illustrative media

Back to Reality

Nulandia and Luna cleaned up the sitting room in the clubhouse, while they waited to see if there was anything strange going to happen because of the spell. They both knew from experience that if magix were performed incorrectly, oftentimes there would be consequences for not following the instructions completely without altering the words or ingredients. Even though they’d followed the binding spell exactly to the letter, neither of them wanted to take any chances of something odd occurring after they’d arrived back at the castle, which would be a disaster since Lance would know one of them had used their skills. Luna did not want to give the king any reason to complain anymore.

When they’d finished cleaning, Luna and Nulandia exited the clubhouse; Luna used the elevator, and Nulandia made her descent by the rope on the limb of the Eldertree. She made it down before the queen and waited for the mechanism carrying the dumbwaiter to reach the bottom. When she stepped out, Luna said, “Oulock Poplar, Eldertree of the southeastern forest, Stubborn Luna and her friend have finished using the meeting room.

Please return to the ordinary tree you truly are”. With that, the tree transformed back into an elm tree. Both the queen and her servant could’ve left at any point, but Luna always enjoyed watching the process, so they stayed until they completed it.

Once the forest grew quiet again, the elves were prepared to leave. As they walked down around the bend, Nulandia said, “What do you plan to tell everyone when we get back?” She had a sinister look move across her face, and the queen replied, “I am the queen. I don’t have to explain myself to anyone. However, as a favor to you, I’ll have all castle staff members gather in the main dining hall approximately an hour after we’ve arrived. Then I’ll announce that you and I have become the closest of friends, and if anyone has any questions, they’ll be sent to the gallows. Is that alright?”

I don’t care how you handle everything, as long as it gets taken care of. I don’t want to deal with being subjected to a bunch of questions I can’t answer. I appreciate the fact that you’re willing to deal with everything truthfully, as well. Any other queen wouldn’t divulge anything to her staff members, and after the way your king has behaved, he’d be lucky to ever find out. Your willingness to let everyone know that we’re friends tells me that you are trying to make some changes in the ways of royalty. Why else would you tell anyone a damn thing about us?” Nulandia wagered. She had gotten to know Luna well enough over the past seven years to know when she was planning something. She could tell that day, the queen had every intention of making a lasting impact upon many lives, and the maid was not afraid to tell her what she already knew.

Luna was astonished, she hadn’t expected to be read so well by her maid, but if anyone could know when she was planning something it was her friend, Nulandia. She looked to her right at the elf walking beside her and said, “You know me all too well. How did you get into my head that fast?” Luna asked.

I have been at your side since you inherited the throne from your mother seven years ago, and I’ve learned a few things about you that I don’t even think you’re aware of. One of those things happens to be that I can tell when you’re getting ready to make a big move. Besides, those who are close enough come to realize that you actually listen to the commoners, and you take into consideration the demands they place at your feet. With the two of us becoming friends, you figure now is a great time to start a campaign rallying for the approval of friendships between royalty and common citizens. Tell me I’m wrong”, Nulandia dared.

You’re not wrong, at all. As a matter of fact, you have given me a few ideas I hadn’t yet thought of. Thanks, Nula”, Luna confessed to her new friend. It was breathtaking to know that her maid knew her that well, but she had been aware of the fact that it was possible for someone who was as close to her as Nulandia that she would learn the ways of the queen. That was something she had been told when she attended queen etiquette classes, she was expecting it, but not as quickly as it was happening.

When the walk was over, Luna found Corvallis on the top step, and she told him, “Come to my chambers. I need you to do something for me, but I don’t want to talk about it in front of others. Follow me”. Her guard fell in step with the queen and her maid, and they continued to her bed chambers.

He opened her door, allowed them entrance to the inside of her room, and shut it behind himself. He stood with his hands holding themselves, and they were placed behind his back. He kept his mouth shut and his ears open, he knew something was going on with the queen; and apparently her new friend was involved with what Luna had on her mind, but he would allow the queen to confirm what he already knew.

Luna knew by the way he stood at attention that Corvallis was ready to receive whatever message she needed delivered, and she began to speak, “I want anybody and everybody who works in the castle to gather together in the main dining hall, but you only have one hour to get them here. Go ahead and get the word out. When I get finished with the meeting I’ll pay you”.

Corvallis turned to the queen, and with a quick salute left the queen and her friend to accomplish the goal she’d sent him to fulfill. Luna smiled at Nulandia, she wondered if her new found friend had any idea what she was plotting. There were no immediate signs of what she knew, and Luna couldn’t help but ask, “What do you think I have in mind for the meeting?”

If I know you well enough, I think you’re not only going to tell them about our friendship, paving the way for royalty and common citizens to openly have relationships, but you’re probably even going to let them know that if they don’t approve, you will hire a new executioner and have the blades of the gallows sharpened. You don’t plan to explain it more than once because you don’t like to repeat yourself”, Nulandia guessed.

Wow! That’s a bit scary”, the queen confessed. She giggled at the next thought that made its way through her mind, and she decided to tell Nulandia, “It just occurred to me how vital you are to me, and I am now fully aware of how easily you could replace me if I ever needed you to be a Patsy”.

I can fill in for you, but even I have limits. I will not be the one that takes the backlash of someone who doesn’t agree with you about our friendship”, Nulandia told her.

I’d never ask you to do that, but if it came down to it, you could help me out in a pinch”, Luna said. She studied her friend to see if the idea she’d put out there had hit its target; when the connection was made, the queen put her arm around the waist of her friend, and she said, “Let’s start making our way to the dining hall, I have a few stops to make along the way”.

Sounds good to me. Take the lead”, Nulandia encouraged the queen. They left her quarters, closing the door behind them. Nulandia felt like she was sitting on top of the world, and she had the best elf to ever rule the planet on her side to face whatever obstacle got thrown her way.

They went all the way to the west wing of the castle for the queen to talk with Lance, but he was not in his chambers. Luna decided they would go to the dining hall from there, the other places she wanted to stop by were on the way.

The first stop they made was the kitchen where they both got a drink, and Luna told some of the staff members who were around that they were to be in the main dining hall at the same time as everyone else, and she warned that if they did not attend, she would punish them. When they finished in the kitchen, Luna and Nulandia started towards the library. The queen was searching for her husband, but he could not be found in any of the places they looked. She was beginning to tire of looking for Lance, and led Nulandia to the dining hall. “Eventually, word will get around to the pompous ass I must call my husband. I’m not wasting anymore of my energy searching for him, you and I have an affair to attend to, and we’ll not be late trying to locate the king”, she told her maid.

The way I see it, he can either accept what he hears when word comes down, or he can get in line for the gallows. No one can be the exception to the rule, and he’d be a great perfect example as to what can happen to anyone who doesn’t accept us”, Nulandia said.

The sinister look returned to the queen’s face, she was impressed, and she let her know, “You’ve done it again, you read my mind. How do you continue to say everything I’m thinking?”

Well, your highness, I have not only learned many aspects of magix, and I’ve also been blessed with the gift of foresight,” Nulandia confessed.

That explains it. Why didn’t you tell me earlier?” Luna inquired.

Because you did not ask me a direct question. I may divulge what I do and don’t want others to know, just like everybody else. Until someone asks the right question, and until now, you failed to do that,” Nulandia told the queen. She giggled, watching Luna’s face get screwed up with expressions of frustration.

You should’ve told me before now. If I had magix capabilities and had been blessed with an additional gift, I would’ve told you a couple of hours ago, when we were in the privacy of our clubhouse. I wouldn’t have kept it from you just because you didn’t ask the right question, but that’s another difference between us. I would have told you, but you didn’t think it was necessary to fill me in on the clue.” Luna was seething with anger, and really wanted to punch Nulandia on her arm.

The maid could sense that the queen’s mood had changed, and decided to stop causing her grief. She looked at Luna, who was standing across the immense room, and said, “I get it. I understand. You’re about to punch me if I don’t stop being so literal, right?”

Luna chuckled, irritation still in her voice, and said, “Yes, that’s absolutely right. Now, answer this question. Is there any way to turn your foresight off?”

No, I cannot. I can tune things out, but I can’t make it stop. The only way this doesn’t work is if I’m dead,” Nulandia told the queen.

Wow! So, you mean to tell me that for all my days as queen, I can look forward to you knowing what I’m thinking before I say it?” Luna asked.

I would hope like hell that you’re not going in there to defend our friendship, only to dump me by the wayside when you’re no longer queen, but that’s your choice. However, you’re right. As long as you and I remain alive, and we’re still friends, I’ll be able to read your mind,” Nulandia said.

I had no intention of risking my kingdom and my title, fighting for a friendship I don’t plan to keep after my daughter inherits everything. So, why is it you didn’t know about what happened between Lance and I last night?” She asked.

You never cease to amaze me, Luna Garrick of Interraton. I’m happy to hear you say that. Just so you know. I knew about everything that happened last night, I had not figured out how to bring it up to tell you that I can read your mind. That is, until this afternoon when you showed me a side of yourself I’d never seen before, making it okay for me to tell you,” Nulandia said.

When she looked up, Luna realized they were in front of the main dining hall, and she said, “Well, my friend, after this it will be alright for us to be friends, and we won’t have to worry about feeling the scrutiny of others. Even if there are those who choose not to be friends with commoners, we’re still going to make a significant statement here. Are you ready?” Luna asked her new friend.

I’m as ready as anyone can be, since this is last minute. I hope you’re not worried about my outward appearance. It’s not like I had the opportunity to go home and change my clothes before getting up in front of all those other beings, smelling like a Billy Goat,” Nulandia said.

Your outward appearance won’t even be an issue once I get started, but if you’re uncomfortable you’re more than welcome to borrow something of mine. Problem with that is, you’ll miss my speech, and even if you already know what I’m going to say nothing will compare to hearing it yourself,” Luna informed her. She was ready to make history, and she wanted Nulandia to be comfortable.

No, I’ll wait. I was just making light conversation,” she told the queen. She was excited about the upcoming speech Luna was set to make, and there would be nothing to stop her from hearing the words coming directly from the queen. She stopped by the open door, and allowed Luna to enter the dining hall first.

As she came to each row of commoners, they all stood bowing, and she waved to them as though they were friends. Midway through there was a podium, which Luna moved to, and stood behind. She raised her left hand in an effort to get everyone to be quiet so that she could be heard. The crowd settled rather quickly, and she prepared to make her speech. Though she had not practiced this one in the mirror, the queen knew her words would have a bigger impact if they came unrehearsed, which made them more authentic.

I’d like to thank you all for coming on such short notice. I will make this as fast as possible in order for everybody to continue with the activities of their day. The reason I’ve asked for this emergency gathering is that there is going to be a major change in the way royalty elves get along with common ones, and the way citizens are looked at by those of us who are part of the hierarchy. Today, I learned more about my maid Nulandia because I paid no mind to the idea that it is wrong for a queen to speak to her help outside of work, and I took my friend on a trip through the southeastern forest so that we could get away from everybody for the morning. We were capable of relaxing around each other, and we ate until we thought we’d pop. I guess what I’m getting at is, you never know what kind of relationship you can form with someone who doesn’t live in your world. Later, I will have everything written up, and made legal. If anyone has something to say against me, they shall face the gallows first thing tomorrow morning”, Luna said.

Suddenly, a voice coming from the back of the crowd shouted, “Down to queen Luna! She is losing her mind! There is a caste in place to separate the commoners from royalty, and what you’re suggesting goes against everything everybody has ever known about the system. You’re sure to make a mockery of the throne if you make that shit you just spewed legal”.

Luna spun on her heels and found the object of her affection at the moment, the foot-soldier, Corvallis, and she demanded, “Take that idiot to the dungeon. He’ll make the perfect first example as to how much bullshit I’ll tolerate over this new law”.

Corvallis easily stopped the fleeing elf by holding out his left arm, which clothes-lined the middle-aged being. Before the being’s body hit the floor, he was unconscious and his eyes rolled to the back of his head. When the brute of a foot-soldier saw the lump of a being lying on there, he kicked it hard. This caused the elf to start coughing, but he did not sit up to show he was aware of what was going on. Enraged, Corvallis grabbed the elf by his ankles, and slung his torso over the soldier’s armor. He had to get the prisoner down to the dungeon. If he could, the foot-soldier would try and salvage the session of warrior training he’d been pulled out of. By the looks of things, he wouldn’t be so lucky to be able to finish where he’d left off earlier, and the thought angered him further.

When he reached the long corridor leading to the dungeon, Corvallis spoke with Tarrizis, and the overseer of the citadel’s dismal prison took possession of the being lying on his shoulder. The elf was placed on the cold, wet concrete as the guard located the keys to open the gate to the cell that held several others. As Tarrizis bent over to pick up the body on the ground, he heard something shuffling in the corridor. Leaving the elf where he slept, the conflicted demon went to see what caused the noise he’d heard. At the end of the hall, he looked to the right and saw right away where the sound was coming from.

The queen decided she needed to talk to the elf who had spoken out against her friendship with Nulandia, and the two of them went down to the dungeon. The demon Tarrizis was on foot patrol that afternoon, and he said, “Your majesty, what brings you to this drab hell-hole?”

I’d like to speak with the elf who got sentenced to face the gallows tomorrow”, Luna informed the guard.

At the moment, that’s absolutely impossible”, the demon told her.

Why is that?” She asked the demon.

See that lump of cloth lying against the wall over there?” Tarrizis pointed at the elf who still had not regained consciousness, and said, “Come back later. He should be awake in a couple hours”.

What happened to him?” The queen asked the demon.

All I know is, Corvallis came down here pissed off over the fact that he’d been taken out of a training session for a speech you wanted to make, and that everything went fine with whatever you needed to tell everyone. It wasn’t until you were on the way out of the dining hall that the elf over there decided he didn’t like what you said. You told Corvallis to bring him down here, and he thought it’d be wise to try and run”, the demon explained to the queen.

Let me guess, the foot-soldier knocked the prisoner out. That doesn’t need a response. I’ll be back later, there are some questions I’d like to ask of that elf. When he wakes up, send someone to let me know”, the queen said.


Leave a comment