Here is Chapter 10 of my book Hero Interrupted, in which Tensia, the sorceress and advisor to the Empress Sylphia of the Fae Kingdom of Urendell, wakes up. I hope you enjoy it.


The crowd in the Great Hall was enormous. She saw that eyes were upon the royal procession, so few noticed what she did, that a very determined scullery maid and one of the servants from the kitchen were purposefully making their way through the crowd toward the royal table, and that the scullery maid had her gaze locked on King Ansel of Avsar and the Empress Sylphia of Urendell, and curiously, herself. And herself suddenly knew her name was Tensia Abstronda, and that she was a rather skilled sorceress and adviser to the Empress Sylphia. Instinctively, she knew that the scullery maid she had spotted was important, but the server wasn’t. She wondered how she knew any of that, and why she hadn’t known it a moment ago.

The sights and noises filled her head and made it spin, and understanding flooded her brain like a tidal wave. The sorcerer’s staff she’d been carrying almost fell, but in her first coordinated action since awakening, managed to catch it. She looked around her. King Ansil and Empress Sylphia were seating themselves before plates of carved lamb, talking about the death of Queen Ayla some years before and how much the people of the Kingdom of Odyssia missed her. The Empress’ Cyrulean Staff, with its impressive blue stone set in silver, was the symbol of her power over the Silver Throne. It rested on a red velvet pillow, held in turn by a stiffly formal footman who stood behind her as she sat at the banquet table. The conversation between the King and the Empress seemed over-written and wooden.

“Be at peace, my love,” said the Empress. “My kingdom shall have a new Empress, and I shall be free to return to Avsar to be by your side. Our kingdoms will be as one, and two lands and their peoples shall enter a new age.”

“As you have said,” replied King Ansel. “But while I may be King of Avsar, what I wish and what the people will accept may be two very different things.” He looked deeply into her sea green eyes, and for a moment appeared lost in them. “They do not see you as I do. Avsarians still mistrust the Fae, who live their lives with magic as a matter of course. Anything they do not understand becomes something to fear, especially where the transition of divine authority is concerned. No Empress of Urendell has ever abdicated the Silver Throne, either to better serve the kingdom or for love. What we do now shakes tradition to its core. I do not agree with the sense of it, but it has been our way for as long as we have kept our history.”

“Tradition?” said Sylphia. “The wondrous thing about tradition is that one can always make more of it. Our stories are our own now.”

Which was both an incredible insightful thing for her to have said, and somewhat ironic as well, because in so far as neither of them carried the spark of true consciousness, neither Ansel nor Sylphia were aware of what they were saying, or indeed of anything.

And then Tensia watched the two of them suddenly wake up as well. Both of them dropped their forks on their plates, both astonished to be conscious. It was not only something they could not have expected, it was something they had never before experienced. They looked at one another in recognition and amazement, then looked in wonderment at their own hands the way a newborn would. Sylphia picked up the corner of the tablecloth and gently wiped a bit of gravy from the corner of the King’s mouth. Like Tensia before them, they suddenly became aware that they each had a rich and complex personal history, but also knew that while they knew all sorts of facts about themselves, they didn’t actually remember any of it happening to them. The recognition of this fact was giving them considerable trouble, and now it was going to get worse.

The two from the kitchen approached the Royal Table. “Begging your pardon, your Royal Majesties, but there is someone here to see you,” recited the serving girl. With a gesture, she directed the attention of the crowned heads to Megan. Megan smiled cheerily and gave them both a mad little wave hello. The King and the visiting Empress looked at Megan, then at each other, then at Tensia, then back at Megan. King Ansel did not show any signs that he recognized Megan, but the Empress and Tensia both drew breath sharply. [[ King Ansel does not know he has a daughter, which is why he doesn’t recognize Celestia. Tensia does, though, because she knows about the enchanted tapestry in the temple at Kaldur’s Landing that bears the image of the lost daughter of Urendell.]]Tensia and Sylphia exchanged glances, but initially neither spoke.

“Forgive us,” began King Ansel, uncertainly.

“This is all a bit new,” finished Empress Sylphia in a weak, uncertain tone, and let the tablecloth corner slip from her hand.

Megan looked at the three of them. The royalty before her had looked stereotypically regal and majestic from across the room, but now that she’d closed the distance between them they looked different somehow, as though they now glowed with a new essence they had not had moments before. This feels familiar, Megan thought, it’s like the flowers, except without the flowers. Huh. Maybe I don’t even need the flowers.

Tensia recovered a memory, an act for which she was unprepared, since she’d only technically just been born. That memory set her to action. She realized that a social situation was emerging before her eyes, and that she was supposed to be good at taking advantage of them.

“And you are?” she asked, perhaps somewhat more sharply than she had intended.

Megan suddenly lost her confidence. It wasn’t because she wasn’t ready to be bold and assertive in answering Tensia’s question. She certainly knew who she was, but when she opened her mouth to speak, nothing came out despite her best efforts.

“Well?” said Tensia.

Megan tried again. She could feel her lips and tongue mouthing the name “Megan”, but once again, no sound emerged. Her own name was sticking in her throat, despite her specific desire to say it aloud. She tried one more time. “Celestia,” she blurted, which she knew obviously wasn’t right. Frustrated and embarrassed, Megan managed a quick “excuse me,” and stepped away.

Sylphia reacted strongly to the name, and looked at King Ansel for some sign that he understood the ramifications. She saw only confusion.

As Megan retreated, Tensia’s vision blurred and she became disoriented. Something was very wrong, she was going to grill this Celestia person on who she really was and what she was doing at a royal banquet, and suddenly she couldn’t remember why she wanted to do this. Instinctively she walked round the end of the table and followed Megan. The closer she got, the more her composure and sense of wellbeing returned. Something was definitely afoot, and Tensia was going to find out what it was.

Glenford emerged from the crowd, still out of breath from his encounter with Juniper, but strode forward with purpose toward Megan. “Sorry,” he said, “I need this.” Before she could react, he grabbed the amulet from around her neck and yanked hard.

“OW!” she exclaimed, as the chain broke, because unlike those scenes in the movies where she had seen somebody do this exact thing to someone, this had actually hurt. Glenford disappeared back into the crowd. “You little fuckwad!” She turned to chase him. Tensia watched as Megan slipped away into the crowd, hot on Glenford’s heels.

And then the world itself slipped away.



Gene Turnbow

Gene Turnbow

President of Krypton Media Group, Inc., radio personality and station manager of Part writer, part animator, part musician, part illustrator, part programmer, part entrepreneur – all geek.