Another sneak peek at my upcoming novel. Out 7/15!
She remembers this china set from the castle. Oh, she knows no one would believe her if she said so. She was only two when they fled, too young to remember anything, they all said. But they were all wrong. Elana remembers this china set, laid out on the side mahogany table, the one with gold inlay, the one whose legs were carved so tall and thin and elegant. At two, she had been young enough to twirl through those wooden legs. She always imagined she was running through a fairy forest, that her mother’s voice, floating down from above, beyond sight, was a fairy’s voice. Queen of the fairies. As she was to be Queen too.
Mother told her such stories of what it was like to be a Princess. Such stories that being a Princess became as real to her as her fairy world. She had known, even twisting through the wooden table leg forest, that one day she would be seated to her mother’s right, pouring her tea, making cultured conversation with dignitaries and Princes. And then, one day, Elana Miloslav would be Queen herself.
That side table was likely looted. The protestors eventually burned the castle to the ground, but Elana has no doubt one greedy bastard or another noted the value of the table. It likely went missing, as all the jewels had. Life took its violent turns, as it is wont to do.
If she ever finds the bastard with the side table, Elana will do to him what she did to the man she found holding the Heart.
She will enjoy it.
For now, all she can do is sigh down at this cup and saucer. Another bloody turn in life. Another complication. Another obstacle. In her weaker moments, in her sitting alone in her sitting room with only the light of a single lamp sort of moments, she thinks she’s too old for this anymore. Too old for the machinations. For leaping over these obstacles, ferreting through them, pulling her little Princes along behind her.
Sixty some years since she last believed in fairies, Elana knows: She will never be Queen.
They all think she fancies herself one, of course. And in a way, she supposes she does. But she is a Queen in exile. All the difference in the world. And all her work, all these years and all this blood, including her own… It is not for her. She will be to her sons what her father was to her mother, her real father.
She will be the mystic behind the throne.
In the sixty-some years since she last believed in fairies, Elana has come to think: Maybe better a mystic than a queen.
But if she was even half the mystic her father was, she would have seen this coming ages ago, wouldn’t she?
Yet even now, even looking down at the photos for proof, she can hardly believe it:
Nadya was right.
Finch loves the girl.