“Fade Into Me” Chapter 1

Kieran

The barrier that separated my world from the human reality was a fascinating bit of technology that I often took for granted. Appreciation flickered briefly as I touched the side of the archway to activate the portal. The runes’ familiar texture moved under my fingers before the fabric of space and time split and fluctuated within the confines of the door. All I had to do was set the destination. The coordinates floated behind my closed eyelids as my mind linked into the system. One step, a tugging sensation, and I stepped into Ireas.

Strands of magic swirled around me revealing more vibrant colors and smells than on the human side of the barrier. The foyer and grand staircase were empty, the halls quiet. Even this week, the second busiest the palace staff would have this year, my world exuded peace. If only we could push this calmness into the human’s world.

I followed the corridor lined with tapestries and portraits of my ancestors to a set of double doors leading outside. The colors of the garden danced in the sunlight—shades of red, white, yellow and green jumped from plant to plant, mingling, changing. They wrapped themselves around the sound of buzzing insects and the humming of bird wings. This is what I missed the most when living among the humans—this symbiosis of sight and sound. The collective magical ignorance of the human race compelled the colors to remain motionless. Here they played like joyful children.

Mother straightened from her spot by a rose bush bursting with flowers. Their soft peach coloring swirled around her arms in a gentle caress as she placed the cuttings in a basket.

“Kieran? What’s wrong?” At almost four hundred years old, Mother’s dark hair had started to streak with gray, but her skin remained flawless like her rose petals.

“I need more time.”

“Sweetheart, you know that’s not possible.” She reached out for my hand. “Enjoy your sister’s wedding. Afterward we can decide who you should choose for your bride.”

“What’s a few more months, or years for that matter? Can’t you ask them to give me more time?” For most of my kind, the one hundred and twenty-fifth birthday wasn’t a big deal, but for me, Prince of the Reparation, it signified the beginning, or the end. I wasn’t sure which yet.

She squeezed my fingers. “Why are you nervous now? You’ve been preparing for this your entire life.”

“This whole thing is pointless. Humans aren’t ready and our people will have to wait another thousand years no matter who I choose. Why can’t I have more time to fall in love?”

“Kieran,” She squared her shoulders and lifted her chin, looking every bit like the queen she was. “You will do it because the High Council requires it. There is too much at stake for our family and our people.”

“Fine.” The rose bush beside me wilted.

“Shame on you!” Mother shook her head at me. “Put it right.”

With a sigh I pushed all the negative energy out of my body. I knew from experience I couldn’t manipulate the threads of life when angry. Once calm, I focused on the colorful swirls around the rose bush, looking for the break in the pattern. A nudge here and a twisting motion there and the black streaks in the ethereal blueprint faded away. The roses brightened, and the petals plumped and smoothed. Mother nodded in approval.

“Before you leave, visit the Oracles.”

“What else could they have to tell me?”

“Perhaps you need to be reminded of certain things.” She grabbed her basket and turned toward the house.

“Humans will never be able to feel the threads of magic, much less control them.”

Mother looked back for a moment. “You must look deep within yourself and find compassion for them.”

So many thoughts and questions ran through my mind, but only one really mattered at that moment, “What are the chances my Anamchara is a human?”

“Kieran, most of us never find our soul mates. You have as much chance of finding her on the human side as you do here among Abhithians. Open your heart to love and you’ll find it. Anamchara or not. Just keep the balance.” She kissed me on the forehead.

“What if I find my Anamchara after marrying someone else?” I couldn’t let it go.

“Let’s hope you never do. However, I know you will do your duty no matter what happens in the future. Right?”

“But—”

“Kieran, stop. The chance is almost zero.” She gathered her basket and clippers. “I expect you to be at the wedding.”

“I’ll be there. At least she picked the Botanical Gardens so it will feel like an Abhithian wedding.”

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