A child shouldn’t be told they’re destined to be a ruler, they shouldn’t be worshipped by people four times their age. But, that was Kellan’s world from the moment he was born. The finest silks, the most extravagant flowers, and endless amounts of flattery. He was taught from a young age that he was inherently better than everyone, whether they were human or faerie. The servants were his playthings, his to turn their hair into the color of the spring leaves and his to make their noses like that of anteaters. All of them praised him for his power and all of them marveled at the things he could do at such a young age. But Kellan knew that this was only a fraction of the power waiting for him. He’d look at his mother and father, see them sitting there on their thrones, and his heart longed for that adoration, that power. He craved it with every fiber of his being, to be adored and revered by loyal subjects. But there was always no one ruling by his side, sharing his power.
But then he saw her, Gwenaëlle. It was far from love at first sight, not even close. But there she was, casting spells with a poise and an effortlessness he knew he could never possess. She was powerful beyond what he knew, and Kellan resented her for it. He’d always been the one everyone else at the Academy looked up to, he’d always been the one they’d tentatively asked for help from. But here was this beautiful, young girl with power radiating from her every pore. Kellan couldn’t allow it.
So he made her his. He made her his wife in order to keep her from outshining him. Together, she was an extension of his powers, not competition. With her by his side, he could control how people saw her and in turn, how they saw him. He recognized the smitten look on her face and knew he had her, and so he took this dark creature and covered her with exotic flowers and dressed her in the finest clothes. He made her his Queen, and together they ruled properly and without any questions. And while Kellan had had no intention of falling in love with her, he did. Because she loved him, she gave him the attention he so needed. Her power at that point was something he could contain, and Kellan fell in love with the beautiful Faerie who ruled by his side. But he also fell in love with ruling, and he soon started to love it more than his Queen.
And then she wanted a child. At first, there was nothing wrong with the idea, and if anything, it was kind of fun. Until they lost the first one. And the second. And the third. They couldn’t conceive, and it consumed Gwen’s every thoughts. It took her attention away from Kellan, who despite his best efforts couldn’t shake the thought out of her head. There were other ways to get an heir, but Gwen wanted a child of her own, and Kellan couldn’t find room for himself in her obsessive thoughts. He needed her to think of him, to focus on him as she had before. And so he turned to the humans. Humans, with their weak minds and ephemeral beauty. Humans, gone in a blink of an eye, like flowers in the winter. They would look at him and fall in love. He found his solace in the arms of a human woman named Julia. She unknowingly let in a married king, letting him into her bed and into her loving arms. Kellan stayed there, sneaking away and spending his time sprawled out on her bed, tracing his fingers over her back, knowing all of this would be short lived. A part of him fell in love with her, despite how hard he tried not to. But then Julia got pregnant, with a little girl.
With Gwen, things weren’t easy. He could see the darkness growing within her, and chose to ignore it. She asked though, about what he had been doing, and unable to lie, Kellan told her the truth about his human lover, and her child. He watched as the news set his wife into desperation, and knew instantly that no matter what he wanted with Julia, it needed to end. Especially when Gwen came back from the Unseelie with child. A child that undoubtedly was his. She had what she wanted, but Kellan couldn’t allow a child made from darkness to be his heir. He stopped sleeping around with humans, stopped calling courtiers to his bedroom, and turned his attention to getting rid of the child. He went back to the human world, and searched for an expecting couple in Barton Hollow, whispering into their ears to name their child Rowan, not awful enough to take the name his wife so desperately wanted for the child he watched grow inside of her every day. He watched her rub her stomach, he watched her prepare everything for a child, and he was there as she gave birth. But everything was set up. He asked for the child, and used all his power to move him and the child into the home of the Steele’s. Putting that baby in that crib was one of the hardest things he’d had to do, now that he was actually born. But he took the human child out of the crib and put his own child there, his child born through dark magic despite Kellan’s brightness, bringing the human child back to the caves, ready to face Gwen’s rage.
After Gwen left him for the Unseelie Court, it left Kellan in political hell. He was supposed to be the rightful ruler of the Seelie Court, and yet he’d let a dark, foul creature rule beside him. He heard the whispers, the things they were saying behind his back. They questioned his power, they questioned how he could sleep next to her for years without knowing. He couldn’t have that. And so he twisted the truth as much as he could, telling his subjects that he’d known of her darkness, that he’d taken it upon himself to protect them from her. It wasn’t a lie, because Kellan had known of her darkness, he’d sensed it from the beginning, and he had taken it upon himself to contain Gwen, but they didn’t need to know it had been for his own selfish needs. They knew nothing of his negligence; of the way he cheated on his wife, and of the human child he watched grow up daily. They didn’t know the selfishness of their king, instead seeing only a martyr who suffered years alongside an evil Queen; it was as close to a lie as he could construct. So they saw their King again and he was their protector now. He promised them that no matter what, light and goodness would triumph over evil, aways. He reassured his subjects that their King would be there for them.
He took it upon himself to make sure to keep Rowan away from Gwen. Kellan magicked his son, and sent him far away from Barton Hollow, far away from where she could sense him, where she could call him one true name. The spell wouldn’t work forever, but it was enough to buy him time. He knew what having Rowan by her side would do to Gwen, of the power her child would give her. And he knew he wouldn’t be able to control her when the time came. He watched Rowan, making sure they stayed apart, and doing anything within his power to stop him from coming to Barton Hollow ever again.
But the child of his, whom he did watch intently and wanted in his own little way, was Phoebe. He watched her grow up, and smiled as he saw how brilliant she was. She had a light within her, and he was proud of her. So much so, that despite himself and his general lack of caring for meddling in the lives of humans after having his fun with Julia, sent her a letter. He reached out to his daughter, not knowing what to expect. She would resent him for leaving her and never taking him as her own, but Kellan wasn’t in any position to take care of a child.
Because how can someone so obsessed with himself take care of anyone else? Now alone, Kellan understands that more than anything else. He’s taken with his ruling, taken with his subjects, and although vain to the bone, is genuinely bent on keeping things from going wrong again, especially within his own Kingdom. He keeps his eyes on Gwen, and any dark forces he senses within Barton Hollow, but until something bad happens, keeps within the walls of his citadel. He can feel the storm gathering, he can feel Gwen’s power, and he senses the way things are shifting around them.
Something is coming, and Kellan is arming himself as much as he can, burying himself within the archives of the Citadel, deep within the bowls of the earth underneath the swamp of Barton Hollow. And though his motives seem moral, they are from from it, and are always for his own good. Light and “good”, for all it’s power, is hardly any match for the darkness of hell, for the evil within the heart of his ex-wife. Kellan won’t stand for being taken down and made lesser than who he is. There are times at night, when he walks through the forest of the human world with his robes picking up leaves behind him, where he knows she has every right to hate him -and although morally wrong- he had every right to get rid of that child. Now he must pay for the consequences of being a spoiled child who was taught to treat everyone like his playthings.