A Word of Caution

Welcome to the realm of the Unseelie Court. Feel free to wander and browse, but know that the content you will find here is not for the faint of heart. The visions portrayed are often darkly erotic, even disturbing, and should be traversed only by those with the appropriate character and mental age.

You have been warned.


Tales From the Fae – Part V: The Academy of Dana

Chapter 12 – Illusions

When we first arrived at the Tuatha dé Danann’s mystical academy to be trained as ambassadors for the Fae, we spent basically the whole first week in orientation, getting our classes, and learning that we really were at the bottom of a very large totem pole.

The next three weeks were spent in general study learning whatever knowledge any human entering into the Fae would be required to have. We learned things like how to behave if a dryad wants to sleep with you, or what to wear to the birth celebration of a new faerie. And of course, we learned how to use magic.

And what wonderful magic it was. No simple parlor tricks, these. This was the real deal. Of course, one person’s magic is another person’s science, and that’s exactly what we spent nearly every waking moment exploring; an entirely new set of physical laws that up until a few months earlier, would have seemed as unlikely as the childhood legends that taught them to us. But both were very real. Frighteningly so.

And during this three week period, we also tuned our attentions toward individual tracks of learning. My friends and I were split and sent into the far ends of the bizarre underground campus as we each pursued roads of study in which we were most gifted. My guidance counselor, a faerie no less, once mentioned to me that little took place within the Academy of Dana that wasn’t planned in some way, and it makes me wonder if our foursome wasn’t somehow orchestrated in advance. After all, it seems unlikely that the four most talented individuals in our whole class should all happen to come together and be friends purely by accident.

Having survived the necessary introductory period, we have been told that we can now start to train within our individual guilds, at least without making complete fools of ourselves. For, as Ananha explained to me, “Now you become the sharpened tool that you were foreseen by the Faerie Queen to be.” I’m not sure how I feel about being a tool, since it implies someone else using you, but I suppose it’s not much different ultimately from any other profession in the “normal” human world. I guess we are all, at some point, tools. We can resist this, and be tossed aside, or we can try to be the best tool possible. I, for one, like to be useful. If I get to be fundamental in ushering in a new era at the same time, then that’s just icing on the cake.

I sat in the front row of my new Illusions class and wistfully longed for the companions that had accompanied me in the wild and frantic times of the previous four weeks. Of course everything was relative when it came to being wild these days. Every day that passed brought another miracle with it.

I knew that the other students sitting patiently on the floor of the circular room were more like myself than my friends had been, but it didn’t help to ease the pang of loss that I didn’t have their ready support. I knew most of the class by name, had spent time with some of them in other studies, and it seemed that I had no major enemies among the lot. Cancel that… There was one face I recognized, and my heart sank the moment she walked in.

I knew Shaina had been harboring an ongoing grudge with me ever since I told her off in Sexual Arts. She didn’t have her sidekick Berla Tomisson with her, which was a blessing of sorts, since the two of them together would have lowered their IQs enough to make them entirely intolerable. Still, I knew she would be watching for any way possible to demean me or label me as a freak. She had nearly succeeded in turning me into a “golden girl” in Sexual Arts, and I had no intention of giving her purchase here.

There were a baker’s dozen of us sitting on pillows in two loose circles around a polished wooden floor area. We were all female, and we were all gàirdean pisreige, the burgeoning ‘spell arm’ of the Tuatha dé Danann. When a white-haired faerie entered the room, we quickly settled into silence and waited. The fae woman moved between us until she reached the very center of the room where she gracefully dropped into a lotus and was simply silent. Her eyes were closed and her breathing regular, as though she were in quiet personal meditation.

I had yet to meet a faerie that wouldn’t be considered exquisitely beautiful in any culture or region of the planet, and our illusions teacher was no exception. Seldom in the human world do we encounter beauty so profound that it takes your breath away, but this faerie was the kind of creature that could have armies of men at her disposal, just by smiling. She was stunning.

“What is an illusion?” Her voice rang softly, with a slightly tenor quality to it. When no one answered at once, unsure if it was a question or an introduction to a longer lecture, she opened her eyes and looked to random students with raised eyebrows. When her eyes met mine, I jumped slightly, as though a tiny spark of static had hit my spine at that very moment. I saw her pause in her search, and her mouth opened in surprise.

The longer her eyes held mine, the stronger the electric feeling became along my shoulders and up the back of my neck. It grew more and more intense, until I felt that I simply had to do something before one of the other students noticed the odd phenomena.

“An illusion is perceived reality,” I stated, my voice shrinking to a whisper. It was as though my words were sucked up by the airspace between us.

“And what is reality?” Her words seemed to come from both her lips and from some point in my mind. I found the sensation very disquieting, but then, much about the Fae made me nervous, and for good reason.

“It… it’s what we perceive it to be,” I answered, not at all sure if I had even spoken aloud.

The woman nodded in acceptance of my answer.

“Yes. They are the same.” Her eyes at last broke away from mine, and I could breathe again. The tingling in my spine remained but was gradually fading.

“But… how can that be?” asked a tall blond girl about halfway around the circle from me. The faerie turned her head to meet the girl’s confused gaze, and I noticed that the young woman did not appear to have the same reaction that I had.

“That, my dear, is what we will spend the next four weeks exploring.” Then, turning back to the room as a whole, she said, “This is Elementary Illusions, and I am Sheila-Kay. Will someone please tell the class where we are?”

A few of the girls looked at each other, frowning; the rest of us sat in confusion.

“We’re in Elementary Illusions class, near the West House in the Academy of Dana,” recited a brave redhead to my left.

“Are you sure?” asked the faerie raising her hands. I saw the beginnings of a command gesture, and was suddenly blinded by a bright white light. When my eyes had adjusted enough for me to open them a crack, I joined the others students in a collective gasp. We were now sitting outside in a grassy glade.

Then I corrected myself. We _appeared_ to be sitting in a summer glade. Aside from the feel of the sun on my face, a slight cool breeze carrying the scent of Jasmine, and the individual blades of grass that were prickling the bare skin of my legs, there was absolutely nothing that proved we had physically left the semi-darkened, stone-walled rooms that had been our home for the last four weeks. But no one, myself included, gave a shit.

Several girls were giggling with joy at the warmth that flooded down from above and craning their upturned faces toward the strange yellow ball of light in the sky. Others took deep breaths from the fresh air, while one or two just fell back into the bright green grass as if they had never done such a thing before in their lives. I knew how they felt. I had the same temptations. It had been a long time since any of us had been outside during the day. Our trips to The Market had helped me tremendously in this regard, but we were only allowed to venture there at night, or so it seemed.

As tempted as I was, however, I was remembering my experiences during Placement, and the mirror in my dorm room that was actually a passage into the hidden central pools. In the Fae, reality could be, and often was, faked. I watched the others for a few more moments then reached down to pluck a blade of grass. It came away, just as it should have, and I grimaced in frustration. There was no proof there.

But the mirror had been able to fake the actual feel of its surface. It was there because I expected it to be there. Could the grass be something similar? I looked up and saw that Sheila-Kay was watching me. I squinted at the strange faerie, considering that her amazing beauty might also be an illusion. Just as the tingle was starting to crawl down my back again, she raised her hand and our lovely summer day vanished. What replaced it, however, was even more incredible.

Now, instead of an open grassy knoll, we were all lounging about in the middle of a dense and lush forest basin. But the truly incredible thing was that it was pouring rain. Several girls squealed at the cold wetness that fell from the sky in large heavy drops. There was no wind, but the air was brisk, and almost everyone gasped in reflex to the masterful change in climate. I saw a number of girls trying desperately to cover their books or at least use them as makeshift umbrellas as they got up and frantically looked around for some way to get out of the deluge. I simply stared down at my shirt and marveled at the completeness of the illusion. My hair was plastered flat and my cotton “CAMP” tee (still one of my favorites) was soaked and clinging nicely to the shape of my bare chest underneath. I noticed with some surprise that my nipples were quite present, and chalked it up to the sudden cold. Looking back up, I found my new professor was still watching me. I wasn’t sure why, but I found myself laughing.

“What do you find funny?” asked the faerie, grinning with me. She nearly had to yell in order for me to hear her over the dark pouring hiss of the water as it hit a million leaves and branches around us.

“It isn’t real,” I roared back, and gently shook my head. But real or not, it was hilarious to watch as the entire rest of the class either cowered or clambered to find shelter.

“How can you be sure? Perhaps only the forest is an illusion?”

It wasn’t the first time a faerie had seemed to read my mind, and for the briefest of moments I started to panic, looking around me for something that would guide me. I certainly felt drenched, and I knew that it was possible to create or transport water out of seemingly nowhere using magic. But it was her own words that led me to the answer I needed, and almost immediately, my smile returned.

“We’re in a depression,” I called out to her as the rain seemed to increase in intensity. “With this much water coming down, we should be swimming!”

I saw her smile widen through the shower of rain and my eyes couldn’t help but notice her own state of dress. She had come in wearing some kind of very loose white garment that made me think of silk pajamas, with the material something more like a barely opaque cotton. But that outfit was anything but opaque now. The water had turned it nearly transparent, and it was as clingy as my own shirt. Her naked figure underneath was completely visible, and I blushed and looked away for a second, noticing that her own nipples were as hard as mine. When my eyes came back to her face, her head was tilted slightly to one side as though she were waiting for me to say something.

My grin was gone, but in its place was an odd confusion over the emotions I was feeling. My heart rate was up, the tingle was back with a vengeance, and even through the cool downpour I could tell that my cheeks were flushed with blood. I was pretty certain that it wasn’t a fae trick that was making me feel the way I did at that moment. Call it a hunch, but it felt nothing like I was being magically influenced. Which was even more frightening considering what it left. I had never been physically attracted to other females before, fae or not. But something in Sheila-Kay’s eyes made me want to move closer to her… to touch her…

I jerked as if pinched when the classroom snapped back. Students all around were caught like statues as their minds struggled to understand why they were suddenly dry instead of dripping. Several girls cursed under their breath, while others laughed or simply dropped back to a pillow on the floor and tried to gather their personal belongings from the tumble of books, pens, and various cosmetics that were scattered about in the near hysteria.

“Yes,” said the faerie, still looking at me. “The only real difference between illusion and reality is that an illusion requires energy to maintain, no matter how pleasurable.”

I gasped slightly and then snapped my mouth closed. I’m sure my eyes had widened at her words, and I was also certain that those words had been meant for me. I sighed when she finally broke eye contact, and realized that I had been nearly rubbing my palms raw against my thighs. It was a nervous habit I exhibited whenever I got sexually aroused, and I knew that the next four weeks were going to be very complicated.

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