Tales of loathsome tyrants and prophesied saviors aren't nearly so appealing when you are a royal bastard with a prophecy hanging over your head.


Once we're in a solitary workroom, Silva hands me a chunk of honeyed bread. "Eat. You need it."

Shouldn't I be working? I glance about, but I haven't seen any guards about. Who—or what—patrols to punish lax servants?

Silva twists her long ginger braids into a bun. Now that I notice it, she shares Cook's large frame if not the build, though she's so much bigger than me… I suppose most would think her plump. I'm a poor judge; I'm on the large end for an elf, while small for a human.

I'm frail compared to my half-siblings, too. I shiver, remembering Drake's kicks and slaps; Carling's 'experiments' and amusement at my magic-induced pain. I guess I'm petite, as Mother was called. Mother was more finely boned than I am, though.

A large hand squeezes my shoulder. "Now, Evonalé." Silva's voice is quiet. "You're safe here, you know. Even if Mother gets you kicked from her kitchens, you'll be tried at different duties 'til we find one that suits you."

Silva settles in another chair at the wooden table, drags over a basket, and pulls out parts of a quilt. She slides me a little box across the table. A little pair of scissors sit inside, with a needle, a tiny pincushion, and some thread. "Would you pick a color? I can repair that sleeve of yours while we wait."

I freeze. "Wait?" I whisper. Memories arise of the whip's fire and beatings' cacophony of pain.

"For William. He's a Runner." A messenger. "He'll bring us the royal suggestion for what we try next." At my terror, she gives me a pointed look. "A task. You shouldn't work with fragile things, for example; that narrows the options, but it's up to His Majesty if he wants to set you doing else now or if Mother—Cook—should continue managing you."

The king wastes the royal time with waifs?

"I wouldn't be surprised if His Majesty comes to see us, himself… It's not as though he has much to do, at the moment, with the Council out of session. The Council really does do most of the law enforcement and all that, anyway, and even they don't have all that much to do because of the Subcouncils…"

I stop heeding her words in confusion. These concepts of councils and leniency with useless waifs are foreign to me. Of what use are they to the king? I pry a needle and thread myself from the box. Silva's eyebrows rise as I thread the needle and start repairing my damaged sleeve while I'm still wearing it.

"Evonalé." I recoil and prick myself upon hearing my name. Silva keeps her gaze on her quilting. If she could've known about my past, I would suspect her to be trying to put me at ease. "It's a pretty name. Where does it come from?"

I shrug, for feigned ignorance is harder to disprove than an outright lie. My name is elvish, specifically the uncommon felvish dialect. Be, my daughtermy, not our. There's a reason for that. I shiver.

A wry smile appears on Silva's lips. She gives me an amused look, as if she knows I'm feigning ignorance. I freeze again. She can't know! How could she—

"You don't? I would've thought you'd know." She quilts a few seconds more. "A she-elf I met as a child used to say that. 'Be, my daughter,' she said it meant."

Only in felvish!

Silva smiles ruefully. "It's terrible, what's happened to the felves… But the mage controlling them must be powerful, since the telves are too frightened to help."

Or Father keeps his magic quiet enough that they don't realize it's happening, I think but don't say, shivering from the cold my fear produces; how could she have known a felf?

Her words pierce me. I start and stare at her. 'It's terrible, what's happened to the felves…'

The felves belong to one elfin realm, and one realm only: Marsdenfel, previously ruled by Queen Yuoleen. That realm has the linking Crystal that binds elves' magic everywhere for them to share its costs and changes so they stay one race. Father's father stole that binding, the Bynd, after he seduced the young impressionable queen. He rebound the Crystal to magically enslave those elves—the felves—in Mother's day.

'It's terrible, what's happened to the felves…'

How does Silva know of it?


  1. I love these more conversational chapters- you really build character. But you said you wanted 'fussy' so...

    "I glance about, but I haven't seen any guards about"

    "She slides me a little box across the table. A little pair of scissors sit inside,"

    Both of these have the same word repeated very close together. Would a different word be better instead of 'about' and 'little'?

    "but it's up to His Majesty if he has something he thinks you should try something else now"

    Something seems wrong here, like it's a different sentence at the end than at the start, if you know what I mean :)

    "He rebound the Crystal to magically enslave those elves—the felves—in Mother's day."

    This is possibly a UK thing, but I read this as 'rebound' as in 'bounce back' as opposed to 're-bound', which is how we would write what you meant.


  2. Will you stop being sorry?! Sheesh, I know what kind of effort these kinds of comments take! That's why the contest was only for 7. :D

    Double about is certainly an error. And the scissors sentence could be better worded…

    That His Majesty sentence definitely is a victim of editing, changing the sentence from one to another.

    And I completely forgot that "rebound" is its own word.

    Yeah, you've definitely hit the #7.

    Scylax: 7/7
    Winner of contest 1: Scylax!


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