Interlude 1: Key to My Heart

Luella was bored. According to her father, she was now old enough to be present for some of the audiences people had with the king.

She was excited when he first told her… until she discovered that most of the court business was dreadfully dull.

There was that one time one of the elves in the village made someone look so repulsive it made everybody around them vomit at the sight of them, but for the most part, the quarrels the king had to settle were silly grown-up nonsense like disputes over flower fields.

But today turned out to be different.

To Luella’s surprise, the first person to get an audience with her father this morning was a babbling toddler.

She examined the boy’s face, intrigued. He was clearly not even ten years old. Five, perhaps?

“His Royal Highness, Prince Denillian.” One of the frilly people announced.

The man kneeling next to the toddler handed Faerandil a letter and some kind of necklace.

Prince Denillian… That had to mean he was uncle Silveril’s and aunt Cedmé’s son. Now this was exciting. Luella didn’t have many children to play with.

Her father did not share her enthusiasm. His brows furrowed as he read the letter. He looked concerned. Luella wasn’t sure she’d ever seen her father concerned, not like this. He even cancelled the rest of the audiences for the day. Something terrible must have happened.

Her parents were speaking in hushed voices. What was going on?

She tried to get some information out of her father, but he was not sharing any of it. So much for being old enough.

“I do have an important task for you, Luella.” Her father told her. “You need to entertain your cousin for the afternoon. I am counting on you.”

Luella grinned. That she could do.

She took the boy out to the gardens. Surely he’d find that more interesting than a stiff throne room.

“They’d have me curtsy to you, I bet. Your highness, prince Denillian… Grown-ups are odd like that sometimes. Like you care about etiquette…”

She looked at her cousin for confirmation. He was drooling. As much of a confirmation as she needed.  

“What kind of a name is Denillian anyway? I’m going to call you Dandelion. Like the flowers.”

“G.” The toddler said.

Did that mean he liked the name? Luella hoped so. He had to like the flowers, at the very least.

“Guess I’ll have to do the talking for both of us, huh, little sprout?” She went on. Entertain your cousin. An important task. She was determined not to disappoint her father.

“I’m Luella. Well, princess Luella, but you know what those titles are? My teacher just taught me this silly prissy word, um… fab… fabricuted. I think.”

“Fa ba.” The boy mimicked her words.

“Close enough. It is just a fancy way of saying made up.” Luella explained. “Father’s people love to speak like that. It’s all nonsense though. Anyway, you can just call me Luella.”

“Fa ba.” He repeated.

“Faba’s not a name, silly… You can’t pronounce Luella yet, can you, little sprout? Just call me Lulu.” She told him with an encouraging smile.

The boy didn’t really respond, but was beaming up at her. He was funny, Luella thought.

“You’ll get there. Don’t worry, I’ll look out for you. It’s got to be tough to be somewhere strange and new all on your own, especially when you’re this teeny.”

The princess grew more serious. “I know that something bad happened to your family. That’s why you’re here with us, right? Father won’t tell me anything…”

“G.”

“Well, whatever happened, I’m sorry. I always liked uncle Silveril. Maybe one day you can go back home, wherever that is.”

Come to think of it, she had no idea where her aunt and uncle lived. They sailed somewhere far away when she was only twenty-eight years old. She hadn’t seen them again since, eight whole years. Judging by her father’s expression when he read the letter, perhaps she never would. But that wasn’t something to bring up with the little one.

“Father said you didn’t live in a tree castle like we do. What is it like where you came from?”

“Fa ba.” He babbled on.

Luella sighed. He was cute, but this whole conversation was very one-sided, wasn’t it?

“Lulu.” The toddler exclaimed and threw his hands in the air, just as she was about to give up.

Luella beamed back at him.

“Hey, well done, Dandelion! You’ll be talking in no time. And then you can tell me all about your old home. Or just tell me whatever you like. We’re going to be the best of friends, you and I.”

***

The few weeks following Dandelion’s arrival to Syeldell were some of the best Luella had ever experienced. She doted on her little cousin. He made everything fun, and she got to be a role model.

She barely noticed how serious and preoccupied her father had become until he summoned her to the throne room one day.

He was holding another letter. That on its own was nothing unusual, her father received many letters every day. Faerandil had never deemed it worth sharing the contents of any of them with her, though. What was going on? And what else was he holding?

“Dark times are ahead, Luella.” He got straight to the point. “It is important that you listen to me very closely.”

“Of course, father.” She nodded eagerly. She didn’t have the slightest idea what he could be on about, but she hoped her upbeat attitude would cheer him up. It did not.

“I want you to hold on to these two items, and guard them as if your life depended on it. Because there may come a time that it will.”

He crouched down, placing a necklace around her neck. A metal key hung from the chain.

“What is the key for?” The princess asked her father.

“A key to my heart.” He trailed off, his voice barely a whisper. What was that supposed to mean?

Faerandil cleared his throat. “It doesn’t matter. The key is a sign. A sign that marks our foes. A woman bearing a necklace just like this will make her way to Syeldell soon, I am sure of it. She will seek our destruction. Should the worst happen… Well, that’s where the second item comes in.”

He handed her a fragment with a strange sign engraved into it.

“This is a Glimmerstone.” He explained. “Keep it on you, always, in case… Keep it on you. If Syeldell falls in danger, don’t look for me. Don’t look for your mother. Find Denillian, hold on to him as tightly as you can, and squeeze the Glimmerstone in your hand. It will take you to the magic realm.”

“The magic realm?”

It was all too much to take in. Glimmerstone, key to my heart, magic realm… Luella didn’t understand any of it, other than that this was serious. What was this danger her father was talking about?

“Yes. An ancient realm where all magic was born. It is presided over by three sages. The one you are looking for is Simeon Silversweater. He is part elf. You can trust him. But don’t trust anyone apart from Simeon. Especially not anyone with a necklace like yours. If she is successful in making Syeldell fall, she will come looking for you. You must make sure she does not get the key. You must-“

Faerandil did not finish his sentence. Luella did not realise why straight away, not until she heard a scream coming from the outside. It was only then when she noticed the smoke creeping into the throne room.

“Now!” Her father ordered her. “Get Denillian! Remember what I told you. Find Simeon Silversweater.”

He started conjuring some kind of cooling magic, not paying any more attention to her.

“But father…”

“Go!” Her father yelled, though he did not look away from the orb he was conjuring. He never raised his voice, not before today.

Luella nodded and ran towards the door. She was not prepared for what awaited outside. The flames below the walkways. The smell of burning trees.

Focus, Luella, she scolded herself. Father gave you a task. Just do what he says, and it will all be fine again. Get Denillian. Use the Glimmerstone. Find Simeon Silversweater. The girl sprinted across the walkway. Dandelion’s nursery is not far. Focus.

The little prince had managed to get out of his cot somehow. He was crying. Luella could not blame him, she wanted to cry too. She looked out of the window behind him, but all she could see was flames.

Her father’s magic was not going to stop this, the princess realised. If she is successful in making Syeldell fall, she will come looking for you. Making Syeldell fall… Syeldell would fall. Luella had never thought it possible…

Her cousin’s crying brought her back to the present. She let out a cough. The smoke was getting into room. They had to get out of there.

“Shh, little sprout. Everything will be just fine.” She whispered to the toddler, hugging him. She closed her eyes. Take us away from here, Glimmerstone.

20 thoughts on “Interlude 1: Key to My Heart

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  1. Yes this explains everything 😯
    How Lulu and Dandy ended up in the magic realm and Lulu’s hatred toward Cordelia.
    Poor children 😭
    Poor Lulu who has always tried to shield Dandy from the cruel truth… The annihilation of their family and inheritance 💔

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aack! I don’t like this cliffhanger! And damn my heartstrings and heart all over the floor!

    This was so terribly, terribly sad.

    G ❤ Gosh thats so cute!

    Are we going to see Faba and Morgyn next? I hope so. Hopefully its not as sad as this. Ugh I can take it. I has brass ovaries. Yes. Bring it on. Lemme get tissue too. 😭

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Next one picks up pretty much where we left off, so that will help with the cliffhanger issue. The heartstrings problem may be tougher to rectify, sorry about that 😅

      I know, turns out all of my characters have sad backstories, oops.

      Brass ovaries is a terrific term! Most of the interludes are from L Faba’s perspective, so… we shall see 🙂

      Like

  3. OMG. It’s an L FABA CHAPTER!

    Calm down, Snuffy; stop flapping your hands like April would, pick up your pen calmly, try not to wee.

    Luella is a princess! Iddy biddy widdle Dandy is five in that scene? D’aww. And Faba didn’t have anyone to play with? Oh, sweetie. I had that in my notes, but oh, poor sweetie. That shot with her walking in the garden with tiny little Dandy, holding his hand is just adorable.

    So… L Faba is actually Lulu Fabricated? And she’s 36 here? The elf aging is both amazing and disturbing because in the human realm, she’d be very much an adult being in her mid-thirties (so they tell me) and yet she’s clearly nothing more than a child (as they also tell me). So when do they mature?

    Oh, bless. He finally calls her Lulu and his mummy is dead and his step mummy is a bitch and Lulu wants to be his best friend and look after him… my eyes are doing something wet, one sec.

    MOTIVE! *Heavens open and sun shines through as angels sing*

    Just as I rejoice, you muck ship up. So Lulu’s daddy gave her the key and told her that one day a foe would appear wearing the same necklace, but gave her no further details. And she had to rescue Dandy and go find Simeon Stinkysweater of all people. I wonder what Simeon had to do with everything? Also, if Faerandil had a glimmerstone, why not port a load of elves to the magic realm instead of sending only his daughter and letting everyone else burn to death? And he didn’t explain everything properly to Lulu. Pfft. Some bloody king you were.

    No, don’t end there… why you end there? You’re trying to drive me insane, I’m absolutely sure of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a few L Faba chapters on the horizon – have to make up for the fact she didn’t really have any POVs the entire season.

      Little prince and princess in a fairy land, what could go wrong… everything, that’s what. I think you’ll find that the word is Fabricuted 😛

      Yeah, the elven aging is fun. I’ll share my awesome (not) age breakdown spreadsheet after the season finale, but in the meantime, if you’re really curious, just divide any elven ages by 3.75 to get a human equivalent 😊 As for when they are considered adults, Morgyn actually already told us in the chapter where they talk about Dandy’s age; it’s in their seventies.

      Haha, I thought you might like this chapter – you finally get a motive, if there’s anything left of that page! Woop doop!

      Poor Faerandil, so harsh 😂 He sort of ran out of time. And he already gave her loads of critical information, can’t risk she’d forget something among the overload. Perhaps if he had more time, he would have written out more instructions for her, alas, he had to improvise. Haha, you think there’s a room filled with Glimmerstones in that tree house? 😁 He only had one, unfortunately, and they sort of have limited carry capacity.

      Simeon Stinkysweater bhahahaha. I do want to do a Simeon POV at some point in season 2, he may have some interesting insights after all. Though you will find out what he had to do with Faerandil specifically in the next chapter 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. YEAH. Gimme all the Lulu Fabricuted! And I for one am very interested in your elf chart for reasons I don’t really understand. Seventies, OK. So a while off. I wonder when Morgyn comes into play… hm…

        I loved this chapter! I bet as you were typing it you were like; ‘this’ll finally shut up that green-haired weirdo. She wanted motive? I’ll give her motive. Cry your eyeliner off, Snuffy’. You probably weren’t but that’s the image in my head.

        Oh I understand his reasons, the poor bloke, I’m just pished at him for sending poor little Faba and her mini buddy out into a scary new world alone and needed someone to shout at. Feeling all protective of my tiny elven babies here, even though it evidently all ended well.

        Off topic, but I changed Simeon’s name in my game because I could never remember his real one. In my game, he got cast out from being a sage and he lives in a container on the docks and dumpster dives a lot. But I digress. I’m sure that he’s much more useful (and less offensive to the olfactory senses) in BC.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I think I get the reasons why you want the elf chart. Way back when Cordelia was staying with Dandy after her after the Forgotten Hollow debacle, she kept wearing Morgyn’s clothes that she borrowed from them right after because she didn’t want to go to the newly conjured house to get her own. I was like, “Do I specify this and the reasoning behind it? No, shut up Plumbob, nobody cares about clothes and logistics.” Fast forward some chapters, you were speculating about Cordelia’s PJs and their relevance 😀 Similar type of useless information, haha.

          Yes. I am evil.

          True, may as well yell at the dead sod, he can’t get offended. Ok, I’ll stop making you feel bad 😀

          Default Simeon does kind of look like a hippy so I can totally picture him living the container life. I think my Simeon takes himself a bit too seriously to go dumpster diving, though.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Well… hell. That explains so much of L Faba / Lulu / Luella’s hatred towards Cordelia over the years, and why she was so dead-set on getting her away from Dandy back in the day. I’m giving myself a point for correctly guessing that she was his cousin but… Dang. Poor both of them. And Faba doesn’t even know just what she is protecting Dandy from, as her father never got the chance to tell her. Twist my heartstrings, you do.

    Also toddler Dandy is just the cutest, most precious little cinnamon bun and I can’t handle it. G. Ermagewd. Let me love you ❤ ❤ ❤

    Man, Anneliese was just a wretched megalomaniac, wasn’t she? Power-hungry potato. I wonder what Simeon ended up doing to help Luella and Dandy. And did she make that tree, or did he? Oh geez are they the last elves in existence?

    I wonder if that cult, or whatever Anneliese’s pyromaniac, murder-happy group was called, still exists, or if it sizzled out now that the sprites were following Cordelia instead of someone in their group. If they want the spirte magic, they would have gone after Cordelia as a child, so… maybe not? Which leaves Alba and Verena as the biggest threats… and Morgyn’s unhealthy teachings that make Hawthorne think she is invincible, the best and always right. You know, your typical teenager behaviour. Aw man, a confrontation with vampires is going to happen soon and it’s going to be one heck of an explosion I can feel it gaaahhhhhhhhh forgive the complete gibberish but GAHHHHH

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, L Faba’s feelings about Cordelia and Cordelia’s friendship with Dandy were never just a case of simple jealousy. And yes, as you say, Luella herself is kind of in the dark too. With what she’s been given, she has no way of gauging whether Cordelia is or isn’t a threat. Also, who would have thought you guys would be feeling sorry for L Faba? (Ok, maybe I had an inkling, haha)

      Toddler Dandy was incredibly precious. So cute ❤

      Annaliese was… not the nicest person, clearly. Lol. As for Simeon and the tree… we will see soon 🙂

      That's a good question. We do know that Hawthorne never came across them even though she's made several night time trips to the ritual grounds, with a bunch of sprites no less. Oh, I see you're spiralling into vamp-induced panic. I'm sure everything will be fiiiineeee… 😀

      Like

  5. aww the baby elves are both so cute 😊❤

    Ha! So it seems Lulu herself doesn’t know too much. Only to “avoid the woman with the necklace” and that she probably burned down her hometown. But even there, she can’t be completely sure. In a way it makes sense she did not tell much. She actually doesn’t know anything!

    So, Simeon is half-elf and knows Lulu since she was a bab? I would have never guessed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, she knows more than Dandy, but she doesn’t really know a lot; just enough to not trust Cordelia. It’s not like she can really ask Cordelia if she’s burnt down/helped her mum burn down any elf villages recently – well she could, but it’s not like she’d expect an honest answer haha 😀

      Simeon is technically quarter elf 🙂 But yes, he’s known Lulu for a long time.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I find the parallels to L’s and Morgyn’s childhoods interesting…mostly just the fire part, I don’t think Micah would avoid any genocide memories if they were there.

    This makes the dynamic between L and Dandy a lot more heartbreaking. She acts a lot older than him but for a while they were essentially both children. I don’t blame her for having to be bitter anymore lemme tell you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s definitely some fiery parallels in L Faba and Morgan’s past, yes! Haha, true, Micah would likely come across that 😆 Though it’s not guaranteed a vampire will see everything when feeding – it’s technically meant to be some of the most emotional memories, and Morgyn represses a lot of emotions so that gives it a bit of a twist, but yes, genocide would have probably come up if it was a thing…

      I know 💔 She was still very much a child herself but had to grow up for Dandy. And yes, she definitely has plenty of reasons to have grown bitter, against some people especially. Poor L Faba.

      Liked by 1 person

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