Isellta couldn’t sleep.
Every time he closed his eyes, he’d see Robin’s face.
And he didn’t understand why.
He rolled onto his side.
“I wish you were here, Robin. I don’t even know why.”
He rubbed his thumb on his pillow and sang,
“Aish ka no me nae si na.
Aish ka shi oh mi na. Ooo.
Aish ka fae si shi sha.
Ooo-ooo. Ooo-ooo. Ooo.”
The bedroom door unlocked and opened.
Isellta sat up.
Just as someone turned the light on.
Isellta winced a little at the sudden brightness.
Mark Caten and Queen Preyuna entered the room.
Isellta hurried out of bed. “Your Majesty.” He bowed.
“Yes. Yes.” said Mark Caten. “Call me ‘Your Majesty’ and bow to me. And if you want to call me God, Lord and Master, or even Your Holiness, well. I won’t put up a fuss.”
Isellta straightened up and gave the human a puzzled look. “Why would I call you any of those titles?”
Mark Caten scoffed. “Because I deserve it. Duh. Preyuna.”
She sighed. “Yes? My Lord and Master?”
“You know, I will never get tired of hearing you call me that. Take care of him.”
Isellta took an uncertain step back as she approached him. “What are you going to do?”
She stopped in front of him.
He could see the pain and hurt in her lovely face.
It was like looking on a defaced painting.
“Isellta. I need all of your memories of Olessa Caten. Can you give them to me?”
“Because he wants them.”
Isellta glanced over at Mark and back at her. “Queen Preyuna.” He glanced at Mark again and considered the wisdom of saying his thoughts in plain English.
It doesn’t make sense for us to speak so plainly in front of him.
“Queen Preyuna.” He switched to the Queen’s language – a complicated tangle of Irish, Scottish, Welsh and a long dead language of musical tones. “Why should we give him anything? He is like Olessa – cold and cruel and devoid of any sense.”
She replied in the same language, “I know more than you do about his cruelty. But I also know if I do not obey him, I will be the one to suffer.”
“When do we make our move against him?”
She smiled. “Trust me. The time will come. I will know when it is right. Will you help me?”
“I’ve never killed anyone before. It’s not in my nature to kill or even to hurt. But I promise. When the time comes, I will do my part. Whatever that may entail. Even if it’s just holding the door closed.”
She put her hand to her heart and bowed her head.
It took him by surprise. He barely knew what to look at. “Your Majesty, you shouldn’t do that. It is a low-born fey’s gesture to one of higher birth.”
She looked up at him. “You have to understand one thing, Isellta: In this house, I am not a queen. He doesn’t see me as one. He doesn’t treat me as one. To him, I am the lowest of the low-borns.”
His wings flittered. “Why do you let him get away with it?”
“Because. Several months ago, I had hope that he would release me from my debts. So, I didn’t mind what he said or did. Now. I know he will not release me. He never had any intention of ever releasing me. So, now I barely tolerate him, but I’m biding my time, waiting for that moment when we can strike him down. And we will, Isellta. We will.”
“If I give you those memories you need, what? Will I have nothing left but my life in the Nor’eastern Woods?”
“Don’t worry about that. I have a plan. Will you give me those memories?”