Chapter 10: Rings, Family, and a new Tree.
We’d trapped Melchior on Albion as the realm went dormant. It would fade from existence until its Enaid, or soul, died. If Albion was returned to its glory, the Sisters would be reborn over and over again for eternity. If it remained dormant when they died, the realm would fade into memory.
Unfortunately, Melchior had been absorbing magical energy and that made him powerful enough to break out of the makeshift prison. We’d only bought ourselves a few days at most.
Merlin had helped me, Randi, Oberon, and Titania transfer our power out of ourselves and into rings. This sealed it away from Melchior and stopped him from using that power.
Our rings held the power of Fay. Mine was an onyx ring with flecks of gold. Randi’s ring was a simple ring of copper and silver. Oberon’s ring was gold with diamonds and rubies. Finally Titania’s ring was made of some form of glass with a rainbow of colours inside it.
“Who should be the champion that will wield the rings and strip Melchior of his power?” Oberon asked. It was a question, but he obviously expected us to choose him.
“I think it should be Randi,” Titania offered. At the hurt expression on her husband, she added, “She knows the spell best.”
“What do you think?” Randi asked Merlin.
The old man smiled and the well worn lines around his face crinkled. He’d already seen a lifetime of joy and sadness. “I think this is a question for you to answer.”
“Why not give the rings to you?” I asked him.
The man laughed as if I’d told the greatest joke and said, “I couldn’t wield it. Only someone who is Fay, descended from Fay, or touched by Fay in some way could make use of those rings.”
I considered telling him that his sister became the Deep Realms and he had become the barrier that protects Fay from the aether, but maybe he didn’t need to know yet.
“My vote is that I do it,” Oberon said.
“I think Robin should,” added Randi.
That left me with the last vote. I was tempted to choose Titania just to be difficult, but I knew who was the best choice. I took my ring off and handed it to Randi. “You, my dear, are the best choice for this mission.” Between having created the spell that ripped away powers, she was also the least likely to be corrupted by the power of the four rings.
“I disagree and I’m not giving her my ring,” argued Oberon.
Sighing and taking my ring, Randi said, “Oberon, could you really stand there and strip everything that makes your son a Fay lord away? Do you have the strength of character and will to make him lesser?”
Oberon sputtered as if she’d slapped him and furrowed his brow. He looked frozen until he finally took off his ring and gave it to Randi. Titania also gave Randi her ring.
With the four rings on I could see the power emanating off Randi like heat from an oven. We’d either made her powerful enough to stop Melchior, or we’d created a great feast for him to devour.
We gave her our rings and Merlin gave her a necklace with a yellow gem. He said it would prevent mind control of any sort. Then we all waited.
I felt the loss of my power intently; like I’d been thinking about something and then forgotten. It was sort of freeing.
“I feel lesser, like a human. It’s disgusting,” Oberon said.
“Gee, thanks,” said Morgana sarcastically.
“You’re a wizard, it’s not the same thing,” he snapped and walked away.
Titania took it better. She simply chatted with whoever was around, desperate to distract herself.
“Do you feel any different?” Randi asked me.
I gave her a smirk and said, “Yes, but I’m sure I could still come up with some mischief if needed.” From inside my coat, I pulled out a beautiful jewelled sword.
“Is that Excalibur?” asked Randi with a chuckle.
“Yup. He doesn’t need it and I’ll give it back when he returns. How are you feeling?”
She sighed but it was with contentment. “I feel like I was listening to a song played by a duet and now I’m listening to the same song played by a full orchestra. It’s overwhelming, confusing, and utterly beautiful.” She cocked her head, fox like, and added, “He’s here.”
A second later, Melchior appeared in the middle of the group, hunched and angry. He growled, “That was unkind, uncle.”
“I’m many things, nephew,” I spat the word out as if it disgusted me, “but kind isn’t one of them. Even if I were, you deserve no kindness from me or Fay. You insult existence itself with your childish delusions of grandeur.” I hoped I could get him nice and mad so that he wouldn’t notice Randi weaving the spell that would strip him of his essence as a Fay lord, leaving him with the power of a regular Fay.
“You dare speak to me like that?”
“What are you going to do? Tell your parents? Turn me into an ant?”
He smiled a wicked grin and said, “No. I’m going to turn you into a tree. You’ll be able to see and talk, but not influence anything around you. You’ll be so bored that you’ll beg every woodsman who comes by to cut you down.”
I stifled a laugh. “That’s inventive, I approve, but just me alone with my imagination and conversation of anyone who passes by? That sounds soothing to me.”
I felt him gather his power for an attack and I did nothing. I considered brandishing Excalibur, but it wouldn’t help. His attack would destroy me and everything on this side of Everworld.
I saw Randi’s arms make a shooing motion and felt Melchior’s power flow back to Fay.
“No!” he screamed. “How?” What was left of his power would have been enough to destroy me in my current state and he threw everything he had at me. Merlin stepped in front of me and blocked the energy with a metal shield.
“A regular Fay is still pretty scary to us mortals,” Merlin said and then winked.
“What do we do with him now?” asked Morgana.
Trying not to seem like I was enjoying the irony too much, I said, “I think that Melchior has already given us a pretty good idea.” Turning to my nephew, I added, “It’s time you settle down and lay down some roots.”
While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories: