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This year, I decided to try out Camp NaNoWriMo. Overall, it was a good experience. Here are some of the highlights.

I joined a cabin set up by one of the GYWO mods. It was set up as a fantasy/scifi cabin. I’m shy on a good day but a group of complete strangers would have been torture. I was glad to be a part of a cabin that I had ‘spoken’ with someone there before I signed up. I don’t think I would have done camp if it wasn’t for that.

I managed to chat some and I shared some things too but I was still shy. I really should have tried harder to participate but as usual my shyness kicked in and prevented me from being social. One of these days I’m going to get over this but not anytime soon.

I shared information about world building and wiki making for fictional universes. I talked about how I don’t make chapters until the end. They seemed to appreciate what I contributed.    

My project was “Edge of Swords” from the Book of the Tuathe. It had been sitting in ‘The Pile’ folder forever so I thought it would be a good idea to use it for this. I had 5k of notes to use plus a loose outline.

I set a goal of 15K. You can do that at Camp. I thought that was being generous considering most of the large stories from Ogham-Duir end up around 10k-12k. When I started writing, I realized that I may have set the word count goal too low.

In the end, I managed to meet the goal of 15K despite real life trying to interfere. Real life was my cat getting horribly sick. He recovered and I was able to continue writing to meet my goal.

I met the goal of 15K but I didn’t finish the story. I still have a couple of thousand words to write before it’s complete but at least it’s nearly finished. I will post it when it’s done.

Will I do camp again? Maybe but I will have to be ready to participate more than I did this time. I like the concept of Camp NaNoWriMo. It did help me see that I’m not alone when I have writers block or have organizational problems.    
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Fan Fiction Posting News:
Magick, Destiny and Doom (Camelot Drabble Series Canon Era) posts on Wednesdays.

Dove 46 was Too Late (Babylon 5)

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Dark Realms:
Episode 4. The Anasauri's Plight (Brought to you by puzzleprompts)

Booksie/BooksieSilk (Faerie1990)
Coffee for Two

Community News:
Get Your Words Out July Reporting Number: 189972
Camp Nano Final Validation: 15642. I met my goal of 15000
Livejournal and Dreamwidth master lists have been updated.
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Dark Realms #4: The Anasauri’s Plight
Word Count:  2877
This episode was brought to you by puzzleprompts

Wincet sat at his workbench mumbling to himself as he read from an ancient tome. He was reading about the Anasauri, a race of reptilian humans that evolved into one of the most technologically advanced civilizations in the known universe.

The Anasauri were thought to be extinct. Their home world Saur had been lost to a series of cataclysmic disasters. It had been almost a thousand years since anyone had reported seeing an Anasauri.

Tona walked up and noticed Wincet mumbling. “Wincet, what’s wrong?” She looked over his shoulder and saw the drawing in the book he was reading. “The Anasauri are a myth. Why are you letting those old tales upset you?”

Wincet turned to look at her. “The Anasauri are real! I met them in my youth. They were nearly extinct then. They had a small city on the moon of another planet in their system. I wonder if there are any left.”

“Maybe, we should go looking for them and see if there are any left.” Tona looked at the drawing again. “They certainly were ugly, weren’t they?”

“Ah!” Wincet smiled. “They may have been ugly but they were the most intelligent and well-spoken people that I have ever had the privilege to meet. I just wish you all could have the chance to meet them.”

“Well, unless we go back in time, we never will.” Tona patted Wincet on the shoulder. “I’m going to teach the others some defensive moves. We will be in the Vision Cave. That’s the only place that they can’t break anything of value except maybe one of their own heads.”

“Take it easy on them, Tona. Most of their races are not as agile as elves.” Wincet warned her. “Dallys may be the only one who can keep up with you.”

“I know but we need to be able to keep from getting killed if we are to continue these missions.” Tona grinned mischievously. “Besides its funny when Nellis falls on his ass.”

“Tona!” Wincet said sternly.

“Well it is.” Tona laughed and patted him on the shoulder again before she left.

Wincet sat and thought for a moment. “Maybe there was a way that the Dark Army. It would take some doing but he may be able to pull it off.”

He shut the ancient book and went to the shelf to find another. He ran his hand along the spines of the ancient books in many different languages from many different worlds until he found the one he wanted. He took it over to the workbench and opened it up.

“Now, I just have to find the right spell for the portal to go back in time.” Wincet turned the pages carefully in the old book. “Not too far but just enough for the Dark Army to meet the Anasauri for themselves.”

In the Vision Cave, the Dark Army was spaced out in pairs to work on the moves Tona was teaching. 

“Ow!” Nellis got off the floor and rubbed his behind. “Did you have to do that so hard?”

Dallys and Jace tried to keep from laughing but failed.

“Well they’re not going to hit you with a pillow, you know.” Tona sighed. “Let’s try it again. Jace, partner with the little kitten boy this time.”

“I am not a kitten.” Nellis folded his arms across his chest. “I am a Casparian shapeshifter. We’re furry creatures.”

“Furry little kitties.” Tona smirked. “Now remember … lunge and duck. Not roll into a ball and fall on your…”

“Everyone! Come! I have something for you to do.” Wincet waved them over to the center of the cave. “Come look at what I have found.”

“It’s just a dusty old book. You have hundreds of them.” Nellis limped over to Wincet. “What’s the big deal?”

“Wincet, what have you found?” Jace asked. “Are we going on a mission?”

“Please! Anything to get us out of training with Tona.” Nellis rubbed his behind again. “I think I broke my tail.”

“You have a tail?” Tona burst out laughing.

Wincet glared at Tona. He cleared his throat. “I was thinking about the time I met the Anasauri and how they are assumed to be extinct now. That’s when Tona came in and said something about time travel. So, I looked for the spell to turn the regular portal into a time portal. I want to send you through to the last known location of the Anasauri.”

“Where was the last known location of the Anasauri?” Dallys asked. “It isn’t on some planet that eats faeries is it? Do they eat faeries?”

“No! They don’t eat faeries.” Wincet looked up at the stars and pointed to a star near the edge of the universe. “It was on a moon orbiting another planet in their system. Their planet was lost to a cataclysmic disaster.”

“Why do we need to go back to back in time?” Jace asked. “I mean, if there are still some left then we should just meet them and not go back in time. Time travel sounds dangerous to me.”

“There is always some risk when going through the portal.” Wincet looked at each one of them. “If you are not comfortable with the idea, I will not use this spell unless everyone agrees to it.”

“I vote ‘no’.” Jace looked at the others.

Nellis looked at Wincet. “I vote ‘no way’.”

“No offense, Wincet, but I vote ‘no’ too.” Dallys sighed. “If the spell doesn’t work, we could end up anywhere at any time.”

“Borne, what do you think?” Wincet asked. He looked at the android that was standing quietly with his head bowed.

“I am still calculating the odds. I will let you know when I have finished.” Borne bowed his head to finish.

Tona looked at Wincet. “I’m with them. I don’t want to go time traveling across the universe. We could find ourselves as dinosaur snacks or worse.”

“What could be worse than being eaten by a dinosaur?” Nellis asked.

“I just don’t want to be eaten period.” Dallys shuddered at the thought. “Too many creatures think I’m a crunchy and tasty thing.”

Borne looked up. “I have finished my calculations and I do not wish to go.”

Wincet sighed. “I was hoping that you would get the great honor of meeting an Anasauri but I can still send you to the third moon of Calna where they were last seen. Maybe there are some left. At the very least, you could find out what happened to their civilization.”

“I think we would be fine with that.” Jace looked at the others for approval. “Is there anything we should take with us like air or protective gear?”

“Does your world have a moon?” Dallys asked.

“Yes it does. It’s just a giant rock that orbits our planet and shines the light of our sun back at us at night.” Jace looked puzzled. “Why?”

“My planet has a moon too. There is an ocean and several land masses on it.” Dallys told him. “Jace not every world is like yours. Tona’s planet has two moons and Nellis comes from a world without a moon.”

“I’m beginning to learn that everything is possible in the universe.” Jace smiled at her.

“What good is a moon that you can’t use it? We use our smaller one to hunt game.” Tona sighed. “I miss hunting things.”

“This is not a hunting mission. It’s turned into an intelligence gathering mission.” Wincet shut the book he was holding. “Instead of meeting the Anasauri, I want you to see what happened to them. Look around for any signs of invaders or disease. At least, we can give them the respects of letting the rest of the universe know what happened to them.”

“We should get changed.” Tona looked down at the loose clothes she was wearing. She rubbed her nose. “Some of should bathe too. If there are any Anasauri left, we don’t want them to smell us coming.” Tona headed out to the living quarters to clean up and prepare.

Jace patted Nellis on the shoulder. “I think she means that you’re a bit gamey.”

“Hey! This is my natural musky smell.” Nellis glared at Jace.

“I have some herbs that can get rid of that Nellis.” Dallys winked at Jace behind Nellis’ back. “Good thing that I restocked last time we went to market. It will take a lot of herbs to get rid of that smell.”

Nellis walked off in a huff. He mumbled something about furless people and their noses.

“I will go make the preparations for the portal. Meet me there in a half hour.” Wincet sighed and walked out of the Vision Cave.

“You know, Wincet probably thinks we’re a bunch of children.” Dallys laughed.

“We are much younger than he is chronologically.” Borne looked at Jace and Dallys.

“She means that we act like a bunch of children, Borne.” Jace patted his friend on the shoulder. “Come on. We better get ready to go or they’ll leave us here.”

Less than an hour later, the Dark Army stepped through the portal on the third moon of Calna. They expected to see ruins but what they saw instead surprised them.

From the ridge top where they stood, they could see that there was a city gleaming in the sunshine. The tall buildings were made up of mostly metal and glass. There were vehicles floating around in the air from one place to another. Everything was clean and shiny.

“Wow!” Jace looked around. “This isn’t what I expected at all. Is that a flying car?”

“I don’t know.” Tona looked at him. “What’s a car?”

Jace rolled his eyes. “A car is a vehicle that carries people from one place to another. They run along the ground in my world.”

“That would be dangerous they could run over someone that way.” Nellis frowned. “The more I hear about your world the less I want to go there.”

“We need to split up. Borne, Nellis, and Dallys try to find a data port. We need to get as much info as we can on how many there are, what weapons they have, and the size of their army.”

“Tona, we aren’t gathering intelligence for a military strike.” Jace reminded her. “Borne, focus on census data and historical records. That building over there looks like a school. You can probably tap into the city’s servers there. You two keep him from getting caught, please.”

Nellis and Dallys took the lead toward the building that Jace pointed out. Borne glanced back as he followed them and looked worried.              

“You and I should go look into some windows to see how they live.” Tona pulled on Jace’s arm. This one is open and it has some shrubs we can hide in.” 

“Are you sure those aren’t poisonous?” Jace eyed them cautiously.

“Just come on.” Tona tugged on his sleeve again.

They settled in under an open window and peeked inside. Two blue lizard-like creatures were standing in what looked like a kitchen. The female was washing dishes and the male was reading something off an electronic device.    

“You never have time for me or the hatchlings, Punar. It’s always work, work, and more work. You seem to forget that you even have a mate and hatchlings at home.” The female turned away from what she was doing to put her hands on her hips.

“My work is very important to me.” Punar put down the device and walked over to her. He put his hand on her cheek. “Ka, you know that I love you and all of our hatchlings. I would be home more if I could but I must see that all the knowledge of the Anasauri is archived safely for future generations.”

“Ha!” Ka pushed away his hand. “I don’t care about future generations. I care if your hatchlings will know who you are when you come in our home.”

“It isn’t like that.” Punar sighed. “I’m here every day. They see me every night when I kiss their little faces before they drift off to sleep.”

“They see you but when do they get to know you?” Ka asked. “When we are standing around the pit when you die?”

“KA!” Punar shouted.

“Hush! You’ll wake them up.” Ka glared at him.

“I promise to take this weekend off. We can take them to the water to splash around and play. I may even get in too. What about you?”

Ka sighed. “I would like to go water. It’s been a long time since we did anything as a family.”

“Not since the fifth hatchling came out of his shell.” Punar put his arms around her. He started to nibble on her neck. “I can’t wait to see you in your water suit.”

“None of that!” Ka pushed him off. “We have plenty of hatchlings already. I hear what you are thinking, you know. I have heard your thoughts since we were bonded.”

Punar laughed. “Sometimes, I swear you can only read my very naughty thoughts. That’s why I love you so much.”

Ka sighed. “Sometimes, I can read all your thought then other times you are so closed to me. We are bonded. We should share everything even our thoughts. Sharing our minds is what mates do.”

Punar rested his forehead on hers. “You’re right and I’m sorry. Let’s go get some rest.”

“Rest is all you will get this night, Punar.”  Ka let him take her by the hand and lead her out of the room.

Jace looked at Tona. “They sound normal to me. How about you?”

“I wonder how many hatchlings they have. It sounds like their population is growing not shrinking.” Tona wondered.

“On my world, overpopulation is a problem. Not enough food and too many people.” Jace looked around. “I wonder if the others are finished. We should get back to the portal site.”

“Don’t you want to peep in some more windows?” Tona teased.

“I really don’t want to take the chance that I will see something I can’t get out of my head.” Jace shuddered.

“You are no fun.” Tona stood up and pulled him up to his feet. “Let’s go. They should have the information from the city’s data storage by now.”

In the school, Dallys and Nellis were keeping an eye out as Borne used a cord from his wrist to tap into a port on a data output station.

“Borne, are you done yet?” Nellis asked. “We got to get back to the portal site.”

“I will be done in just one minute.” Borne disconnected from the data port. “I have to secure the data. It will take a moment.”

Dallys glanced back at Borne then looked at Nellis. “If he doesn’t hurry up then we are going to get caught.”

“Give him a moment.” Nellis looked out the door. “I don’t see anyone around. Don’t worry so much.”

Borne walked up behind them and tapped them on the shoulders. “I am finished.”

“Finally, let’s go.” Dallys pushed past Nellis and went outside. “Come on. We have to get to the portal site.”

Nellis and Borne followed her to the top of the ridge where Tona and Jace were already standing.

“Did you get anything?” Jace asked.

“Yes. I have census records and the historical data Jace suggested that I obtain. I also retrieved medical data about their race.” Borne told them.

“That’s what took so long.” Dallys sighed.

The portal opened behind them and they stepped through.

Wincet was waiting for them expectantly. “Did you find out what happened to them? Was it a natural disaster or was it disease that wiped them out?”

“Neither.” Jace looked at Wincet. “They are alive and well. From what we saw, they are flourishing on that moon. They have a huge city there. They’re living their lives just like everyone else.” He glanced at Tona. “Making babies and going on family vacations.”

“How? No one has seen them in a thousand years.” Wincet was perplexed. “How many of them are there?”

“According to the census information that I downloaded, there are over five million Anasauri in that city.” Borne reported. “There are five other cities with equivalent populations to the city we saw.”

“Did you meet anyone? Did you talk to them?” Wincet asked. He looked at them. “I don’t understand. Why didn’t you talk to them?”

“We didn’t want to disturb their lives. They are obviously hiding.” Jace shrugged. “If they haven’t wanted to be seen in over a thousand years then stands to reason they don’t want people just showing up to talk to them. We should let them be. Maybe someday, they will want to make contact with the universe again.”

“He has a point Wincet. If we let the universe know that the Anasauri are still alive there may be someone out there that will try to destroy them. We still don’t know what destroyed their planet.” Tona looked at the sorcerer.

“Are we in agreement that we shall keep their secret?” Wincet looked at each of them as they nodded in turn. “For now, the plight of the Anasauri is our secret to keep.”

July Update

Jul. 1st, 2016 09:02 am
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Fan Fiction Posting News:
Magick, Destiny and Doom (Camelot Drabble Series Canon Era) posts on Wednesdays.

Dove 45 was Missing Check Ins (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

From the Land Communites:
Time and Love (Merlin)
Merrilea Britton (Original Character for Merlin)
A Sorcerer’s Treasures (Merlin)
Midnight in the Bunker (Arrow)

Original Fiction Posting News:
Virtually Sterling (Unconventional Courtship 2016 - AO3 Registered Users Only)

Dreamwidth:
The Visitor from the Peri Court (Ogham-Duir)
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

The Fall of the Northern Court (Ogham-Duir)(WIP)
(Part 1)
(Part 2)
(Part 3)
(Part 4)
(Part 5)
(Part 6)

Dark Realms
Episode 2: The Grubhor (Brought to you by puzzleprompts)

Booksie/BooksieSilk (Faerie1990)
Coffee for Two

Community News:
Get Your Words Out June Reporting Number: 158714
Livejournal and Dreamwidth master lists have been updated.
This month, I joined puzzleprompts on Livejournal.
I am doing Camp Nano! I'm in a 'fantasy' genre cabin
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Part 6
Word Count:
1098

Aura walked forward and lifted the sheet on the first body she came to. It was Queen Taralen. She took a step over and lifted the second sheet. Cara was under it.

Victra sobbed and nearly collapsed. Aura and Endora rushed to her and caught her before she fell. Aura held on to Victra as Endora reached out and brushed a curl from her grandmother’s face.

“She knew they were coming. She sent me away to protect the realm. She knew the barrier wouldn’t fall if I was still alive.” Endora kissed her grandmother’s cheek. 

“I believe she did. That’s why she summoned our mother. So she wouldn’t be alone at the castle. It would look like the barrier would fail.” Aura sighed. “I didn’t even know you were the one doing the ritual not Mother.”

Endora brushed away a tear. “Mother was never going to be queen. It made sense that I would be the one connected to the barrier not her. I’m surprised that Mother stayed. She had to know what was coming.”

Captain Janlou shifted on his feet. “Majesty, she didn’t know. Queen Taralen ordered that she not be told.”

All three women looked at him with shocked expressions.

“Everyone thought Princess Cara would be the next queen. Even I did, until Queen Taralen told me otherwise.” The man admitted.  

“When Lord Chancellor reads the succession decree, he and everyone else will get a surprise.” Endora looked at her mother. “My mother was removed before I came of age.”

“Blessed Danu.” Captain Janlou rubbed his face. “Here I thought…. It doesn’t matter.”

“You thought what?” Endora asked.

At first, I thought she was being indulgent with your mother, letting her go off on her own, like she has always been with you. I had no idea that she was passing her own daughter over.” Captain Janlou looked at the sisters. “But you all knew, didn’t you?”

“Yes.” Aura reached out and covered the bodies with the sheets. “Endora, we need to prepare you for your coronation.” Aura looked at the Captain. “A messenger needs to be sent to the Draconis’ estate to fetch the Queen’s maid and the crown.”

Endora nodded at the Captain. “Dionne will know what to bring. She has it memorized. Grandmother made her repeat the list several times.” 

“There is one other matter. Queen Taralen ordered the crystal removed from the Great Portal.” Captain Janlou shifted on his feet. “She told no one where it was hidden.”

“Dionne will bring that as well. Grandmother gave it to me before I left.” Endora told him. “She didn’t want it to fall into the wrong hands. She gave me the one from the Northern Court as well.”

“There is only one Court of the Tuathe de Danaan now.” Captain Janlou sighed. “The men that Queen Taralen sent are still looking for survivors but it doesn’t look good.”

Endora shook her head. “Humans. That fool would hire human mercenaries to do his dirty work.”

“You know who the man in the image was?” Victra asked.

“It’s Prince Hareem from the Peri court. He came here looking to marry me so our army would help the Peri fight the Jinn. When I said no, he came into my chambers in the middle of the night to assault me. Grandmother banned him.”

“You should have run him through.” Captain Janlou shook his head. “I wonder what the Northern Court did to anger him.”

“Princess Naladine was around my age. She probably turned him down too.” Endora started to walk to the door. “Victra needs to lie down and I want to see what the men have found in the camp.”

“East tower?” Aura asked.

“Yes.” Endora nodded.

Aura hugged Victra and shimmered to the east tower.

Captain Janlou frowned. “I always forget she has fae magick as well as dragon powers.”

“She doesn’t use them often. She has difficulty controlling them.” Endora glanced back at the bodies. “How soon can they be prepared for entombment? I want them at peace as soon as possible.”     

“I will call the women from the village to see to the preparations.” Captain Janlou glanced over at the bodies. “I will have to have the stone masons work through the night to build the crypts. The sculptors will take a bit longer.”

“That’s fine. All we need are the crypts right now.” Endora walked toward the door. “I need to get my bearings. I will be in my chambers. Send someone for me when the men come from searching the encampment.”

“I will, Majesty. I will send your maid to you when she arrives.” Captain Janlou bowed. “Oh Majesty. There is one more thing.”  

“What is it?” Endora turned to look at him. She braced herself for more bad news.

“You will need to choose a personal guard.” Captain Janlou said.

“What do I need a guard for? I am more than capable of taking care of myself.” Endora was annoyed. “I am not that little girl who you used to give sugar candy to behind my nanny’s back. I am a warrior well trained.”

“I would swear that I gave you sugar candy just yesterday.” Captain Janlou shook his head in disbelief.

“Captain Janlou, you didn’t answer my question.” Endora reminded her.

“Protocol Majesty. You need to have one because of protocol.” Captain Janlou told her. “There is no way around it. There are five commanders that have already asked about the position.”

“There are only six commanders in the entire Sidhe guard. Which one doesn’t want the job?” Endora asked.

“That would be Armid. He’s about to retire.” Cap looked worried. “You must choose someone soon.”

Endora sighed and started walking towards the entrance. “Invite them to tea tomorrow. I will make my choice after I speak to them.”

Captain Janlou followed her out of the crypt. “All at once?”

“It will show how they interact with each other and how much respect they have for each other.” Endora took the stairs leading to the section of the castle where her bedchambers were. 

“Queen Taralen taught you well.” Captain Janlou chuckled.

Endora stopped suddenly on the stairs. “Are any of them unmarried?”.

“Yes. Three of them are unmarried.” Captain Janlou looked up at her on the stairs. “I see what you’re up to.”

“I’m not up to anything. I’m just remembering something my grandmother told me about queens and princesses.” Endora looked in front of her and started walking up the stairs again. “I will make my choice after I speak with them.”

“Thank you Majesty.” Captain Janlou bowed.

sidhe_faerie: (Default)
Part 5
Word Count:
1187

Twenty minutes later, they were on their way to the castle. Dionne stayed behind to gather their belongings and close the house up again. They traveled in silence.

No one dared to speak because to do that would make it all too real. The sisters were already on the brink of tears. Dragas and Klaus didn’t want to upset them any more than they already were.

When they arrived at the castle stables. Quin bowed and took the reins from Endora and looked at the two other women with sympathy. 

Endora took the short cut to the throne room with her sword belted at her side. The guards and council members bow to their new queen. There are whispers of “your majesty” in the air.

Aura and Victra looked around at the respect their younger sister commanded and were impressed. They had no idea that she was so well respected. 

Endora hesitated then took a breath to steady her nerves before she walked further into the room. She looked around at the council and guards in the room then she looked at the three men tied up and on their knees between the guards and her hand went to her sword.

Captain Janlou walked up and bowed. “Majesty.”  He looked at aura and victra and nodded. “My Ladies.” He looked at Dragas and Klaus and frowned.

“Captain Janlou, are these the men that killed my mother and grandmother?” Endora looked at the three men more closely. “They are human. Are they mundanes as well?”

“Yes Majesty. There were two others but they are dead. They fought the guards when we surrounded them. This one here is the leader.” Captain Janlou pointed to the man in the middle and handed her a carved wooden wand. “We found this on him.”

Endora looked at the wand then handed it to Dragas. “It’s a Druid wand. I recognize the style of writing on it.” 

Dragas looked at the wand and frowned. “It’s not from the grove in Zestra. This grove symbol is from the Isle of Eire. The passage could be opened with this even by a mundane. Are you a druid?”

“No!” The leader shook his head. “I was told it would open the passage so I used it.”  

“The Isle of Eire is in the Fomor’s territory.” Captain Janlou frowned. “He says they have two thousand men waiting on our southern border.”

“Not anymore.” Aura spoke up. “The ones that didn’t become flaming bits or drowned were cut down by two shadow warriors.”

The leader went pale. “You’re lying. My men are skilled fighters.”

Aura let her hand shift into dragon. “Does it look like I’m lying?”

The leader and his cohorts flinched.

“Aura, the ceiling is too low in here for you to shift.” Endora put her hand on her sister’s arm.

“Sorry.” Aura shook her hand and it returned to her human state. “I wasn’t thinking.”

Endora walked up to the leader. “Tell me who sent you. They must have had magick because there is no way you could have gotten here so fast. The Northern Court was only attacked the night before.” 

“No. I’m not telling you anything else.” The man shook his head. 

Endora wasn’t in the mood to be patient. She put her hand on the man’s chest and he screamed in pain. She pulled her hand away. “Tell me!”

“NO!”

Endora put her hand on his chest again.

Captain Janlou started to reach out to pull her away but he saw Aura and Victra step closer to their sister. 

The man just shook his head and his face contorted in pain again. “We were here to kill the queen and the crown princess. It should have brought down the barrier and let us in to slaughter the lot of you. I don’t understand he said it would work. It worked at the other court so it should have worked here.”

“It failed because you killed the wrong princess. My mother was never connected to the barrier. I’ve been doing the renewal ritual for the barrier since I could speak the words.” Endora pushed him away.

There were a few startled looks and gasps in the room. Everyone except Captain Janlou seemed surprised.

“You’re going to show me who sent you here.” Endora put her hand on his third eye and tried to pull the image from his mind. “Show me!”

Aura and Victra moved forward and put their hands on Endora’s back to give her more power.

Dragas and Klaus looked at each other. They had never seen the three sisters working magick together.

An image of Prince Hareem appeared in the air over the leader’s head. Endora let go of the leader and he fell to the ground unconscious.

“Take them to the cells. I will decide their fate in the by tomorrow morning.” Endora commanded. “Check him for weapons and see if he has a faerie crystal. He had to have something to get here so quickly.” 

“Grim Ranger, Lord Leeas Wyvern and Jonas Bagdar are still searching the encampment for anything that could explain how they got here so quickly from the Northern Court.” Aura informed the Captain. “They will be here shortly.” 

“We are glad of the help, High Priestess. Captain Janlou bowed his head to her. “Those three are honorable men.”

The guards rushed forward to take away the prisoners.

Endora watched the men being taken away as she rubbed her hand. She watched as the man on the floor was picked up and carried off but she felt no remorse for what she did to him. She looked at Aura and Victra. She knew they understood what she had done and why.

Endora turned to Captain Janlou. “I wish to see my mother and grandmother now.”

“Pr… Majesty, their throats were cut in their sleep. They didn’t suffer. Is it really necessary that you see their bodies?” Captain Janlou asked gently

“My sisters and I need to say our goodbyes.” Endora held out her hands for Aura and Victra to take. “Search the castle for the injured and make a list of anyone missing.”

Captain Janlou bowed. “I have already sent out our guards to do just that. Your grandmother’s maid wasn’t in the room. We are looking for her now. We took the Queen and your mother to the crypt in the catacombs until they can be prepared to be entombed. Follow me.”

Dragas looked at Aura. “We will stay here. We will wait for the others. They may have more information soon.”

Endora nodded. She looked at one of the guards by the door. “Hux, go wait on the Crystal Spires side of the passage for the three men I am expecting. You know them, don’t you?”

“Yes majesty. I know them all.” The guard bowed and rushed out.  

“This way Majesty. My Ladies.”Captain Janlou took them down to the catacombs and into a large cool room.

This was the room that was used to prepare the bodies for the crypts or the pyres. Two bodies lay on wooden tables covered in bloody sheets.

sidhe_faerie: (Default)
Part 4
Word Count: 1185

After they ate, they all went to their rooms to sleep. Endora laid awake waiting for what she knew was going to be bad news.

There was something desperate in the way her grandmother sent her away. She had never seen Taralen like that. It made her more afraid than she had ever been before.

“Endora, go to sleep.” Dionne rolled over to look at her from the settee where she was sleeping. “Everything will be fine Aura and the others took out the army. Everyone is safe.”

Endora pulled the covers up to her chin. “I’m sure you’re right. I’m just being silly.” She turned over to face the wall. She closed her eyes but she couldn’t get to sleep.

At the castle in the Tuathan realm, Taralen had slipped Cara a sleeping potion in her wine at dinner and she took some herself when she returned to her chambers.

If they were going to die that night, she didn’t want to see it coming. She wanted to go as peacefully as possible. Taralen’s only solace was that Endora was safe and hiding with her sisters.

She had sent their maids away for the night. Taralen’s maid protested but she couldn’t disobey her queen in the end. At least they would be safe from whatever was to come and Taralen could feel it coming.

Unaware of the slaughter of the army to the south, five men had been hiding near the passage way. As soon as they got a chance, they went through the passage to the Tuathan realm. Once through the passage, they entered the castle through the kitchens and made their way to the bedchambers of the Queen and the Crown Princess.

The patrol in the castle had been increased but these men were professionals. They easily slipped in and out of alcoves and empty rooms until they found the Queen and her daughter.

Cara was the first one they found. Two men jumped the guard at her door and killed him silently then stood watch. The other three slipped into the room and looked for the occupants. The maids alcove was empty but Cara was sleeping soundly in her bed. She was dead without ever waking up.

The three men came back to the corridor and continued down to the royal suite where Taralen was sleeping. Once again the guard was taken out and the three entered the chambers. They were slightly confused by the layout of the room but they found the Queen sleeping.

The leader of the men tapped one of his cohorts on the shoulder and pointed to a candle then the window. He stepped to the bed and slit Taralen’s throat in one swift move.

The man with the candle lit it and signaled out the south facing window to the troops but he received no response. He moved the candle in front of the widow again but there was still no response.

“What’s wrong?” The leader whispered.

“They aren’t there. I can’t see the campfires and they aren’t responding.” The man whispered back.

The leader looked out the window. “The barrier is still up. We need to get out of here. We must have killed their maids.”

There was a scream in the hallway then the sound of men in armor running towards them. The guards knew they were there.

The three men ran out to the corridor to find swords pointed at their chests. The two men that had been keeping watch were dead on the floor. The three men stood still and raised their hands in surrender.

Captain Janlou appeared with tears in his eyes. He had just come from Cara’s room and found her dead. “Take their weapons and take them to the throne room. I need to check on the Queen.”

The guards disarmed them and dragged them to the throne room. The men struggled the entire way there.

Captain Janlou went into the bed chamber of the royal suite and walked over to the bed. He could tell from the amount of blood on the bed and floor the queen was dead. “Taralen, why did you stay? You knew they were coming to kill you. You should have left.”

The old Captain of the Sidhe Guard took a few minutes to gather his emotions before he left his old friend and Queen. He had his orders. He had to find the new Queen of the Tuathan realm and tell her to come home.

“Captain Janlou!” Hux called out to his captain as the old man walked out of the royal suite.

“What is it?” The captain rubbed his face.

“Is it true? Are they both dead?” Hux asked.

“Yes.” Janlou looked at Hux. “Find the seer. I need to send a message to the young princess. She needs to come back right away.”

“Yes Sir!” Hux nodded and rushed off.

The captain sighed and made his way to the throne room.

At the estate, Endora woke up with a scream. She sat up and started to rock in the bed

“Endora!” Dionne jumped up from the settee. “Endora, what’s wrong?”

“They’re dead. They are both dead.” Endora reached out to Dionne. “I told her not to stay. Why didn’t she leave? Dionne, why didn’t she leave?”

Dionne wrapped her arms around Endora and held her as she sobbed.

Aura and Victra came into the room. Dionne looked at them in the door and shook her head. 

Aura put her arms around Victra and they both started to cry.

“Aura, there’s someone calling out for Endora from the scrying bowl.” Dragas came up behind them.

Aura nodded and let go of Victra. “I’ll speak to them. She is not in any shape right now to talk to anyone. Victra, go help Dionne with Endora. I have a feeling that they are summoning her to return. She needs to get herself together.”

Dragas looked into the room as Victra entered. “How did she know?”

“She must have felt the barrier shift when Grandmother died. She is connected to it as well.” Aura pulled him along with her to the scrying bowl.

“Endora?! The seer voice called out.

“This is Aura. Endora is shaken up a bit right now. I will give her any message you want to tell her.” Aura could see the tear stained face of the old woman in the water.  

“High Priestess, tell her she is needed right away at the castle. The Queen and the Crown Princess are dead. Captain Janlou and his men have captured or killed the men responsible.”

“I will send her on her way. She will be traveling by land so it may take some time.”

“I will let Captain Janlou know.” The seer said. “High Priestess, you and the Lady of Alban Isle, should come as well.”

“I will tell Lady Victra. We are coming as fast as we can.” Aura waved her hand over the scrying bowl to break contact.

Aura turned and looked at Dragas. “Get the horses ready. We are all going to the castle.”

“I’ll tell Klaus.” Dragas walked away.
sidhe_faerie: (Default)
Part 3
Word Count:
1365

Endora and Dionne turned back down the road to go to the Draconis estate at Brimstone.  Endora glanced back and waved before they turned the corner.

When they were out of sight, Aura looked at her husband. “Dragas, you should go on ahead too. Stop at Brimstone Tavern tell Leeas, Grim and Jonas what’s going on. Tell them to come to the estate with you. They’ll do it for Endora. I’ll warn Victra and Klaus then take the dragons to the sanctuary.”

Dragas looked at his wife. “Don’t stay too long.”

“I’ll be fine. I’m a dragon, remember?” Aura kissed him. “Do what I say now.”

Dragas kissed her back and went to the back of the house where there was a small stable. He got his black stallion saddled and headed out. 

Aura went to the scying bowl and waved her hand over the water. “Victra! Can you hear me?”

“Aura?” Victra’s voice answered.

“Get Klaus and go to the estate. We are all in danger. I don’t have time to explain. Just get there.”

“Are you there now?”

“No. I have to get Puff and Myra to the sanctuary. I will meet you there. Endora and Dionne are on the way and should be there by the time you get there. They will explain everything.” 

It’s nearly an hour later when a large red dragon dropped into the courtyard of the Draconis’ estate. It shrugged its shoulders and shifted into Aura. She ran inside to find the others.

Aura burst into the sitting room. “Leeas! Grim! Jonas! There is over a thousand troops on the border with Cullen. They look like they are preparing to attack the Tuathan realm. We need to go.”

“How do you know that?” Endora asked. “Did you see it in the scrying bowl?”

“No. I flew over after I dropped off the dragons. I wanted to check on things before I came here.” Aura explained. “We need to hurry.”
The men stand up and collect their weapons.

“Wait! I’m coming too.” Endora stood up, picked up her sword belt and started to fasten the buckle.

“Endora, you can’t go. If something happens to you the realm will have no queen. You have to stay and let them take care of this threat.” Victra pulled Endora back down on the sofa. “Grandmother didn’t send you away just for you to get yourself hurt or killed.”

Endora sighed. “I have to do something. I just can’t sit here and wait for things to happen.”

Aura looked at her younger sister. “That’s exactly what you have to do. If they attack, you may be all that’s left of the royal line. Victra and I can’t take the throne. We aren’t fae. It’s up to you.”

“It’s something you will have to get used to.” Dragas patted Endora on the knee. “It won’t be easy but it is necessary.”
Endora nodded.

“We’ll get ‘em for you.” Grim checked one of his swords and grinned. “Come on! Jonas get that hell hound of yours we have some enemies to fight.”

“Hey! D’Gar is only half hell hound and I’m right behind you.” Jonas looked at the man beside him. “Leeas?”

“I’ll fly with Aura.” Leeas told them with a grin. “She may need me to fan her flames a bit.”

“Be careful! Stay above the bolts and arrows.” Endora warned them.

Aura gave Dragas a quick kiss and left with the men.

Endora took off her sword then put it on the floor and put her head in her hands. “I can’t believe this. They shouldn’t have to do this for me.” 

“They are doing it because they love you.” Victra hugged her sister. “Klaus, I think we could use some tea.”

Klaus stood up. “I think that’s a good idea. Dragas, come help me.

Dragas nodded and followed Klaus out of the room.

“They are so not subtle.” Endora sighed. “I’m sorry Victra. I’m usually more together.”

“Nonsense! You are just as worried as I am.” Victra rubbed Endora’s back. “I’m sure they will be fine. Mother and Grandmother too.”

Endora just hung on to her sister. She knew it wasn’t true but she wasn’t going to tell Victra that. She didn’t want to upset her sister.

The men came in with the tea and Endora went to stare out a window to wait.

The moon was high as Aura and Leeas flew over the men encamped near the southern edge of the barrier of the Tuathan realm.

Most of the men were ready and waiting to attack. There were a few that were still getting ready for the attack. They hadn’t put on any armor yet. Those were the ones that Aura targeted first.

Leeas spotted boats at the edge of the sea. There were still men a few men in them. He caused waves with his power to move air that made the boats capsize.  He headed back to where Aura was to help with any stragglers.

On the ground, Grim and Jonas with the help of D’Gar were using their shadow magick to take down the men who were trying to flee from the flames of the dragon overhead.

Grim had a weapon in each of his four hands. The two shadow hands that came up from the ground took men by surprise before they fell to his blade.

Jonas moved from shadow to shadow with ease, confusing the men and making them easy to take down. D’Gar got in several good bites and shook his victims like rag dolls before tossing them aside.

The forces were defeated in less than an hour. Leeas and Aura landed and shifted to human form when all the men had been killed.

“How many do you think there was?” Leeas asked Grim.

“No more than a couple thousand.” Grim pulled his hands back and sheathed his weapons. “Jonas, tell that beast to put that man down. He’s dead already.”

Jonas laughed. “Let him play. He hasn’t had this much fun in ages.”

“Seriously? He’s making a mess.” Grim stepped out of the way as something bloody flew towards him. “Was that a lung?”

“It was part of his liver, I think. Didn’t realize you were so squeamish Grim.” Jonas chuckled. “Dgar! Drop it! Heel!”

The great hell hound dropped what was left of the dead body and ran over to Jonas like a happy puppy. Jonas rubbed the hounds head and grinned at Grim.

“We should search the area to make sure we got them all.” Leeas looked around. “We should also look for anything that can tell us who sent them and how they got here so quick.”

“I’ll go back to the estate.” Aura wiped her brow smearing the soot on her face. “Thank you for helping out.”

“Anything for you girls.” Grimm waved as Aura shifted and took off.

Aura landed in the courtyard to find Dragas and Klaus standing out front sharing a flask of something. Aura shifted and walked over. She took the flask from Dragas and took a drink.

“Is it over?” Endora asked as she came out the door.

“Yes, I think so.” Aura looked up. “The moon nearly set. We should get some sleep.” She looked at Endora. “I know what you’re thinking but you can’t go anywhere until you’re summoned.”

“I know.” Endora took the flask from Aura and took a drink. She started coughing. When she finally caught her breath, she looked at them with watery eyes. “What the hell is this?”

“Its Grim’s last batch of grog.” Aura laughed. “That’s what you get for drinking starrberry wine all the time.”

“Ugh! It still hurts.” Endora rubbed her chest.

“It’ll put hair on your…um…” Klaus made a face when Aura glared at him.

“If you all are done out there, get in here and eat something before you go to sleep. Dionne made some food.” Victra waved them all in. “Where are the others?”

“They stayed behind to search the area.” Aura walked in and looked at her face in the mirror. “I need a bath. I have soot all over me.”

"Eat first." Victra pulled her along to the dining room.
sidhe_faerie: (Default)
Part 2
Word Count:
1259

Taralen walked into the throne room. Cara was standing with her arms crossed between two guards.

“What am I doing back here? You promised me that I could live my life as I pleased.” Cara was angry and she didn’t care who knew it.

“It is good to see you too, Cara. I summoned you here to protect you. You are in danger.” Taralen sat down on the throne.

Taralen knew what she had just told her daughter was a lie but she didn’t want to tell her the real reason she summoned her. The invaders would be looking for a Queen and a Princess so Taralen would let them find just that. Taralen assumed the invaders knew Cara was the Crown Princess but they wouldn’t realize she didn’t possess the magick everyone thought she did.

“If you wanted me to come, you could have just asked.” Cara looked at the two guards on either side of her. “You didn’t have to send soldiers to drag me back. Drake will wonder where I am. They didn’t even give me time to leave a note.”

“Endora will explain to him and your daughters. I need you here we are expecting guests.” Taralen looked at the guards. “Go settle into your chambers. I will see you at supper.”

Cara turned and walked out. The guards followed her.

Captain Janlou walked into the throne room and bowed. “Do you think having the crown princess here is wise, Majesty? The invaders who brought down the Northern Court may be on their way here.”

“I am aware of that. They are expecting a Queen and a Crown Princess. I am just giving them what they are expecting.” Taralen folded her hands in her lap.

“Does she know what’s going on?” The Captain asked.

“No and she don’t want her to be told.” Taralen gave him a look. “Tell your men not to whisper in front of her.” 

“I will tell them, Majesty.” Captain Janlou bowed. “I saw the Princess and her maid at the stables getting ready to leave. You are sending her away?”

“She is the last of our line. I must keep her safe.” Taralen went to touch her ring on her hand and remembered she had given it Endora. “I took the crystal out of our portal. I sent it and the one from the Northern Court with the Princess.”

“Wise decision.” Captain Janlou took a deep breath. “The Sidhe Guard is on standby. All leave has been suspended and everyone has been called back. I have increased patrols in the castle.”

“You have everything well in hand, I see.” Taralen smiled. “If things go badly, take care of my granddaughter.”

“I will promise but I don’t think they will get by us.” Captain Janlou bowed. “Majesty, I need to attend to my men.”
Taralen nodded.

Captain Janlou bowed again and headed out.

Taralen sat alone. There were guards on the other side of the door but they would never disturb their Queen. Once again, she was doing something she shouldn’t. She was sacrificing her daughter to save her granddaughter, the future Queen.      

Endora carried her travel bag and the heavy leather bag that the Queen left with her down to the stables. She had put her own jewelry in the leather bag as well. That included both of her crowns. She wore her bracelet with the faery crystal under her riding glove. She needed to be ready if they had to make a quick escape.

Dionne and Quin were talking. She hugged him.

“Are you ready to go, Dionne?” Endora asked as she put down her bags.

“Yes. I guess so.” Dionne sighed and looked at Quin. “I was just explaining to Quin that the Queen is sending us on a diplomatic mission.”

“Highness, I’ll get your mounts.” Quin bowed and walked back into the stables.

“Thank you Dionne.” Endora picked up her bags.

“He’ll be okay, won’t he?” Dionne asked.

“Our Sidhe Guard is the best in all the fae realms. They will not let our realm fall. Endora reassured her.

“That didn’t answer my question.” Dionne realized she wouldn’t get a straight answer.

Quin brought out Sugarplum and Astra. “Here you go, Highness.”

“Thank you, Quin. We’ll see you in a few days.” Endora tied her bags to her horse and got on.

Quin helped Dionne up on Astra. “Good luck.”

Endora nodded and nudged Sugarplum towards the passage. She looked back at Dionne and saw her crying.

“I’m sorry Dionne. We need to hurry.” Endora looked forward again. She nudged Sugarplum to move faster.  

Aura came out on the porch when Endora and Dionne rode up.

“What are you doing here?” Aura saw the tears on Dionne’s face. “Endora, what’s wrong?”

Endora got down off her horse. “Aura, the Northern Court has fallen. Grandmother sent us here for safety.”

“Dragas!” Aura called back into the cottage. “Come out here!”

Dragas came out on the porch. “Hello. Aura, why did you call me out here. Weren’t you expecting them. 

“No I wasn’t. Endora was telling me that the Northern Court has fallen.” Aura turned back to her sister. “When did this happen?”

“Last night.” Endora tied sugarplum to the post. “The Queen and her daughters were killed in their beds. The barrier fell and the village surrounding the castle was overtaken. Grandmother sent us here with all the faerie crystals including the one from the Northern Court’s great portal.”

“How did that get here?” Aura asked.

“One of the soldiers was told to take it and run for the woods.” Endora explained. “When he was clear, the soldier created a portal and it connected with the Great Portal here. That was how we found out about the attack.”   

“You can’t stay here. This will be the first place. They will look for her.” Dragas looked at Endora. “We need to take you somewhere they won’t look for you. We can take them to the Crystal Castle.”

“No. That would endanger your people. We should take them to my father’s estate. There is a protective spell built into the estate put there by my great grandparents.” Aura said. “We can tell Mother what is going on and keep her safe as well.”

Endora looked down at the ground. “Aura, our mother is at the castle.”

“What?” Aura was startled. “She was staying at the estate with our father. When did she go to the castle?”

“She had just arrived when we left. A guard came into my chambers to announce her as grandmother was saying goodbye.” Endora looked at Aura. “I have no idea why she was there.”

Aura looked at Dragas. “We have to go get her.”

“Aura, there is no time.” Dragas grabbed her arm and shook his head. “Night will come soon and if they hit the Northern Court in the middle of the night they will follow the same tactics here. They may already be on the way to the castle by now.”

“Meet us at the estate. We will follow as soon as Aura warns Victra and Klaus to join us.” Dragas looked at Aura. “You and Victra are at risk. We must get you both to safety. They may come looking for all of Taralen’s granddaughters.” 

“We should all go together.” Endora looked at Aura. “If he’s right, you’re at risk too.”

“I can handle myself.” Aura hugged her sister. “We will be right behind you.”

Endora got back on Sugarplum. “Don’t take too long. Come on, Dionne, let’s get to the estate.”

sidhe_faerie: (Default)
Part 1
Word Count:
1152

It was the dark of night when the five intruders made their way into the castle of the Northern Court of the Tuathe de Danaan. They silently made their way to chambers of the Queen and her three princesses. The intruders took their guards by surprise and killed them on the spot. They entered the bed chambers and slit the throats of the royal women and maids. The invaders slipped back into the darkness without being found out. 

The maid of the youngest princess had been away from her post talking with her sweetheart. When she returned a few hours later and discovered that the guard was lying dead on the floor and the princess dead in her bed she screamed and went to find the guards patrolling the castle.

The alarm sounded and the guards poured out of the barracks only to find an army of intruders waiting for them. The guards were taken by surprise by the sheer numbers.

The Queen’s captain looked around and realized that the protective barrier around the realm was gone. That was when he realized that the Queen and the Crown Princess were dead. He had no choice but to order his men to fight.     

The Captain grabbed one of his men and pulled him to the great portal. He took the crystal out of the portal told the soldier to run and not let the enemy get the crystal.

The man ran for the woods and didn’t stop until he was clear of the battle. He stopped and held the crystal out in front of him to make a portal. He escaped through the portal to the Southern Court.

The invaders slaughtered every fae in the village surrounding the castle. They even killed the woman children as they tried to defend their homes. In the end, the invaders looted what they could find then burned the crops homes and left the bodies of the fae littering the ground. 

The Northern fae soldier stumbled through the portal into the woods near the castle of the southern court. He ran to the castle.

“Help me! Please help me! The fae shouted as he ran toward the castle.

Captain Janlou was walking from the barracks to the castle when he saw the man. He recognized the uniform of the Northern Court.

“Halt!” The captain called out. “How did you get here?”

“I was sent by my captain. He told me to take the crystal from the Great Portal and run. Invaders have taken our realm. The barrier that protected it is gone.” The soldier collapsed to his knees. “They came in the night. They were slaughtering women and children.”

“Who were they? Was it the Fomors?” Captain Janlou picked him up by the jacket. “Tell me who they were?”

“I don’t know. They looked human. They spoke the human tongue and had no wings or markings.  My wife … My children …” The soldier sobbed.

“Fawnard! Get over here.” Captain Janlou shouted to a man walking out of the castle.

Fawnard ran to where the Captain was standing with the soldier. “Where did he come from?”

“Commander, the Northern Court has fallen. He was sent by his captain to warn us. Gather the guard. We must make ready.” Captain Janlou ordered him

Commander Fawnard nodded and headed for barracks.

“Come with me.” Captain Janlou pulled the solider to his feet and walked him into the castle. “You need to tell your story to our Queen.”

Twenty minutes later, Queen Taralen rushed into Endora’s chambers. She was carrying a heavy leather bag. “Dionne! Endora! We don’t have much time.”

“Grandmother, what’s wrong?” Endora stopped sharpening her sword.

“The Northern Court has fallen. I need you both to listen to me. I need you to leave the castle. A soldier from the Norther Court used their portal crystal to come here to warm us. Pack quickly. Take anything of value with you. Take Dionne with you.” Taralen handed the leather bag to Dionne. “These are my jewels and the crystals from both portals.”

Endora put down her sword and looked at the bag. “Why are you giving us all of these? You will need one to escape.”

“No. I must stay. I’m sending all of my jewels with you. Most of them have faerie crystals. We must keep them out of the wrong hands. The invaders were not fae. They were looting as well as slaughtering everyone in the castle and the surrounding village.” Taralen explained. 

“They wouldn’t dare come here.” Endora picked up her sword again. She held it ready. “We have an army. We should fight.” 

“I don’t want to take that chance. Not with you.” Taralen hugged her tightly. “If I fall, this realm will not as long as you are alive. Go tell your sisters i love them.” She looked at Dionne. “Take care of her.”

“I will Majesty.” Dionne bowed and started to pack.

“Let me stay. I will fight for this realm.” Endora pleaded. “I can just let you stay here, in harm’s way.”

“No.” Taralen shook her head and hugged her again. She whispered in Endora’s ear so Dionne wouldn’t hear. “I taught you the renewal ritual for the barrier and had you perform it with me so that even if I died the realm would not fall. You must stay alive so that the barrier will not come down and lives will be saved.”

Endora held on to her grandmother. “I understand. I love you.”

“I love you too.” Taralen kissed her on the cheek.

Endora wiped a tear from her cheek as she pulled away. “We will be gone in an hour. Dionne and I will take Astra and Sugarplum.”

“Hurry.” Taralen looked at Dionne packing Endora’s jewels. “Make sure you talk all of your crystals. Yours too Dionne. I know you have at least one.”

“Yes Majesty but I have just the one I wear.” Dionne pulled the chain from under her blouse and showed the Queen.

“Dionne, go pack your things. I will finish up here.” Endora nodded her out. “I will meet you at the stables.”    

Dionne took the hint and dropped what she was doing. She glanced back at the two women before she went through the door.

“If you stay you will be killed.” Endora cautioned her.

“I am the Queen. I can’t run from my fate. You will see once you are Queen.” Taralen started to cry. “I have raised you as best as I can. You will do well.”

A guard came rushing in. “Majesty, the Crown Princess is here.”

“Thank you.” Taralen said to the guard. She turned back to Endora. “Hurry Endora. Don’t come back until you are summoned. Do you understand?”

“Yes Majesty.” Endora bowed. She watched as her grandmother walked out the door. She wiped her tears. She finished packing then headed down to meet Dionne at the stables.

sidhe_faerie: (Default)
Title: The Visitor from the Peri Court (Part 5)
Fandom: Original (Ogham-Duir/FFQP)
Characters: Dionne, Endora, Hux (guard), Captain Janlou, QueenTaralen, Prince Hareem.
Author: sidhe_faerie
Rating:  PG
Length: 1556
Content notes: 23. Explanation. Warning attempted assault
Summary: Endora subdues an intruder. Queen Taralen plots a new marriage for her granddaughter.

The Visitor from the Peri Court (Part 5)
The moon was high when Endora suddenly woke up. She sat up and looked around. There was a noise near her chamber door. At first she thought it might be Dionne but when she looked over to the alcove where Dionne slept and saw that she was there fast asleep.

Endora took the dagger from under her pillow and made her way to the door. She switched hands with her blade and quietly took her sword out of the rack by the door. Whoever it was wouldn’t get far.

The door latch clicked and the door opened slowly. A dark figure slowly stepped inside. There was a glint of a blade near the figure’s hand.

Endora stayed in the shadows until the figure was near the center of the room. She silently moved behind the figure and put the tip of the blade in the middle of the intruders back.

“Don’t move!” Endora pressed the blade harder against the dark figures back. “Dionne!”

“What? Huh?” Dionne jumped and looked around. “Endora, where are you?”

“Over here. Go find the guards.” Endora waved her hand and the candles in the room lit. “Pull down his hood first. I want to see who dares to sneak into my bedchamber.”

Dionne grabbed her wrap and walked over to the figure. She took the dagger from his hand and pushed back his hood. “Prince Hareem? What are you doing here?”

“The guards, Dionne.” Endora reminded her. She pressed the sword into Prince Hareem’s back again. “Get on your knees!”

Dionne ran out of the room and went to look for the castle patrol.

“What are you going to do? Take off my head?” The Prince asked as he got down on his knees.

“It was a thought. Why are you in my room?” Endora poked him with the sword.

“I came to persuade you to change your mind about marrying me.” Prince Hareem shrugged. “I just wanted to impress you with my skills as a …”

“Burglar? Thief? Murderer?” Endora poked him again. “Why are you really here?”

“Surely, you know why I’m really here. Endora.” The prince laughed. “I’m in your bed chamber in the middle of the night. What skills do you think i'm here to impress you with?”

“And the dagger? What’s it for?” Endora poked him with the sword.

“That hurts!” Prince Hareem wiggled his shoulders. “The dagger was for your maid. I didn’t need to be interrupted.”

Dionne came in with the three guards. “There he is!”

“Highness, what do you want us to do with him?” The older guard asked.

“Take him to the dungeon.” Endora stepped back and let the guards take him. “Strip him down to his underwear. He may have other weapons on him.”

“Are you coming to visit me later?” The Prince winked at her then struggled against the guards.

Endora squinted at him then punched the Prince as hard as she could. She smiled when he went limp in the guards’ arms. “Never wink at me again, you foul man.”

Dionne giggled. “They will never learn will they?”

Endora glanced at Dionne. “Where is the dagger you took from him?”

“I gave it to Hux.” Dionne pointed to the older guard. “It was a Peri blade. The blade was curved and it had an elephant on the hilt.”

“Hux, may I have it?” Endora held out her hand.

“Here you go, Highness.” Hux handed her the dagger hilt first. “We’ll have him buttoned up in just a jiff.”

Endora nodded. “Thank you all.”

Queen Taralen rushed in wrapped in a fur shawl. “Endora, are you all right? Dionne?”

“We’re fine. Prince Hareem broke into my room and got more than he bargained for.”

“What’s wrong with him?” Taralen looked at the prince.

“He winked at her.” Dionne bit her lip to keep from laughing.

Taralen laughed. “Take him to the dungeon.”

The guards smiled and whisked the unconscious prince away.

“He came in here to … wink … with me. I didn’t invite him. He said that he was going to kill Dionne with this.” Endora held up the Peri dagger. “I ordered him to be stripped to look for hidden weapons.”

Taralen hugged her granddaughter. “He didn’t, did he?”

“No.” Endora hugged her tight. “All he got was my sword in his back.”

“We will send him home in the morning.” Taralen surprised Dionne with a hug. “Are you sure you’re both unharmed?”

“Yes Majesty.” Dionne straightened her wrap.

“This is why I wanted to post guards outside your door.” Taralen gave Endora a frustrated look. “He was the last prince even close to your age.”

“About that.” Endora shifted on her bare feet. “I was thinking that I should marry someone from the guard. Actually, it was Dionne’s idea. I’m a warrior so I should marry a warrior.”

“Your great grandfather was a warrior. Dagda the White is still spoken of with great respect.” Taralen looked at Endora. “If you can find a warrior that is worthy of you, then let me know and I will arrange it. Just make sure he’s high ranking.”

“It doesn’t work that way. He has to want to marry me too, Grandmother.” Endora picked up a shawl from the chair and pulled it around her shoulders.

“Maybe I should ask Captain Janlou to include you in drills for a while. It will give you a chance to get to know some of them.” Taralen smiled mischievously.

“You wouldn’t!” Endora gasped.

“Goodnight girls.” Taralen waved as she walked out.

Dionne sighed. “I’m going to the kitchen for some tea. We aren’t getting back to sleep tonight. Sandwiches?”

“Sounds good.” Endora plopped down on the settee. “I’m going to need strength for those drills.”

Dione laughed as she walked out.

A few hours later, Prince Hareem was bound and held by guards at the Great Portal. His belongings were packed and sitting nearby. Taralen handed a scroll to one of the guards to put into the prince’s pocket.

“That scroll will explain why you are being sent back and why you are banned from returning to this realm.” Taralen waved her hand and the portal opened. “Good luck with your war.”

“Please reconsider. If I am sent back without the help we need my king will be angry with me.” Prince Hareem looked at his hands. “At least untie my hands.”

“You’re lucky my granddaughter didn’t run you through with her sword. She showed amazing restraint.” Taralen sighed. “I’m showing restraint by not executing you. You planned on assaulting her and killing her maid. You are scum. Send him through!”

The guards pushed the Prince’s belonging through the portal then shoved him through behind them.

Taralen waved her hand to close the portal. “Send Captain Janlou to my sitting room. I need to talk with him.”

“Yes Majesty.” Hux bowed and went to fetch his captain.

Captain Janlou, an older fae with a scar on his cheek, entered the Queen’s sitting room and bowed. “Majesty, you wanted to see me?”

“Sit. I want you to explain why there was no guard on my granddaughter’s door.” Taralen poured a cup of tea and handed it to him.

“I tried but she kept sending them away.” Captain Janlou sighed. “To be honest, she really doesn’t need one. She fights better than more than half my men. She can handle herself. I was informed about the incident last night. She had no trouble in subduing the blackguard. I’m surprised she didn’t inflict some harm on him.”

“So was I.” Taralen smiled. “I have one other issue to discuss. I want Endora to take drills with the men.”

“Really? I don’t think my men can keep up with her.” Captain Janlou laughed. “Why do you really want her to take drills with the men?”

Taralen looked at the cup in her hand. “She needs a husband and a warrior would be her last chance. There are no more princes left for her to marry.”

“She keeps punching them.” Captain Janlou chuckled.

Taralen laughed. “They keep winking at her.”

“That bodes ill for the Sidhe Guard.” Captain Janlou grinned. “I assume that you want me to steer her toward the higher ranking men?”

“Please.” Taralen nodded. “Endora needs a husband worthy of Dagda the White’s great granddaughter.”

“I know of one. His name is Commander Fawnard.” Captain Janlou told her. “He is a widower. He will understand her pain over her lost prince.”

“Gently nudge them together but don’t push too hard.” Taralen warned. “She may catch on.”

I have no doubt that she will. She reminds me of your mother, Queen Deidra.” The captain put his cup on the table. “Strong. Fierce. It will do well when she finally reaches the throne. There will be much to repair after Cara’s rule. No offense Majesty.”

“Cara will never rule. It has already been settled. Endora knows this as does her sisters.” Taralen put her cup on the table. “Endora will start tomorrow.”

“I will look forward to her pushing them to do better.” Captain Janlou stood up and bowed. “Good day Majesty.

“Good day Captain.” Taralen nodded his dismissal. She looked out of the window. There was a feeling of doom weighing on her heart. She knew something horrible was coming and she felt powerless to stop it.

sidhe_faerie: (Default)
Dark Realms #3: The Grubhor
Word Count:
3063
This Episode brought to you by puzzleprompts

Tona sighed and put a sack of carrots on one of the crates in the clearing outside the village. “Why is it that we always get stuck doing the supply runs?”

“We drew the short straws.” Dallys put the sack of potatoes on the crate. “Borne volunteered. He always volunteers. Borne?”

Tona looked over at Borne. “What the…?”

Borne stared off into space. It was as if he were mesmerized by something.    

“Borne, are you alright?” Dallys knocked on his chest. “Borne?”

Tona came over and looked at the android. “I think he’s getting a transmission or something. Borne?”

“Does that mean they know where he is?” Dallys looked concerned. “If they know where he is, then we are going to be found. The Metalis Alliance is a ruthless bunch of thugs.”

“You don’t have to tell me. I have had more than one close call with that particular ruthless bunch of thugs.” Tona waved her hand in front of Borne’s face. “Borne, we can’t stay here. Wincet will be sending the portal any moment.”

Borne blinked and wobbled slightly. “There was a transmission to all members. There is a call to converge on Toalnar. They are planning an attack on the planet to capture the ruler of the planet. They called him the Grubhor.

Tona looked at Dallys. “We need to get back and talk to Wincet. This isn’t good.”

Just then the portal opened and they picked up the sacks and Borne picked up the crates. They stepped through.

“Did you get everything?” Wincet asked as he looked over the sacks and crates they brought through.

“We couldn’t find the bang bang fruit.” Dallys piled the sacks into the cart by the entrance of the portal. “What was that for anyway?”

“It makes a good wine when it’s fermented.” Wincet looked into one of the sacks. “This will hold us for a while. Was there any trouble on Kavel?”

“Borne received a transmission from the Metalis Alliance.” Dallys looked at the android. “Tell him what you heard.”

“Borne, what did you hear?” Wincet was suddenly serious. “Do they know where you are? I disabled your homing beacon but I’m not sure if that would keep you completely safe.”

“They have not located me yet. They do not seem to be searching for me. They believe I was destroyed by the portal.” Borne accessed the transmission and paraphrased it for Wincet. “There was a general call to converge on the planet Toalnar. That means all ships, not otherwise engaged, are to come to the planet at best speed. The transmission also mentioned that the Grubhor is a wanted criminal and he is to be captured, if found. They stressed the fact that he must be captured alive. That means they want to interrogate him for information.”

“We need to get to the house and get Jace and Nellis up to speed.” Wincet waved his hand over the cart and it disappeared.

“Are we going after the Grubhor ourselves?” Tona asked as she followed Wincet to the end of the traveler’s bridge.

“If we do nothing, he will die.” Borne told her. “His death will be drawn out and very painful. The interrogators of the Metalis Alliance are known for their ability to inflict great pain.”

Dallys stayed silent as she followed the others to the house.

Wincet burst through the door of the main room. “We have a mission. We must make a plan.”

Jace stood up. “What’s going on?”

“I don’t like the look on Wincet’s face that’s what’s going on.” Nellis quipped. “What do you want me to steal?”

“The Grubhor.” Wincet said with explanation.

Nellis shook his head. “No! Not him. Is he kidding? He almost hung me for pick pocketing. I was pick pocketing but I think hanging is a bit over board.”   

“Suck it up Nellis. Borne heard a transmission saying the Metalis Alliance was going to capture the Grubhor.” Tona sat down on the sofa. “We need to get to him before they do.”

“He can’t go.” Jace pointed at Borne. “They think he was destroyed. If they see him, they will destroy him.”

Wincet nodded. “That will leave this mission to the four of you.”

“Three.” Dallys said suddenly. “I can’t go either. They think fae are a delicacy. They will eat me as soon as I become a point of light. They are huge walking toad-ish things. They eat insects and faes when they fly. They like us because we’re crunchy. They like crunchy.”

“Then it’s the three of us.” Jace nodded then frowned. “Wait! Did she say toad?”

“You didn’t think every creature in the universe looks like you, did you?” Nellis laughed. “Hello! Small creature covered in fur standing beside you.”

Jace rolled his eyes at Nellis. “Of course not. But toads? Really? They’re all slimy.”

“Yeah but they pay mercenaries really well.” Tona grinned. “I worked for them once. It was the best paying job that I have ever had.”

“We aren’t getting paid this time.” Jace rubbed his chin. “Okay. Say we get this Grubhor, what are we going to do with him once we have him? He can’t stay here.”

Wincet looked at Nellis. “Does Caspire still have wetlands on the northern continent?”

“Yeah.” Nellis nodded. “You want to take him there? What if he won’t go?”

“He’ll go if he doesn’t want to be captured and tortured to death.” Tona sighed. “We need to focus on how to get him before we start to come up with a plan to hide him.”

“Won’t they find him on Caspire?” Jace asked.

“No it is on the other side of the universe. The Metalis Alliance does not even know of it.” Borne answered him.

“Tona, you’ve been in the capital city. What would be the best way to get to the Grubhor?” Wincet asked.

Tona thought for a moment. “We should use the tunnels under the city. They come up in one of the private rooms for the Grubhor. It is his best means of escape when the capital is overrun by the enemy. They are well maintained. I was smuggled in and out of the city that way when I was working for them. It was something about the others in the council not knowing he had hired a mercenary to do the spy work for him.”

“That means that he knows you, right?” Jace asked her.

“Yes. He said he liked my leather.” Tona smiled. “He should remember me. I was the one that brought the intel that turned the tide of war with the Fracs of Fromme.”

“I’m going to regret this but what do they look like?” Jace asked.

“They are giant frogs.” Tona laughed. “Don’t you have other races than human on Terra?”

“Yes. We call them politicians.” Jace shook his head. “I had no idea when I came through that portal what I was getting myself into. Giant frogs and toad men.”

“I can get us in but he may need some convincing to leave his people.” Tona looked at Borne. “Maybe you should come. You could play him the transmission. That would convince him.”

Borne looked at Wincet then walked out of the room.

“He sure is emotional for an android.” Nellis plopped back down on the sofa.

“Shut up Nellis.” Jace left to go find Borne.

“Do you think he will help us?” Tona looked over at Wincet.

“He has a good heart. He will help.” Wincet sighed. “You better get ready to go. Dallys, I will need your help with a potion.”

“What kind of potion?” Dallys couldn’t think of a single reason they needed a potion.

“We need to make the Grubhor easier to handle so that he doesn’t get himself killed. It’s just a precaution but I would feel better if we had it ready.” Wincet waved Dallys along to the workroom.

Jace found Borne outside sitting on the rocks near the waterfall. He sat down beside him. “Borne, what’s up with you? You are acting practically human.”

Borne gave Jace his best impression of a glare.

“Oh come on. You know what I mean. You’re acting like someone just stole your last biscuit.” Jace poked him on the arm. “Tell me what’s up.”

“The transmission. I have been on those missions before. Far too many times. I have been one of the ones to capture creatures knowing that they would be tortured and killed.” Borne looked out over water. “Jace, I know I cannot change what I have done but I do not know how to erase it from my hard drive safely.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t. Like you said, you can’t change what you did but you can try to make amends by keeping others from the same fate.” Jace looked out where Borne was looking.

“Like the Grubhor?” Borne looked at his friend.

“Yeah like him.” Jace patted Borne on the back. “Come on, let’s go save the toady bloke.”

Borne nodded then they got up and went back to the group.

Tona looked up when they walked in. “We’re leaving in a few minutes. Borne, are you in?”

“Yes.” Borne nodded.

“You two better get your weapons ready.” Tona pulled a dagger out of the sheath in her boot and looked at it. She shoved it back in.

“You wouldn’t happen to have another one of those, would you?” Jace grinned.

“Sure.” Tona pulled a dagger with its sheath out of her corset. It was almost as big as the one in her boot. She flipped it over and handed it hilt first to Jace.

“Thanks.” Jace took the blade and looked at it. “Exactly how many of blades do you have on your person?”

“Three now.” Tona shrugged. “I like blades.”

“Obviously.” Jace looked at the blade again and put it in his belt.

Wincet came in with the potion and handed it to Tona. “Don’t use this unless it is absolutely necessary. It will enchant him for about twenty four hours. Nellis is already on the bridge.”

Tona tucked the dose in her pocket and nodded. “Got it.”

Tona, Jace and Borne followed the old wizard to the Traveler’s Bridge where Nellis was waiting.

“Let’s get this over with.” Nellis was shifting on his feet in anticipation.

Wincet called the portal and they stepped through to Toalnor. When they were all through, the portal disappeared.

“Borne, are you picking up anything?” Jace asked.

“They are not here yet. From the strength of the signals, I can tell the ships are still at least an hour and a half away.” Borne looked around. “Where are the tunnels?”

Tona started walking. “This way.”

Tona was right. The tunnels were well maintained. Soon, they were at the door to the Grubhor’s private rooms. Tona pulled her dagger from her boot and opened the door slowly. She motioned for the others to stay put.

They were hit with the sound of laughter and music. Tona walked around the screen that hid the door and took in the view.

The Grubhor was sitting on a pile of cushions on the floor watching several women were dancing in bikinis and waving veils as they moved. Tona must have moved because he spotted her standing there.

“Tona! Is that you? Come join me, my dear.” The Grubhor waved her over. “What brings you here to Toalnar?

Tona sat on one of the cushions. “I came to rescue you before the Metalis Alliance comes to get you. They are only an hour away. They plan to capture you and interrogate you.”

“Are you working for those bruts now?” The Grubhor sat up.

“No. I have a friend who escaped from them. I brought him with me. Listen to what he has to say but do it quickly they are on the way.” Tona looked at the dancing girls. “Maybe we should do this in private.”

The Grubhor clapped his hands and the room cleared quickly. “I will listen to him.”

Tona went to the door and waved Borne in.

“What is this? You brought one of them to me?” The Grubhor stood up.

“This is Borne. He isn’t with the Metalis Alliance any more. He escaped and he wants to help you.” Tona looked at Borne. “Play him the transmission.”

Borne nodded. “I have the transmission in my data bank.” Borne played the full transmission. He waited to see if the Grubhor wanted it played again.

The Grubhor rushed over to one of the walls and tapped the panel three times. A hidden compartment opened. He took a sack full of gold and gems out of the recess. “Get me out of here, Tona.”

“This way.” Tona waved him to the hidden door.

The Grubhor stopped short when he saw Nellis and Jace. “Who are they? Wait don’t I know you, furball?”

Nelis shook his head. “Nope. Not me.”

“He, and the other one, is with me.” Tona grabbed the Grubhor by the arm and pulled him along. “We have to hurry.”

They rushed through the tunnel to where let out into the woods where the portal was to appear.

“What is he waiting on?” Tona looked around. “Borne, are they here yet?”

“No but they are closer.” Borne looked up at the sky. “They will be in orbit sooner than I thought. They must have been on transmission silence.”

The portal suddenly appeared.

“What is that?” The Grubhor eyed the swirling pool suspiciously.

“It’s our way off this planet. You need to step through that and then you will be safe.” Tona pulled him closer.

“Are you sure it’s safe?” The Grubhor didn’t move.

“Yes.” Nellis grabbed the Grubhor’s other arm. “Let’s go.”

Tona and Nellis got the Grubhor through the portal. Jace pulled on Borne’s arm and they followed the others.

They all cleared the portal and stood on the Traveler’s Bridge.

“Where am I? What planet is this? The Grubhor shrugged off Tona and Nellis.

“You are on a planet called Centra. I am Wincet, your host. We will take you to your final destination in an hour. I need time to recharge before I call another portal.”

“Where will you be taking me?” The Grubhor frowned. “There is no place that is safe from the Metalis Alliance.”

“We are taking you to the wet lands of my planet.” Nellis spoke up. “Its name is Caspire.”

“Never heard of it.” The Grubhor shook his head.

“Neither has the Metalis Alliance.” Borne assured him. “You will be safe there.”

“Come. We will try to find you something to eat.” Wincet waved him toward the common area.

Nellis went with them while the others stayed where they were.

The Grubhor walked into the room and took one look at Dallys. “I see my supper already. How kind of you to provide such a delicious delicacy.”

“Oh no! I’m out of here.” Dallys left as quickly as possible.

“There is some sea grass and fish in the kitchen area.” Wincet held out a chair. “Please sit down. Nellis will get you something to eat.”

“I would rather have the crunchy little bug girl.” The Grubhor sighed. “But that will have to do.”

“I’ll go get it.” Nellis grinned as he went into the kitchen. He laughed when he saw Dallys sitting on a chair holding a serving fork. “I thought you were kidding.”

Dallys put the fork down and glared at Nellis. “I wouldn’t kid around about being eaten.”

Nellis put some sea grass on a plate. “I’ll come back for the fish in a minute. Could you cook one?”

“Here.” Dallys put a fish on a plate and handed it to Nellis. She picked up the fork again. “He probably likes it raw.”

“Okay then.” Nellis walked back into the common area. “Here you go.”

“That looks lovely.” The Grubhor rubbed his hands together and dug in.

“As soon as you finish your meal, we will get you to Caspire.” Wincet poured some water in a goblet. He sat down and placed the goblet in front of his guest. “Do you know what the Metalis Alliance wants with you?”

“I executed, if you could call it that, one of their commanders.” The Grubhor laughed. “He was snooping around where he shouldn’t have. My general found him lurking in the Capital city so I had him melted down. From his markings, I think he was a high ranking officer.”

Wincet took a deep breath. “I see. That would make them want to torture you.”

Nellis looked at Wincet and shook his head.

When the Grubhor was finished with his meal Wincet and Nellis took him to the Traveler’s Bridge.

“Do I have to go through one of those things again?” The Grubhor hesitated to walk down to the end of the bridge. He shifted the large sack he was carrying to the other side. 

“Yes but it is the last time. You realize that you can never go back.” Wincet told him.

“Yes. Thought as much.” The Grubhor sighed.

Wincet called the portal. “I’ll leave it open for a few minutes so you can come back, Nellis.”

Nellis nodded. “This way.” He guided the Grubhor through the portal and held on to him as the Grubhor steadied himself on the other side.

“It’s beautiful. I didn’t expect it to be so lush and green.” The Grubhor looked around at the marshy land and the large volcano in the distance. There was a settlement and a large body of water just past it. 

“I lived over there in the settlement near the sea.” Nellis pointed to the settlement. “Just don’t stray too far from civilization. That volcano is still active.”

“I’ve never seen a volcano before. What do they do?” The Grubhor looked at the large crater with curiosity.

“They rumble then spit fire and smoke. Don’t get too close or you might get cooked.” Nellis patted him on the back. “Just go to the settlement. They will help you get everything you’ll need. You have the resources in the sack to last you for a while.”

“Thank you for your help. Tell the rest of your friends, I appreciate what they have done.” The Grubhor nodded. “Goodbye.”

“Goodbye and good luck.” Nellis stepped back through the portal and it disappeared.

The Grubhor took a deep breath and started walking for the settlement.

sidhe_faerie: (Default)
Title: The Visitor from the Peri Court (Part 4)
Fandom: Original (Ogham-Duir/FFQP)
Characters:  Endora, Dionne, Quin the stable boy
Author: sidhe_faerie
Rating: PG
Length: 1153
Content notes: 22 Potential (No unicorns were harmed in the writing of this piece of fiction)
Summary: Endora returns to the castle to find she has missed some excitement.

The Visitor from the Peri Court (Part 4)

Endora stayed later than she planned at Aura’s. It was almost dusk when she reached the passage in the mist at Crystal Spires. She nudged Sugarplum forward and passed through.

When Endora reached the stables, Quin was waiting with a worried look on his face. “Highness, you’ve made her late for supper.”

“Sorry. I lost track of time.” Endora dismounted and held out the reins to Quin. “Put some apples in her basket tonight.”

“Will do.” Quin took the reins and hesitated. It looked like he was trying to decide if he should tell her something.

“Was there something else?” Endora waited patiently for an answer.

“Prince Hareem took a fall. Jules came back on his own about an hour after the Prince rode off on him. Jules was really spooked. I got him calmed down and called the guard to go look for the Prince. They found him walking on the road, swearing and rubbing his bum” Quin blushed. “Sorry. I shouldn’t have said ‘bum’.”

Endora bit her lip to keep from laughing. “It sounds like he just injured his pride. I wonder what spooked Jules.”

“I heard a caterwaul the other night. Maybe, he came up on it.” Quin shrugged. “Unicorns and caterwauls don’t really get on.”

“I know what you mean. It’s hard to get on when you might potentially be a caterwaul’s supper.” Endora smiled. “Good night Quin. I’m late for supper myself.”

Quin suddenly remembered something. “Dionne told me to tell you not to rush. The Queen has a headache and she took a tray in her room.”

Endora waved and walked into the castle. When she reached her room, Dionne was there puttering around.

“You’re late. You missed all the excitement.” Dionne primed herself to tell Endora everything all at once. “Prince Hareem fell off the gentlest unicorn in the stable. Oh! Your grandmother is hiding in her room. She doesn’t really have a headache. She just doesn’t want to listen to the Prince complain. He said that he wouldn’t have fallen if the stable boy had given him your horse. If he can’t ride a unicorn what makes him think he can ride a horse.” 

“No. He was right. He wouldn’t have fallen. Sugarplum would have tossed him off. I warned him to stay on the road.” Endora sighed. “Dionne, I think I’ll take a supper tray tonight too. I hope our guest is resting after all of his excitement.”

“Poor Max was almost in tears when he came down to the kitchen for the Prince’s midday meal. I’m glad you’re not going to marry him. He’s mean.” Dionne shoved the last of the laundry in a drawer and headed to the door. “Cook made those potatoes with the cheese and cream. I told her to save you some.”

Endora sighed as Dionne went out the door. She needed to think about some things. Dionne’s incessant talking didn’t help.

After talking with Aura and Victra, some things had become clearer to her. The war between the Peri and the Jin was not something that the Tuathe should get involved in. that conflict had the potential to spread with every Court that got involved. Here on Ogham-Duir, they were isolated from the other Courts and the problems between this one and that one. The best thing for the Southern Court to do was to stay neutral. If the Northern Court or the Midsummer Court or Tylwyth Teg wanted to get involved it was up to them.

Endora decided to speak to her grandmother in the morning about her thoughts. She was sure her grandmother would feel the same way. They often came to the same decision while on their own.

Dionne came back with the tray and sat it down on the table. “Cook sent you some roasted tomatoes in your salad. The tea is hot so be careful. Do you need me tonight? I was thinking of going to see Quin.”

“I’ll let you go in a in a little while.” Endora stretched and looked around. She put her sword in the rack and went to put her dagger on the bed. “Did you lay out a nightdress for me? I am exhausted.”

“Sit and eat I’ll get you some hot water and put out a night dress.” Dionne picked up the washbasin pitcher and hurried out of the room.

Endora sat down to eat and looked up when Dionne came back in. “You can go as soon as you are done with that.”

“Thanks.” Dionne sat the water down and went to grab her cloak.

“Dionne, don’t get used to this.” Endora took a sip of tea. “If you get caught…”

“I know. I might get sacked.” Dionne turned around. 

“That wasn’t the kind of caught I was talking about.” Endora warned. “I was talking about the rolling in the hay kind of caught.”

Dionne sighed. “Endora, are you worried about breaking in a new maid? You know that I will still work after I start a family.”

“Dionne, I don’t want to think about your potential offspring right now but you should. You don’t want to have one before your married.” Endora sat back. “Quin had better marry you if you get caught.” 

“You need to get married too, Endora.” Dione reminded here. “I know you still mourn Prince Paddrick but you can’t stay unmarried. You need offspring too, you know.”

“I lack potential husbands, remember?” Endora sighed. “Go. Don’t be late in the morning.”

“Endora, you’re just looking in the wrong place for a husband.” Dionne sighed and shook her head. “Your great grandfather was a famous warrior. And wasn’t you father a commander in the Sidhe Guard?”

“He wasn’t a commander. He was a column leader.” Endora played with her food. “You think I should look to the warriors for a husband?”

“You are a warrior. It would be a perfect fit.” Dionne shrugged. “It’s just a thought. There are several with loads of potential.”

Endora chuckled. “I should probably check them out.”

Dionne grinned and left for her date.

Endora got up, washed and changed for bed. She put the dagger under her pillow and laid down,

Endora’s mind started to drift to what Dionne said. A warrior wouldn’t be a bad choice but she didn’t think that her grandmother permit it. But what choice did she have? There were no princes of age at the Northern or Tylwyth Teg courts and no princes at all at Midsummer Court. That only left the Seelie, the Unseelie, and the Peri Courts to look for a prince of age that wasn’t already betrothed.

So far she was having no luck. Hareem was out and she doubted the two other Courts would want to dilute their bloodlines with a Tuathe. In reality, there were no potential husbands out there for her.

Endora sighed then closed her eyes and drifted off into a restless sleep.

sidhe_faerie: (Default)
Chapter 5
“Close your eyes.” Paul told her before he opened the door.

“Look, Paul, I’m not up for games tonight.” Cass shifted the bag of take-out to her other hand and rubbed her forehead. “It’s been a long day. I’m starting to get a headache.”

“Just humor me.” Paul rubbed her back. “You’ll love this place. I promise.”

Cass closed her eyes. “Let’s just do this.”

Paul opened the door and guided her in. “Watch your step. There we are.” He closed the door and took the bag out of her hands. “Open your eyes now.”

Cass opened her eyes and gasped. “Paul, this place is gorgeous!”

Cass looked around. The loft was large with windows all along one wall. Paul had an easel set up on that side of the room. There was a partition giving privacy to a sleeping area. The kitchen was modern and stainless steel.

“I thought you’d like it.” Paul walked over to the kitchen and started to take the containers out of the bag. “So are you going to move in or not?”

“Is there closet space for me?” Cass laughed. “You were always more of a closet hog than I was.”

“There is plenty of room for you and your shoes.” Paul took plates out of the cupboard. “We managed when we were in art school and that place was tiny. I was always picking up after you back then.”

“I’m not as much as a slob as I used to be.” Cass walked over to the windows and looked out. “You must get sun most of the day here. This is the perfect artist’s studio. How can you afford the rent here?”

“I bought the building with the third and fourth paintings that I sold.” Paul took a bottle of wine out of the fridge. “I rent out the other three lofts for a crazy amount of money.”

“I really need Harry to start selling some of mine. He sounds like a miracle worker.” Cass walked over to the bar and sat down. “Where did you find him anyway?”

“He found me. I was painting houses for cash. I was barely making enough to eat. He saw me sketching on my lunch break when I was painting his office.” Paul shook his head. “It was like destiny brought us together.”

“Now you have everything you have ever wanted.” Cass picked up a set of chopsticks.

“All I wanted was you.” Paul handed her a carton of lo mein. “Do I have you now?”

Cass pulled him to her by the hand and kissed him. “Yeah. You have me.”  

When they finished Cass got up to leave. Paul looked at her and frowned.

“Silver, where do you think you’re going?” Paul grabbed her hand and pulled her close to him. He wrapped his arms around her. “You’re staying here with me.”

“I have to get to work in the morning. If I stay here then I will oversleep and be late for work.” Cass laughed.

“Silver, you can’t go.” Paul kissed her neck. “You haven’t tried the bed yet.”

Cass rubbed his arm. “Paul, you’re a pain in my …”

“You love me and you know it.” Paul laughed. “I have a big favor to ask.”

“Oh no! I’m not going let you show the painting.” Cass poked him in the chest.

“Compromise with me. Just show the painting during the private showing tomorrow night.” Paul pleaded. “Harry has already banned cameras and cell phones so no one will see it but the guests that night. It will be a special surprise. We can take the painting down when we leave.”

Cass thought for a moment. “That could still get me fired but it’s better than letting the world know I’m the naked woman in those paintings.”

“Then that is a ‘yes’?” Paul was still unsure.

“It’s a ‘yes’.” Cass gave him a quick kiss. “Just for the party tomorrow night and then it goes back into hiding.”

“Now, let me show you the bed.” Paul pulled her towards the sleeping area. “I can’t wait to get you between my sheets.”

Sometime in the early hours of the morning, Cass slipped out of bed and gave Paul a kiss on the cheek. She left him a note telling him not to be late when he came to pick her up.

Cass stopped by her apartment on the way to the museum. She changed and grabbed the painting from the front closet.

Cass drove to work and slipped into the restoration room without seeing anyone. She put the painting behind a crate to keep it out of sight until the opening of the exhibit tonight.

The museum was busy upstairs getting ready for the party but downstairs in the restoration all was quiet. Cass waited for someone to come down stairs and tell her to do something but no one came. She made it through the day and left to get ready, leaving the painting hidden in the restoration room.

Cass’ phone rang just as she opened her front door. “Gail, I don’t have time. I have to get ready for tonight.”

“I know. Jonas and I will be there in a few minutes. Has Paul got there yet?”

“No. He isn’t here yet.” Cass turned around to close the door and Paul stood there in his tux with a garment bag and a shopping bag. “He just got here.”

“Okay. See you in a bit.” The phone disconnected.

“What is that for?” Cass pointed at the garment bag. “You’re already in your tux.”

“I brought you a dress and a pair of shoes.” Paul held out the bags.

“Paul, I have a dress to wear. You didn’t have to do that.” Cass walked into the bedroom.

Paul followed her and put the things down on the bed. “At least look at them before you say ‘no’.”

Cass opened the garment bag and looked at the dress. The blue dress was short with the silver and gold embroidery all over the skirt. “Paul, I can’t wear this.”

“Of course, you can wear it. It’s your size. I checked.” Paul looked confused.

“I have to be professional.” Cass explained. “This is a gorgeous dress but I can’t be looking like a …”

“Supermodel?” Paul grinned.

“Paul, you know that I’m too short to be a supermodel.” Cass went over to the closet and pulled out a simple black dress.

“You are not wearing that!” Paul shook his head.

“Cass!” Gail called out from the living room.

“I’m in the bedroom arguing with Paul.” Cass glared at Paul.

“What did you do, Paul?” Gail walked in. “You just got her back and now you’re acting like a jerk. What the hell?”

“I bought her a dress but she insists on wearing that ugly thing.” Paul pointed at the black dress Cass was holding. “Talk some sense into her, Tiger Lily. Oh and tart her up a bit.”

“Paul!” Cass glared at him again. 

“Out!” Gail waved him out. “I’ll do what I can.”

“Thanks.” Paul blew a kiss to Gail on his way out.

“Gail, look at it. It’s too flashy for a professional obligation.” Cass started to strip off her work clothes.

“Look, I know your job is important but this is Paul’s night.” Gail took the dress out of the bag. “Wear the designer dress, Cass. It’s important to him.” She looked into the shopping bag and pulled out a pair of shoes out. “He bought shoes too. Sexy silver ones.”

Cass sighed. “I can’t believe this but I’ll do it. It’s just a job. It’s not like I need it or anything.” She threw up her hands in defeat. 

“Good! I’ll do your hair and makeup. You have to be perfect you’re the guest of honor’s date.” Gail handed her the shoes.

“This is going to be a night from hell.” Cass took the shoes and looked at them. “Wow! These are really high.”

“Stop complaining and get ready. We have a party to go to.” Gail pushed her in to the bathroom.

Twenty minutes later, Gail walked out of the bedroom and found Paul and Jonas sitting on the sofa drinking whiskey.

“Well, aren’t you two just fast friends.” Gail chuckled. “She’s as tarted up as she’s going to get.”

“Where is she?” Paul put his glass on the table.

“I’m right here.” Cass came out of the bedroom and turned around so that Paul could get a good look. “Happy?”

“You always clean up very nicely.” Paul stood up and gave her an appreciative look. “Very, very nicely. We should get going. Moose, here, and Tiger Lily can come with us in the limo. It should be downstairs by now. Where’s the painting?”

“It’s in the restoration room behind some crates.” Cass picked up her evening bag. “I didn’t want anyone to see me carry it in.”

“Silver, they are going to see it anyway.” Paul held out his arm to her. “You look a little wobbly on those heels.”

Cass took his arm. “Leave it to you to buy me ‘fuck me’ heels.”

“You’re welcome.” Paul opened the door and laughed. “Come along you two. I have an entrance to make.”

“Is he always like this?” Jonas whispered to Gail.

“No.” Gail sighed. “He’s usually worse.”

“You’re kidding.” Jonas frowned. 

After a round of champagne, the four of them arrived at the museum. Gail and Jonas got out of the limo and went in first.

Paul got out and turned to help Cass out of the limo. She hesitated.

“Come on Silver.” Paul held out his hand to her. “The sooner you get out of the car and go in, the sooner this will be over.”

“The sooner I’ll get fired you mean.” Cass sighed. She got out of the limo. “How do I look?”

“Like a vision.” Paul smiled and gave her his arm. “Ready Silver?”

“No. but let’s do it anyway.” Cass let him lead her past the press and into the museum.

Inside, Cass and Paul took the elevator down to the restoration room. She retrieved the painting and they made their way to the exhibit on the second floor.

Miss Benning was waiting at the elevator when they stepped out.

“Miss Sterling? Miss Benning looked startled. “What…what are you doing with him dressed like that?”

“She’s here as my date. Excuse us please.” Paul moved Cass past her and into the party.

The crowd applauded as Paul walked in.  Paul walked over to the podium to address them.

“Ladies and gentlemen welcome to my exhibit at the Green Museum. I am pleased to be here and to have the ‘Currency’ series displayed together.” Paul looked at the empty space on the wall next to him. “I know you are all looking at that empty space and wondering what I’m talking about.”

“You see, the ‘Currency’ series is a series of transactions, moments in time between two people in love. I’m gold and she is silver.” Paul held out his hand to Cass. “Silver?”

Cass took his hand and stepped up to the podium with him. She handed him the painting.

Paul unwrapped the painting and winked at her as he hung it on the wall then faced the crowd again.

“Believe me this took a lot of coaxing to get her to let me do this.” Paul chuckled. “She is my love, my soulmate and these are our moments. For tonight and just tonight, all of the series will be displayed together as it is now. The series isn’t finished and will continue as long as we are together.”

Cass felt her cheeks flush. She looked out over the crowd and felt a little self-conscious. She could see Miss Benning fuming just off to the side. Across the room, the head curator was smiling at her. Maybe she won’t get fired.

Cass looked down at her purse and opened it just enough to take out the small object inside. She clutched it in her hand as Paul started to speak again.

“Enjoy the surprise!” Paul held out his hand to Cass. “Shall we party?”

Cass put the object in his hand and smiled. “Yes.”

Paul looked at what she had put in his hand and was stunned. “Silver, are you sure?”

“I said ‘yes’, didn’t I? Cass held out her hand.

Paul slipped the ring on her hand. “Yes you did.”

The crowd erupted in applause.

sidhe_faerie: (Default)
Chapter 4
Paul showed up at Cass’ door promptly at seven with a bottle of red wine and a bouquet of red roses. He gave her a steamy look as he took in her curves in the tight blue dress she was wearing.

Cass opened the door and looked at the flowers. “What did you do so that you had to buy me roses?”

“I haven’t done it yet. Is that garlic bread I smell?” Paul handed her the roses and tried to look innocent. He walked in and took off his jacket before he sat down on the sofa. He looked at the coffee table set for two and smiled. “Bring me a corkscrew and I’ll open the wine.”

Cass put the roses on the counter then she went over to the oven to take out the garlic bread before she took a corkscrew out of the drawer and took them both over to where Paul was sitting. “I thought we should eat in here. That way if we get sleepy from the pasta and the wine we can just fall asleep on the sofa.”

Paul laughed. “Please tell me there’s a bed somewhere in this closet.”

“It’s not that small.” Cass went back in the kitchen and brought over two plates of pasta and put them on the coffee table. “I think it’s cozy.”

“You need to move in with me.” Paul handed her a glass of wine as she sat down. “I have a nice loft with lots of light to paint. I can even get Harry to find you a buyer for some of your pieces. Where are your pieces?”

“Storage.” Cass took a sip of the wine. “Mmm nice. They were at my parent’s house but they sold it when my sister moved out. They live in an artist community back in the woods somewhere now.”

“I always liked your parents.” Paul picked up his plate and took a bite of pasta.

“They hate you. Well, my dad hates you.” Cass smirked.  She picked up her plate and grabbed a piece of garlic bread. “He said you were a bad influence on me.”

:How? I have always been a proper gentleman.” Paul winked at her. “In front of your parents but never with their daughter.”

“I don’t think my dad would like any man trying to have a relationship with his daughters.” Cass shrugged.

“How is your sister? Is she still seeing the felon?” Paul asked.

Cass sighed. “She’s a mess and yes, she is still seeing the felon. I think she said something he still has an ankle monitor. Lacy was complaining that they couldn’t go out and party until it comes off.”

“Well isn’t that just so…precious?” Paul took a sip of wine. “Have you tried to talk her out of him?”

“It won’t do any good. She’s just as suborn as I am. They were together a long time ago before he started his life of crime.” Cass put her plate on the table. “Are you going to explain the roses?”

Paul sat his plate on the table. “Don’t be mad.”

“What did you do?” Cass asked. “Paul, tell me or I’ll throw you out right now.”

Paul took a small blue box out of his jacket pocket and sat it on the table. “I’ve had this for a while. I want you to have it but don’t wear it until you can say ‘yes’.”

Cass picked up the box and looked inside. “Damn! Paul, this diamond is huge!”

“I bought it after I sold my first painting. I was going to go find you and … it doesn’t matter now.” Paul watched her to see if she was angry with him.

“How long ago was that?” Cass looked at him.

“You had only been overseas a few months.” Paul shook his head. “It was just a silly dream.”

Cass closed the box and sat it on the table. She reached out and hugged him then she kissed him softly. “I’m sorry that I hurt you back then.”

“I knew you had to go. I was just being a selfish ass.” Paul sighed and pulled her back in to a hug. “My heart went with you. It’s always been with you.”

Cass pulled back and looked into his eyes. “So here we are again.” She reached over and picked up the box and opened it. “When I’m ready, I want you to put this ring on my finger.”

Paul smiled. “Deal.”

Cass looked at the ring again. “Seriously, Paul. This thing is a boulder.”

“It’s only three carats.” Paul pulled her hand over to look in the box.

“Gee, only three?” Cass kissed Paul on the cheek. “We are not those kids anymore. We have to be more serious this time.”

“That’s why I said to only put it on if you’re ready to say ‘yes’.” Paul took the box and closed it before he put it back on the table. “So you never answered me, where is the bed in this closet?”

“Through that door. Did you bring your toothbrush?” Cass snuggled closer to him.

“Of course I did. I also brought a full box of condoms.” Paul chuckled. “I just brought you a huge diamond. I came prepared.”

Cass laughed. “Help me clean up this mess and I can show you how much I like it.”

“Anything you want Silver. Anything at all.” Paul kissed her.

Cass pulled away and grabbed his hand and pulled him up off the sofa. “We can clean up in the morning.”

“Wait.” Paul let go and grabbed the ring box and the condoms out of his jacket pocket. “Now I’m ready.”

Cass laughed and winked at him. “So am I, Gold.”    

Monday morning, the assistant curator, Marie Benning came down to the restoration room. The tall thin blonde in stilettos was very excited and a little flustered. “Miss Sterling! I need you to fix one of the frames upstairs.”

“Which one?” Cass stopped doing her paperwork and looked up.

“The Serene by Morgan. There’s a scratch near one of the corners.” Miss Benning looked around. She squinted at a canvas on the other side of the room. It was a bird on a window sill with pine branches behind it. “I don’t know that. Who is the artist?”

“Oh! That’s just something I’ve been working on during my lunch breaks. I did a lot of sketching at the beach.” Cass looked down at the desk to find her frame quick fix kit.

“It’s really…” Miss Benning hesitated. “Nice.”

Cass let it go. Marie Benning was a great administrator but she knew virtually nothing about art. “You seem excited about something. Did you get a raise?”

“No.” Miss Benning glared at her. “We’ve started to set up a new exhibit. The artist is Paul Golden. Are you familiar with his work?”

Cass nodded. She wasn’t about to let the woman know just how familiar she was with Paul or his work. “Show me the scratch on the frame. We wouldn’t want people to see it when they come for the exhibit.”

“Definitely not!” Miss Benning turned and led the way to the second floor gallery.

They had to pass through the area where Paul’s work was going up. There was an older man standing near the workers as they opened the crates. When he saw them, he took a few steps forward.

“Miss Benning! I was wondering if I could speak with you.” The man smiled at them both.

“Of course.” Miss Benning stopped. She looked at Cass. “This is Roderick Harris. He’s Mr. Golden’s business manager and agent. Roderick Harris, this is our art restorer, Cassandra Sterling.”

“It’s nice to meet you. You look very familiar. Have we met before?” Mr. Harris looked Cass up and down.

“No. We’ve never met. I think I would remember you.” Cass shook his outstretched hand. She wondered if Paul had shown him photos of her or the painting before he gave it to her.

Mr. Harris smiled. “You really seem so familiar.”

Miss Benning looked bored at the whole conversation. “You wanted to speak to me Mr. Harris?”

“Yes. I need to remind you that one of the ‘Currency’ Series is not available for viewing.” Mr. Harris looked apologetic. “I wasn’t aware of that when I was making the arrangements for the exhibit.” 

“I thought that the complete series would be on display.” Miss Benning glanced at Cass. She hadn’t realized that Cass was still standing there. “Miss Sterling, the Morgan is in there.”

“Right.” Cass smiled and left them to talk but she knew she would be able to hear every word they said in the empty gallery.

“I apologize but Mr. Golden has given the first in the series to the woman as a gift.” Mr. Harris seemed a little frustrated as he spoke. Paul could frustrate a saint sometimes. “He didn’t tell me until this morning. It’s never been an issue before.”

“I have to say that I am very disappointed. Can’t you ask the woman if she would let it be displayed with the others?” Miss Benning sounded really annoyed.

“Miss Benning, I would if I knew who she was and how to contact her. Mr. Golden is very tight lipped on the matter.” Mr. Harris motioned to a crate near them. “You will have the other three to display.”

“Three? I didn’t know there was a fourth painting.” Miss Benning frowned. It made her look even more severe than usual. 

“Yes. It seems the affair isn’t over. He is still in contact with her.” Mr. Harris chuckled. “I believe Mr. Golden is planning on bringing her to the opening night. I can’t say that for certain, however.”

“He won’t tell you a name or ask her himself?” Miss Benning pursed her lips. “That seems strange. Maybe I can speak to her if she attends.

“Possibly. He tells me that she is his soulmate and he won’t betray her privacy. The first painting is the only one where her face is visible.” Mr. Harris shrugged. “I don’t know if she will be with him so this may be a moot point.”

“I though Mr. Golden was gay. He certainly seemed so when we had the meeting to set up the details of the exhibit.”

Cass had to bite her lip to keep from laughing. She rubbed the wax crayon over the scratch the rubbed it with a polishing cloth. It was one of the more tedious repairs she did for the museum. She glanced back at Miss Benning and Mr. Harris and she saw them looking at her. Cass put her things back in the kit and walked toward them.

“All fixed.” Cass smiled as she walked up.

“Miss Sterling says she is familiar with Mr. Golden’s work.” Miss Benning glanced at Cass then looked back to Mr. Harris. “We were discussing his ‘Currency’ series. Have you seen any of those works?”

“Yes. I’ve seen all four.” Cass looked at Mr. Harris. As Cass expected, he was surprised by what she said.

“How did you see all four?” Miss Benning was startled. “I’ve only seen two. There was one on display at the Mason and the other one I saw at a gallery in Cape Stone. I’ve never seen all of them and definitely never together. I didn’t think they had ever been displayed together.”

“They haven’t.” Mr. Harris confirmed. He squinted at Cass as if he were trying to decide something.

“Paul Golden and I went to the same art school. I saw the first three there and I saw the fourth several months ago.” Cass shrugged. “I hear there may be another soon.” 

“Miss Sterling, do you know who the woman is in the paintings?” Miss Benning asked as a way to take a jab at Cass.

“Yes but I won’t say who she is.” Cass enjoyed the look of shock on Miss Benning’s face. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to go finish some paperwork. It was nice to meet you, Mr. Harris.”

“Yes. It was nice to meet you, Miss Sterling.” Mr. Harris smiled at her like he finally realized where he had seen her before. “Miss Benning, we should go over security before Mr. Golden gets here.”

“Huh?” Miss Benning watched Cass walk away then looked back at the man .”Yes. What about the security?”

Cass had almost finished her paperwork when there was a knock on the door to the restoration room.

Cass stacked up the last of the files and called out. “Come in!”

The door opened and Paul walked in. He wrinkled his nose when he saw the small cluttered room. “This is where you work?”

“Yes. What are you doing down here? Someone is going to see you.” Cass got up and shut the door.

“It doesn’t matter. That assistant curator nearly threw herself at me again. She did that the last time I met her too. Such a lovely woman.” Paul walked over to the easel in the corner. “This is yours. I would know you brush strokes anywhere.”

“Yes. That one is mine.” Cass came over and looked at the painting with him. “I’m horrible.”

“You’re better than I am. He looks real. I could never do that.”  Paul shrugged. “I have to get Harry to sell something of yours so that you can see that you aren’t as horrible as you think.”

“I think Mr. Harris has figured it out that I’m your soulmate.” Cass poked him in the arm. “I can’t believe you told him that.”

“You are my soulmate.” Paul laughed. “You know that because I’m yours. Are you ready to go? I thought we could have dinner at my place tonight. How does Chinese sound?”

“I’ll follow you but we can’t leave together.” Cass went over to the worktable and picked up her bag.

“Silver, please stop the hiding. We are together and I don’t care who knows it.” Paul opened the door and Mr. Harris was standing there with his hand ready to knock. “Hey Harry.”

“Paul, why did you leave me with that woman?” Mr. Harris looked at Cass. “So you’re her. You know, he’s been pining for you for years.”

“Come here and look at this.” Paul grabbed the older man by the arm and led him over to the easel. “What do you think?”

“It has a unique style. The focal point is sharp and clear but the background has dimension.” Mr. Harris looked over at Cass. “Is this one of yours?”

“Yes.” Cass was a little flustered. “It’s not quiet finished.”

“She’s good.” Mr. Harris gave Paul a smile. “She’s better than you.”

“She’s always been better than me.” Paul waved his hands but this is where she ended up. “You and I need to help her escape this dungeon.”

Mr. Harris looked over at Cass. “Do you have some other pieces that I can look at?”

“Yes. Everything is in storage. I can meet you there and you can look through them.” Cass glanced at Paul. “You’re trouble. Do you know that?”

“Always!” Paul laughed. “Harry regrets the day he met me until he gets his cut.”

“We better get out of here before that woman comes down here looking for me.” Mr. Harris looked at them. “You two better get going first. I’ll cover your escape.”

“You’re the best, Harry. Come on Silver.” Paul reached out for Cass’ hand.

Cass waved at Mr. Harris and grabbed Paul’s hand. She pulled him out the basement exit that led straight to the parking structure next to the museum.

Cass stopped at her car. “Where did you park?”

“Harry sent a driver so I’m carless.” Paul looked at the car she was standing next too. “That’s the same car you had in art school.”

“It runs fine.” Cass unlocked the door. “Get in before someone sees us.”

“Yes dear.” Paul laughed as he got in on the passenger side.

(Chapter 5)
sidhe_faerie: (Default)
Chapter 3
When the doors of the elevator closed, Paul turned and pinned her to the back wall. He kissed her hard and hungry. To his surprise, Cass met his passion

Cass reached up and grabbed a handful of his hair to keep him from moving. She moaned against his lips as the heat rose in her core.

Paul pulled back and stared at her. “What the hell was that?”

“I … I don’t know.” Cass let go of him. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry.” Paul smiled as he looked into her eyes. “I was just surprised. You’re usually so … gentle. That was … hot.”  

“Are you saying that I’m not hot?” Cass pushed on his chest.

Paul opened his mouth to reply but he thought better. He kissed her instead. His hand slid down to her ass and gave it a squeeze and she melted against him. He pulled back. “God!”

Cass looked up at him. Her eyes were dark blue and her lips were starting to swell from the pressure of his kisses. Paul knew then they weren’t going to keep their clothes on.

“Why do you always do this to me?” Cass asked breathlessly. “I can’t resist you, no matter how hard I try.”

“Then stop fighting it and let me come back in your life.” Paul leaned his forehead against hers. “I can’t stop thinking of you.”

The elevator chimed and the doors opened on their floor. Paul grabbed her by the hand and hurried her down the hall to the room. He fumbled with the keycard and swore.

Cass laughed and took it from him. She opened the door and giggled when Paul swooped her up in his arms.

Paul plopped her down on the bed and started to strip. He leaned over to kiss her and she pulled him down on the bed.

“I thought we were going to keep our clothes on.” Cass sat up and unzipped her dress. She wiggled out of it and tossed it to the floor.

“When did you start wearing sexy undies? What happened to my cotton girl?” Paul hooked his finger into the side of her thong and started to pull it down.

“Years ago.” Cass pulled off his belt and started to open his pants. “Where’s the condom?”

Paul reached down and pulled a strip of condoms out of the inside pocket of his suit coat.

“Wow!” Cass giggled.

“What? I like to be very prepared.” Paul tore one off the strip and put the rest on the bedside table. “Especially for sculpture making with you.”

Cass watched as he stripped off the rest of his clothes. His body was something familiar and safe but the sight of it never failed to arouse her. She sighed as he pulled her thong down the rest of the way.

Paul watched her as she looked him up and down. Here she was, his Silver. She was the woman that he couldn’t stop loving. She was giving herself to him just like she used to. He felt honored and overwhelmed all at once.

“Paul, what is it?” Cass wondered why he was hesitating.

“I love you.” Paul bit his lower lip. “I just want you to know that. I really love you.”

Cass nodded and held out her arms to him. “Show me.”

Paul knelt over her and put on the condom. He kissed her and pressed her into the soft bed as he started to make love to her.

Sometime the next morning, Paul woke up with a start.

“Paul?” Cass rubbed his chest. “What’s the matter?”

“You’re still here. You didn’t sneak off like last time.” Paul turned on his side to face her.

“I think you’re right. I think we should just give in to fate and stop fighting it.” Cass stroked his cheek. “I was always happy with you.”

“But you were afraid?” Paul kissed the palm of her hand. “What changed?”

“I don’t know but I just couldn’t get away from these feelings for you. Not even in my dreams.” Cass looked content.

Paul gave her a questioning look.

“Don’t ask.” Cass chuckled. “I’m starving. Let’s order breakfast.”

“Waffles with strawberry jam?” Paul smiled.

“Sure and lots of coffee.” Cass stretched.

Paul leaned over and kissed her. “So were back together? Just like that?”

Cass sighed. “Like we ever had a choice in the matter.”

Paul bounced on the bed. “Yes!”

Cass giggled. “This time we make sure to talk about things when they bother us. No more misunderstandings.  Promise?” 

“Promise.” Paul grinned. “Should we call Tiger Lily and give her the good news?”

“No. Let her worry a little more. She deserves it for going behind my back.” Cass laughed.

“Silver, you aren’t going to make her ask for forgiveness, are you?” Paul chuckled. He put his hand under the covers and caressed her hip. “You know, we still have a few condoms left.”

“Food then I have to get home.” Cass sat up. “I have a feeling Gail is waiting for me. But don’t worry. I want you to come over tonight and bring the condoms.”

“We should go out to celebrate.” Paul laughed. “Maybe, we could double with Tiger Lily and her current squeeze.”

“His name is Jonas and he is the size of a moose.” Cass laughed.

“Sounds beastly.” Paul chuckled. “She always had a thing for the big ones. Remember that linebacker from… where was he from?”

“Green University. Bill was his name.” Cass grinned. “She caught him in bed with his roommate, Tim. That one took her six pints of mint chip to get over.”

“Well, I guess that was why they were roommates.” Paul laughed.

Cass laughed. “We never speak of her old boyfriends in front of her. Swear!”

“I swear. What about your old boyfriends?” Paul grinned. He already knew the answer to that.

“You are my old boyfriend silly. As in my only boyfriend.” Cass threw the covers back and got up. She walked to the bathroom and gave a glance back at Paul.

Paul took a minute to realize what she was trying to tell him. He was the only one she had ever had sex with. “Silver?”

“Yes?” Cass answered from the bathroom behind the slightly ajar door.

“Am I the only man you’ve ever had sex with?” There was a silence. Paul wasn’t sure if she had heard him. “Silver?”

Cass came back to the door and nodded. “Yes, Paul, you are.”

“Damn!” Paul just stared at her. “I love you. I don’t know how you managed that but … wow!”

Cass shut the bathroom door and turned on the shower. She couldn’t believe that she had actually admitted that to him. When they had met at the beach, she had brushed aside the question with a joke, now he knew and Cass knew that he wouldn’t be able to forget it if he tried.

In answering that question, she felt like she had sealed their fate. Cass stepped into the shower and let the warm water run over her as she thought about what she had done.

Paul lay on the bed with the strangest look on his face. He didn’t know what to feel about what she had just told him.

Paul had thought a woman as beautiful as his Silver had many lovers. Wasn’t it the point of going abroad to have a wild affair with some foreign bad boy?

 Paul sat up and dialed the number for room service. He ordered food then walked into the bathroom. “When were you going to tell me that? Were you going to tell me?”

“I wasn’t.” Cass stepped out of the shower and grabbed a towel. “I just can’t do that with just anybody. I’m not wired that way. I have to feel… something.”

“I’m the only one you’ve felt something for?” Paul asked. He blocked the way out so she would have to answer the question.
Cass took his hand and put it over her heart. “Yes.”

Paul took her hand and put it over his heart. He smiled and leaned over to kiss her.

Cass melted against him. She sucked on his bottom lip as he pulled her closer.

There was a knock on the door. “Room service!”

Paul pulled back and grabbed a robe off the shelf with the towels. He winked at Cass as he pulled it on. “Just a minute. That was fast.”

Cass grabbed the other robe and peeked around the corner at the room service cart. She heard Paul tip the man and close the door.

Cass came out of the bathroom and lifted the cover on the plate. She picked up a slice of bacon and took a bite. “Where is the waffles and strawberries jam?”

Paul lifted the other lid and showed her the large stack of waffles. “They didn’t send any strawberry jam.”

Cass shrugged. “I guess I can’t have everything.”

“You can have anything you want.” Paul put the lid down and grinned. “Should I call down to the front desk and complain?”

“No. I’m just going to grab a waffle and get dressed. I don’t want to make Gail wait too long.” Cass put a waffle on her plate and sat down. “I am starving.”

“What time do you want me to come over tonight?” Paul asked as he picked up a slice of bacon and sat down. It hovered in front of his mouth. “Where do you live? I don’t even know where you live. This is crazy.”

“I’ll text you the address.” Cass poured herself a cup of coffee. “I hope you didn’t come all the way to Greendale just to see me.”

“No. My agent arranged for me to oversee the set up for the exhibition of my work at the Green Museum.”.” Paul looked up. “It’s going to be great. We’re going to have fun at the opening.”

Cass put down her fork. “Promise me you aren’t going to show the ‘Currency’ series.”

“You have the only one where your face visible.” Paul sipped his coffee. “The curator asked for the complete series and he was disappointed when I said I don’t have them all.”

“I can’t believe this.” Cass leaned back in her chair. “I just agreed to get back with you and now everyone will know that you and I were together way back when. I don’t care what you say but they will know it’s me in those paintings.”

“What if they do?” Paul shrugged. “I am a very important artist now. I do commissions and I’ve sold paintings for thousands of dollars. You know you don’t have to work there. You could just move into my loft and not have to worry about money anymore.”

“Paul, I do not want to be a kept woman. I do work that I like and the money isn’t bad.” Cass waved a slice of bacon at him.      

“You’re an artist like me. Don’t you want to paint?” Paul sighed. “You studied in Europe. It was the reason that we broke up. Now you sit in a basement all day cleaning other people’s painting. Silver, that can’t make you happy.”

“I believe being happy is overrated.” Cass stood up. “I have to go. I’ll text you my address. Come over around seven. I’ll make some pasta or something.”

“I’ll bring the wine.” Paul stood up. “Silver, I want you to think about moving in with me. I just live the next town over.”

“We should talk about that tonight.” Cass started to pick up her clothes.

“Do you need me to call a cab? Paul started to pick up his clothes.

“No. My car is in the lot.” Cass zipped her dress. She shook her hair out. She looked for her purse and found it under the chair. She turned around and kissed Paul as he walked past her to the bedroom. “Don’t be late!”

“I won’t.” Paul smiled and pulled her close for one more kiss before she left. He stood there staring at the door praying that it wasn’t just a dream.  

Gail was waiting on the sofa for Cass when she walked in her front door with an amused look on her face. Cass glared at her and dropped her shoes and purse in a chair. “I should that that key from you.” 

“So …How was your date?” Gail grinned. “You didn’t call to have me do a background check. Did you know him?”

“Paul hasn’t called to tell you yet? I thought you two were phone buddies.” Cass went to the fridge to grab a bottle of water. 

“Hey! I had to do something.” Gail held up her hands in mock surrender. “You were miserable. You know that two should be together. You love each other. So how was the sex?”

“Sex with Paul was never the problem.” Cass plopped down on the sofa next to Gail. “The sex is always great.”

“Cass, you need to just give in and enjoy it.” Gail poked her arm. “Not everyone gets a second chance.”

“If you think you’re forgiven, think again.” Cass glared at her again. “That was low and sneaky even for you.”

“You’re welcome.” Gail laughed. “What did you and Paul talk about anyway?”

“He wants us to be a couple again. I’m thinking about it.” Cass shrugged and took a drink of water then picked at the label on the bottle.

“You already know what’s going to happen. You’re going back to him.” Gail sighed “Just do me a favor. Marry him this time.”

“I’ll make sure your dress is really ugly.” Cass glanced over at her friend “How’s that?

“Fine with me. It’s not like I’m going to be hooking up with the best man or anything.” Gail stood up. “You look tired and Jonas is probably at my place looking for me.”

“You know, I have no idea who he would ask to be his best man.” Cass scrunched up her nose. “I wonder if he’s still in touch with Charlie.”

“No! Don’t even go there!” Gail waved her finger at Cass as she opened the door.

Cass laughed. “I think I’ll ask.”

“Oh god! No!” Gail opened the door and practically ran.

Cass pulled the throw off the back of the sofa and covered up. She needed to just think for a while. She snuggled down into one of the sofa pillows and fell asleep.

(Chapter 4)
sidhe_faerie: (Default)
Chapter 2
Cass went to the ladies’ room and took her phone out of her purse. She dialed Gail’s number and waited for her to pick up.

“Cass?” Gail sounded surprised. “What are calling me for? Aren’t you out with Mr. Kinky?”

“Mr. Kinky turned out to be Ford Masters. Remember him?” Cass asked. “He was the captain of the football team in high school.”

“No shit! His wife just had a baby. My mom went to her shower. What’s he doing there with you? Cheating asshole.”

“He said he was divorced and he didn’t have any kids. He told me that they filed the divorce papers.”

“Hold on. This is why your best friend is a paralegal. Let me check the filings for divorce court.” There was the clatter of typing for a few minutes. “Nope. No divorce here… and nothing pending for Ford Masters in any court. Lock those knees! He’s lying!”

“Thank god for back doors in bars.” Cass left the ladies room and spotted the exit door and went outside. “I’m going to ditch him here. I’ll block him on chat when I get home.”

“That’s my girl! Text me when you get home. I’ll bring some ice cream.”

“Thanks Gail. You’re the best.” Cass hung up and got into her car. She was out of the parking lot and on her way home as fast as she could get out of there.

When she got home, Cass picked up her laptop from the sofa as she sat down. When she opened it there was a message from Ford waiting for her.

“Where did you go? I was looking forward to our hook up.”

Cass typed an answer. “I know you have a kid and you’re not divorced. Lose my name. ASSHOLE!!!”

Cass closed the chat app before he could respond. She shut the laptop and put it on the floor. “What the hell was I thinking? I wasn’t thinking that’s the problem.”

Cass kicked off her shoes and pulled the red silk scarf from around her neck and flung it on the floor. “No more online dating sites for me! I will always be alone and horny.”

Suddenly, someone was pounding on her front door. Cass got up and looked through the peephole. Gail was standing there holding up a carton of rocky road ice cream. Cass smiled and opened the door.

“Wow! I didn’t think this rated a rocky road night.” Cass laughed as Gail rushed into her apartment and headed for the kitchen. “How did you know I was home? I haven’t even sent you a text yet.”

“I know how long it takes to get to your place from Winston’s and yes, you need rocky road.” Gail looked like she felt sorry for Cass. “This was the first date you’ve went on in forever and you get a lying cheating asshole for your trouble. Yeah. That’s rocky road worthy.”

“I learned my lesson. No more on line dating sites and no more Mr. Kinky’s.” Cass took bowls out of the cupboard and put them on the counter. She opened a drawer and handed Gail the ice cream scoop before she grabbed two spoons.

“So you are going to die here alone next to a pile of batteries and broken vibrators?” Gail shook the scoop at her. “No. You need a man that’s going to be good to you. Really good to you.”

“When you find out where they are all hiding, let me know.” Gail sighed.

“Hmph! You expect me to do all the hunting? Don’t you have access to some of the richest men in the art world?” Gail grinned. “Show one of them your boobs.”

“They’ll just want to paint me.” Cass laughed. “Most of them aren’t interested in petite redheads with broken vibrators and piles of batteries. Come to think of it, they would just want to paint that too.”

“Here eat! Dr. Gail will make it all better.” Gail handed her a bowl. “Maybe Jonas has a friend for you.”

“Great! Now, I’m a charity project.” Cass took the bowl and plopped down on the sofa.

“Jonas has a lot of friends. At least get your itch scratched.” Gail sat on the other end of the sofa. “When was the last time you had your itch scratched?”

Cass stared out into space. She couldn’t tell Gail about the last time she had sex. If Gail knew who it was, she would blow it out of proportion.  She was beginning to see the problem with her love life. She loved a man she couldn’t have. She loved Paul Golden.

“Oh! See? Now, if you can’t remember the last time you had sex it’s been too long. I’ll talk to Jonas tomorrow.” Gail dipped her spoon in her ice cream.

“Don’t. I think I’m just going to think about things for a while before I do anything.” Cass took a bite of ice cream. “This is perfect. Is this from the artisan place?”

“Yeah. It’s from Cone Heads on Fourth and Briar. They do a banana split that will make your toes curl. Jonas is addicted to it. Good thing he works out or he’d be big as a moose.” Gail giggled.

“Gail, he’s already big as a moose.” Cass laughed.

Gail laughed. “And just as cute.”    

“You are one strange woman.” Cass laughed. “A moose for a boyfriend and a nun for a best friend.”

“You are not a nun.” Gail pointed her spoon at Cass. “I saw what you wrote in that chat. You are a special kind of naughty.”

“Ha. Ha. I’m just a very creative person.” Cass grinned.

“You better be flexible too. Some of that stuff is really bendy.” Gail laughed.

Cass laughed. “I’m very flexible, Thank you very much.”

Gail arched an eyebrow at her.

Gail left Cass a little while later so Cass could go to bed. Gail sat in her car to make a phone call before she started to drive home. She scrolled down her contact list. She hit dial and waited for an answer.

“Tiger Lily? Is that you?”

“Yes Paul. It’s me Gail.” Gail hesitated a moment. “I’m calling about Cass.”

“What has our Silver gotten herself into now?”

“She has a profile on a dating site. I’ll send you the info but I think she could use a little confidence building. Would you mind chatting with her on line?”

“You know all she has to do is stop being so damned stubborn. I have loved her since art school.”

“That was a long time ago Paul. You two were just a fling, right?”

“No. Not for me. Send me the info and I’ll see if she will talk to me.”

“Thanks Paul. I hope she doesn’t kill me for this.”

“Like I said all she has to do is stop being stubborn and I would take her back in a heartbeat. Thanks for calling me, Tiger Lily.”

“Goodnight Paul.” Gail disconnected the call and sent Paul a text with the name of the site and Cass’s username.

Gail looked at her phone and knew she probably shouldn’t have done that but Paul was the only man Cass had been in a long term relationship with. The only reason they broke up was that Cass left for Paris to study.

It was too late now to worry. Gail just hoped that Paul wouldn’t rat her out.

It was two days before Cass opened the chat window on her laptop. Her first instinct was to delete her profile and uninstall the chat app but curiosity got the better of her. Just because she had one bad experience, she wasn’t ready to give up quite yet.   

There were a few messages from Ford. He was asking for a second chance. Cass deleted them and blocked him. She didn’t need to deal with him and his dishonesty.

Cass looked through the rest of the messages. There was someone with the username goldenboy121 who had left multiple messages. He seemed very determined to get her attention.

Cass checked out his profile. She got excited when she saw that he listed his occupation as artist. Finally there was someone that she could relate to.

Cass responded to his message and was surprised that he answered her quickly. He must have been waiting online for her to answer his messages.

Cass sat up with him all night that first night. They talked about everything: food, places they had been, and even movies. They never talked dirty to each other. Before Cass logged off, she told him to meet her on line again the next night.

This went on for two weeks before Cass suggested that they meet at Winston’s. Her mystery man was very willing to meet her. Cass told him to look for the woman in the black dress and the red silk scarf. 

Cass wondered if he was married too because he was a little too eager to meet. It would be just her luck that she would end up with another man who wanted to cheat on his wife. 

On the day, they were going to meet she couldn’t concentrate at work. She couldn’t think of anything else and she began to doubt her sanity.

Cass got there early and sat at the bar. She couldn’t believe she was doing this again. She must be crazy to meet another guy from online chat. She swirled the red wine in the glass. This time she needed some liquid courage. Cass had a feeling that it was going to end just as badly as the first time.

Cass looked up and saw the last person she ever expected in the world. Paul Golden was standing at the door with a big grin on his face and a red handkerchief in his suit jacket pocket. The tall blonde blue eyed man spotted her at the bar and his grin grew into a big smile.

“Oh no!” Cass started to get up from the barstool but it was too late. Paul was right beside her. “What are you doing here?”

“I have a date with a very sexy woman.” Paul sat down on the barstool next to her.

“You have a date and you’re meeting her in this bar? You have to be kidding.” Cass didn’t believe him.

“Yes. I have a date with a woman that I met on line. I’ve been chatting with her for weeks.” Paul waved the bartender over. “I want a vodka rocks.”

“So what is this lucky girl’s name?” Cass smirked.

“She goes by redpaint25 and she was supposed to be wearing a red scarf.” Paul reached over and picked up the end of the red scarf that she was wearing. “This is a red scarf. Chinese silk?”

Cass took the scarf out of his hand. “Yes. You should know. You bought it for me. I can’t believe that you have been the one I have been chatting with for the last two weeks.”

“It was very informative.” Paul turned to face her. “I had no idea you liked strawberry jam on your waffles. We may have to stop at the market I believe I’m fresh out.”

“Oh my god! Do you think I’m going to go home with you? Have you lost your mind?” Cass hissed at him. “We broke up years ago. I don’t think we want to do that again.”

“We broke up because you wanted to study abroad. That was the only reason.” Paul took a drink then looked at her. “I hear nothing from you for years then I accidently run into you at the beach resort. You gave me hope then you just disappeared again. Tiger Lily doesn’t know about that, does she? She would have said something if she did.”

“No. I didn’t say anything to Gail about seeing you at the beach. She would have made a big deal out of it. Especially, if she knew what we did when I was there.” Cass sipped her wine. She frowned suddenly. “Wait! Have you been talking to Gail? Of course you have or else you wouldn’t have known my username or what site I was on.”

“I’m going to plead the fifth on that.” Paul smirked at her. He rolled his eyes. “Silver, she was worried about you. What are you doing on one of those sites anyway? Perverts and ax murderers use those sites. You could have gotten more than you bargained for.”

“Yeah. I got you.” Cass took a sip from her glass. “Paul, why play with me? Why not just tell me who you were?”

“I wasn’t playing with you. I’m sorry if you thought so. I just want you back or at least a chance.” Paul reached out and took her hand. “We were good together, Silver. We made great sculpture.”

“Sculpture isn’t everything.” Cass pulled her hand away and waved over the bartender. “Another please.”

“Put it on my tab. Paul tapped his glass on the bar. “I’ll take another too. I think we are going to be here a while.”

“You don’t need to buy my drinks.” Cass glared at him. “I can afford to pay for them. I’m not a starving artist.”

“Actually, I have sold a few paintings recently. My agent calls me an ‘up and coming star’. I have an exhibit planned at the Green Museum later this month.” Paul grinned.

“You have an exhibit where I work?” Cass was stunned. “What the hell, Paul? Couldn’t you pick somewhere else to show your paintings? Please tell me you aren’t going to show the ‘Currency’ Series. You can’t! What if they recognize me?”

“Don’t worry. They will never know that it’s you.” Paul laughed. “To be honest, I didn’t set it up my agent did. Although, I can’t help but be pleased about it. Are you going to the opening?”

“I have to. It’s part of my job.” Cass sighed. “I’m going to hate every minute of it.”

“Come with me as my date. It could be a lot of fun.” Paul leaned closer. “Just think of everyone looking at you on my arm and wondering if you were the model for the ‘Currency’ series.”

Cass grabbed his hand. “Paul I’m not kidding. You are not going to show those. I’m naked in those. Everybody will know it’s me as soon as they see me with you.” 

“I don’t think so.” Paul shook his head. “There’s no way they can figure that out. You have the only one that shows your face. I sent it to you at the museum. Where is it now?”

“It’s in my closet at home, still in the wrapping.” Cass pulled her hand away and looked at her drink. “Those were different times. We were young and crazy.”

“Silver. Please. We are good together. We were really good together at the beach, weren’t we?” Paul waited for her to answer.

“Paul…” Cass just shook her head.

Paul moved closer to her. “Silver, why don’t we be good now?”

Cass glared at him. “What do you mean?”

“I have a room upstairs.” Paul pulled a key card out of his pocket. “We can order some champagne and you can take off those ridiculous shoes. We can talk …or make some sculpture.”

“You don’t give up, do you?” Cass took a drink from her glass.

“You know you want to. I can tell by the way your swinging your foot. It’s your tell.” Paul whispered in her ear.

Cass turned to him and looked into his eyes. It would be so easy to give in to him, to let him have her. To be honest, she wanted him but she didn’t know how to erase all those years that she had purposefully avoided him. Right now, she couldn’t remember why she had avoided him for all that time.

Paul leaned forward and kissed her. It was soft and quick but it broke what little resolve Cass had.

“Okay but we are keeping our clothes on.” Cass couldn’t believe she was giving in to him again. “Pay the tab.”

Paul waved the bartender over and signed the check with his room number. He helped Cass off the bar stool and offered her his arm.
“I know I’m going to regret this.” Cass said as they walked out of the bar.

(Chapter 3)

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