Fairies : Mystica and Merlin
Chapter 17 : Tell Him How You Feel
Eyela stood in her throne room. She had just listened to the stories that fairies from the towns closest to the Grey Hills had told. Stories of how their villages had been destroyed. Overrun. By soldiers armed with swords and cross bows. Soldiers that were intent on killing everyone. How they had fled. Taking to the sky. And how many of them had been shot down by those armed with cross bows. How very few had gotten out. How they were so very lucky to be alive.
Three villages so far. Eyela knew it was just starting. She’d ordered everyone leave her for now. Declaring she had to think. When the room was clear, she walked into her own bedroom that was attached to the throne room. Stephan was there. He had grown strong enough that he could sit. He spoke as she entered the room. “Our friend the former captain is on the move. And he will continue to move until we stop him.”
Eyela sighed. “I know.” She looked Stephan in the eyes. “Do you have any suggestions?”
“You’ll need to send the guard. And you’ll need to issue a call to arms.” Stephan winced, as he moved his left leg. The muscle damage from the cross bow bolt was still healing. He remained in a great deal of pain. “You are the leader of the kingdom, you know. You’ll have to take command of this situation. Show everyone that you are in control. That you have a plan.”
Eyela knew. She had been forced to do that many times in the past 10,000 years. As she’d tried to rebuild the fairies as a people. Turning the Southern Plains into a new homeland for her people. A place for them to live. But she’d done that very well. Organizing the very first settlement, and the very first guards to protect that settlement. Getting the guards trained in weaponry. In fighting skills. And she’d needed her guards more than once. To stand against attacks from the people of the Grey Hills. The fairies had been invaded more than once in the past 10,000 years. They’d survived all of those invasions. She’d lead her people yet again. And they would survive this invasion too.
Stephan knew what Eyela would do. He’d heard the stories more than once. Of the invasions from the north. Of the dragons that the fairies had fought. Of the clans of bandits that had once ruled the Southern Plains. Of the leadership of Eyela. The last of the true fairy princesses. She who yielded the greatest, strongest fairy magic of them all.
“You’re going to the north, aren’t you?” Stephan asked.
“You know I have to go. And as soon as possible.” Eyela stood before Stephan. “Even though I wish I didn’t have to.” She took Stephan’s hand, holding it in hers. “I wish I could stay here. And take care of you.”
Stephan smiled at Eyela. “I will miss you while you are gone.”
It was Eyela’s turn to smile. “As I will miss you. But not tonight.” And that night, Stephan slept in Eyela’s room. He slept upon her bed. While Eyela sat in a chair, next to the bed. Watching over him. Something she had never done before. Watch over an injured friend, while he rested at night. But Eyela was realizing that Stephan was more to her than just a friend. She’d come to trust him. To depend on him. And in some ways, she knew she needed him.
She walked out of the room, onto her balcony. Where she looked up at the stars, on the night of a full moon. She had always loved to look at the stars at night. To observe the patterns of dots that they made in the sky.
But there was something very different in the sky that night. Something very black. Very dark. Something that was graceful, quick, and powerful. Something that no fairy had seen in 10,000 years. A dragon. And not just any dragon. This was Merlin. The black magic dragon. The dragon that had nearly destroyed the fairies. Until he’d suddenly stopped. For some reason, sparing her. And when he did, he had vanished. Never to be seen again.
But there he was. Flying through the air. She could feel the power in him. The physical strength. And the black magic. She watched him, as he flew. From high in the sky, to down near the tree line. He flew through her kingdom on that night. Right up to the castle. Where he landed. And there he stopped. Hanging on the side of the castle. Right next to the balcony, where Eyela stood.
Eyela looked at him. The dragon didn’t speak. And yet, she heard him say, “If you go to the villages, and the towns, you will be hurt. You may even die.”
She looked at the dragon. “Merlin,” she said.
“And you are Eyela. Princess of the fairies.”
The dragon was as black as night. In a dark sky, or in shadow, he would be nearly invisible. She could see his claws. Razor sharp. The way they simply held to the stone wall of the castle. She could see his eyes. Red. Like blood. And his teeth. Shaped like tiny swords. She could see too, that on his four limbs. His dragon legs. There were strange symbols. Arcane symbols. And that they were not tattoos. They were natural shapes.
Merlin noticed she was observing his markings. “They are the signs the black magic has written. They are natural things, for a black mage.”
Eyela was curious. “Why have you come here, dragon?”
Merlin smiled. As best a dragon can. A pretty terrifying thing, really. Looking more like a snarl. Revealing all his sword shaped teeth. “First, to warn you, which I’ve done. Even knowing that you will go anyway.” Merlin glanced toward the room. “Tell him how you feel about him. You may never have another chance.”
Eyela nodded. “When it is time, I will tell Stephan how I feel.”
“Eyela. It is time. There is only now. There is no guarantee that there will ever be a tomorrow. That the time you wait for will ever arrive.”
“Have you come for anything else, dragon?”
Merlin smiled again. “I wish to tell you that the princess Mystica is alive and well. In the Northern Forest.” Eyela was surprised. And very happy to hear that Mystica was still alive. She smiled at Merlin.
“Thank you, Merlin. For letting me know that she is alive, and well. I have wondered about her, very much.”
Merlin suddenly looked very serious. “She will face a series of trials in the coming days. Trials that will either turn her into a witch, or make her who she is meant to be.” Then he held out one hand, pointing a single claw at her. “As will you, Eyela. As will you.”
Then she heard Merlin say, “Be careful, princess. Things are going to get very ugly before this is over. And many things are about to change. You should tell him now. Tell him the words of your heart.”
Then Merlin flicked his wings, and took to flight again. And as he left the castle, he spoke. A single piercing word. That sounded so much like metal sheets being ripped in half. To anyone listening, it would have sounded like a horrifying noise. But, Eyela heard the word that he had said. “Good-bye.”
Eyela stood there, on her balcony, for a little while. Looking at the stars. Studying the moon. Feeling the comfort of the soft darkness of the night. She thought of the next day. When she would head toward the north. With her guards, and her troops. To stand against the captain, and his men.
And then she thought of Stephan. And how she wished she could stay here for a while. And take care of him. Until he was well. Then she could go to the north knowing Stephan would be OK. It was as she thought of Stephan that she realized that Merlin had been right. She should tell him how she felt about him. How much he meant to her. For all anyone really has in the moment in time that they are in. The past is gone. And the future is undetermined. All anyone has is now.
She closed her eyes. And took a deep breath of the night air. Then she turned, and went inside. She walked to where Stephan was asleep in the bed. And she decided that she would do more than tell him. She would show him. There in the soft moonlight, Eyela got undressed. And then she got into the bed, with Stephan. And she showed him, that night, how much he meant to her. And how she felt about him.