Chapter Twenty-Five – continued
“A tower?” Helene said an hour later as Camille sat in the kitchens, a mug of warm milk in her hands and a honey bun in front of her.
Camille took a sip of her milk, relishing in the warmth racing down her throat and chest. “Yes. In the middle of the woods.” She looked up as Helene sat across from her with a heavy sigh. “Have you heard of it?”
“It’s an old fae tower,” Helene said softly, her voice trembling slightly.
“Fae tower?” Camille asked, looking up sharply.
Helene tiredly nodded, her shoulders dropping a little. “It was a dark time in our history, Camille. Before my time. My mother told me about them, about the tower in the woods.”
“I’ve never heard of it.”
“You wouldn’t have. Like I said, it was a dark time in our history. Stories passed down from generation to generation. As it was, my mother was one of the few left who even knew about them.”
“There’s more than one.”
“Oh, yes. Dotted all over all of the kingdoms. Even the Pearl Kingdom has a couple of fae towers. Many have been destroyed, others are simply forgotten.”
Camille shook her head, a frown on her face. “I don’t even know where to start with my questions.”
“Let me make it easy, Camille,” Helene said, holding out a hand. “I’ll tell you the history and we’ll see if that answers any questions.”
Mutely, Camille nodded, her hands tightening around the mug. Her stomach turned, not sure if she wanted to know how a fae tower had anything to do with either Muriel or Madeline. Suddenly, the honey bun didn’t look as appetizing.
“The fae were blessed by the God of Time. They were ordinary folk, people and creatures from all the kingdoms. One day they discovered they could do things, magical things. The next day the world discovered the God of Time had vanished and The Wilds had sprung up.
“No one knew what to do with these creatures that could do extraordinary things. Some of their powers were understated, much like Clarice’s with fabric. Others were, well, more destructive. Towns and villages were accidentally destroyed. People and creatures were killed. The Lands of Mist…became the Lands of Mist. No one’s quite sure what it was before the time of the fae.”
“They had no idea what they were capable of?”
“None. It was a surprise gift indiscriminately given. Everyone was terrified. They built towers. The gifted were shepherded into them and locked up. There was no way in or out. Outside the towers, life returned to what it had been and everyone forgot about the gifted locked in the towers.
“But the gifted, they found ways to learn together, to communicate with the others in all the towers. They decided to call themselves the fae, after mythical creatures with a penchant for mischief. They all had different gifts, and figured out ways to break out of the towers.
“Of course the people and creatures who had locked them away were terrified, but the fae showed themselves to be capable and disciplined. The Wilds retreated enough to leave a space designed specifically for the fae, opening a portal to another world in the process. The fae built up The Spindle, turning it into what it is today over several generations. The fae chose a family, one who had always trusted them, who had fought to keep them out of the towers, to guard the portal and to serve as ambassadors to the kingdoms.”
“The Rodericks,” Camille said.
Helene dipped her head in a nod. “With the fae established in The Spindle, the towers were forgotten. Some were destroyed, some were overgrown, and some, well, no one really knows what happened to some.” She turned her head. “Like the tower here. Almost no one remembers it. It’s been overgrown and forgotten since before my grandmother’s days.” Her head whipped back, her eyes sharp. “How did you find it?”
Camille pursed her lips, wondering how much she should say about Helene’s new mistress and her daughter.
“Camille?” Helene probed when she didn’t say anything.
“I followed someone,” Camille said softly.
Helene arched a brow. “I thought you’d outgrown that.”
Camille shifted slightly in her seat, her hands clenching around the mug, which had cooled considerably during Helene’s story. She frowned into the mug, considering her words.
“You can’t tell Father,” she whispered.
“Does this have to do with why Abigail was always in the kitchens?”
“Muriel and Madeline? Yes.”
Camille let out a quiet, frustrated sound. “Muriel and Madeline are angling for Madeline to marry Adrian, but Adrian and Abigail have announced their intent to court. The only way to break them now is for something to happen to Abigail because Adrian will not let her go unless it’s her choice.” She took a deep breath. “Something strange is going on with Muriel and Madeline. I followed one of them this morning. Whichever one it was, she knows about the fae tower, but I don’t know what she intends.”
Helene reached out and grasped Camille’s wrists, drawing her attention.
“You can’t let Abigail near the tower,” she whispered fiercely. “There’s no way in or out once someone is in there unless they have fae blood.”
Camille’s blood ran cold and the sudden tightening of her grip and the force from it broke the handle from her mug.
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