A story that begins with a warrior, a princess and a witch and ends with a curse—the story of my beginning . . .
My father was a great warrior. The eldest son born into a line of kings who made war their business. His destiny was laid out for him since before he took his first breath. It was a destiny he strayed from, for better or worse.
My mother was a brave, beautiful princess from the far western kingdom near the sea, a strange place where magic is commonplace, the people mixing with the fey folk since the beginning of time.
My father led his great army of warriors to her kingdom to conquer.
Yet fate had another ending in mind.
Love at first sight, it was. Or so they say. My father took one look at my mother and swore if he could have her, his war against her people would end.
And it was so.
The Harfeldans until that point were known to the rest of the world as the warring people, a hardened kingdom of dark warriors. They knew war like others knew magic or song, it was as much a part of their everyday as baking bread. Yet, the peace my father struck with my mother’s kingdom seemed to spread. He was the first Harfeldan king in five generations to not seek out war. Such a change could not happen without consequences, whether good or ill. To make my father become something different, there were whispers that my mother was an enchantress– that by bewitching my father, she had saved her people, she had stopped their conquering by blood with marriage.
It seems a fine story, does it not? Love conquers all.
Except that is not how this story ends.
My father, you see, was already betrothed to a princess of another kingdom, the alliance forged between kings before my father took his first steps. A contract, a covenant. Something that was supposed to be unbreakable.
It should come as no surprise that my father’s decision to marry my mother was met with a fair amount of fear and outrage. Though no one was more outspoken against the match than my father’s younger brother. My grandmother had passed her fey-ness onto only one son. It was said my uncle was wild with fairy magic, often he’d been seen stealing into the Fey Haunt in the dead of night. A relationship that had always been strained by that shadow shattered in the face of my father’s decision. It is said that one day my father and his brother quarreled so fiercely that they drew swords against one another.
After that, my father’s brother declared his allegiance to the old alliance and he was never seen again.
In another twist of fate, the woman my father broke with turned out to be, in fact, a witch. And one who did not take kindly to being jilted.
On the night of my parents’ wedding the witch arrived at the castle demanding entrance to claim what had been promised to her. Of course she was denied. And so, she saw fit to speak words at the gates of the castle that would curse me for the rest of my life.
Any child born of my parents union would be consumed by magic within or without, to be claimed by the fey or die with longing for them.
And the spell was spoken.
One summer night on the last day of the middle month, the wind howled with a voice of its own, as if announcing something so important it demanded all the world stop and listen. The trees swayed and moaned under the force of the wind’s wordless declaration. Creatures fled into their secret places. All of nature was in a stir. On that most peculiar of nights, it was fated I was to be born.
Many saw this as an omen that I was indeed a cursed child. What child comes into the world to such a storm at an unholy hour when the veil between worlds is at its thinnest? A question that lingered, when no more children came.
No one ever quite forgot the night of my birth the way my father seemed to. He didn’t seem to hear the whispers of the people, declaring me a child claimed by the fairies, like his brother before me.
I was given the name Freya, but I would come to answer to a different one. The night of my birth stuck forever in the people’s memory. A night of unrest, supernatural storms, the memory of a curse spoken like a spell. The lingering traces of the ghosts of my grandmother and uncle clung to me because of my otherness. If that wasn’t enough, my mother’s line carried fey-blood. That’s why many thought my mother was so beautiful and one of the many reasons they mistrusted her and in time, became another reason for them to mistrust me. Fey-called, they said of me, that child is touched by the fairies. Peculiar. Different. But just whether I was blessed or cursed only time would tell.
And so, I was called Fey.