The Heartwood Box: A Fairy Tale

BOOK: The Heartwood Box: A Fairy Tale
11.68Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub




The Heart

A Fairy Tale



By Lilia Ford







The Heartwood Box © 2012 Lilia
Romance LLC

All Rights Reserved





For my long-suffering husband and sons

Table of Contents


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-one

Chapter Twenty-two

Chapter Twenty-three

Chapter Twenty-four

Chapter Twenty-five

Chapter Twenty-six

Chapter Twenty-seven

Chapter Twenty-eight

Chapter Twenty-nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-one

Chapter Thirty-two

Chapter Thirty-three


About the Author

Chapter One


Of all the great magic users in our world, only one sought love above all else, Titania
, Queen of the Northern Fae
are vain, selfish creatures, but Titania was different
The continental
drove themselves close to extinction with their divisions between Seely and Unseely, their obsession with pure blood, and their wasteful wars with the wizards
Titania had no time for such pettiness
er realm lay in the British Isles, a few short
from the only demon gate in Europe
She understood that demons and their half-human spawn, the Reavers, were the true threat to wizard, human, and Fae alike.

Titania was no fool to ignore weapons and warriors, but she knew in her deepest heart that over time, love is the only weapon that can prevail against cruelty

Her greatest warrior was the Black Prince, Declan
Declan was loyal to his queen, but he had little respect for what he saw as her romantic nonsense
He lived only for battle, f
ighting to the point of madness
until Titania feared he would destroy himself
She knew that Declan’s disdain for love grew from frustration and loneliness
Though a man of great honor, he was ruled by dark and fierce passions, lust and a will to dominate
women are proud and exacting creatures, demanding worship from their males
They could find no pleasure in submitting to Declan’s fierce will.

could stand it no more: she called Declan to her and told him she was releasing him from her service
She commanded him to go out into the human world and not return until he had found the woman who could be happy with him
She knew humans to be strange, varied creatures, no two looking the same, each village showing different customs and personalities, unlike
the Fae
who are far more similar to each other

To make sure that Declan was able to find a wife who could love him, she gifted him with a box made from the wood of the heartwood tree that grew in a sacred grove in her own garden
It was a box of miraculous
because it would change color to reflect the deepest heart of the person it belonged to
She told him he must give the box to the woman he sought to marry, and if the box turned black that woman had a heart that could meet his in love and trust
And if the woman trusted him to unlock the box, inside they would discover the deepest desires that lay hidden in her heart

So Declan left and was gone for many years
Titania missed her champion, but she trusted that he had found happiness with a human woman
Then came the day he returned: to her astonishment, he was utterly distraught and threw himself at her feet
He had found a woman who could love him, and they had lived together in great happiness and had three sons
The sons had all grown up to be warriors, devoted to honor like their father, but sharing his dark passions

But when the two eldest had married, disaster had struck: the oldest son had tried his best to conform his heart to his wife’s nature, but doing so had broken something in him
Like Declan he had thrown himself into battles to drive away his despair, and finally had been killed
His second son’s story was even more tragic: he had revealed his nature to his new bride on their wedding night, and the poor girl had panicked and taken her own life, leaving his son broken and in despair
Now he had only one son left, and he prayed Titania to find some way to help him

The queen thought and thought, but she didn’t know what she could do
Even if she helped Declan’s son, his children would only suffer the same fate when it came time to marry
On a whim, she decided to ask the priestess of the town that lay on the other side of the gate between Faerie and the human world

The priestess was a wise and clever woman, and realized this might be the chance to help all of the people of the valley, not just Declan’s son
She counseled Titania to gift each unmarried girl with a box made from the heartwood tree
When it came time to marry, the girl’s box would change color to point to the man who would best suit her
Any girl whose box turned black would marry one of Declan’s descendants
But, she warned, such girls were not common, and though she prayed there would be one for each generation, there might not be more
The sons of his family must promise not to try to win over any girl not meant for them, even if it meant that some of them must stay unmarried
In return she promised the townspeople would revere Titania and serve her as best they could according to their different gifts

Titania was so impressed with the priestess’ words, she blessed her with immortality and set her to guide the town in their new rule
The town prospered greatly
ove and trust became the rule between married people,
so that
even in times of
, the people could take solace in
the knowledge that they had made another person’s happiness
And after a few generations, everyone forgot that the boxes had been originally given to help Declan’s descendants
They were now seen as a blessing to everyone, and the
source of the town’s
happiness and prosperity.

Declan’s descendants remained in the hills
above the town
guarding the
demon gate and
always showing unusual devotion to Titania
From time immemorial they had produced
male children, all
Declan’s nature
As the priestess had warned, they could not all find brides, but in each ge
neration there was one girl who
t was drawn to their darkness




Bridal Week
had finally arrived
All over town
girls who were to take part were putting on new dresses, arranging and rearranging their hair, watching the clock until it was time for the first event, the picnic
Only Genevieve
was in despair
It was not her dress
er mother
hailed from a family known for its gifts with the needle

their color was yellow

had created a dress so beautiful,
it made
heart ache
They had no choice but to make it in white, but her mother had chosen
the most delicate fabric she coul
d find
and the
crafted dozens of petals
that made
think of
She knew her mother had carefully picked a creamy shade that would flatter Genevieve’s complexion, but there was no
hiding that she was pale and drawn
She looked like what she was, a recluse who for the last few years had
refused to mix with their neighbors and
rarely ventured outside

It hadn’t always been like that
Genevieve had been an energetic, carefree child, who made friends easily and enjoyed school and play and being with people
Her father was a carpenter by trade, his color red, but he was also a passionate musician
On evenings and weekends he could be found at the tavern playing
his wooden flute before a spell
bound audience
When Genevieve was barely old enough to walk, she
fascinated by their little clavichord

Soon it
clear she had an unusual gift
Not only could
play any piece she’d heard just once, but she could effortlessly adapt and rearrange it, discovering lovely and unexpected dimensions
As soon as she was old enough to properly study music, she began writing her own compositions
Her parents happily scrimped and save
d to purchase a beautiful piano
forte, which had pride of place in their small parlor

Soon Genevieve was accompanying her father to play at weddings and festivals, where she would delight neighbors with her improvisations on familiar tunes
But when she was fourteen, her life took an unexpected turn
Genevieve was playing before the whole town at a feast for the
Bridal Week
when suddenly her music just… changed

BOOK: The Heartwood Box: A Fairy Tale
11.68Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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