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 26 – Milk and Honey

“Nooo,” I moaned, the sound choking off as my throat tightened to the wave of despair that washed over me. Tears streamed down my face, blurring my vision. My stomach clenched in desperate denial of what I was seeing and I felt as though I might pass out at any moment. “Oh Gaia, no, please…” I continued, whimpering. Slowly, as I struggled to understand what had happened, I saw several more figures on the floor. Two were faeries; Keila and another whose name I was not familiar with. Both were sitting propped up against the side of an overturned table, the unknown one’s arm bent at an angle that certainly wasn’t natural. As I puzzled this, I saw that the the last figure was that of a troll nearly eight feet tall. He was being tended to by another faerie and a brownie as he winced at a large cut just under one brow.

Nothing made sense. I had no idea how long the Queen had kept me in her spell, but surely it couldn’t have been long enough for all this? Frantic for answers, I looked back to the fae woman.

“Try to relax, Miranda,” she said soothingly and I felt her words reach in and try to unbind my cramping muscles. But I couldn’t do as she asked. Not while my friend lay dying on the floor… or was it already too late?

“No,” came the Queen’s voice as her hands found the sides of my face and forced me to hold her gaze. I wanted to look away; to see what was happening, but she denied me. “She will live.”

Sobbing, I shook my head. “But the blood…”

“She is only wounded. She will heal.”

“I don’t believe you,” I cried, remembering the dire pain she had just caused me.

She was taken aback, and for a brief moment I saw within her features the human woman that she used to be. Then it was gone again, and the faerie that peered back held the last emotion in the world that I expected, and that was sorrow… for me.

“Believe yourself then, Miranda,” she said, almost pleading with me. “Ask!”

Suddenly I understood what she was telling me and the realization was enough to not only stop my crying, but also cause me to see the creature above me in an entirely different light. I hadn’t considered how the faerie would handle what she found in my memories. Certainly I had felt great pain, but it wasn’t until that moment that I understood she had been forced to experience all my life, complete with all the angst and loneliness, in a single instant. I marveled that anyone could sustain themselves after that. I also understood that she knew about my ability to predict the future. She understood, and was asking me to use that ability with Michelle.

But I couldn’t. What if it said she would die? As long as I didn’t know, she had a chance.

“Ask, child. It’s all right.”

Her faint smile of understanding was what finally convinced me and I formed the question in my mind. At once, the answer was there and she let me turn my head to look at my friend and roommate again. Tears of joy replaced my tears of sorrow in an instant, and I laughed softly. At my voice, Douglas raised his head. Despite looking severely haggard and bloodstained, he met my eyes with frantic hope.


“She going to be okay, Douglas,” I said to him as loudly as my meager voice would allow. As though someone had turned on a light in his head he shifted his attention back to Michelle, who at that moment, coughed and moaned. He nearly laughed aloud in joy, but was caught between continuing to hold the girl in his arms or running to my side.

“Stay there,” I said quickly. “I’m okay too.”

Several hours later, I was still having trouble understanding just what had happened. We were all seated around various tables in the Main Hall, this time, far more informally. I was a little awed to be sharing a quiet meal with such company, but after I got the basic gist of events, eating together seemed like the logical next step.

The faeries healed the worst of the wounds, Michelle’s or otherwise, but the Queen remained with me until I convinced her that I really was all right. Having someone stomp through my mind isn’t something that I would want to experience ever again, but once the magic faded, so did most of my emotional pain. I was honored beyond words that the highest ranking member of the fae had nothing better to do than to dote over a First Year student, but she made it clear that it was her desire to be certain of my health, and that meant that I should stay next to her while we ate and talked.

Douglas stayed with Michelle until the girl finally threatened to break his leg if he didn’t leave her alone. With a nod and a smile from Ananha, he gave her hand a final squeeze and joined me at the Queen’s table. I caught one of the faerie guards start to try and block him, then thought better of it and backed off. I didn’t quite understand the significance of this until he was able to sit down and recount the whole mess to me while others cleaned up.

Apparently, the moment the Dominion Queen started her spell, I started screaming and went into convulsions. I wasn’t surprised. Even the after-thoughts of being in the grip of that magic made me shiver. Physically, I was never in any danger. I couldn’t speak of the emotional scars I would have, and for which the Queen herself expressed her most sincere apologies, but I’m pretty sure even those will fade with time. But Douglas, Michelle and Candice didn’t know that. All they saw was their friend being hurt.

Candice was by far the most versed of us all in the use of magic, and so was a bit more trusting of it by nature. And Douglas had been raised with the knowledge of the fae world, so his battle was with his personal desire to protect the one he loved, or to obey the Court which he served and trust that the Queen knew what she was doing. But Michelle saw only my pain, and showing a level of courage and commitment not found in many, fae or otherwise, she rose to my aid.

Of course, the guards, as well as the entire high royal court, perceived her as a threat against the Queen direct, and rushed to intervene. To her credit, Michelle never even slowed as she was intercepted by two Principalities, a faerie guard, the troll, three brownies, and about a half dozen sprites. The resulting battle may very well go down in the history books. They managed to subdue her, but not before she had laid out nearly half of her attackers, including Keila.

“It was amazing, Ran”, he said while he stroked my hand and remembered. “She went right through the guard as though she were nothing and had Master Ergel, er… That would be the troll, sailing across the room before you could say Tourgood’s Fanny! Keila and the other Principalities were smart though, and used magical attacks first. But it didn’t work! I still haven’t been able to get anyone to give me a clear explanation, but the best I’ve deduced is that she was spitting out counter-spells on the fly.”

I looked puzzled and turned to the Faerie Queen.

“Mr. McBride is close enough. It’s a fairly rare ability, but some entities are indeed able to counter most spells directed at them by sheer force of will. It’s almost always unpredictable, usually manifesting itself during extreme moments of emotion, but the entity will pre-tell the attacks about to be made against them and produce a counter spell almost as though they had faerie time-sight. In the human world it might easily be confused with what you refer to as ‘instinct.'”

“Whatever it was,” continued Douglas nodding to the Queen, “magic alone wasn’t doin’ it, and Michelle was comin’-on like a steam train.”

“How did they finally stop her,” I asked, incredulous.

My lover smiled, obviously enjoying being able to tell such an incredible tale. “That’s the best part. You see, when Keila saw that her magic wasn’t going to do the trick, she vaulted over the table and went straight at it with hand to hand. I was still seated on my arse with my mouth open, and I can tell ya’ that the whole exchange was over in less than two seconds. One moment they were all a-blur, and the next Keila was crashing into the same table she had just come over. But she’d managed to land a few blows, one of which caused Michelle to falter back a bit. It was in that brief moment that the brownies reached her.”

“Brownies!?” I glanced over at the half-sized females seated at a nearby table. A triad of the fae folk sat together with the dryads drinking from mugs that seems preposterously too large for their doll-like size. Two of them had bandages and were sporting nasty bruises.

“Aye, brownies,” repeated Douglas following my gaze. “They may be small in size, but don’ let it fool ya’. They can fight like the dickens. They worked as a team, two hitting her straight on, while the other snatched up the guard’s sword and came in from behind. I hear they can link so that it’s like fightin’ a single creature. Whatever the case, Michelle was caught off-guard and got skewered right through the middle. Even then, with a sword still stickin’ from ‘er chest, she beat down two of the brownies before she extracted the blade and collapsed.”

“Oh my god!” I exclaimed.

“By that time, things slowed down enough for me to understand that our girl was dead or dyin’ on the floor and I finally moved to action. And it was a damn good thing I did too, as the rest of the room was about ready to blast her into a charred cinder.”

Tears threatened my eyes and I felt the queen’s hand lightly under my chin.

“She will be fine, Miranda. One thing we faeries do well is healing. I doubt she will even have a scar… much to her disappointment,” she added with a slight smile. I smiled too and then looked back at the brownies in confusion.

“Oh, we healed the worst of their injuries, but they like to show off their wounds,” explained the fae Queen as she noticed me staring at the bandaged group.

“Incredible,” I said, lowering my eyes and shaking my head. So much had happened so quickly that I felt as though it were all a dream and that I was still waking up. I noticed immediately how tired I suddenly felt, emotionally and physically, and sighed.

“Miranda, I’m going to go check on Candice,” said my lover as he gave my arm a light squeeze. “Ergel’s decided she’s worth flirting with and she looks like she could use an ‘out’.”

“Oh goodness,” I gasped. “Go!”

“Child,” the Queen spoke with hesitance once we were alone again. “I want you to know that there is no longer any doubt about your Telling. It was indeed Gaia, and not some deception. I’m sorry for having to check.”

I looked up into the woman’s eyes, only realizing as I did it that I might find myself falling into them again. But the pressure of magic was not there. The faerie that stared back at me with a brow furrowed with concern and sadness was just like any other.

“But,” she continued, “there are many things that remain unanswered. I wasn’t able to see all your mind… no no, relax. I know that it wasn’t you preventing me. The Mother Herself forbade me to look into certain of your memories. I do not know why, but she has her reasons, and I will not question. She has let me see the things I need to see.”

“What happens now,” I asked. “What does the Telling mean?”

The Dominion Queen was quiet for a few moments as she reflected on my question. Then, with a very serious face, she looked at me and said simply, “Change.”

It didn’t take long for my little prophesy to make its rounds in the fae rumor mill. What was said in my meeting with the Dominion Queen was of course a private matter, and while they will almost never tell you a lie, half-truths are a way of life in the faerie kingdom. I first noticed it even as early as the following morning at breakfast. Half the room was alight with whispers and not-so-subtle glances in my direction as Douglas, Michelle and Candice flanked me into the main hall and found a table more toward the back. Several third-year girls at the table just to the left of us made quick conversation under their breaths and then stood up and moved to another section of the room. I groaned as I sat down.

“You want me to break their arms,” asked Michelle smiling.

“This isn’t happening,” I replied with my palms pressed to my eyes. I just wanted to blot-out the last twenty four hours completely.

“Hey, at least now we won’t have any trouble finding a table.” Douglas set down his own tray and put and arm around my shoulders. “Really, Ran. Forget about ’em.”

Candice, I noticed, was uncommonly quiet, as though she were waiting to see how things played out first before she decided whether on not she wanted to hang out with the rest of us. I squashed that reasoning as soon as I thought it. If Candice was anything, it was loyal. But she also wasn’t going to speak unless she could say something that I needed to hear. And she was right. The others had accepted being outcasts within our grade from the first week. It was I who was having difficulty with being different, and she knew it.

“If only I could remember it,” I said staring down at the bowl of cereal that I had grabbed from the large ornate cart that was wheeled into the room from some unknown storage area each morning. On it was anything your heart could desire for breakfast, and then some, including a few delicacies that only the faeries ever ate, or so it seemed. Douglas always took enough food to feed three, and still complained whenever I pilfered even the smallest morsel. Candice on the other hand ate like a bird at breakfast. Michelle was somewhere in-between, but was by far the healthiest eater of the four of us.

“At least then I could feel responsible for being a complete freak.” I realized that I had forgotten to pour any milk on my cereal and jabbed at the dry flakes idly with my spoon.

No one had a quick answer and I suddenly found that all my friends had their mouths full of food. It’s not like I was really expecting to escape being different, I was just hoping to hold it off for just a little longer… Like maybe my second or third year.

To make matters worse, I was basically having to start all over again with my new MOS. Candice was shocked when I had explained back in our dorm that morning what had happened right before being called in for my royal grilling, but it was more that I could change my Ob’ilar at all that caused her eyes to widen rather than the fact that I had completely lost control of the thing. I was about to confide my conversation with my Grandmother with her when she said, “I told you that Professor Brightly was on our side. Damn, I wish I could switch a few things. Do you think he’d free up mine as well?”

“Uh… I um…” I had stammered as she plowed on.

“Yeah, you’re probably right. He’d open a whole gaggle of security issues if he let everyone rewrite their systems.”

I didn’t correct her then, and the need to drop the bombshell of my heritage on her passed. We had spent about two hours in Humble Hall before our late night charms class letting me slowly work my way into my new magical skin. It was pretty slow going, and although I was able to mostly keep myself from activating the thing whenever I scratched my nose or blinked, I still wasn’t confident enough to risk leaving on my amulet when I was in public. The good news was that I was right about it making things faster. Candice was green with envy at how quickly I was able to reach and activate various command spells, at least until I accidentally dropped into the wrong charm and caused a noxious smelling vapor to burp out of the chalkboard forcing us to leave the room. I was far more worried about what Michelle would say when I told her I now had about the same level of control as I did in my first week at the Academy.

So it was that I was pondering just how to break the news that her partner for the games was a magical cripple when I absentmindedly looked back at the cart and the milk jug. I dreaded having to walk alone under the stares of half the room to put a little dairy on my cereal and had just decided that I could probably stomach them dry when I saw Candice look up over my shoulder in surprise.

“I thought you said you weren’t going to risk using your MOS in public,” she whispered to me across the table so that only I could hear.

“I’m not,” I replied, somewhat confused and then saw her glance over my shoulder at something again.

Turning, just my head, I could see there was an object floating directly behind me. My heart started racing when I realized that it was the milk jug. Clearing my throat, I carefully reached back and brought the metal container to rest on the table in front of me and then cleared away the faint lines of my MOS that where hovering silently in the air. I knew that only I would be able to see them, but it was the implications of them being there at all that had me worried. I chanced a look over at the staff table and saw that all the teachers, fae or otherwise, were currently engaged in a humorous story being told by the Headmaster. One of the faeries could have pulled it off without me noticing, but I knew that wasn’t the case. I had charmed that jug into levitating to our table… Only I hadn’t. I also hadn’t been wearing my amulet. Douglas and Michelle were engaged in their food and didn’t seem to notice the mysterious appearance of the milk, as it wasn’t that uncommon to find various items floating around the large hall during meals. It hadn’t attracted the attention of other students either, at least not more than usual.

Candice waited until we were back in the halls after breakfast and Douglas and Michelle had gone off to their respective early classes before she caught me with a frowning face.

“Okay, what’s up, Miranda?”

“Nothing, I’m fine. It was just a fluke,” I replied shrugging my shoulders.

She glared at me. “You’re MOS activated on its own, didn’t it?”

My mouth fell open. “I don’t know… maybe… yes.”

“Shit,” she exclaimed quietly. “That isn’t supposed to be possible until you graduate from your first year, Ran.”

I rolled my eyes. “So when have I ever done anything according to the norm? But that’s not what bothers me,” I continued as I took her by the elbow and steered her around a corner as I saw a particular group of third-year’s come out of the main hall.

“Candice, it’s true I didn’t call up my magic… But I didn’t consciously cast that charm on the milk either.”

The girl’s face took on a confused expression. “What do you mean? I saw the jug floating there. You didn’t do that?”

I took a deep breath and let it out slowly as I checked to see if anyone was watching us. “Yes, it was me that cast that levitation charm…”

“But you just said…” she started.

“…But not consciously,” I continued slowly and clearly for emphasis.

Candice looked at me incredulously from under her raised brows. “Really?”

“Really,” I replied with a sickening feeling in my stomach. “So you understand what that means, right?”

“Uh… That you’re using magic subconsciously?”

“Candice! I can’t control it,” I spoke louder than I had meant to and quickly reverted to a hushed whisper. “My Ob’ilar came up all on its own and executed a charm without me even knowing I was doing it!”

“It was just a milk jug,” she said, shrugging her shoulders.

“Yeah? What if it had been a flame spell, or a stunner, or Gaia-forbid, one of Rachael’s monstrosities!?”

Candice’s face fell as the implications finally hit her. “Oh.”

“Yeah, oh. This is not good. I have got to find a way to control this thing before I end up killing someone, or even myself.”

We were both quiet for a moment as a group of students walked passed. Several of them eyed me with suspicious stares until they were out of sight.

“Miranda,” asked Candice quietly. “Why the milk jug?”

I was still thinking about the look of disgust on the faces of the girls that had just walked by. It seemed I was more the topic of gossip than I realized. “I forgot to get milk when I filled my bowl with cereal.”

“And you didn’t want to get up?” she prompted.

“Well no, Candice. I like having an entire room full of people stare at me while I demonstrate what an idiot I am.” I realized immediately that my tone was a bit hot and apologized. “Sorry.”

“It’s alright, but Ran, don’t you see? That’s different!”

“Different how?”

She was smiling as she took my hand and led me off towards our mutual crafting lesson. “It wasn’t just some random spell. You wanted the milk, so your subconscious acted to get it for you. You’ve always told me that you think in parallel.”

“Yeah, I guess,” I said as I considered her words. It made sense.

We were almost to the Headmaster’s study before she spoke again.

“You’re right about one thing though,” she said as we walked into the filling room and found a seat. “You do need to get a handle on it quickly, before its revenge you want and not just some milk.” I noticed that Candice was looking around the room with a frown. When I followed her gaze I saw that almost every single student present was watching us with the look of purest hatred. Somehow, in the course of a single day I had gone from being teacher’s pet to mass murderer.

It got worse. We finished with the Headmaster and had just split up, Candice going off to Arithmancy and I on my way to Illusions when a group of fourth-years blocked the hallway just outside the classroom. I was a bit early, so the rest of the hall was empty. When they didn’t move aside as I approached, my heart sank.

“Excuse me,” I said clearly and without emotion. The last thing in the world I wanted right then was to get in a fight. All the girls that faced me were quite a bit bigger than I was, and I recognized at least two from Combat Training. If it came to blows, I’d be flattened in seconds.

“Look who it is,” said a very tall female with light colored braids in her normally brunette hair. She was a South House girl by the name of Delaney Safil. She and Shaina Robles had hung out together at times. I never heard what had happened to my former nemesis, but the girl hadn’t spoken a single word or even acknowledged me since she had tried to drive me insane with one of Rachael’s practice tomes. I doubted that her housemate’s presence that afternoon was an accident.

“The traitor herself. I’m surprised you have the courage to show your face in these halls.”

I didn’t understand what she was talking about, but I wasn’t going to argue. She wanted a fight so she could claim it had been self-defense later. “Let me pass, ” I said holding her eyes and showing no outward fear. Inside I was holding down a tight knot of apprehension. I wasn’t worried that I could hold my temper, it was what my subconscious might do that worried me.

“Let me pass,” repeated the girl in a whiny, mocking voice. The other Fourths laughed. “I don’t think so,” she answered, her face returning to its dark and menacing form. “Do you know what we do with traitors in the fae?” She spat her question down at me as she closed the gap between us. At the same time, several others in the group moved around me so that I couldn’t turn and escape the way I had come. “We…”

Her words were cut short as a hand slapped down on her shoulder and spun her around. There was a quick flurry of arms in the air followed by three quick thumps before Safil found herself pinned to the wall with the breath knocked out of her. I gasped when I saw Michelle’s cocked elbow pressing hard into the crook of the other’s throat. Her other hand was twisting the wrist of a second girl on her knees who was making little gasps of pain as she was held in a tight lock with her arm up above and behind her.

“Michelle, NO!” I yelled as I started to move forward. The rest of Delaney Safil’s pack was shocked and trying to decide what to do next, but looked as though they might advance on my friend at any moment. I was nearly panicked myself, fearing a repeat of my meeting with the fae High Council only a day earlier. I had just pushed aside the nearest girl with the intent of dragging Michelle away physically if necessary when a woman’s voice boomed angrily in the hallway with the force of an earthquake.


Everyone present, including Michelle, ducked and winced at the ear-splitting noise. Turning as one, we saw that the door into the Illusions study was open and Sheila-Kay stood in the frame glaring at us. Her face was bristling with fury and, even though her arms were passively at her sides, she radiated a tense strength that I was certain even an eight foot troll warrior would back away from. Nobody said anything.

I think I was the first to notice the flurry of icy snow that was blowing out of the room into the hall, the large, wet flakes settling like needles on our exposed skin. Even still, it wasn’t the cold that had most of us shaking.

“Well!” She repeated at a much reduced volume.

I quickly glanced at Michelle and saw that she was still holding Delaney, who was starting to turn a bit blue from lack of oxygen, against the wall. I needed to act.

“It was a misunderstanding, Professor,” I said quickly and clearly. “Just a bit of friendly pre-games taunting.”

My Illusion’s professor glared first at Michelle. She loosened her grip on Delaney who slid down the wall gasping. The faerie then met each of the other girls in turn.

“Is this true, Fourth?” She had spoken directly to Delaney Safil, who was still trying to compose herself. She made a quick sideways glare at Michelle, then at me, before turing to the faerie.

Rubbing her neck she hesitantly replied, “Yeah. Just a bit of teasing.”

There was an uncomfortable silence during which time it was unclear to all present what might happen next. Finally, it was the Professor who spoke again. “Fourth Safil, I believe you are due in History, are you not?”

“Yes, Ma’ am,” she replied, and with a slight jerk of her head for the others to follow, she set off down the hall, still rubbing at the point where Michelle’s elbow had been pinning her windpipe.

“And you, Miss Stuckey, are late for Combat practice, though it would appear you have already started.”

Michelle looked to me and I got the impression that the girl would have stayed at my side, even against direct command of the professor, had I indicated I needed her. “Ran?”

“Go, please.” I said simply. She nodded once and then bowed politely to the faerie before she jogged off down the corridor as well. I seriously hoped that she wouldn’t hunt down Delaney and her gang the moment she was out of view as I stared after her.

“Miranda, in here. Now,” said the Professor startling me. She was holding open the door into the empty classroom. I sighed and stepped into the indicated room and almost fell on my face as my feet slid on an icy floor covered with a thin layer of newly fallen snow. The whole of the room, including all the pillows and shelves of books was covered by a similar blanket of whiteness, and I found myself goggling. It was beautiful.

Holding my elbow to draw me upright, the faerie waved her hand and the whole wonderland vanished in an instant, leaving me wide-eyed and just a little sad. Then she walked quickly over to her desk at the far side of the room and dropped down into an ornately carved wooden chair. There, she put her hands up on the top of her desk in a little steeple and made a soft clucking sound while she stared at me, her eyes unreadable.

I moved to the soft chair directly in front of her, sat down, and waited.

“You’re going to need to be careful, Miranda,” she said finally. “Most don’t understand the significance of your Telling, or what it means to this school or even the whole of the fae.”

I lowered my eyes and mumbled, “It wasn’t MY idea.”

“No, it was Gaia’s, and you’d do well to remember that, Miss Summers.” Her voice was suddenly hard and angry again. I swallowed.

“I… Sorry.”

“Miranda,” came her voice with such softness that I looked up surprised. “Keep in mind that most of the fae is ancient compared to the human students here. We know how the Mother does things and know better than to be angry at a messenger. Given time, the Tuatha will know these ways as well. Until then,” and she rose like steam from behind her desk and slid around to lean on the front edge near to me. “They are going to take out their resistance to change on the only person they can… And that’s you.”

I sighed and tried to force out the tension in my aching shoulders. “I know,” I replied after a silent moment.

The faerie closed her eyes, and after a brief period opened them again with a glazed expression. I recognized it as the look of one who is peering into the paths of time.

“It’s going to get… much worse… before it gets better. So, it is I who should apologize.” She turned to me, her face concerned. I didn’t know what to say. Only moments before I had seen a side of her I hadn’t know existed. Fury was a faerie emotion you don’t want to be on the receiving end of too often. My normally sweet and gentle illusions professor had let slip a part of her that frightened me. I wasn’t sure why, but it was like discovering a sharp thorn among a bouquet of roses. I saw her face change to one of profound sadness and I remembered that my teacher could feel any thoughts regarding her as if they were her own. At once I regretted the comparison.

“Don’t fear me,” came her voice in a pleading whisper. “Please don’t fear me…”

There was such desperation in her tone that I knew there was more at stake in her words than just her self-image. There was something else, an almost shivering despair behind her eyes that caused me to gasp softly. We stared at each other for what seemed an impossibly long time, every second punctuated by the rapidly increasing beat of my heart. And then I knew. I recognized what I was feeling in a rush of emotion. It was lust. But not some magically enhanced version like I might receive from one of my nymph professor’s spells, but the same genuine rush that I felt whenever Douglas and I were alone.

And then I felt the familiar tingle along my spine. It was the identical sensation to the one I had experienced from the very first day I stepped into the professor’s class. The same one I felt nearly any time she looked at me. It was a warm, almost electric pulsing down my back, along my thighs, and right up to the points of my nipples. And the longer she stared at me, the stronger the sensations became.

She was slowly leaning down, her face closing on mine. For the briefest of moments, I almost pulled away in fear of what was happening. But it was her eyes that held me. A great portion of my mind was befuddled in the swirling mass that was rising arousal, but another part was reminding me that relationships between students and teachers was discouraged, but not forbidden. In the fae, how could it be? Propriety was strictly a human emotion.

There was a charged spark of pleasure that coursed through my body the moment our lips met and I jerked slightly in surprise. I knew that Sheila-Kay had felt it as well, though her control was far better than my own. Her mouth turned subtly to a smile, and her eyes closed in delight and happiness as our mouths settled into one another’s. Her breath was warm and as soft as a summer day. Her face smelled like a fresh rain in the forest, and her lips were as soft as heather.

Moaning, I breathed her in and let my tongue glide forward on her own. The taste of wild berries slid smoothly over my palate with each shuddering intake of air. Also smiling, I closed my own eyes and let my head fall back in rising bliss. The faerie moved her mouth upward and sucked on my upper lip for a moment before settling more firmly down upon me again. My breath quickened even further when I felt her velvet hands come to either side of my face and cup my chin. One slid up along the ridge of my jaw to my ear, while the other moved slowly down my neck. I knew where it was headed, and I also knew that I wanted that touch more than anything at that moment. Her fingers traced the strangely coarse edge of my shirt, then, slipping under the fabric, ran sensuously along the ridge of each collar bone before dipping into the well between my breasts. My staccato breath caused her digits to tickle as they so very slowly curled around my left mound and cupped me gently.

Butterflies scuttled though my belly in a flutter of awakening sexuality. My thighs tensed with fire and need as the very tips of her fingers and thumb came to rest on the overtly present cone of my nipple.

“Ughnmmmm…” I groaned as my own hands rose up, searching cautiously to touch her as well. They moved hesitantly, fearing that they might dispel the heaven-like moment. When they met the soft, thinly veiled flesh of her knee, there was another quick spark and her smile deepened yet again. The gossamer fabric was hardly more than a breeze, and I could sense every tiny motion of her powerful legs under my fingers. They seemed to be moving constantly. After a moment, I realized that the faerie was sliding still closer to me, shifting her body so that she guided my hand up over her knee and on to her thigh. I felt her whole body shiver in the thrill of arousal, her tongue alight in my mouth, her fingers tensing on the pulsing nub at my breast. A soft purr settled into my throat as she expressed her joy more verbally, and the warm sound had an amazingly stimulating effect on my already enflamed libido as it slid down my throat like a thick liquor.

I was making little mewing sounds myself, and had just let my fingers slip to the crease where her upper thigh and hips met. My fingers were slowly tracing their way inward when she groaned softly and broke away from the kiss.

I opened my eyes and withdrew my hand as I sensed the change in her demeanor. She saw the worry on my face and smiled.

“I’m so sorry, Miranda,” she said with both genuine regret and mirth. “As much as I wish to continue, I fear we are about to lose our privacy.”

“I don’t understand…” I started to say, and then I did. The rest of the students in her class would be arriving at any moment. I knew that no one would enter without her permission since the door was closed, but it wouldn’t do to make an entire class wait while we… I caught myself. While we what? What would have happened had we continued? I looked up at the faerie and she smiled very warmly, following my thoughts. I saw her brow rise a bit and she tilted he head ever so slightly. What indeed. A moment later she moved back behind her desk and began to craft something in magic. I watched in fascination, my mind wandering.

“Professor…” I started.

She interrupted me. “Miranda, when we are in class or in the halls, I am certainly your professor, but please, do call me by my name when we are alone.”

“Sheila-Kay,” I began again.

“Tannas,” she said looking up at me.

“I’m sorry?”

“Tannas,” she repeated. “It is my secret name. The name that I tell only to those I trust with my very soul.”

My mouth opened, but I couldn’t find the words to say.

“Do you know why I trust you, Miranda,” she asked as she returned to the construct that only she could see before her hands.

“No,” I replied simply. Certainly one kiss didn’t qualify as a deep relationship within the fae. Even sex didn’t hold the same level of connection that it did in the world of humans. I heard the faerie giggle.

“Because we share the same Brìodal. Do you know what that means?”

I paused, confused, as I tried to translate. “Caress?”

She smiled. “It can mean that too, but in this case it means, ‘lover’s language’. That tingling feeling you get when we touch?…” She saw my eyes widen. “I feel it as well. It’s an indication that our souls are in harmonic resonance with each other.”

At the word “resonance,” my mind shifted instantly into overdrive and clamped down hard. I felt the same mental detachment that I had experienced in front of the Dominion Queen, as though a part of me was hiding thoughts from exposure to the faerie. Outwardly, I cringed slightly. Sheila-Kay noticed and tilted her head again slightly but went on.

“It simply means that we would make good lovers, and that I may be what is known as your ‘Sheeaghan.'”

“Faerie Spirit,” I translated, surprised.

“Yes,” she added, making a few final tweaks to the invisible creation that floated in front of her. “Every human has a spirit signature that meshes perfectly with one member of the fae. There are rare occasions where you might have more than one Sheeaghan, but since the ability to verify signatures was lost long ago, there is almost no way to be certain.”

“And what does it mean if you find your match,” I asked, somewhat tentatively.

“Just that you have found the one member of the fae who is most compatible with you. You would share a special bond throughout your lives.”

“Does it happen often? Finding your Sheeaghan I mean.”

“More than you might think. Any human will be naturally drawn to their fae match. It’s just that until very recently, there haven’t been very many humans within the fae. Here,” she said holding out her hand. As she did so, an intricate collection of moving lights became visible as a swirling, gyrating mass of glowing parts, in all no bigger than a baseball. It was a glyph, the magical construct that Sheila-Kay had just built as I watched. It was so intricate and delicate looking that I thought that if I sneezed, it would blow apart. I was entranced by its beauty. “It’s a present. Only…” she hesitated.

“What?” I tore my eyes away and smiled at her.

“You had better activate it someplace private when you have a bit of time. Just wave your hand over it three times.”

I looked back to the tiny magical machine.

“What does it do?”

She just beamed at me. “You’ll see. Trust me on the privacy thing.”

“Can anyone else see this,” I asked. Rachael and others had shown us glyphs before. I’d even tried my hand at a few, but nothing of this intricacy. And always it had been necessary to work within a specially charmed space so that anyone outside of our own MOS’s could see them.

“Just you and me. Don’t worry, it’s not as fragile as it looks. You can set it in the air and it will hover about you if you don’t wish to hold it,” she said as she came back around her desk and headed for the door.

“I don’t know what to say.”

“Don’t say anything. You can tell me how you liked it… after.”

“After what,” I asked.

She just grinned mischievously and then opened the door to the classroom. Paula Thumpkin, one of the other students, was standing just outside with her fist raised as though she were about to knock. With a flowing gesture, she implored the group of students waiting outside to enter.

During class, I pretty much kept my focus on Sheila-Kay, which was both good and bad. Having set the softly whirling glyph in the air above my head where it wouldn’t be a distraction, I found that keeping my attention on my work, and subsequently controlling my MOS, prevented me from worrying about the occasional whispers behind me. The problem was, I had to either stare at my work, or the Professor herself, which lent to another distraction as I quite vividly recalled the kiss we had shared only minutes earlier. Apparently, my recollection was clear enough to be a distraction to the faerie as well and I had to bury my thoughts for a later date after I caused her to pause abruptly in her lecture several times when I relived the feel of her fingers at my nipple.

We worked on ego-exortus charms that day, or illusions that alter one’s personal appearance. The lessons were absolutely hilarious, which again distracted people from their current hatred of me. Imagine being able to change your hair color at a whim, or increase the size of your bust a notch or two… or four in some cases. Mayan Creedy, a tall redhead with a normally flat chest, had given herself an obscenely full set of knockers that made her look like something from a comic book. Valerie Birchwood, on the other hand, had missed something with her charm and ended up causing her normally attractive nose to elongate until it was almost a foot in length.

My own attempts were coming along rather nicely as well, if not just a little more slowly. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to attempt something more complicated, quite the opposite, in fact. I was understandably concerned about the control of my Ob’ilar. After seeing Valerie in tears, begging the Professor to fix her mistake, I knew that prudence was definitely in order. But I was trying something a little different. Instead of a fixed single change, I wanted to know if I could get my charm to mimic someone else’s parameters.

I had just completed my setup and was about to test when I sensed someone standing just behind me on my left. Turning, I saw that Petra Kosilov, a smallish South-House blond girl with pig-tails, was watching me with an odd sort of smile.

“Oh, hey Petra,” I commented as I continued to make the last of my settings. When she didn’t respond right away, I began to get a little nervous.

“They say you are a traitor to the Seelie Court,” she said flatly, the smile gone. I heard the slightly Russian accent in her words.

I looked up and met her eyes. “Do they.”

“Yes. But I do not believe it is so.”

My brows rose slightly as I pretended to be busy finalizing my magic again.

“No? And why not? Everyone else seems to.”

She frowned. “You had a… Telling, yes?”

Now it was my turn to frown. “Yes.”

“Do not all Tellings come from The Mother?”

I looked up again. The girl appeared genuinely concerned about something.

“So it has been explained to me,” I replied, shrugging my shoulders.

She shook her head slightly. “Then I do not see how this makes you a Traitor. They are wrong to say so.”

I didn’t comment. It occurred to me that no one had yet asked me how I felt about the contents of the Telling, neither student nor teacher. In fact, even I hadn’t given the matter much consideration, but for different reasons. I was avoiding the issue because I was flat out afraid of my own answer. It was true that my Telling had implored sympathy on the Unseelie Court, and people just assumed that since the words came from my mouth, that I must certainly believe them. But did I? Was I, as the faerie Cailleach had said, an Unseelie human? I chickened out and squashed the thought line, knowing that I wasn’t yet ready for the answer, true or false.

Petra smiled again, and I found myself liking the strange girl.

“Not everyone believes this lie,” she continued seriously. “There are a number of first-year’s who… follow you.”

I opened my mouth to say something, but found I couldn’t find the words. Before I could question her, she was speaking again.

“Have you tried the charm yet,” she asked, nodding to the invisible construct that I had been pretending to finish.

“I was just about to, er… in fact, do you think you could help me for a minute?”

She brightened. “How can I help you,” she said in a startlingly western tone that made me think she had once worked in an American department store. I suppressed the mirth that was threatening to burst from my gut and smiled warmly instead.

“I need a subject to sample from… No, don’t worry,” I added quickly when I saw her eyes widen. “It’s just your image that I want, not blood or something.”

The girl relaxed and then nodded. “Da. Proceed.”

“Right, okay then…” I said as I stood and faced her. Then, being very careful not to lose control, I told my charm to find the person directly in front of me and use them as a source for the illusion. Normally, this would have needed a full set of command gestures as well as a few verbal confirmations, but with my new MOS, it must have looked to Petra as though I stood and almost immediately changed. From my own perspective, there was an odd shift in my vision, and it suddenly seemed as though I were standing in a hole. I wasn’t sure anything else had happened until I saw Petra’s face, which was abruptly ghost white.

“By the Holy Mother…” she said in a whisper as she crossed herself. “You… you look like me!”

I couldn’t help but smile and look down at myself… or rather herself since she was right. My charm had worked perfectly and I really did look like her, clothes and all. In fact, that vision shift was due to the fact that Petra was actually quite a bit shorter than I was, and since I was now looking through what would appear as her eyes, they were closer to the ground. I hadn’t anticipated that aspect of the charm, and it brought about some interesting possibilities that I would have to explore later.

“So it worked alright?”

“Da…” she replied staring at me, her mouth still hanging open. Then, with a slight amount of caution, she slowly reached forward to touch my cheek. I realized too late that it wouldn’t work. Her hand came closer and closer to my face, but when she should have made contact she suddenly looked completely taken aback. I felt her fingers bump into my right collarbone.

Of course. I realized at once that it only appeared as though I was her height. In reality, she was several inches shorter, and I told her so.

She blushed and shook her head. “You are ahead of the rest of us in so many ways. I had heard the rumors, but… One should not believe everything they hear, yes?”

“Amen,” I smiled and canceled the magic. After a brief moment of disorientation, I was once again looking down on her with my own features.

When the class was over I wanted to stay behind for a few minutes to talk to Sheila-Kay again, but I she was speaking with three other students already. I could wait, but then I’d risk being in the halls alone, and I had a pretty strong feeling that such a move wouldn’t be a good idea. Thinking it better to take the safer road, I left with the others, and went out of my way to stay within sight of another student from the class until I was almost to my dorm room. I doubted that it would by any means guarantee my safety, but it might just make an attacker think twice if there were witnesses.

I had just turned the corner when I saw Candice standing in front of our door, just staring.

“Hey there, girlfriend,” I said merrily, hoping to sound enough out of character to bring her away from whatever funk she was in. I badly needed a smiling friendly face. But when Candice turned to me with her mouth open and her features set in mournful apology, I knew that something else was up. Then I got a look at our door.

“Oh shit…” I cursed, staring at the glowing letters, magically etched at eye-level across the width of the portal. There was a single word, “BRAHDER”.

“Does that mean what I think it means,” my roommate asked sadly.

“Traitor,” I replied, seething, my hands balled into fists as I fought to keep my blood pressure down. I felt my face go hot. “No. I’m not going to let them get to me… It’s what they want.”

“Miranda, I’m so sorry… If it’s any consolation, I think I know the spell they used. I’m pretty sure I can get it off.”

I turned to her. “No. Leave it.”

“But, Ran, you can’t let them…”

“LEAVE IT!” I yelled harshly. Candice visibly flinched, fear and surprise playing over her face and I regretted it at once. Sighing heavily I closed my eyes and forced the emotions back. It was getting harder and harder to do so. When I opened my eyes again, Candice was still watching me. To my relief, she now looked more concerned than frightened.

“I’m sorry,” I said with as much sincerity as I could muster. “This really is the last thing I want to deal with right now. What do you say we just forget about the door and go straight to lunch? I’m starving.”

After a moment’s hesitation, she smiled and I relaxed. “Sure.”

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