Alakazar was reclining in his tower, indulging in an appropriate display of quiet sorrow, when he felt the caravan cross the borders of Hazelburn. Across from him, Maya was quietly knitting, looking out over the rainy sky with a slight smile as she considered both her work and her strange husband. Languidly, he let his senses expand outwards, feeling the passions of the caravanâ€™s staff as they prepared to unload their goods for trade in the city. Gently, he brushed over each of them in turn, idly curious but not interested in closer examination.
A moment later, he was exploding through the wall of his tower, blasting through the air with a roar of fury. Maya jumped to her feet in surprise, looking through the gaping hole in the wall as the rainstorm coiled around Alakazar and propelled him down the mountainside.
â€œWHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS??â€ Alakazar almost screamed the words, thunder emphasizing his anger as he slammed into the ground a few yards from the edge of the caravan. The staff scattered in fright, leaving the caravan master to cautiously step forwards.
â€œI, um, Iâ€™m not sure what you mean, milord. I meanâ€¦ have we somehow offended you? It was entirely unintentionalâ€¦â€
â€œDonâ€™t act unaware!â€ Alakazar strode forwards, grabbing the caravan master by one shoulder. The large human was forced to bend slightly as the lord dragged him down the length of the wagon, workers scattering in his wake. The two stopped in front of a worker, the only one who had yet to react to Alakazarâ€™s arrival. Instead, he was merely taking crates off the wagon, as easily as though such storms of fury happened every day. â€œWho is THIS?â€
â€œUhâ€¦â€ The caravan masterâ€™s fear was mixed with confusion. â€œA slave, my lord! Nothing more! Only recently purchased, in fact. I donâ€™t knowâ€¦â€
â€œSilence.â€ Alakazar hissed the word, and he turned to look at the caravan master. â€œWhat have you done to him?â€
â€œMe? Nothing. I donâ€™t beat him, milord. A good worker, heâ€¦â€
â€œHIS SOUL!!â€ Lightning flashed, and the rains poured down. â€œYou have destroyed it!â€ Alakazar turned his attention back to the worker, who continued heedlessly stacking boxes. â€œThere is nothing leftâ€¦â€
â€œHe was like this when I purchased him!â€ Frantic, the caravan master cupped his hands. â€œIn truth, he seemed daft to me, but the price was good, and he is very obedientâ€¦â€
â€œOf course he is.â€ The thunder dulled to a faint echo, though the rains continued. Alakazar stepped forwards, and hestitantly touched one hand to the shoulder of the working man. He stopped, turning to face the lord and merchant, but said nothing. â€œHis volition. His dreams. Everything that makes this absurd, stupid plate of dirt worth living on is gone. Snuffed out like a candle, before its chance to burn is doneâ€¦â€
â€œHe is dream-eaten.â€ The soft voice came from behind, and Alakazar turned in surprise. Serafin stood behind him, her expression mournful. Silver tattoos twined down her body, vanishing into her clothes. â€œHis soul was fed on until nothing remains but ashes.â€
â€œWho would do such a thing?â€
â€œThe raksha.â€ Serafin looked down. â€œIt was your people, husband.â€
â€œNo.â€ Alakazar could barely whisper the word. â€œIt is an abomination. An atrocity. It denies everything that we hold dear, to take something that imagines and turn it intoâ€¦ into nothing.â€ His eyes hardened. â€œI will find the lord who thinks himself able to do this without consequence. I will burn his lands to ash, and tear his body apart. I willâ€¦â€
â€œIt isnâ€™t just one.â€ Serafin caught Alakazarâ€™s eyes, and her jaw set. â€œItâ€™s happening everywhere. All the fae left behind in Creation are becoming a plague upon it.â€
â€œIt cannot be all of them.â€ Alakazar shook his head, the clouds above hanging heavy. â€œI cannot be the only one who understandsâ€¦â€
â€œThere may be others. A few fae live with humanity. But if there are more, they are silent.â€
â€œThen I will find them.â€ Alakazar set his jaw grimly. â€œI will find all of us who feel as I do, and I will do battle with those that do not.â€ A bitter smile appeared on his features, and he looked back at the man. â€œAny who would commit such a crime do not deserve to exist. And who better to fight the rakshaâ€¦ than one another? We have always been our own worst enemies.â€
Serafin smiled suddenly. â€œI hoped you would feel that way.â€ She stepped forwards, and took his hands. â€œI will stand with you, and fight with you, if you will have me.â€
â€œForever and always, beloved.â€ Alakazar looked towards the sky, and Serafin followed his gaze. â€œWe will forge a new court â€“ the Court of Silver. And we will stand against anything that would threaten these beautiful souls.â€
A half-mile away, standing on a hilltop, Grandfather Frost and Quiet Blooming watched the display, unseen by the participants. Frost spoke first. â€œWell? What are your thoughts on this?â€
â€œItâ€™s madness, of course, as is anything to do with the Fair Folk.â€ Her tone was simple, matter-of-fact. â€œBut it might yet succeed. I say we let this Serafin have her attempt.â€
â€œI concur.â€ Frost nodded. â€œWe will inform the Pact. This experiment of Serafinâ€™s is approved by us, unless a time comes when it threatens the safety of Creation. Until thenâ€¦ we will see if her goals can be met.â€ He paused. â€œShe spoke the Sutra of the Maiden and Lover, unknowing. And she saw Sextes Jylis in her vision quest.â€
â€œStrange.â€ Quiet Blooming frowned thoughtfully. â€œI feel the hand of something greater stirring here, brother.â€
â€œIndeed.â€ Frost nodded slowly. â€œTime will tell whether our course is a wise one.â€ Turning, he let himself become an elk, and vanished into the woods. Quiet Blooming watched the borders of Hazelburn for a time longer, then made her own way away.