Royal Court, The Woven Castle
The nobles had gathered in the Royal Court. Ladies were swathed in their silks and satins; lords had their cloaks of dyed chemise swirling around in flurries of tones. The nobility were kneeling before the High Lady of Alfheim. Eerika sat on a white throne of oak. Its bleached limbs stretching to the ceiling; forming a rest for her back. Lord Marc, of House Lightcreek, spoke up as soon as Eerika let them rise. "My lady, what are we to do? The males who volunteered to go and protect the Whiten Forest have perished. Our liege lord and his son are tired and wounded. Now, you wish to keep us here until we agree to say not one word of what has happened to our household and commons?"
Murmuring started in the background. The vines and branches of the trees were becoming foreign as Eerika felt threatened. The moonlights had dancing glow bugs around them, winking on off in time to each other. "He is right, my lady. I will not lie. Is it not better for us to tell everyone? Will they not see how desperately they need us?" Lady Liza, wife to the late Lord of Balderblom Grove, spoke up as well.
Eerika looked up from where her stare was fixed on the ground. They will not leave, not when my husband is on the brink of death! The High Lady let the room darken, her blue eyes a threatening glow from where she sat opposite the lords, ladies and the door of which was their escape. "We will not tell our people. We will not speak of this to anyone, not even to the others who were here," she stood up - the very earth shaking beneath her. Eerika turned to Lord Marc, "and yes, my lord, I do wish for you to swear, by Yggdrasil, that these events shall never be spoke of."
There was a startled grunt from many of the Noble Elves in the court. They had expected this, yet were still taken aback at her asking them of it. "My lady-" another one started.
"Be silent!" Eerika's magic sapped the energy from the room. The nobility fell to their knees at their lady's power. Guardsmen at the back and sides touched their swords; still sheathed yet ready for an onslaught of suffering. "You will listen to me. You will all listen!"
The lords and ladies bowed and curtsied a bit lower to the ground. The males' hands clenched tighter, the females' brows drew closer. Eerika rose, traveling down the wooden steps. She started to circle the lower nobles, her skirts trailed slightly behind her. "We will not tell anyone of what transpired earlier today. That would only show our weaknesses and our desperate cause. If the fire demons of Surt cross farther than Marigold's Gift, then our whole world will be set to flame. If we were to tell our families and people - they will tell others. The others will then talk and talk of this folly. We all know of the spies who are out there right now, in our midst. We can only have this conversation due to a secrecy spell on the Woven Castle's borders. Surt would not hesitate to strike when out people lose hope. It would cost us all our lives.
"Now I beg of you, do not tell a single soul of our mishaps. It would mean the death of us all." The lady had returned to her white oak throne, platinum blonde hair spilled over her shoulder as Eerika leaned forward intently awaiting an answer. The High Lady looked each of them in the eye. And she knew.
Sunrise was upon her. It had taken a whole night to hear the testimony and oath from each of her banner men. Some had been hesitant at first, not sure if this was the way. The smarter ones had seen the look in her eyes. They knew she would not tolerate any idiocy after the mayhap of earlier.
Surt was growing stronger. The thought was at the back of her mind. Especially as Eerika watched the sun break from the horizon. Silhouetted shapes - which were birds - flew from the tree and up into the sky. The High Lady felt like using her own delicate, gossamer wings to soar and sail all the winds. She could understand why Captain Alva always loved to use her spare time to do so. The Aesir had given no one else of their calibre the honour of flight. Mortals, men of Midgard, were stuck to the ground. And yes, the Jotuns were tall; but it was not the same.
Liquid gold poured from the seams of the world. Everything sparked to the same tone. Blue leaves on the tall trees turned to scorching red; their barks becoming alive and deeper as they, too, turned to maroon. Subtle lines ran across the sky. A layer of orange stormed above the yellow rim around the glowing orb. Yet it cowered beneath the enormous section of pale blue, which darkened as Eerika tilted her head up. She released her breath and closed her deep blues. Cold lanced through her - however, she loved the feeling and couldn't get enough of it.
"M'lady?" Sir Mikken asked as he entered the room. Eerika turned to her First Guard. His carven armour of iron leaves shimmered as he strode slowly towards the High Lady of Alfheim. His green eyes portrayed a sense of worry and pity. No... Eerika though.
"No," she shook her head as if it would stop the horrible news. "This cannot be! He is not gone!" The words ripped out of her, a roar of a lion. Mikken caught Eerika as her knees buckled out. Brown lines stared at her, mingling into senseless shapes that could only show the anxiety reverberating off of her.
"I'm sorry m'lady... Your husband was taken not an hour passed. The healers say it was peaceful like falling asleep. I hope you take gladness in the fact that he was not alone. Your son, Steinar, was with his lord father the whole time - along with Captain Alva. The whole realm feels your loss..." Sir Mikken's voice faded out. She did not care. How could she care? The gods had been cruel. Truly cruel. Steinar; I'm so sorry. In so sorry. The tears rolled silently down Eerika's face as she let the realisation sink in.
The High Lady of Alfheim could no longer feel the sun's warmth.