I was asked in my mind what I was called and I replied, "Delilah Monroe."
Get this, aloud, not in my head. Then I in turn asked, "Okay my turn. Where am I?" My voice wasn't a whisper but I wasn't exactly shouting. I was still aware that I was probably in the church back in San Diego nursing a concussion or some closed head injury from falling.
Amusement filled my head. I felt a quickness in the thick heavy-handed mental push that went further into my thoughts. Automatically I shoved whatever invaded me out with a decisive thought. I was relieved when I felt the pressure lift.
A soft voice said, "Rest on the bed you find, and listen to our story. We need your help we fear. Take the fur one with you." I was aware of the floating void; I was frozen and yet at the same time I felt free. Then everything shifted sideways and I was no longer in any way floating.
I shook my head and a soft light illuminated the room in which I now found myself. A slip of my feet and I was a bit further inside the room, and I could see I wasn't in the church anymore, but a rough-looking cavern with dirt walls and flooring hidden by rugs made from twisted bits of rags. Still holding the cat, who showed no interest in leaving the safety of my arms, I walked slowly into the place. As my eyes adjusted, I could see a candle holder on a shelf carved out of the dirt next to a medium-sized shape. As I approached, I found it was a bundle of material -- I guessed what the voice had referred to as a bed. It was about ten inches off the ground, but looked clean enough. I put the cat down carefully and he purred and moved around checking the texture with his claws with soft delighted sounds of purring joy.
There were shapes that appeared to be pillows, but I somehow doubted that they would be filled with modern day polyester fibers. Placing my backpack on the bed, I half-sat half-fell onto the surprisingly soft futon-style mattress and discovered that the pillows were actually sacks filled with feathers. The sacks had been hand stitched, and the fabric used for sheets appeared to be combinations of silks and linens. It was like something out of a museum from 'olden' days but the bed seemed to have been made recently. The bedding was surprisingly comfortable. Working my way to a flat position while somewhat propped up on the varied pillows, I stroked the cat, 'resting' as had been suggested. My eyes flickered despite my interest in my surrounds, and soon I felt myself being lulled to sleep with the silence broken only by the comforting purrs of the yet unnamed cat. I wondered if I was really unconscious on the floor of the church and hallucinating. It didn't matter as the story began to weave into my dream state.
The story twisted into my mind and there was a male with a deep broadcaster's bass tones that narrated into my dream as a voice over for the tale. His rich voice was calming with no discernible accent just a comfortable meter and soon a captivating narrative. I sunk further into my dream and listened without a word. The purr of the cat lulled me deeper and it all began quite simply.
It was in a time long ago when the fairies and the trolls ruled the known world, when everything began to unravel while seemingly staying the same. The reigning king and queen of the lands were greeted with birth of a child. It was the first royal birth in the kingdom in a great while. Throughout time it had been well recognized that neither fairies nor trolls were easily given children. Thus the child was a gift beyond anyone's hope. Banners went out and announcements were made. The kingdom was enriched by the birth of an heir and there was joy in all the lands. Rejoicing at the news, the people launched into celebration. Festivities resulted and everyone was lighthearted by the sign that all was right again within their world.
But the truth be told, not everything was as it seemed. There was a slight shadow over the royal event. It seemed that the queen might have had a bit of a secret that the king suspected but couldn't quite prove. That didn't matter as the majestic proclamations were sent out once the physician gave the pronouncement of the royal's sex. It was a male. The prince was quite visually a troll. Since his majesty wasn't a troll and her majesty was barely a troll, the full-fledged troll child wasn't the expected heir for the king's first born. The king fell into a time of doubt and questioning that wasn't good for the kingdom.
Weeks passed and the king began finding mystics and soothsayers to read his future. The fairies in the land knew enough to stay out of the mixture, but they too were concerned. After all, they knew that what happened within the trolls' world naturally would spill into theirs one way or another.
Those commanded to see the king told him he was strong and sound of mind and body. They filled his ears with whispers of how wonderful he was and how the kingdom would flourish with his leadership now that he had an heir. As they were terrified, their fears locked them from telling the king much but pretty words and lies to appease him ... thus they were not very helpful. That was precisely what the king wanted to hear so he left the readers and the seers alive and returned to the royal court. Amongst the royal watchers there was a murmuring about the soothsayers and their faulty words. Lies fed lies and everyone stuck to their false and incomplete words despite the signs all around the land. Fall came and pumpkins were smaller and leaves fell quicker robbing the color from the trees. Snows crept into areas where snow had never fallen from anyone's memory even the oldest of the oldest and the ice snapped beneath lakes causing many to fear what it all meant.
With the passing of months, the king decided to ignore his concerns and return to his duties. As spring weakly came to the lands, it saw the king in the midst of many battles, as he'd chosen to return to the field where he knew his sword was mighty and his strokes strong. Many wars were won and lands taken in his time of troubles. The kingdom grew strong and the child grew slowly. The queen breathed a sigh of relief and tended to her only offspring. The whispering of the land didn't entirely disappear, just was more discreet, especially as the odd weather was still occurring. But the citizens of the kingdom decided it simply was the natural evolution of the changing times.
The lakes, rivers and even the small creeks were freezing over earlier and staying frozen longer. The spring and fall of seasons shortened while the winter months stretched out. People forgot the natural order of their youth. Memories dimmed and years continued, oddly, strangely, unnaturally. Time was different then -- fairies and trolls are extremely long-lived. Childhood is now counted in years or decades, but for trolls and fairy folks it was more like centuries. Time is beyond measure. What should be hours can seem like seconds and what should be days can stretch and flex becoming decades.
Thus it was that time passed as the child aged and the traditional naming ceremony approached. Since the child was the only descendant for the lineage, his name was to be his mark in life and for the kingdom. Most names were reflections of the child and his face. A slight problem for the royal pair as the prince wasn't gorgeous or handsome or even cute. Looking at the troll body, they saw the strength in purpose of his frame; the heavy brow and the many sharp teeth were all duly noted. Nobody was quite certain of how to name the child. Royal consultants were summoned. Fearfully they paced the chambers where the child was kept and tried to find the right name.
The few royal consultants who stayed in the heir's chambers worried -- quite rightly -- of their fate. Nothing was coming to their minds that seemed appropriate for the growing child. If they left the chamber without the properly received name for the child, they knew that they'd be slain. Months passed without any grand proclamations, but the queen didn't care as it kept her boy just that: her boy. Once he was named the child would be quickly snatched from her and trained in the royal arts and skills needed for the heir of the growing kingdom.
Eventually the king went to his royal mistress and asked her to conceive for him another heir. Naturally she wanted to obey her king, but there was a slight problem. The king had yet to plant his seed and make her pregnant, and she'd been trying for years to have his heir. She didn't think telling him that would do anything for her standing. In fact, she was pretty sure it'd mean her demise.
The king's royal mistress was half-fairy and the rest unknown, though it was decided by the other women who'd been rejected by the king for the position that she was probably tainted. The ones who were not his royal mistress talked amongst themselves, saying that she had come over the dark badlands and thus the other half of her nature was from common stock -- human or something equally vile. Yes, the humans were part of the world even that long ago. They were seen as little more than talking cattle -- not educated, respected nor even long-lived. The fragile creatures could craft many a lovely trinket but they held no magic that was noticeable -- a few had some mixed blood, so even that was questionable. After all, motherhood's a fact, and fatherhood is taken as it comes. But even those with seemingly traces of possibilities never lasted long enough to develop their talents. But thankfully they bred quickly, and were able to pass on their basic skills, thus gaining the ability to amuse the fairies, trolls and other assorted magical creatures. So in the land, the humans were allowed to survive as best they could, training their offspring without much interference.
To say that a royal consort was possibly part human was a slur punishable by death after some extreme torture. The torment and abuse would often yield the names of others who had fed the rumored taint of the consort. This information was often suspect as possibly fabricated, because of the extreme nature of the torturers, but it didn't matter if it was fact or fiction, because all of the accused would suffer the same fate. Even knowing that, it didn't deter the harem from making the sly comments deep into the night as they had been rejected by the king and his choice of bed mates.
The consort didn't have any useable skills, it was often whispered, other than the talents of spreading her thighs and keeping her mouth shut when needed. It was hissed and bitched about the mistress in the middle of the lonely nights amidst the women. They were kept by the king as backups should his needs arise. Of course the first skill of her sexual nature was assumed, given her position in the court, but the second was mere conjecture as she'd stopped talking to the rejected women after the night she'd begun her servicing of the king.