~Chapter Nine~ The Fairy Queen
When the three had entered the tree Enya fond herself looking at the interior of the tree which there seemed to be only two ways to go, up or down made of a carved wooden staircase that looked to be from the tree itself. Enya craned her head up, unsure as how high it all went, then looked down to see it seemed just as endless as the one going upwards.
The wooden spiral staircase was deep, much deeper then Enya thought it might have been. She kept her hand along the tree’s wall as Tula led them down the spiral that seemed as though it would not end.
Enya paused to look at the odd shaped lamps that seemed to glow with many different colours that guided her down. “What are you using for light?” Enya asked. “It doesn’t look like fire, it’s not burning so is it magic?”
Tula flew up to the oddly shaped lamp in question. “We use glow-moss, it’s much more manageable then having to rely on something that burns. It grows very frequently within the far depths of the Hollow Tree, even in caves so it’s not so hard to cultivate it for use.” She smiled cheerily at Enya. “Much like how you grow those herbs Enya.”
“Hollow Tree…” Enya repeated before frowning. “I thought this was called The Grove?”
The fairy shook her head. “No, no, no. The Grove was outside, which surrounded the tree, the Hollow Tree is the place that we are inside of. I know it’s a little confusing, but you’ll get the hang of it.”
“Has the tree always been here?”
Tula nodded. “For centuries, it was here long before I came into the world that much I am aware of. We of the Sidhe don’t necessarily keep track on the concept of time much like that of the Elves.”
“So then you are much older then you look,” Roux added with a condescending remark. “You fairy folk must do wonders to keep yourselves looking so young.”
“Roux don’t say that,” Enya said. “It’s rude.”
“Rude or not, it isn’t wise to not be aware of time, much like your surroundings. Even if some of them are beings of unimaginable power, not knowing what day, month or year it is can be a hazardous venture. I’m sure others have told you this much.”
Tula merely glanced at the fox before looking away. “I have, by a friend. Even though it’s something that can be easily said it’s a struggle to do.”
“I suppose your right.” Roux agreed and said nothing further.
When they finally reached the bottom of the tree they were greeted with more glowing lights that came from moss guiding them through what seemed to be a long hallway. She looked to the lights now looking more like chandeliers that had grown out from the wood of the tree itself, with little leaves on some branches that didn’t contain any glow moss.
It made Enya wonder if this was just part of the tree itself or if magic was used to make it happen but felt like asking too many questions would be overstepping her welcome and simply followed Tula down the long arching hall to what looked to be a mere wall with small holes. But found that she couldn’t see any way past this wall.
“Now what?” Enya asked the fairy.
Tula flew closer to one of the holes and looked in before turning back to Enya. “Give me a moment.” She said before flying inside. Moments later what appeared to be a large crack in the wood began to grow, with green vines coming out from it, pushing the wood apart before forming what Enya could only think as a doorway, with flowers sprouting from the vines as it finished it’s shape.
Looking through this newly formed door the first thing that Enya saw was a golden light, her eyes narrowing to get a better look before Tula came out with a smile and asking. “What are you waiting for? A doorway has been made.”
Enya could feel Roux resting his body next to her in silent reassurance giving the young girl the courage to step through the golden doorway and into what she saw as a large flower garden. So much greenery and flowers blooming all in one place. The flowers were vast, many which normally bloom in different times of the year, it was a spectacle to see, at points she made a second glance to the flowers she saw that normally grew in the Summer or Spring.
Then the flowers moved, creating a path for them which revealed coble stones covered in moss. Enya’s gaze looked ahead to see what or more correctly who was waiting for her.
“Enya,” Roux softly spoke her name as she slowly inhaled and exhaled a breath before slowly making her way to where a tall being sat on what she could only think as a throne. With the wood covered in moss with vines and flowers sprouting from it, several stairs which led up to it followed with an abundance of deep pink roses.
The smell was stifling, almost overpowering. It took all that Enya had not to feel ill form it. But even still, she never liked the smell of roses, it always reminded her of the one thing she deeply wished wouldn’t resurface. Even Roux seemed to be uncomfortable with the smell, rubbing his nose against his paw.
Enya looked up to the throne and offered, what she hoped, was the proper way to greet royalty. “Your Majesty,” she said with a slightly clumsy movement with a lowered head.
“So, you’ve showed.” The being said. “Raise your head child, let me look at you.”
Slowly she did trying her best to hide her wary feelings.
The being was none other then the Fairy Queen, who now sat almost elegantly on the wooden thrown with long legs crossed. Her hair of a deep pink rose colour was done up, while her face seemed to be painted with makeup, making her red eyes much more apparent.
“You have confidence,” she stated. “An admirable thing for one so young. Many of my subjects had begun to believe that you would not show out of fear.”
“With all due respect your Majesty, you had asked me to come to speak with you. I wasn’t about to ignore it. But I do have a question.”
“And that is?”
“Why?” Enya asked. “Why did you wish to meet with me? Was it because that I helped Tula? Or is there another reason.”
The Queen gave an amused smirk. “Smart girl, you are correct. I have another reason for you being here.” She looked to the garden with a faint narrow gaze before looking back to the girl. “Tell me young one, have you heard of the Winter Witch?”
“Yes, Your Majesty, but only just recently…” she then hesitated. “Why do you ask?”
The Fairy Queen looked at the girl for a long quite moment before finally speaking. “The Witch controls the ice and the snow, and with that the element of Winter itself.” The Fairy Queen explained from her throne. “Such a being only wants to destroy what we and what you humans have worked so hard to build. If this continues, all of us will parish within this icey tomb that the Witch has created. I want you child, to go and stop her.”
“What?” Enya nearly stammered. “Do you… do you expect me to fight her?”
“I expect you to make her stop.” The Queen spoke in a commanding tone.
Enya shook her head from the shock then looked to the Queen with a confused perplexed stare. “But what can I do? I’m only a child. I’m not fit to fight at witch, what could I do that an adult could not?”
“That you are,” the Queen said to her. “But as I have told Tula, the Sidhe that you rescued, not only is it of great importance but it is something that only you can do regardless of your young age.”
The little girl thought on it but couldn’t figure out what it was. “I don’t understand.” She said softly as she warily looked to the Queen.
The Fairy Queen eyed her evenly. “Perhaps you just cannot see it, you are a child after all. But even then, you are not simply a mere child.” In that instant, the Queen moved to stand in front of Enya causing the girl to take a sept back at the being’s giant height, gliding her way as if she were the wind itself before kneeling to her level and placing a hand along her jaw. “You have a connection with that of the Witch, one that is strong and something that an adult could not unless they shared the same connection.” She then slowly lifted the necklace that was around Enya’s neck, the red stone encased in silver before slowly turning it around to show it’s back.
There resting plane as day engraved in the silver was the emblem of the Schnee family. This whole-time Enya felt as though she had seen the emblem from somewhere before but couldn’t recall where, when it had been around her neck.
“But this…” she began only to run her index finger over the engraving. “That can’t be right… I’m not a…”
“You must be,” The Fairy Queen cut in. “Why else would you have such an item?”
Enya wanted to speak, she wanted to shout, but her mind was far too cluttered to even come up with the words. But what could she even say against this being when the truth was staring right back at her?
“I believe that is enough,” a voice suddenly broke the silence of the Hall. Enya stilled, she felt as though she recognized the voice, and to her surprise when she turned the little girl saw the man that had once rescued her from the Garu.
The Dawn King.
Tall and imposing this Elven man strode over to Enya, his clothes were black like the night, and much of his armor which consisted of leather, was of a dark brown, his cloak just as black as the rest of his clothes in contrast to his pale skin and striking eyes.
Too shocked for words all Enya could do was stare, why was he here?
The Fairy Queen however, looked less then impressed. In fact, she looked rather angry at the sudden intrusion from the Elven man. “And what might I ask, are you doing here Koranis? I thought you said that you indented to keep an eye on the human village until the Garu had gone.”
“I have, and still do.” He said before looking to Enya with those orange gold eyes. “However, seeing a young girl that I so happened to rescue one night following a Sidhe into the forest left me somewhat concerned. And it left me wondering what it is that you could have possibly in need of her. So, that is why I am here.”
“You’re not her father,” she said almost bitterly causing Enya to flinch at the being’s words. “It is no concern of yours what I speak of with another. Being it human or otherwise.”
“As you say but it is when it comes to this child.” The man moved closer and knelt to her level, his golden orange eyes giving off a warmth like that of the afternoon sun as he offered the girl a slight kind smile. “I know her mother after all.”
Enya’s eyes went wide. “You… know my mother?”
He gave a gracious nod. “Yes, it has been a long time since I have seen her personally myself but I do know her. Her ways of medicine and the herbs she always grew is something that I will never forget.”
A sudden feeling of warmth and relief began to bloom in her chest, she didn’t know why but Enya felt as though this man, a man she barely knew, was not lying to her. But there was still something that made her question, if this elven man had known her mother like he had claimed why was it that her mother never spoke of him? Was it because that the topic never came up, or could it have been that her mother was worried of what the village would think?
Both seemed like a reasonable explanation.
And as if sensing her questions the Dawn King spoke to her. “I know you must have questions, but now is probably not the best time to speak on it.” He stood and looked to the Fairy Queen with a leveled stare. “What are you thinking asking a child to venture out on her own in such dangerous lands? You have any idea what that might put her through?”
The Queen scoffed at his words as she folded her arms. “I believe it is worth the risk, after all, this girl’s mother has not returned correct?” she said asking that last bit towards Enya.
“Yes,” she said. “But how do you know that?”
With an unimpressed look the Fairy Queen flew back up to her thrown and sat with her legs crossed once again. “I am Queen of the Fairies, I know many things.” She eyed the young girl. “Including the whereabouts of your mother, child.”
“What?” Enya said with surprise as Roux let out a faint snarl. “Even if you say that, how do you know it to be true?”
“You doubt a Queen?”
As if that could hold anything these days. “With all due respect, I don’t know you! Tell me how you would know where my mother is when everyone else doesn’t!”
The Dawn King looked at her with sympathetic eyes but remained silent.
The Queen scoffed and pointed at her. “The necklace you wear, tell me child, does it belong to your father or your mother?”
Enya grasped the necklace that she wore, it was something that her father had given her just before his death, but knew where it had originated from. “My… my mother.”
“Then the answer is obvious as to how I know.” She said. “I have said that only those with a connection to that of the Winter Witch has the possibility of stopping her. I’ve come to understand that your mother, be it however small, is a relative to that of the Schnee family. And as thus, the Witch. For whatever reason, decided to take your mother while on her travels.”
A sudden feeling of dread began to flow through her. Roux pressed himself against Enya’s body, his bushy tail wrapping around her legs as she placed a hand long his back and gripped his fur. “But… why would the witch… why would she do that?”
“I do not know the reason behind it and in truth I do not care. I only wish for this snow to finally stop that is all I care about.”
It was a fair thing to say, this being didn’t know Enya’s mother and wished for the snow to stop, though the little girl couldn’t deny the slight stinging pain that ran through her heart when hearing that she didn’t seem to care about the outcome for her mother. But even still she couldn’t understand the reason for this witch to take her mother, but that answer probably wouldn’t come to Enya with ease.
“So what will you do?” the Fairy Queen asked. “Will you go and stop the Winter Witch? Or will you go back home as if nothing happened?”
Enya thought on it, but felt as though responding right away would not be the best option. “I would like some time to think on it.” She said. “One night will be more then enough for me to return with an answer.”
The Queen looked rather amused at this statement and offered a slight smile. “Is that so, normally a child would be quick in giving a response, though I suppose everyone is different and the road ahead would be rather dangerous for a child of your age.” She then waved her hand dismissively. “Very well then, you can stay here within the Tree tonight. I will make sure that proper edible food is prepared for both you and the fox. It would be rude of me to deny you at least some form of comfort while you are staying. Look around too while you wish, it is not every day a human child is granted such a chance.”
“I will accompany you, if you would like.” Koranis offered her causing the Fairy Queen to narrow her eyes on him. “It is the least I can do.” He said keeping his gaze on the Queen.
Enya looked back and forth silently from the Dawn King to the Fairy Queen. “Alright,” she said. “I have no objection with it. Do you Roux?”
“I have no problem with it as well,” said the fox. “Besides, I can now thank him properly for keeping you safe that night.”
“Then go,” the Queen interjected. “Leave me in peace, explore and rest. Return in the morning to speak again on your decision.” Enya said her goodbyes and bowed in response before heading to leave only to look back when the Queen spoke again. “Enya, do not forget that while you are debating, that you are now the only one who can actually stop the Witch, keep that in mind. And have a good evening.” The Dawn King gave one final look to the Queen before following the young girl and the fox.
“She will pick the correct choice,” the Fairy Queen said as if speaking to another as she leaned back in her throne. “After all, if she does not. Then it will be her end...”