For those who knew her well, it was a horrible, unfamiliar sound — a wail that scattered the fairies across the meadow.
Elisa was not a woman who tended to panic or cry. And yet, over the past few weeks, she had been slowly worn down by her circumstances.
She was not much of a queen as she ran to the icy coffin. She was a woman who wished to free her beloved brother Varyn from his trap.
However, before Elisa could raise her fists to the ice’s surface, two pairs of hands took hold of her arms.
The woman turned her eyes to these men who would prevent her from freeing her brother.
Both the Knight and the elven prince winced at what they saw there. But they risked her displeasure, for both saw the strong hand of magic upon the coffin. They would not let her harm herself, not now.
“Wards, my lady,” Knight consoled her. “They are of an old magic.”
“It will hurt you should you touch them.” The elven prince kicked a pebble the block’s way, testing what he observed.
The group watched as the stone ricocheted off into a nearby tree.
Elisa bit her lip in frustration. Her eyes kept searching through the glass-like surface. She studied her brother’s sleeping face in desperation, looking for some sign as to how he fared.
For many years, she had longed to see him and the others. He was the one she had worried over the most, for he was the least sensible of them all. He was always wandering off into bushes with a book in hand, oblivious to the dangers around him. If it were not for the companions that her other brothers had saddled him with, he would likely have died long ago.
Still, she had never anticipated this.
“What must be done?” Elisa asked of herself. Finding no answer, she turned a furious gaze upon the air. “Speak to me North wind!”
“Be patient. There is more,” whispered the wind.
This time, her guards anticipated what was to follow. She found Knight protecting her from a strong gale wind. He had moved between her and the wind.
His face crinkled in pain as dust and air beat against his back.
It was not so quick this time around. The winds shook the house as it moved through the garden. They threw the fairies about, before they slammed down upon the nearby shores.
The fairies– quite angry at being tossed about — began to swarm the entire area. They were intent on exacting their revenge upon the nearly invisible minions of the North wind. But the fair folk were soon distracted by the discovery of several more grotesque presents.
It took only one word from Knight to shake Hahn and Raven loose from their queen. They ran ran towards the beach and the sound of the buzzing fairies.
The youngest of the three wise mystics scampered after them, much to his sisters’ horror.
“There are five more!” Hahn shouted before unleashing a long string of profanities that described his thoughts about the former Snow Queen.
Elisa sank to the earth. Her hands covered her face while she struggled to comprehend the conspiracy that was unfolding itself before her.
A hand pressed itself to her shoulder. “The same seals,” Azurite translated the gibberish that Hahn spewed from the beach. “It would seem that they, too, bear the seals of the Queen of Fairy.”
“You,” she said under her breath as she rose from the ground. “You!” She raised her head and shouted to the air. He was no longer visible, but she could still feel that distinctive chill that told her that he still loitered near by. “What is the meaning of this! You were often in her company… you would know!”
A voice floated around her as the wind answered. “This was a necessary step to ensure you all lived one thousand years. To bring about one ending to a tale in time for the beginning of another.”
“There is but one tale of swans left in our records,” Azurite said as he stepped forward. “But in this telling, they must return to the lake. With those seals in place, they have fallen short of their goal.”
“Should they not be gone?” the Knight asked. “Is her magic that strong?”
The wind yawned, bored by the mortals’ obvious obtuseness. “The seals are not that of the itinerant Snow Queen but that of the ruler of Fairy. They do not break with the passing of one while another waits to be anointed.”
Elisa, for the first time, felt some glimmer of hope in all this madness. She knew where this successor was likely found. “Then we shall find and anoint this king.”
North floated lazily about. “If it is that easy.”
Azurite’s own expression turned cold. “And why do you speak as such? A king or queen can be found– all is required is blood and loyalty from the fairies.”
The wind chuckled. “A true king or queen of fairy is not some common thing. Indeed, for it is not a simple duty, not in the time that will come. Titania has read the pages of the future and the past. In this new age, the queen or king of Fairy must accept their full duties and the fate ahead of them. The next ruler will have to lead in an age of war.”