Silvery-blue light illuminated the thin tunnels, casting a halo of brightness on the greasy black hair of the pale figure ghosting along the hallway. The tails of his black coat – or perhaps fur – fluttered along behind him. He flew into a large room, larger than any other in the burgh. The floor was open and multicolored. The walls were the pale gray of Adularia. They towered high above to meet the same gray ceiling. Light shone from above, seeming to emanate from the top of the walls, and from yellow lanterns at eye level on the walls. A long stretch of red led to a raised earthen dais on the far side of the room. Resting in the center of the dais sat an imposing black throne, gilded in fantastic scrollwork. He glided gracefully to the dais and bowed so low that his nose touched the floor without bending his knees.
An old, grim figure sat upon the ornate throne on the raised dais. He looked down imposingly on the bent reed of a faerie below him. In a slippery, silvery breeze of a whisper he said one word: “Speak.”
With trembling lips and hands clasped firmly together, the bowing faerie spoke. “It’s the boy, my king. The human boy. He is not doing as we say. When he does, it is only to twist it to his own gain or to spite us. Only yesterday he shut us out of the dance hall completely! He has been acting in this most unacceptable manner ever since I sent him on a minor task five months ago to deliver a bouquet of flowers to that wretch who stole my spider.” The faerie grinned to himself. “Needless to say he no longer draws breath.”
“Why have you not killed the boy? If he is of no more use to you, why is he alive?” The old king hissed.
“We… can’t.” He bowed his head lower. “He is too powerful.”
“Powerful?” The king scoffed. “What power could a human boy possess?”
“Haven’t you heard, my king? He has magic… very powerful magic. We cannot counter him. In a combat we would undoubtedly destroy him, but he keeps himself too well defended. There is nothing we can do against him.”
A thin, cold laughter cut through the thick air. “You expect me to believe this?” The king said incredulously.
The bowing faerie shuddered like a leaf in the wind and remained silent.
“Go.” The aged king commanded, his voice changed to a more solid, imperious tone. “Kill the boy. And if you cannot, bring him to me. I will dispose of him.”
A sigh of relief escaped the lowly faerie’s lips. “Thank you, my king. You are most gracious.”
“I do not want to have to dispose of him,” The king added as an afterthought. “do you understand?”
A moment’s of trepidation crossed the faerie’s mind before he mastered himself to say “Yes, most wise and magnificent king.”
“You are released from my presence. You may rise and leave.”
The still-bowing faerie rose to a standing position, turned, careful not to face the throne, and strode sulkily away. All affection for the boy he had once harbored was gone. He had lost his usefulness and now he must be done away with. But try as he might, the faerie couldn’t get the image of the boy’s hardened face out of his mind. It held a power unknown in the Burgh, a power sure to change the faerie world forever.