Boredom does not suit the High Prince of Summer.

Aros watched the revel around him with an impassive gaze. His mother, Titania, She Who is All of Summer, had decided to celebrate the old hag's matchmaking with a bacchanalia filled with excess of all base pleasures—mountains of decadent food, fountains of Lena's Elixir, and of course, barely clothed Fae writhing under the stars to primal music. Humans were scattered about, hopelessly entranced. The majority of them would not leave this night with their sanity intact, if they made it out alive at all. The Prince shifted uneasily on his wooden throne and ignored his blood's calling, preferring to watch the antics from afar. He would not debase himself on this night, nor any other.

A moment later, a beautiful, perky pair of breasts entered his line of vision. He followed the contours of her collarbone up to a face no less lovely than her ample cleavage, and smirked. "The moon light kisses your skin tonight, Sinidaire."

"Such poetry, my Lord. Is it only the moon's lips I am to feel on my skin tonight?" Her jade eyes were round in her sweetly cherubic face—features that were unusual for the Fae but made her all the more exotic for it. She bowed before him: a deep, graceful thing that emphasized the perfectly contoured lines of her body. He let her hold it for a few seconds longer than necessary; admiring the work of art before him.

"Rise." He commanded, stepping down from his dais. He stopped, scant inches from her body, and she trembled despite herself. Such Power. She smiled, pleased. She would never get used to feeling the slow pulse of his magic. It was like a heartbeat; strong and sure of itself. The Prince of the People should have such power as his. It made them stronger as a whole. "And whose lips would you have, Sinidaire? Mine?" He shifted her bone white hair away from her face and cupped her round jawline, caressing the supple softness of her cheek.

"If my Prince wishes it to be so, then it will be." Her breath teased his lips, and he inhaled, capturing her delicate scent. She smelled of warm grass on a hot summer's day.

"I wish it to be so." He gifted her with a rare smile before lowering his face to hers, tasting the petal velvet of her lips. She shuddered and tilted her head up fully, begging to be devoured. He smirked against her lips, waiting a moment to remind her who was in control before deepening the kiss, claiming her mouth with a ferocity few would believe could come from the icy Fae lord. As he did so, a curious itching started on the back of his neck. He ignored it in the favor of entwining his tongue with hers, eliciting a breathless moan from the lovely Fae that drove him mad with desire. She wrapped her arms around him, bringing their bodies flush, and he broke away with a ragged groan, stopping before he dragged her to the ground and had his way with her there in front of everyone. Not that it would be particularly unusual for any of the Fae. Still, since he had never indulged in fleshly pleasures in front of the eyes of his court meant that doing so would cause a stirring. Especially since the majority of them knew he was mated—although to whom, they knew not. Perhaps he could lead them to believe it was to the beauty in front of him. Now there's an idea… "Not here, Sindaire. Come." She gave a delighted little laugh and followed him with an eagerness that only young lovers possess.

He drew her into the trunk of the Great Tree, and hurried along the path towards his room. The flowers that guarded the doors that lined the hall turned curious eyes towards him, and he made a show of frequently stopping, pushing Sinidaire up against the earthen wall, ravishing her mouth and claiming her body with his hands. Some of the more prudish flowers blushed, but they were the surest ones to gossip. Good he thought fiercely, let them talk. I will not be tied down. Not to a-

"My Prince is as wild as a stallion tonight." The Fae girl laughed, her sharp teeth gleaming in the near darkness of the tree path.

"It is a night for celebration, is it not?" he did not return her smile, feeling a bitterness settle in his heart over the words. A celebration indeed. A fool's celebration. The lady's smile flickered and took on an imperceptibly artificial tone.

Sinidaire felt a moment's of hesitation, though she did not show it. That's right. The Prince was betrothed by Fate. Usually mated pairs were exclusive until a thousand years past, and even then the lovers they took were shared. It was unheard of for them to be seeking sex elsewhere. She felt a moment's worth of sympathy for his mated. She would not trade places with them for the moon in the sky. A tumble with the Prince was fun once and awhile, but his heart was distant and shrouded in ice. It was unbecoming of a Fae of Summer, but no one dared voice their concerns. Cold as he was, his power was unquestionably a torch, setting ablaze anyone who dared to cross him.

"It is, my Lord." She heard herself murmur, answering his question with demure tones.

"A celebration of the flesh then." He pushed open a door behind her—the door to his chambers, and she would have fallen had he not wrapped his arms around her. She glanced around shrewdly. This door was different than the last time she was here. It always was. None could navigate the Great Tree unless they were of royal blood or invited. It was said that many a Fae had become lost in here—devoured by the flora and fauna or were eternally trapped by the twisting, earthen passage. Worse yet was those who dared to open the doors—legend had it that they were connected to different dimensions and places in the Nether where primordial creatures of shadow dwelled, hungry for flesh and blood sport. She turned her attention back to the handsome man currently pressing her bodily into his room.

"My Prince is full of mischief tonight, I fear." She playfully tugged on a golden strand of hair, which caused his eyes to narrow. She giggled, which turned into a breathless sigh as he bit her collarbone in rebuke and stroked the wound with his wet, heated tongue. He kept kissing and nipping her skin, guiding her feet towards the sunken hole filled with blankets in the middle of his demesne. She felt the edge with the heels of her feet and allowed herself to fall backwards, sinking into the silken embrace. Sinidaire sighed happily and closed her eyes, running her hands over sheets made of spider silk. It was decadence, pure and simple. She opened them moments later, surprised that she had yet to feel the heavy weight of her lover upon her. The Prince's eyes seemed…angry? But she couldn't fathom why. His hands made restless twitching motions, and he shook his head as though a gnatterspry buzzed about it.

"Damn," He swore softly, holding his head between his hands.

"My Prince?" she asked, looking up at him. His face looked distant, made of stone and utterly devoid of interest in her. That would not do. She moaned lowly, pushing her breasts up as she arched her back, making a show for him. She slyly peaked up through her lashes, intending a searing gaze that would inspire the lust in even the most stoic of men, and was not even spared a glance in return. A pout graced her full lips. It was insulting to have her lover ignore her whilst they were in his bed chamber.

"Hem. Hem…"

She started, whipping around to face a section of the rooted wall where the little cough had come from. A cherubic little face with round cheeks and an upturned nose—a sunflower- looked down at her, sneering, before turning its narrowed eyes to the Prince, who was now massaging his temples. It appeared he had not noticed the interruption.

"Hem… Lord…Queen Titania has just given me word to instruct you to come to her chambers at once."

"I," The prince said, standing to his full height, "Do not take orders from mere flowers." His glare was glacial. "Nor did I invite you in to my personal chambers. I believe I shall be speaking to Xanafer on behalf of this transgression. Leave me be, weed." The flower flushed a deep orange and sputtered with indignation.

"My, MY! Well truth be told I have a few things to tell Xanafer myself if you ask me, us flowers are a proud race! We have faithfully served your family for eons!" The flower continued to mumble and rant, fanning itself with flailing petals. The cherubic face was flushed, perspiratory beads of dew forming on its yellow forehead.

"Leave before I wither and brown the leaves from your very stem, you insignificant thorn!" the Prince snapped, and the power that thundered through the words shook the air around them. With a terrified gasp the flower disappeared with a faint pop.

Sinidaire turned toward the prince. "My Lord, do you think it is wise to anger the flower-children and face the wrath of Xanafer?" She shivered, remembering meeting the head of the flowerchilde in her youth. A powerful, wise being who devoted his love, and his children, to serving the royal fae, who as far as she knew had treated them with respect and love in return. It could mean nothing good if the Prince decided to end thousands of years of a working partnership. She looked at him, not daring to think the thoughts that threatened to cross her mind. She would follow her Prince when it was him time to rule, she just hoped that the years left before that would soften his hate. She doubt many of the fae knew him as she did. His disgust for those he believed below him bordered on palpable. She watched his face turn up in a sneer.

"That old root?" He gave a low harsh laugh, "He knows where and when his children are allowed, they broke the rules coming in here. I will not be punished for their transgressions."

"But they came on Queen Titania's order." she reminded him gently.

"Are you appointing yourself as my advisor now, Sinidaire? Leave me. I grow tired of your presence."

She sighed impatiently at his dramatics. "Are you quite sure, my Prince?" She ran one hand lovingly down her body, cupping a full breast for the briefest moment before journeying south. She let her legs fall apart and exposed herself to him, even going so far as to glamour a blush on her fair skin. Sinidaire was the perfect mixture of a lust and virgin. Her round eyes gave her an innocence that conflicted with the confident, sensual movements of her hand. The Prince's breath hitched as her thighs fell open, and she felt a burst of triumph. Finally! She hadn't had to try this hard to seduce someone in the longest time, and she was tiring of the game.

He looked at her with lidded eyes and stepped into the pit of pillows, falling to his knees between her lean legs. She felt his strong hands grasp her hips as he roughly pulled her against him. She felt him, his hardness jutting into her, she pushed back, letting out a breathless moan as he ground himself into her flesh. She heard his harsh pants behind her and fabric rustle. A searing pleasure sored through her as he entered her, rutting against her like an animal in heat. He had never been a gentle lover, but this, this was something else. Something based on a need and a desire she couldn't fathom. He pummeled his hips against her flesh and she was almost there—so close—

Just as she was reaching the pinnacle, his manhood limp and slipped out of her wet heat with an ugly slurping sound that halted them both.

Sinidaire's mouth opened in shock. She met the Prince's eyes and froze. The Fae woman was stunned into silence—erectile dysfunction was practically unheard of in Sidhe. It was considered the gravest insult to your bed partner. To be so shamed by a Prince, she was ruined. Her skin turned ashen and she felt sick.

"It is not you, Sinidaire. It is this bond," the Prince said in a desolate voice, reading her expression, "it is a plague upon my flesh. It has cursed me to celibacy. I suspected it earlier—when I looked upon your naked beauty it was as if a gnatterspry had birthed its litter in my skull. Forgive me."

The distraught woman shoved the Prince away, too ashamed for protocol, and wrapped a silken sheet around herself, shielding her lovely curves from his eyes. "No, Aros—you arrogant swine! You were warned by the bond, and still you chose to continue! I will be treated worse than the most common whore! No man will have a woman who has been treated as I have tonight! If word gets out we-

"IT WILL NOT BE SPOKEN OF." The Prince thundered, his eyes flashing with tongues of flame.

"It will!" she moaned hysterically, grabbing at the Prince. "They saw me leave with you—they can tell! My aura will not be marked by yours! You must mark me!"

When two beings—even humans, though they could not see it, poor creatures, were intimate, it left a lasting mark for all to see. It was a brief claim, and to leave without it when they had silently, yet obviously, declared their intentions before the court…she choked back a sob and reached desperately towards her companion. "My Lord…" she cooed, exposing herself once more in jerky movements. "My lord don't you want me?" she reached towards his member, trying to tug it to life.

"Calm yourself, Sinidaire!" he barked, slapping her reaching hands away. "Do you forget your place?"

"I have no place, my Lord, you have taken it from me!" she fought him blindly through her tears, reaching for his body before suddenly freezing in place. His power had snapped around her, and it was suffocating in its vastness. Her chest heaved with her breaths, and she fell as still as a rabbit, waiting for the final blow.

"I am your Royalty, wretch. Know your place. You may share my bed on occasion but you are not. my. equal." His breath washed against her in harsh waves, and she let out a terrified whimper. "You will not speak of this, Sinidaire. I am known for my fickle moods. You will tell the others that we were interrupted by summons from my mother which soured our passions. It will be a blow to your pride, but it has a ring of truth to it and that shall be enough."

She squeaked out a breathless affirmative, and he released her from his power's hold. "I will not speak of this to a soul, Prince Aros. You have my word."

"Thrice you shall give me your word, and with it I will bind thee, death be the sentence of the oath breaker."

"My Lord is surely not serious?" she asked, affronted. It was an old oath of ancient magic, and one that bound all creatures of the Fae. It was used to make deals with other creatures, but rarely within the realms of the court itself. It was considered something of an insult to ask for it. The Prince made a show of tucking himself back into his trousers and adjusting his regalia into perfection once more before answering her.

"Do not question me, Sinidaire. You will give me your word again or I shall tear it from your throat. Either way I shall receive it."

"Thrice I speak it, and may it be! I will not tell a soul!" She cried, feeling the heavy weight of the ancient shackle close around her throat. If she were to tell, the invisible collar would tighten and strangle her to death. She gathered herself up to her fullest height after, glaring at the Prince. She gracefully walked over to the door and gave him a deep bow. "Do I have permission to depart, my Prince?" her voice was carefully blank, but a maelstrom of shame, anger and fear howled underneath.

"You may go." Aros watched her leave, and after she was gone he picked up a vase and threw it, shattering it against the earthen walls. It did nothing to calm his anger.

"That was given to me by the leader of the clayomes—a remarkable piece of pottery. Any flower placed in it would flourish and grow, as if it were never cut." An exasperated female voice made itself known.

"Mother." Aros acknowledged, ignoring the shattered remains of the vase. "So you saw."

An amused laugh rang out through the room, and the air was suddenly cleaner, brighter. "I do not consider myself a voyeur, dear son," she paused, thoughtfully, "at least not where you are concerned."

The Prince did not deign to respond, and with a wave of his hand the room transformed itself from a decadent bedroom to a tasteful parlor. "Have you come to gloat?"

"Nonsense. I would never." She took a seat and sniffed daintily, "that would be unbecoming of me." She snapped her fingers and a winged teacup fluttered into her outstretched hands, brimming full with a blue liquid. "Ahh." She sighed in delight, "I always love Xanafer's little concoctions. I heard you insulted one of his children, threatened to turn him to dust or something of the sort?"

"You cannot send your errand runners into my chambers. I have expressly forbid them from coming in here, little spies, and that little weed knew better."

Titania fixed her son with a cool gaze. "This kingdom," she reminded him, "is mine. You belong to me. All of Summer is mine to command. If I wish it to be so, it is. Do not forget who rules."

He held her sharp green eyes for a moment before the burning pressure became too much. Her stare had been known to set fire to things before, and he preferred his face to remain unblistered.

"Forgive me, my Queen." he inclined his head, ceding to her authority. She waved her dainty hand in his direction, relaxing back into the chair once more.

"I have thought long and hard over this hatred you harbor for those you deem to be lesser than us." She studied his face gravely, and sighed deeply, uncharacteristically melancholy. "I fear I have failed to raise you well enough. You are young still, but would you go to war with the world if you had the throne? We live in peaceful times, my heir. The court gossips about you—the Ice Prince they call you. Were you adopted from Winter, they wonder? Will the glory of Summer fade into eternal autumn with you at its head? A tarnished version of what it once was?"

"It will not." Aros said firmly, but the Queen shook her head sadly. "What man can rule who calls a gift of love a curse?"

"It is a curse!" He spat, hands clenching with anger.

Titania observed him quietly, clearly expecting this outburst. "It is as I thought. You leave me no choice. You are to go to the human world and live as they do—I am binding your powers, to be used only in danger. Roma informs me that ShadowVox will be arriving to court Audrey shortly—that he is already feeling the pull towards her. He will protect you both."

The Prince was shaking, and his rage was pouring off of him in waves of heat. The floor underneath his feet began to melt, and his pupils had turned a pure white.

"You dare?" he whispered at her, so incensed that the scales of his dragon form began flickering up and down his arms, signaling that he was losing control. "You cannot!"

"I AM QUEEN." Titania stood, and her presence filled the room. "Insolent child, who are you to deny me? ME?" She raised her arms, and began chanting in a deep, dreadful voice.

"Bás fuath, agus mar sin d'fhéadfadh cumhacht beo, déanfaidh Samhraidh borradh agus grá tús!"

As she spoke, the words became tangible; ancient symbols flashed and whipped towards the Prince, who unleashed his power in an attempt at defense. The symbols wrapped around it, and it held for two, three seconds before bursting in a shower of sparks. The symbols wrapped themselves around the screaming male, and sunk themselves deep into his flesh, rendering him powerless and unconscious.

The Queen released her power with a sigh, and knelt next to her son, softly stroking his face. "You may think me cruel, my treasure, but it is you who make me so." Then, with her head bowed, she gave the order for the wind to whisk him off to the human world, leaving him penniless, powerless, and for the first time in his life, utterly alone.

I am SO sorry it took so long to update—I recently became a nurse (hooray!) and have a new job that has been eating away at my time. Totally worth it though. Unfortunately, I can't say that my schedule is any more free than it was. I will be attempting to update at LEAST one day a week. Maybe Tuesdays. Seems like a good day for an update. Anyways, the next chapter finds Audrey at work, and Sebastian trying (not very hard) to fit in. Who is this disheveled man who stumbles into the door...?

I promise there will be main character interaction soon. After all, ShadowVox is coming into play here and we all know he's a bit of a perv! Thank you, as always, for all the kind reviews and suggestions!


Gnatterspry: Sort of like a magical cross between a butterfly and a bee. Very fluffy, often brightly colored. They can have a nasty bite that turns the affected area a rashy purple, but it goes away within a day. Like their bee brothers, they pollinate the flowers in the Nether.

Clayomes: Dwarf-like creatures who are obsessed with infusing pottery with magic, but rarely give their workings away. To get such a gift from them is an honor. They usually won't accept favors of payment, either.

Sinidaire: A water Fae. She is not of noble birth herself, but her charisma and coy flirting and favor of the Prince has allowed her to climb the social latter.

Xanafer: Father of the FlowerChilde, or flower children. He is the Great Tree. He rarely speaks to anyone other than the Queen, and for reasons unknown has pledged himself and his children to the protection of the royal family. It is thought that he is in love with the Queen. Very few people know that the Great Tree is a sentient being, and one who can manifest himself independently in a humanesque form. Most assume him to be an elusive advisor of sorts.

"bás fuath, agus mar sin d'fhéadfadh cumhacht beo, déanfaidh Samhraidh borradh agus grá tús!"

"Hatred dies so power may live, Summer shall flourish and love begin." (It's Irish. I don't speak it, but google translate does and I love the sound of it. Very magical and primal.)