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 50 – Pardons, Pantries, and Preparations

The next several minutes were very confusing. I kept expecting to encounter a squad of Fae soldiers around every corner, but we saw no one. I considered that it was late, and that everyone was asleep, but the halls of the Iron Mountain were never really silent. Many of the Fae folk kept nocturnal schedules, yet we traveled in careful silence all the way to the main reception hall unseen.

I frowned when I saw the massive statue of my grandmother, her own sword thrust skyward. Standing before the depiction, I wondered if it was somehow prophetic.

“You okay?” asked the faerie.

“I may never come back here,” I said sadly. “So much of my life has changed in the last twelve weeks. I feel like it’s all a blur.”

“Just wait until you’ve lived a couple thousand years,” she replied, placing a gentle hand on my arm. “We should go.”

I took a long drawn out breath and nodded. Resigned, we were almost to the portal when I heard someone running down the hall behind us. Not wanting anyone to actually see me leave, I hesitated.

“MIRANDA, WAIT!” Yelled a voice that caused my eyes to widen. Turning, I saw Marcus Brightly come into the room. He was alone, and had apparently been running for a while. Winded, be had to stop and catch his breath before he could even talk again. Cailleach stepped between us defensively. He was bent over with his hands on his knees as he fought to regain his strength, and I noticed that he had a bundle of papers under one arm.

“Please… wait…” he said, with a little more control to his breathing.

I looked to Cailleach and then down at myself, motioning. A moment later my vision shifted back to normal and I appeared myself again. There was no point to the illusion if the Professor could see through it that easily.

“Why?” I said flatly.

The man finally took a few more breaths and then straightened. His face looked ragged and tired, as though he hadn’t slept in several days. “These… are for you.” He answered, holding out the papers. “And you as well, Cailleach.”

Neither of us moved.

“Please,” he entreated. “I have no intention to stop you if you wish to leave.”

I still wasn’t buying it. “What is it?” I asked.

“It’s a full pardon. Signed and sealed by the entire Seelie High Court, for all crimes past and present. There’s one for each of you.”

I was surprised, but Cailleach actually took a step back. “You lie… The Seelie Royal Court would never sign such a document.”

“See for yourself,” he said, and then sat down on the stone bench at the base of the statue. It was the same place I had rested when I last saw my grandmother. He tossed the packet of papers into the center of the room between us.

I looked to Cailleach.

“It’s a trick, Miranda. Keila would never forgive me. We have too much blood between us.”

“Oh, I didn’t say that she forgave you, just that I forced her to pardon you. She no longer has any legal ground to hold you on any charge. Either of you.”

“I think you mean, YOU don’t have any ground to hold us…” I commented. You’re the head of the Tuatha dé Danann.”

“Not any more.” He waved his hand at the pile of papers. “You’ll also find my resignation as Headmaster, effective immediately… Actually, about a half hour ago,” he said absentmindedly as he looked at his wrist where he may have once long ago worn a watch.

“What?…” I exclaimed softly, suddenly feeling a knot in the pit of my stomach. “Why?”

Up until that moment, I was ready to dive for the portal when it became apparent that everything we had seen, including the papers, was all part of some elaborate ruse to trick or delay us. But when the man looked up at me, it was with eyes that were tired and beaten. There was a resolution there that I recognized in myself, that things were completely beyond our control, and that all that remained was the inevitable, inescapable realization of being a single small cog on a very big gear.

“You were right, Miranda. Everything you said about how we were using you… this school, all of it; you were right. Regardless of our intentions, we should never have tried to manipulate students with time-sight, or in any way for that matter. Once it became public knowledge, it was instantly obvious how wrong we had been… how wrong I had been… to attempt such foolishness.”

“Public knowledge? What are you talking about?!”

He looked confused. “Why, this!…” he waved his hands around the empty room. “The revolt of course! Didn’t you notice there are no guards here?”

I just stared at him.

“You don’t know?…” He was flabbergasted.

“I only broke us out of Sherith Mal a few minutes ago. We came straight here.”

His eyes grew wide. “You escaped from Sherith Mal… on your own?!” He said the words slowly, as though he were having trouble comprehending. “How is that even possible?” He seemed lost in the puzzle.

“You mentioned a revolt? A revolt by who?”

He looked up, startled. “By the students, of course.”

That knot in my stomach turned into full on nausea. He continued.

“I assume the information came from you through Michelle, as she was the only one who saw you after that mess with Black Blood.” He said. “And when Petra heard what had happened to you, and that we were using time sight to manipulate things here, she went bonkers. She gathered up the Firsts, and together they confronted the other grades. She gave an amazing speech. You would have been very proud of her.

“At first, they didn’t believe her, but Grace Leavey came forward and confirmed every word. As mad as the Firsts were, the other grades were furious! Petra tried to calm them, but they were already out of control. And then, of course, there was Gaia’s intervention…”

“What did you say?” asked Cailleach, looking suddenly pale.

The headmaster looked up and stared at the faerie without emotion.

“Gaia. She took us… The leadership I mean. One moment we were trying to calm the students and calling for backup, and the next thing we knew we were all standing in a forest someplace… Oregon I think.”

My faerie lover actually took a step closer, stunned but silent.

“All the faerie Principalities were there, as well as a few dozen others… And Gaia herself of course.”

“You… saw her?” asked Cailleach in a whisper.

I noticed the headmaster sigh. “Oh yes. She was angry, you see. At first, I thought it was because she disapproved of the way we had been running the school.” He actually chuckled softly. “Such vanity. But that wasn’t it at all. It was you two. She demanded to know what I had done with you both, which surprised me. I guess I assumed she was, well, omniscient.”

“Sherith Mal severed our connection to her,” said Cailleach looking terrified. “It also blocked us in time.”

Marcus nodded. “I thought that might be the case. When I told her what I had done, she was livid. For a few moments I was certain that she was about to burn me into a cinder where I stood. Instead, she looked me straight in the eye and told me simply to ‘fix it’, then left in a thunderclap. Poof.”

“I knew right away what needed to be done. Our first priority was to get you both out of that prison, not just physically, but legally. I knew that couldn’t take place unless I gave you a full pardon…”

I looked at my faerie friend, who had a passive, almost confused expression. I couldn’t blame her. “Go on.”

He sat forward a bit. “It wasn’t easy, let me tell you. Even with the Earth Mother standing right there in front of her and basically telling us we had screwed up, in the end, it was down to Keila.” The man shifted his gaze to the faerie. “She didn’t want to sign. She outright refused at first. As she had written the order to have you imprisoned, it was essential that she give her mark to have you released. Finally, she relented, but only under protest.”

Stepping forward, Cailleach snatched the papers off the floor and opened them. She read for a few moments, then placed her hand over them and uttered a few words in old Fae. The documents glowed a lime green color for a moment and she lifted her head back up to Marcus in wide-eyed disbelief.

“It’s true,” she said simply. “The seals are genuine.”

“But why free us? What difference does that make in the end? It doesn’t excuse what you did!” I was suddenly furious myself.

Brightly covered his face with his hands for a few moments. “No. It doesn’t.” He answered. “But don’t you see it? You’re the key to all of this. They won’t listen to me, only you can make things right.”

“How?!” I said angrily.

“Petra said it was you who saw what we needed. That you had to beat down the upper grades in order to get them together… to have unity if we were ever going to stand up against an invasion by the Unseelie Court.”

“What?!” Interrupted Cailleach. “Are you insane?! We have enough problems without trying to start another full scale war… Didn’t you hear Miranda’s Telling?!”

“I did,” he answered. “But I didn’t get it. I was too busy trying to do keep people under control… Under my control.” He looked back to me and suddenly his face reflected surprise. “It wasn’t the Unseelie you were worried about at all,” he said carefully. “Was it? You understood that Telling. You knew the Fomorians would be the real danger… you’ve been manipulating this all along!”

I held my breath for a second while I collected myself, fervently hoping that neither of them could pick out my thoughts. If they wanted to believe my source was the Telling then that was good by me. Finally, I nodded slowly. “I knew what needed to be done,” I replied truthfully. “But not how to get there. The games provided a means to an end.”

“Miranda, I should have seen what Gaia was trying to tell me right then and there at the Song Circle… certainly later in the presence of the Queen, but I was a stubborn old fool. I let what I wanted the Fae to be, get in the way of what the Mother needed the Fae to be… And that’s unified.”

Cailleach laughed aloud. “Marcus Brightly, not an hour ago I was still locked in Sherith Mal after having come here in good faith. If you think I’m going to just accept your bribe and forget the past, you’re crazier than a gnome at sea. But,” she said sighing, “I came here in the hope that I might garner your aid in defending the gates, which takes precedent over any personal misgivings I might harbor. Full unification is perhaps a little ambitious though…”

He shook his head. “No, I know that. It’s going to take time. That pardon is nothing more than a first step. You were willing to act in that good faith to save Miranda… You trusted me, and I let you down. So now I’m trying to fix that by coming to you with what amounts to a clean slate. You can take it and go if you wish. I won’t stop you. Perhaps it will lead to another step, I don’t know, and frankly, it’s no longer my problem. Now it’s in the hands of whoever ends up as the new Headmaster. One can only hope they do a better job than I did.”

“No.” I said at once. “You don’t get to blow it off that easily. You can’t just resign and pass your mess on to someone else.”

“Well, that document in Cailleach’s hands says I can.” He answered waving me off.

“What document?”

He frowned at me. “Weren’t you listening to me? My letter of resignation!”

“I see no such document. Do you see a letter of resignation, Mistress?” I asked as I switched gears and projected to Cailleach what I had in mind and to go along with me. She was confused for only a moment, then slowly smiled.

“No, I don’t, First. Only some legal orders regarding you and I.” She pulled out the third document and ‘accidentally’ dropped it. To my surprise, it burst into flames before it hit the ground.

Professor Brightly was so stunned that he stuttered. “B-but… I…. You can’t… Dammit Summers! You know I can just write another one!”

“You won’t. You’re not going to do that, and you want to know why?”

“Why?” he asked, growling.

“Because… She… chose… YOU.” With each word I pointed my finger at the statue of my grandmother. “Gaia’s the one who gave you this job, and until She says otherwise, that’s your lot in life! I may only be a mere First, not yet an official member of the Fae, but even I know that much!”

He was speechless.

Finally, it was Cailleach who spoke. “I think she’s got you there, Marcus. I can’t tell you how many times in the last thousand years I’ve wished I could just pass on the baton, but it’s not to be. Miranda’s right. Gaia chose us, we didn’t choose Her.”

The man visibly deflated.

I turned to the faerie. “Mistress, you said you came here to ask for help, help that is still very much needed unless I missed something. If that’s still your goal, I’d like to ask of you one more very large favor…”


The three of us waited in the pantry storage room with me visibly pacing. Professor Brightly, who was a bit more relaxed in general, leaned against the wall and stretched his hands up above his head, yawning. It had certainly been a long night for us all. My stomach growled, viciously reminding me that I hadn’t eaten anything more than a simple piece of fruit since well before my last combat match, and I cursed the fact that we had chosen a room full of food spices as the place to wait. Cailleach was lounging on a stack of flour, and when I looked more carefully, I realized that it was the very same one that Douglas had stretched me over after the incident with the Song Circle. I blushed as my mind pictured the faerie in much the same position. Apparently, she heard my thoughts, because she turned to me with slightly widened eyes and smiled. If the Headmaster noticed our private exchange, he said nothing.

There was a quick bell-like chord and an orange outline appeared around the door into the room, a second later the door itself seemed to change, and then opened inward.

“Hello…?” Candice’s face appeared in the space. I was across the small room almost at once, dragging her into a tight hug. “Miranda?! By the Goddess, are you okay?!” She asked.

“There were a few tense moments, but I’m fine.”

“Candice,” asked Professor Brightly coming forward. “Did anyone else see you use the Greie Leeideilagh?”

“No sir.” She replied. “I waited until Ananha said it was clear… Professor, you’re not really stepping down as Headmaster, are you?!”

The man sighed and looked briefly at me. “Not today, it would seem.” He replied with no small amount of sarcasm.

“Because that would be just awful! Especially after all that has happened with the games, and Miranda and the curse, and then the whole business with that Cailleach person and the riots, and then we couldn’t even find you, and… and…”

I smiled as she finally noticed the faerie lounging on the flour sacks. Her eyes grew wide. “Is that…?”

“That Cailleach person,” answered Professor Brightly, also enjoying the irony.

Candice just stood there for several seconds, staring. The Fae woman was relishing the moment even more than the Headmaster, and actually waved her fingers at the girl with an evil grin.

To her credit, Candice didn’t even flinch. “Mistress! Please forgive me! I had no idea you were present…” She immediately curtsied and bowed her head. Leave it to Candice to shift gears faster than a drag racer.

“Well now,” answered the faerie, sitting up. “I think that’s the most respectful greeting I’ve had since arriving at your Court, Marcus. Let me see… You’d be First Candice Mellions, yes?”

“Ma’am?” replied my blond-haired friend, obviously quite unsettled by the fact that the head of the whole Unseelie Court knew her by name. For that matter so was I. She looked up and addressed the Principality directly. “I meant no disrespect, Mistress, really…”

“A friend of Miranda’s may be forgiven such minor slips in etiquette…” The faerie was staring at the girl’s bare chest with an overtly curious look, her eyes focusing on the Blue Bauble. “What a delightful use of an enchantment,” she commented. “Your work?”

Blushing at first, Candice was quickly beaming. “I helped, but this was Miranda’s idea.”

Cailleach glanced at me. “I should have known. It’s stunning on you, Miss Mellions.”

“Thank you, Mistress!”

“Not to interrupt such important matters,” droned the Professor. “But we need to move this along.”

“Never rush simple pleasantries, Marcus,” said the faerie sternly. “They are the grease that keeps the political machine running smoothly.”

“I stand corrected,” he replied, bowing his head slightly. “…again.”

The Fae woman was eyeing her skirt. “First Mel… May I call you Candice?”

“Honored, Mistress!” she replied, actually dimpling with pleasure.

“Candice… you look about my size in the leg. This may be forward of me, but do you think I might possibly borrow some clothes?”

“Really?!” The girl looked ready to pop.

“Is this absolutely necessary, Cailleach?” asked the Headmaster looking slightly annoyed.

She turned to him with a scowl. “I know you are yet young, but have you not even learned the value of presentation? I assume that this Greie Leeideilagh of yours is a portal variant of Fria Ledars Toctocra Rooms, is it not?”

“I… yes,” he said simply.

“And it’s tuned to all the doors in your Academy, yes? Then all we need to do is hop over to Candice’s room for a few seconds to allow me to change. But,” she said wistfully. “If you would rather sit around in a dusty storage room while your students continue to tear apart your school…”

“Oh, no one is running around anymore” interrupted Candice.

“They’re not?” said the Headmaster hopefully. “When did that happen?”

My roommate bit her lip. “Uh, about ten minutes ago… when they heard that Cailleach had escaped from prison and was walking the halls.”

Sighing, the man held out his hand indicating they should enter the other room.

The faerie smirked and stepped through the doorway into Conference Room J.


We were more than a few seconds in our dorm room, since Candice decided she had the perfect outfit for the Principality and wouldn’t let her leave until they had gone into the bathroom for a quick touch up on the faerie’s hair.

Resigned to waiting, the Headmaster sat down on Michelle’s bed.

“It no use trying to rush her,” I explained, grinning. “When Candice gets into a primping, there’s just no distracting her. The room could be on fire and she’d be sure to fix her hair and put on a rouge to match the flames before leaving. Speaking of which, as long as we’re here, I think I wouldn’t mind some pants and a shirt as well. I’m not much of a ‘skirt’ girl…”

“As you wish, Miranda,” replied the man, looking incredibly tired.

I started to unbutton my blouse and stopped. “Um…”

“Oh! My apologies!” he said, standing, then respectfully faced into the corner while I changed. Skin in the Iron Mountain was about as common as not, and even I had gotten used to seeing Candice walking around without a top. But I certainly wasn’t there yet. Call me an old prude, but it just didn’t seem right to peel down in front of the head of the school you were attending. I had a feeling that even my roommate might object to dressing, or rather undressing, in front of the man. Showing off the finished product was one thing, but getting there was… personal.

“Is this wall burned?” he asked absently a few moments later while he looked at the char marks that ran all the way up to the ceiling.

I blushed, and was just buttoning up my jeans when Candice and Cailleach stepped out of the bathroom.

“Wow!” I exclaimed, admiring the change in the faerie’s appearance. In just the few short minutes the pair had been out of view, my roommate had transformed the Principality completely. Instead of the gauzy, semi-transparent wrap, the Fae woman now wore an ornate dark green and blue skirt that perfectly matched the current color of her skin and tattoos. I knew that the faerie’s natural skin tone was paler than my own, not the dark blue that I later learned was her magically enhanced ‘business face’, but the effect was impressive in conjunction with the marks of power that swirled around her body. I also knew that those marks were a lot more than decorative.

Candice had woven a scarf into the faerie’s hair and tied the whole thing together in an intricate pattern atop her head. With a few bead necklaces and a pair of silver leaf-shaped earrings, as well as the woman’s original bracelets and anklets, I doubt I would have recognized her in the open. Ten minute ago, she was simply a faerie with dark hair. Now, she was once again, the much feared and terrifyingly powerful head of the Unseelie Court. Even the Headmaster, who had turned at the sound of the bathroom door opening, now stood in amazement.

Obviously pleased by our reaction, Cailleach smiled and looked to Candice, who was beaming. “I’ll return your belongings as soon as I can,” she said offhandedly.

My roommate waved it off. “They’re serving their proper purpose, and frankly, they look WAY better on you than on me.”

The faerie placed her hand gently on the other’s shoulder. “Thank you, Candice. I won’t forget your kindness. Now,” and she straightened slightly and turned to the Professor. “Is everything in order then?”

“Ananha has been alerted that our arrival is imminent.” He took a deep breath and sighed. “I sure hope this goes off like we think it will. I haven’t been so confident lately in my visions of the future.” His brief glance at me made my stomach turn.

“It’s alright, Miranda,” said Cailleach as she sensed my discomfort. “Time-sight has its place.”

I nodded, and then followed the others back out the door and through the Greie Leeideilagh.

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