I am so sorry I took so long to upload. I had major, major writer's block – as ever. Curses! This chapter is for those of you who reviewed and favourites/alerted this. Thank you so much!
Jayde, Raloa, Wicke, Dami, and Kale belong to me. Anyone else I add along the way are also mine. However, Kaye, Roiben and Lutie and whoever else is mentioned belong wholly to Holly Black. Worship them (and the author herself) damn you!
The Hope of The Future
"I knew this would happen one day," the woman sniffed, handing her daughter a bag of practical, everyday items in a 'bag for life' from the local supermarket. Ellen frowned, fishing in her tight leather trouser pockets for some dollar bills, suddenly flustered.
"I knew. As soon as Robin showed up I swear to God I knew," she cut her daughter off mid-whine, retrieving a cigarette packet.
Kaye sighed, putting a hand to her forehead. Her mother had taken the news of her leaving quite well – understanding she was a 'free spirit' and needed her space.
Ellen was counting out some notes now, a cigarette hanging out of her mouth.
Kaye's grandmother however had not reacted well. Not that it really meant anything – Kaye had to keep reminding herself that this wasn't her family. Not biologically, at least.
She was handed a bunch of dollars by her mother and she tried to look grateful, though where she was going she hardly needed it.
"Thanks, Mom," she smiled, eyes sparkling. Her mother just waved a hand back. "Don't be a stranger," she murmured behind her fag, retrieving a lighter from her back pocket. Kaye's grandmother sniffed, unimpressed.
Kaye flicked through the notes, mentally counting out the amount her mother had given her. It wasn't much, but it still made her feel warm inside that – despite her mother being penniless – she still managed to give her money over without a fuss.
She briefly hugged her mother, something she hadn't done in a long time, until moving on over to her grandmother. "Grams… I'll see you around," she grimaced, her grip tightening on her bag of essentials.
The old woman turned back, a scowl on her face. "If he steps a toe out of line you know where to come. You'll always have a home here, Kaye, whether you or your mother appreciate it or not."
Kaye was stunned to silence. The room was quiet for a moment, all except for her mother sniffing angrily. Kaye didn't know what to do or say – instead she resorted to grappling her grandmother into a fierce hug. The old woman was shocked for a moment before her withered face managed a thing smile.
"Take care," she told her, patting her head briefly. Kaye nodded in reply before straightening up.
"See you guys later!" she cried, waving and making her way out of her gran's house, her two rats squeaking in the pockets of her 'glamour' trench coat. She looked back once before sucking in a steadying breath. They aren't your family… Walk away…
She lowered her eyes, gloomy. Then she opened the front door and shut it quietly behind her.
Lutie awoke to a world she didn't recognise or understand. She was sat atop a picnic table, the sun unbelievably bright and causing the world to seem alien and illuminated beyond reality.
She was in a poppy field, gazing down the hill at a little boy in the distance. He was sparring with two adult elves and a little girl whom he seemed to try and counter attack frequently. She wasn't very skilled.
The fighters all used wooden swords for practice, the adults smiling at the two children. Both elves were male. One had cropped black hair and the other had long blonde hair down to his shoulders. The way they were dressed told her they were Unseelie guards.
The little boy wore noble clothes, far too expensive and rich to be for a regular child. He was wearing a red robe that shone ruby in the sunlight, a gold band around his waist encrusted with garnets prevented it from getting in the way of his lunges. Beneath the robe he wore white breeches and red sandals.
He was around seven or eight and, by the looks of it, extremely gifted with a sword.
He had hair the colour of starlight – as silver as cobwebs and moonshine – and it was tied into a small ponytail at the nape of his neck.
As Lutie watched, he lunged at the smaller girl again, wheeling around in time to block the other elves' attacks. The girl fell back to the ground, dropping her sword. She was dressed in rags with bright fox-coloured hair and dirty little hands.
"Raloa…" she whimpered, wiping her eyes to avoid the tears threatening to flow.
The boy named Raloa helped her off the floor, smiling. That was when Lutie saw his eyes. His irises were the same colour as his pupils – they merged as one. Deadly black, like twin voids in space.
"My lord, it is time we returned." The elf with short hair spoke, placing a hand on Raloa's shoulder. The boy nodded, wordlessly.
Lutie-loo was confused. The boy was a lord? How could he be an Unseelie lord at such a young age? He definitely had some elf blood in him, but his eyes… they were almost pixie eyes.
Raloa's little friend picked up her wooden sword, pouting. "I hate you, Raloa Rye." She scowled, narrowing her eyes. The two chaperones laughed, but the young lord looked hurt. Lutie, however, nearly fell off the picnic table in her shock. R-Raloa… Rye? And then she saw it. The pewter coloured hair was the same as Roiben's.
Was he a relative? A younger brother? The real question she wanted to know the answer to was where she was. In the past, present or the future? She had no doubt in her mind that this was a vision.
The girl with fiery hair handed the blonde elf her sword before running down the hill of poppies at top speed. Lutie could see, now, that the girl was just a human. She frowned, confused, then she looked at Raloa.
He was now being walked towards a bare patch of grass in the distance, with the elves standing either side of him – guarding him. But that was when Lutie heard the voice.
"Dami, Kale, I'm here now. You can return to your stations," a female voice said gently, appearing out of nowhere beside the picnic table. Lutie was blinded for an instant as she turned, the sun catching her full in the face. But then she saw her – the angel haloed by the golden sun.
She had long blonde hair that ran down to her back in waves, her eyes as black as midnight. She was a pixie, yet her skin and eyes were that of a human. Lutie didn't know how she knew until she recognised the woman's face. Her features were somewhat glamorised and she appeared to have some Eastern heritage. She looked beautiful, dressed in a long pink gown that complimented the rose of her complexion.
A shard of rose-quartz hung on a chain around her neck and there was a thin crown on her forehead – golden in colour and ringed with opals and stones that matched her attire. She had a smile that made the sun shine brighter. She was in her mid-twenties and at the sight of her Lutie nearly fainted. Kaye-Kaye…
"Mother?" the boy name Raloa turned sharply, a big grin on his face. Kaye stepped forward, holding out her arms in her son's direction.
And then everything made sense.
Lutie didn't need any more answers. This was the future. The little boy was 'Lord' Raloa – a prince – and he was Kaye's son. Kaye, herself, was dressed as a noblewoman. And the boy's last name was Rye, he also shared the same hair as Roiben. So didn't that mean… Kaye was Queen of the Unseelie?
There was a white light and Lutie was falling back through time, dazed.
Queen. Kaye-Kaye's queen…
There was a churning sensation in her stomach and the world was spinning. Everything suddenly went still. She realised a little too late where she was. Bottled.
Her eyes fluttered open and she saw Jayde crashed out o his bed, fully clothed.
The fire had burned out during the night and now all that was left of the girl was charred bones and ash. Lutie cringed and flexed her wings, trying to block reality out. Instead she thought of Raloa.
He had seemed about seven and Kaye had seemed some time in her early twenties – but didn't that mean Raloa would be conceived soon? Lutie wasn't sure. She couldn't believe Roiben and Kaye would mate so soon, but then what did she know about relationships? Nothing.
She sat down in her jar, her eyes still shut. She knew if Kaye became queen there would be a rebellion, possibly starting a feud between Seelie and Unseelie. But the future… it had looked so peaceful. The only hope that Lutie had was that in seven years time the world would be back to normal. But what would happen between then? Anarchy? War?
Jayde rolled over in his sleep, alerting Lutie to his presence. She frowned. Before she thought about a war, she had to get out of here and warn Roiben about Jayde. She had to. Kaye-Kaye… she thought, mentally whimpering. She enfolded her legs with her arms, drawing her knees up to her chest. For the moment she was all alone with her mind. And she was afraid.
Later that day…
Kaye wheeled around, confused. The tunnel had been empty – she was sure of it. But of course, she'd been wrong. There, before her, stood an elf with hair the colour of the morning sky and blazing red eyes. Jayde.
She'd been told to stay away from him…
His flirtatious grin was unnerving. "Please to see me, princess?" he asked.
Kaye narrowed her eyes, smiling in satisfaction. "Me and my boyfriend made up last night," she replied, grinning maliciously.
The elf feigned both surprise and hurt. "Really?" he practically cried, the sarcasm notable in his voice.
Kaye frowned, turning away. "Get bent,"
Jayde was too quick for her. He grabbed her arm, his eyes sparkling. Kaye turned, confused. Their eyes met. "Listen, princess – I promise you, you can do so much better than that sleazy man of yours. What kind of a gentleman is he to let you run around in the soaking mud, drenched to the bone and a snivelling wreck?"
"I was not a 'snivelling wreck'. I'm fine–"
"Yes, she is." A dark voice agreed, standing in the tunnel ahead of them. Jayde glanced up sharply, and then he seemed to convulse in fear. "Roi– I mean, my lord. What are you doing out of the throne room, I heard–"
Roiben stepped out of the shadows, his face a mask. He was wearing white breeches and a loose-fitting tunic in different tones of blue. He smiled almost sweetly. "You were not at the council meeting, Jayde. Since I had something to attend to, I thought I would take it upon myself to find you. You missed your duty listing and vows. I hope you're not planning to desert me,"
Kaye stood, frozen to the spot, her eyes flickering between Roiben and Jayde, who still had hold of her arm. His grip was vice-like, his eyes wide with fear.
Jayde looked down at Kaye, searching for an excuse. "I, uh, had my hands full, my lord. I'll attend to you later," he smiled amiably, a hand running through Kaye's hair affectionately.
Of course! He doesn't know about Roiben – he doesn't know who my 'boyfriend' is. And under Nicnevin's rule I guess toying with other faeries was okay. But Roiben…
Roiben grinned, knowing it wasn't a particularly nice smile. "There will be no more of you missing council meetings, Jayde. And release the girl; she does not belong to you."
Jayde's eyes widened, and then he let go of Kaye's arm, his hand drooping from her hair. "As you wish, my lord," he bowed before turning and leaving, his expression sour.
Kaye was frozen for a moment before she realized that Roiben was stepping closer, his hand caressing her cheek fondly.
"Did he harm you? Are you hurt in any way?" he asked softly, determined. Kaye shook her head in reply. "No, I'm fine. My mother gave me a bag of personals and I've just come back from a shopping trip. What's on your agenda?" she asked.
Roiben sighed and lowered his hand. "The kitchen staff need to be instructed on new meals, I am also required to establish a meeting with the solitary fey and I need to visit Skillywidden to discuss my attire. My– I mean, our – chambers need to be corrected. It appears I have a busy day ahead of me,"
Kaye snorted. "So it seems. Then I'll grab my stuff out of my old room and movie in with you," she grinned, beginning to walk again. Roiben looked pained. "I'll join you later," he told her.
Kaye nodded before remembering something to ask him. "Oh. Have you seen Lutie-loo by any chance?" she asked almost timidly. Roiben shook his head. "Not since last night. Perhaps she is with the fey," he replied.
Kaye opened her mouth to speak, then shut it. She took a deep breath and began heading towards her new chambers, both anxious and excited about her new room. But, wherever Lutie-loo was, she was sure worried about her.
Roiben watched her leave, tired suddenly. The prospect of the day ahead didn't thrill him and he just wanted to be alone with Kaye. But things had to be dealt with. Beginning to walk again, he bowed his head. "Kaye…" he muttered.
Jayde watched his king turn down the tunnel in the distance, heading for the kitchens. He smiled maliciously, stepping out from the shadows of the alcove. So, princess was actually the Unseelie King's lover? Who would have guessed?
Jayde folded his arms, his eyes flashing.
He also now knew the pixie girl's name and where she would be all of today. Kaye would be in Roiben's chambers. The thought of her sent pleasant shivers down Jayde's spine. He laughed, walking back down his tunnel. Kaye was as good as his. As soon as she realised her relationship with Roiben was a dead-end. She was only a mistress and a concubine – surely she could see that?
But Jayde didn't know how wrong he was.