Song of Winter

By: May Sage




Elden often mused at the turn of events.

Shea Blackthorn had come to see him some hundred years ago to warn there would be war against Corantius one day. The only reason there was peace at all right now was because Orin, ruler of the Court of Crystal, demanded it.

Shea believed that when the northern kingdom would unleash its wrath against the rest of the Isle, the seelie, unseelie and elven realm would fall. Elden hadn’t doubted that fact, but unlike her, he looked upon his demise with a degree of indifference and resignation. He’d lived long enough. Most of his people were also immortals; they’d seen plenty of winters rise and fall. It was all meant to end one day.

“We can fight this.”

“A handful of gods. A hundred thousand demigods. A million high fae. That’s how many enemies we will face when this peace comes to an end. We are doomed,” Elden stated.

“A handful gods,” Shea repeated. “Let us not pretend that anyone else matters. Seven gods could raze this continent and rule over its ruins.”

Another fact. “I fail to see your point. The gods of Corantius will march against us when their overking orders them to.”

“The gods of Corantius may. I say we forge gods of our own.”

Her scheming was madness, and for a time, he bore her no mind. Then one day, as he walked down the paths to the lakes, Elden spotted a noisy horde of younglings playing in the early autumn snow. Two dozen children of a tender age, laughing innocently.

Did he truly have a choice?

Years after she’d proposed an alliance, he sent his raven to the Court of Night.

“I will partake in your schemes, so long as it causes no harm to my court.”

Her reply was swift.

By then, Shea had almost everything she needed to execute her plan. She had enlisted an Ashtar, master of fire, a Winford, lord of air, and the last of Rivers, commander of water and ice. Shea possessed the powers of the earth. The four females would channel their powers to bless one unborn child.

For all their magic, to make a child, they still required a male of some kind. Shea could have called upon anyone, but she’d solicited Elden’s aid.

“Loxy will bear the child so that it will have seelie blood. I will take it in and raise it in my court. If you were to father it, the child’s very existence would be reason enough for the kingdoms to unite and fight under one flag.”

Idealistic nonsense. But what would it cost him? A few nights with one of the most enticing females in the Isle wasn’t his idea of an ordeal. He agreed. For three years, Loxy was blessed by the other three females every full moon, and she shared Elden’s bed until she was with child.

And here they were now.

Elden Star had seen enough seasons to have learned the value of patience. He’d long ago come to the conclusion that events had a tendency to occur exactly how, and when, they ought to.

That said, the torturous wait had to stop if he was to retain his senses.

He had never desired to father a child. Not once, in five thousand years, had he wished for it. But the cunning, conniving young fae who’d talked him into this nonsense had been persuasive.

Waiting in front of the closed doors and listening to every gut-clenching scream coming from the room where he wasn’t welcome, Elden suddenly contemplated the frailty of his sanity. The child was coming.

His child.

Elden looked upon the offending red door before resuming his restless pacing in the corridor. Shea smiled mockingly. It was all her fault. One word from her and he’d happily declare war on the unseelie realm.

Loxy’s screaming stopped but for an instant, and then he heard it—a high-pitched cry.

“That’s a girl,” said the healer from inside the room.

A girl. He had a little girl. A live one with a healthy set of lungs.

Elden resolutely strode to the door. To hell with the propriety, he was going in.

The door opened just as he reached for the handle, and a smiling maiden greeted him with a white linen bundle in her arms.

His daughter.

He looked to the babe and then up to her mother. He frowned. Why was she still writhing so?

“There is another,” said a nurse before lifting the precious parcel up to him.