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 40 – Redemption

“Well, I’ll be a troll’s fanny,” exclaimed Douglas next to me as we all crowded around the table to see Penelope’s creation. The tiny version she cast on the wood before us could pretty much be expanded at will to any size needed, but she kept it small for secrecy. No sense in giving away the latest trick in our tool belt even before we had a chance to use it. The miniature blue doughnut wriggled slowly in place, tiny filaments eerily snaking into space around it seeking a ready victim.

“It’s nothing like the one that… the one in Rachael’s class,” she said, blushing slightly. “But it does have some of the same features. I’m afraid to say it’s not very smart.”

“It’s fucking brilliant,” said Carol Parker as she leaned over Shawn’s shoulder in awe of the glowing creation.

“It… it probably won’t stand up against anyone other than a first,” continued the blond bobbing her head.

“Actually,” interrupted Candice as she picked at an expanded version of the charm that showed the raw construction. “The coding is quite sound. Rachael’s right. You do have a knack for traps, Penelope. Damn fine work.”

Penelope actually swooned, and for good reason. Having the best crafter in our grade tell you that you have skill is quite the compliment. There were nods of agreement around the table and the girl looked ready to cry with joy.

“Can we duplicate it, Candice?” asked Michelle.

“Oh sure,” she answered at once. “No problem. With a little help from our trap-master here, I think we can get a throw-down version to everyone before the first round.”

“Y-You want me to help?” Penelope asked, stunned.

“Well of course, silly. You made the thing. You had better tell us how to use it before we all find ourselves up to our elbows in wriggling tentacles.”

I blushed at Candice’s comment, but Penelope could hardly contain her excitement at getting to work beside the girl.

Breakfast that morning was light. Even Douglas hardly picked over his plate of fruit and I completely understood the nervousness. Things were starting to get personal, and if we had our way, it would only become more so as the day progressed. I was staring into a small, nearly untouched bowl of oatmeal when I sensed a change in the voices around me. When I looked up, Michelle was standing behind me looking down (or up, from our perspective) at someone approaching. When I saw who it was, I tensed involuntarily.

“You’re not welcome here!” said Maria Gonzales to the brown-haired female as she flipped over and hovered nearby. I honestly hadn’t thought much of Berla Tomisson since my Sexual Arts final, and seeing her now brought back a flood of memories, as well as a deep flush to my skin. Shaina was nowhere to be seen and I puzzled this fact in my head. I had not seen the other since she dropped the practice tome in my pocket and sent me into an erotic hell.

“I… I just want to talk,” she replied, staying her distance while her eyes darted nervously between me and Michelle. I noticed that my partner in the games never took her gaze from the female, her face passive and alert. I had seen that look before. It was the same one she got in the arena.

“Please…” she entreated. Her face was a cross between fear and utter sadness.

“Go back to your pal, Shaina, you….”

“Maria,” I interrupted. “If she is really here to talk, I’d actually like to hear what she has to say.”

“You sure, Ran,” I heard Michelle say without looking away from the girl, even for a second.

I took a moment to answer, analyzing Berla and why she might be here as best I could. “Yes, let her come.”

There was palatable relief on the girl’s face as she slowly settled to our “floor”.

“Will it… hold me?” she asked motioning to the tiles below her.

I looked to Candice.

“You’re fine,” she replied to the frightened girl, who had a tendency to glance back to the other tables “below” as though gravity might suddenly shut off and dump her three stories to hard stone.

Sighing and closing her eyes for a moment, Berla relaxed slightly upon seeing that her feet remained fixed even when she released her levitation charm. Then, she took a step closer but was blocked by Michelle, who put up one hand, indicating she should stay back. I reached out and touched my guardian on the arm.

“It’s alright, Shell, really.” Michelle met my eye for a moment and then stepped slightly aside. Berla looked as though she had been crying recently. Her eyes were puffy and red, her cheeks slightly raw. She took another long, somewhat staggered breath and stood for a moment in silence.

“There are so many things I planned to say to you,” she started. “I was up half the night trying to figure it out… what to say. Now though, I can’t seem to remember any of it.”

I simply nodded.

“Miranda, I… I’m so sorry,” she continued, tears at the corners of her eyes. “I know it can’t fix what Shaina… and I… did to you, but I just want you to know that I have not stopped regretting that choice since it happened.”

“You should have thought of that at the time,” began Maria, obviously not buying the girl’s words.


The Hispanic young woman rolled her eyes, but backed off.

“No, she’s right,” answered Berla looking down. “I should have thought about it. But I didn’t. I’ve tried to justify why I followed her, why I allowed Shaina to put that stupid stone in your pocket. I tried to convince myself that I was desperate for a friend… that it was just some kind of joke… But it wasn’t. You could have died.” A tear streaked down her left cheek. She ignored it and continued. “I tried to tell her, but she wouldn’t listen.”

“Why should she believe you,” asked Candice.

Douglas cut in. “No, Berla is telling you the truth, Ran. I do remember her mentioning the dangers to Shaina when I was under the table. It’s like she said, Shaina wouldn’t listen to her and blew it off.”

I turned back to the girl, who looked as though she were trying to puzzle out why Douglas was under the table, and was surprised by who had come to her defense. “And after? Why didn’t you tell someone?”

Berla looked as though I had punched her in the stomach. “I was afraid,” she whimpered, on the verge of emotional collapse. “I was so afraid.”

“Of what Shaina would do to you?”

She shrugged slightly. “Sure, but that’s not… I mean… Aw shit. I was afraid of being alone again.”


She nodded, frowning; desperate. “I’m an orphan. I have a foster family, but they… well, they don’t like me very much. They pretty much sent me to camp as a way of getting me out of their hair for a week. I don’t make friends very well. I never have. So when Shaina seemed to accept me and even appeared to like me I could hardly believe it. It wasn’t until after the third day or so that I really understood the kind of person she is… how she was using me, like she uses everyone. But by then I knew I couldn’t go back. I had made my choice in friends. And I… I picked up some of her traits.”

“I’ll say you did,” muttered Candice. I remembered how the Shaina and Berla had teased her about the size of her bust in Rachael’s class.

“I can’t take it back, I know. But I have nowhere to go. After Shaina’s prank, we were reprimanded sternly by the Headmaster, as well as Mistress Verith.”

I caught Candice’s eye briefly. We all wondered what had happened to my nemesis.

“So she wasn’t sent home then,” asked Petra a little incredulous.

“No. We were lucky… I guess.”

“Amazing,” she replied, shaking her head. “I can’t believe they let either of you stay.”

Berla took the blow, but visibly deflated. “Neither can I. I thought…” she gasped, choking up. “I thought that she would change, you know? After the Headmaster had warned us so. I thought she would be different. She became quiet. I figured she was just working through it, like I was. She wasn’t though.”

“Where is she now,” I asked simply.

She looked up at me in surprise. “She is… She’s with them!” She pointed to the higher grades below us.

My mind went into overdrive for a moment, my face frowning in confusion. “They accepted her,” I asked, surprised.

Berla just stared at me, shocked. “You don’t know…”

“Know what, Tomisson?” Michelle inched closer and I subtly motioned for her to hold.

“I need to sit,” she replied looking suddenly dizzy. I nodded to Bridgett Mercy, who was seated next to me and then scooted over a bit myself to make room. Berla dropped onto the bench and just sat for several seconds.

“Miranda, who do you think has been instigating the hatred against you all this time?”

“Oh, you have GOT to be kidding me,” said Candice with disgust.

“Ever since the Song Circle… She was quiet up until then. I was worried, but I just thought that’s how she was dealing with whatever internal conflict she was having. But that night, something in her changed. She started talking about you again… in a bad way. I backed off from her. I wasn’t about to risk my whole time here over a personal vendetta, and I told her so. I fully expected her to blast me, but she didn’t. She didn’t do anything. She just walked away and I didn’t speak to her again until today.”

“Today?” I asked. “Why today?”

“Since the Song Circle I’ve really had no place to go. I asked to have my dorm reassigned to get myself as far from Shaina as possible, but I assumed that you and the other Firsts wouldn’t let me up here. Thanks to her backbiting against you and the hatred to all Firsts that brought on, I couldn’t even hang out with any of the upperclass students either. I’ve been quietly drifting on my own. The upper grades left me alone, but they wouldn’t give me the time of day either. So I watched her. I could see what she was doing, but I had no idea how possessed she was with bringing you down until I heard her speaking early this morning. They wouldn’t let me get close, but, Miranda… Oh god… She’s planning something… Something to do with the games. Something horrible.”

I sighed. “Well, that at least is no surprise. Did she mention anything specifically?”

“No, and when I tried to talk to her she had a pair of Thirds drag me off. Miranda, please… Whatever you think of me, don’t underestimate Shaina. That girl is crazy.”

I considered this. If Shaina was able to hold the favor of the higher grades, even though she herself hadn’t even been officially initiated into the Fae, then perhaps I was indeed underestimating the girl.

“Berla, did Shaina order the Thirds to take you out, or just suggest it?”

She frowned. “She told them to take me out of her sight. And they did. They dragged me right out of the house hall. It’s not like I was resisting or anything. No way.”

“She was commanding them,” said Candice, surprised.

I nodded slowly.

“What does this mean,” asked Petra.

“It means they have a leader,” answered Candice, her face a mask of worry.

“The real question is, why a First? Berla, do you know if Shaina’s authority extends past her house?”

She thought about it. “I don’t know. I don’t think so, but I haven’t really noticed.”

“For now, let’s assume that it’s House only. We should keep that in mind as we work on our larger plan. When battling South House combatants, be sure to mention her name. Nobody likes to hear their leader badmouthed.”

Berla was completely confused.

“I’m sorry to say it, but you picked a really bad time to switch sides, because we are about to do everything in our power to get them really mad at us.”

“We’re trying to unify the houses against us,” explained Candice.

“Won’t that make them stronger,” asked the girl.

“Yes it will,” I answered with a smile. “Though having Shaina as their leader would kinda suck. But it can’t be helped.”

“But…” she started.

“Unity is bad for us Firsts, but dandy for the Seelie Court in general. War is a real possibility,” completed Candice.

It took a moment, but when Berla finally understood what we were getting at, her eyes grew wide. “Oh! I get it… Wow!”

“So, Tomisson… Are you with us,” I asked, keeping my face passive.

The tears that spring to her eyes said it all. Weeping, she buried her face in her hands. I waited. A minute or so later she sniffed and looked up at me.

“Can I really be friends with you?” she asked as if she couldn’t believe it.

I tilted my head and smiled softy. “That’s going to be up to you. I can’t speak for everyone, but you’re going to have to earn that friendship with me. I’m willing to start you back at level ground and it’ll be up to you to decide if you go up or down from there.”

She made one final huge sigh, and then nodded.

“Well then, welcome to the Rooftop Club,” I said extending my hand. Berla took it and started laughing for joy.

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