fantasy, On-going Stories, The Faceless Queen, World Weavers

The Faceless Queen IX

A room away I could hear her crying. The sky must have felt her heart aching and had broken open, shedding gallons of tears into the Evergreen. The droplets slid down the crystals like they were tears streaming down her cheeks.

I groan rising off the bed, I go to the hot spring farther away from Kera.

I’ve sent out my men to find a willing sacrifice for a face, a high price in return would be given. A part of me hopes they find no one while the other fears if they don’t I would see my fathers ghost haunt me in the meeting with the other leaders.

Another voice whispers with Kera’s face in my mirror’s reflection. I shudder at the thought; Flora was a friend that once haunted my reflection. Months with her face looking back at me. The whispers in the hallways of the castle echoed with judgment, fear and worst of all, pity.

The doors of the hot spring open. It’s Kera with puffy eyes lost in her head.

I rise from the hot springs to go making her notice me. She stumbles backwards tripping over her nightgown.

“I’m sorry, I’ll go I thought you were asleep.”

“It’s fine, I am done.” I climb down the Hot spring steps fully naked. She turns her back to me.

“I’m sorry.” She mumbles.

“Sorry?” A little of the fury that wiped my face away earlier in the day unfurls inside me.

“As you say I am like the king of Uvelin, I’m sure I should steal your face this moment as punishment.”

I see her wince.

“You’re not like him. I’m just…” Kera begins to sob fighting it.

“I am a monster, there is nothing to be sorry for.” I move towards her slowly.

“I never hid it from you.”

She turns and hugs me. “I’m really sorry.”

She gazes up at me, and I could feel my power hungry to wipe her face away. To make it mine.

I struggle to free myself from her, but she holds me tighter.

“Let me go, I don’t want to hurt you.” But she won’t let go.

“I know you won’t do it.” She pleads.

A blaze spreads through my body enveloping both of us.

Something in my core begins to thread with hers like a gentle pulling and intertwining. Our souls were interweaving into something I have never done before.

I try to fight it afraid I’m killing her. I struggle fighting harder, but the more I pushed, the heavier the hold.

The fire burns out of our body making the whole hot spring room even more humid. The fire reflects upon the crystals in the trees making it look like it too was on fire.

Flashes of our memories intermingle in my mind.  Kera could see my childhood memories with Flora, my mother and father and my stepmother. While I could see her own, sitting on the floor crying in a corner with wires coming out of her ears.

A final tug and we both sink to the floor crying.

“Am I dead?” she looks around blinking plenty.

Relief spreads through me, I hadn’t killed her but what had happened?

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fantasy, On-going Stories, Short Story, The Faceless Queen, World Weavers

The Faceless Queen VIII

I was raised to be oblivious of the world around me. It was easier to bend me to the will of my father and his court. I had spent my youth playing dress up with beautiful gowns and hiding in my room in self-pity.

Now I sit in the Evergreen Library and I feel foolish.

Eydollon has a massive library bigger than the whole of the Evergreen compound but I had never thought to explore it further than Eydollon’s history and laws. I was conforming myself to past beliefs.

Here the books about the other parts of Eludemare are beyond that I could believe. Kera beside me is as astounded.

“Holy Moly there’s such thing as shapeshifters here. There’s this Cateline that’s rumoured to have turned a fox into a shapeshifter. How cool is that?!”

I roll my eyes. Ever since she had begun reading the books along with me she had lowered her guard down and exposed she was not from Eydollon for I had been to every part of my kingdom and her accent and way of speaking was not from any part. However, the way she read about the rest of Eludemare she seemed unaware of its existence as much as I.

Oddest of all, she had the ability to read the texts of all the different languages although never being to the places.

“Kera, where are you from?” she freezes and looks up to me uncertain what to say.

She sighs, “Here.”

“I’ve read about dragons, shapeshifters, Jinn’s, floating cities, reincarnated Gods what can’t you possibly say that could shock me further than that. I already know you are not from Eydollon.” I slam the book I’m reading shut on the table in frustration.

“I don’t know if I can tell you. One thing I will say though is, I’m here to help you somehow.”

“I’ve seen in your mind you are from another world.”

“Since we’re being honest and prying into each other’s faces, I hope I wasn’t sent here to be sacrificed to be your next face. It’s not that pretty anyway.” Kera rises to walk away but I pull her towards me.

She tries to fight, eyes growing round and frightened. I was growing tired of her rebelliousness and fear.

I grab her shoulders tightly and look deep into her eyes like the other girls she’s seen me take their faces. I could feel her shaking but she defies herself from uttering a sound.

“I made you my servant because I could not take something you are unwilling to give. Have I not proven I would not hurt you. Why must you make it so hard to become a friend?”

“You want to be friends? Would you be friends with the King of Ubel after finding out he turned his court into the Skotos?” I let her go like I was burnt. She saw me equal to that of King Ubel.

She immediately begins to apologize but I throw her out of the library with a brush of my hand slamming the library doors shut at her face.

I could feel my inner fire burning out of my skin and the face of the latest girl burning off at the edges.

I was a monster but not like the King of Uvelin that I knew.

My old true senses returning slowly, my ordinary human senses burning away.

How could I have been so blind to think someone could be my friend.

A hand grabs my arm and I try to shake it off but it holds firm tightly.

If i did not stop the fire I would be faceless to the rulers tomorrow. I could not find a willing sacrifice in time.

“Don’t fight it.” It was the voice of the man her stepmother had brought to introduce me.

“Let go of me. You don’t understand!”

“I do, I was abandoned in the streets of Uvelin to become an odd faceless boy child serving a provincial lord. He used my powers to feed him an endless supply of dumplings.”

“Dumplings?” The fire inside me snuffs out, wisps of it flicker out the tips of my fingers and hair.

The man chuckles letting my arm go. “Long story short, I had been caught on the street creating a dumpling out of thin air. I was hungry.”

I couldn’t help imagine a scrawny little boy with dumplings before him only to be disturbed by men to take him to the provincial lord.

“I wasn’t that scrawny, I was only caught because I had gotten greedy and hadn’t been careful. I usually eat in the safety of an abandoned church cellar.” As he says this I could see it in my mind from his perspective. He was sharing his memories with me.

“We can do that? Share memories?” I ask creating a barrier in my mind.

“Yes, only in our true form. No need to build a wall against me, I would not pry if not invited.”

“But I could see into Kera’s dreams without her permission.”

“She is not like us. We mustn’t share our gifts with others. They may take advantage of it.”

“Kera is different.”

“I know.”

The man sits down in Kera’s seat and beckons me to sit down.

I look around and the world around me feels different, I could not help feeling relieved to have my senses undiluted but I could not stop seeing my father’s judging and disapproving eyes.

I look back at the man and I notice he looks different. He was naked but for bright orange flames flickering around the edges with darker swirls across his body covering the important sections.

I could feel a flush rise up to my face if I had one.

“What you see is my true form as I see you since we have met. although right now you seem to be a little pinkish like you were blushing.”

“What are we?” ignoring his comment.

“You know the answer to that, your stepmother has shared our people to you. Well, half of our true people. We were born in human form, encased. While they are in their true form entirely.”

“You’ve met them?” I sit in disbelief.

“I have travelled around Eludemare, looking for others like us. There are many, taking many different forms of work to use their unique abilities. You are the only other person with a similar ability to create from our energies.  Most of our kind have simple abilities and are kind and humble while there are those who are angry and hunger for more power. We are no different from human folk in terms of greed.”

“I meant the true versions of the Shinkami, you have met them?”

He nods, “I met one in my travels, he was quite arrogant but he says no human or half Shinkami can enter their domain. I have yet to try.”

The library grows quiet. I look at the clock and see that time had moved on quickly. It was time to go back to my quarters.

“I think I better get back to check on Kera.”

The man stands and holds his arm out. “I’ll walk you.”

“I’m Joaquin by the way.” He says as I hook my arm with his.

The library doors open.

“People call me the Faceless one back home.” Joaquin chuckles, “Your real name?”

“I’m Alessa.”

Kera stands at the door looking forlorn as she looks up her face turns to amazement.

I look through her eyes and I too am speechless.

We look formidable.

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fantasy, On-going Stories, The Faceless Queen, World Weavers

The Faceless Queen VII

We reach Seers Island in a few days; It was a large island with a magnificent port which was filled with many different kinds of ships. The other dignitaries from the farther reaches of Eludemare had already arrived.

We travelled through pristine villages until we reached a forest unlike I have ever seen. The trees were not made of leaves and wood but were of glass and crystals. The leaves of every tree were different in shape and size. Some had orbs dangling from its silver branches clouded with smoke. Some were green gems shaped like leaves.

In a large clearing in the centre of the forest was a massive flat structure with only two levels made of glass. The top level was a large circular room that could fit a hundred men and the bottom level seemed to stretch across the whole of the clearing, which was likely to be the rooms. We could see figures roaming inside but were like smudged forms shifting into different shapes as a figure walked by.

The entrance had a large arch that was covered in carvings of figures in robes.

As we went down the carriages, seers dressed in silver white robes welcomed us and led us to our rooms.

I was brought to a large round room with a circular bed at the centre. Books on shelves lined the window ledge.

There were two doors to the left of the entrance of the room. One was to a passageway to a single hot spring where a ledge was littered with soaps and ointments, there was no ceiling, and it opened up to the glass treetops and the sky.

The other door was to a smaller room but similarly designed. A round bed at the centre with the walls of the room covered with shelves full of books and items. There was no window but the ceiling was a glass dome facing the crystal forest treetops.

“Wow, if I had a room like this back home I would never leave.” Kera reacts to her quarters.

“The Seers do seem to have a certain elegance. Their art is also interesting.” I say pointing to a painting hanging in my chamber.

It was a painting of an enormous white dragon, its wings stretched out wide, hovering over a village while below the village was like a mirror reflection of the white dragon except it was black.

“I have never seen this painting before, or an illustration of this in my books. There has never been a dragon sighting in decades.” I say.

Kera laughs, “So there are dragons here to huh?”

“Yes, there are stories that a kingdom long ago was ruled by a dragon who transformed itself into a man,” I say as I remove my cloak, longing for the hot spring water waiting for me in another room. It is said to have magical properties.

Before I could say another word or have a thought, a knock comes from the door. I nod to Kera to take it.

It was Matheus with a letter from Eydollon, which I ask Kera to read.

“It’s from Grand Duke Florent. He is just letting us know everything is alright and hoped that you had a safe journey.”

“Write to him, let him know we have arrived safely and thank him too. I’ll be in the hot spring; you can go after I am done. The springs here are known to have magical properties of healing.”

She nods as she unpacks our trunks to find the letter paper.

Tomorrow was the day I would face the leaders across Eludemare for the first time.

I must be ready for them and learn more about them. That would be my priority for this evening. First, the blanket of a warm healing spring to soothe my aching body. Maybe even heal my inability to keep or have a face.

I enter the hot spring slowly. It is deliciously warm and I could feel a tingling feeling spread throughout my body.

I hear a knock on the front door. I hear Kera open it and start arguing with whoever entered.

The springs own doors bursts open and at the doorway stood my step-mother.

“I see you still wear a face. ” Behind her, a man dressed elegantly in a dark ash grey suit stood his back facing towards me.

“I’m sorry to hear about your father, although he was not the kindest towards you. With that aside, I have someone you must meet.” she turns to introduce the man but he keeps his back facing towards me.

“I think it’s best we wait for the Queen to finish with her bath don’t you think?”

My stepmother laughs.

“Don’t be modest, I think you’ve seen her already in all her glory the moment she entered the Evergreen with your senses so enhanced by the crystals

The man turns around and I see he is faceless. At the edges of his face flames dance, tinged with a pinkish hue like a blush.

He’s like me. I could feel my hands clench with fear and embarrassment.

“Leave,” I command.

My stepmother hesitates but the man tugs her out as Kera apologises and closes the door.

I sink into the spring water as far down as I could go to cover my face.

There is a change in the air and I could not help feeling I am far from being in control of it.

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