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Fairyspells: 5th Chapter

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Chapter 5! Here it is – a bit longer than the last one. I’m trying out some new devices with this book, so I’d love to know what you think of the letter – characterization and all that. Don’t be shy – and thanks for reading!

Read Chapter 4 here if you missed it!

 

*****

Fairyspells (The Pizza Shop Chronicles #3)

Chapter 5: Alastair

On the very afternoon I sent my messenger to the fairy castle, another one arrived at my castle—sent with a letter from the second fairy minister, after Wiclon, Lord Radgar.

To His Majesty King Alastair Higgins of the Elves of the Mountains and Forest and of the Fairies, Son of King Elrond Higgins, King of the Elves of the Mountains and Forest, read the salutation—definitely from Radgar himself. Only he cared enough about titles to waste that much paper. Most of my correspondants were content with “King Alastair” or, if it was Uncle Chris, “Hey! :D”.

Fortunately, Radgar had cut most pretentiousness from the rest of his letter:

Your Majesty, I hope Lord Wiclon has reached you safely and explained our deplorable situation already. In case not, I shall summarize:
After thirty years of travel, your mother’s third brother (Prince Iliuden Dualia) the youngest son of your grandfather (King Hermalize Dualia III) has returned to us. Upon learning of the slaughter of his relations, he has demanded the fairy throne and all it entails as his inheritance, delivered up to him in just over a fortnight, on the coming full moon. He brings with him the Bërulynth Star, given to him by your father in exchange for his freedom (as well as that of Princess Tachla & Prince Christopher) from the dungeons of this castle at the time when they were captured by the fairy princes in association with the kidnapping of Princess Orline by a witch of the forest elves. It seems positive proof of his identity.
As Lord Wiclon has likely conveyed to you, he has also expressed a demand that you personally meet with him here in the given time to turn to him the fairy crown and throne during a public ceremony so there will (we hope) be no dissent among the fairies at your stepping down: all should respect your decision well enough should they see it in person. Many among us would rather see Iliuden step down, though that is clearly not his intention.
His presence, though currently secret, threatens a military uprising and consequent civil war should these terms not be met and he choose to reveal himself.
It grieves me deeply to relay such news during this time (or any other) and I have tried my best to reason with him to at least give you another week or to journey to see you, but he seems more or less mad with the loss of his family (he does, unfortunately, disregard you as family). It will surely pass quite soon, but I must admit I am at a loss for handling him, and young Lord Ornith has been struck with a sudden fever so he is incapacitated. I now almost wish I had traveled to you and left Lord Wiclon here, for only he and you have a chance to match the prowess of Prince Iliuden should he become uncooperative; Lord Wiclon in spells and skills, yourself greater in strength should it be required of you, I know.
I feel a terrible ache in my heart to beg this of you now, when I know you are needed there, but please come as speedily as you can, to keep order if nothing else, for Prince Iliuden is skilled not only in spellwork but carries a smooth tongue as well. He could easily suggest something to a servant that would result in disaster.
Yours sincerely,
Lord Naphilius of Radgar, Second Minister of the Fairies Under First Minister Lord of Wiclon and Alastair King

P.S. Lord Ornith’s health need not cause you anxiety, I merely made mention of it in respect to the situation here. He should be well again within the week, says the physician.

“It’s not good, is it?” Jodath asked, watching my face as I read.

“See for yourself.” I tossed the letter to him and sank down in the chair behind my desk, dropping my head in my hands.

“Wow,” he said when he’d finished. “I mean, things are never good when Radgar writes a letter, but this is awful even for him. What’s the plan?”

I raised my head slowly, wanted to bash it off the desk instead. “You’re my advisor,” I said, shrugging my shoulders. “Advise.”

He stared at me for a long moment. This was probably the second time I’d asked him for advice during my reign. Last time had been about whether we should plant red roses and white tulips or red tulips and white roses. And I’d told him to take a hike when he said white roses. I might’ve asked him another time since, but it must not have been important since we’d both forgotten.

He sighed, sinking into the chair opposite me with the letter on the desk between us. “No,” he said and shook his head. “Nope. Sorry, Alastair, but I’m not touching this one. Besides, you already know my solution would be to shoot Iliuden or run him off. What about you?”

I nodded. It wasn’t right to ask him to to make a choice like that anyway. That was my job. And if anybody was going to make a mess of it, that would be me.
Which I promptly did.

“I’d send a runner to revoke my invitation for him to come here. Then I’d leave here tomorrow and go see him, because I hate to leave even Radgar to the wolves.”

“Hm. I see your point,” Wiclon said, finally emerging from his corner seat by the window. “Thoguh I’ve personally always felt he was the wolf.”

“Hardly matters,” I said, sighing as I stood and grabbed the letter, rolling it up again. “Either way, the trouble’s out there. I can’t stop it from here.” I crossed the room and opened the door to see Uncle Chris and Aunt Tachla in the doorway, obviously practising the age-old art of “overhearing things”.

“What trouble’s out where?” Aunt Tachla asked, brushing her flaming red curls behind her ear.

“Not us,” Uncle Chris said with a chuckle. Two thin scars on his cheek folded neatly into his smile and his blue eyes twinkled merrily. “Thought I heard something about Radgar the Ratfink. What’s he up to?”

“Not exactly Radgar,” Jodath said. “It’s Iliuden.”

Uncle Chris and Aunt Tachla exchanged wide-eyed glances.

“The one who laughed at us when we were locked in the dungeon and joked about getting us excuted?” Aunt Tachla asked.

Simultaneously, Uncle Chris asked: “The one who got us out of the dungeon and arranged a wedding for El and Orline?”

“That’s the one,” Jodath said. “But he’s apparently grown more like his father since then, if Alastair wants to show you the letter.”

“Why not? Misery loves company.” I handed it to Uncle Chris and they both read it.

“Well, he certainly wasn’t that bad before,” Aunt Tachla said. “Though I suppose Radgar’s exaggerating.”

“Unfortunately,” Wiclon said. “That’s the one thing Radgar doesn’t do. He’s painfully accurate.”

“What do you think?” I asked Uncle Chris, who was furrow-browed re-reading the letter.

“I think I’ll come with you,” he said. “I could do with the excercise—not enough hiking the past three days.”

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