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A women watched bitterly as the images in the mirror taunted her with glimpses of the outside world. The mirror, if you could call it that, was the only piece of furniture in the room. In fact other than the women occupying it ,there was nothing else in the rooms. There was no walls, no ceiling, only an abyss of nothingness. In the beginning she had attempted to wander the nothingness but ultimately ended up in the same spot. In the center of it all, staring at that mirror. However the mirror, as torturous as it may be, was the only thing that kept her sane. Ironically the mirror had been designed as a tactic to shatter the sanity of whoever was imprisoned with it. Paired with the mind numbing boredom and endlessly changing daylight cycle designed to prevent the prisoner's body from developing a cycle; this room was designed to make people suffer. No food was ever served and no bed or furniture provide for sleeping. One would expect to perish quickly under these conditions if it weren't for the spell placed upon them during imprisonment that made them immortal to such trivial things.She was left with nothing. Except that mirror, but that mirror ended up being all she needed. The mirror showed her what her heart desired but could never have. In the beginning it had ripped her heart in two but now all it did was provide her with the tools she needed. So with a cold stare she watched as the Fairy Prince laid in the arms of another. But unlike centuries ago she smiled, a cold heartless smile. He had unwittingly provided her with all the tools she needed and he would feel the pain that he had once inflicted upon her.
†††††
Kendra woke up that morning feeling sick. She had felt off for a few days, but that morning she just felt sick. Honestly Kendra had almost forgotten what it felt like to be sick, the perks of being married to a unicorn. Bracken, being as overprotective as he was, insisted on healing her is she so much as sneezed. She had to admit it was cute, if not a but annoying at times. Groaning she rolled over intending to snuggle up to the unicorn who always seemed to be a walking furnace. Her plans changed, however, as her stomach clenched and her throat burned as bile began to rise up. Hopping out of bed, Kendra bolted for the bathroom to empty the contents of her stomach. She felt her hair being pulled back and a strong hand rubbing her back. Bracken whispered sweet nothing's into her ear, attempting to soothe her as she continued to dry heave long after she stopped puking.

" Easy, Kendra. Just relax. " He said as he grabbed a hair tie from the counter and tied her hair away from her face before moving his hand to her forehead. Cool waves washed over her soothing her aching stomach and somewhat easing her nausea. After a moment she was able to stop heaving and sit up. She leaned against her husband who wrapped an arm around her. Bracken stood, momentarily releasing her from his hold as he filled a glass with water and handed it to her.

" You don't seem to have a fever and I can't sense any illness. " Bracken muttered thoughtfully, more to himself than to Kendra as he replaced his hand on her forehead.

" No, I'm fine. I probably just ate something that didn't sit right. " she replied, desperately trying to convince him she was ok. So despite Bracken's worried stare Kendra pushed herself to her feet, using the counter to steady herself as she stumbled momentarily. Bracken instantly reached out to steady her, placing one of his strong arms around her waist.
"Kendra, why don't you go lay back down I'll stay home and -"
" No. The fairy realm needs you Bracken besides I'm fine. I told you its probably just something I ate." Kendra replied firmly, despite the fact that a having a day in with Bracken sounded absolutely heavenly. Bracken was the prince of the fairy realm meaning that their one on one time was usually limited.
"Kendra, throwing up isn't fine." Bracken insisted, his blue eyes pleading with her to let him help. Kendra, however wasn't about to cave that easily.
" You said it yourself, there's no illness. "
" Just because I didn't sense one doesn't mean their isn't one. It only means that its not big enough for me to see or heal yet."
" Or it could mean that theirs nothing wrong with me. There's no reason for you to stay home. Besides, you're the prince you have duties that you can't abandon just because you think I might be sick."
"Nothing that goes on in the fairy realm is more important to me than taking care of you" Bracken replied gently, moving one of his hand to cup her cheek. The tenderness and concern in his gaze was almost enough to shatter her resolve. Almost.

"I'll make you a deal, if I can hold down some breakfast then you go to work. If I can't then I promise to go back to bed."She compromised searching her husbands eyes as he contemplated the option.

"Deal, but only if you promise to take it easy and that you will call me if you feel worse" He agreed looking and sounding extremely reluctant.

" I promise. " she smiled standing on her toes to kiss his cheek before leaving to get some breakfast.
†††††
Kendra placed the last of the breakfast dishes inside of the dishwasher and made her way out of the front door. After plenty of convincing that she was indeed feeling a lot better, Bracken left for the fairy realm. Kendra has to promise him several times to contact him through his horn if she felt sick again. Kendra couldn't deny that she still felt the slightest bits queasy but that wasn't anything some fresh air couldn't fix. If she was being honest she wasn't completely convinced that what she told Bracken, about what she ate was true but she figured it couldn't be too bad if Bracken hadn't sensed anything. She headed toward the main house intent upon visiting Seth while he was home. Seth was a Knight of the Dawn and a good one at that. Add that to the fact that he was a powerful shadow charmer and you get someone who is highly sought after for missions. As a result Seth was rarely home so Kendra cherished the few time she did get to see her baby brother. Kendra shivered doing her best to ignore the chill beginning to creep up on her and wishing she had grabbed a jacket before leaving the cabin.
After a few more minutes of walking, the main house came into view. The fairies fluttered around the yard, tending to the beautiful flowers that surrounded it. Seth stood not far from the edge of the woods laying out one of the milk tins.He smiled excitedly when he noticed her.
"Hey sis!" He said jogging over to her. She smiled but it very quickly faded. Though it was still early in the day it was hot, and you could tell that Seth had been working outside for a while now. Usually the smell wouldn't bother her, but right now it brought back the awful nausea that had plagued her earlier that morning. She quickly ran to a bush at the edge of the forest and began to puke once again. Thankfully she recovered from the spell quicker this time but unlike the first time it seemed to drain all of her energy leaving her exhausted.

" Kenzy? Are you ok? What's wrong? Should I call Bracken? " Seth said worried at his sister's sick state.

" No, I'm fine. " she replied begging her teeth not to chatter and trying not to shiver.
" Kendra throwing up isn't fine. " Practically parroting the words Bracken had said earlier that morning.
" I'm just a little sick to my stomach, nothing to worry about. " Kendra replied trying to reassure herself as well as her brother. Seth looked ready to argue but looked up and smirked. Kendra followed his gaze to the retreating form of an Astrid. She groaned, of course her incredibly overprotective husband would send them to look after her.

" Well have fun convincing unicorn your fine, when that Astrid reports he's gonna flip. " Seth joked but quickly went back to his worried state as he looked closer and Kendra. Kendra blinked, shaking her head slightly as her vision became unfocused. "Ken's, You're really pale. Come on let's get you inside. " Concern practically came off of Seth in waves as he wrapped an arm around her and began to help her to the house. Kendra was beginning to realize how awful she felt. but she was not ready to let go of her 'tough girl's resolve yet. She pushed away from her brother determined to convince him she was fine. Suddenly a wave of extreme dizziness hit her. She felt herself falling and being caught in Seth's arms. Something wasn't right she knew it. Her head pounded like the worst migraine she had ever felt, her stomach and throat burned like she had swallowed fire, and her muscles felt like they were being ripped apart. The edges of her vision darkened as the pain became too much and everything began to fade. She felt Seth pick her up and heard her name, but now matter how hard she tried she couldn't respond. Finally , unable to fight anymore she gave in and let darkness consume her.

Chapter Text

Bracken tugged at the uncomfortable collar of the fancy tunic he wore underneath the fancy blue jacket, that threatened to suffocate him, while he half listened to the complaints of a visiting ambassador. Not for the first time today Bracken was thankful for his impeccable poker face that kept the boredom and worry off his face. From what he had gathered early on in the meet the dignitary was complaining about the problem of some river trolls in one of the preserves. A problem that had long ago been acknowledged  and was currently being handled. The dignitary was obviously just looking for some extra attention and it was that bit of knowledge that allowed Bracken to be content in letting his sister, Mizelle, handle it. Despite both of them being warriors by trade, they were expected to attend these meetings as the oldest. They worked together to handle some of the smaller scale problems and would continue until they either took the throne or Odette and Iredessa could take their place. That however was several years away, so for now they were stuck in these boring meetings. The droning voice of the ambassador filtered through his head and no matter how hard he tried he couldn't seem to make himself focus. Instead his thoughts continued to stray to Kendra. No matter how hard he tried he couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong. It was like a sinking feeling in his gut, warning him of danger. Bracken had long ago learned not to ignore these feelings and they had saved his life on many occasions. As the day had progressed towards midday the feeling seemed to get more intense despite the fact that nothing out of the ordinary had happened and he hadn't heard any news from either Kendra or the Astrids posted as her guards.

A sharp pain in his side, courtesy of Mizelle's elbow, pulled him away from his thoughts. he suddenly became aware of silence in the room and the way the dignitary was looking at him expectantly.

" I apologize for my momentary distraction, it seems that other matters have my attention" Bracken said diplomatically, leaving out the fact that the man had been droning on for quite a while about an issue that had already been discussed and truthfully, didn't even involve him.

" Oh of course Your Majesty. No one should expect someone of your, how should I say , priorities to be one hundred percent attentive. Humans these days are so cumbersome. Which reminds me, how is your wife Your Highness? She is one of their kind is she not?" Bracken tense his temper flaring at the mans mention of Kendra and the way he spoke of the humans as if they were some sort of disease. His jaw tightened and his fist clenched, one hand inching to his sword sitting in its scabbard. Bracken was about to let the man know just how he felt about the comment but Mizelle beat him too it.

" Ambassador, either repeat your question or allow this meeting to be adjourned. " Her voice was cold and sharp, letting the man know just how she felt without starting an incident. It was a trait Bracken had always envied and honestly somewhat feared when on the receiving end.

"Of course, Your Highness." The ambassador stuttered out, before turning back.to him considerably paler that he had been before. " I was simply asking about the river troll problem in Roaring Tides Preserve. Who is heading the project?"

"Seth Sorenson ,of the human Knights of the Dawn, is heading the project. In fact I think he arrived home yesterday after completing the first stage." The words came out easily along with a fake calm that matched his perfect poker face. The ambassador looked taken aback at the fact that a human Shadow Charmer was heading a fairy realm project.

" Pardon me you Highness, surely you don't mean that you have enlisted the help of a Shadow Charmer? " He questioned sounding appalled at the very thought.
" Let me remind you that said Shadow Charmer is a valuable ally to the fairy realm and has proven time and time again that he is on our side. He also played a crucial role in our victory at Zzyzx and a is very talented member of Dragonwatch. " Bracken defended feeling a certain protectiveness for his brother in law. The ambassador looked like he wanted to argue further but as he opened his mouth the door to the meeting room swung open revealing a fairy. Bracken quickly recognized the tall purple haired fairy ad one.of his mothers advisors. His head swam with questions, fairies usually wouldn't interrupt official business unless it was incredibly important and as far as Bracken could tell nothing seemed unusual.

"I apologize for the interruption but the Fairy Queen has requested the Prince and Princess in her study as soon as possible. " He reported stiffly, his impassive face giving no hint to what was going on. Bracken shared a look with Mizelle before they both stood and followed the Astrid out of the room. The halls were bustling with fairies and nobles, a few of which spared them a glance but didn't dare interrupt their mission. The Astrid lead them to the housing wing of the castle, standing guard outside of a large ornate door. No one outside the Royal family was aloud past that point with the exception of emergencies.

The living quarters was quieter than the halls, in fact it was completely silent something that immediately had Bracken's guard up. Even in dark times their was at least a little sound ringing through the halls. Iredessa's bubbly laughter, Odette's gentle humming, or even the soft scratch of pencil on paper as Celeste finished her most recent drawing. Bracken only remembered one other time the house had been this quiet and that was when his father was presumed dead. Mizelle seemed to be thinking along the same lines as he was because he could feel the way she tensed besides him upon hearing the silence. They quickly came to the intricately carved white door that lead to their mothers study and ,with a hint of hesitation, pushed open the door.
Odette, Iredessa, and Celeste stood around the desk looking solemn as his mother sat behind the desk looking tired and weary. The silence stretched on for several minutes, none of them brave enough to break it.

"You wanted to see us mother?" Bracken finally asked, though he feared what the answer may be.

"I did. The peace has been broken ." His mother stated solemnly. Mizelle let out a gasp and Bracken felt as if the world had tipped. The peace breaking could mean many things, none of which were good. It could mean a treaty had been broken, it could mean that a new threat had risen. Whatever the cause was when the peace was broken it only ever ended one way: war. The thing that startled Bracken the mist though was the suddeness of it all. There had been no signs of unrest, no signs of a shift. He hadn't sensed anything coming into the fairy realm, in fact he still didn't sense anything.
"How? What has caused this?" Mizelle questioned, straight to the point as usual.
"The sources. They are out of balance."Mother responded

" A demon ?" Bracken questioned before she could continue. He silently prayed that it was the case. If it was only a demon perhaps the problem could be handled before it escalated.

"No. In fact the darkness is not what is causing the problems." The Queen continued. Bracken stared at her in bewilderment. In all his years he had never heard of or seen the light become a problem. " The light sources have become much too powerful. It has drowned out the shadow and it causing the fairies to fall ill, though not seriously so. Curiously not all fairies are effected by it. "

" It's following a pattern? " He questioned growing more confused by the second.

" More like it's traveling in a straight line. It would seem that the light has a target. Though as of yet we have been unable to determine who or what that target is. " As she said the words his mother handed him a map of the fairy realm. Sure enough all reported cases seemed to follow along in a line. The frustrating part wad that the line seemed to lead to no where. It wasn't headed toward the palace or any other important areas. In fact it was so far away from the main civilizations that it seemed as if the fairies that had come in contact with it had fallen ill by complete coincidence. The object of the unbalance was obviously not trying to weaken the kingdom. Somehow that conclusion seemed to make him even more uneasy.
"So what does this mean? " He finally questioned, setting the map back on her desk.

" Well first of all in order for this to occur inside the realm itself, it means that one of our own must have caused it. "

" Ronodin?" The dark unicorn had been taken and imprisoned in the fairy realm shortly after his defeat in the dragon war. He was trapped under powerful magic and under constant guard however he had outsmarted them before. His mother shook her head dispelling that theory as she continued,
" No, Ronodin is far to corrupted by darkness to be able to control this much light. The light is also not coming from anywhere close to the castle or its dungeons. Besides Ronodin can never resit the urge to gloat. If it was him, we would know." She raised good points but something about the entire situation didn't sit right with him. The situation had a sort of familiar feel to it, even though it had never happened before. What was more frustrating was they didn't know who caused it, what its purpose was, who its target was, where it came from, or where it was headed.
They all stood in silence, each attempting to work out the intricate puzzle. The more he the mulled situation the more hopeless it sounded. In fact Bracken was beginning to think that it couldn't get much worse. And that was when the Astrids showed up.

Chapter Text

The morning's events played on repeat in Seth's mind as he attempted to analyze the seconds leading up to Kendra's collapse. Searching for any warning sign. Any detail that may tell him what was wrong. Kendra had seemed fine when she first arrived. A bit pale maybe and definitely a little breathless but nothing that seemed particularly bad at first. In fact Kendra almost seemed to glow a bit brighter. While Seth still couldn't truly see the light that constantly surrounded his sister, he had grown to be able to sense it.
When Kendra passed out it seemed to come out of nowhere. In his mind, Seth could vividly see the blood drain from his sisters face. He relived the way she swayed on her feet, not resisting as he began to lead her inside. Seth couldn't help but shudder when he remembered the way Kendra's eyes had rolled back in her head. What worried Seth most ,however, wasn't the fact that Kendra had passed out. No what worried him most was the heat that radiated from his sister. When he had touched her she had felt as if she was on fire. Her fever had most likely been the reason that she had passed out and so far any efforts to bring it down had failed. Her brown hair, that was streaked with blonde, was stuck to the sides of her face with sweat. Seth had thought that when Kendra became immortal, after her marriage to Bracken, these types of problems would go away, apparently not.
Seth resisted the urge to pace as a heavy weight of anxiety settled on his chest. The feeling was mostly unfamiliar seeing as Seth had never been a worrier. Even when things seemed there worst, he could usually look the problem in the face and find a way to work around it. He had decided long ago that Kendra did enough worrying for the both of them. That's one of the reasons he often threw caution to the wind. He always figured he could handle whatever happened. He simply didn't usually worry about stuff. In all of his twenty six years on earth, he had never been this worried. Sure, just like everyone else he had moments of anxiety , but those moments were nothing like this nothing like this. His stomach churned and his heart felt like it would pound out of his chest as it sent adrenaline coursing through his body. His chest felt tight making it hard to breathe. He shifted from foot to foot, his eyes darting across the room as his heightened senses searched for a threat. There wasn't one , of course, at least not one he could stop with a sword. He hadn't been this worried even when Kendra faced the demon king, he knew she could handle it. He knew she was strong enough. He also knew that she would have plenty of back up if she needed. However, right now Kendra was alone in her fight and ,perhaps for the first time, Seth wasn't positive that this was a fight she would win. It killed him that he couldn't help her.
He was standing not far from Tanu as he desperately attempted to get a response out of Kendra. Seth had called Tanu as soon as he and entered the main house, choosing to lay her on the living room couch for easy access. Seth ran his hand through his messy brown hair as the the large Samoan man raised up to his full height, only passing him up by a few inches. The scratch of his fingers against his scalp felt oddly soothing. Tanu wore a grim look on his face, that didn't bode well for the conversation ahead.
"What is it?" he asked quietly as he tried, and failed, to keep his voice from shaking. Tanu turned toward a bowl of cool water, choosing to use a cloth to dab and Kendra's forehead instead of answering. His silence spoke volumes and added he felt his anxiety begin to increase. Seth didn't understand what was going on or why. He had seen Kendra yesterday, when he had returned home from his mission for the fairy realm. She had seemed to be perfectly fine. They had talked for hours about all they had missed and laughed until their sides hurt. He didn't understand how Kendra could go from happy and energetic to looking like death itself in just over a day. He didn't understand how she declined so quickly. It seemed impossible, especially for Kendra
As childish as it may sound, Seth had always seen Kendra as invincible. Maybe it was just because she was his older sister but it seemed to him that there was nothing Kendra couldn't do when she put her mind to it. The feeling had only increased when she became immortal. She had stopped aging, looking to be around the age of eighteen. The spell used to make her immortal also gave her a few fairy like traits. One of which was the fact that her eyes tended to change shade with her mood. Something that Seth had found extremely unsettling when he first witnessed it. In addition Kendra had become graceful and elegant , while somehow still managing to look like herself. Now, however, Seth didn't think she looked like herself at all. She was deathly pale while also simultaneously flushed with fever.
The front door flew open, banging against the wall roughly and pulling Seth from his depressing thoughts. A very worried Bracken appeared in the door way, obviously having heard the situation. Tanu looked up and moved to give Bracken easier access to Kendra. Seth watched in concern as they discussed things about poison and illnesses that he didn't understand. His ADHD caused his mind to wander back to old adventures with his sister. He pushed down the tears that welled up. She would be fine. She had to be. She beat Navarog, the Demon King, Celebrant. She was the princess of the fairy realm, fairykind since she was 13. She could beat this. Taking a breath Seth steeled himself, She was going to be fine. And until someone proved otherwise, that's what Seth was going to believe. They would face this problem together, and they were going to beat it.