A slow gnawing sadness crept into Kiena’s heart. She tried to fend the tears, offering a wisp of a smile to everyone she passed. Hopefully none would pursue and tell her to be festive.
She felt anything but festive. Even the orbs emitting joy from the tables and hanging decor did not reach her heart to boost the mood. Why the sadness had settled over her so suddenly, she’d not yet determined.
Crossing the great lawn where they held feasts on the flat of the dell, Kiena hoped to find an empty table near the edge of the crowd. She scanned quickly to determine which of the empty ones she wanted, feeling a sudden tap at her shoulder.
“Excuse me?” A male voice said.
Kiena turned, baffled to know who might have possibly wanted her attention. “Yes?” She responded, trying to sound friendly.
It was the same fae she’d shared a brief glance with the day he’d arrived. “I’m Breigh. I couldn’t help notice you looking for a seat.”
The slant of his eyes, point of his ears, style of his hair– Kiena felt her heart melt just staring at the face before her. Flustered, and a bit embarrassed trying not to gawk, Kiena nodded, “I am. I was going to sit over there.”
He seemed to notice she was staring, “Would you care to join us instead?” His hand stretched out to the table behind him where five others were talking and laughing.
She felt herself blink several times in her surprise to the request, “Sure.” Kiena smiled, walking over to the table with Breigh.
“Friends,” Breigh acknowledged, “this lovely young sprite has agreed to join us. Your name, mi’lady?”
Blushing, Kiena laughed, “Oh, yes. How silly of me to forget. I’m Kiena.”
“Welcome, Kiena!” One of the females exclaimed brightly. “Come sit.”
The unexpected exuberance of the winter fae at table energized Kiena and made her forget her sadness for a few moments. A seat was open next to Breigh and she sat as he introduced his friends around the table starting with the one next to him, and ending with the one next to her.
“Kiena, meet Dax, Jordi, Düne, Loreghlyn, and Capra.” Breigh pushed her chair in and then took his own seat.
Capra smiled broadly, “Tell us of you, Kiena.”
Kiena wasn’t used to having attention put on her, and she certainly did not wish to have it now. “I’m not all that interesting, though I enjoy dabbling with growth and emotions.”
“You seemed to emanate sadness earlier. A lovely fae such as yourself shouldn’t be sad with such fun to be had.” Dax beamed, drumming his fingers in rhythm on the table, “Do you dance, Kiena?”
Kiena nodded timidly, “I do, I haven’t in some time though.”
“Broken heart.” Jordi winked at her. His smile gentle, “Figured it out.”
Everyone at the table groaned, as though they hadn’t figured it out first.
“What? Figured what out?” Kiena felt her cheeks blush.
Loreghlyn chuckled, “Ignore them, what else do you do, Kiena?”
Lately all Kiena seemed to do was mope. She tried to think of a pass time she used to enjoy, but none stuck out, “I bless others. It’s not exciting really.” The image of Rynn flashed in her mind.
“I find it exciting.” Dax winked at her again. He looked at the others, “Imagine the energy it takes to do that all the time.”
Kiena had to admit she’d never considered the amount of energy it took to cheer others up from time to time.
Breigh nudged her arm, “You’re doing it again.” He leaned in, speaking to just her.
“What? What am I doing?” Kiena questioned with puzzlement.
“Emanating sadness. Feast! Laugh! Be merry, my friend. Tonight you have no room at this table for ailments.” He winked, lifting his cup out to her so she might clank it with hers.
Kiena smiled sadly, tapping the brim of his cup with hers, her heart a flustered tangle of knots.
The night was fun, and Breigh gave her undivided attention through the whole evening. The image of his face seared into her memory and remained as her eyes closed in bed that night, falling into a deep, peaceful sleep.