Walking along the same path of damp earth and surrounded by the greenest plants she had ever seen, Lady Breena wore a leisurely expression as she shielded her round belly with her delicate hands. Sunlight streamed brightly through the tall trees, wrapping her in warmth, leaving rosy traces on her cheeks. And though she preferred the cold winter of her Court, she gratefully enjoyed this place that had kept her hidden for some time now.
She giggled, feeling the movement of her baby. The final stage of her pregnancy had arrived, and at any moment, her child would be in her arms. Her child...
Her face, which had been bright for a moment, darkened. Fear was once again playing its part, fear for the future. A baby that would arrive in this Kingdom, the offspring of her and her soulmate’s pure love. And precisely because of this, and blamelessly, her baby represented misfortune for her family.
Breena did not know how to make her fearsome brother understand at the time that the bond she shared with the mortal was unbreakable. Each unable to stop feeling for the other. But Kieran, Lord of her Court in the land of the Unseelie, refused her explanations, making it clear that the creature Breena and the mortal had conceived had no place there.
Kieran’s temper always made her cringe, not that he was horrible to her, at least not then. Kieran possessed that air of dominance and pride, similar to others of his own rank. His presence gave way to speechlessness, his voice to fear.
No matter how endearing his looks might be in the eyes of others, his character stood out above all other traits that denoted his handsomeness. He was fiercely protective of those closest to him and Breena especially so. His sister was considered the perfect beauty of the Unseelie Courts. Her long black curly hair, translucent green eyes, and perfect long pointed ears were the coveting of many and the envy of others.
And Kieran felt a duty to protect her. But all it took was one mistake from him. Breena longed to know the world of mortals. A classless, ignorant, servile species. And yet, she felt the urge to go there—the need to know the unknown, to find what she needed.
And it was only when she stumbled upon a mortal in a territory of vasty buildings and noises that her heart pronounced through violent beats that her quest was over. The mortal, the man who had stolen her heart with a glance and a smile and who had permeated her soul with a kiss, was the most beautiful of all.
But the absolute bliss ended sooner than she thought when Kieran’s soldiers found her. After so many failed attempts on their part to get her back to the fae realm.
Lady Breena was forcibly taken to her Court. Her soulmate was stripped of all memory of her existence. Living out his days without knowing that from the fruit of that relationship, a baby would come.
She lived the first months of her pregnancy burdened by the coldness of her brother, who kept reminding her that her child would never be welcome. But she still looked forward to her brother’s change of heart. She knew that malicious whispers reached her brother like poison.
She remembered that night now, walking along the usual path near the sea ice when she heard the voice of Airdan, one of her brother’s dearest friends.
“Kieran, have you decided what you will do with your sister?”
Lady Breena hid behind a wall of dry vines. Using an illusion of enchantment.
Rarely did her brother show concern. “I know many talks in secret. As Lord of the Court, I have a duty, but Breena is also my sister. I cannot banish her.”
“Riathan dared to suggest that once the baby is born, it would have to be banished to the land of mortals. He is still pursuing the idea of betrothing her.”
They want to take her baby away from her. Breena’s hands begin to tremble.
“I thought his obsession would end once he knew about her pregnancy.”
“We were wrong about him. The union of the two would be the first step to a truce between them and us.”
“I know, but the idea of Breena attached to him...he won’t want her baby.”
Breena knew very well who they were talking about: Riathan, Lord of the Court of Tears. For years the man had been obsessed with her.
Unwilling to stay, she decided at that moment, out of fear for her baby, to leave. But she never knew her brother’s following words.
That night she and her faithful servant Reeona managed to escape using the golden crystal.
For months Kieran searched tirelessly for them both. And unable to keep Riathan from learning of their disappearance.
He was well aware of Riathan’s passionate obsession with his sister. Kieran had made his decision: he would annul any dealings with him.
During those months, they lived in a territory within the Fae Kingdom that had never been claimed by either the Seelie or the Unseelie.
Now, she was wandering in that damp shortcut surrounded by greenery, where the sun’s rays penetrated her soft skin. Certainly, she would protect this baby, who would be born mortal or not. But it was hers, her blood, part of her soul.
The spell that kept them from being tracked had served to hide them.
Deciding to turn back, Breena walked carefully so as not to stumble. Surrounded by wildflowers, a modest wooden house sheltered Reeona.
“I was beginning to worry, my Lady,” Reeona said as she finished knitting tiny light green stockings with her magic. The woman was considered Breena’s only servant and loyal friend. With her neck-length sleek hair, an identifying symbol of her breed, Reeona looked as young as a woman in her thirties.
“There’s nothing to worry about.” Breena massaged her back.
“Come, sit down.” Reeona stood up, offering the cushioned chair. “In your condition, you shouldn’t be standing for so long. Least of all outside, with no one to keep you company.”
“Let me see them.”
Reeona handed her the stockings where only a pair of tiny feet would fit. Breena smiled. “Green?” she asked.
“The girl will have your eyes.”
“Did you see her face?” Breena’s face lit up. Though Reeona was not a seer, she did possess the rare gift of seeing the faces of the unborn. “Tell me more.”
Reeona patted her hand, a motherly gesture. “Why spoil the surprise? You’ll know soon enough.”
Lady Breena fondled her belly again. Her daughter would have her eyes. Would she also have the hair like her father’s? Dark and wavy? Or his smile? Or his passion for music? At the thought of him, who could not remember her now, her heart contracted. There wasn’t a day, a night, a moment that she didn’t miss him. She often regretted not looking for him, but she feared something terrible would happen to him. She feared for her brother’s anger and Riathan’s cruelty.
After a quiet evening, they both went to sleep. The breeze during the night was slightly cool. The ward’s spells were secured once more. Hiding them from those who sought her.
Hours had passed since Breena closed her eyes. In the depths of her sleep, an ache began to be felt throughout her body. Gradually the physical pain concentrated in her stomach, waking with a jolt when the discomfort had become real enough that she began to scream.
Reeona, in alarm, found her in her bed. “She’s coming,” Breena announced. Her wrinkled face was the expression of such powerful pain: the pain of her bones shifting, preparing the way for birth.
Reeona peeked between her legs. “When I tell you, you start pushing.”
And she gripped her friend’s hand tightly. “The wards...” a scream came from her throat. Between gasps, she said again, “...The wards are going to weaken.”
“That’s not important now.” Reeona summoned a pot of hot water and clean cotton handkerchiefs. “Push now.” And so Breena began to do.
Her faithful servant ordered her to breathe, push, breathe again, and so on. The baby was taking a long time to come out.
“I can’t...” Breena said, sobbing.
“Don’t give up. Think of your daughter. She is suffering inside you.”
“I can’t, Reeona.” Tears streamed down her face. In all that pain, she felt her protective magic fading.
“Breathe, Breena.” It was the first time her servant had called her casually. “The child needs to come out. Now. I can feel her. She’s growing weak.”
Hearing her, Lady Breena put all her strength into it, pushing with the help of her cries. Her voice shook the leaves of the trees, shook the earth, leaving them unprotected.
“A little more. I’m seeing her!” Reeona exclaimed. And amidst despair, pain, and tears, a small, shrill cry finally dazzled.
“She’s beautiful.” Reeona smiled, wiping the little creature’s tiny body, then laying her in her mother’s arms. A blissful smile lit Breena’s face as she gazed adoringly at every detail of her daughter. Her eyes closed, her mouth so tiny, her calm expression taking in her mother’s scent. She stopped at her ears. Rounded, not pointed like hers. The adorable child had the features of a mortal.
A dark pressure surrounded the room. Reeona, who had just finished cleaning Breena, paused, looking around. Then she looked at her mistress.
Her surroundings darkened, leaving cold air in the space. And from a swirl of black smoke, the one she feared most emerged.
Reeona stood beside her mistress. Riathan’s scowling face was pointed at the small bundle sleeping peacefully in the mother’s arms.
“Riathan...” Breena said.
But he did not speak. Not when he saw the offspring of a corrupt relationship, between a mortal and a fae. The woman, who carried her daughter, had all these years been the most profound desire he held. Longing that someday her affection would change towards him. But his plans were destroyed when she met her soulmate. Riathan felt betrayed by her, and most of all by Kieran, who had once promised his sister to him.
Riathan slowly approached them.
“No, please don’t.” Breena implored.
In an attempt to protect her mistress, Reeona was about to snap at him. But was stopped when with just a wave of his hands, Riathan let her experience the suffering. Heartbroken images began to fill her mind, causing her to break down in her own weeping. Lying on the ground, Reeona wept inconsolably.
Breena, though weak, attempted to attack him, but in vain. Riathan took the baby in his hands, pulling her away from her.
“Please don’t.” Breena resisted until he, adding a little more strength, came to snatch her away.
With contempt forming on his face, he watched the sleeping baby. Touching her little ears. Her eyes hardened even more, the child...she... carried inside...
“In this world, there is no place for you.” His voice made Breena’s heart skip a beat.
“Riathan, please, don’t hurt her. She’s not to blame for anything.”
His grey eyes were watching her now. Riathan was about to destroy the impurity that had been born through the endless tears it would cause in the innocent face.
And seeing what he was about to do, Breena, in a single attempt, entered Reeona’s mind, making her wake up from her suffering and stopping her crying. Deep fear now housed her body.
Breena attacked Riathan, staggering him, trying to make him face his deepest fears. But he wasn’t a Lord for nothing, no. And she knew she couldn’t fight him, but that one instant when the Lord staggered, Reeona swooped in, rescuing the little girl, who after the sudden movement burst into tears.
“Take her away!” Breena threw the crystal at her. And Reeona, without a second thought, escaped from there.
Never knowing the fate her mistress would face.