“Tell me, Little One, how did you manage to break the glamour placed upon you? The casting was supposed to last for at least ten human years. When it was safe, Nyomin and Itania studied and researched the ancient lore, waited for the exact moment of most effectiveness of the spell, yet, you broke the entire enchantment all on your own, several years ahead of time.” Glen spoke conversationally, but both girls could sense that underneath his calm statements was bubbling up an uneasiness that grew by the second.
“I guess you would do well for me to begin at the beginning, so to speak, Your Grace. As you are aware, time moves differently in our realm, than that of the humans. Miss Britta, I cannot assure you how long will have passed in your world, while you remain in ours. The greatest minds of the Fae and human world have both tried to calculate and compute the exact ratios, but the answer has eluded the most accomplished minds of both worlds. Miss Britta, in your homeland, this is but a grand forest surrounding a large estate owned by The Duchess. On our side of the barrier, it’s an entire kingdom, separated by races, affiliations and by Gaia’s own hand. You call your land Illinois. You find the area you live in to be plain, simple, and rather boring, am I correct?” Glen glanced over at Britta and saw her nod.
“You have always dreamed of daring adventures with dragons and knights, correct again?” another small nod, followed by a flushing of cheeks. The woods garb suited Britta well. Her natural gracefulness made the shifting fabric appear more fluid. With her cowl up, one wouldn’t know she was not of this realm. “The land you tread upon now has been here since long before your people, or the peoples that were here before yours conquered them. We call our home Aedon, as Ionia mentioned. For centuries our people thrived in this world, free to come and go as they pleased between Illinois and Aedon. This arrangement worked out fairly well for quite some time, but as the white people moved to the Americas, they brought with them a horrible disease. They brought “Religion”. This ”Religion” taught its followers that anything not approved by the churches was heathen and foul. Hundreds of years of atrocities were inflicted upon its own people, whether they were faithful or not. This epidemic was global. All over the world, the work of men in “the true faith” tortured and killed their brothers and sisters based on hysteria.”
Glen’s lyrical voice dropped low as he slightly shuddered. Shaking his head, a few stray hairs of purple slashed silver fell across his face. Struggling, he regained his composure and continued. “The Kings and Queens of all the Fae folk across the world met to decided what should be done to help these poor suffering humans. After all, most of the victims of the “cleansing” were merely humans who still chose to worship the world around them, as opposed to an unseen God. They were not being sacrilegious at all, they simply worshipped in their own way, and that would not be tolerated by the Inquisitors. Men, women, and even children were imprisoned, tortured, and killed in the most gruesome manners to prove that they were not witches. These good people had the misfortune of seeking natural remedies to illnesses, or left gifts to the Fae folk to help protect them from unkind forces. “
Britta spoke up, surprising even herself, Natalia seemed to be absorbing everything around her like a magnet. Nothing escaped her eyes or ears, it was as if she was seeing the world for the first time. When she heard Britta’s voice, the clarity came back into her eyes, and Natty smiled up at her friend.
“Master Glen, we had to learn about the time you are speaking of in history class. What does that have to do with us now? There are no more witch hunts, people who claim to be able to see ‘the other side’ openly offer their services. Humans have learned to accept the differences in others much easier than they used to. Children today grow up learning tolerance instead of prejudice. “ Britta cocked her head to one side to keep both her view of Glen and the woods around her clear.
“Please, no more ‘Master Glen’ business, I am simply Glen. Of the clan Oakseer. I’m sure our ways seem most quaint, but there is solace and respect in ritual, and then there are those who would promote change, change that would bring terrible events to pass.” Glancing behind him, Glen could see Natalia listening intently to every word being exchanged. She offered no interruption, simply listened and made it a part of her. The woods guide had a feeling he knew how the glamour had been shattered so completely, but would have to dig a little deeper into who the Princess was now.
“The night you were placed with Aunty Belle, your Highness, I carried you to her in my own arms. I took a vow the day you were born to be your sworn protector, till my life’s end. I gave you over to that kind woman to be cared for myself. You were never lost or sick in the woods. Your little friend Welsey pulled that prank. You see, what we had hoped was that the spell would last you ten full human years. Welsey was to pretend to be a lost babe in the forest, so that Paedeon would believe that you had indeed be abducted, and had been left for dead. The human staff at Mercy Home has always known exactly who you are, darling. They kept the secret to keep you safe, not to lie to you. Please, harbor no ill will to those kind folks, for they have done well in your care.”
“As I was saying before, when the first Europeans came to explore our country, they found much in abundance they coveted. The humans came sparsely at first, but quickly began claiming lands as their own. The same has happened to our cousins around the world. As a race, the Fae have been always here, evolving, like humans do, but at a much different rate. Time moved differently, between our dimensions, as I’ve said. As time moves in your world, the ratio is about one of your years to about ten of ours. So you see, when Natalia was but a toddler in both of our worlds, in yours she was three, in ours she was just past her thirtieth cycle. Did you ever wonder, Britta, how a child so small could seem to do anything she set her mind to? Or how she managed to get into such high trees and such? Were you ever curious as to HOW she knew so much about the world around her, without schooling by Ms. Snippet? It is because she is our own Light of Aedon.”
“Ionia spoke of cradling Natalia in her own boughs. Did you notice the look of instant peace and comfort simply being held by one of her own brought our little mischief maker? Ionia allowed the wood to be taken to make Natalia’s cradle from her own oaken body. It was a gift whose tradition goes back millennia. I feel as if I’m skipping around too much, Britta, jumping from subject to subject, yet never hitting the peg on the head. We only have about another day’s walk to reach before we reach. Like your country has states, and a capitol to encompass it all, so have we, you’ve just never known about it.” Glen winked and made Britta blush furiously, something she was not used to at all. She had never felt so gawky in all her life. Ducking her head down, she hid her face by the cowl. The dagger at her waist was very light, but she wasn’t used to having something rub against her as moved. As they walked Glen carried on his briefing, even if it was a bit random and strayed now and then.