My Fair Traitor, Book 2: Prologue
Seventeen Years Earlier
“Did anyone see you, Insley?” he asked.
The queen snorted in derision to cover up her supreme anxiety over the fact that she had just embedded a charm of their joint creation within the mind of a hospital nurse in the maternity unit, only to leave her precious daughter in the care of defenseless humans. The very human baby she held in her arms now would act as decoy in case her husband’s suspicions came to fruition.
“I feel that this is an overreaction to a situation that has never escalated to more than empty threats and awkward meetings,” she replied. She and her husband stood just under a tree a few hundred yards from the hospital’s entrance. The darkness of the night and their individual glamours shielded them from prying eyes. The baby in her arms let out a tiny wail. She rocked her gently, making cooing sounds to silence the tiny infant’s hungry wails. The queen’s guilt at taking another mother’s child and basically abandoning her own to who knew what kind of fate threatened to tear her heart in two.
Could relations between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts really have deteriorated to such an extent that this desperate move on their behalf had actually become justified? There hadn’t been a Changeling Selection in decades.
“The king of the Seelie Court has grown more unstable with every passing day. It isn’t just his own paranoia we now have to deal with. For whatever reason, he believes that Prince Jareth and Crysta are fated mates,” her husband, Rodri, replied.
Her eyes opened wide in disbelief, Rodri’s actions now making far more sense.
“Delusional,” Insley hissed. “The logistics of such a union would be catastrophic for both Courts. Besides the fact that Jareth is nearly two hundred years her senior, the natural order of magic would never allow fated mates to be chosen from two different seasonal elements.”
Rodri heaved a frustrated sigh, reaching for the tiny human when it let out another wail. She watched as he took the babe from her and cradled the child in his arms. Her heart twinged at the familial sight. They had tried for so long to have children. Centuries of pain and frustration due to her inability to produce an heir and their complete ignorance as to why she had remained infertile for so long. Those had been dark times for both of them, creating a strain on their relationship that had only recovered after the news of her pregnancy with their daughter. Giving birth to Crysta had been one of the most joyous days of their union, and now they had to give her to another family to raise.
To humans, no less.
“I explained that to King Moridan during the emergency meeting he called to order. To save the Fae realm, he demanded we kill our daughter and prevent inevitable disaster. My protests fell on deaf ears.” His soft gaze moved from the baby in his arms. The severe look he gave her made Insely’s heart stutter with fear.
“He made it very clear that if we refused to…deal with the problem…he would have no choice but to deal with it himself. She stays hidden, my dear. For as long as it takes to disprove his theory. Crysta isn’t safe while the king holds to this irrational belief.”
She nodded, tears flowing freely as she stifled the urge to run back to the hospital and hold her daughter one last time.
“Please, my love,” her husband murmured, “she will have a member of the Fae watching and caring for her from a distance at all times. We’ll come retrieve her once the danger has passed.”
“Who did you assign such an important task?”
“The less you know, the better.”
His answer gave her more cause for panic.
“By the realms, Rodri, has it really become so dangerous that you must compartmentalize this information? We are not defenseless. Our power is just as great as the Seelie Court’s.”
Her husband’s worried look made her insides grow cold.
“I truly believe Moridan is imbalanced himself. There is something dark and dangerous lurking within his mind.”
“Dark magic,” she whispered.
He merely nodded.
The consequences of anyone dabbling with impure magic were catastrophic. The realms of the Seelie and Unseelie Courts existed within the principles of balance, on the goodness of the elemental energies within that balance. Dark magic was a threat to the Fae realm as a whole.
“What can we do?” she asked, hating to feel so helpless.
“Exactly what we’re doing right now. Crysta’s magic is powerful and pure. She must live to help us combat this threat, especially if King Moridan’s insanity has trickled down to his heirs. Jareth is nearly as powerful as his father. We won’t be able to fight against two royals of the Seelie Court if they’ve embraced the Dark Arts, and there is no telling what Jareth might do if he believes the king’s delusions and fights to discover if Crysta truly is his fated mate. The possibility of such a unique bond would be impossible for any Fae to resist.”
“And what if the delusion is a reality?” she whispered, horrified at the thought.
Her husband’s gaze hardened as he steeled himself for his answer.
“Then she will remain in the human realm for the rest of her life. She and Jareth must never engage in such a union. The Fae realm would deteriorate as a result.”
Insley let out a choked gasp, fighting her sorrow at the unfairness of their situation. She turned to look one last time at the hospital where her daughter peacefully slept.
“I’ll come for you,” she whispered. “No matter what we discover.”
Within moments the king and queen of the Unseelie Court dissipated from the human realm, taking the human infant with them.
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Thank you for reading My Fair Assassin. I hope you enjoyed this novella. This was first published in a fun paranormal anthology called Strange and Lovely. I encourage you to check that book out on Amazon in order to discover other talented authors of paranormal romance. Also, be sure to stay tuned for the next book in the series coming out in a few months.
I originally wrote this for my niece who was struggling with her own self-esteem and self-worth. I wanted her to understand that the differences in her facial features were beautiful, distinct, and unique.
It’s hard to find yourself in high school. It’s hard to appreciate the differences you bring to the equation when every high school “hierarchy” has its own code of what is acceptable and what isn’t. Being proud of who you are can be a challenge when faced with mean girls and all of their drama.
I wanted my niece and any other girls struggling with their appearance to understand that the right man, the right friends, the right people will always love and accept you for who you are and what you bring to the table. To be caught up in changing any of what makes you beautiful for the approval of others will only make you unhappy in the end.
As Jareth so aptly questioned, “You removed your most beautiful, defining features so humans would love you?”
It’s hard to tell that to a teenager or even an adult without getting an eye-roll or two, so maybe wrapping this lesson in a paranormal package will catch their attention and drive home this important message.