Likely there was no intended malice in such a statement. However, to her guards, it was an absolute insult.
Elisa raised her hand, silencing Hahn before some poorly thought out retort could fall from his tongue.
It would not do for her brash young guard to incite the North wind to discipline him. After all, this messenger was not a flesh and blood creature. Rather he was a near deity with extraordinary powers who could easily blast the noisy halfling across half the continent.
“It is true,” she said calmly. “I am not the true Queen of Fairies.”
After all, it was the title the others had given her for simply making this place her home. The elves and the creatures that lived and sheltered here had all desired someone to fulfill that role. She had accepted their need until now.
Elisa did not blink as she continued this conversation with her guest. “How fares the Queen? We have had no word from her or any of her shapes and forms in a long time. Have I displeased her that she will not speak to me or offer her counsel? And now?”
There was a minute pause before the wind sighed. “Her time finished. She could not do anything of the sort.”
Elisa felt the space beside her fill. And Azurite spoke tightly. “Then your claim is that Maeve is gone for good. Dead.”
“She did not use such words. Rather, she said she could no longer fulfill any role. And as we parted ways, she bid me to do her a last series of favors.”
Azurite pressed. “But you are a god of wind. If she still lives and breathes–”
And on that almost elvish face appeared a smirk. “Oh yes, prince of elves. If she exists, the winds will eventually know. But for now the true Queen of Fairy and the pretender Snow queen are both no more.”
With that declaration, Elisa could feel many pairs of eyes drift her way. What thoughts their owners held, she did not know. But she felt the tightening of Conn’s fingers around hers. Perhaps the young unicorn was afraid. A world without such a presence would be terribly different.
Around her the leaves in the garden rustled as the fairies stirred somewhat uneasily. If the true Mab had disappeared, they had not given any warning. Perhaps they had not felt her disappear. Their lack of response may have been simply because her successor now lived.
She said nothing of her suspicions about this wolf halfling to the North wind, for she did not yet feel it was time. Instead she filled the silence with another question. “And what has become of the Snow Queen’s lair? And her subjects?”
Her question appeared to irritate him. He puffed noisily at her. “You need not worry about her magic falling into other hands. I have undone the handiwork of the mortal queen. I have many stops to make. But I have come here because she leaves something for you.”
Elisa raised her eyebrow. She did not know what Maeve could have possibly wanted to leave to her attention. However, perhaps there was no other to seek out. “This is the final message.”
“Yes. She leaves to you one subject who could not be restored to his former self. He was already dying by the time he reached her. She asks for you to receive him at the lake.”
Without any hesitation, she waved her hand. “Of course. Bring him. We will help him if it is within the realm of possibility.”
With her answer came an explosion of air and a sudden chill as snow mysteriously swirled about.
Elisa raised her free hand to her face, shielding it against crystals of ice that filled the gap that North had suddenly vacated. But before it could become too chilly, the icy dust cleared, leaving behind a large block of ice on the ground where the wind god had stood.
She took one step forward, intent on helping this poor soul in need.
And then she screamed.