Up from Evermore: The Star of Meridian

Submitted into Contest #97 in response to: Start your story with a character looking out of a window in the middle of the night.... view prompt


Fantasy Urban Fantasy Fiction

Lady Maegan stood watching out the window of the room usually occupied by Stella Leroux. It was a black night, a thin sliver of moon shone down through the ragged clouds and tossing trees. She kept her anxious vigil for Rosera, the human girl her brother loved, intending to return to the City of Evermore for the night and go to the Otherworld in the morning. Rosera hadn’t lived in Maegan’s home of Meridian for some time, not only had she become well from her time with the witch Sycorax and could go home safely, but it simply wasn’t proper for her to be in the same home with Fingal. She visited often, though. 

Maegan restlessly looked around the room of the little human girl loved by the Fae of Evermore. Shelves lined with books and toys displayed the sensibility of a child who was still but a child. This world told it’s children to grow up far too fast. A strange, white, hippo-like creature guarded her pillow, clearly a favored companion. Maegan chewed her lip. Rosera should have been here by now. Stella came into the room. 

“Any sign of her?” 

“No,” said Maegan. “I’m beginning to worry.” 

Stella sat on her bed and hugged her plush friend. “Sera’s a tough cookie, she’ll turn up. And you can’t exactly go out looking for her dressed like that.” 

Maegan looked down at what she considered to be a quite ordinary dress, made of light cotton with oversleeves that covered her bare arms and went to her knees, but realized that in this world, what she considered quite ordinary was quite extraordinary. 

“I suppose you’re right.” 

Maegan watched out the window, singing a protection song. Unknowingly, it was also a sleeping song, for by the end, Stella had stretched out on her bed with her plush toy in her arms, sound asleep. Maegan turned out her lamp, a soft white light, from a nightlight slowly grew into existence. She stopped to cover Stella with a blanket, then slipped from the room. 

She found Stella’s mother, Jane, in the kitchen of the little house. A “duplex” as Torben had called it, a house where two families could live separately. 

“No Rosera?” 

“No, and I’m terribly worried. She can take care of herself, true enough, and she’s armed.” 


“She carries a knife, like the ones that Fingal and I carry. But if she has to face Wraiths or, Ard-Ri forbid, a witch or wizard, I’m afraid she’ll be ill prepared.”

Jane nodded. All the sweet young people, (creatures, whatever) who lived in Evermore and cared for her daughter were dear to her. Perhaps she was more worried than she should have been. Perhaps Maegan was as well. But there was something off. 

The next morning, it was a shaking, sleepless, and distraught Maegan who made her way to Eardwulf’s suite of rooms. She knocked at the door, hoping that the ogre captain was awake. Fortunately, he was; Eardwulf opened the door, immediately concerned.

“What is it, My Lady?” 

“Have you seen Rosera, or has anyone reported seeing her?”

“No. She was supposed to come last night, wasn’t she?” 

“Yes, but she never came, I’ve been up all night…” 

“It’s alright, we’ll find her,” soothed Eardwulf. “Torben!”

Eardwulf’s half human son stuck his head out of another room. “What’s up, Dad?” 

“Finish your oatmeal and go right to the tunnel that goes to Meridian. Go fetch Lord Fingal; meanwhile I will call Rosera’s mother, and see what she knows. Kitty, organize some search parties, and try to find Rosealba, she’s been down here the longest.” 

Fingal Fiach Ban waited for his sister to return, bringing his beloved Rosera with her. He sat on the marble seat under Akasma’s Rose, playing Rosera’s favorites on his harp, passing the time. The roses were starting to put out buds; the red’s petals could be seen through the green, but the white’s were still tightly closed. Lord Rhodon, drawn by the music, appeared through the foliage, the white rose caressing his cheek. 

“”All roads lead past my love’s house.”” The Dryad quoted an old proverb of Shangri-La. 

Fingal set aside his harp. “It seems my love has taken the longest route.” 

Rhodon gave a quiet chuckle, then became serious. “You seem troubled.” 

“I have heard some of the older folk talking... “ Fingal’s voice came low and slowly. “They have no problem with Rosera herself, they hold her in high esteem. But it is only…” 

“She is human.” 

“They worry for me. They worry she’ll break my heart. We do not change, Lord Rhodon. The only things in this world that do not truly ever change are we of Faerie. For humans, their very life is change. Even when her hand is laid in mine, and our hands are bound in the name of the High King, and my long life and beauty are shared with her, I cannot change her nature as a human. Will she tire of the life she will share with me? What will she feel when she sees her sisters growing old without her?”

Rhodon was quiet for a moment. Fingal angrily wiped tears from his eyes. 

“Rosera came to me about this very thing during her last visit,” Rhodon began. “I told her that love is both joy and pain, even in Faerie. But I also told her that it was worth the risk, if I had my Akasma back, I know I would risk it again, even if I knew she would die.”

“What did she say?” 

“That she wouldn’t be afraid of the years if you were with her.”

Fingal sighed and smiled. “Thank you, my Lord. This is a great comfort.” 

One of the men at arms dashed into the garden and bowed quickly. “My Lords, forgive the interruption, but a messenger has just arrived from Evermore with a message for Lord Fingal.” 

The elf and the Dryad looked at each other, then swiftly followed the man at arms. 

Torben stood in the courtyard, leaning lightly on his war axe, talking earnestly with Lord and Lady Meridian as Fingal and Rhodon approached. 

“I only wish there was more we could do,” said Lady Meridian. 

“If you just send Fingal, it will be enough, I think, I hope.” replied Torben. 

Lord Meridian intercepted Fingal as he came closer. “Son, brace yourself-” 

“Something’s happened to Sera, hasn’t it?” he asked.

“It may be nothing-” 

“Let him pass, Uinseann,” urged Rhodon. 

Lord Uinseann cleared the path to the messenger. The young man bowed to Fingal. 

“Now, don’t get worked up, My Lord-” 

“Torben, just tell me what happened!” 

“Nobody can find her. She was supposed to come to Stella’s house last night, then Maegan was supposed to come to Evermore with her, then they were going to head here, but she never showed up. Her mom’s gone to the police, but there’s not much they can do until twenty-four hours have gone by.” 

Fingal turned to his parents. “Mother, Father, I must go.” 

“Of course, only let me prepare a few things, I won’t be long.” said Lady Meridian. 

Uinseann comforted his son gently. “Fingal, you must try to keep a clear head, I understand your feelings, but you must try.” 

“I know.” 

Rhodon watched the lad, seeing plainly the guilt and grief already chipping away at his mind. He knew Fingal was strong, and would soon be himself, but this was difficult to watch. Lady Meridian came from the keep with a satchel and Fingal’s weapons, his bow, quiver, and dagger. 

“Here, the bag has many useful things inside.” 

“Thank you, Mother.” 

Rhodon rushed away in a rustle of leaves, then bolted back, carrying a bottle of rose oil. 

“Here, she has always loved the scent of my roses.” 

Fingal slid the bottle in his bag and nodded his thanks. 

The witch Rycorax looked down at the human girl standing before her. Her porcelain pale skin held not a wrinkle or blemish, her raven hair beautiful in it's dishevelment, her brown eyes challenged the witch. She wasn’t frightened in the least, though the witch had tried everything. 

“What does it take to frighten you, child?!” she snarled. 

Rosera lifted her head “A lot more than you’re dishing out.” 

Rycorax summoned her wraiths to lift the girl up to her throne. “I will make you pay for the death of my sister.” 

“From all Sycorax indicated, you hated each other.” 

“Cheeky, aren’t you?” the witch hissed. 

“I’ve been told.” 

Rycorax took a grasp on Rosera’s tunic and held her bodily over the ground. “Hear me now, child of man, we may have hated each other, but I mean to avenge my sister, and have you to the bargain.” 

“I still don’t know what you want with me!” 

Rycorax smiled cruelly. “You don’t? You understand how black magic works, yes? You will be the engine of misery and pain to keep me young! Your birth order makes you especially powerful. My wraiths will sap away all your happiness and all your love until you’re nothing but a shell, you will be so deep underground none can hear you cry and you will never see your elvish lover again.” 

“Do what you want to me, I’m not afraid of you.”

“We’ll soon see whether you can live up to those brave words.” 

Fingal arrived in Evermore to see Eardwulf organizing search parties. He saw Rosera’s family, all six sisters, mother, father, even her granny. Stella stood by Maegan, rubbing her knuckles agitatedly. The elf made a beeline for the O'Reilly family, to comfort them as best he could. The daughters of the family ranged from fourties to late twenties, with Rosera being the youngest at twenty-four. 

“Madame O’Reilly,” Fingal rushed to the girl’s mother, and bowed. “Have you heard any news?” 

“No, no thanks to you!” she snapped. “So much for your fancy elvish promises!”

Fingal winced. “I am sorry. But I could not risk her honor by being with her all the time, you know that. She is not ready to wed, she told me so, I-” 

Mrs. O’Reilly broke down crying. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. It’s not your fault. Ever since she came home, I’ve been so worried!” 

Mr. O’Reilly hugged his wife. “We’ve all been worried. Sera’s our sunshine, we don’t know what we’d do without her.”

Fingal looked over at Maegan. She had been crying, and hadn’t slept, he always knew. Stella hadn’t left her side and anxiously chewed on the necklace she wore.

“Madame O’Reilly, I dare not make any promises, but know we will not give up on Rosera.” 

This was not Eardwulf’s first missing person situation, he knew what needed to be done. Stella, he decided would not be allowed to help in this case, she was too young and sensitive. He hit a gong to call everyone’s attention.

“Listen well, everyone. Takeshi, you will take the O’Reillys and search the park. Cullen, you will take Morning Star, Selene, Rosealba, and Katrina and search the forests above Watchmen’s Hill. Torben, you take Caelan, Lord Fingal, and Lady Maegan and search the lakeshore below Watchmen’s Hill.” 

Watchmen’s Hill, was a section of the city reputed to be haunted. The ruins of a stone watchtower stood on the side of the hill looking down over a lake (a large pond, really, it was no more than six feet deep) into the city. It was the most haunted and feared corner of the city, Stella had told them rumors she’d heard at school of children sighting a faceless creature in the woods. Fingal knew nothing of this, however.

“What will I do, Mr. Eardwulf?” asked Stella. 

“Stella, I’m afraid you must go home.” 

“But, Mr. Eardwulf, I’m not afraid! “I’d be ashamed to be left behind!”” She scripted from Lord of the Rings.

“My decision is final. And if you attempt to follow any of the search parties I will take away your key to Evermore. Do I make myself clear?” 

Stella nodded, ashamed and crying. 

“Stella,” Maegan petted the girl’s hair. “You are the smallest here, and it is our duty to take care of you.”

“I h-hate being left behind. Everyone leaves me behind…” 

“It will not always be so, and especially not in Faerie.” Stella cried harder, Maegan enfolded her in a hug. “Sister, smallest sister weep no more,” she murmured. “We must go. But we will return soon.” 


Maegan joined her brother and they set out for the lakeshore. 

Maegan walked beside Fingal, almost matching him stride for stride. 

“Brother, are you well?” she asked.

“I will only be well when I hold Rosera again,” he replied. 

She stopped him with a hand on his arm. 

“You will see her again. You must believe, without hope we are nothing.” 

Down in the dungeon, Sera sat in pitch darkness, wrapping her arms around her knees trying to keep warm. She stared into the darkness, though she feared and hated it, it would not win. 

“I will see the people I love again.” Rosera laid her head on her arms. “I will.” 

June 12, 2021 02:43

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