THE SPRING PRINCE
That always made him smile. He continued down the path wishing the snow to disappear but even though he could make it disappear, he knew better. Never touch on someone else’s season. He sighed. The winter court be such a touchy lot. He laughed softly to himself.
The air was chilling as he got closer to the end of his path. He then knew he was not alone. Leaning up against an oak tree was the winter kings brother, Shae, who was known to be a bit of a loner and never wanted to give anyone the time of day. Jax stopped before he got any closer and just watched Shae. Maybe he would move on but alas Shae looked his way.
“I could smell the spring in the air. You can’t hide yourself.”
“I wasn’t trying to actually. But it is coming to the end of your season you must remember.”
Jax heard him make some noise and Jax was guessing it was something unpleasant. He sighed as he continued on the path with every intention of passing him and ignoring him. Just as he got within a few steps he noticed that Shae was not alone. There was a small sprite glaring up at the winter faerie. Its bright emerald eyes looked angry and ready to bite. Jax looked from one to other and shook his head. It was not his business.
But as he was a hairs breath from the sprite, it whipped its head up at Jax and pointed its little green finger at him. “You are to blame.”
Jax frowned down at the little sprite. “What am I to be blamed for, may I ask?”
The little sprite folded his arms tightly around his fuzzy little body. “Your court is supposed to prevent the winter season from coming here.”
Jax sighed as he knew what the sprite was talking about. An old war going on between two lovers of opposite courts. He wished by now that had been resolved. “I can’t be blamed for others who made false promises.” He glanced over at Shae who was listening quietly. It appeared he was interested in the subject. Jax took in a deep breath and took a few steps forward when Shae spoke. “May I walk with you?”
“Yeah, take him with you,” shouted the sprite. He’s not wanted here. Too cold.”
Shae paid no attention to the sprite. His full attention was on Jax who stiffened at him asking for his company. “I suppose, for a short distance.”
A thin smile formed on Shae’s lips and his ice blue eyes brightened. Jax went ahead hoping maybe that he would stay a safe distance behind him but no he caught up and walked right beside him. Jax knew he had something on his mind. He wasn’t about to provide information if that was what he was looking for.
A swirl of cold air wrapped around Jax making him shiver. “Please keep your cold to yourself.”
“Sorry,” I just wanted a few words with you is all.”
“If you are looking for some gossip about some spring or summer court business, forget it. I don’t get involved in such matters.”
“I am not interested in such stories. I am however interested in you.”
Jax almost stopped but kept going. “What interest do you have in me? We are not in the same court.”
“Well, you still hold the cold spring air in you. That’s not far from the winter. Just a bit warmer is all.”
“Really? And what makes you thing you know so much about the spring court?”
“I know more than what you think. Just because I am a winter faerie, does not mean that I have not known or been taught about your court. Have you not learned about mine?”
Jax felt his face heat and as a result the air suddenly took on a warmer temperature. The snow along the path melted and young grass shoots sprouted and snow drops popped up.
Shae grinned. “I did not mean to embarrass you. I just thought…”
Jax stopped. “I have had enough. It’s time for you to go on your way. We have nothing to discuss.”
Shae’s ice blue eyes deepened. Jax felt a child race up his spine. “Fine, but I will see you again and maybe I will catch you in a more favorable mood.”
Shae walked on leaving Jax alone one the path where snow started to swirl around him covering up the grass but not the snow drops. Their scent filled the air.
That took him back. How did he do that? Maybe there was more to Shae than what he thought. He bent down and plucked a snowdrop blossom and held it to his nose. Its fragrance filled his nostrils making him almost dizzy. He placed the flower in his lapel of his coat and walked on to his destination.
He was sitting his the court garden studying some herbs when one of the servants came up to him. “You have company. Would you like to receive them?”
“Jax’s chest skipped a beat as he wondered if it was him. “Who is it?”
“Oh, I suppose. Bring him here. I do not want to share his company with father.”
Jax barely got up when his brother Dai was standing looking down at him. His bright blue velvet coat with satin shirt underneath almost made him look like snow on ice. His pale white hair was tied back in a braid with small seed pearls and clear stones weaved in. Silver earrings wrapped around the lope of his pointed ears.
“Hello Dai, what brings you here?”
“What? I don’t get a welcome hug?”
Jax almost spit. “You know I don’t hug.”
Dai smiled. “You are still as stiff as winter. Are you sure you aren’t a winter faerie?”
Jax froze at the suggestion but quickly realized his brother was teasing him. “Yes, I’m quite sure. And talk about winter. Have you looked in the mirror? You look like ice and snow.”
Dai rolled his eyes. “No sense of humor either. Well, I have come to invite you to a court gathering. You avoid them all the time but this time, you have no choice. You must attend.”
“Why is that?”
“Because it is a special ball. The one where you might meet a suitable wife?”
Jax shook his head. “No, I’m not going. No wife for me right now. I have plenty of time for that.”
“Not according to our parents you don’t. You have responsibilities as a prince of court.”
“You are older than me. You can go choose a wife and make them happy.”
Dai smiled. “Well, I have already made that choice. A lovely spring princess who will make a wonderful wife.”
“Then I’m happy for you. But leave me out of it.”
“You’re insufferable. You will not be able to play the spoiled brat for much longer. You have duty.”
Jax turned backed to the herbs. “If that is all you want, I have other things to do.”
Dai leaned in close to Jax’s ear. “Are you hiding a lover? I will not tell.”
“Jax almost crushed the herb he was handling. “Go brother.”
Dai laughed and went on his way but not before he turned his head and said, “I will see you at the ball.”
Jax sighed. He would not go. Maybe he could plan a trip and that would get him far away from this silly ball. As he worked with his herbs, he thought of what trip he could take.
The night of the ball arrived and Jax lost out. He was going as his mother said there was going to be no trips for him anywhere. He would be there and when his mother spoke, he knew better than to defy her.
Jax figured all he had to do all night was maybe dance with a few choices that his mother had made and then hide for the rest of the night. He did not have to take a bride tonight. Given that his brother already had, that took the pressure off of him for the moment.
When he arrived he got quite a surprise. There was the presence of winter court faeries. Why were they here? Sudden thought of Shae came into his mind. He would not be here he thought.
His brother Dai spotted him and came over to him with his bride to be by his side. “This is April, my lovely bride to me.”
Jax nodded politely but Dai was not going to leave. “I have someone for you to meet.”
Jax glared at him. Dai ignored his displeasure. Two young court faeries came out of the blue and joined them. “I would like for you to meet Towney and Sere from the far spring courts.” He leaned in to Jax. “Be nice.”
Jax smiled politely at the two of them. He had no choice. Sere smiled and slipped her arm through his and pulled him towards the gardens. He looked back at his brother who just smiled.
So he had to walk in the garden with her listening to her prattle on about court duties. There other faerie Towney came along to get her to Jax’s relief. They left him in the garden.
He breathed in the cool spring air. As he turned around to go find a nice hiding place someone was standing in his way.
Shae smiled. “I was as relieved as you when they finally left. Such pretty things but annoying. No?”
“What are you doing here?”
Shae grinned. “I was hoping that I would find you in a better mood but I guess there is no good mood with you? What makes you happy then?”
Jax folded his arms.
Shae came closer making Jax almost flinch. Shae caught it. “Do I make you uncomfortable?”
Jax felt his face heat again. Now he was right up to Jax. The coolness from Dai cooled his cheek. Jax looked up into his ice blue eyes. A thin white braid fell over his shoulder. Shae untied one of the beads from his braid and weaved them into Jax’s hair, concealed of course. He kissed the bead. “There, you and I have a secret. You go back in there and do you duty. They won’t make you choose tonight a mate. You’re safe.”
“How do you know?”
“Never mind, I just do.”
Jax watched him walk away leaving him alone in the garden. Jax went back to the party but before he walked in he looked back into the garden. Swirls of snow snaked around the gardens. Some snowdrops were nestled in some snow. Jax smiled to himself. He knew they were for him.
Jax walked inside.