The people of Valeria were rejoicing. The regime change from that of a matriarchal monarchy to an advisory board of equals had seen the quality of life rise astronomically all over the world. The long neglected fairies, sprites and pixies were finally feeling like they were on equal ground with the elves due to the shift in the balance of power.
Likewise, the elves, who had long had it ingrained in them that they had no value if they weren’t in positions of power, felt a reprieve from such a burden. Many who had parents pushing them into political or other high achieving arenas, had cast of the weight of expectation aside, and were exploring obscure academia, arcane magic, the arts, and even community work due to their love of their homes and the people in it.
So much, did the people of Valeria love their new way of life that they had decided to re-elect Queen Eleria as their leader. While she watched fondly over her growing baby Elora as she played by her desk, stacking blocks as high as she could reach, Queen Eleria continued reading through her first ever batch of monthly reports from her elven city officials.
She would meet with Evanna of the fairies, Glenrock of the sprites and Naevia of the pixies in the coming days to discuss any issues that had arisen in the time since Rogue and Ranger had left Valeria for the strange human world of their creator, accompanied by their beloved Guardian, Elva, who carried the Valerian Heart of Truth.
Much had changed since they had disappeared through one of the Queen’s bathroom mirrors up on the third floor of the Marble Palace. Mostly for the better, such as her son’s, Prince Fallon, marriage to Elva’s brother, Fillipe. However, despite all the new wonderful things happening across the realm, the Queen was not aware that all over Valeria, a darkness was settling…
The city of Port Nixin, once predominantly a city for pixies, the most diminutive of races, had expanded at a rapid rate. As such, it had become a hub for new business; taverns, jewellers, merchants, herbalists, potion makers, charm sellers of all types, had flocked to the city, as the lake provided an excellent import and export location for all of Valeria.
In one such tavern, a jovial crew had just recently arrived from having shipped a load of medical cargo from the Capitol, via Eliad. Elated from a successful voyage, round after round of drinks were consumed, until the entire crew had become red in the face. So merry did they become, in fact, that they didn’t notice the cloaked stranger in the corner rise from a chair and exit the tavern, headed for their ship.
On the other side of Valeria, in a building the size of a city itself, Ford, the Elven Advisor to the Observatory, and Elva’s father, had been woken by a guard.
“What is it, Farrow?” he sternly asked the purple fairy guard who manned the main Observatory door. “It had better be a good one, your reason for waking me at this hour the night before my wife is due to return to the Capitol.”
“I am sorry, Ford,” the fairy said fearfully. “I knew you would not open the door for anyone but me and I would never bother you if it was not vitally important!”
“Then get on with it!”
“The medics, Sir,” Farrow squeaked. “They found me on duty. It appe… well, it appears that Ariannah…”
“OUT WITH IT!”
“Sir, she seems to be waking!”
Ford immediately grabbed his travelling cloak and leapt over the top railing of the Observatory, dropping the thirty levels to the main floor before rolling into a crouch and getting back to his feet, heading for the barred doors that led to the dungeons.
Prince Fallon and Fillipe were on their honeymoon, gazing up the moons as they lay on the banks of Lake Viridian. They had only been married three days, but already they had planned their entire lives together.
After having spent much of his life assuming he would be forced into a marriage his father deemed appropriate, Prince Fallon had never even thought about the life he had the potential to lead with his true love. Now that his dream had come true, they had discussed everything from pets, to children, to their duties as active royals.
As they were not on the panel of advisors, they had no actual authority, but as members of the royal family it remained a standard expectation to serve Valeria. Both of the young men had agreed early on what exactly their focus would be: children; their safety and education. Step one was already in the works, with every orphanage in Valeria being turned into a boarding school and filled with the best teachers, healers, chefs and masters Valeria had to offer.
It had been found that a significant portion of the children in Valeria’s orphanages were halfling children; that is, they were a mix of elf, fairy, sprite and pixie. As Fallon and Fillipe lay by the water, they spoke animatedly about how, by ensuring the growing generations were highly educated and well cared for, they could eradicate the stigma surrounding cross breeding forever.
Back at the Observatory, Ariannah was stirring in her sleep. Her forehead was slick with sweat and her breath was coming in short gasps. As she lay in the crystal case, under the watch of guards and healers that monitored her around the clock, she dreamed…
A man is walking briskly along a long, stone hallway, his shoes rapping on the floor as he walks. His heart is racing as he follows the familiar route; down a narrow staircase and through an archway that leads into a large chamber.
There are no windows in the room, only a large pedestal standing on a raised platform in the centre of the space. Instead of paintings or tapestries hanging from the walls, there are seven giant mirrors; three on each side wall and one hanging opposite the door. Between each of the mirrors is a series of runes written in an ancient language.
The man is desperate. The mirror directly to his left is sparkling, like it is full of glitter. To his right, a second mirror has begun glowing a bright blue. As he steps closer, the mirror begins to ripple, like waves on the ocean…
We were standing on the third floor foyer of Ventura Castle. Elva’s eyes were wide as she gazed out of the window, looking towards the forest in the distance. She was speechless.
“Do you like it?” I asked, smiling.
“It’s incredible,” she breathed. “I’ve never seen anything like it!”
Elva had only just joined my sister Rogue and me in our world. For the past several weeks we had been in Elva’s; Valeria, the Plains world of the Fae. It was a far more naturalistic world than ours, and felt all the more magical for it.
“It’s no Marble Palace, but it’s home,” Rogue said.
“She said from the third floor of a castle,” I snorted derisively.
Elva turned back to us, her eyes shining. I was still struggling to take her in. Her legs were covered in three-quarter denim shorts and her shoes were flat, leather boots. She wore a plain black tank top and her eyes had returned to their normal, icy blue. Her fairy wings had disappeared, as had the sharpness in her elven ears and the almond shape of her eyes. She was human.