The fairy flew around the place where she had been standing, looking confused. After a few passes, she flew back to the adlet. The old woman gazed upon him and chuckled. It has been a long time, my friend, but Baba Yaga remembers. Do you?
She watched the proceedings for a while, frowning a little at displeasure to discover her story being told by the Leanen Sidhe, but she hadn’t sworn her to silence. Still, what was the adlet waiting for? Was he so hopeless he still could not find the answer? Or maybe he’d given up and was happy to remain as he was. She hadn’t thought about that.
“You’re still here.”
Baba Yaga turned to look at the beautiful creature that hovered in the air beside her. “Yes.”
“Why do you not show yourself to the court? Are you afraid?”
“Why do you not show yourself to the court?” Baba Yaga asked in return.
“It has nothing to do with me. Whether the man lives or dies, he cannot harm a sylph so we do not care about his fate, not like the others. Why then should I stand in attendance?” The sylph yawned.
“Does he not?”
The sylph gestured vaguely. “He has not thus far.”
“But what if he does in the future?”
“Then he dies along with us, so we care not either.”
“What a strange stance to take.”
“Well? I have answered your question. Will you not return the favour?”
“Ah, well. I have my reasons. I am not afraid, and yet, I will not go where my words are not welcome. I feel in my heart that the Queen will not welcome my presence now.”
“That is true. Her anger still burns. Are you not a creature of the fairy folk?”
The old crone cackled. “I am, but I am not.”
“Like the elves?”
A look akin to envy crossed the woman’s face. “Alike and not yet alike. We share a similar fate - one your queen has not yet come to terms with.”
“Interesting,” the sylph said. “Well, I will go then. It seems they have settled on something, I cannot tell what.” With that, she flew away.
Baba Yaga turned her attention again to the court.
Darrick had recovered his colour and most of his composure. He sat between Jane and Euthalia, listening with horror to Ivy’s tale. He remembered well his long illness that baffled the village’s best healers. He had steadily lost strength for no reason, slipping in and out of dreams, never knowing what was real or what was not. And suddenly, he had sat up one morning feeling better. His recovery was touted as a miracle, his wife had told him it was the herbs she had been giving him. The herbs she had been relying on more and more.
“Don’t worry, Father. Everything will be alright,” Jane said, giving him a look. It was the look he’d seen many time on Ivy’s face - calm, knowing, assured, telling him that he was fretting for nothing.
“How will we get out from here?” he surveyed the centaurs that guarded them. They looked grim. In the far distance, he saw the ogre and shuddered.
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Sylph (also called sylphid) is a mythological spirit of the air. The term originates in Paracelsus, who describes sylphs as invisible beings of the air, his elementals of air. There is no known substantial mythos associated with them.