The Fey Bride of Elfland
Queanay probably expected some comments when she mentioned being able to prepare a cold soup, but Chamorrick and I both had our minds on other things. As we moved against the wall, I believe that we sought a place to sit simply to help us control our anxiety. Queanay directed us to stones that could be moved. Some took the efforts of both Chamorrick and me, but soon we found ourselves able to sit in a comfortable setting and put our attention on the things we felt important.
My half-brother asked me, "What do I do now?"
"Do now?" I quipped wondering if the man fully understood what the success he had gained actually meant. "Right now you ask yourself if you are still determined to go through with this."
"What? Of course I am. Why should I not be?"
"Because you now have some facts to inject into your plans. Lasotherral is not some dream lady from a fairy tale, Chamorrick. She is real. You have seen and spoken to her. Like my life with Rabbit, you will have to go through adjustments to fit with her nature."
"But you and Rabbit get along splendidly."
I really felt that Chamorrick should have a better sense of his situation, so my tones with him did get a little harsh. "I grew up with Rabbit. I came into my maturity with her to guide me in learning of her. There is none of that there with Lasotherral. You have a lot of learning to do, and it seems that she will as well. Before that occurs, you need to simply consider what facts you have, then if what you have learned will enable your plans to be advanced."
"Advanced? They are successful!"
"No!" I did worry about our words carrying though the cave, but felt talking sense to my half-brother necessitated a certain volume to my voice. "Yes, you have made it here and had an audience with Lasotherral. Good. That was not your desire however. Now that you are here and with some facts, it is time to reconsider your own plans."
Queanay commented, "That would be my advice as well."
Chamorrick stood as he stridently asked, "What have the two of you seen that is wrong with her?"
I stay seated, although kept my voice strong. "Wrong? Cham, you are the one with the desire to come here. You are the one with the logic. Now, think, and consider what you have learned."
"I found her very enchanting."
"Oh, damn, Cham. If that was all you wanted then what in Hell is wrong with Queanay?"
I had to smile when she interjected, "Thank you, Kevin."
The eyes of my half-brother passed from me to Queanay a couple of times before he sat to speak to me. "I still say that she has the nature to ward off the various futures presented by any other lady."
I could not argue with those words, but I started showing fingers as I listed other facts. "She uses names. Rabbit does not. She seems to have an ephemeral substance. Rabbit, in spite of all the warnings I read in my research of the fey, is very substantial. Lasotherral considers a place like this acceptable to live in. While Rabbit and her brothers do tend to enjoy their days moving about the outdoors, they do tend to have desires for comfort that I find pleasing as well."
I could have gone on, but Chamorrick waved his hands to signal me to be silent even as he spoke. "Okay – okay, I get your point. Still, what I hear you saying is that you are not against her."
Queanay said, "It is not his heart or life, Chamorrick."
"Okay, Queanay, speak. Let me hear your points."
"I have none. It is Kevin's place to advise you, and I feel that he is doing the best possible. I feel that my time will come, but it is not now. All I have to say right now, other than I will have some food for you in a short time, is to listen to Kevin."
His eyes did not focus upon anything. I allowed him to sit quietly hoping that his mind was active. I would have needed to bring out my journal and gone over certain notes to provide anything more substantial than I had already stated. While Chamorrick did set some things down each morning, I never suspected that he wrote more than basic information. As I watched him, I found no surprise that his focus stayed on topics that only existed in his mind.
As he accepted the bowl from Queanay, Chamorrick said, "I have to continue with this. The questions I still have are the important ones." He set his eyes upon me as he stated, "Your points are valid, but to compare Lasotherral with Rabbit or even Queanay only speaks of this lady I came to see to truly meet the objectives I desire. Yes, there is more to consider, but I believe the initial meeting to be a strong indication of the wisdom in making this journey."
I had to reply, "I cannot argue with you, Chammorick. I also find hope in your simple desire to stay committed to this lady. Still, do not lose sight of your purpose for seeking her."
Queanay had to interject, "Although his father will probably be glad to have him infatuated with someone."
Chamorrick swallowed some soup before saying, "That is very true. I cannot have him forcing marriages on others, so I guess that I need to see this through. Stay with me, both of you."
I said, "I cannot speak for Queanay, but it is my job to stay with you. Not only just because I am your half-brother, but also your advisor. Just don't lose sight of your trust in me, Chamorrick."
"You're doing fine, Kevin. Glad to have you."
We relaxed for a time accepting that any issues did need to wait for further developments. After eating the soup, Chamorrick and I helped Queanay clean up. There really was not a source of water, but our canteens held enough with us feeling that we could go get more if necessary. We relaxed while discussing the qualities of our surroundings wondering how it would apply to the lady we waited further word upon.
About the time we were considering whether or not to gain some sleep, we heard voices coming toward us. This time there were others. While all had a slightly insubstantial, wispy, appearance, I found myself able to discern males and females along with other identifiable traits. Recognizing Ussiquik, I looked to the others hoping to gain lasting impressions of them even as I wondered what made Lasotherral different. She stepped before us with me considering whether or not her words would be positive.
"I can offer no substance. I do not know. What my advisors tell me is that I cannot know without seeing this through. Not only will I be learning about you, and you of me, but the questions all couples must consider will need to be seriously considered."
Chamorrick stepped up, bowed, then said, "Of course. My own advisors were stressing words of that type upon me as well. Still, just to gain your allowance that we might have chances to become more familiar with each other I consider to be a wondrous event. In what manner may I help you advance our relationship, sweet Lasotherral?"
Queanay stepped up, curtsied to the gathering of our hosts, then said "I might offer a suggestion toward that desire. There might be a reason that you and those with you have chosen this fiery mountain, but in traveling to this cave I made comparisons between the terrain outside and my own home. It however is unwelcoming in its frigid nature, and not in its fire."
Ussiquik replied, "We are here due to its seclusion, and not our love for the heat. Our nature is not of the present creation, although is as well. While we predate the creation of life, we do not predate the creation of the earth itself. Thus our existence continues, although how we apply to what we find outside is mystifying. What specifically about your home do you feel will qualify it?"
"Well, its seclusion. I feel that you could well share with me the loneliness I felt growing up. My mother is the Ice Queen. Although the title speaks of her land, and not truly her heart, many consider the two one and the same. None come to my home. It would be nice, honestly, just to see if my home could be welcoming to visitors."
Lasotherral asked, "Prince Chamorrick, would such be acceptable to you?"
I saw him smile wildly in looking to Queanay before saying to the one that asked the question, "Honestly, Kevin and I would love to show the princess that we could be pleasant guests in her home. Our last visit, forced visit, was not treated by us with any gentleness. Yes, spending time as willing visitors in the home of Princess Queanay would be acceptable."
She curtsied, then stayed down. I was not familiar with proper courtship behavior, so simply held my position. Chamorrick took one step toward Lasotherral and presented a hand toward her with the palm facing up. She did not seem to understand their actions, but after having a few expressions cross her face, she stepped up to place her hand upon my half-brother's.
"Dear Prince, how long will it take for us to reach this castle?"
Queanay rose from her position to provide an answer. "My mother is the Ice Queen. She does have her own power. I could have coaches here in a reasonable amount of time, and they would have us to my home in a rather short manner of time."
Chamorrick asked, "Coaches? That would have made Kevin's and my transit to your torture chamber much more pleasant."
"You are right. Not only must the two of you prove to be pleasant guests, but I must prove myself able to be a gracious hostess. I will see that mother provides some refreshments for the ride." Queanay then curtsied again while saying, "Of course, Lasotherral, I am not aware if you know of food and drink."
She replied, "I do know of it. I am of a time before your time, but I am not of the lasting nature of those around me. They are to the land, and there is a basic nature deep down that still retains their devotion. I am of the air, and I am afraid that the life as of now has made it completely lacking in any essence that calls my gifts. The loss of my fiancé was at a most devastating time, and my anger at my own fate forced an existence that I have come to regret. I have been praying for a chance to fulfill my life. My existence up to now has been most lonely. However, I am as concerned about making a wrong decision as you and Prince Kevin is of Chamorrick spoiling his future."
"Do you need time?"
A voice I had not heard, as it was female, answered, "Yes, she does. There are considerations and advice that must be taken into account." There was a pause, then a question came, "How many can go with Lasotherral?"
Queanay replied, "My home is very empty. I know not your true number, but from what I have gathered I should easily be able to accommodate you."
Ussiquik said, "We need not all go. Still, yes, as Lasotherral is of our time, she should continue to have our support and guidance. Please, wait some more."
"If you do not mind, I will go ahead and summon the coaches. If for no other reason, it will give us something to do while you make all the preparations that you feel are necessary."
And the Ice Queen finally arrives in the story.