On a balcony of the Woodland Palace, Andril was breathing the night air: it was warm and the smell of pines pervaded it. The lights of Dun Lolar twinkled amongst the trees, adding a surreal quality to the moment.
'It is a rather beautiful sight - isn't it?' asked Queen Rowena.
Andril looked at her and smiled. Thankfully, in the dark, she could not see his embarrassed blush: she had read his mind.
'I never thought I would ever see something so beautiful. I do not think there is a city, in the whole of Abaron, that would look so beautiful at night,' said the young man.
'Yours are kind words - Master Andril,' said the Queen. Andril was still getting used to the honorifics. 'I'd like to capture this moment to have a few words with you - if you don't mind.'
'Of course - I don't mind!'
'You know? In the many years that I have ruled this kingdom, I never would have thought to tell someone these words,' the Queen began. 'A long time ago, when I was still a young girl, the Oracle of Kershaw spoke words that my people still remember to this day. It said: 'A Faerie Child will come; he will be born of the Moon and will be son to the Sun.''
'What is a Faerie Child?' Andril asked puzzled.
'A child born from a Fay and a Human. Fays are special beings that, once or twice in every age, take human form. They are beings of great power. Their magic is like no other magic in the world. It is neither Clerical, Magical, Druidic or Shamanic. They are often called the Demigods.'
'Demigods? I heard of them in the myth-teller tales: those of the Ancient Times,' said the young man.
'Those very same - yes.'
'So, am I a Faerie Child?' asked Andril.
'No, my dear Andril. You are a Fay,' said the Queen - matter-of-factly.
Andril looked at her with a dubious look in his face. 'With all due respect - My Queen; but I can hardly believe that a peasant boy like me could be what you have just said.'
The Queen looked at him with a secretive smile and said: 'Really? Yet, you have demonstrated incredible powers. How do you explain those?'
Andril was silent for a second - not knowing how to answer that. 'And what can be done to allow me to control them?' he asked the beautiful woman.
'Unfortunately, Fays are not common in the world. They tend to stay away from people, including keeping to themselves all their knowledge,' said the Queen.
'This makes me question the fact of being a Fay even more,' said Andril; 'I do not believe I would ever wish to part with the people I have come to love and respect.'
The Queen looked at Andril and smiled: 'Astor Lightray,' she said; 'I know him - you know? He visited Losfaloth many years ago with Gawain and Evert Soulfire. I always thought he was a rather lonesome young man. It stands to reason that you would be the one to make him fall in love,' she concluded with a light laugh.
Andril smiled, still pondering about all that she had said so far. Still, a question had to be answered: 'The Oracle has said that I will bear a child: what's that all about?'
'That is the final proof that you are a Fay - Andril,' said the Queen. 'Fays can bear children, like a woman would, through magical means. It is a magic inherent to their nature. Per the old lore, they can only give birth every fifty years, and only if the father is a human, chosen by Destiny.'
'Gawain!' exclaimed Andril. The Queen nodded.
'But I am not in love with Gawain!'
'Love and feelings have very little to do with Destiny - my dear young man,' said the Queen.
'I do not understand - though; is Astor not fated to marry me?'
'Yes, he is. Nonetheless, the child of Gawain must be a Faerie Child, if we are to survive the dark times before us. It is part of a grander design that we may not understand but in which we must have faith.'
'All right,' said Andril; 'let's say I am fine with all of this, so far - even if I am not totally clear on everything. How do I learn to control my abilities?'
'There aren't many people like you in the world,' said the Queen; 'Fays tend to remain isolated from humans and, only when they sense the future of those they are sworn to protect is in danger, do they come amongst us.'
'Do you know of another Fay?' he asked hopeful.
The Queen nodded and said: 'It is now a few years that rumors have reached me of a Fay reappearing at the feet of the Shadow Mountains. The name I've heard is Silver Wolf.'
'Silver Wolf. That sounds like a man's name.'
The Queen smiled: 'Fays have always been known to appear amongst Humans under the guise of a beautiful young man,' she said. 'By looking at you, I am convinced - more and more - that you are what the Oracle named you to be: a Fay.'
Andril, again, was thankful of the shadows of nightfall to hide his blushing. 'How do I find this Silver Wolf?' he asked her.
'The forest of Losfaloth is quite great and some parts of it are still uncharted. There are a few paths that lead to the Shadow Mountains, which go through the Forest. I will show them to you in the morning. I must tell you - though,' she told him coming closer and putting a hand on his shoulder, 'we do not have much time. Already, in the South of the world, certain events have taken place that will bring war to our lands in a very short time. The Faerie Child must be born soon, or we are all lost.'
'I understand,' he said softly.
That night, he could not sleep. He kept tossing and turning in his bed, as if in the throes of a nightmare. Suddenly, he heard the telltale music of his powers. Andril tried to stop it but the music kept growing louder.
'Don't fight it!' said a voice in his head.
Andril opened his eyes and looked around. It took a few moments to grow accustomed to the darkness and then he could see, in the shadows of his room, that he was not alone.
A tall figure of a man was hiding in the shadows; somehow, Andril was able to perceive him: 'Who are you?' he said aloud.
'I am a friend,' the voice in his head answered; 'I am he who you are looking for. I have felt the awakening of another Fay in the world and I came back to find you.'
'Silver Wolf,' Andril whispered.
'That is what they call me around these parts of the world - yes.'
'Show yourself,' said Andril.
'I am not really here - Andril,' said the Fay; 'Come to a place called Farn Galad, in the southern foothills of the Shadow Mountains; you'll find me there. Come soon and come alone.'
After that, the silhouette of the man seemed to dissolve into the other shadows. Andril was left utterly speechless. He got up, got dressed and went to wake Ernell and Mallan; they would help him figure things out.
Andril arrived at the log cabin that Ernell and Mallan were living in and found the lights were still on. He knocked on the door and Mallan came to see who it was: 'Andril, what is happening? Do you have any idea what time is it?'
'I need to talk with the both of you,' said Andril with a certain desperation in his voice.
Ernell came to the door: 'We have not been extremely helpful in the past - Andril. I do not know that Astor will let me live if I get you hurt again.'
'Listen - the both of you!' exclaimed Andril. 'Do you have any idea what a Fay is?'
Mallan and Ernell exchanged looks and then they nodded: 'They are legendary beings of great powers,' said Mallan, as if quoting from a book. He paused for a second. Ernell had already understood why Andril had asked that question.
'Did the Queen say you were a Fay?' asked Ernell.
'Yes. And also Silver Wolf.'
'I'm sorry - who?' asked Ernell again.
'Silver Wolf. The Fay that will teach me how to use my powers,' said Andril.
'And where is he - now?' asked Ernell, trying to keep up with the young man's rambling.
'I don't know! He appeared in my room and told me I should meet him in Farn Galad - except that I have no idea where that is!'
The two Mages looked at each other again, disbelief clearly painted on their faces.
'What?' asked Andril.
'Well, I do not know how we are going to find Farn Galad - that's all! It has been destroyed five hundred years ago in the Mage Wars,' said Mallan.