Alright! Once again, to clear up the confusion! But first, I would like to thank Queen of Air and Darkness for bringing the fact that I didn't tell anyone about how Ash and Meghan eventually came to ruling over Tir Na Nog to my attention...I was in a rush, and forgot to explain everything. Now, TheQueenofPickles brought something to my attention. The fact that I didn't say if Meghan had her iron powers or not...which she doesn't. She gave the power of the Iron King to Glitch, so in doing that, she also gave him her iron glamour. She's only a half-breed daughter of Oberon, who rules over Tri Na Nog. And one more thing! TheQueenofPickles said that Ash would not be so formal towards his daughter. And now, I see that he wouldn't be...I'm still trying to get into writing the story, so you will have to cut me a break...But, if there is anything else you don't get, or are confused by, please tell me! And you must review! You must...Oh, and there's gonna be a flashback of when Opira met Puck, so you can at least know how they met. Once again, enjoy!
"Come here my dear!" Lady Rissilia, the Winter Court's stylist and tailor, cooed. She motioned for me to come over to the pedestal where she usually poked me with pins and weaved glamour to design her creations for me. And I hated it.
But, before I could move, I saw my mother. She was sitting on a couch, which looked like it was from the Victorian era. It was a creamy blue, with white trim, and matched the room exactly. Unlike many other rooms in the palace, this one didn't have ice on the walls, or floors, but instead a tiled floor, with white walls, and many mannequins with beautiful dresses on them, all shoved into one corner. A fireplace sat on the far end of the room, a sapphire flame dancing elegantly. The curtains were drawn back on the windows, letting as much light in as possible.
My mother was dressed in dark jeans, boots, and a light jacket. Since she was not Unseelie, she still had to wear clothes that would protect her from the cold. Her silvery hair was pulled into a ponytail at the base of her neck, and when Lady Rissilia spoke, mom's bright blue eyes flitted to the door, and she broke out into a huge smile when she saw me and Kierran.
Kierran noticed this too, and ran towards her, leaving me by the door. My hand suddenly felt empty without his little one holding mine. My brother jumped into my mother's outstretched arms, and clamped his hands around her neck. She held him tightly, like she would never let go. Then she remembered me and released Kierran.
"It's good that you're finally home, Opira," my mother said as she pushed up from the couch and made her way over to me, a wide smile on her face. Kierran grasped onto her hand, squeezing with all the might a six year-old had. "Did you just get back?"
"Yes, in fact I did." I frowned. "I was just in the throne room, where dad told me that Amalia is getting married." I crossed my arms and stared at my mother, waiting to see what she said.
With her free hand, she flicked a stray piece of hair out of her eyes. "So Ash told you..." She murmured, the smile disappearing. "I specifically told him not to..." A strange look crossed over her features, and after a moment of silence, Lady Rissilia cleared her throat.
"I am sorry, my queen, but I must get the Princess fitted for her dress." The stylist grabbed my arm then, and tugged me over to the pedestal, her nails digging into my arm.
"Oh," My mother said, coming back to the present. "Yes, of course." Mom turned toward the door, with Kierran in tow, and left. Her eyes still looked haunted with thoughts as she walked, and that's when I realized she hadn't even given me a hug. She must have been really distracted because that was usually the first thing my mother did whenever I returned from my trips in the wylwood.
"Get up on the pedestal, dear." Lady Rissilia ordered, running a hand through her hair. The tailor was beautiful, wearing a flowing dress the color of ice, long violet-blue hair framing her round face. It was a strange colour, her hair, but I had learned not to ask the Lady questions, because her answers were very vague for some reason. I suspected she had lived for a long time and did not like to speak of her past, or she simply tried to forget as much of it as she possibly could.
I stepped up on the silver platform, glaring at Lady Rissilia as I did. She immediately went to work to measuring, and that's when I drifted, letting my thoughts take me. My mind traveled, very far back in time, to one of my happier memories. I let the memory consume me, and steal myself away from where I was.
Over thirty human years ago, back to the day I first met Robin Goodfellow.
My horse wouldn't budge.
My mount, the one horse that I trusted with my life in times of danger, the only horse I could get onto without being bucked off of (I often guessed that I got that from my mother; she much preferred walking than riding horses, and when she's around one, Mom would usually act nervous), refused to advance any farther into the forest. Zaiden was my respected mount, but if she couldn't even travel through the wylwood, being scared the entire way, I would have to find a new horse.
"Please, Zaiden," I begged. "What is so scary about this forest?"
In response Zaiden flipped her dark mane, the hairs flying in the frigid air. I rolled my eyes, and gently patted her black shoulder, trying to coax her to move. When she pawed the ground with her front hoof, I knew we weren't going anywhere any time soon.
I groaned in frustration. I was due home this evening, and if I didn't show up on time, my parents would surely have my head mounted on a wall. This was the first time I was allowed in the wylwood alone, since I had turned eighteen years old yesterday. I wanted to continue to do this without Balth, my assigned knight, who constantly would have to chaperone my time here. I was old enough to venture Faery alone now, but that privilege would be cut off if I couldn't first of all show my parents that I was responsible. But I couldn't do that if my horse wouldn't take one step.
"Fine then," I mumbled, "be a stubborn mule." I slid out the saddle and took the reins in my hands. Zaiden eyed me warily and I smirked at her. If she didn't want to move, then I'd make her. This was one of the many shortcuts back to Tir Na Nog and I was determined on taking it.
The trees here stood tall and dark. Cries of pain echoed in and out of the ancient plants; it was all very eerie. A part of me was with Zaiden on this one; the place radiated misfortune and war. It was scary. But I shoved that out of my mind, and tugged on the horse's reins. I had to get home, I had to.
Whenever Balth traveled with me in the wylwood, I was never scared. I knew I had a knight with me, one who was a good fighter, and would protect me at all costs. Even if it meant giving his own life to save mine.
But as I lead my horse through the reaching trees, feet sinking in the black dirt, which was covered with dying leaves, a shot of panic soared through me. Zaiden continually whinnied behind me, in fear, and I would turn around and silence her. We were surrounded by black here; everything was a shade of darkness. The trees, ground, leaves, even the mist that coiled around my feet. No sun could creep through the foliage it was so heavy and dank. Colour was absent in this part of Faery. And it scared me.
"Hey, girl," I murmured to Zaiden who flipped her mane restlessly. I pressed a hand to her forehead, and smoothed the wet fur there. It was wet because of the mist that hung in the air; it drifted around us, and clung to my clothes and skin. "It's going to be all right. We'll be out of here, soon. Just wait."
Her wide brown eyes looked at me doubtfully. I ignored her, and continued to trudge along with a resisting horse, suppressing the urge to turn around and run for the way out.
For how much longer we walked, I didn't know. It was impossible to tell what part of the day it was; the sun refused to make an appearance, and stayed hidden behind drooping branches and molting leaves. All I knew was that we must have trekked for a long time, because my ankles were sore, and my knees kept cramping up.
Something blurred in the corner of my eye, to my left. I whipped my head around, searching for any more movement in the dim light. But, as I scanned the blackened trees circling me, I didn't see anything but little puffs of white as I heaved out deep breaths; my heart pounded hard in my chest, leaving me almost breathless.
After a moment, I tugged on Zaiden's reins, and continued to inch forward. We moved at a snail's pace, and as much as I wanted to get out of these woods, Zaiden refused to move any faster.
A rustle in a bush at my feet startled me. I jumped, causing Zaiden to bump into my shoulder. She whinnied in alarm, and tugged backwards on the reins, pulling me off balance. I crashed to the ground, my back hurting with the impact. I faintly recalled releasing the worn reins from my stiff fingers. My head rested on the mud, pounding and disoriented, my eyes following Zaiden's retreating form, becoming smaller and smaller as she faded into the darkness. And before I knew it, I was alone.
Or so I thought.
A slew of creatures erupted from the plants all around me. They were simple blobs in the darkness, as my eyes could not make out any more than height. Bounding over one another, they were filled with energy. Like little balls charged with electricity. Spindly hands clamped down on my shoulders, screeches and screams filling my ears. As I tried to decipher what these things were, I vaguely heard a conversation take place, but it seemed far away.
"What is this?" One voice said. It was high, but menacing at the same time. Something sharp was jabbed into my ribs. I flinched.
"An elf is what it is!" A tug at my hair now. I gave a cry of pain, and tried to reach up to shoo their hands away, but I found that my arms were secured to my body.
"Ah! We gonna be eatin' good, t'night!" A third voice announced. "Tie 'er up, and fast. Chief's hungry!"
I felt myself being lifted off the ground, and into the air. A collective sound of scurrying was below me, and I started to shiver. Not from the cold, which I didn't feel at all because I had Unseelie blood in my veins, but because I was scared. Honestly, and truthfully frightened.
A scream swarmed my brain, racing through my thoughts as I tried to figure out what was going on. Then, with a bang, everything started to vibrate. Thunder rolled into my head, shaking me with all the might it possessed. Swelling, my vision turned blurry, and changed to black.
"Ah! Chief!" a voice snarled. "Brought'chu a tasty dinner!"
I groggily raised my head, but I couldn't even do that, I was in so much pain. My arms ached, legs numb. Lifting my head was pointless, since my neck was sore, and my head pounded, so instead I cracked my eyelids open, scared to see what was awaiting me.
My face was angled towards the sky, but there was no colour there as my eyes searched. There was only brown. After a few minutes, I was capable of apprehending what was currently above my head. Shafts of wood were knotted together in an interlocking pattern. In fact, narrow pieces of wood were attached to the interlocking wood above my head. I realized I was even lying on wood.
I was in a cage.
Rolling over onto my stomach, I pushed myself up on my elbows, and blinked blearily. Stretching was almost impossible, due to the size of the cage, but I managed. I arched my back, and was met with a stab of pain. Something warm slinked down my back, and soaked into my clothes.
Thorns. They covered every inch of the cage, making the space even smaller than what it was.
"What the hell?" I grumbled. My hand rubbed my back, where the thorn had poked it, and my thoughts drifted to my dagger that was usually in its sheath, attached to the belt on my hip. Instinctively, I reached for it, but was met with only an empty sheath.
My dagger was gone.
"The elf is waking!" A squeaky voice declared.
Surprised, my head snapped up, and at that moment, I realized where I was.
Goblins milled around the cage I now occupied, some watching me, others were dancing around big fires with flames that reached the sky, all chanting weird songs. Some squabbled over bones, or weapons. Short, ugly things peered at me, amusement clear in their beady eyes. Occasionally one would poke me with a bone tipped spear, and I would cringe away from it. The goblins wore tattered clothes that covered sickly yellow skin. Claws raked over my arms as they stretched their hands toward me in a poor attempt to grab me. Why couldn't they leave me alone?
I must have ventured into the Gnashwood, a forest populated by goblins, without acknowledging it. How could I have been so stupid?
I was sure as dead now.
Unless I found a way out.
"Chief? What ya want us d'with it?" A goblin just outside the cage door asked. It regarded me hungrily. And that's when I saw who the goblin was speaking to.
A goblin similar to the others sauntered into the clearing, appearing from the dark. Except this one was broader, larger, and meaner looking. Wearing a crimson uniform, the sleeves dragging along the ground, with brass buttons, it fixed its evil glare on me. But I didn't flinch back, instead holding his gaze. I refused to look away, but then he raised a bronze sword, one side jagged, but sure enough to kill, and I gulped.
"Ah, it a scrawny thing, eh boys?" The Chief growled, his ferocious gaze focused on what lie beyond the cage, which was me.
Snarls and roars of agreement sounded from all around, showing just how devoted these goblins were to their Chief.
The Chief raised his sword and pointed it toward the sky, and said, "Aye! T'night we feast like'em high an' mighty rulers. She may be a skinny one, but it don't matter." The goblin turned his nasty gaze on me once more, sickly yellow eyes peering through the cage bars. "She looks delicious enough."
"Are ya sure?" A voice called from the branches above. "She looks a bit plump if you ask me. But then again, you goblins have always been a tad blind."
Dropping from the trees like a star would in the sky; a dark figure swooped down, and landed in the middle of the mass of goblins. I could only make out the distinctive shape of a man's body. The once disgusting and scary hues of the Gnashwood suddenly seemed much more sinister, frightening. I shrank back against the cage, my eyes scanning the edges of the cage. If this person was enough of a distraction for the goblins, I could sneak out of there undetected. And the stranger was right; the goblins could always be slightly blind.
There! One bar of the cage was kneaded away at the bottom, tough and worn. It had probably been a spear shaft before it was used in the construction of my cell.
If only I had my dagger with me! I could cut the wood, and then kick it out, but I didn't have any kind of sharp object...
My thoughts halted. No. My previous thought was wrong. I did have a sharp object with me. When a surge of excitement shot through my body, I quickly suppressed it. I didn't know if the goblins had checked everywhere on me. They might have overlooked my right boot. I could only hope.
"Who're ya?" The Chief grumbled at the dark stranger.
The dark stranger stepped out of the shade the black branches had provided him, and his features were lightened by the dim light cast by the fires. And I gasped, momentarily shocked by who stood before the goblins.
The infamous Robin Goodfellow, Lord Oberon's most favored servant, the Summer Trickster.
I could not believe my eyes.
"It seems as though my fame has not grown over the years," the flaming-haired faery answered, a smirk curving his lips. "I guess I'll have to change that."
Instead of flinching away from the evil glint that had resided in Goodfellow's emerald eyes, like I would have done, the Chief simply laughed, a big belly laugh, as if he couldn't fathom the reason to why this puny faery was so confident.
If my mouth wasn't sealed shut, I may have told him why.
"Why should I be so scared ova tiny elf like yer self?" the Chief laughed, who was now joined by other goblins who snickered at the faery.
Two crystal clear daggers were suddenly in his hands, spinning expertly, blurring with speed. Goblins that were closest to him coiled back in uneasiness. No one wanted to take a chance at being speared in the eye.
The daggers also seemed to affect the Chief, for he stumbled back half a step, and narrowed his eyes. "Now, don't go pointin' those things 'less ya wanna fight, elf," the goblin advised. It sounded like he only trying to give Robin advice, but the tone of his voice was thick like ice, and held a note a challenge in it.
"Ha!" Goodfellow snorted, green eyes rolling. "I'm Robin Goodfellow! I always want to fight."
The group of goblins reared back in fear at his name. I couldn't blame them though; Goodfellow looked like the devil with the way his hair flicked in the slight breeze, the way the fire glanced off his angular features. He appeared to be a feral predator, set on destroying his enemy, wreaking havoc wherever he wanted. That's what he was famous for doing, after all.
"R-Robin Goodf-fellow?" The Chief stuttered. "The real Robin Goodfellow?"
A cocky grin spread over his face, with a hint of menace to it. Goodfellow nodded in confirmation.
The Chief's eyes hardened, his lips turning down in a frown. "Well then, it seems 'though we'll be havin' us quite the feast t'night, boys." He then gestured with his sword, pointing it at Goodfellow. "Attack 'em! Tie 'em up an' throw 'em in with the girl elf!" Waving the jagged point at the devilish faery, the Chief's orders were immediately put into action.
Goblins swarmed Goodfellow, clawing at him with their razor-like hands, tearing at his clothes and skin. But Robin Goodfellow was a skilled fighter; he sliced and cut with his daggers until he was moving with inhuman speed. It was almost like a hypnotic dance. He would swipe with his blade, duck at an incoming spear, knock his opponent with the back of his hand. The dance would continue and continue. It was amazing.
"Hey!" Goodfellow called out. "You mind maybe getting yourself out of there!"
At first, I didn't know who he was talking to; I was so entranced by the way he fought. He was so graceful, my eyes trained on him, and I realized his shining eyes were glued on me in turn.
He jumped over a goblin, and stabbed it with his dagger. "C'mon," he whined. "If I said please, would that work?"
I wanted to laugh, but I knew then wasn't the time. I ripped my eyes away from Goodfellow, and reached down to grasp my ankle, or rather, my leather boot.
As I did this, I noticed the Chief was watching Goodfellow with his eyes opened slightly, completely oblivious to me trying to escape. At least I wasn't the only one who slipped into a state of awe when they saw Goodfellow fight.
Turning my boot upside down, a shard of a broken mirror fell into my hand. I had found it on my trip in the wylwood today, after I found a cabin close to the Arcadian boundary burnt down and falling apart. No one was around to witness my visit, but I was still cautious. I didn't know if any creatures lurked in the shadows, possibly awaiting their next meal. Sifting through soot and ash, I came across this sparkling piece of glass, reflecting the blinding sun back into my eyes. I didn't have many treasures from roaming the wylwood, so I decided to keep it, and stuck it in my boot. I had no idea it would save my life later on.
I instantly attacked the worn wood shaft, and began cutting away at the bar. Ignoring the shouts coming from the goblins as they were killed by Goodfellow, I focused on the task at hand. I couldn't afford to let my eyes wander to the brave faery, who gave the occasional whoop of victory or glee.
"Aha!" I exclaimed. The shaft broke into two pieces, falling back into the weeds that surrounded the cage. The space that was now there was just big enough for me to squeeze through. And that is what I did. Feet first, I wiggled my way out, gritting my teeth as thorns poked into my skin.
Victorious, I leapt up from the muddy ground and stretched my limbs. I had to get out of here, and get back to Tir Na Nog. As I slipped out of view of the ever-fighting goblins, I slid behind the black trees, and circled around the camp, out of sight, hidden by shadows.
A scream rolled along the ground, finding its way to my ears. Quickly, I spun around to find Robin Goodfellow standing above the goblin chief, a deadly smirk on his face. The Chief laid on dirt heaving in loud gasps. His beady eyes bulged, and I saw that he had a dagger stuck in his stomach, red blossoming and staining his already crimson uniform.
Goblins were either gathered in heaps around their chief, scattered around the rest of the camp, all dead may I mention, or fleeing from the scene.
This was pure horror.
I slinked up behind Robin, and watched the goblin chief from over his shoulder. I suddenly felt tears pooling in my eyes as I watched this horrid creature take his last breath. Then he uttered his dying words.
"Ya hear me, Goodf—," the goblin stopped his words to cough, blood spattering on his shirt. "F-fellow. Ya betta realize whacha did 'ere. My brothers won't be happy with the death of their chief—," And that was all he managed to say before his eyes drooped shut, and stayed that way.
"That's what you get for messing with me," Robin Goodfellow muttered. "Hurt, and nothing more." His voice was so quiet, I barely heard it, but I did. All playfulness was gone from his tone, all stripped away, and all that was left was the real Robin Goodfellow.
Staring at the back of his head was slightly awkward, so I cleared my throat, and he started, turning to face me.
"So," Goodfellow said, lacing his hands behind his head. His eyes were amused; a smirk was again gracing his features. "You decided to finally join the fight, eh?"
I couldn't help but roll my eyes. He was so arrogant. "Yes, I finally decided to step in and aid you in the fight." Sarcasm was thick in my voice.
Goodfellow smiled teasingly. "Well, it seems as though you're a little late on your timing. I think it's time you got a watch."
I stared at him, my gaze blank.
"Oh, right!" He said smacking his palm lightly against his forehead, in a mocking way. "How could I have been so stupid? Watches don't work here!"
I couldn't stand his mockery. Goodfellow must only see me as a maiden who needed saving from monsters. That's all. In response to his teasing, I turned my back on him and started to walk in the direction I hoped was the way back to Tir Na Nog.
"Hey," Goodfellow yelled after her. "Wait up." He grasped my forearm and spun me around to face him again.
"What? Do you want to crack some more jokes about how dimwitted I am? Because if you wish to, I will leave." I snapped at him, unable to hold back my anger. I was tired, sore, and now apparently unable to rescue myself from a hoard of hungry goblins. I didn't need Robin Goodfellow treating me like I was incapable.
"Whoa, there," he said, holding up his hands in surrender. "I only wanted to say I was sorry. But I guess if you don't want my apologies, I can always leave..."
I shook my head in irritation. "I don't care Goodfellow; I just need to get home."
"See, you know my name, but I don't know yours. And I think I at least deserve to hear it since I did save your life back there." Robin jerked his thumb behind him, pointing to the dead chief goblin.
I sighed. "My name is Opira Tallyn, the Princess of Tir Na Nog, and all of that." My shoulders slumped in resignation. I absolutely hated that title.
His eyes were only speculative, not surprised as I expected he might be. "Well, I definitely did not see that coming," he then shrugged, "but whatever. It's nice to meet you, Opira." He stuck out his hand in front of him. I could only stare at it.
Rolling his eyes, he smiled, a genuine smile, so handsome that it took my breath away. He reached down to grasp my hand, and he gently shook it, welcoming.
"I'm Robin Goodfellow," he said as I squeezed his rough, but warm hand. "But you can call me Puck."
I was silent for a moment. This was a new beginning of sorts. Why couldn't I go by another name?
"I'm Opira Tallyn," I finally said. I had never been called this name before, and I made it up off the top of my head. I wanted to see how it sounded out loud, to actually say it to someone. "But you can call me Pire."
Puck's eyebrows raised the slightest bit and I smiled.
The name didn't sound too bad.
Not bad at all.
The last words I said sparked through my mind. But you can call me Pire. That's how my relationship with Puck started. Through a mere incident. One of pure chance.
After that day, Puck and I had continually met up, going on hunting trips, laughing and simply having a good time. I never told my parents though, as I didn't know what they would think. Would they be upset with me for spending time with a Summer faery? Would they forbid me from seeing him again? I would never know what their reaction would be though, because I would never tell them. It was better that way.
"My girl!" Lady Rissilia crowed excitedly. "You look simply ravishing!"
I blinked wearily, and looked around. I had been so deep in my thoughts; Lady Rissilia had finished the dress without me even noticing. I really was out of it today.
"Oh, dear, you must have a look!" the Lady pulled me off of the silver pedestal, gripping my shoulder as she tugged like Kierran had done only over an hour ago. She moved me towards the mirror on the other side of the room, and when I saw my reflection, I gasped.
Gold material slipped around my body like liquid. It framed my curves, making me appear far older than eighteen. It billowed down past my knees, falling to the floor in soft waves. The neck was a deep, V-shape, showing my bare neck and chest, plunging to the waistline. Sleeveless. It contrasted brilliantly with my alabaster skin; the material also matched my eyes perfectly. I was monochromatic, but it was not boring, but more eye-catching. It was beautiful.
"Oh, Lady!" I gushed. "It's amazing!"
"I know my dear!" Lady Rissilia answered, her voice filled with happiness. "You will be the centre of attention at the wedding!"
My stomach dropped. The wedding. I had forgotten about that. I had been so wrapped up in my own thoughts; the wedding seemed like a dream.
I sighed, my glee suddenly dissipating.
Poor Amalia. How was I supposed to help her get through this situation?
Lady Rissilia's face dropped. "Oh, dear!" She cried. "What's wrong? Don't you like it?"
"Oh, Lady! It is perfect," I assured her. "The dress is perfect."
If only my life could be that way, too.
Sorry that it's a really long chapter, but I found it hard to get to the point of the whole freaking chapter. I was so frustrated. But I managed to finish it. Please read and review if ya like it. If you don't like it, but you'd like to give me constructive criticism, feel free to. I'd appreciate it. Thanks. And I can't promise anything about when the next chapter will be posted. It's taken me a long time to write this one as it is. Anyways...Yeee!