Kwoth had already taken off into the bustling lanes of chattering pixies, but it was easy to spot him thanks to his neon dust and wings, and the fact that every faerie that encountered him instantly moved out of his way. A curious thing that was. You made your way towards him trying to be quick about it, but also being mindful of your silk slippered feet. You lifted your dress up just enough to make sure you wouldn't trip and tried to dodge the stream of pixies in your way. You caught up to Kwoth pretty quickly. He didn't even acknowledge your presence as you stood a little behind and to the side of him, panting for air. He didn't even so much as turn around to look at you when he said, "Follow me and keep up." What a real charmer he was. It was probably a blessing in disguise for Ishtar that Kwoth took no notice of her. If he did she wouldn't get much in the sweet nothings department. Kwoth picked up his pace and with long purposeful strides directed the both of you through the labyrinth like maze of the bustling fairy marketplace. It took a little time, but eventually you were led back to the hollow of the tree where the winding wooden staircase led you either up or down. You were once again startled by the open drop off of the edge of the stairs. If you took one wrong step or leaned too far over you would fall plummeting to your death six stories down only to land in a heap of blood on their nicely pixie dusted floor. And you would pray that you died instantly because if you lived the pixies would probably never let you live it down about how much your stupidity inconvenienced them.
You looked at Kwoth expectantly, waiting for him to indicate whether you should start climbing up or down, instead Kwoth grabbed your upper arm and pulled you to himself. You were flattened in an inescapable hold between his arms and chest. The low current of electricity that Kwoth's skin gave off shocked you like static electricity. You were just about to instinctively pull away and fight to escape but you felt yourself being lifted into the air and your slippered feet left the ground. The whir of Kowth's pale jade wings with their neon veins grew incredibly loud in your ears and you realized that once again he was flying while toting you off somewhere. You didn't mind flying around, but you would at least appreciate a little heads up first. Was that really so much to ask for? Kwoth flew to the direct middle of the tree and bounded upwards. "I thought we weren't aloud to fly up?" you asked him sarcastically. Kwoth barely flickered a glance at you, but his low resonating voice answered, "You can only fly if you are a member of the Faerie Courts or if you are on your way to see them." So that was why Selene and Helios flew upwards when you first entered Pixie Hollow. They probably had to go warn them about the annoying human girl barging in and demanding to see them. But really how hard up were these members of the Faerie Courts if they made everyone else walk up these flights of stairs when they could quickly and easily just fly up? Talk about a superiority complex.
Flying with Kwoth wasn't like flying with Peter. With Peter you never felt like he was liable to drop you at any second. You didn't have any sort of feel for Kwoth yet, so you couldn't trust him entirely. Looking down at the stories you were passing made your stomach drop. You went up and up and up and Kwoth went so fast that everything around you looked smeared and blurred. Eventually Kwoth came to an abrupt halt that threw off your equilibrium. He landed deftly onto the top of the wooden stairs and the sudden shift in velocities made you feel dizzy for a very uncomfortable minute. When your body adjusted you looked around and noticed that you were at the very top of the tree. You were standing on a little wooden platform staring at a wooden blank wall. Only you knew it wasn't just a wall. Just like with the marketplace door this one had to have a secret code to enter. Kwoth let you go without any hesitation and briskly strode over to the bare wall. His dark hands lit up with green fire like pixie dust as he traced an invisible rune like symbol. Something had to have activated because Kwoth stood back and the wall slid up revealing a dark passageway. What was with the Indiana Jones secret corridors? They are pixies! They're too small for anything or anyone to ransack the place!
Kwoth started for the dark opening, but stopped and turned on his heel towards you. His dark shaved head gleamed from the glow off of his wings and his dark coal eyes seemed to be lit with a simmering fire. His expression was the same as always, bland and indifferent, but there seemed to be an intensity about the look he was giving you. His strong long jaw seemed to be clenched tighter than normal and all the muscles in his ebony skinned body were tensed. His dark eyes met yours as he asked, "Are you ready for this? There will be no turning back once you enter. Either you will get what you came for which is unlikely or you will die." A silent shiver ripped up your back at his bleak words and you knew them to be true. Whatever happened during the next few minutes would either save Peter and The Lost Boys' lives, or it would end yours. You swallowed hard the lump that was beginning to form in your throat. You wanted to turn back and run down the stairs back to The Tree House, but you couldn't do it. You couldn't give into your fears this time because if you did Peter and Lily and the rest of the boys might not come back. And what was the point of living in this world if you didn't have them? Better to die trying to save them than to live a single moment without them. Gathering your courage you gave a silent nod of acknowledgement to Kowth that you understood. Kwoth closed his plush dark lashes in a silent expression and shook his head as if to say "this woman is crazy". His deep voice rumbled like a gong when he said, "Let's go then."
He turned back around towards the looming entrance to The Courts and began to stride towards it. You followed him and tried to stick closely to his side. The darkness of the large passageway felt almost tangible and menacing. You walked for a good couple of feet and every step made you physically feel like something was trying to push you away. As if the passage itself was telling you, you were unwelcome here. Kwoth didn't seem to have the same problem. He walked tall and confidently as always. Eventually you could see the light at the end of the tunnel, quite literally. A bright white light pierced the pitch blackness a few feet in front of you. You drew closer until you were bathed in a pool of light. You had reached it, the point of no return; The Faerie Courts. You stepped into a massive dome shaped room. The floors were like smooth pale polished marble. The walls of the tree were covered with large panels of opaque crystal like glass that reflected the whiteness of the Courts themselves. The Courts spread out in front of you like a modern day courtroom, only it would be the coldest and grandest courtroom you had ever seen. There was a very long white washed mini-half wall that glinted like fresh snow that had artistic spikes like icicles jutting out harshly from the ends and sides. It held behind it a tall looming golden throne in the middle with 3 pairs of slightly smaller white thrones on either side. Each throne was finely and ornately decorated with filigree and diamonds, however you noticed that at the top in the very center of these thrones were a different colored jewel that seemed to match the unutterable beauty of the figures sitting in them. You had seen many many beautiful creatures in Neverland, including many beautiful pixies, but seeing all the members of The Faerie Courts gathered together like splashes of color and life to a background of cold unfeeling white just put them in such a high definition of resplendence. They were like paintings of Gods and Goddesses of old mythology brought to life as a living work of art. All together there were thirteen of them and your mouth went instantly dry upon seeing their majesty and beauty. Looking at their colorful and decadent finery you realized what Ishtar had done. She had dressed you to match The Courts, but also to contradict them. The Court Room in its whiteness was beautiful, but cold and untouchable looking, but you in your white gown with your pale luminous glowing skin looked warm, alive and radiant. The Court Members themselves were dressed and made up of bright colors of every hue while you wore the pure simplicity of soft white. It was a very subtle slap in the face by Ishtar to The Courts. And judging by the very narrowed eyes of Selene it hadn't gone unnoticed.
On the golden throne in the middle sat probably the most beautiful woman you had ever seen. Her hair was long all the way down to the floor in flourishing wild waves of deep gold that matched the color of her throne perfectly. Her skin was as pale and smooth as the marble floor. She was tall, but very shapely with stark curves. She had strong cheekbones for a woman, like the kind models have only there was something very regal about her. Her eyes were small in her face, making their bright golden shade stand out all the more. Her lips were thin, but rosebud shaped. Atop her head was a delicate golden spiked crown. She reminded you a bit of Titania, but where she had come off like a sultry pin up, this queen came off like a fearsome queen of the stories of old. A woman that was not to be messed with or taken lightly. Her very presence commanded authority. Looking at her there was no mistaking her femininity, but there wasn't a hint of weakness anywhere to be seen. She wore a floor length white gauzy dress that resembled a high end wedding gown. The top half of the dress had sparkling gold filigree embroidered in a regal design that filled most of the sweetheart cut at the top and then tapered down the cinched waist to larger but more spaced out designs. You guessed that the thread count on that thing had to have taken months even for the very talented pixies like Ishtar. Her large wings were folded behind her back barely moving at all. From what you could see of them they were mostly shimmering gold as well with sharp black tips on the ends. You couldn't decide which shined more, her hair, her eyes, her wings, her throne, or the gold in her dress. She sat so still that you could almost see her as a golden statue you'd find in the palace of Versailles or the Taj Mahal.
"Come closer girl." she commanded with a silvery voice that sounded like clinking crystal to you ears. It was almost like champagne glasses sound when someone makes a toast, both hard and soft at the same time and it had a strange lilt to it that felt familiar, almost like it was Welsh. Feeling like you were going to throw up you took a few steps closer to that half wall that was the only thing separating you from them. They of course were elevated several feet higher than you so you had to crane your neck to look up at them. Your eyes wanted to study the other members of the courts some more, but the pixie in the middle was clearly in charge and clearly demanding your attention. You waited for her to say something else, you weren't going to be the first to initiate the conversation. For all you knew it could be an instant death sentence to speak to the Faerie Courts without their permission. "This is the human whom Peter loves?" she asked incredulously looking behind you where Kwoth stood a few feet away. You felt the sting of insinuation, but you refused to move or glance back at Kwoth. If you could get through this with only your pride getting hurt you'd be thankful. Kwoth must have made some gesture of assent because the woman on the throne's sharp golden eyes fixed back on you with obvious distaste. "You've got some gall girl I will give you that, but not much else." You took her backhanded compliment in stride. You couldn't afford to get upset, too much was riding on your actions here. She swept out her long pale arms gracefully as she announced, "Welcome to the Faerie Courts, I am Rhiannon, Queen of The Courts and all the pixies of Neverland. You may address me only as Your Royal Highness. I want to make it very clear that the only reason you are still breathing is because of your unique relationship with Peter, but I warn you that is the only thing that got you an audience with us. So watch your words carefully because if your reasons for being here aren't completely necessary you will not be walking out of this place alive do you understand me? My time is precious and I do not tolerate fools lightly."
Queen Rhiannon's fierce golden eyes narrowed at you in warning. You cleared your throat and answered simply, "I understand." The queen settled a little in her throne as if to make herself comfortable for the upcoming trial. Her silvery accented voice rang out in the otherwise completely silent room, "Let us begin then. You will get the floor to say your peace, once you have done so we," and here she gestured both her arms out to encompass her fellow companions of the court, "may ask you some questions, you will answer simply and as efficiently as possible, then we will discuss among ourselves whether or not your case has any merit. If it does, then we will take the proper actions required, if it is not then you will be charged with making a false complaint to the Faerie Courts. You will receive instant judgement and then be killed do you understand me?" You swallowed the hard lump in your throat and whispered, "Yes, Your Royal Highness." Seeming satisfied the queen looked haughtily from left to right to the other members of the courts and said, "Begin."
To be continued…
Authors Note: Can you guys believe we have hit 20 chapters! That is mind boggling to me! It feels like just yesterday I started this and at the same time it feels like I've written so much and so little lol. We are barely half way through this thing though lol. So we still have quite a lot to get through. So what do you guys all think of The Courts? We haven't gotten to see much other than the queen but don't worry we will meet the other members in the next chapter. And be on a special lookout on my tumblr for outfit inspirations for the members of the courts because I will be posting them there periodically if you are interested. Anyways, that’s all for this chapter guys. I hope you all enjoyed it. What will happen next? Stay tuned for the next chapter to find out!
Much love to you all,