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Cole'th sat at her father's table

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Cole'th sat at her father's table. Galbra'th Hirskirt shared his daughter's complextion, though his pale green eyes, the color of spring growth, were far more serious. Her father rarely smiled, not since Ilan'a, Cole's mother, succumbed to Madness. On the few occasions he did, his eyes lit up from within, a rare trait the Fey called sun-kissed. The subject which evinced this beautiful expression was invariably the Queen.

He sat across from her as they took their meal together, his face alight with awe and reverence as he spoke of their ruler, the Great Titain'a, who'd rekindled his desire to live. This was one of many similar conversations, her father often praised the Queen over meals. It was the only time she saw him, left in the care of her nurse Dri'yds while he attended to his duties as ambassador. This memory stayed with Cole, because unlike others, her mother's name passed his lips.

"Our Queen grows cleverer by the year," Her father blathered on, despite Cole's wavering attention. She tried to listen, she truly did. Her father was a complete wreck before being handed his ambassador title. It was a position of honor, though Cole believed it was also a form of banishment. The Fey/ Human planet of New Earth 5 was the furthest from the Veil a native born Fey could be and her time here had been unbearably boring before Daisu entered her life. For all his exuberant talk of the Queen's good grace, her father held audience with her once a year to report on the state of affairs between the Fey and Human population.

"She's managed to set up a tidy trade exchange with the Barlok Empire, which means the Pathosian embargo can hold out until our Fey citizens are freed from their ghastly slave markets."

Cole tried hard to keep the sneer from her face. The Pathosian slave markets trafficked thousands of Fey men and women, many of them parbreeds from New Earth 5, but Queen Titain'a's embargo was a recent invention, after the abduction of a high ranking noble's son.

"I don't know how our majesty manages to keep herself so grounded, after all this time. If only Ilan'a had such fortitude, she'd still be with us."

Cole's gaze roved her father's face. The light went out in Galbra'th's eyes, his thoughts turning pensive. She knew her parents were deeply in love, their relationship spanning several millennia before she was conceived. Ilan'a's descent into Madness began when Cole was a child. She remembered the day she found her mother before the reflector, pulling out fistfuls of her beautiful silver hair. Her vacant eyes passed over her daughter's tear stained face, seeing nothing. Once the Madness took hold, a Fey ceased sleeping and eating until they wasted away. Her mother succumbed within weeks. Having witnessed it firsthand, it was a fate Cole dreaded above all else. No one knew what caused it, though it was more prevalent in the older Fey than someone as young as her mother. Cole wondered how the ancient Queen remained unaffected by the scourge of their race when her mother was barely a fifth of the Queen's age. Fey history held that Queen Titain'a and her consort, King O'bron, ruled the Fey since humans took their first unsteady steps as a species, thousands upon thousands of years. Even for a species with their longevity, the royal couple were ancient.

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