The Four Corners of the Magical Realm



Princess Lyric, the Princess Regnant of Nebulan Fairy City known as Bearing City, merrily combed her beautiful daughters’ hair each in turn, tying the eloquently made ribbons with wild flowers she had painstakingly made to their long manes. Dolling up her daughters was purely ecstatic and deeply cathartic to the Princess which she adored more than anything in the world.

Once she had finished dolling her daughters up, Lyric appraised the full looks she had chosen for them and was highly satisfied with the results. Though they had inherited her messy auburn-colored hair, every other beloved feature only served to confirm their fair-folk status. Blue was an exceptional choice of color for Nebulan Fairies whose sky-blue eyes and fair skin did justice.

However, just as the Princess prepared to take her daughters on some much needed socialization trips in the form of play dates with other noble children, she received summons from the Queen Mother herself inviting her for a much needed urgent wine tasting from vines of her Orchard that could not be postponed. The Princess had no other choice but to hand over her daughters to their governess as she rushed to answer to her mother-in-law’s summons.

The Queen Mother had many homes spread-out through Breanna but she had chosen to permanently relocate to Havana, the Capital City of Breanna in the recent past to be closer to her daughter, the Queen of the Fairy Kingdom, Angelique.

Bearing City was the closest City in distance to Havana and therefore Magical Teleportation was not as exerting as it would have been across greater distances in the country. The Princess also hoped to minimize the amount of flair and pomp of her arrival, favoring a humble approach so as not to rouse her mother-in-law’s ire. Upon arrival in one of the Queen Mother’s Fortified Castles, the Princess nervously waited outside the Queen Mother’s Orchard, a Royal Herald announcing her arrival.

In no time, one of the Queen Mother’s maids-in-waiting came to escort her to meet the Queen Mother where she was stationed in the Orchard, where they found the Queen Mother suspended above the ground supported by her Fairy wings, angrily pruning the creeping weeds off the foliage in the extensive garden. The Princess nervously swallowed and turned to face her mother-in-law wondering what had prompted such urgent summons. The Maid-in-waiting soon abandoned her to her own wits by bowing humbly before both royals, hastily retreating from them soon afterwards.

“Pesky little things, these weeds! Some of them would have you believe what benevolent little things they are but if you allow them to remain in your gardens, they grow and fester among the flowers and fruit trees and cause them to decay,” her mother-in-law asserted. The Princess immediately knew they were not just talking about weeds. She nervously looked around the Orchard already searching for possible escape routes terrified of facing her mother-in-law’s wrath.

“My lady, if now is a bad time, I can visit you later-,”

“No, no, not at all. You are the best wine sommelier I know. I need your expert opinion on the fruit of my vines. I am afraid that I must insist that you sample the wine they have produced,” the Queen Mother responded gracefully floating down from the tree tops to the ground and walking with Lyric all the way to the exclusive Orchard gazebo where some wine glasses had been placed near wine sacks filled to the brim with wine.

“Please, feel free to have as much wine as you please, daughter,”

The Princess nodded and immediately emptied the contents of one wine sack onto a glass. She smelled the wine first which gave off an appealing odor before twirling the glass around and placing the glass to her lips. However, before the contents of her glass touched her mouth, she began to hear the incessant whispers associated with her particular curse tormenting her once more. It was easy enough to ignore the unwanted whispers when they did not forewarn her of a threat to her life but those whispers were relentless where personal safety was involved.

The wine was poisoned, the whispers informed her. Her Mother-in-law was trying to poison her with the intent to no doubt silence her for knowing something Lyric shouldn’t know. She hesitated with the glass still pressed on her lips.

“What’s the matter, daughter? Go ahead and taste the most delicious wine from the fruits of my own Orchard,”

Princess Lyric shook her head and hastily threw the glass onto the floor, shattering it as she scampered away finding a Royal Guard stationed at virtually every corner of the Orchard she ran to while others still floated above ground following her every movement. Lyric felt her heart beat like a drum and tried to control the incessant whispering that had only grown to deafening chatter in her mind.

The Queen Mother disdainfully looked at her like she was a pig that had spent all day rolling in the mud as she lost her sanity and struggled to find her feet again.

“Do you take me for a fool? How long did you think you could keep your curse a secret from me and my family?” the Queen mother accused her in a rage. Lyric began to scream to quiet the voices in her head that were causing her great psychological distress. She fell down on her knees with her hands covering her ears.

“You and your spawn are no longer welcome in Breanna. I shall have the Queen banish you. Your marriage to my son shall be annulled- you tricked and beguiled him after all and the Elders shall see to it that he takes another mate for his own,” her mother-in-law mercilessly informed her.

Lyric was terrified by her verdict. The Queen Mother hastily ordered the guards to escort her out of the Palace and to immediately hand her over to authorities.

“No! Wait- please- I mean you and your family no harm. I adore your son, my Prince Giles, and besides, I haven’t practiced… my… my powers in forever. My daughters are fair-folk and therefore cannot suffer from my affliction,”

“Save your stories for the Queen’s Hearing tomorrow,” said the Queen Mother nodding to the guards to take her away.

Lyric begged and pleaded until at long last, she felt she had no choice but to finally use blackmail to save herself and her beloved daughters from public disgrace.

“If you insist upon exiling me, I shall reveal the darkest sin you have ever committed to everyone you know and care about,”

The Queen Mother was taken aback and nervously laughed, “What are you even talking about, you crazy wench! Guards, quickly, escort this riffraff out of this place. Drag her out if you must but make haste,” the Queen Mother asserted maliciously

“The gravest sin you have ever committed is louder than all your other sins. I- I hear it clear as crystal,” she said, her usually brightly colored emerald green eyes turning into a blank, obsidian black. Once her eyes changed color, the guards were all filled with great dread and hastily retreated from her even at great threat to the Queen Mother.

“How- how dare you? You- you accursed wench!” snapped the Queen Mother whilst trembling in fear.

“I can take it away from you, you know; your gravest sin. I can confess you,”

“N- No!” replied her terrified mother-in-law

“It weighs heavily upon your conscience, doesn’t it mother? I can take it away from you- I can take that burden from you. All I ask is that you keep my secret as I intend to keep yours,”

“You- how- how dare you? My- my son- he-he married- he married a- an evil woman like you,”

Lyric stretched out her hand for her mother-in-law to take. The latter hesitated but eventually took it.

“Do you wish to have your sins pardoned, mother?”

“I- I- I do,” she responded.

Lyric embraced her mother-in-law’s hands in her own and began practicing the dark gift she had been bestowed with since birth. She absorbed all her mother-in-law’s sins embracing them as her own in the ritual of Sin-Eater Confession. Every bad thing the Queen Mother had ever done; big and small alike were absorbed in the Ritual Confession fashion which only Lyric, a Sin-Eater could perform. Once the ritual was over, the Queen Mother felt like a child again- completely sinless and innocent, her conscience as clear as crystal. She fell down on her knees in reverence while still holding her daughter-in-law’s hands and paid her homage, kissing Lyric’s hands as if she were a deity.

“Serena, daughter of Lady Irina and Lord Hienns, your sins have been fully pardoned,” Lyric pronounced in a chorus of voices. However, her eyes remained obsidian black as she forcibly withdrew her hands from her mother-in-law’s grip with the latter’s sins plaguing her mind and conscience heavily. She felt as if she was going mad even as she walked away from the daylight retreating to the darkest corner of the Orchard she could find.

No one dared bother her even as she buried her face between her knees and rocked herself repeatedly, each of the Queen Mother’s sins rewritten to feature her instead. She stayed in the Orchard weeping, her mind constantly playing each sinful memory like a horror film with her as the film’s unwilling protagonist.

At some point during her solitary retreat into the Orchard, it began to rain but Princess Lyric did not notice. The rain soaked her clothes to the bone even as she rocked back and forth with the voices in her head the more incessant and nagging. And then at around quarter past midnight, she began to hear new whispers revealing dark sins committed that were not the Queen Mother’s. Lyric looked up and saw her husband looking grimly at her. Only then did Lyric notice how drenched she was.

Prince Giles stretched out his hand and she took it, promptly standing up as assisted by her husband. Her eyes were still a soulless, blank obsidian and so she looked away from him. Her husband gently turned her face to look at him directly in the eye before bringing her closer to embrace her in a bone crushing hug.


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