“I’m going to go rest for a minute,” Sir Trappling said as he adjusted his armor.
“Yes, sire,” his guard replied, saluting him. “Shall I accompany you?”
“That’ll be unnecessary,” Trappling replied, waving the guard off. “I’ll be fine.”
The guard turned and walked back to the wagon as Gabriel Trappling walked a few feet off the road, removed the sword from his hip, and sat uncomfortably at the base of a tree. He adjusted a few times, pushing his gleaming plate mail from side to side until he could relax. The ride from Glenhaven had been long already, and he didn’t look forward to the remainder of the day spent on the horse.
A faint blue twinkle brought Trappling’s attention to another tree nearby. He squinted, attempting to view it clearer, but found it didn’t help anything.
“Remy, come here for a moment, please?” Trappling called over his shoulder.
“How can I be of service, sire?” Remy replied, appearing on Trappling’s left.
“Do you see that?” Trappling asked, pointing to the faint blue lights.
“The tree, m’ lord?” Remy asked.
“Nevermind, Remy. As you were,” Trappling said, waving him off. “We’ll be leaving in fifteen minutes.”
“Yes, m’lord,” Remy replied as he disappeared from view.
Trappling watched the faint blue light drift closer, and from here, he could make out the fluttering of tiny wings and bodies shaped not unlike his own.
“What are you?” he whispered, tilting his head.
The nearest turned to face him as though it had heard him.
“Do you hear me?” he asked, extending his hand.
The tiny blue creature came even closer, and he could see it nod to him.
“Can you speak to me?” he asked.
The creature flitted over to him and landed on his knee and stared up at him.
“I can speak,” it squeaked. “Impressive.”
“What’s impressive?” Trappling asked.
“You can see us,” the creature replied. “Most are unaware of us when we pass by them.”
“If it’s not rude to ask, what sort of creature are you?” Trappling asked.
“We are pixies, of the summer fae court,” It replied. “What sort of creature are you?”
“I am Sir Gabriel Trappling of Devonshire, and I am a human,” he replied.
“I am Aven Maplemoon, and I can promise you, you are not a human? Humans haven’t seen us for hundreds of years,” Aven replied.
“Certainly someone has seen you,” Trappling said.
“By order of Oberon himself, humans were stripped of the ability to see us. It is impossible, unless,” Aven paused and walked up his armor, grabbing Trappling’s nose and turning his head a slightly so he could peer into his eyes. “I see, you’re not human, you liar.”
“I am, I swear it. My father was a knight once, now retired, and my mother is a royal of the Frinch Province,” Trappling protested.
“There is celestial in you,” Aven said. “I can see it there, behind your eyes. You are close, but not human, no.”
At this announcement, several other pixies flitted their way close to him, inspecting him. Some landed on his shoulders, others the sword across his lap—each of them running their hands over everything nearby.
“Since when were celestial-born so hard?” one of them said, knocking on his pauldron.
“That’s his armor, Indigo. Not his flesh,” Aven said, shaking his head.
“Why does he need armor?” another said as it flew around his head and tugged gently on Trappling’s hair. “Is he going to war?”
“No,” Trappling said, shaking his head a little, “I am headed to the King’s court. It is expected that I wear my armor. Also, this road is not always safe. My guards and I need to be prepared in case of attack.”
“Oberon doesn’t require you wear armor,” one giggled.
“Why do you travel if Oberon has summoned you? Our King would have simply brought you to him,” Aven said.
“Not Oberon, King Bertrand, of the empire,” Trappling said, a smile twitching at the corner of his mouth.
“I don’t know of any King Bertrand,” Aven said. “There is only one true King, and that’s Oberon.”
“The humans have many Kings,” Trappling replied.
“False kings,” Aven said, floating back to Trappling’s knee once more where he sat facing him.
“Some are false, the gods dictate others,” Trappling said.
“You’re beginning to bore me, heretic,” Aven said, making a show of a large yawn.
“I don’t intend to bore you, Aven. I only state what I know,” Trappling replied. “Should we converse of lighter topics?”
“What topics?” Aven asked.
“I’ve always wondered, what is it like to fly?” Trappling asked. “There are rumors that in the gnomish workshops, they are developing some contraption to make it possible for humans.”
“The contraption won’t work,” Aven said, shaking his head, “I’ve heard of it. It’s ridiculous. It has fixed wings and no mind of its own. It looks like the statue of a bird. Utterly silly thing, it is.
“To the point of your question, flying is like breathing. It is freeing and filling all at once. It is a much better way to travel,” Aven said, twitching the wings on his back. “You should try some time.”
“I don’t have wings. How would I fly if I have no wings?” Trappling asked.
“Seek Oberon. You are a lucky mortal to have been born with a divine spark in you. You could find him, you know. Perhaps, if you’re lucky, he’ll give you wings that could make you soar with the birds and touch the clouds,” Aven said. “We must be going. There are things we must attend to or risk Oberon’s anger.”
“It was a pleasure to meet you, Aven. It was a pleasure to meet all of you,” Trappling said, looking from one to another, ensuring that he saw them all.
“He’s such an odd one,” another said.
“Come Almond, and Lapis, We must be going now,” Aven called as he flew back from where he had come. Astra, and Flix, you too!”
“Goodbye!” Trappling called after them. “Perhaps we’ll meet again someday!”
“Is everything okay, m’lord?” Remy asked, appearing at his side, weapon at the ready.
“Everything is fine,” Trappling replied. “I think I’m ready to go.”