Illedrena threw herself onto her bed, tears still flowing from yesterday’s woes. Her husband-to-be, Fedwain, clutching the arms and snogging the other woman. She didn’t even bother to learn the name of the one he betrayed her to. She didn’t recognize her, but what she discovered was ill enough in her mind. She vividly remembered the rage she felt as she saw them. She had summoned a phantom. A black, smoky version of herself and flung all her energy at Fedwain’s pitiful life. The phantom clawed and pummeled Fedwain, crushing his supposed might into a weak and cowering individual, blood spilling from his mouth as she pulled back and released her spell. She left him in that state, with his life and his lover. The other woman’s eyes in shock, aghast at what just transpired.
Illedrena’s eyes slowly, fitfully gave way to restless sleep. Her mind plagued with that image. She woke several times with cold shivers climbing up her spine, a nameless fear becoming an entity in her emotional turmoil.
Now, here she stood, in the Capitol. The Queen’s audience room before her. The two guards standing at attention with their leafy armor of velvet red and gold wielding long jade spears and hardened shields. To her right was Fedwain Elmeri. He was dressed in traditional Betrayer’s robes. He was despised by the people for the breaking of his vow that he made to his family and the Avalor family he promised himself to. Illedrena was not bound, but she was hoping to avoid that fate.
The guards held their spears across the ornate doorway for a moment as the Ellyl that led them saluted. His fist tapping the center of his chest before he stood firmly. The guards removed their spears and opened the doors revealing the chamber ahead. The intricate twisting of the Twilight Oak in this chamber was so grand and complex that Illedrena was dizzied by it’s form. The gems and golden craftsmanship embedded in the ceiling was too numerous to ascertain in this moment. It caused the various lights to shimmer and dazzle in the entire chamber. She gazed forward and saw Her Majesty, Queen Ambrosia the XXXXV on her throne. Crystals jutting into the air from the throne with shimmering topaz and gold. Silver and diamond shards dug roots into the Twilight Oak. There sat the Queen, bearing porcelain skin and piercing bright blue eyes. Shimmering crystals adorned her brown hair that was straight, with the bangs curled. The majestic blue and red robe contrasted by her silvery-white wings. She was surrounded by various members of court whom she saw peering at Fedwain and herself, murmuring.
The queen held up her hand and their guard stopped, stepping back and off to the side. Illedrena fell to her knees, bowing before her majesty.
“Step forward, Fedwain Elmeri,” called the Queen. Her careful voice was gentle, but firm. Her many years of leading the Ellyllon behind it. Fedwain did as he was told, stepping forward slightly, his footsteps sending fits of anger through Illedrena.
“Fedwain Elmeri of the Ellylon. You have been charged with oathbreaking, vile deceits, and nigh alduterousness. The highest crime being that you were forsworn to a union by your acceptance of your parent’s and your forsworn’s parents’ proposal. These charges being found evident by testimony of yourself and others.” The queen paused before approaching, her eyes blazing. She held her hand outstretched and continued, “You are guilty of these crimes and in accordance with the ancient traditions, with considerations by myself, you are to be branded an exile for a period of five years.” The queen’s hand glowed and yellow light started to stream from it toward Fedwain. “To this crime you are stripped of rank,” the light touched him and markings started to crawl onto his face. “To this you are rejected of the people.” Fedwain grunted, unable to scream as the magic silenced him while it burned his flesh. “You are to remain as Fedwain, alone, and scattered to the winds for five years.” Fedwain’s teeth gritted the lips drawn back painfully. The magic finished and the Queen released her hold over him, to which, he fell and sobbed nigh uncontrollably.
“Remove him,” the queen waved her hand at him in disgust.
Illedrena kept herself on her knees and caught in her vision Fedwain dragged away from the guards in the room. Yet, no guards remained in her immediate vicinity.
“Please stand, Illedrena Avalor of Natiira,” came the slightly shivering voice of the Queen.
She stood and bowed her head to her majesty who came and lifted her head, cupping her cheeks with her hands. “Daughter, your crime is severe indeed. Please, for my sake, could you recount the details to me personally?” She turned and sat upon her throne, visibly leaning on it for support.
Illedrena cleared her throat, before standing straight and then speaking with a slight fluster, “I was engaged to Fedwain in my youth, and understanding the old traditions of our people, I investigated the proposal. I found it acceptable and bound myself to the vow. When meeting with him in the weeks preparatory to our being wed, I discovered him to be quite amiable. I thought of him as a good person. One day, he told me he was scheduled to leave for an errand. I found it odd that he had no destination as he had given me one previous in each occasion. Upon inquiring, he brushed me aside and said not to worry. I went about my day at his family’s estate. His mother and I were talking about yesteryear’s hummingbird races. And whilst we spoke, we heard a loud noise upstairs. We both investigated.” Illedrena’s eyes welled up. “The window open and a few furnishings toppled. I saw him there, bending down with an unbound lover in his arms, kissing her. His mother had screamed at the sight. But, my silence brooded within me. I saw him look at his mother, shocked, then at me in horror. I only remember the anger I felt. The connection that we had started to forge—.”
Illedrena stopped, wiped at her eyes and sniffled a bit before the Queen nodded attentively, “As a daughter of the Avalor family, we are blessed with much magical ability. In my anger, I attacked him with a spell. I managed to reign myself in, realizing what I had just descended to.” She bowed again as she finished her statement.
The Queen sighed. It was a long and drawn out one. Tired, and filled with the wisdom of one who seemed to understand more than their age showed. She spoke low and cautiously. “The Elmeri family was… Petrified by your reaction to the circumstance Illedrena. Most especially to the mother, Latora.” She shook her head and rubbed her temples. “You understand that I need to punish you as well for this? More severely than Fedwain. Assault is an awful thing.”
Illedrena nodded her acknowledgement with tears.
The Queen thought for a few moments more. Her gaze wandering across the room before her eyes locked onto Illedrena again. “You do indeed have much ability and talents for one so young, barely maturing. You and your family have already experienced a great loss. The sacrifice of your brother is still felt across all Ellylon today. However, your deed is one that needs quite a bit of penance.”
The Queen stood and snapped her fingers, the room’s small muttering shattered and becoming silent. “Bring me Veilseeker.” A servant moves away and leaves through a side door.
“Now,” her voice collected, stern, but loving, “Daughter, you made a mistake. As all mortals are apt to do from time to time. I hold in my heart some empathy toward this. So, I am giving you an opportunity. An occasion that some would find mildly undeserved. Please remember this as such.” There was another sigh, “You also will be given the marks of those sent away,” Illedrena’s eyes widened at this, to which the Queen quickly inserted, “But, your sentence is not eternal. It’s a time appointed for you to learn who you are. To discover what it means to hold the power you wield. I see an Ellyl that has so much potential to be a leader and a force for much good in the world. But, you aren’t going to learn this among others like you. I sense your trepidation, and your confusion, but understand that my reasons are greater than you can imagine as of right now.”
The side door opened again and the servant returned with an object covered by a simple cloth. The Queen walked over and pulled away the cloth, a bright jade blade gleamed in the sparkling colors from above and lay beside an articulate sheath.
“This is Veilseeker,” the queen lifted it from the hands of the servant, “An enchanted blade that hides one from seeking eyes. I believe this will be of use to you in the future.” She placed it in Illedrena’s hands then grasped her shoulders.
“Take this counsel, carry no money or precious things with you, and if nothing happens within ten years… make your return. The marks I place on you will only last for this long. But, any other time or activities spent beyond the norm will only add in your favor.”
Illedrena spoke up to this, “Your majesty, if I may?” The Queen nodded again, curious. Illedrena choked a few words, before finally speaking, “How will I know that I am learning what it is you want me to know?”
The Queen smiled, “Your actions and effects on the world around you have a larger effect than you realize. Surely you know this from your studies of magic?” She put a glowing hand on Illedrena’s cheek, “So to, does a leader find ways to have this larger effect. And when you learn these things, the mark you bear will recede and eventually disappear.” A warm feeling filled Illedrena and she closed her eyes. The magic flowing from the Queen tingled as she spoke, “Illedrena Avalor, you are hereby stripped of title, branded for exile, and to remain penniless for a period of ten years. Take up this boon I have granted and learn from your ancestor spirits, guided by Veilseeker.”
Illedrena opened her eyes to see a bright flash of light appear from Queen Ambrosia. She didn’t feel any pain or was shocked in any way. She didn’t smell her flesh burning or anything she thought she’d have to experience that Fedwain did.
The Queen nodded with a stern, empathetic look, before stepping away and speaking once more, “Go, Damosel Avalor. Learn of who you really are.”
Illedrena felt her will shudder slightly, but she bowed and left the room unaccompanied.