Part 851 – I Bet You Forgot That Mark Caten Had This Room.

Isellta followed Maelin to a closed door.

She smiled. “I’ll let you go in first.” She opened the door all the way.

He walked around her and stopped short.

Spiral staircases filled the vast room. Each one was a different design and made out of different materials: Wire and steel. Variegated wood. Marble. Cement. Stone. Rock. River pebbles. Pure crystal. Stained glass. Plaster walled. Gold and gray. Wrought iron in scrolls and flowers. A webbing of string lights and wood slats.

“Ohh.” His wings flapped involuntarily. “It’s all so beautiful.” He entered the room and approached one made out of green bamboo. He trailed his long fingers over the hollow rods. “This is fey magic.”

“You can tell?”

“Mm.” His fingers moved up to the railing. “They’re all so beautiful. So…sensible. No ugliness. No irregularities in the designs.” His fingers traveled down the railing’s graceful curve. His wings flapped even harder. “Such smooth, clean lines.”

He lowered his hand. “Did Queen Preyuna create these?”

“I’m not sure.”

He looked back at her with his wings still flapping. “Which one are we using?”

She held out her hand.

He hesitated a moment before taking it.

Maelin led him over to the stained glass one.

That staircase was situated on a panel of light, which showcased the vivid colors: heart red, Pacific Ocean blue, molten lava orange-yellow, deep velvet purple, and Dryad Woods green. The pieces were arranged in seeming disorder. There were no scenes from the Bible or scenes stolen from nature. It was just a seeming mishmash.

But the more he looked at it, the more he saw the subtle pattern.

And it made sense.

He loved how much it made sense.

She released his hand.

The colored patterns played on his skin as he ran his fingers along the closest stair. The glass was wonderfully smooth, the black grouting coarse.

He smiled.

I wish I could put this in my pocket and take it home with me. It’s just so wonderful. Too wonderful for such a place as this.

“Will you come upstairs with me?” she asked.

He nodded.

“I’ll let you go first.”

“I appreciate the offer, but I’d feel better if you were in front of me.”

The sympathy in her eyes surprised him and left him feeling confused. He fixed his gaze on a particularly beautiful yellow starburst piece of glass.

“Come.” she said gently.

He followed her up the stairs.

It wasn’t as slippery as he’d expected it to be. Maybe the grouting provided some traction. Or maybe it was just simple fey magic. He couldn’t say for certain.

His anxieties subsided as the wonder of it all overtook him. He looked over the side of the railing and smiled at the light and color show going on down there. “So pretty.”

Isellta ran his hand along the railing. The constant change between rough and smooth delighted his sense of touch.

Half-way past the half-way point, Isellta accidently dislodged a loose piece of glass. It fell on the stairs – a deep blue octagon amidst a careful pattern of red, green, and purple. He picked it up and stood still, carefully examining it.

Black grouting stained and roughed its edges, but failed to diminish the glass’ beauty. The front and the back were so smooth, so clean feeling.

Isellta had a momentary thought of fitting it back into its allotted slot.

That thought lasted shorter than a moment.

He flapped his wings in excitement and pocketed the deep blue glass.

No one will ever miss it.

Maelin stopped and looked back at him. “Are you coming?”

He nodded and hurried to catch up with her.

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