~ (Continued) Hexday, 11th of Aprilis, 11831 ~
“Síofra?” Elizabeth asked that evening, “Shall you do something with me? It is to be a secret though.” The two were in her room, Lizzy sitting by the vanity and Síofra brushing her hair before bed. Dinner had been wonderful, everyone chatting and getting to know one another. After the second course they had even decided to again swap seats and keep things lively. She hoped these informal-formal dinners would continue.
She had spoken with Vivien about blancræft, so very glad he had said he would teach her, and then Pierre about magics in general. Tibault had been interested in that as well, asking some things about the fée. That conversation was what prompted this one with her new friend.
“Of course! Though why is it secret?”
“It may get us in trouble,” Lizzy said softly, not turning around to look at Síofra just yet. She trusted the other girl but was not sure about revealing the book or telling her about her dream-vision. She did not wish to burden Pierre with it, though she was certain she could trust him with her secrets.
“Those are by far the best!”
Elizabeth did not smile at that and Síofra put aside the brush to give her her full attention. “Lizzy? How much trouble?”
“I found a book,” she replied. She wrung her hands together in her lap. “About magic and Clandestina. It has sections on necrocræft and things about the fée that I do not think are widely known. Perhaps the tome has been hidden here for years and years. But I want to go read some more of it tonight. I saw it in a dream, I did not just find it lying around, it came to me! Or, she did. A woman gave me the book in a dream and I then found it in the same place in the library. I either deceive you to sneak past, which seems unlikely, or you come with me. I would like you to come with me.”
“Necrocræft,” Síofra whispered. It was not a magic that the fée practiced often, or at least she knew of no one that did. It was illegal for them as well, though if caught it was not the death sentence that that laws of human lands came with. The guardian of the magic, Mora, sometimes did come to visit the land. There was more chaos and blood in that plane than in this one and she thrived on it.
“Let us go then,” Síofra said. “I wish to read this as well. Maybe I can speak with Mother and Father about it, they may know more.” She did not like to be ignorant, and being at least in part human her father had insisted that some of the darker aspects of being fay were kept from her. Her mother taught her some things, but not as much as she would like. And this was too much even for many unseelie, as her mother was.
Lizzy stood up and walked over to her closet to pick out an evening robe. As she buttoned it she felt herself being called again. Not waiting for Síofra to gather her own overclothes she walked out of her door. As soon as she stepped foot into the hallway there was a chill, and a tug from her heart to the direction of the library. The night air and flickering candles only made it seem more surreal. She stood there in silence until she felt Síofra behind her.
“Do you feel that?” Elizabeth asked. Perhaps Síofra could sense it as well. But the other girl shook her head. She walked a few steps ahead of Elizabeth as if the change in position may help, but she then again shook her head.
“No, not a thing. How does it feel?”
“Like I will soon be pulled there by force if I do not go myself.” As soon as she said this common sense seemed to return. Perhaps this was not the wisest of ideas after all.
Síofra had already made her her mind though and was back at her side. “Go on. Show me.” She took her hand as if the connection would help her sense the magic.
Lizzy smiled to her friend, but it was strained, and she began to walk to the library. No guards, servants, or other inhabitants were to be found. It was late, but not terribly so, and it was odd that they ran into no one.
Instead of the feeling easing as they walked it seemed to pull her more. She felt it in her heart and it grew higher, curling around her neck and throat. She began to walk faster and faster.
“Lizzy! Slow down!” But she did not. She could not.
When they found the doors she flung them open and ran inside, gasping for air. The ‘line’ that was pulling her forward snapped and the pulling ceased with a sharp pain in her breast. She touched the spot, certain she may feel blood, but there was nothing there.
“My lady!” Síofra ran to her, knelt beside her (when had she fallen onto the floor?) and helped her to sit up. “Elizabeth!” She had thought Lizzy ran because it was a delight to do such things, but clearly not.
“I am alright,” Elizabeth replied. But Síofra was not sure if she spoke true.
“Shall I go fetch Pierre, or Lord Vivien? A healer?”
“No. No, I do not need anyone.”
The fay girl bit her lip but did not move. This was more, much more than finding an old book and wanting to read it. There was a need here and a magic she could not identify or feel.
“We should go back,” Síofra said. Her earlier desire to see this book and know the things inside had vanished. She felt cold instead.
“Non, I am fine.”
Lizzy stood up and then walked, slowly, to the back of the library. There were candles lit here and there, not many, but if anyone wished to read something in the evening it was still welcoming. Another servant would come douse them when it was deemed too late for reading. This made her feel better. It was still early enough that this was fine.
Síofra followed her a few steps behind. When before Lizzy had become frantic now she was calm—perhaps it was not that bad. Her smile had returned, that was good.
Lizzy brought out the book, having hidden it behind a few other tomes so it would not be seen, and placed it reverently on a desk. She smiled up to Síofra before opening it to the table of contents. Dutifully the lady-in-waiting grabbed a candle and used it to light the candelabra on the desk for more light.
“Let us see…where is that chapter about fée,” Lizzy said softly, scanning the sections. “Maybe you can tell me if some of the information is correct or not?”
Síofra nodded and they both sat and began to read.
Faery is a land wide and diverse, as our own lands and realms can be. In fact there are realms inside Faery as well. They are connected to our realms in Cardinalis, mirror images in terms of the land itself, but with properties far different for they are of course in another plane. We know that Clandestina has a sister in Faery, but instead of resting between Dracæna and Primulace, its neighbors are lands resembling Iridacea and Roseliande.
As a plane Faery can be seen in the night sky as the planet Regalis. And each realm inside Faery bears a name that ties it between its plane, and our own realms. The names are largely unknown, kept secret by the Fae, but I have found out that the realm Clandestina is linked to is called Regalna.
Síofra gasped. Lizzy looked over to her, not reading as quickly as her friend. “What’s wrong?”
“The book is correct. There are things written that I was sure are unknown here.” A name was sacred; a name gave power. As having the name of a person could give you power over them, the name of a land was also important. Faery was very rarely called her true name aloud because it would be too much information freely granted. To reveal which planet it was tied to was not done. The only reason she knew was that would be margravine after her mother, even her father was not aware of Regalna’s name as a realm.
“You should not read this,” Síofra said. “I do not think I should be reading this.” Secrets had to be kept safe. In the wrong hands, the wrong tongue, they could destroy. It was why her parents still held secrets from one another, and from her. Not that Rhianu did not trust her husband or daughter, but Elwin might be forced to tell something he would otherwise keep quiet.
“If it makes you uncomfortable then let us go back.” Lizzy did not say she would stop reading though. Hearing it confirmed that the book was true, and held secrets that were rarely uttered, convinced her that this was something she could not yet pass up even if dangerous.
~ Siwenday, 12th of Aprilis, 11831 ~
The next morning Síofra confessed to Pierre in part what they had done. She was worried about Lizzy and whatever magic or entity had her enthralled.
“I can break no oath to her, so let me be vague, Your Grace. She, and now I, have found a text about the cræfts and people of this land. It is… Extensive and elaborate in a way that is not often printed or even spoken of. I felt nothing unusual when I read it, but she feels drawn to it. I am worried! She ran to the library last night, gasping until the book was in her hands.”
Pierre closed his eyes. Was Mora playing with Elizabeth? Was the goddess still angry that Elizabeth had been chosen over her? Mora’s presence could be overwhelming at times and as a young suitor he had felt urges to kill or harm that Ophion confirmed were from her. Sometimes he was drawn to an area where there was illness or death. This could be similar. Or was this yet another entity all-together that Pierre had no knowledge of or association with? He could not tell which would be worse.
“Take care of her when I am not there. I will keep a close eye on her as well.” He prayed silently that Mora would return to him soon so he could ask her what was going on, beg for forgiveness, and offer himself up as the person to receive punishment if it was in fact punishment that drew Lizzy in.
“And where is this text?” he asked before Síofra left.
“In the library, deep in the back. I could not see it until Elizabeth herself took it out and showed me.”
“Take me there.”
Pierre searched the library, asking for Síofra to show him exactly where they had been standing the night before. She showed him the candelabra she had lit and the bookshelf, even the books she knew Lizzy had used to hide the tome. There was nothing there for either of them to find. It seemed the text was for Lizzy alone.
He thought about confronting Elizabeth, telling her not to read this book any longer, but that would reveal that Síofra spoke to him. And he was not certain she would, or could, listen. He had his own grave secrets, he was inclined to let her therefore keep her own as well, but he would keep her closer.