|Favorite Wonder:||Soul Forge|
Faeryl steeled herself outside of the chamber. She was queen now, but still the elves fawned over Arendel. Faeryl had just begun her 6-month winter reign, when nothing productive could be accomplished. Then, when spring came and meaningful change could be enacted, tradition forced her to pass it back to her weaker cousin.
There was little she could do but grit her teeth and head into the chamber. Arendel was inside, no doubt pouting over the temporary loss of her crown as she did every year.
"I trust your stay has been comfortable?" Faeryl asked.
"Of course, I am always amazed at the beauty of the Unseelie court, and the courtesy of its residents."
Faeryl nodded. This was a part of the game they both pretended to play. Cordial and gracious in action, while secretly hating other. Yet Arendel seemed even more melancholy than usual. Faeryl almost smiled at the thought that something serious might be wrong in Arendel's perfect life. She couldn't resist asking.
"Arendel, what concerns you? Is your family well?"
"Yes, they are well. It is kind of you to ask. I have been bothered, and I apologize for that, it is certainly nothing to do with you or the Unseelie court. I don't know what it is, I just feel like we are in a dangerous time. Winter is coming so early this year; we have just performed the rite of autumn and the scouts are already reporting some snowfall. The priests are having powerful dreams and the forests aren't dropping into their winter slumber, instead they seem to be reblossoming."
Faeryl choked back her initial reaction. Arendel didn't trust that she would be able to handle whatever lay ahead. Isn't it enough that she is left only with the useless part of they year as it is, does the Seelie court want that too? But Faeryl took a breath and forced a calmer response.
"You have been listening to Yvain, he was here saying the same things and warning of some event he couldn't name. You should rest and forget the strains of leadership. You will need to be ready when winter ends and I pass the crown back to you. Until then, should anything occur, I will handle it."
"Of course, my queen, I am sorry to trouble you with my own worrying."
"It is fine, Arendel, that is what the time of rest is for. While you rule you think of nothing but the elven empire, and never of yourself. Now care for yourself. Perhaps the winter will be strong this year and Sucellus sends the new seed to help sustain us through it. I must go, there is a lot to do today. I hope you will join us for dinner."
"Of course" Arendel said, "and I promise to be a more amiable guest."
"Just make sure you come or else I will bring the meal here and we will sit in front of this window you favor, and leave the rest of the guests wondering what to do without their queens."
Arendel smiled. Faeryl imagined throwing her through that window.