A chill was in the air, far beyond the normal cold and numbness of the Unseelie court. This was the domain of winter. All who dwelled here only knew frigid air and frostbitten skin. No, this was something far worse. The cold clutches of death were upon the Winter Queen and her subjects. Despair and grief making its way into the icy hearts of this court. The Winter King had perished by the hands of the Seelie court. An attack so unexpected it took this arrogant royal couple by surprise. What happens when the untouchable meet mortality? Fae lived a long time, but that does not mean death is escapable. For centuries, the Winter King and Queen had ruled here. Their reign undisturbed for so long. There was peace because a pact had been made with the Seelie Court. Now it appears that was under false pretense to lure them into a trap. Trust was now shattered like an icicle splintering into thousands of pieces. It would never be able to be put back together again. Now was a time for action. A plan was being set in motion that would alter the reality of all three realms: Unseelie, Seelie, and Mortal.
Queen Mab knelt beside the corpse of her fallen lover. A simple white shroud forming neatly to his lifeless body. This was the only time she would allow herself to shed tears and to be weak. Of course, she would be expected to step down from power. However, her daughter would not ascend until the Seelie court was snuffed out. Mab could not let her twin, Queen Titania of the Seelie court, gain any more power or let her crimes go unpunished.
Mab stood and her long, white gown fluttered behind her. It resembled an avalanche cascading down a mountain. Her skin was a sickly blue and thick as ice. Her eyes were like sparkling diamonds and refracted light in a strange way. She held a humanoid shape, but in the Unseelie Court she was the true embodiment of winter. Her voice sounded like harsh air billowing on a subzero night where the air cut like razorblades upon the skin as she addressed her servant. “Quickly, gather Maeve for me. Time is of the essence.” The small hobgoblin scampered off to get the Princess as requested.
The exquisitely crafted ice doors opened, and Maeve walked through with her head held high. She was true elegance as she made her way to her mother’s throne. Maeve was like her mother in eyes only. Everything else about Maeve she had inherited from her deceased father. Her hair fell in long, cascading ebony waves. Her skin was pale sunlight that reflected upon the sculpted ice of the castle around her. There were tiny stars dancing around her skin as if she were a galaxy. Her lips and eyelids were coal black, representing the counterpart to light: shadow.
Queen Mab sat before her in an elegantly sculpted throne as she eyed her daughter. Maeve gave a slight curtesy to show respect for her mother.
“You have called upon me, your Grace?”, she addressed the Queen.
“Yes. As you know we are under attack. I can bide some time as we prepare for your father’s funeral which you will not be attending. I am sending you on a secret mission.”
Maeve paused and did not respond. Her heart ached with pain. She did not know how her mother could refuse her proper mourning of her father. However, Maeve knew better than to openly defy her mother in front of the subjects.
Mab took her daughter’s silence as acceptance.
“Queen Titania, my sister and your aunt, killed the Winter King. He was the strength that held this kingdom together. Now that he is gone, we are vulnerable, and our power can be stripped from us. The Winter Knight was also a loss we took in this unexpected attack. He died protecting your father.” The Winter Queen stomped her feet in anger. The powerful blow shook the ice castle.
“We can not stand for this! We will be going to war. First, I need you to retrieve the new Winter Knight for us. This mortal will be called upon to defend this kingdom. Fae law states it must be a mortal, but lucky for us Rada had a Fae lover. She birthed an offspring for him and hid this child in the Mortal Realm. He tried to hide this secret from me, but I know everything that happens in this court.” Queen Mab laughed madly before continuing.
“This is something we can use to our advantage. The new Winter Knight will be half mortal and half Fae. It shall be stronger than any previous Winter Knight we have had before. You are tasked with going to the Mortal Realm to retrieve Rada’s offspring. We know not much about this person except they have the birthmark of a snowflake that is visible to human and Fae eyes.”
Maeve finally looked her mother in the eyes. “Why give such an important task to me? I should stay here by your side as a united front. To show that we are not shaken by this loss. We are still strong..”
Queen Mab snapped her fingers to silence her daughter. “There will be a decoy in your place as you achieve this task for me. It will appear as if you never left. I am ordering you to do this because you are the only one left that I trust.” Queen Mab was sincere as she locked eyes with Maeve.
Maeve held back tears. Her mother was rarely kind with words or affection. She would do this, for her mother, for her kingdom.
“All right. How am I supposed to track this person?”
Queen Mab stood and sauntered down the stairs and came face to face with her daughter. “With this.” She handed Maeve a diamond necklace that had red human’s blood swirling around inside. “Inside is Rada’s blood. The portal will take you to the area in the Mortal Realm that his child inhabits. As you get closer this pendant will light up. It will fully illuminate when you come face to face.”
Maeve nodded. It was a simple fairy tracking spell. Blood and names were immensely powerful for spells. That was why Fae never gave their true names to humans. It would give them power over them in the Mortal Realm and force Fae to do their bidding. Maeve would have to be careful. It would be her first time in the Mortal Realm after all. “I will do my best. I do not know how I will convince this person to come here or explain this situation, but I will not fail you.” Queen Mab gave a nod of approval before ascending the stairs and returning to her throne.
That was it. Queen Mab spoke no more of this to Maeve and continued her royal duties as if uninterrupted. Maeve followed a hobgoblin servant out into the wintery woods to an old willow tree. This tree was centuries old and was one of many doorways between the Unseelie Realm and the Mortal Realm. Maeve knocked three times as the bark of the tree formed into a door. She opened it, stepped in, and the bark swallowed her whole.
Maeve was transported to the Mortal Realm as she stepped out into a wooded area. It was another forest. This forest was lively and in full bloom. The sun beat high in the sky upon her mortal skin. Fae were always in human form when in this realm. Maeve’s human appearance gave her bright blue eyes and layered black hair. Her skin was pale and had tattoos of stars in various places. The outfit she wore was a simple black dress, leather jacket, and combat boots. Her powers were also weakened in this state. The air she took into her lungs made her cough. It stunk and was full of pollution. Humans never knew how to take care of their world. She shook her head in disgust. Time to get this over with, she thought to herself.
“So the search begins….”, she said to herself as she took her first steps into the Mortal Realm.