Wings of Desire by Arianna Skye

Wings of Desire
The Fey Chronicles, Book 1
by Arianna Skye

Eternal Press

eBook ISBN: None Given
Print ISBN: 978-1470055356

Rhiannon Kinsley’s life goes from boring to downright crazy when a freak lightning bolt strikes her laptop. To make matters even more bizarre, strange words and symbols flash across the computer screen and she hears a mysterious yet sexy voice. Time to call the men in white coats!

Chapter One

“Oh, boy! I can increase my erection by twenty percent.” Rhiannon Kinsley shook her head and chuckled. “Stupid spam,” she muttered, clicking the delete key. Stifling a yawn, she watched a rivulet of water trickle down her shoulder to her naked breast and over her stomach to pool on the black leather chair where she lounged at her desk. Allowing the towel to slip from her just-showered body, she stretched. She didn’t even bother putting on a nightgown. One of the few comforts of living alone.
Boredom pounded its way through her body. She couldn’t even work on her design project because Sanders, her boss, had ordered her to keep her work in the office. He’d even threatened to send her to Workaholic’s Anonymous meetings. Was there even such an organization?
“Imagine that. An employer chastising an employee for —” A sarcastic gasp escaped her mouth. “Working?” Go figure . Didn’t he realize she had nothing better to do? Now she was stuck here, at home—
alone—with nothing to occupy her time.
No one interesting was logged into chat tonight either—not even Cernunnos, the cyber-sex maniac. Not that she really cared. He was the king of cheesy cyber-pick-up lines.
She couldn’t help but laugh. Almost everyone who logged into Otherworld Chat had some sort of deity for a screen name. As luck would have it, her real name just happened to belong to a mythological deity. She could thank her Fleetwood Mac-loving parents for that. Then again, they had always been good to her. Rhiannon glanced at the picture taken with her parents at her college graduation. Even two years after their death, she still missed them.
She minimized the chat screen to check her email and highlighted the next unread message. A mass of garbled words and symbols filled the screen. What the hell was that crap? Probably some ancient language, or something.
She laughed. Yeah right, a virus was more like it. Her finger hovered over the delete key, ready to vanquish the unsolicited mail.
An annoying buzz reverberated from the speakers, startling her. She minimized her email and went back to the instant messenger program.
Cernunnos had sent a chat alert and waited for a reply.
Wassup, sexy goddess? Where u at?
Shaking her head with mirth, she typed back: Sexy goddess? You must have me confused with another deity. Perhaps Aphrodite or Venus?
I’m talkin’ ‘bout my Mother Goddess—Rhiannon. Another message bleeped across the screen. Ne-thing fun goin’ on 2nite?
God, how she hated those abbreviated chat words. “Apparently not,”
she said while she typed.
So, whatcha wearin’, hottie?
Yay! Cernunnos was horny. Then again, when wasn’t he? Every time she logged in, he was eager to jump her net-bones. Not to say she never got horny, but she needed a little more than a steamy cyber-sex session to get off. It wasn’t like she’d never take part in such an adventure, it just wasn’t high up in her list of cyber-priorities. She figured a real cock beat out a virtual one any day. Unfortunately for her, she and her best friend Lara had taken a vow of celibacy until they met the right man. Definitely not Cernunnos, the wannabe Celtic Horned God.
Jeans and a t-shirt. Rhiannon fibbed about her attire. No need egging-on the ever-insatiable Cernunnos.
Wut kinda sexy goddess doesn’t want 2 have sum fun?
“The kind that’s tired and wants to go to bed.” Jeez, would this guy ever give up?
I’m bushed. I had a long day at work. It wasn’t a complete lie. She’d had a horrid day at work. Three servers went down, three people called in, and three others were fired. The rule of threes was definitely in effect today—if there even was such a rule.
Rhiannon, Cernunnos shot back. It’s time.
Oh great, Cernunnos really needed some release.
Umm… Time for what? A cyber-hummer? Rolling her eyes, she clicked the send button.
I am serious, my sweet. Time is drawing near.
Serious? She doubted there was one serious bone in this bozo’s body.
Dude, you’re weirding me out,she replied, alarmed with his abrupt change in tone. It was like he’d logged off and let someone else use his screen name.
Beltane is upon us, my sweet. There was a pause, and the message continued. Our souls must join together to overcome the darkness that threatens. You must return. Your people need you.
Really, C. You need to lighten up with this chat stuff. You’re taking this role-playing a little too seriously for me.
Wonderful. Everyone had warned her about psychos on the Internet.
Now it looked like she’d found the biggest one.
It is very serious, mo cridhe.
Yep, it was official! Cernunnos had left the building.
Trobhad, he typed in a strange language, similar to the one in the email she tried reading earlier. Trobhad, he repeated.
“Come to me? What the fuck?” How did she know what that weird word meant?
What the heck? she responded. Are you okay?
“Come to me.” She heard a faint voice in her ear. The sexy Scottish lilt sent a shiver up her spine, and her breath caught in her throat. An odd heat spread throughout her body and her heart raced—not in fear, but something more exciting and primal. She craned her head and scanned the room. What the hell? It was only her and her overly-expensive computer.
A deafening crack of thunder shook the house. Damn! Where’d that come from?
Sorry, C. It’s storming here. I gotta go.
Have no fear, Cernunnos messaged back. The thunder and lightning will help activate the portal that will bring you back home.
I think you need to call a psych—
Another loud blast boomed, and a flash of light streaked through the open window. The lightning whizzed past Rhiannon and a blinding flash surrounded her.
“What the hell?”
She flew from the chair and crumpled into a ball on the floor. Sparks flared and sizzled about her. Heart pumping in her chest, she looked up at the desk. Thick, dark smoke billowed from beneath her brand new, state-of-the-art laptop.
“Well, there goes one thousand dollars down the drain.” She let out a deep breath, her heart still thumping a wild beat. Thank God, Sanders had her on lockdown. Otherwise, she’d be up the river without a paddle.
As if responding to her voice, the laptop’s monitor flickered and glowed. The strange words from the email she received earlier and Cernunnos’s cryptic messages flashed randomly on the screen. She couldn’t help but stare at it, hypnotized by the ancient symbols swirling around.
“Come to me,” a haunting voice called out. “Trobhad, mo cridhe.
She crawled up to the desk and examined the laptop. Smoke rolled from under the keyboard. Not a single light lit up on the entire crispy mess. Only the monitor with its weird symbols and words glowed with life.
This is nuts, she thought, as she shook her head in a feeble attempt to get his strange voice out of her mind. It was bad enough she suffered from stress and anxiety. Now she could add schizophrenia to the list.
“A therapist would love this.” She grabbed the towel that dangled on the arm of the chair.
“I’ll come for you, my sweet,” he whispered in his weird language.
Not again! How in the hell did she know what his words meant?
Maybe it was some strange language developed by her subconscious to drive her insane. If that was the case, it was working.
“Sorry, C.” She let out a loud guffaw. “They don’t allow visitors in the psych ward.”
She threw the towel over the conundrum that was her laptop. Out of sight, out of mind.
Forcing a smile, she padded to the window and traced her finger over the charred mesh of the screen. With a bemused shrug, she pulled the window closed and locked it. She spun around and strode out of her office and mustered all the confidence she could.
“Good bye, mo cridhe,” she whispered, raising her chin.
Rhiannon slammed the door behind her. It was late, and she needed rest. She’d deal with her crispy mess of a computer tomorrow morning.
****
Cerne Silverwing drew his fingers over the mirror and closed off his connection to the human world. If Rhiannon Kinsley, as they called her on Earth, was indeed their princess, their kingdom was doomed.
He traced the frozen image in the mirror. Her hair, though red with curls, was too short. She painted her face like a human woman and wore clothes only a man should wear. However, she did look ravishing in those tight cutoff breeches and flimsy tops, but it just wasn’t done in Fey.
She wasn’t faerie; she was human. And even if she were a faerie, her time on Earth had tainted her faerie spirit.
But tonight she’d come to the portal window naked. Tantalizing flesh flecked with drops of water, just begging him to lick the trail from the rosy bud of her nipple down to the hidden treasures at the apex of her thighs. He groaned, his member throbbing against his mushroom-skin breeches. If she wasn’t their princess, she was a temptress sent by Lilith to lead him astray. Even with her Earthly attributes, there was something pure and ethereal about her. Such an aura could not be imitated. And she’d understood his words. Lilith’s minions were not so daft to acknowledge they knew the faerie language. Then he’d seen the royal sign, the small star-shaped birthmark that graced her stomach.
He grumbled. All the signs, despite the deep foreboding in his chest, pointed to her—this impudent human who challenged his calling.
“Blasted elders,” he mumbled, pulling his fingers from the mirror.
Rhiannon Kinsley’s image evaporated into the mists, leaving him staring at his own reflection. The faerie elders had spoken. He had no choice but to honor their wishes.
A giant flash of light emanated from the center of the room. Despite the suddenness, he wasn’t fazed. “Maeve.” Smiling, he bowed. “How can I be of service?”
Maeve Windsong, bathed in soft light, stepped forward. Her translucent lilac gossamer gown flowed around her. Long flaxen hair whipped gently about her face while her peridot-green eyes glowed with warmth and vitality.
“Cerne.” She allowed him her hand for a kiss. She was already an elder, even though they were near the same age. “I hear you’ve found Princess Rhiannon?” She floated above the floor, her iridescent wings fluttering with the breeze.
He should’ve had his wings by now. Since he turned ninety, he had been destined to become the prince consort. Alas, his destiny had been thwarted when Lilith, the conniving Dark Faerie Queen, managed to steal the babe Rhiannon from her parents and sent her to the human world.
“I found a young woman residing in the human world named Rhiannon Kinsley. However, I should point out many people on Earth have now adopted use of otherworld names.” He chose to leave the bit about the birthmark to himself. He wasn’t sure the human-reared Rhiannon was ready for the battle that headed their way. When he brought the princess into their world, the entire kingdom would be consumed in chaos. If she proved her human upbringing, peace would never come.
“Lilith’s army grows stronger. Soon she’ll have enough minions to attack. We need Princess Rhiannon— now. ” Maeve fluttered down to the settee and lounged, allowing a shapely leg to dangle from the plush cushion. She twiddled her toes in anxious excitement.
He arched a brow. “Are you here to discuss the elder council, or have you come for other reasons?” He lounged against the stone wall and raked a hand through his hair.
Maeve’s eyes flashed and tapered to a gentle glow. “Belenus and I are now wed—very happily, I may add.” She fluffed the gossamer gown to cover her leg. “If I were interested in a dalliance, I would’ve shown you more than a leg.” She winked. “And Bel’s and my offer still stands, if you’re interested. One needs to become versed in the art of pleasuring a princess.”
He stifled the chuckle that threatened to burst from his mouth. Did she truly believe he needed lessons in lovemaking? A princess, underneath all that princess garb, was still a woman. Cerne grinned.
And he was well-versed in the pleasuring of the fairer sex.
Her giggle broke him from his thoughts.
“I can read your mind, you know.” She flashed a wide smile. “Not that I want to know what goes on in there. But you’re correct, you are well-versed.”
With the grace of a swan, she lifted herself from the settee. In a giant swoop, she fluttered her wings in playful salute. “All things considered, as prince consort, you are expected to attend the princess’s orientation into the faerie pleasures.”
Maeve swooshed and flitted toward him. “It’s part of the ritual, you know.” She ran her fingers through her hair. “If you want to guarantee the princess’s pleasure, you’ll join Belenus and me.”
“I am to be prince consort. My only wish now is to pleasure my princess.”
Maeve floated behind him and placed her hands on his shoulder, rubbing in a slow circular motion. “I sense your need, Cerne. You want her. I can feel it. The time is now.”
“She’s beautiful.” His breath hitched as he recalled Rhiannon’s image in the mirror. “But she may be tainted.”
“The elders will be the judge of that. I’ve come to give you your orders. You’re to use this portal you’ve found and bring Rhiannon back.
Your mission begins now.” Her voice echoed in his ears as she evaporated into the mists.
The elders had spoken. His journey had begun.
****
Pulling back her sheets, Rhiannon climbed into the vast expanse of the king-sized bed and luxuriated in the silkiness teasing her skin. Her nipples pebbled as the soft satin brushed against her bare breasts. A soft moan escaped her lips. How on earth could she be so turned on?
Squirming in her bed, she slipped against the sheets. Nothing would stop the warmth that radiated within her. She grazed her fingers across her rock-hard nipples and gently rubbed. She arched her back and allowed her hand to cup and squeeze a breast. The other hand roamed down her stomach and waist to the heat that radiated between her thighs. Soft moans filled the room while she stretched, stroking her clit.
Frustration built up inside her. No matter how hard she touched herself or how much she pinched her nipples, she could not come.
Rhiannon grumbled, turned over, and opened the drawer of the nightstand. She needed release and she needed it now. Fumbling inside, she looked for batteries and the special toy she’d bought just last week.
Now was the perfect time to try it out.
“You don’t need that, mo cridhe.” The whisper danced around her, enveloping her in warmth.
No, what she needed was satisfaction, but the lack of release was making her crazy—crazy enough she heard that sexy voice again. “Not you again,” she grumbled, slamming the drawer shut. “Go back to the computer monitor and bug a circuit board or something. I need to sleep.”
“Roll over, mo cridhe.”
“Stop calling me that stupid name. I’m not your anything, you…
you… figment of my imagination!”
Especially not his heart. Great! She really could understand his imaginary language. Priceless!
Strong arms encircled her waist and pulled her against a firm, muscled chest. “Are you imagining this?” He, whoever this apparition was, whispered the words softly, lowered his lips to her neck and nipped and nibbled the sensitive flesh behind her ear. His thick woodsy scent drifted to Rhiannon’s nostrils, intoxicating her.
Perhaps she’d finally fallen asleep, and this was a dream, a delicious erotic dream—one she hadn’t had in some time. “Whatever or whoever you are…” She tried to fight the desire ripping through her. Her body tingled while he stroked the hair at the nape of her neck. “Please don’t stop doing that.” Her willpower shot, she rubbed her back against his chest. She might as well enjoy this dream to its fullest.
“Look at me,” he whispered, turning her to face him.
Shoulder length raven hair framed his tanned face. Jade eyes sparked desires yet to be discovered. He wore a sapphire-laced tunic and a pair of strange grayish-tan pants. Despite his bizarre outfit, he was gorgeous.
And, of course, he was in her bed.
“It’s a dream, no worries.” She ran her fingers up her mystery man’s tunic and pulled it up over his head, marveling at the magnificent piece of art that lounged before her. He put all the classic sculptures to shame.
His biceps bulged and his rock-hard pectorals rippled. She decided to be daring and traced a finger from his taut chest down the beautiful washboard abs, to the strange trousers he wore. Lowering her gaze to the bulge in his pants, she smiled. Her dream guy was well-endowed.
“Hmmm?” She brushed her nipples against his chest. “I’m about to fuck you and I don’t even know your name.”
“You know it in your heart.” He wrapped an arm around her waist and lowered her to the bed. His large hands kneaded and massaged her breasts as he brought his lips to hers.
She welcomed his kiss, wrapping her arms around his neck and entwining her fingers in his ebony locks.
“Cernunnos?” she whispered against his lips. Please don’t be that crazy cyber-freak.
He pulled his lips from hers. “Cerne.” His soft breath teased her skin.
“You’re hot for me.” He flashed a seductive smile. “Soon we’ll be together.”
Soon? Why not now? Rhiannon’s hips arched up while his fingers danced across her thigh.
“Please.” If this erotic dream didn’t end up with some kind of fulfillment, she’d be really pissed.
His lips curved upwards into a sensuous smile. “I shall give you pleasure, my sweet. But mine will have to come later… at Beltane.” He parted her folds and brushed his finger against her clit. Her hips bounced off the bed and a river of ecstasy flooded her body.
He chuckled throatily. “You like that, leannan?” He continued to rub the sensitive peak between his fingers. Smiling, he lowered his mouth to her breasts and traced his tongue against a taut nipple, his hot breath teasing her tender flesh.
“Oh God, yes!” With trembling fingers, she worked the ties of his pants, wanting to return the favor.
“No,” he whispered. “We must wait.”
“I… I… need this.” She ripped open the ties and struggled to pull down his trousers.
With a loud groan, he helped her dispose of his pants, freeing his erection.
Her eyes widened, taking in the sight of his cock. Would it fit? She wrapped a hand around the thickness, running it up and down its engorged length.
She moaned when he returned to pay homage to her clit. The moan turned into a gasp as a long slender finger slid into her heated core. He moved it slowly, as if testing its width. Two more joined the first, and he picked up the pace.
He urged her to lie down, dislodging her fingers from his rigid length. A loud whimper broke from her mouth. She reached for his stiff cock, wanting desperately to feel its hard, velvety length again.
Grabbing her arms, he held them in place above her head. “No.
Tonight, I pleasure you.”
He kissed a trail down her throat and back to her breasts, taking a nipple in his mouth and suckling. She moaned as his fingers returned to her clit and pussy. Rhiannon grasped the sheets in a desperate attempt to keep her hands off his magnificent body. His kisses traveled down across her stomach and his tongue traced a slow, seductive circle around her belly button and continued to move lower still.
She moaned and her muscles clenched his fingers while he slid them in and out of her slick tunnel. She arched her hips upward to meet each thrust.
“Please, Cerne.” Another loud moan ripped from her mouth and her toes curled as the pressure built inside. “I need you—”
His achingly warm breath against her clit sent her over the edge. He moaned softly and took the bud into his mouth, his breath teasing her hot mound. He rolled his tongue against it as his fingers continued to plunge inside.
“Come for me, mo cridhe,” he whispered against her tender flesh. “Let me taste your release.”
Her hips bucked wildly. She squeezed her eyes shut while intense heat grew and raged inside her.
“Open your eyes and look at me. I need you to watch me whilst I taste you.”
She opened her eyes to meet his. His deep jade eyes sparkling with desire, he smiled up at her. He took her clit back into his mouth and sucked and nibbled the tender flesh. Her body writhed and wriggled beneath him.
“Yes!” she exclaimed, watching him ravish her clit with unfathomable hunger. Her body shivered in an uncontrolled frenzy. Her hips bucked a wild tempo and she reached down to grab his hair, pulling him closer, wanting more.
“That’s it, my sweet,” he murmured against her mound. “Come for me.”
“Oh, my God!” She shuddered and convulsed while deep waves of pleasure coursed through her body. Moaning, she felt herself pulsing against his fingers, the warmth of her orgasm filling her.
He withdrew his fingers and placed them in his mouth, licking her juices off each digit. Moving up the length of her, he allowed his rock-hard erection to rest on her thigh. Then he lowered his mouth to hers, letting her taste herself on his lips.
“D-Don’t you want to come?” she breathed out.
He shook his head. “It’s not time for the consort’s pleasure. Soon we shall be joined together.” He placed gentle kisses on her forehead and each cheek. “I’ll come back for you,” His whisper danced along her skin.
“Before you can return, you must accept your fate.”
“What fate?”
“A great journey is in store for you, my princess.” He brushed his fingers across her face, drawing her eyes closed.
“Mmm,” she murmured. She reached up to trace a finger across his chest, only to connect with air. With a start, she opened her eyes. Her dream man was gone.
Completely sated, Rhiannon lounged against the pillows and smiled.
She let her fingers travel down to the wetness between her thighs. It had felt so real. She could still feel his breath teasing her skin. Even her lips swelled, as if his kisses had been real.
“When will you be back?” With a breathy sigh, she fluffed the pillow behind her head and closed her eyes.
“Soon, mo cridhe,” she heard whispered in the shadows as she drifted to sleep.
Soon, she thought. Not soon enough.
****
Cerne pushed himself through the portal and flung his naked body back into his chambers. He did not care that he’d left his garments in the human world. From the looks of it, he’d be returning soon. He reached down to stroke his still engorged cock.
Very soon.
He brushed a hand across the cool glass, allowing Rhiannon’s sleeping form to materialize. He traced a finger along the swell of a bare breast that peaked above silky sheets. Her auburn curls tumbled around her face and a dazzling, well-satisfied smile swept from cheek to cheek.
If only he could’ve held the connection open a little bit longer.
“The princess is beautiful, isn’t she?”
Cerne turned to Belenus, Maeve’s consort, and chuckled. “I much prefer Maeve’s arrivals,” Cerne said, slipping into a lounging robe.
“Maeve does have an affinity for making her presence known,”
Plopping down on the large settee, Belenus allowed his gaze to move lower to where Cerne’s robe tented. “Been to visit the princess, I see.”
Cerne muttered a curse underneath his breath, taking a seat on the chaise. He adjusted his robe, to hide his arousal. “I merely needed to see if she had the faerie spirit.”
Belenus’s eyes lit up. “And?”
The elders became nosier with each passing day . “She has the faerie flame but also the mind of a human. She does not believe.”
Belenus laughed. “She believed you enough for you to pleasure her, did she not?” Belenus, who had spent most of his life safely ensconced in the White Plains, hadn’t ventured much into the human world.
“You do not know how humans think or act. They are pragmatic and skeptical. The ideas of faeries and the otherworld are just fantasies made up to entertain their idle minds. The only reason I was able to pleasure her was because she thought it a dream.”
“But she’s our princess, correct?”
Cerne nodded. “The way our bodies reacted, there is no doubt in my mind.”
“Then she’s faerie, plain and simple.” Belenus smiled.
“With human instincts,” A slight frown curved his lips. “It will prove a difficult challenge to convince her.”
Belenus chortled. “Since when have you refused a challenge?”
Cerne flashed a halfhearted smile. “Did I say I was refusing this challenge?” On the contrary, he thought, remembering their intimate encounter—the heady aroma of lavender and vanilla mixed with her arousal, the savor of her honeyed release while he lapped it from her delicious mound. And, Gods, those eyes—sultry and seductive. He grew hard again just thinking about Rhiannon watching him when she climaxed on his tongue. Perhaps he could seduce her into journeying to Fey.
“The look in your eyes says it all, my friend. You’re looking forward to the challenge.” Belenus threw his head back in a hearty chuckle.
A soft rapping on the door alerted them.
“Enter.” Standing up, Cerne clapped his hands. The door swung open, and Onora, a young, golden-haired maid padded in.
“My lord, Queen Titania and King Oberon have requested your presence.”
Cerne and Belenus jumped to attention. The queen was near death, which was why he needed to retrieve Rhiannon. “The queen, is she all right?”
Onora nodded. “All is well with Queen Titania at the moment. She and King Oberon have important news.” Onora bowed. “It’s all I know, milord.”
Belenus stood. “Let me know if anything arises that you need Maeve’s and my help with.”
Cerne rolled his eyes. “I doubt I’d need your help.”
“Very well.” Belenus bowed and snapped his fingers. With that, he vanished in a puff of blue smoke.
How Cerne wished he had that much magic to just vanish with the snap of a finger. The wings gave them their power. Soon, he too, would have strength and Princess Rhiannon beneath him in bed. The Dark Faerie Queen Lilith wouldn’t be able to touch the White Plains. And then he could teach his princess all there was to know about faerie pleasure.
Just thinking about it made his cock throb.
He turned to Onora. “Thank you for the message. I’ll be there at once.”
“You’re welcome, milord.” Onora bowed meekly and lowered her gaze to the floor.
Blasted odd, that. “Is something the matter?”
Onora raised her head, a blush spread across her cheeks.
“You…Your…robe, milord.”
Cerne gazed down and noticed his shaft peeking out the robe. He shrugged and adjusted it, muttering an apology. He just hoped his cock cooperated with him before he met with Queen Titania and King Oberon.
Had Rhiannon affected him that much? Just thinking about her and her intoxicating beauty left him breathless and hungry. Of course, he’d been chosen to be the princess’s consort for a reason, had he not? They were destined to mate and produce another princess. He would not fail his kingdom.
He could always send for one of the palace courtesans to alleviate his need. Then again, no courtesan, not even the exotic Viviane, would be able to sate his desire. He needed only one woman. Rhiannon.
It wasn’t love. After all, he’d only just reacquainted himself with the lost princess. Love was such a rare emotion in Fey. Only a few faeries ever found true love. Lust was a more apt way to describe his feelings.
He lusted for her delicious body. And from the way she writhed and moaned while he flicked his tongue over her clit, he knew she wanted him too.
****
Cerne waited outside the gold gilt doors leading into Queen Titania’s and King Oberon’s private quarters. Glancing down, Cerne thanked the Gods that his penis was finally behaving. No need in alarming his future in-laws. The doors swung open, allowing him entrance.
“Lord Cerne,” Radan Evenspring, the High Councilman of White Court, said with a curt bow. “The queen has been expecting you.”
Cerne nodded. “Yes, I’ve heard that. Lead the way, High Councilman Evenspring.”
Radan’s celadon eyes flickered for a moment. Was he still upset because Cerne originally refused the mission to apprehend their missing princess? Cerne did not know, nor did he care.
“So, I’ve been told you paid the princess a visit?” Radan asked, while they traveled through the great hall to the queen’s chamber. The light of the sconces reflected off his shiny head, causing Cerne to grin. Why Radan chose to walk around hairless was a mystery to him.
“I did, and there is no doubt—she’s the princess.”
“Excellent. Change is in the air.”
With the snap of Radan’s fingers, the doors flew open, bathing them in rich amethyst light. With cautious steps, Cerne entered the chamber.
“Lord Silverwing,” Queen Titania’s majestic voice called from the corner.
Cerne turned to the queen and bowed. Sitting high on the golden gilt dais, Titania, despite her diminishing health, radiated energy. King Oberon stood at her side, equally as regal, wearing a royal purple robe and gold bejeweled crown.
“Your Majesty.” Radan gave Queen Titania and King Oberon a quick bow.
“High Councilman Evenspring, your presence is no longer needed.
This is a personal matter.”
“But Your Majesty.” Radan’s celadon eyes flickered. “As High Councilman, I—”
“Silence,” Oberon interrupted. “The queen has stated she doesn’t need your assistance at this moment.”
“But… if you have news—”
Titania clapped her hands, preventing Radan from speaking another word. “I’ll keep you posted on a need to know basis, High Councilman.”
The queen snapped her fingers, and Radan vanished into thin air.
“I apologize for the interruption.” Titania smiled and pointed a shaky finger to the gold-trimmed divan. Even with her pallid complexion and graying auburn hair, Queen Titania managed to retain her exquisite beauty. “Have a seat, my son.”
Oberon, who also managed his stunningly youthful façade, took his queen’s hand and caressed it. Cerne smiled. Theirs was a love match.
“It’s a treasure to find your mate but a blessing to find love,” his mother had always said. Queen Titania and King Oberon were indeed lucky.
The queen straightened. “All pleasantries aside, a serious matter has arisen in the South Shires.” She raised her hands to call forth her energy.
Oberon reached out and grabbed her elbow. “You don’t have to do this, my love.”
Titania smiled and patted her husband’s hand. “He needs to see.
Lilith must be stopped.”
Oberon gave a solemn nod and removed his hand from her arm.
The queen raised her arms again. “I call upon the four elements, Earth, Wind, Fire and Air. Show us everything, leave nothing to spare.”
A ball of pale azure light filled her hands. Titania closed her eyes and held her arms higher. The orb began to glow deep amber as she spread her arms and pushed it further away. Titania flung the ball of light at the mirror.
While the energy flowed from her palms, a scene unfolded in the glassy surface. Dark-clad faeries marched through the far end of the Plains. Light crashed across the sky. Grey billowing clouds loomed high above the Shires while the storms grew darker and more ominous. Trolls and ogres marched side by side with the Dark Faerie minions. Dragon riders flew high, breathing fire down onto the villagers and burning them and their homes. Cerne had never witnessed such destruction. His stomach roiled and bile rose to his throat. He gritted his teeth in disgust.
In the distance, Lilith sat on a black steed, a depraved smile etched across her face. Her raven hair whipped around her face as she threw back her head and cackled. Lilith lifted a staff and shot a bolt of electricity at a young boy trying to fight her minions off a White Faerie girl. Cerne clenched his fists. She was evil, pure and simple, and she needed to be stopped.
All of a sudden, the image wavered. Cerne turned back to his queen who hunched over, gasping for breath. He and the king rushed to her side. Oberon caught her in his arms and brushed a graying strand from her cheek. Deep breaths racked her body. She looked up at Cerne.
“You… must bring my daughter home.” A gurgled gasp escaped her mouth. Her lids fluttered and she closed her eyes.
****
Lilith was pleased. The village had been taken in a matter of an hour, and no one in her army was seriously injured. She inhaled the aroma of burnt teak, thatch, and White Faerie flesh and smiled. As soon as Queen Titania breathed her last breath, the entire White Plains would be shrouded in chaos. Oberon, although intelligent, wouldn’t be able to control his people. The poor pitiful faeries of the White Plains would have no choice but accept her as their new queen. Then I will rule them all.
The sound of hoof beats broke her thoughts. She turned her head to spot Korrigan, her pathetic excuse of a sister, approach. “Do you have any news?” Lilith managed a weak smile.
Korrigan dismounted her horse, a disgusting white beast a Dark Faerie had no business riding, and approached. She bowed and placed a kiss on Lilith’s booted foot. “Your Majesty,” Korrigan said, looking up with admiration. “The village is secure.”
“Very well, Korrigan.” Why she ever agreed to put her sister in charge of a regiment was beyond her. The girl hadn’t the Gods-given sense to even acquire her faerie-wings. How hard was it to sneak off to the earth realm and lure an unsuspecting human man to lie with? After all, it was the only way they could get their wings. She’d be damned if she got stuck with a wingless sister for all eternity.
Korrigan scratched her unruly raven curls. “Are there any more missions for me?”
How about venturing to the land of Ogre and never coming back? If the blasted fool hadn’t been so loyal, she would’ve fed her to them long ago.
“There is one mission.” Lilith leaned down to her younger sister and smiled. “I’ve heard Cerne Silverwing has managed to locate Princess Rhiannon. You must keep her on Earth with the human scum, in any way possible.” Hopefully killing the princess would cure her stupid sister.
“As you wish, Your Majesty.” Korrigan bowed and took her leave.
Thank goodness! The sooner the wretch was gone, the better. Korrigan mounted her horse and spurred it across the rocky crag toward Dark Castle.
Turning to the small village, she brushed a strand of hair from her face. The smoke billowed while flames licked the faerie domiciles. If these faeries believed she could be defeated, they were stupider than she thought. It was high time they learned who would be their mistress.
With a cackle, Lilith turned her horse and urged him toward the shire.
She smiled, watching the White Faerie survivors cower when her minions shackled them. Now it’s time to show these miserable buffoons my power.
She twisted the reins of her stallion and kept her voice firm. “White Faerie folk, your queen is dying and your princess is missing. Chaos will reign. Join me, or die with your foolish queen.”
“Never!” shouted an old man whose graying beard hung to his knees.
“I’d rather fade into the moss than join you.”
“Very well.” Lilith gripped her staff and aimed it at him. “I’m happy to oblige your request.” A large bolt of light shot from the tip, hitting the man right in the heart. Grinning, she watched him gasp and clutch his chest. His eyes widening in pain, he keeled over and landed face first in a patch of moss. She flashed another streak of energy at him, dissolving him into the fire-charred dirt below.
She placed her staff on her shoulder. “Are there any more naysayers in my presence?” At the lack of response, she smiled. “Good. I believe you all will make excellent subjects.” With that, she spurred her horse and galloped off toward Dark Castle. The winds of change were now in her favor. It’s about damn time.

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