When Sarissa spirited Jorin away, she brought him to her domain in the Feywild. As the Duchess of the North Wind, Sarissa rules from Rimeholm, an opulent floating fortress of ice suspended over outer Dawnfall. From there, she attends matters of the Winter Court. She performs her duties as a daughter of Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness.
Jorin finds that he is an honored guest in Rimeholm. Sarissa's fey servants see to his every comfort and need. But he realizes quickly that he is a prisoner in this place. No matter how he attempts to navigate the frosted corridors of Rimeholm, he finds no exit. The beautiful and twisted inhabitants of the fortress are subservient, but ever present. Always watching.
After what feels like weeks, Sarissa invites Jorin to dine with her in the grand hall. He enters a massive room beneath a ceiling of frozen starlight, held up by pillars of ice like frosted glass. In the center of it all sits a long table of dark wood, covered in overflowing piles of exquisite food.
Over a feast of roasted polar bear and orca meat, Sarissa explains to Jorin why he has been brought here. She rises from her seat at the massive table, and begins to pace around the room.
"Have you ever pondered why we fey make deals, Jorin?
I assure you, we of the highest echelon of fey are perfectly capable of accomplishing our goals without the help of mortals. Why do we bother? Why waste our time playing word games with beings so far beneath our notice? Why subject ourselves to the will of creatures that are as powerless as you?
I find myself considering this quandary often. To be perfectly honest, I haven't found a satisfactory answer.
But I have a theory.
My kind and your kind, dear Jorin, are in some ways opposites. The Fey are creatures of incredible magic and wonder, beautiful and terrible manifestations of the manic vivacity that suffuses all the planes of positive energy. We are dynamism; we are the spirits of change. We have more power in every particle of our being than a human can strive to achieve in a thousand lifetimes.
Mortals, on the other hand, are real.
Mortals are creatures of logic and substance. In the material plane, matter follows rules that are predictable and measurable. If you place a stone on the ground, you can come back in a thousand years and it will still be there. That staggering consistency is utterly foreign to beings like me. Your world simply happens, second by identical second, a system of unbending rules reaching its inevitable outcome.
My world is as magical as yours is mundane. Fey cannot exist in a world like yours for too long, they are too impossible for your rules. The light of paradoxical wonder that burns at the heart of
every fey slowly burns out in a place that forces that light to resolve itself. I believe that cold iron is a manifestation of that mundanity. We cannot bear its presence because it forces the substance of our being to confront cold, hard order.
Mortals have very little magic, but an abundance of logic. Fey have very little logic, but an abundance of magic.
Something incredible happens when the two of us are entwined together.
When a fey and a mortal make an accord, the power of that covenant is greater than the sum of its parts. It isn't additive, or even multiplicative. Jorin, when we strike a deal, the power of that combination is exponential. A deal takes the boundless power of the fey and forces it into mortal order. It makes the impossible real.
Mortal pacts are some of the most potent magic there is. Look at the Alder Concordance, the accord that divided Dawnfall from Stormgate! That single deal blocks us fey from entering the material plane without making a deal of our own. The Alder King changed the very alignment of our planes by making a pact with a mortal. A mortal whose descendant you know well.
That world-shaking power is intoxicating to a fey, no matter how mighty they are. It is a part of our nature, I suppose. As paradoxical as it seems that an embodiment of change can have a consistent nature."
Sarissa stands next to your seat, and leans down to whisper into your ear. The scent of fir trees and spearmint washes over you, though your new body can't perceive it as acutely as your old one.
"I have had my eye on you for a long time, Jorin. Longer than you might expect.
We archfey are powerful, that is an undeniable truth. But our abilities in the material world are limited. That is why we of the Sidhe sometimes choose mortal champions.
It’s possible you’ve heard of them in your fairy tales. Green Knights and Black Knights, for the summer and winter fey. They are rare, but when they come to pass they make history. I offer you that power, Jorin.”
She places an object on the table in front of you, covered by her hand. "With me, you'd have the power to protect everyone you care about."
One of the ice pillars surrounding your table becomes transparent. You can see the frozen form of Rosie within the ice. She looks peaceful, as if she's asleep.
“No more favors. No more wordplay. Only the greatest covenant of them all.” She draws her hand away, revealing a gold ring.
"What do you say?"