Eliza Smith Barrington…
Picture from: Pinterest
Eliza was a beautiful woman. She was well educated, wealthy, an accomplished musician, a trained ballet dancer and her paintings hung in some of the finest museums in the world. Artists, across the globe, begged her to model for them, but she always refused.
Eliza’s parents disappeared when she was a child. Their wealth had passed to her, along with their butler, Mr. Quest. Mr. Quest was to watch over her until she was twenty-one years of age, at which time she would have access to her entire fortune. Mr. Quest, his job finished, would have access to his as well. On her twenty-first birthday Eliza asked Mr. Quest to stay on as her advisor. He accepted immediately.
Eliza had no friends to speak of, no gentlemen callers. People were intimated by her looks and her talent, often thinking that she was flooded with invitations and suitors. In truth, she had no one, other than Mr. Quest and her cat, Mrs. Fuzzytail. Instead of going to luncheons and inviting people to tea, her days were filled with practice. She read, danced and played her piano. Each day was exactly like the one before it, broken only by appearances for worthy causes, where she was expected to say a few words and hand over her money. Those were the only times she met with others but she felt that it was her duty to be part of the community in some small way.
A week after her twenty-first birthday she went into the kitchen, where Mr. Quest was having tea, and asked if she might have a word. He stood, pulled out a chair and poured another cup.
“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately,” said Eliza, “Something doesn’t seem right, but I don’t know what’s wrong. I thought…”
“That maybe I would know?” asked Mr. Quest kindly.
She nodded and took a sip of tea. “You do make the best tea in the world,” she sighed, inhaling the delicious aroma and smiling.
“You have always enjoyed it,” he said, pouring more into his own cup.
Eliza fidgeted, something she had never done in her entire life. Mr. Quest took quick notice and sat up straighter.
“Did my parents give something to you, something that you were to hold for me until I came looking for it?”
“Why do you ask?”
“Because I have had the same dream for two weeks and that’s what it has been about.”
“It’s true,” he said, relaxing. “I was never to tell you, unless you asked but now that you have…”
“All will be revealed?” she laughed.
“Something like that,” he said, grinning at her.
“Well, I’m asking.”
“It’s quite a story,” said Mr. Quest, rising and going to the pantry. “I think your favorite cookies may be needed.”
“I have all day,” said Eliza, “but I admit that I’m curious and quite anxious to hear what you have to say.”
Mr. Quest told Eliza that most of her answers would come from the people who ran The Book Lovers Emporium but that he would be happy to tell her what he knew. He told her that his name wasn’t Quest, Quest was what he did. He Quested, which meant that he went from place to place, universe to universe, and found things, protected things and beings, and generally spent eternity on quests. He went on to say that only one of her parents, her father, was from earth. Her mother had stopped here, on a tour of this universe, and met her father.
“They fell in love,” he said, “which wasn’t unusual, but she had you and that was not only unusual but unacceptable. They disappeared to keep you safe. They asked me to watch over you until you came of age. If the Hunters found out that your mother had a child with a human they would have come for you. They would have experimented on you, kept you locked up, until they found out how you were possible.”
Eliza ate a cookie and stirred her tea.
The person you see, when you look at me, is not my true form. I am a warrior, that’s why they called me to watch over you.
“You are the most gentle person I have ever met,” she said softly.
“I must seem that way to you,” he smiled, “but believe me, I am not what I appear to be.”
She nodded and ate a cookie crumb, something else she had never done before.
“I love you very much,” he whispered, watching her eyes fill with tears. “Your mother trusted me with your life, you mean everything to me. I have kept you safe, as if you were my own child. Your mother…”
“You love her, don’t you,” said Eliza, knowing she was right.
Mr. Quest nodded. “From the very beginning. But she chose your father and I agreed to be your guardian, to protect the part of her she had to leave behind.”
“They aren’t dead?”
“They are not.”
“Will I see them again?”
“What am I?”
“You are a beautiful, talented, intelligent and strong woman.”
“But, what am I?”
“You never tire, your stamina is unprecedented. You can do anything you set your mind to, you have strength beyond measure, you are fast, clever and you have perfect balance.”
“What am I?”
“You are the Princess of the Outerworld.”
“Are you teasing me, Mr. Quest?”
“I am not. You are a fighting machine, lithe, swift and smart. You know where your prey will be before it knows where it’s going. You have many talents that are asleep, at the moment. Your dreams are the first sign that you are waking up.”
“What is my mother?”
“The Queen, of course.”
“She came here to see what earth was like and, well, your father…”
“What’s going to happen to me?”
“Your strength will grow, your speed and your eyesight will improve. Your thought process will become lightening fast and you will start to track those around you.”
“Yes,” said Mr. Quest. “You will become hyper alert to danger.”
“You have to go home.”
“To the Outerworld. You’re mother needs you. There’s a war coming. I will be needed as well.”
“A war among the Fay. The Book Lover’s Emporium is your mother’s headquarters. Merlin is there at this very moment.”
“This is better than any of the bedtime stories you read to me as a child,” said Eliza, reaching for another cookie.
“It is no story, I assure you.”
“When do we leave?”
“As soon as your powers manifest. I don’t think it will be long.”
“Will we go together?”
“I will make arrangements for the house and…”
“There is no need. Things have been taken care of since the day you were born.”
“Your lawyer is one of us.”
“Of course she is.”
“We left nothing to chance.”
“Other than me, you mean?”
“Other than you,” he agreed. “You were a gift beyond measure. We fight for you.”
Eliza stood up. “Let me know when you are ready to go.”
“By the end of the week,” said Mr. Quest.
“And Mrs. Fuzzytail?”
“Your life is just beginning and believe me,” he said, grinning from ear to ear, “it’s going to be glorious.”
Story by: Gigi
Tie in to The Book Lover’s Emporium (which I will be getting back to shortly).