Short Stories

Plain Sight

Plain Sight

Kay Rice

November 13, 2013


One of the bad things about hiding in plain sight is that eventually, at the most inopportune moment, you will be found. It happens at that precise moment when you begin to forget what you once ran from. You breathe easier and close your eyes at night peacefully. It happens when you start to believe the lies you have painted into the scenery of your new world. My moment came on my wedding day.

I’ve been walking among the humans for over a decade of your time now. I look like you, I pretend to be one of you, but I am so different. The only part of me that I could never hide were my lilac eyes. But humans are so arrogant to believe that they are the only life-form that inhabits their planet that they refuse to believe in anything that can be regarded as fairy-tales or nonsense. The only ones among you that would look at me with shy knowing are your children. Their innocent eyes could see me for what I am, their smiles and awe in their faces always showed it as I would quickly walk by them and give them a wink back. I am one of legends, I am Drow. Even worse, I am royalty, escaped to your world to have a choice in my life, a simple life.

When I came here, I never expected to fall in love. I was running away from an arranged marriage and a life of battle and being queen. Where I came from, humans, were the fairy tales. Their cities above ground that touched the sky and basked in the sunlight. They were stories told to the young about fields of grass and trees. I knew, that they had to be true, and so with the help of my friends, the moles, I tunneled my way into your world, leaving behind my sword, my crown and my betrothed. I disappeared from that world, or so I thought. With the help of a glamour spell I was able to cloak my onyx skin to a porcelain white, and my hair took on a sun kissed blond hue over the pale white but my eyes remained lavender. I quickly blended in to the oddities of humanity, the artists. I liked them, they had souls unlike many other humans who seemed cold and uncaring. Over my time walking and transforming into my human life I began to forget the burden of the crown.

One beautiful Spring day I was walking in the park. The street musicians playing their instruments, the warm sun beaming down on me and that’s when cupid’s arrow found it’s mark on my heart. He was beautiful, I was entranced with his form and motion. Tall, dark and his muscles gleamed in the sunlight. He was unloading produce from a truck to one of the outdoor markets. I stood there entranced with him, unable to move. When he turned around he looked at me and smiled. I was a stone statue that could only respond with a smile. He put down the heavy box and stood up straight and waved. I looked around me to see if anyone was around. I wanted to make sure he was really waving at me. And then shyly, I waved back.

I felt feelings I had never felt before as he walked to me. Where I had come from, these feelings were nonsense and useless. Our mates were chosen for us based upon lineage and decree. We were taught to dispose of these feelings, usually by going into battle. But there I stood, watching this beautiful human man glide to me and feeling my pulse race faster.

When he reached me I was nearly faint. The wind blew slightly and I could smell him, the scent of wood and spices lingered. Elves have a very sensitive sense of smell and sight and mine seemed to go into overload at that moment. He looked at my eyes or rather through my eyes.  It cased me to move to the side as I believed he was confused by the lavender. He introduced himself as Raleigh. His voice was strong but gentle. He took my hand and all I could do was gaze into his aquamarine eyes. He had such strong hands.

“And you are?” He gazed at me.

“Romilly”, I stuttered. “My name is Romilly.”

My mind was swimming, Romilly was the only thing I had kept from my other life and by saying it out loud, with these feelings seemed to almost tempt the fates.

I had read stories of whirl-wind romances and of true love, but I had never believed them. I had not come to this world to find a Prince Charming, I had come to this world to find freedom.

“I would like to talk to you and get to know you.” He smiled at me “But I have to get back to work. I get done at 6PM, can I meet you for dinner?” He paused looking at my eyes again.

“I think, Raleigh, I would like that.” I smiled back at him. “I will meet you by the lake in the park, here, tonight at 7PM.”

“I will be here at 7PM sharp.” He said and bowed in an exaggerated Victorian way and kissed my hand.

That evening was the beginning of my lies and the end of my old life. I was in love, I was happy and I did not want it to end. I never had to worry about telling anyone about my childhood or where I came from. Those that I worked with seemed happy with my vague answers and dodging their questions with witty come-backs. But Raleigh wanted to know everything about me and I could not bear the reaction to tell him that I was the first-born and heir to the land below in the Drow Elven Kingdom of Gladen. I could not bear to tell him that I was 350 years old in his years and that I had fought more battles than his entire country had in its entire existence. I would lose him and I could not stand the thought of waking a single morning without his chest below my face. And so the lies became more extravagant as I weaved a life that I had only read about in books. I was an orphan who never knew her parents, I had come to this town with a band of gypsies and stayed here. Oh they were almost as outlandish as the truth. But he believed them and he fell deeper in love with me as I did with him.

On the Summer Solstice he asked me to marry him. I was elated and quickly accepted. We arranged a private ceremony by the lake where we first met in the park. Only a few friends of his and the minister were present. The flowers and water lilies in full bloom and the trees swaying in the wind were exactly what I had envisioned in my old stories. I stood there facing him ready to take my vows when it happened. Truth has a way of finding liars, no matter how good the intentions the lies were made in.

From the edge of the small circle of friends I heard the foot steps, the sound of metal on leather. The sound of a sword against chain-mail.

“No” I whispered as a tear formed in my eye.

Raleigh looked at me misinterpreting my ‘No’ as a refusal to say my vows. The pain in his eyes struck me like a sharp arrow, and then I heard the old voice.

“My majesty, we have found you.” A gravelled voice said loudly. The small circle of his friends looked around and then at us and then at the three odd-looking strangers.

“You must be mistaken.” I said as my voice cracked under stress. My face flushed and I refused to let go of Raleigh’s hand as he stared at me in total confusion.

There they stood looking at me, the bard, the thief and the paladin. They once served by my side. The bard was more than a minstrel, he was gifted with the bow and arrow. The thief was a thief but one of the best swordsman in our kingdom. Then there was the paladin, in your terms, knight. He was a guardian, worse yet, he was my betrothed.

The paladin stepped forward, fighting back his anger. “Princess Romilly, we have been searching for you for many seasons. I refused to believe that you had been hunted down and killed by the trolls.” He accented the ‘I’ in that arrogant tone of his that I hated. He sized up the man whose hand I was holding.

Raleigh pulled me close to him, nearly stepping on the train of my dress. “I don’t like them, who are they?” He said to me.

I looked at his eyes and he looked deeply into mine. Just as I started to speak the paladin stepped forward.

“Romilly, who is this creature who guards you from me?” He snorted in disapproval.

I took a deep breath. The time had come. I reached out and kissed Raleigh. “The truth has found me out, my love. Please, understand that the lies I told you were to protect you and our union.”

“Mijah, stand down.” I stared at the paladin with distaste. “This creature, whom you spit venom at, is my love. I chose him for my mate.  Therefore he is your King, and deserves your respect.”

This angered the paladin and the other two in the party stood in front of him to keep him from attacking as I walked forward.

I looked at the bard and smiled. “Lance” I whispered and to the thief I touched his shoulder, “Jarren”. “My old friends.” Then I sharply looked at the paladin. “Mijah, no time is long enough away from you to remove the bitter taste from my tongue.”

Mijah pushed through causing Raleigh to rush towards me in a protective manner. I held my hand up to him while I faced Mijah.

“The crown is mine to share with you, my majesty. No impure creature has that right to take it from me.” He hissed and spat in Raleigh’s direction.

“You heard the lady, Stand Down Mijah.” Raleigh made it a mocking order which angered Mijah even more.

“I am not a prize to be fought over!” I stated coldly. “You do not belong here Mijah, none of you do. I left willingly and do not wish to go back to the darkness.”

“Show yourself to him, then.” Mijah glared at me and then at Raleigh. “Show him what you really look like. Show him the beauty no human can have and see if he is worthy of you then.”

Raleigh took my hand. “I love you, Romilly. I will never leave your side, stay here with me, please stay.”

Mijah stared at him harder and hissed, “Show your true self.”

“Raliegh, I am Romilly, first-born and heir to the throne of the Drow Kingdom of Gladen. I am a warrior and was to be queen before I ran away to your wonderful world ten long years ago.” I took a deep breath.

“Get on with it!” Mijah yelled, stamping his armored foot.

A crowd was beginning to gather at the noise and site of the destroyed wedding bliss. All eyes were on me. “I have been using a glamour spell all of this time. Drow have onyx skin. I would never fit in here with sparkling black skin.”

I closed my eyes and broke the glamour spell. The wind blew cold and my true form took shape. Thin, muscular but very feminine. Long pure white hair replaced the sun-kissed blonde, the ears became long and pointed and my skin as if suddenly kissed with night turned to it’s shimmering onyx color. My eyes opened to see Raleigh smiling at me holding my hands.

“Your eyes are still the color of spring lavender.” Raleigh softly whispered.

Mijah stared in disbelief as Raleigh returned to one knee holding my hand.

“Romilly, first-born and heir to the throne of Gladen, will you still be my bride?” Raleigh boldly asked looking up to me. “Will you take such a common mortal man to be your husband?” Raleigh smiled, already knowing my answer.

“I will and I do.” I answered him bowing down and kissing him. “I choose to remain here in your world, if you will have me.”

“I will and I do.” Raleigh stood and pulled me to meet him. “Stay in your true form or in the other, it does not matter to me. I love you and I love your heart.”

The bard snickered and the thief rolled his eyes as the paladin stamped his feet and pushed back through the crowd leaving me to stand with my chosen love.

My Elvin ears perked up to hear a child whisper, “Mommy, look, I told you that elves were real. I told you that she was an elf.” There was a spark of hope in that child’s words. A belief in magic and fairy tales came true for her that day. For me, it was a day when I no longer had to hide I could live, and love, in plain sight.