Hello all!

Sorry about such a long wait between my posts of any part of any of my stories. There's been a lot of things going on recently, what with the commencement of the new school year, work, etc. It's been pretty hectic lately.

To keep you all going while I fix another chapter for Old Truths, New Beginnings, here's a little something I pieced together. It's from a trilogy titled Bitterbynde by Cecilia Dart – Thornton. If you haven't read it, then I can assure you that you will be confused as to what it's referring to.

Don't worry, though. I've got another little ficlet on the way that a bigger group of you might recognize. I promise that I'll try to update my HP one soon, so hold on for me, ok?

Here's an excerpt from the second book to get you all started: remember, normal text is my creation (for plot bunnies), italics are thoughts or messages from me, and bold is for the original text in the novel.

Okay, here goes. Morragan's boon…

"He gifted me with a beautiful Kings-and-Queens set made of gold and jewels, beautifully wrought by Liriel, jewel smith of Faêrie, and challenged me to find anywhere in the realm a fairer or cleverer assemblage of pieces for the board. We played the game and, as was our wont, we bet on the outcome." – Easgathair, the White Owl. Gatekeeper of the Fair Realm.

..

Part One:

Crown Prince, Fithiach, and Raven Lord Morragan wandered the rolling green fields of his homeland, in the realm of Faêrie. He was preoccupied with ideas on how to best present his new gift to the gatekeeper of the realm, Lord Easgathair. The lord was ever faithful to his duty, watching over the ways between the worlds, ensuring that mortals did not cross into forbidden land without his knowledge.

He had commissioned a handsome gift for the keeper, one of which he was certain had no rival in the realms of Aia. A glorious game set of Kings-and-Queens, wrought of gold and studded with gorgeous jewels from various parts of the realm. Morragan was sure that Easgathair would enjoy the piece, and was looking forward to playing a few friendly games with him this very day.

Upon a steep hillside was where he found him. Swooping down to a feather-light landing on the stone floor, Morragan entered the watchtower atop the hill. The Prince addressed the gatekeeper in jovial tones.

"Good morrow, Easgathair!" Morragan smiled as the white haired lord turned to face him. The gatekeeper brightened as he spied one of his liege-lords with him in the room.

"My lord," he replied joyfully. "Good morrow to thee, also! What brings thee out here on this fine day?"

"I have commissioned a gift for thee, my friend," the Raven said.

The Crown Prince of Faêrie held out his hands in front of him, palms facing the sky. Upon them appeared the magnificent set of gold, shining bright as the sun. The jewels that speckled the fine metal did not mar its perfection, but enhanced it, the gems sparking akin to stars.

Easgathair was pleasantly surprised by this gesture, and accepted the proffered gift, turning it this way and that, admiring the workmanship.

"'Tis a glorious set," he responded at last, meeting his lord's eyes.

"Aye, it is. Liriel's skills art yet unmatched in the realm," the prince replied. "Dost thou fancy a game?" He smiled widely as the gatekeeper agreed. "Well then, let us begin!"

The two lords of graymare began to set up the pieces in the respectable positions.

"Thou art always here, loyal to thy post, Easgathair. Dost thou ever tire of it?"

"Why dost thou ask, sir?" The final pawn found its place amongst its kin on the board.

"As I have been telling thee before, thou needs to have time away from this tower. Thee shouldst want some time to thyself, to do other things…"

Morragan's white haired companion looked thoughtful for a moment as he moved a pawn forward.

"I guess it could be a slight hindrance to me, not free to roam the realms as I please. But, why bring up this matter, my lord? I am perfectly content with upholding my duty, as I always have."

Morragan shifted a knight and smiled. "Let us make this game more interesting, then."

Easgathair moved a rook. "How so?"

The smile grew broader.

"If thou shouldst win the contest," said Morragan, "I shall take thy place in the watchtower for a space of a year and a day, while thou sojourn'st as thou wishest."

"But sir, what stake may I offer thee? Thou dost already possess all thou couldst desire."

Wilt thou grant me a boon?" The prince enquired.

Provided it is within my scope." Another pawn shuffled forward.

Easgathair and Morragan eventually settled the terms, temporarily pausing their game to do so. Both agreed to leave the boon unasked, to be used at a later date – if the gatekeeper had the power to grant it.

Thank you for reading everyone! I know, it's short, but it'll have to do for now… I'm going to post the second part really soon, but for now, I hope you enjoyed that little snippet of a story.

Until next time,

Shadowcaster01