Disclaimer: I don’t own A Court of Thorn and Roses and all characters in the series. All of the characters are the property of Sarah J Maas, and are not my intellectual property. There is no financial gain made from this nor will any be sought. This is for entertainment purposes only.
By the time he opened his eyes, the silver sparkling lands were no more. The realm is now pitch black. He heard a vicious growl from the distance, along with white eyes in the dark, whatever it was, ready to pounce him any minute. Tamlin went into his battle stance, preparing himself to kill whoever it is on sight. But soon he felt his magic taken away. Something was ripped from him and he roared to the night, refusing to accept the second experience of being stripped from his power.
The chilling growl turned into an otherworldly voice, echoing inside his head, unlike the gentle caress that had been guiding him earlier.
I saw greed.
And the High Lord collapsed.
Two Fae girls, not look older than 10 springs sat beside the comfy bed, with tree roots sustaining it and gentle shades of silver canopy up above. Their soft midnight haired head moved once in awhile, curiously inspecting the person in the bed. They have sat there for so a long while, fascinated by the creature who was sleeping soundly. Both of them had took him here because of the Queen’s order, and it was no easy task. The man is so heavy! And the Gollum weren’t so helpful either.
“Is he dead?” one with the shorter hair said for the umpteenth times, attempting to poke him.
“No, Milla, he’s not,” the other retorted, slapping her sisters’ hand, “Her Majesty told us to keep an eye on him!”
“We have waited here for so long, Nalla, and he doesn’t wake up at all!” she cried, “I want to go bother some Gollums! I’m bored!”
Nalla clicked her tongue. She despise her infernal twin of hers. So immature, so childish. Unlike her, Nalla take pride being one of the Queen’s apprentice. Even though all she did was taking care of the old tree. However, Milla apparently doesn’t care about it. All she did was chasing down the Tree younglings and Gollums, bugging them until they snapped and left her giggling.
“Fine, you go bug that Gollums, I’ll watch over him alone,” she retorted, emphasizing alone to make Milla catch the sign of how she try to guilt trip her sister.
“Really? Wooohoooo!” she exclaimed loudly, her feet stomping the wood under her, causing the tree house to shake.
“Milla, keep your voice down!” the older hissed.
Tamlin quietly open his eyes after all the noise, wanted to make the girls noticed him be releasing a groan. He had been aware of his surroundings for awhile, but refused to open his eyes to scanned the place by pretending to be asleep.
“He woke up, Nalla, I did it!”
“All you did was jumping around like a little monkey, you…”
“Hello, Sire! Are you awake?” little Milla exclaimed, putting her hands on the bed, excitedly looking at the man in front of her.
“Yes, yes I am,” he groaned, getting up as he rub the back of his neck, “where am I?”
“We took you from the tree, Sire!” she continued her babbling, “you are really heavy and you must have upset the elder, didn’t you? To have them knock you out like that? You shouldn’t do that, Sire, you shouldn’t! The Queen was…”
“Shhh!” the older hissed again, covering her twin sister, “go outside, I’ll explain things to him!”
“Now,” her sister finished.
The short haired girl stomped outside, muttering words as she went. Nalla turned her focus from her sister to her guest, who is sitting with his sleepy eyes and confusion.
“So, what is this place?” he asked again, eyes still wandering around. The room was so small compared to his chamber, with some silver light go through the windows. Dolls scattered in one corner while other place has a desk full of papers and maps. That, and a huge picure of a woman on the wall.
“This is my room, Sire,” young Nalla answered, “we found you fainted by the Elder Tree. How did you get there?”
“Someone told me about that tree and I try to find it,” he muttered, “the damned thing took my magic from me.”
“You have angered him, then,” she said.
“No idea how it got pissed off, I did what the voice told me.”
“Voice? What voice?”
“A girl’s voice led me to the tree, telling me how to find it. But when I said my wish the tree knocked me out.”
Nalla held her breath.
“What? You know something, Brat?”
“No, nothing,” she shook her head, “would you like to take a bath or something? The Queen is expecting you but she’s away at this moment.”
“I need to go back to my castle,” he replied.
“Later, after you meet the Queen,” she said, her voice stern. Tamlin eyed her for a good minute before he sighed.
“Fancy a tour?” she asked, her face uninterested, “this village isn’t much, but I think you’ll like it.”
Is there a limit of how many times a man can be surprised in a day?
Tamlin had trouble keeping his mouth closed the entire time as his eyes scanned the sight before him. They just go passed the girls’ door when he gaped at the city, it was a sight to behold. Something he never seen in the Spring Court. Everything was covered in different shades of silver and blue, the houses looked like they’re carved out of the sturdy trunk. The realm is full of tree houses, with bridges connected one across another. Every bridges has roofs, graced by bright lantern ever 1-2 meters.
Up above was a night sky with endless stars and an unusually big moon graced the castle far, far away. Countless stars fell , some houses were made of glass on top of the hills and mountains.
Beneath the land was the turqoise colored water, just like what he saw earlier around the Ancient Tree. He can see a stairs twirled down from one house to the land below, giving them access to gether the water they needed.
“The water… isn’t a magical one? It.. doesn’t grant.. wishes…here?” he stuttered, feeling stupid.
“The only water that grant wishes is only the one close to the Elder.”
“The tree that knocked you out,” she replied.
“The water around here was the one the Queen provided. Although still magical, it won’t grant any wishes. The Elder has the power, and he choose who he deemed worthy.”
“Any specific criteria?”
“No lust, no greed, no anger,” she answered, her index finger emphasizing each words, “you got the greed, didn’t you?”
“How did you know?”
“The one with greed will have something precious taken away from him.”
“My magic…,” he sighed, “is there any way to retrieve it?”
“You must ask the Queen about that,” she replied, “now where is she…?”
Nalla scanned the land around her, trying to find the one she looking for, that immature twin of hers. She found her chasing a group of tree younglings, which shrieking in annoyance as it ran from Milla.
“Milla! Leave them alone!” she shouted as he rolled down a carpet which turned into a long stairs. Tamlin went to the edge of the bridge to see what’s the fuss, and catch himself muttering ‘the hell is that? Those are trees, aren’t they? But they are running around’.
“Aww, you’re ruining the fun!” the younger pouted. Her eyes soon stare into Tamlin’s as she smiled brightly again, “Hey, Sire! Having fun?”
The young lord found himself in a very confused state. This place is not an ordinary place, indeed. Running little trees, silver leaves, Elder tree sucking his power within seconds… this place is filled by great amount of magic.
“Who are you?” he finally asked, “and what is this.. place?”
“Oh, you finally got curious, aren’t you?” Milla jumped, excited, “I’m waiting for a long time to say this!”
The girls stood before him, Milla’s eyes round and bright, Nalla’s face remained impassive as always, the younger tried to hold her bubbling happiness within her.
“Welcome to the Court of the Moon,” she giggled, “We are Milla and Nalla, the Queen’s apprentice.”
“Court of the Moon?”
The twin nodded.
“There’s no such thing as the Court of the Moon.”
Milla gaped and Nalla shook her head in disapproval, looking at him as if he'a dumb fool.
“The Court of the Moon is one of the ancient Court ever made. We were the the ancestor of the Night’s,” said Nalla as she walked, motioning the rest to follow her.
“Yeah, the Night, one with the perverted, audacious High Lord, you know him, right?” Milla added.
“…of course,” he muttered.
“Our Court has always been hidden, because of the Elder Tree. The former King of the Night was obsessed with it, especially on its ability to grant wishes,” said Nalla, “he would come to the Elder Tree over and over, but never find his path, because of the overwhelming greed inside him.”
“After many failed attempts, he became a bit.. destructive…,” Milla chimed in.
“He burnt the entire woods in an attempt to find the path, that old fool. That one last attempt angered the Queen.”
“Her Majesty sealed the whole Court with a spell to conceal it, away from all malice; and she cursed the wretched King to live with his greed all his life, until an heir came, that’s strong willed enough to not inherit his amount of hatred.”
“The High Lord has been faring well, or so I’ve heard,” Nalla smirked slightly.
“The side effect is thes realm never see other view than the night sky, but it’s not that bad.”
“I hate night sky,” he grumbled under his breath.
“So.. how did you get here, Sire?” asked Milla, “because the Queen herself made sure that no one ever heard of our story.”
“A maid in my castle told me,” he said, confused, “she told me a story about a pond that can grant wishes.”
Milla and Nalla exchanged glances.
“That’s impossible, Sire, no one would ever know about this place, unless…”
“You were talking about a voice, too. What voice?” Nalla cut her off.
“There’s a voice talking to me, saying that I should beg to find my path or something.”
“Milla, go to the castle, immediately. We should request an audience to the Queen as soon as possible.”
Milla nodded eagerly as she ran with her little legs, whistled as she went, calling a little fat bird. She hop onto it and flew.
“What is it? Explain to me!”
“Listen, Sire. No one, no one ever know about our story after our Queen sealed the realm. But the sealing doesn’t came out perfect.”
“You Queen made a mistake.”
“One of the royalty, a rebellous girl left out of the Court, the Queen has been terribly heartbroken ever since,” she continued, “The Royal Princess were out there, trying to stop the damned King army.”
“And she’s the first Guardian of the Elder. She’s the only one who can bend the Elder onto her will, a rare being that she was, at least enough to open the path. I am now understand why the Queen brought you here.”
“You are saying that my maid is…”
“A Daemati and the first Shadowsinger master, Her Highness Sara Endear.”
“You are saying my maid is a Daemati and Shadowsinger master.”
He roared a laugh.
“She can’t even bring a tray properly,” he chuckled.
“Oh yes, she’s clumsy at times but she’s still the Royal Princess of the Moon.”
“Does that imply anything?”
“The people of the Moon Court are masters of shadow, although with that amount of perceptiveness Her Highness won’t need a Shadowsinger and Daemati skill at all to understand others.”
“That princess of yours love to gossip with the rest of the maid, how unladylike.”
“She did?” Nalla raised her brow, “but we made sure that she doesn’t have that habit…”
“You think too highly of your master.”
“You love to underestimate people, aren’t you?”
“Arrogance will not bring you anywhere,” Nalla smirked, knowing that she hit the nail.
As the last word spilled from Nalla’s mouth, horns were sounded, and Nalla found herself gripping the edge of the bridge. There, tens of boats came from afar, in the middle was a silver boat and in it stood a regal woman, whose face Tamlin had seen in Nalla’s room. Silver hair, and eyes as dark as the haunting night sky, identical to the sky above.
“The Queen has arrived,” said Nalla, “Pray that she like you enough to give back your magic.”