The tales they tell to children make the land of the Fae sound wonderful and friendly. Well, it may be full of wonder, but certainly not friendly. I suppose that is the real difference between mythical fairies and the Fae. I am not sure how the story tellers could have got it so wrong. I suppose that someone once met a good and gentle Fae, I’ve not met one yet!
While, back in the human world, people come in a spectrum from the good to the bad the Fae are either one or the other, no shades of grey. If a human psychologist could survive long enough to analyse a Fae, which I doubt, they would tell you they are sociopaths. They lie almost constantly, other beings, even other Fae, are just there to be used for their own gratification.
I was lucky, I suppose, that the first of the Fae that I met was, what I call, a ‘Dark Fae’. I doubt I would have survived if I had first met a ‘Bright Fae’. At least with a ‘Dark Fae’ their evil intent is almost instantly apparent. They hate everyone, except themselves. Their delight is to humiliate and destroy, after making you suffer. The ‘Bright Fae’, on the other hand, want you to be happy, and for them the only happiness is being perfectly good, which may be possible for them, but we humans have flaws, and that makes them angry.
I was still trying work out what had happened to me, where I was, in, what was obviously, a place so foreign to my normal existence. How I stumbled into the realm of the Fae I will tell you another time, but the immense scale of the trees and vegetation, the glowing sky and strange scents that drifted around me made me realise I was no longer in what you could call the normal world. I wandered for hours, looking for some sign of human presence, a road, a path, a felled tree, anything. It was then I felt a prickle run down my spine. I was being watched.
I turned, putting my back against the rough bark of one of the huge trees of the forest. I wanted to face whatever it was. At first I could not see anything or anyone, then I glimpsed a movement between the trees. An unearthly figure stared at me. Tall, slender, with filmy wings folded at the back and a face that looked both beautiful and fierce at the same time. Very obviously female, clad only in the lightest of garments, patterned like the leaves of the forest. What I took for a smile crossed her face, exposing a multitude of small sharp teeth. At her waist a dagger and a bow and quiver slung across the shoulder.
Almost as soon as I saw her she was gone, just blended with the forest. Then she was there again, but closer. The Fae are hard to see, if they don’t want to be seen. In what seemed an instant we were face to face, and a sharp crystal dagger point was pressed against my throat.
“Your name?” she hissed. Her sharp pointed tongue licked her dark lips. I am not sure why I lied, I’m just glad I did. She took a step back and gathered some moss from the forest floor, wrapped it with a few stems of grass and made a rough man like shape from it. Then she whispered to the doll in her hands, I heard the name I’d given her as part of the incantation. When she bent the leg of the mannequin I dropped to the floor, groaning. Not hurt, but I had worked out what she intended. As she played with the doll I acted my part. Eventually like a cat with a mouse she tired of the game and twisted the head off the doll. I lay still, eyes open and staring and played dead. She did not give me a second glance as she unfolded her wings and flew up into the forest canopy. I lay there for a long time, it seemed the safest thing to do.
After a few hours I gathered up enough courage to move. This was a dangerous place, I needed to protect myself. I searched my pockets, my pipe, matches, tobacco, and my smokers knife. The blade was not very sharp but the ‘bodger’ had a pointed end. It took me a while to break off a small straight sapling from the forest floor. The knife was just good enough to split the end of the stick and I broke off the ‘bodger’ and lashed it in place using the bark I stripped off the sapling. It was a small but serviceable spear, I felt slightly safer, that was a mistake.
Over the next few days I wandered through the forest. I may have been walking in circles, even where the canopy opened up enough to see the sky all I could see was a uniform glow during the day and constellations I did not recognise at night. All I could find to eat was fruit and mushrooms. I was careful and only tried small amounts of each until I could be sure they were not poisonous. None caused me much trouble, but I found that one yellow mushroom made me very sleepy, that one I would avoid in future.
It must have been a week later that I met my first ‘Bright Fae’. To look at there was no great visible difference, except this one was quite obviously male and his clothes, what little he had of them were blue. His behaviour was quite different though. There was no attempt to creep up on me and as he approached he sat on the forest floor and motioned me to sit as well. He introduced himself as Feather Icewind. Once again I lied about my name, that seemed a sensible thing to do, I was not going to get caught that way a second time..
He told me he lived above the forest where the glowing clouds meet the sky, he travelled the world bringing justice to the vulnerable. I explained that I was vulnerable as I was lost far from home. He smiled, I could see the two rows of small needle like teeth as he did so and he licked his lips as the other Fae had done. As he stared into my eyes I found I could not look away. He started asking questions about my life in the other world and I felt compelled to answer. He delved into parts of my life I don’t discuss with anyone, he was always probing and I started to feel worried. As I confessed more and more of my past misdeeds I saw his wings starting to glow and his face was looking even more fierce.
He stopped me talking with a wave of his hand and drew his crystal dagger. He told me I was too wicked to be allowed to continue living in the Land of the Fae, he could not send me back home so I would have to die.
My hand was resting on my small spear laying on the ground, not much of a weapon, but all I had. At least I would die fighting. It took all my concentration to do it but I managed to thrust the point of the spear forward into his leg. It was only two inches of a thin steel spike, I hoped the pain might give me enough time to stand and run. I was totally unprepared for what happened next. It was as if I had touched him with a high voltage wire. His back arched, his face contorted and he threw himself backwards screaming. His wings spread and beat the ground helplessly like a dying fly. The skin on his face and body turned red and started shrinking onto the skull and bones beneath. In a few moments he was still and dead. Then his body started to crumble like autumn leaves and the slight breeze spread him across the forest floor.
I now know how to deal with both Bright and Dark Fae, they are equally vulnerable to iron, what they call blood metal. They are a lot more reasonable when they know that I can kill them as easily as they could kill me and I am surviving. I’m just longing for the day when I am no longer away with the Fae.