The Fey Bride of Elfland
Arrival of the Ice Queen
As Queanay went through the magic of summoning the coaches, Chamorrick and I discussed the nature of those associated with air. Sprites and djinni did not have the best reputation, although also usually suffered from others wanting whatever they had decided to acquire. We spoke of the stories wondering why they had taken the things in the first place, then why they had established the homes and situations that those traveling to their realm encountered. What we discussed did not have us consider bad things of Lasotherral, although did have even more curious about what truths we would learn about her.
We turned upon hearing the sound of metal shoes upon the rocky slope. Going outside, I saw three coaches being pulled by very large white goats. The drivers were in armor, as were the men hanging from the back sides. Two armored men also rode on top of each vehicle. I heard the sound of Queanay gasp as she moved up to give instructions.
The door of the front coach opened with a very regal lady stepping out who was taller than me, although I came to learn she had on shoes with very high heels. She was dressed in thick elegant clothes of padded orange silk. White fur showed itself in numerous places. I always assumed the Ice Queen was comfortable in her frozen environment, although gained the impression she sought to stay warm as did others who spent time in her land. Her hair was of a dark blue. Her eyes were of a green so light they at times appeared yellow. Her skin did have a pale bluish tint, but the lady did not display the haughty arrogance or malevolent chill usually associated with the Ice Queen.
That was all Queanay managed to say before the elder lady began speaking. "Hush, Daughter, as I am deeply concerned. I checked the signs and found them as you mentioned, so I became very worried about your actions. Now, what is this about?"
"Generosity, Mother. I am being generous."
Both Chamorrick and I bowed in seeing the Ice Queen look to us. "Why?"
"Because I agree with what Prince Chamorrick is doing. While it does not fit with my own schemes, he is attempting something that I wish was possible in my own life. By showing generosity I hope to be opening up an avenue to make my time as ruler of your kingdom less secluded. He is trying to improve the future of his land. You and I have discussed the history of Florinew several times, so I understand the dilemma he faces. He might have found an answer, and as the heir to a neighboring land it is to my benefit to see that my borders are secure. I also simply would like to have visitors, pleasant non-destructive visitors, and so I am being generous."
"Why did you call for three coaches?"
"One is for these gentlemen from Florinew. Another is for me. While I did have a hope of having a lady share my vehicle with me, the third vehicle is for her and those who attend her."
I watched the Ice Queen moved around looking at her surroundings. While she did not appear haughty or cruel, she did not radiate any attitude of being pleased with what she saw. Finally, as if seeking some information about the reason for us being on the heights of a volcano, she looked to us men.
"Prince Chamorrick, I cannot say what you have done to convince my daughter of being gracious to you. This is most surprising. Let me however say that I am responsible for encouraging Queanay to stay in your presence."
My half-brother performed a low bow before saying, "Dearest Queen Bessinadar, let me say that her coming at this time has actually spoken in her favor. I believe that we are gaining an understanding of each other. Not a love, as I am informed you hoped, but something dear and precious all the same. Please, do not work against us."
"Work against you? Let me say, Prince Chamorrick that I was not in favor of some of the stunts Queanay did toward you, but I also accepted that she had barriers to break down in forming a relationship with you." As if she did not want to discuss the matter further, the Ice Queen changed the subject. "Who is this attending you?"
"That is my half-brother, Kevin. He is proving himself to be a very intelligent advisor to my schemes. He is the one that enabled our recent escape from your castle."
"It is good to meet you, Prince Kevin."
I followed the example of my half-brother and did a deep bow before speaking. "It is a pleasure to finally be in your presence. I am sorry about the destructive manner of our last visit, but your daughter did not make us feel like extending our presence in your home for any length whatsoever."
"And you have a different attitude this time?"
While I did not want to get on the bad side of this lady, I found myself rather amused by what I noticed in her behavior. "You do not know where you are, do you?"
"I most certainly... No, I guess I don't. Why don't you inform me."
It actually brought a smile to my face to hear Queanay say, "I believe they are coming."
Ignoring the royal lady, I moved behind Chamorrick as he straightened his jacket. He did ask me about his looks. I reminded him that this had been his plan, and he had been achieving success, so to simply keep advancing as he felt was proper. He glared at me, so I told him that he looked wonderful. He forced a smile to his face, then turned to ignore me while again checking his jacket.
As Lasotherral stepped out, the Ice Queen exclaimed, "Oh my word! Prince Chamorrick you do not want – wait, I will –"
My half-brother bowed to Lasotherral, then turned to the Ice Queen. "Speak, dearest Queen Bessinadar. If you know of something, please let us know. I dare say that it would help if some of our concerns could be brought forth now."
"Introduce me, Prince Chamorrick."
"Certainly." He turned and took a step to better have him able to have his hand indicate of whom he was speaking. "Dearest Lasotherral, this is the most honorable and noble Queen Bessinadar, usually referred to as the Ice Queen. She is the mother of Princess Queanay, who will one day assume her mother's title. It is to her castle that we are to be brought. My most esteemed royal neighbor, Queen Bessinadar, this is the pure fey Lasotherral who I am seeking as my wife."
I now saw the Ice Queen perform a curtsey before speaking. "It is an honor to meet you, Lasotherral, and even those that attend you. Excuse me, but are you agreeable to this?"
She asked, "Is there something about visiting your castle that should alarm me?"
"No, certainly not, but this is most strange."
"As one that has survived through ages, I can say that it is most unusual as well. I felt such a time would come, but at the same time with deep suspicion about now being the time. Still, there is nothing that prevents me from being kind."
"No, no – no. Prince Chamorrick, while you and your half-brother are present in my home, I would like to speak to the two of you."
My half-brother replied, "It would be ungracious for me to refuse, much less simply unwise. Still, Queen Bessinadar, I might warn you that the interrogation might go both ways."
"Interrogation?" I actually saw a warm smile come to the countenance of the Ice Queen. "Of course, it would be nice to converse with both of you. All right, I will approve the actions of my daughter. Let me say that all here will be welcomed to my home." She turned to her daughter to say, "Yes, we will be generous and gracious."
After performing a full curtsey to her mother, Queanay spoke of the reason for there being three coaches. Chamorrick was allowed to exchange simple statements of pleasure about future times together before directing himself to the middle vehicle. I watched as a large bag of some lacey material I almost suspected of being spider silk was taken to the rear coach with Ussiquik and one with a female voice stating they would ride within. Lasotherral actually accepted Queanay's offer to visit with her and her mother in the front coach.
No sooner did we climb into the vehicle than Chamorrick said in a forced whisper that gave it some volume, "Can you believe this?"
I had to honestly admit, "No, I can't."
"With Queen Bessinadar's blessing, things should definitely work out."
"I don't know. She seemed be against it at first."
"But she stopped herself. Trust me, if Queen Bessinadar thought it would be bad, she would have gone ahead and spoken. That lady is not afraid of anything. She certainly would not be afraid of giving me a stern lecture."
From what I read about the Ice Queen, I could not help but fully agree. Considering that Chamorrick had grown up neighboring the land of the Ice Queen, she certainly could be assumed to have direct knowledge of him. While the royal lady might be harsh and unfriendly to most, a local lad would gain a familiarity resulting in a different type of response. All that I had read spoke of those who intruded upon her territory, so their poor encounters could not be compared to those of which Chamorrick might be familiar.
I thought of the journey from my world to this one. While Rabbit had crawled up into my lap and slept, the journey really had not been long. I also considered the fact that the coaches had come to us after only a short amount of time. I thus expected a short period for us to return. I assumed Chamorrick thought otherwise when he found a position with which to take a nap.
I said, "We should not be long."
"Yes I know, but I bet we are."
"Yes, you have two curious women in the coach ahead of us. They will want to talk."
I had to chuckle hearing that, but after a moment of thought I felt a need to state an opinion. "That should work well for you."
"It could well do so. It could also cause Queen Bessinadar to remember why she almost spoke against it. Nothing we can do about it either way at the moment, but I am going to get what rest I can to assure that I stay my best."
"That is wise. You have done marvelously, and whatever advice I might have given this has been your scheme from the first. You deserve your honor."
"I just hope it ends up with me having a wife. Really, I have gone without one for so long. I have been true to my commitment, but it has been rough. I mean, my father and younger brother are not reluctant to gain someone for certain pleasures. Then there was you with this most cherished wife. I don't know how much longer I could have contained myself."
Again I had to chuckle, especially as I thought about the dalliances that brought about my being related to Chamorrick. "All I can say is that I hope she is as eager to provide."
"If she is my wife, what can she say?"
"A lot, Cham. Trust me, she can say a lot with almost none of it what you want to hear. Don't take things for granted. You talk to her and assure yourself that she will fully meet your desires. As special as Lasotherral is, you do not want to rush into this until you are certain that she is your type of special."
And our two men settle into the home of the Ice Queen.