Authors: Robbie Collins
Gate Way Publishers
Copyright ©2005 by Robbie Collins
The Realm's Mystics, Book III of The Mystic Women of The Realm series Copyright © 2005 Robbie Collins
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. No part of this book may be copied, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the expressed written permission of the publisher.
For information, contact Gate Way Publishers, 164 Robles Way #188, Vallejo, California 94591 USA. Visit us on the World Wide Web at www.gate-way-publishers.com.
ISBN: 0-9635703-6-6 (print edition)
Cover Artwork by Javier Espinoza with Digital Enhancement by J. E. Depew
Interior Design by DigitalWrite, www.digitalwrite.com
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Come enter The Realm with the High Queen to see what mysteries are unfolding.
She was The High Queen of The Realm—the queen of queens.
She was a warrior of warriors, and assured as no other.
Her reign was without question; her authority unchallenged.
Yet, as The High Queen rode back to the Valley, the just concluded confrontation had left her wondering if she knew anything at all about her Realm.
When the truth of the deception had been told, she had become, in the same instant, wholly enraged as well as unbelievably elated.
While often angered as High Queen, yet also while often well pleased, she couldn't recall ever being so completely and happily amazed while at the same moment being uncontrollably enraged. Both at the same unexpected and staggering truth.
The return ride from the clash with the Spirit Mother had been with as much haste as Ann'wn, the High Queen's Force Leader, could provide. The astonishing events of the turn had left few moments for preparation of the eve's celebration, and The High Queen didn't wish to be overly late, not knowing when or if her newfound yet unwanted sister would present herself. She knew that Jandra was most bewildered in learning she was not a human, but a Mystical Elf, and guessed that Sam was also in need of someone to talk her through all the lies of which she had just learned.
But there were no moments to do so.
So San'lr'in'thel'ineln', The High Queen, hurried them back to the Valley, hoping that she would be able to provide what they needed at a later moment.
She studied Jandra's thoughts throughout the return so as to ensure that she wasn't overly shaken by learning of her true identity. Worrying that too much had come Jandra's way, overly soon, The High Queen knew that if she had been supplied with such knowledge of herself, she would be most confused and upset. And knowing that both Jandra and Sam wouldn't know how to comprehend that their minds had been forcefully bent toward each other so as to ensure Sele's birth, she thought to herself,
For all of that, I know not how to take all this new knowledge. But I now know why I felt Jandra as special.
The High Queen knew as such, for in that single moment in the forest when she had first gazed upon Jandra and had first touched her feelings, she knew something special existed in her.
But having only recently learned that the Spirit Mothers of the Falls had deeply deceived The Realm, The High Queen wondered how they had managed to keep their secrets from her own Spirits of the Valley, as well as from the Deep Mystics. The extent of the deception was beyond understanding.
How could they have hidden Jandra from the entire realm? And for so long as this?
Never prior feeling such an odd assortment of feelings, she was enraged at Far'lin'ter'il, the Spirit Mother, for her deception, stunned that she had an older sister, and fully elated that Jandra was really Sle'nel', a long-hidden Elfin-kind.
Yet, her instincts kept her wary, wondering,
Why was I not informed that there was yet one Elf remaining in The Realm?
She could feel her anger exploding at herself as well as at The Realm, yet her feelings wouldn't allow her to remain focused on this anger. Instead, it was as if they jerked her back and forth between immense anger and surprising delight.
Jandra, My Sle'nel', is of the long-prior Elves.
Following her questioning of the Spirits of the Fall's leader, Far'lin'ter'il, she and her escorts had ridden quickly back to the Valley.
San'lr'in'thel'ineln’ knew that there was no way for Jandra to make sense of the fact that she had been hidden in Woden when a young child—deeply hidden so that the Elfin-kind could never again return to The Realm.
But why? Why would they not wish the return of the Elves?
On the return ride to the Valley, Jandra kept trying out her newly found name to herself.
My name is Sle'nel’ Ni Riain
The High Queen smiled to herself, pleased that Jandra seemed to quite like her new name.
Also on this well gnarled and twisted moment of truth, Far'lin'ter'il had been forced to inform both Sam and San'lr'in'thel'ineln’ that they had an older sister, Sume'n'tinel'ti'non, who was part R'kin'dles, the Mystic race who long-despised the Elves. The High Queen wondered what she would be like, learning that the just-found sister was quite angry in her own right.
What cruelties has The Realm placed upon her in her upbringing?
Sam's mind nearly spun dizzily out of control as she had learned that the Spirit Mothers of the Falls killed Brett, her long-prior companion, because Brett didn't trust them and wouldn't allow them to control Sam.
They had Brett killed!
As she learned that terrible truth, Jandra's prior questioning about the Spirits of the Falls came flying into her memory,
Why should we trust our Spirit Mothers, Sam? What have they ever done for Woden? And why should we believe them when they tell us that some queen of the Valley is trying to kill us? We have never heard of her prior, yet if she is so powerful, why has she not done so?
But the lies hadn't halted there, as she then learned that the Spirit Mothers of the Falls had placed a spell on Jandra and her, forcing them to come together as companions. Forcing as such so that Sele’ would be born into their hands.
They forced us together? How could this be so?
On the return ride, The High Queen had thought about Far'lin'ter'il's words over and over again, trying to discover if anyone else was involved in the deceptions. A chill ran through her as she wondered if her own Spirit Mothers, the Spirits of the Valley, were also involved. She hoped not, but knew that she would have to ensure herself of their innocence,
If they indeed are as such.
She doubted it.
As Far'lin'ter'il was forced to tell the long story of deception, The High Queen unknowingly began to unravel that which the Spirit Mothers of both the Valley and the Falls didn't wish her to know. While she couldn't yet see it, the tale of deception had placed the seed of distrust firmly in her mind.
San'lr'in'thel'ineln’ gave quick orders to her attendants upon their arrival to The High Queen's complex, ensuring that all would be readied for the eve's gala affair.
The High Queen turned to one of her attendants as she dismounted, “What color is Jandra's gown for this eve?"
Startled by the question, the attendant looked surprised, but answered quickly, “Brown, Highness."
"Call the tailor to Me, quickly."
"Yes, my Queen."
As she and Jandra arrived to their room, The High Queen held out her arm to Jandra, finally able to focus her attention upon her, “Come, My Love. Let us prepare ourselves for the continuation of our own celebration. You will not have to dance the eve away in partner with others.” She looked upon her, smiling, but raising an eyebrow, “Unless you would so desire."
"Only you. It gives me peace to know such. I yet know not the demands of being yours in such a gathering."
"You are your own free spirit, My Bright Star. Do as your heart tells you. How does it feel to know you were born as Sle'nel’ Ni Riain?"
The High Queen saw that Jandra looked disorientated, “Odd, I think. Confusing."
"Then let us not dwell upon such for the moment."
Jandra stood in the middle of the room, not knowing what to do. The tailor came in, kneeling and bowing her head to The High Queen, “My Queen. You called for my services."
"Tell Me, Tailor, what do you know of the garments of the Elfin Fairies?"
"Some, my Queen. I have two or three in the wardrobe, leftovers from long prior."
"Have them sent for. You now prepare one for this eve."
"For who, Highness?"
The High Queen motioned over to Jandra, “My Tailor, let Me introduce Sle'nel’ Ni Riain, the last Elfin Faiere Princess."
The Tailor's eyes widened. Suddenly, she knelt deeply before Jandra, as did all the attendants. Their single spoken word was stated with great awe, “Princess."
After a few moments of Jandra staring down at them, The High Queen laughed lightly, “My Desire, you will need to remind yourself to let them rise."
Jandra, yet looking down at them in amazement, said, “Yes. Please do so."
They rose, the Tailor staring at Jandra, “Forgive me, Princess, but I was not aware that—"
San'lr'in'thel'ineln’ interrupted, “—enough, Tailor. I have much need to make her look as such this eve. Can you accomplish this in a short span?"
The Tailor was yet wide-eyed. The Elfin Faeries had been the most revered across the entire realm, so she didn't know how to act. While the Elves were long gone, the stories yet lived on—great stories of their wonderful deeds throughout The Realm. She looked upon Jandra with amazement and love.
"Oh, my Queen. My apologies. I will have to fashion this upon her, but it shall be as you desire. Give me a few moments only to retrieve the garments."
The Tailor went toward the door, then turned back, “My Queen?"
"Yes, Tailor. What is it you need?"
"All will be stunned at such as this."
The High Queen nodded, then motioned her away.
The attendants were yet in the room, waiting to prepare The High Queen. She looked upon them, “Leave Me. Return with the Tailor."
San'lr'in'thel'ineln’ turned to Jandra, studying her, searching briefly into her mind. She went to her, embracing her firmly. The High Queen held Jandra close, hiding her own frown from her, “All will be well, My Desire. You must trust this to be so."
"It is frightening."
"Think on this. At least you come from the most honored line in all The Realm and across all the Skies. My newfound sister comes from a line that provides a burden. Yours is a blessing."
"I cannot live up to such, my Queen. I am not such as they must have been. I have seen the looks of those who hear the name. They fall upon their knees as if they have seen Peace and Love itself stand before them."
"Because they do, My Love. Do you recall our first meeting in the forest? I felt you most special then, and should have seen the resemblance."
Jandra nodded, recalling the event vividly. The moment to birth Sele’ was upon her, but with great complication, and she was dying. Surprising Sam, Jandra, Caitha and Meera, The High Queen had appeared from out of nowhere, and saved her and Sele's lives. But Jandra and The High Queen had also as surprisingly, fallen in love, in that most desperate of moments.
San'lr'in'thel'ineln’ moved Jandra back just a bit so she might look upon her, watching so as to ensure that Jandra was adjusting well to her new identity. She moved Jandra's hair back behind her ear, without drawing attention to the gesture.
"I felt you different somehow, loving beyond description. Do you know this?"
Jandra nodded again.
"And do you recall when you had your special moments with the animals? And that I was trying to recall a memory, a recollection of long prior? I asked you upon many moments about this."
"Yes.” San'lr'in'thel'ineln’ had asked her if the animals of The Realm had always come to her so openly, without fear. Jandra had assumed that this was the case with everyone. San'lr'in'thel'ineln's surprise at such had startled her.
"I should have seen it then. None are respected by the animals, except for the Elfin Faeries. None. But they come to you and do your bidding like no other in this Realm. Even R'lodin'lindor favored you when she has rejected all others, My Love."