A CROWN OF STARS by Pelaam
As one of the fae, Anil is shocked that he must seek his mate in the human world, and riddles are his only clues to who that might be.
Anil is very attracted to Cefin when they meet, but this human lacks the crown of stars the riddle foretold.
However, when Cefin is kidnapped, there’s nothing Anil won’t do to get him back, even travel to the lair of the creature that took him.
Now Anil has a rescue to undertake as well as solving the mystery of the crown of stars.
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“You’ll pay for that later, Fintan. I won’t forget.” Anil shook himself for good measure, and then flew toward the sounds of more laughter.
“It’ll be worth it.” Fintan lay sprawled comfortably across a large flower, and grinned up at Anil. He scooted up, so that both could perch on the large, golden bloom. “I wanted to cheer you up. You don’t seem yourself these last few days.”
Fintan looked as concerned as he sounded, and Anil hugged him tightly. “I can’t explain it,” he said. “I just feel ... unsettled. As though there’s something I should do, or somewhere I should be. Yet there isn’t. But I feel a pull, an urge.” He shook his head and sighed heavily. “It makes no sense to me. I just can’t put it into words.”
“Do you think it’s the mating urge?” Fintan’s voice dropped to a whisper.
“But there is no one,” Anil said, and his voice rose in frustration. “I’m attracted to no one I know among the fae. I’ve looked around. There are no strangers in our glade, and I even spoke to an elf, and he says things are quiet in the woodland realm, and I don’t feel the urge to go there. I just feel ... unsettled. Like I need to be—somewhere else.” He sighed heavily.
Fintan rose into the air and then leaned down to pull Anil up. “Let’s go and see Nuha. She may find something to help you in her seeing bowl.”
Anil hovered with his friend. “You’ll come with me?” he asked.
“Of course. That’s what friends are for.”
Anil grinned. “I’m lucky to have you,” he said as they flew towards Nuha’s tree.
Nuha welcomed them both inside, and took them through to a room at the back of her home. Anil and Fintan sat side by side, and Nuha took her place at a table. In the centre of the table sat a wide, shallow, dark blue bowl. Nuha stirred the water inside her seeing bowl, and gazed at the swirls as Anil and Fintan watched intently.
"He whom you seek has come," she murmured.
Her voice was deeper, more resonant, and almost unrecognisable from her normal light and gay tones.
"Who?" Anil asked eagerly, but Nuha showed no sign of having heard him.
"You will know him from the signs, a crown of stars, blue like the ocean, and golden sun. But there is danger. Danger comes from iron over water. To leave love unfound is to give it to darkness. To find love is to look beyond our realm, and into the realm of mortals, yet as close as a kiss."
The water stilled, and Nuha looked up at them.
"Is that it?" Anil asked. "It's all in riddles. Can't you tell me what any of that meant?"
"Sorry, Anil, but I never remember what was spoken or can decipher the meanings even if you told me word for word. That's the way the waters work." Nuha stretched and rubbed her eyes.
"A crown with stars in it," Fintan said. "Is the crown itself blue, or is that something else? Crowns are usually golden, so that makes no sense."
"None of it makes sense," Anil said and shook his head. "Worse yet, I have to look in the mortal realm. Why there? Surely my soul mate can't be a mortal?"
"Soul mates come in many forms, Anil." Nuha’s voice was soft, but stern.
Anil winced at the chiding tone. "Sorry," he muttered. I'm a fairy, one of the fae. I expected my mate to be a fae, or perhaps elven, but not a mortal. Now what do I do? Do I ignore the call? But that meant danger. I'm so confused.
Fintan seemed to sense his distress, clasped his hand, and pulled him to his feet. "Thank you, Nuha. You see what you see, and it's up to us now."
Once outside Nula's home, Anil turned to his friend. "What do I do?"
"We need to let your family know what Nuha has said. Then we need to go into the mortal realm, and find your soul mate."
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