his before he could say anything else. I fisted his long black hair in my hand and pulled his head back while devouring his mouth with mine. I didn’t know that there were words that meant more than I love you but Ven had that way about him. He was too much with that mouth and those pretty sentences and the way he made my heart flutter and my stomach buzz with emotion. I felt so close to him and I reveled in the intimacy that we finally had with each other. I was finally home. I really was Fae.
Patrolling the halls of the Elder’s chambers was nerve wracking enough. On top of that, now I was experiencing a sense of stress within my body. Not that something felt wrong, just off in a way. Like I was missing or forgetting something but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Jambi kept looking at me out of the corner of his eye and I shoved him into the wall with irritation and kept walking. He laughed and caught up to me. “You seem to be normal but I could be wrong yeah? What you hiding Cell? I see your aura plain as day and you are fretting over something. Tell Jambi what’s your trouble now.”
“Oh shut it. Nothing’s wrong, I’m just wondering how we’ll patrol this place with the limited amount of warriors they are allowing us here. Have you sensed anything else?” I turned to the Spirit Fae and he closed his eyes and held his hands out, feeling for the negative energy again. His eyes tightened and he jerked his head but sighed in the end.
“No. Whatever was here is gone or they are controlling themselves again. I have never felt anything like that, even from the queen herself. This Skeenji felt warped somehow. I do not know if I can explain it.” Jambi scratched his head in thought.
Continuing our walk down the corridor, I spotted Quimm with his arms crossed over his chest waiting for us. “We need to make the twenty men stretch throughout the halls. I won’t have a repeat of this morning with Jordan. Vendish will have our hide if his mate is attacked again.”
“Aye. We have two on Orla at all times and Guardwin has been instructed to stay at the opposite end in case…not that she would try to use her own mate but…” Jambi looked at me and his winter blue eyes chilled me.
“I understand my brother. It is a mere precaution until we find the traitor. Guardwin is too powerful to risk and Orla knows that. She will not take advantage of him in that way. We must trust that our king chose his queen well and continue to adore and respect the great female she is.” I put my hand on Jambi’s shoulder and felt his cool skin trying to read my emotions. “Damn you brother. None of that!” I grunted and pulled my hand away. Still not convinced that I wasn’t hiding anything, Jambi smirked and walked past me.
“We must do what we can to protect Jordan. Quimm?” The black warrior met up with the son of Brutus and looked around. “How goes your end of things?”
“I’ve placed the men in all four corners and amongst the chambers sparingly but it’s tight and I don’t like it one bit. That Skeenji knew what they were doing coming into the Elder lands. They knew the Elders wouldn’t allow a hundred warriors in their place of peace and they also had to know that today was Jordan’s acceptance.” Quimm’s nostrils flared and his eyes went yellow. The AniFae shifted from boot to boot and gripped his own arms. “We didn’t tell anyone else about the acceptance except our party members and the leaders. They were sworn by the Elders not to tell. So either they were manipulated or we have a traitor within our own group.”
“No one with us would do such a thing. And besides, we would know about another Skeenji among our closest friends and family,” I scoffed.
“Would you Cell? What if they hid it from us? Remember your own sister hid her fire abilities from you because she was upset she wasn’t fully a Night Fae,” Jambi said.
“That was different. My father and her father are not the same. She was just confused and young at the time.”
“She was thirty three, Cell. She was angry that she wasn’t like you. She hid it for over fifteen years until she couldn’t take it anymore and went to Blajah for help.” Quimm chimed in.
I pondered this and realized how right they were. Kiki had carefully hidden her fire abilities for over a decade from our family. It had to have been very hard and not only that…she was motivated. Glancing around the empty hall, I looked back to my brothers. “Go. Find out what you can. Be quiet and send word by pixie. Let no one know of this conversation and if you see something…even if it is from one of ours…send word immediately.”
Jambi bowed his head and Quimm’s eyes narrowed. “Aye.” Jambi turned into a gray mist and floated through a crack in the wall. Quimm growled and shrunk into a small wolf before he quietly trotted off into the darkness.
Sensing someone behind me moments later, I turned to the opposite end of the hall. My gaze caught the tail end of a dark green cloak and my eyes narrowed. Following my instincts, I quietly padded down the hall and peered around the corner. The same dark green cloak was disappearing into the next adjoining hall and I rounded the corner silently. Just as I was about to reach the last corner and catch up to the stranger, a pink light formed in front of me, followed by a larger silver one, and then stone and dirt reformed on the ground—a male and child rising from the earth.
The man clutched his crying child to his chest and smoothed her fiery red curls soothingly. He looked spooked as all get out and when Daega bowed and the Pixie Queen appeared before me, I knew something was very wrong for Floxa never left her the woods like her children did. Slightly bigger than the other Pixies, Floxa’s wings were dark blue and silver, her hair a snowy white and her skin shimmered like pearl.
“Floxa,” I greeted her and she snarled, her wings flapping violently.
“Fetch me Guardwin, Night Fae!” She screamed and buzzed up to meet my eyes. “Now!”
“First, I need you to calm yourself, Floxa. Guardwin is under a lot of stress right now and we are in the middle of a lock down. Second, if you don’t tell me what is the matter then I cannot allow you anywhere near the king.”
Her eyes went wide with rage and turned back to Daega. “Find Vendish and tell him immediately. This is war!”
“Wait war?” I flicked my gaze to the man and the child. “What happened?”
“You speak to me!” Floxa shrieked and her chest heaved. “My guards are dead. Drained and left in the sun to decay. The last we heard of them was at the Rahn Ji. They had been sent by the prince to deliver a message and they never returned. Now we know why!” Tears rained down her face with a tiny sob. I opened my hand and she landed on it—falling to her knees with grief. To kill the fastest of all the Fae took skill and power that was not easily found.
“Who would do such a thing and drain them? That is a bad omen Floxa. No Fae would risk the Mother’s wrath for such a thing.” I stroked her back with my finger.
“Jameen would.” The male replied shakily.
“What do you speak of?” I hissed at him and took a step forward.
“That’s who did this. I saw him with my own eyes. I saw it I tell you. He is here in Fae.” The man took a step back and the wee one turned her face to mine.
“The bad man was in the field. I saw him too.” The wee one spoke and a single tear fell down her cheek before she buried her face in her papa’s chest.
“There is only one reason you would drain a Pixie,” Floxa grit. I looked down at her with horror.
“To gain power,” I whispered.
The woods were calm tonight and I kneeled next to the bog to inhale the sweet scent of the evening fog rolling over my body. Other Fae would find this practice disgusting but I found it relaxing. There had been so much sadness and loss lately that I felt a need to commune with my surroundings and show my people that we were the same—still at peace, still a united front with our Mother. I could feel them watching me from the darkness and I smiled to myself. They liked the dark and the cool wet places that our woods provided.
I was the only Yukah to have spent part of my life among the other species so I came and went often. But my people—despite their dangerously beautiful appearances, preferred the land that was all they knew. Few had left this territory unless it was a matter of battle and I had chosen to fight alongside the others. Now it had become more of a political argument versus a real battle and I was growing tired of the other species and their childish dribble. They sought to hunt out Jameen and kill him like some animal for sport. I wouldn’t stand by and let them have him. Sending a silent prayer to the Great Mother, I asked her for guidance as I planned my own hunt. I would find him and shelter him in these woods if it was the last thing I ever did.
I would not repay his kindness with hate and my people backed me on this matter. With a sigh, I slowly stood and wiggled my clawed feet in the cold mud. My tongue flicked between my teeth with a hiss as an unfamiliar presence came closer. I heard the slithering of a dozen or so bodies climbing under the fog and knew they had seen the intruder before I had.
My claws flexed and my head snapped to the left. “Who are you…” I hissed and the stranger stepped from the darkness with a grin. Moonlight bathed his form—immediately taking away his title as stranger. The Mother had heard my cry after all and I dropped my hands to my sides. Sensing my ease, the other Yukah males stood from the fog and made themselves known.
I looked into his startling teal eyes and smiled back. “Jameen.”