Upon the Monochrome Throne
Act I: Red
Chapter 12: Upon the Monochrome Throne
“You seem distracted.”
The indistinguishable mound stood mere moments away from the tall fairy, yet for all intents and purposes the distance could have stretched on for miles. For it was only the voice of her horned friend that was capable of dragging her out of the lull her mind was besieged by. With a noticeable mix of unease and pleasantness, she turned to face him.
“Only by the thoughts of a lost child,” Thaia replied as Akulien approached. She wore a half-smile. He in turn was grinning broadly, but only until he realized her apparent state of mind. His eyes shifted to the mound.
“Would you care to discuss these thoughts?” he asked.
Initially all Thaia could do in response was to wave her hand dismissively. However, even apathy, feigned as it was, took more energy than she was able to give. The stark reality of this crashed down upon her and the fae’s carefree expression fell to reveal distraught. She walked forward, finding comfort in laying her head on her horned friend’s shoulder.
“I have spoken with her,” she responded. “The Queen of my people in this land. The Fae are here.”
Akulien gently wrapped his arms around her.
“And this causes you distress? I would have believed this to be joyous.”
She turned her head to afford a look into the forest.
“It’s exhausting, don’t you think? Trying so hard to find a comfortable place within this unknown kingdom only to be dragged into further conflict.”
“Further conflict?” Akulien inquired, glancing at her eye-line. “You sound as if you’re being conscripted.
For a few seconds Thaia’s thoughts were directed to the unnamed stranger she’d spoken to days prior.
“I am not confirming anything. But the Queen showed me what I had previously denied – opposition.” Thaia turned to gaze up into Akulien’s eyes. “There is a tyrant with unexplored powers that the fae here find both dangerous and deplorable. Because of this we may be called to war.”
“War…” Akulien muttered in a distracted manner. “Be there a… tension in the air I’ve not been able to fully grasp. It’s almost as if the land itself is simply lying in wait, patient for a cataclysm to swallow it whole.” He then met her gaze with a smile. “But enough of that. How does all of this make you feel? And more importantly, how are you feeling now? In general.”
A minute passed as she contemplated the question. With her thrust into a land she had never been to and a court she had never heard of, time had not allowed her to just take a break and suss through the details. To this effect she merely detached from Akulien’s embrace and shrugged.
“I’m not sure,” she started, turning back to face the mound. Thaia meant to continue as well, but the words were lost to her. Instead, the question was directed away. “What about you? You seem unconcerned given the circumstances.”
With a tilt of his head and a touch of his chin with his forefinger and thumb, Akulien as well sifted through what shouldn’t have been that demanding of an inquiry.
“I suppose the same as you. Be it a sense of foreboding if the powers that be are stocking up for a protracted night of bloodshed.”
Thaia didn’t respond. She didn’t know how; if she was being honest, the idea of fighting someone else’s war, regardless of who it was in prostration to, was never on her list of priorities. Her eyes wandered back to the masculine form beside her as said priorities struck back in her mind. Her frown quickly shifted into a smirk.
“Would you like to continue this conversation in the Fae Court itself?” she suddenly posed.
The horned man blinked several times in response.
“Is… such an invitation acceptable?” he asked.
Thaia shrugged again.
“My kind is known for mischief,” she answered. “If it is not allowed I assume all that will occur is a slap across the hands. Or perhaps your enslavement.” Her wings fluttered as she closed in on him. “Would you like to test the risk?”
At first all semblance of intelligence offered better alternatives, but with the tall fae’s sudden change in attitude, Akulien’s own focus pushed much of these alternatives to the back of his mind. Softly he took her hand and brushed it against his lips.
“Lead the way, my lady.”
Thaia smiled. The mound to their side began to shiver, as if some massive creature was waking form its earthen slumber. As Akulien moved to get a better understanding of what was occurring, he heard the quietest of whispers –
“I need your permission.”
Something had changed. Akulien turned to his friend, but she was not there. He looked to his hand, but he was not holding another. The differences in atmosphere and sound were the first to register in his mind, as they were indicative of the fact that the forest surrounding him were no longer in play. In fact, upon his sight revealing the truth, the realization hit him with much fervor.
“I’ve often wondered if sensation and memory are inherently linked, given the outcome of losing one or another,” he heard Thaia saying as a slight echo followed. Such an auditory anomaly was caused by their new location – a large, spacious hall colored in the blankest of whites and most absent of blacks. At the furthest end of the hall was an equally colored dais, obviously constructed to act as the pedestal for the throne that stood on top. “I suspected this Court would do the same – create defenses that targeted the mind rather than the body. The latter can lead to such terrible messes.”
“What…?” Akulien began to ask as his voice returned. Thaia spun around and floated to him.
“You seem to dislike having your memory and awareness held hostage. You gave me your permission; such disorientation is typically reserved for beings with multiple mindsets.” She glanced up at his horns. “You wouldn’t happen to have another person living in that head of yours, would you?”
Akulien stared at her for a few seconds, but then calmed down. He smiled.
“I get it,” he said. “Entry for a non-fae requires one to forget the experience ever occurring, is that it?”
“As you said.” Thaia smirked. “You got it.”
“So I take it this is the Court?”
“I suppose so,” she answered. “I’ve never been here until now. Kind of dreary, if I think about it… usually such places are lathered with color and abstractions. Here it merely looks like… nothing.”
“The land outside is barren of life as well,” Akulien said. “Be it a conscious decision?”
“Perhaps.” She fluttered forward. “But I want you to consider something. With the tricks and tactics like the ones you’ve just experienced, the fae are no simple creatures to have as opponents in a theoretical war.” Thaia stopped and gazed around the marble décor. “We are creatures that represent various facets of nature, and as such death does not apply in a similar fashion as it does to mortalkind like yourself. For us, it is a slumber; a period of time in which are bodies decompose and our spirits are renewed into one that is newly formed later on. So… answer this question: what would cause such a creature to fear another enough to incite a war?”
Akulien stared at her for a handful of moments before taking steps forward. Instead of mimicking her apparent admiration for the scenery, he longed for the dais itself, a seduction breathing heavily from its very design.
“Perhaps creatures of a different branch of immortality.”
Thaia did not turn to look at him.
“Then it will be a war between two unending forces, locked in a land that acts as a prison. No beginning, and no ending. Only the present.”
“Be it a thoughtful way of seeing it, but that does sound like the reality we face,” Akulien responded.
It was then Thaia decided to turn to him, hearing that he had made his way to the opposite side of the hall. And it was then her own view of the world, her established way of understanding everything, was changed.
For beyond the monochrome marble, in the back of this hall, was the throne. And in this emerald and gold encrusted throne sat a figure, intimidating and imposing, watching contently as the scene played out. He was a tall, frightfully alluring being, someone who never knew or experienced the concept of mortality or the plights of the common man. He wore no crown. No sign of royalty. It was entirely within his nature. And it was at that moment Thaia, bathed in the surreal light emanating from the ethereal figure, realized that she was not looking at a fae.
“It appears you have seen a ghost, my lady,” Akulien said. “Be it not a good idea to take a chair of royalty, then…”
Thaia did not respond. Not verbally, anyway. Instead, she slowly approached her friend, floating up the dias, stopping just a few inches from his seated position. He watched with a mix of concern and curiosity.
Suddenly she burst forward and slammed her hands down onto his knees the quickness of the action prevented Akulien from reacting appropriately enough, and Thia held her face just before his.
Upon the monochrome throne she said, “War is not the only pastime fae engage in.”
Glossary - Day 8
- The Stranger /Race: Human / Status: Active
-Sakiya /Race:Human / Status:Dormant
- Thaia /Race:Fae (Sylph) / Status:Active
-Zhei /Race:Unknown/ Status:Active
- Akulien /Race:Unknown / Status:Active
- Maelomi /Race:Unknown / Status:Active, Tavern Mistress
- ? /Race:Feline / Status:Active
- Vairnlor /Race:Lich / Status:Active
- The Father /Race:Unknown / Status:Active
THE FAE COURT
- Avelia /Race:Fae (Fairy) / Status:Active, Fae Queen
- Kael /Race:Fae (Kelpie) / Status:Active
- Dimitri /Race:Fae (Faun) / Status:Active
- Garren Myzen /Race:Lich / Status:Active, Legion Tyrant
- Sirena /Race:Elf / Status:Active
- Tylarus: Name of land.
- The Tavern: Establishment in between the Fae Forest and Rogue Woods, south of the Graveyard.
- The Corrupted Tree: Black, deadened tree located in the Graveyard.
- The Graveyard: Plot of land between two rivers and in the center of the land.
- The Fae Forest: Eastern forests, surface world of the Fae Court.
- The Wastelands: Northern plains, home to the Legion.
- The City: Capital of the Wastelands.
- The Raven: ?