Literary Yard

Search for meaning


Story: Only Kindness Matters

(Part of the Colors That Bind Triology)

By: Linda M. Crate

dying queen

The queen paced around the banquet hall nervously, wringing her hands. She knew this news wasn’t going to go over well. The counsel of fae had glared dangerously at her when she suggested it, but she had held her ground. Some conceded and said they understood, but she sincerely doubted that they did. That was okay, however, she was going to go through with this.

She didn’t know what to expect. She hoped everything went according to plan.

Stewart arrived as she had asked him to.

“Good day,” she remarked to the humble baker. He had inherited his father’s trade. He was very wealthy and very good at what he did. Yet he had a good soul, a loving spirit, and a compassionate heart. That’s why she knew she had to talk to him. She only hoped that he would take her offer.

“Good day, your majesty,” he bowed.

“I have something very important I need to ask of you.”

“Okay,” he said nervously. “How can I help you, my queen?”

“I am dying and I need to give my kingdom to someone who can truly govern it.” She went on before he could interrupt. “My children are unfit to be monarchs of this country. They’re too selfish, warped, broken, and spoiled. Too entitled when they’ve never had to work for anything in their lives.” She sighed heavily. “I’m not sure what their father and I did wrong, but clearly it was something. Perhaps, not enough discipline or they were too spoiled and doted upon. I just don’t know what happened. But when my eldest daughter died and then was avenged by her older brother Delphinus who died months later of some mysterious faerie plague—our little family just fell apart at the seams. Nothing Gaylon or I could do would stop them from going their own wayward spirals. It was gradual, of course, but it became more and more pronounced as the years went on.”

“But they are your children, your rightful heirs!” Stewart protested. “I am but a lowly baker.”

“Yet, Stewart, you have more kindness and love in your heart than anyone I’ve ever met. Aside from, perhaps, my Gaylon.” She smiled fondly at him.

He was an attractive fae with long rivers of indigo hair and matching eyes with forest green wings trimmed in indigo with accents of silver and indigo moons and stars upon them. His skin though the color of hot chocolate had indigo markings etched in it, most notably upon his face around his eyes. They were natural birthmarks that she found both intriguing and beautiful. As did most of the fae in the land.

So many girls had thrown themselves at the past week that he had even complained to her.

“I don’t know how or where we failed them. Where I failed them. All I know is that I’m dying, and I would like to see the Realm of Normalcy one last time.” She gazed in his direction with her blue-purple eyes, the few purple strands that punctuated her raven locks shimmering brightly with her determination. “I need someone to follow my father’s legacy. Someone who knows that in the end only kindness matters. Unfortunately, my children do not understand this.”

“For what it’s worth, my Queen, I think they failed you.”

“Thank you, Stewart, that’s very kind of you to say,” Calliope smiled, running a hand through her hair. She still looked youthful, but a few wrinkles had settled into her face. The fae may have been eternally young, but time took it’s toll on everyone. She may have only looked forty or fifty, but she was nearing three hundred.

That was an old enough age. Some lived to be a thousand or older, but without her love she didn’t see the purpose of burdening anyone with her presence.

The fae queen shifted her position, gazing thoughtfully into the moon lit night. Silver beams poured their curious heads through the windows of the castle. Her husband had only died a year ago, but it had felt like an eternity.

She missed him with every fiber of her soul.

“And I know Gaylon would agree with me. I need to go back, one last time.” She smiled sadly. “That only leaves the issue of your refusal. Would you please reconsider?”

“My queen, I am not fit to be a king.”

“You are,” she insisted, smiling kindly at him. “You are not selfish or spoiled, indulgent, broken, or warped. You are kind, intuitive, intelligent, and compassionate. These are the things that matter when ruling a kingdom. You have a capacity to love, and in return the people of Ladriél will love you. Please reconsider?”

Stewart sighed. “You aren’t going to relent, are you?”

“I’ve been stubborn since my birth, what makes you think I’d stop now?” she grinned cheekily.

Stewart let out a genuine laugh at this. “Very well, my queen. If it so pleases you.”

“It does.”

Calliope was glad that was settled. After the coronation ceremony she would be gone from this land—filled with memories some sweet, some bitter. She knew that Weylin and Titianna would miss her, but her mind was made up. She had to go, and she knew that they would understand. They may not have agreed, but they would understand.

Her children were angry with her. She could see it in the way their body language spoke to her, but she also didn’t care. There was not one of them she would trust to govern her father’s kingdom. That was not something she was about to take lightly. Her father was long dead and gone, and she was glad that he didn’t see the travesty of what her children had become. Though, she had pained that he hadn’t been there when they were born—she was glad that he never saw what they had become after Adélaide’s death.

Sweet, sweet Adélaide. The one that had taken after Gaylon in most of her looks aside from her eyes and the faerie wings. The one that was such an adventurer she put her father and his best friend to shame. How she missed her first born, and she never understood why she had to die.

Yet she understood everything happened for a reason, even if she didn’t want to accept that then or now.

She would soon be joining her sweet angel, her husband, and her father. Her mother, too, although Callie could barely remember Lycoris now. It had been so long since her mother had passed. She hoped that her mother wouldn’t hold that against her.

The former queen walked regally away from her children, ignoring their protests and frustrations entirely. She said goodbye to the part-vampire seamstress, a long time friend of hers and she headed toward the Lake of Lazuline.

She stood before the waters, watching them wave back and forth.

Her uncle Oliver came swimming to the surface, as if he knew she would be there. “Everyone’s in an uproar about what you did.”

“I had to, Uncle Oliver.”

“I’m not saying that you’re wrong, but I’ll miss you.”

“And I, you. But I am dying, Uncle Oliver. Of some human disease that mother’s genes gave me. I have forgotten since I have been gone so long from the realm of normalcy, but what do they call it again?”


“Ah, yes. I feel weak and tired. I know it won’t be long. I want to see the house one last time, try to remember mother. I don’t remember her, at all, anymore. I hope that she’ll forgive me.”

“She’d forgive you a thousand times if she had to, you silly girl.”

“I’m a grown woman.”

“To me, Callie, you’ll always be that sixteen year old girl that fainted the first time she saw her father.” The merman hugged his niece tightly. “Goodbye, my darling girl. I will forever miss you and love you.”

She smiled. “Good bye. Tell Qua and the kids I’ll miss them. Lyssandra, too, if you would.”

“Of course.”

With that, she turned and walked away. She winged her way back to the docks and stepped on the boat that would lead her back to the Realm of Normalcy.

Arriving back, her wings were shed forever, but she found that she didn’t miss them. In the realm of normalcy her beautiful purple strands were shed and replaced by a few shades of silver yet the majority of her hair remained raven.

She could feel the wrinkles and she knew that her age was showing. She probably looked more like an eighty or ninety year old now.

Things had changed since she last remembered them. The world seemed a darker and stranger place than she left it. She found herself wondering if NCIS was still around. Whatever that was. She could barely remember why she knew those letters in that order and what they even meant. Her life spent among this realm had been short compared to all the years she had spent in Ladriél.

She meandered, finding her way to her mother’s old house. She stared lovingly at it.

“Hey, old lady, what’re you doing in our yard?”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I lived here once as a child and teenager.”

“That’s cool,” remarked the older of the two children. She was female and rather tall. Callie wondered how old she was. “I’m fourteen, my name is Mara. Don’t mind the twerp. My little brother has a bigger mouth than what he should have.”

“Mara, mom said not to talk to strangers,” he protested.

“He’s absolutely right, but I am not a harmful stranger. I am just an old lady.”

“Don’t you have any family?” he asked.

“Michael, don’t be rude!”

“I did once,” Callie smiled sadly. “I am the last one of my kind that’s left.”

“Oh, that’s sad,” Mara frowned. “I’m going to ask mother if you can come inside and have dinner with us.” Before Michael or Calliope could stop her the girl ran inside. She motioned to Calliope and to her brother. “Mom said it’s okay!”

The former queen of Ladriél was rather surprised by how quickly she became an honorary member of the Leplauge household. Evidently, their grandmother and Mackenzy’s mother had died several months ago. Calliope was surprised how days turned into months. The children had even taken to calling her grandmother. She had protested at first not wanting to hurt their mother, but Mackenzy insisted upon her children continuing the tradition. It seemed that she cold be every bit as stubborn as Callie.

Something, the former queen found rather amusing.

However, as Calliope suspected, her health was rapidly declining. One morning she could not leave the bed, at all. She stared up at the ceiling of her mother’s old room. She suddenly remembered her mother holding her in her arms, singing her a lullaby, telling her there were no monsters in the closet.

No, she thought bitterly, the real monsters are the viruses that kill us and the cruel words people tell us and the lies we insist are truths.

“Grandma!” Mara exclaimed, upon seeing the state that Calliope was in. “Grandma Calliope! No.”

“We all knew this day would come sooner or later, child,” she smiled softly, stroking strands of brown hair from the girl’s dark blue eyes.

Michael came running in after her. “Grandma Callie? Are you okay?”

“I think today’s the day I join Gaylon,” she said with a soft smile.

“Gaylon? Who’s that?”

“Her husband, stupid. Haven’t you listened to any of her stories about him? He seems like he was so dreamy,” Mara remarked, smiling with a thoughtful look on her face. She then turned her attention to Calliope. “Can you tell us a story about him?”

“Yeah, tell us a story, please, grandma?”

Mackenzy stood in the doorway, tears welling her eyes, knowing as well as Callie did that the woman did not have long to live. She watched as the children listened to the antics of the pale shadow on her mother’s old bed, and couldn’t help but laugh at some of the mischief Calliope and her husband had gotten into together. Gaylon sounded like he had been a riot in his youth.

Callie coughed, holding a piece of the blanket to her mouth, not wanting the children to see her pain.

It was too late. They read her eyes even when her back was half-turned to them.


“Grandma, what can we do for you?”

“Listen to these words,” Callie said slowly, drawing in a deep breath. “Love everyone. Treat everyone with respect, even your enemies. Because in the end only kindness matters. Anger and hatred and fear will only destroy and eat away at you from the inside out. You must be brave. You must love. You must be kind.”

“I will, grandma, I will. I promise,” Mara cried.

“Me, too! I’ll be even better than her! You’ll see.”

“Children, children, please, don’t crowd her.”

“It’s okay, Mackenzy, I don’t mind.” Callie drew the two children into one last hug before she fell backward against the bed. “I’ve missed you, daddy. Gaylon. Mother. Addie. So very much. I will never forget your kindness, Mackenzy. Goodbye, children.” With that, the part-fae’s eyes remained forever open towards the heavens. The pale purple drifted away only to leave the human blue, but she died with a smile on her face. Because she had done her job. She had left little seeds of wisdom in the heart and minds of two very extraordinary children who she had known from the moment she had met them could change the world.

She had no doubts they’d never forget kindness or to grant it to those whom they met.


Leave a Reply

Related Posts