Disclaimer: There will be adult situations in this story. It is a work of fiction, so set your imaginations aflame. I do not make any money off of this and anything written is my own work. Thank you, enjoy!
Audrey, an intern reporter, has the chance she has been dreaming of. She gets to go to a fairy ball and interview a real live fairy prince. However, he is no prince charming, and these are not the faeries she grew up reading about. She will have quite the tale to tell, provided that she makes it through the night. And what's this about soul mates?
Audrey was nervous.
She was positively tremblingwith nerves. And with good reason.She glanced in the mirror, looking for visible signs of the jitter bugs currently doing the Charleston in her stomach. There were none, other than a slight tension in her posture and a quiver in her pale hands. She clenched them tightly into fists and put them on her curvy hips. "Get it together, girl!" She harrumphed at her reflection. A wry, half smile formed and pulled a corner of her cheek up.
This was it.
She was an intern for a prestigious magazine by the name of La Chic that focused on the glitz and glam of the famous and –most notably- the supernatural. Regular humans didn't get to interact with a lot of high class supernaturals, and La Chic had thus far dominated the magazine industry by getting exclusive access into their mysterious world, ever since they collectively announced their existence 10 years ago. Sure, everyone suddenly had a distant relative who had Fae blood, or a grandma who had been humped by a Satyr, but the true, pure-blooded supernatural community tended to keep to themselves and discouraged daily interaction. 'Mixing' was considered beneath them and only the stars of the human world got invited to their prestigious parties. That, and reporters.
Press was important to the supernaturals—especially to the Fae. Good press meant fewer laws against them, and gave the world at large a feeling of security in knowing what they were like, even if it was little tidbits that really amounted to nothing. There had been talk of war and extermination when they first came out, but some of the supernatural community had held high political and business positions, much to the chagrin of the general populace. They had enough influence already established that they coaxed the humans into reluctantly accepting them into society. There were still nay sayers, of course, but for the most part it had been a relatively smooth transition.
Audrey was an intern, and her boss, Celina, had been one of the few humans invited to a prestigious summer solstice party hosted by the court of the summer Fae. However, Celina had been traveling to India to interview some old god, Audrey forgot which, and her flight back had been delayed due to a storm. A frantic phone call and a surge of nerves later, and here Audrey was, dressed to the nines. She was squeezed into an elegant smoky gray dress that fell from one shoulder before sweeping out at the waist and deeping into charcoal on her hips before fading into black around her feet. She was waiting for the limo that would take her to the party. "Deep breaths," she reminded herself, locking eyes with her reflection.
She could do this. She had interviewed the Fae before.
Never the royalty, mind you, but she had studied their customs and knew enough not to offend anyone too deeply. Or so she hoped. A musical ringing filled the air and jolted Audrey, nearly scaring her out of her uncomfortably tight dress.
"Coming!" She hollered, pausing to glance one more time in the mirror before rushing down the stairs. A brief battle with her high heels and a grimace of pain later, and she opened the door to reveal a footman that definitely had some Fae in him. High, sharp cheekbones and canted eyes the turbulent gray of a storm-tossed ocean greeted her. "Hi." Audrey said breathlessly, giving him a brief bow. He inclined his head a fraction and silently swept an arm towards a beautiful white limo decorated with silver filigree.
"Reporter Lewis, I presume?" he asked in a lilting tenor.
"Oh, yes. That's me. Hi." She gave him a small smile and tried not to look unnerved as his unusual eyes met hers again. The swirls of colors were disconcerting, and made her a little dizzy. She had never seen ones that pronounced before. She wondered what his parents were. Unfortunately, it was considered rude to pry into a supernatural's ancestry.
"This way, please." He gestured towards the limo again and followed along behind her wary, careful steps. She had never been good in heels, and never seemed to get better. A fall sometime during the evening was inevitable, and she hoped it would be in a private setting rather than public. He held open the door for her and shut it firmly after she was safely ensconced in the beautiful machine. She ran her hands absentmindedly over the leather of the seats, and let out a deep breath of air. This was the event of the year, and this could make or break her as a reporter. She just had tosnag an interview with some sort of supernatural royal, or someone who was in a scandal, or, and here she almost started salivating, one of the High Queens. Thus far, no one had managed to get an exclusive on Titania or Mab, and most reporters were practically rabid with the thought of it. It was the chance of the lifetime. Unfortunately, she had more chance of a turkey falling out of the sky and crushing the top of the limo than getting a chance to sit down with a Queen and chat with her.
The rest of the ride was a blur to her, and soon she felt the engine purr to a neutral halt. She forced a bright smile on her face, flicked off any imaginary specks on her dress, prayed to God that she didn't fall straight out of the limo, and waited for the driver to open the door, which he did promptly.
The beautiful green carpet that first greeted her eyes inspired her lips to make a little o of surprise. So much for the red carpetshe thought wryly, and smiled for the lines of cameras and eager faces gawking up to see who was stepping out of the beautiful limo. She was a no one to them, and she saw a few disappointed faces before the pulsing flashes disoriented and blinded her. Luckily, the driver had anticipated this and offered her a sturdy elbow.
"This way, Reporter Lewis." He murmured into her ear, guiding her down the lush path and towards an archway that she knew would take her to The Nether, which was where the Fae and other supernatural creatures dwelled. She felt a little thrill of fear and excitement. She had never been to The Nether—few humans had. It was a dangerous place for non-magical folk, she knew, and she would have little protection there. Still, this was the chance of a lifetime. The archway itself gently pulsed with colors, some drawing the eye and others fading as soon as you glanced at them.
"Ready?" the driver asked, seeming to sense her nerves. She wouldn't be surprised. She had known a few fae with empathic abilities. She nodded firmly, not trusting herself to speak.
"Walk forward and state your name." he instructed, watching her carefully. She wondered if he had seen people faint or run away before. The arch had almost a feeling of danger to it, and she wouldn't be surprised if it had turned more than one human away. She was by no means the bravest, but if it meant getting the interview of her life…well. Time to gird the loins.She stepped forward and mustered up all the confidence she could. "Audrey Lewis." she stated, mentally crossing her fingers. The colors pulsed and slid away, inviting her inside. She looked back at the driver and he gave an almost imperceptible nod. She gave a small smile back and with that, she stepped through the arch and into a whole different world.
Audrey gasped as a disturbingly intimate feeling of raw power ran through her entire body, bring a flush to her cheeks and causing a few wisps of hair to pop out of her carefully groomed up-do. She felt as though something had touched her soul, and had changed her very being. Perhaps it had, these were strange lands, who was to say what could and could not happen? The feeling only lasted a fleeting second though, vanishing as she breathed in the freshest air in her life. It almost had a sweet, sugary flavor to it, as though she could taste the streaks of moonlight filtering down through the open roof. She was standing on a raised marble dais, and a footman was bowing low at his waist to her. She must have stood still for a second too long because the footman frowned at her, straightened his body and consulted a list, which magically appeared in his hand.
"You are Reporter Lewis, are you not?" he asked disdainfully.
"I am." Audrey gave a short incline of her head, not willing to bow to someone who had shown her disrespect this early in the game.
"Welcome, to the summer solstice. Your host, High Queen Titania, bids you welcome. There will be no blood spilled on her ground tonight and no violence offered. All come in peace and all leave in peace." He stated formally, his eyes watching her closely.
"I thank the High Queen Titania and pledge peace for the evening." She calmly replied, having practiced this a thousand times before. The footman nodded and gestured to the bustling courtyard below.
Audrey tried hard not to stare, she really did, but there was too much for her brain to interpret. Everywhere she looked was a fantastical creature, and a color she couldn't name. Magic was being performed everywhere, and she could feel it dancing over her skin like a fine mist. It was subtle yet potent, and she found herself intoxicated by its siren song. So, naturally, the first thing she did when she reached the bottom of the stairs was bump into someone.
"Oh, I am so sorry!" she exclaimed, blushing from head to toe. Nice. Audrey. Nice.The woman she bumped into turned and Audrey had to force her jaw to stay closed. She had the face and head of an exotic, colorful bird. Her plumage was beautiful, a deep green giving way to swirling purples and magnificent bursts of yellow. Her eyes were beady and black, but warned of a sharp intelligent. The woman clicked at her, and it sounded annoyed. Audrey held back a gulp and eyed the sharp, curved edge of her beak and the talons clutching at a drink.
"Human." The bird woman trilled in a speech that was strangely distorted. "I have never met one of your kind. Are you always this clumsy?" she cocked her head in a manner that seemed genuinely curious.
Audrey's mouth fell open. She was startled—she had never thought that she would be a rarity here. "I am called Audrey, and no, some of us are quite graceful. I have never met one of your kind before, either. May I inquire to what….sort of being you are?" She phrased her words carefully. Saying "species" would most likely offend the bird lady, and she didn't want to ruffle her feathers.
"I am a Paridisian Avian. From the family Plume. My name is Zephyr." The woman seemed proud of her family name, and Audrey bowed respectfully. Not just anyone was invited to this party, so there was a chance that this woman was related to royalty, or even royalty herself.
"Peace and Pleasure." Audrey responded, which was the formal greeting to someone you respected. Zephyr bobbed her head in a strange sort of nod and made a chirping noise at her. Audrey had no idea how to translate that, so she just smiled. Seeming satisfied, Zephyr spoke again.
"Humans are generally not permitted in The Nether. Especially in areas controlled by the Fae. What is your purpose?" Zephyr stared at Audrey intently.
"I am a reporter for La Chicmagazine, which covers events in the ah, The Nether." She bit her lip. Supernaturals really didn't like being referred to as supernatural, and she had almost slipped. She grabbed a sparkling beverage off a tray and took a sip, trying to steel her nerves. She blinked down in surprise. Her drink had…there was no other word for it, danced on her tongue in a delightful sensation of bubbly bliss. Zephyr gave her a croaking laugh.
"You have never had Lena's Elixir before, have you?" she warbled, still giving occasionally croaks, which Audrey found slightly disturbing.
"I haven't. It's…different." The reporter looked at Zephyr and hastily added, "Tasty though." She took another sip and grinned at the strange feeling. Zephyr bobbed her approval before making a strange gasping noise. Alarmed, Audrey stared at her. If she drops an egg on the middle of this floor…
"The High Prince of Summer arrives." She murmured, looking over Audrey's shoulder.
"Aros is here?" Audrey breathed while whirling around, looking wildly to see if she could spot him. But there was no need. It seemed as if the whole courtyard has frozen, staring at the prince, waiting to see what he would do. Audrey felt an ounce of sympathy for him. Their collective attention was a heavy weight, and she could not imagine bearing it. But he showed no signs of nerves. His posture was militant in its perfection. He wore a white suite with a golden trim and a deep burgandy sash decorating his front. His hair was a deep chestnut, with what looked like streaks of auburn flame highlighting and dancing through it. She couldn't see his eyes or his facial features from here, but from the pictures she had seen of him, it was near perfection.
Slowly, he descended into the courtyard. He never glanced around or gawked, just stared straight ahead and ignored the masses as they whispered and fawned over him. At the bottom of the marble steps, he waved a gloved hand towards the general masses and, in a sonorous, resonate baritone, he stated formally, "Peace and Pleasure to all."
An echo of his words sounded through the air. Nodding in a satisfied way, the summer princ stepped into the throng and his figure was lost in the wave of the beautiful, glittering crowd.
Zephyr turned to Audrey and trilled a happy note. "He," she said matter of factly, "is what I call a fairy prince. You have those in human tales, do you not?" Audrey laughed and nodded.
"Oh yeah, he looks pretty much perfect for the part." Zephyr eyed her, then leaned in. Audrey felt vaguely apprehensive at having that sharp beak so close to her eyes, but reigned in her nerves and didn't back away.
"Did you hear, human, that the Romos Crone is fated to match two couples with their lifemates tonight?"
Audrey's eyes widened. Oh, my God. When anyone asks where I got this scoop, I am going to tell them a little bird told me."Are you serious? Who predicted that? Do you think it's true?" she glanced around at all the beautiful creatures around her. Not a single one of them was less than stunning, even if they were unique and unusual to her amateur eye. She couldn't imagine finding a lifemate among them.
"Oh, yes." Zephyr blinked and cocked her head. "The Spirits of Tsulwe have been spreading rumor of it for ages, and they are rarely wrong." She gave a croaking laugh again, and continued, "The Romos Crone has not matched a couple for over a hundred years. "A breeze for some, but others are rather short-lived." She glanced sympathetically at the reporter during her last statement. Apparently Audrey fell in the latter category. How delightful to be reminded.
Audrey frowned at her. "So, what did she just go into hiding for a hundred years? That seems like a long time." The Romos Crone was a legendary wildling fae that belonged to neither court, one who had been gifted with a unique ability to match true soul mates. More so, those she blessed with a match were rarely visited by tragedy, and became something of a legend themselves. She had never been wrong. Million Dollar Matchmaker wishes she had that kind of talent.
Zephyr shrugged. "What the wildings do is of few creature's concerns. As long as they present no threat to the kingdoms we leave them alone. Are all humans this nosy?" She laughed, winking a beady eye at me.
"Humans." A cold, cultured voice cut in, spitting out each word as if it had a foul taste. "Nosy, oderous, ignorant. Unpleasant company. Honestly, not much better than a mountain troll, if even at all."
Audrey whirled around, wobbling a little on her heels. Red flashed before her eyes. How dare someone offer an insult like that out of the blue? this party was supposed to be celebrating peace and summer! She opened her mouth to give the offender a serious tongue lashing. "Just who and what do y-" her jaw closed abruptly as her eyes took in her offender.
It was the prince.
First chapter down, many more to go! I have had this story bouncing around in my head for quite awhile, so it is exciting to finally be writing it.
Zephyr: Zye (rhymes with rye) Fur
Aros: A (as in air) ros (rhymes with los)
I don't think any of the words are too challenging now, but there might be a couple later on that might cause a couple head scratches.
As always, Reviews are very much appreciated. Let me know what you want to see in the story-any particular magical creatures that you have a hankering for? Thank you for reading!