This is a one-shot based on A Court of Thorns and Rose by Sarah J. Maas (amazing series, you should definitely read it). It’s from Alis’ point of view as she decides to leave the Spring Court and head to Adriata.
Sun. Sun and sand and summer.
That was what Alis remembered of Adriata.
Adriata was supposed to be a beautiful place of beaches and seashells and long days. It was the famous Golden City of the Summer Court. A Court with a palace made of gold would be wealthy and prosperous, especially if they could afford to send blood rubies.
Alis hoped that they might at least have room in their palace for a homeless wood-fae with two young boys to support. She could not stay here, at the Spring Court; she knew that much. The High Lord Tamlin… he was no longer the best place for Alis to seek refuge. She found it ironic that though Tamlin’s primary instinct was to protect, it was his supposedly protective actions that had rendered him unable to protect his own Court.
Though the Spring Court was not Alis’ homeland, she had still been here for more than fifty years. Fifty years that were long enough to tell her that while the High Lord often meant well, he had a potentially destructive, unpredictable temper. A temper that had now reached the height of its destructive potential.
Alis shook her head. What had he been thinking? He was a leader, meant to protect his land, yet he had now ensured that this was a dangerous area for her and her nephews. All done in the selfish name of his love. A love that hated him.
Oh yes, Alis didn’t think for a minute that Feyre was truly abused at the Night Court. She had seen the frenzied release of her powers when Tamlin had trapped her in, and she had watched silently as the gorgeous blonde woman in Night clothes had taken her away with such tenderness. Feyre had returned to this Court remarkably fuller and tanned – she had been glowing. It was clear to Alis that Feyre was here as a spy, and possibly – no, probably, to take revenge on her unintentional abuser.
Alis just hoped that Feyre would leave her nephews out of it. They were yet young and innocent, and she had worked hard to make sure they stayed that way. Though Feyre didn’t seem the malicious sort, Alis decided that she would warn her.
And also let her know that she was leaving forever. Mysterious as she might be, Feyre was still her friend of sorts, and she was still the Cursebreaker, who had saved all of Prythian. She had sacrified so much for Alis – and everybody – and Alis was not about to forget that.
Running a stiff brown hand over her wooden complexion, Alis steeled her resolve and strode down the hallway to reach Feyre’s room.
Upon opening the wardrobe, she frowned. While Feyre had been wasting away, they had had to repeatedly take in the waist and bust. Now, though, with Feyre’s healthy body, Alis wasn’t certain if these dresses could be fixed.
Alis frowned. She had never known Feyre to care for gowns and primping, but here she was, seeming for all the world like a docile, High Lord’s pet. Shaking her head at the lies, Alis rifled through the wardrobe until she found what she was searching for – a cropped top and loose pants, typical of the Night Court.
“I have never known you to be cruel, Alis,” Feyre stammered. Alis saw plainly through to the other woman’s shock.
There was, of course, there was the message from her cousin at Adriata. She had spoken of how the blue-grey eyed girl had accompanied the delegation from the Night Court, and of her tanned skin and messy braids. Her cousin had painted a vibrant picture of the rosy cheeked maiden who laughed and smiled like a caged dove that had finally been set free.
High Lord Rhysand… for all of Feyre’s poisoned attempts to make him out to be some abusive monster, Alis only saw lies. Lies and lies and more lies. She had heard stories of Under the Mountain; stories of Amarantha’s vicious pet, but also stories of how he was fair, never raising a hand against the meek. She knew Feyre was planning something, plotting against the Spring Court for all that she had suffered here. Alis would never ruin that opportunity for her, for Cauldron knew that Feyre deserved her chance to distribute retribution.
But she also wanted her boys safe.
Holding Feyre’s deceitful gaze, Alis whispered, “I will only say this once. Whatever you plan to do, I beg you leave my boys out of it. Take whatever retribution you desire, but please spare them.”
Again, she could see through Feyre’s lies and plots to pretend she was healing. Alis could see, in the depths of those eyes, that her boys would be safe. And that was all that Alis wanted.
So she spread out a chaste white dress, ever the picture of purity and healing, and told the girl from the Night Court to wear it on Solstice.
The night before Feyre’s trip to observe the wall, Alis entered her room with supplies. She set the pack down and brushed Feyre’s hair, enjoying what could be her last moments with the girl she could perhaps come to love as a daughter.
Then she spoke. “When you leave tomorrow, I leave, too. My nephews are packed, the ponies ready to take us back to Summer Court territory at last. It has been too long since I saw my home.”
“I know the feeling.” Oh, Alis was sure that Feyre knew that feeling very well.
“I wish you well, lady,” Alis said, meaning it with all her heart. “For the rest of your days, however long they may be, I wish you well.”
“Don’t ever tell Tarquin you know me well. There is a blood ruby with my name on it.”
Alis felt her rough skin pale, but she grasped her friend’s hand. “Blood rubies or no, you will always have one friend in the Summer Court.”
“And you will always have one in mine.” Feyre’s words seemed like a promise.
Alis relived some of her memories of this woman. How she had come to the palace, a newborn fawn in the eyes of the Fae, willing to sacrifice herself for her family.
She recalled how the girl had come rushing back, her guilt and chivalry leaving her unable to sit quietly with her family while there was another world in danger. Alis had admired her bravery and noble spirit, willing, again, to sacrifice herself, this time for a world she barely knew. She had looked into those extraordinary eyes and seen the quiet strength and many facets hidden away in that personality, and she remembered fearing for the innocent girl she barely knew.
She remember the crushing guilt she had felt as she watched her fade away with trauma, depression, and claustrophobia. Alis had hated every moment that she stood by in silence, watching the High Lord unintentionally abuse his fiancée. Alis remembered knowing that if she had to, she would have done so again, if only to spare her nephews from the High Lord’s wrath.
Barely a week ago, Alis remembered having to hide behind a tree, her woody skin blending in with the bark, as she struggled to contain her laughter. This girl was most definitely clever. Clever and vicious, like a wolf. The Spring Court Fae were isolated and sheltered from the rest of Prythian, but Alis had known of the trademark powers of Day. She was one of the few people at the Spring Court who knew that Feyre possessed some of each High Lord’s power. And she had had to admit that the girl was ingenious.
Alis had watched this… this person blossom from a girl, innocent and unsuspecting, to a woman, strong and bold. Feyre had transformed from a vulnerable human to a powerful Fae, from a newborn fawn to a huntress wolf, from a child to a queen. Looking at her friend, Alis’ heart swelled, for she could not be prouder.
Late that night, as Alis helped her younger nephew Glacis onto his pony and ushered the three of them towards the border, she could not help but wonder what Feyre would have done in her position. Here she was, running once again. Fifty years ago, she had fled to the Spring Court, rather than remain Under the Mountain with the rest of her brethren. Now, she was running again, this time to her homeland, instead of facing the war that was about to be unleashed on her country. Some might call it cowardice, but it was more accurately the fact that she would lay down her life to protect her family.
Still, as the three of them rode into the night, Alis was drenched in the cold feeling of dread that this was how the rest of her life might be spent, if Hybern won.
Running. Always running.