I bowed my head before Nuada. I had been consort to him and he was the foster-father of my eldest daughter, Maeve. And though definitely she was not the only of his many children, she was but one daughter among many daughters and sons born to him. I prayed that the fondness that he and I had shared for lo these many years would still remain. It had been some time before we had seen each other, and yet still, he made my heart quicken by his sheer Sidhe power.
“My Lord, “I said softly, “I beg a favour of you.
Nuada placed his hand of flesh beneath my chin to raise my eyes to his. His face, including his eyes were smiling. The fondness, it seemed, had remained.
“Faelyn,” he said, pulling me to the chair beside him, “have I not told you that you have but to ask.”
“Nothing annoys a ruler more than someone who always begs a favour of their beneficence.”
“You have yet to ever annoy me, Madam, or to ask me even for the smallest of things. Even when you left my side to go your way, you could well have asked for a stipend. You could have had any number of things, as was your right, and yet you didn’t.” He sat down on a chair and bade me to sit beside him. “So, how can I help you?”
“I ask your advice, Lord.” I said.
Nuada nodded his wizened head, “Would that my wives and concubines or even my children would seek my advice as you do. But when you are an old man such as me, perhaps that is the one commodity that is possessed in abundance but certainly not valued by many within those who remain close. What would you have of me?”
“You are never old, Nuada, “I smiled up at him, “You are timeless. You will always hold a great part of my heart, and you know that. But for you I …”
“You are too kind to me, Faelyn, “ he raised his hand to my lips, “ you would have made this old heart a better king I think, if you had agreed to be my Queen. But all that is past now, and I respect your choice, my dear. Your favour?”
I told him the story of John and myself, I told him of our marriage and at last the man for whom I had been waiting for in my life had come. I told him of our children and our lives and our dreams. I told him that the bonds were pure and bond by the soul by Fae and Human standards and through the Seven Realms of Existence – or so I had thought. But now tragedy had struck – he had, because of the lies of others been hurled into the world of the unseen, a spirit wandering, angry, confused. What could I do? Could we find each other once more? What if something had gone horribly awry? Was there a way to break the bonds so that his soul could be free?
Nuada’s brow furrowed deeply. And he shook his head. “What was the method of his death? Was he killed or did he kill himself?”
“Truthfully, I don’t know, “I said, “the coroner said that he killed himself, and yet another man, a man who hated him all but admitted to me that he killed him. Nuada, “ my eyes welled with tears, “What do I do? I have tried to reach his spirit, but there is a void,. It’s like a landmass that I am shouting across, and he cannot hear me, and I cannot hear him.”
Nuada was quiet for many long moments. He simply stroked my hand and appeared very thoughtful. Finally he spoke.
“He will be reborn, Faelyn. That much is certain, but there is a rift between who he was and whom he will be and you now. For whatever reason, the failure he holds you responsible for. Whether or not you could have prevented it is immaterial. You are likely to bear the brunt of this on both sides and it will be a careful dance that you must maneuver to avoid not losing them both – and yourself. But it is not impossible.”
“What if I cannot? “I asked, unable to hide the desperation in my voice, “what if it is beyond me, and….”my voice faltered, “what if he no longer loves me?” one tear rolled down my cheek and onto my lap, followed by another that Nuada caught with the heel of his hand and made shushing noises, that drowned out my choked sobs.
“You love him, don’t you?” he smiled, “if you truly love him then you will do all that is necessary and there will be, cannot be a failure on your part, my dear. Even if you must set him free of the bonds – your love will remain.”
I knew of what he spoke, and I nodded wiping my tears on my sleeve. “Yes, I could do that. But…who will deal the blow…”
Nuada’s expression turned to one of sadness, “He must. Only he can. Not even I can undo that level of magic, that bond between two souls. Only he can render the blow that will break it. But he must want to do so. However, what you propose is so extreme, Faelyn. Is hope so far dead in you now? That is so very unlike you.”
He heaved a sigh and signalled to a servant. The man nodded and pressed a panel on the wall that slid back to reveal a large black and silver sword. It was a Fae sword with a light of it’s own.
May the dread of me, be as the dread of You….
The servant brought forth the blade and handed it to his Master, Nuada, He of the Silver Hand. The Red King regarded the blade for a moment and closed his eyes in silent prayer. When he opened them again he handed the sword to me.
“It will take a true Fae blade to render the blow. I am sure that you are thankful your neck is slender, and this blade will have no problem either way.”
He looked at me as I took it, and his own old eyes welled with tears, “Could I ask you to reconsider? Will you grant me one favour in return to the one that I have granted to you?”
“Give me your word that when….if the time comes, you will let me know. Let me care for your children, Faelyn. Not just Maeve, but the rest? The regency must be safeguarded. I don’t think you want your children to inherit another war do you? “
“No, I don’t. But you are not asking me a favour but rather granting me a reward, my Lord.”
I have never forgotten Nuada’s kindness. Though I was never his wife, I have been hard pressed to find a more loving and good hearted person within the seven realms of existence
Muse: Fanny Fae
Fandom: Original Fiction / Folklore / Mythology
Word Count: 1186