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 5 – Sexual Arts

I found Candice, Michelle and Douglas sitting in the front row of the small room filled with padded couches, and looking tired and just a bit nervous. The rows were situated in a loose arc, with what appeared to be the instructor’s desk in the center.

“Ho there, Miranda,” said Douglas, smiling at me. He patted an empty seat next to him and I headed over.

“Hi,” I said, to the remainder of our little foursome, as I plopped into the oddly human-looking furniture. It was the certainly the most comfortable class I had been in.

“So did you get the fourth degree as well?” he asked, as I sighed and slouched into the very relaxing sofa.

“Ughmmm…” I moaned and closed my eyes.

He chuckled. “So it looks like I’m going into History and Sociology. Candice is happily on her way toward the Troggeyder Guild, and Shell here has so high an aptitude for the warrior track that three professors have already come by and requested her for extra curricular activities. Seems she’s being recruited before she actually knows anything.”

I looked over at her with my mouth open, and she gave me a double waggle of her brows and a crooked smile.

“So how about you?” he asked, leaning back next to me. “We’re taking bets on whether you get into the Guild before Candice does,” he kidded.

“We are not!” Squealed the girl in question, and then glared at Douglas for being teased.

This was not the subject that I really wanted to talk about yet, but I had to say something. The problem was that I had to be careful not to isolate myself all over again by being too smart. I decided to keep things simple.

“Well, it looks like Candice and I may be taking a lot of the same classes, but my focus will be on wielding magic, and not so much in the construction.”

Candice, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, looked a bit relieved.

“Maybe you and Michelle will end up together,” continued Douglas. “I heard that one of the ‘sports’ they have here involves something with a warrior and a wizard working as a team.”

“It’s called a ‘Dòrn Lèir’ pair, which means ‘hand eye’, and looks terribly barbaric,” shivered Candice. I had heard the term used as well, but didn’t want to mention it.

“Hey, we all have to learn basic combat,” shrugged Douglas. “It’s on the ‘required’ list. Best get used to it, babe.”

At that moment, we were interrupted by the sudden presence of our instructor. I mean sudden because she literally appeared in the wing-back chair behind the broad oak desk at the front of the room. One moment it was empty, the next, it was filled with a short, red-headed woman with green eyes and pointed ears. The class fell silent so fast that it seemed as though someone had simply flicked a switch and cancelled the audio. It wasn’t simply her mere presence that commanded our silence, but also her state of dress. She wore a gold and blue band around her arm, a quirky smile, and not a single stitch of clothing.

The woman carefully stared out at the room and met each and every student’s eyes individually. When her gaze fell to me, I gulped and noticed that I was sweating. It wasn’t fear that I felt, but nervous arousal, and it shocked the hell out of me. Sure, she was inhumanly attractive, and was sitting there staring at me like I was something she was having for dessert later, but I had never been attracted to girls in the past… Why now? And then I knew why. Magic.

She broke contact with me just as this thought entered my mind, and I immediately noticed that the level of attraction diminished substantially as her gaze fell to the next student. I was stunned that she could have such a profound effect on me so quickly, and turned my head to see how others were doing. The woman’s attention had already passed Douglas, who was exhaling slowly. I saw that his hands conspicuously lay covering his crotch. Candice literally gasped when it was her turn; her nipples showing suddenly at the front of her dress, and Michelle looked downright confused.

When she was done eyeing us, she stood slowly and moved out from behind her desk. Once around, she gracefully sat herself on the edge of the heavy piece. I noticed that the four males in the class were all smiling stupidly. “Welcome to Introductory Sexual Arts,” she said in a soft but clear voice. “I am Rachael. I am a nymph, and will be your instructor for the duration of our time together.”

There was a collective sigh around the room, and a brief flurry of whispering. The nymph waited for us to settle down and then continued.

“Most of you are probably wondering what a class of this nature is for. You’re probably asking yourselves what this subject could possibly have to do with the rest of your academia. Let me just say, that anyone who was even slightly affected by my gaze just now, would be an easy target for even a second-semester returning student in a game of dominance. Sex. Is. Power, my good humans. And those who can master its uses, will have the advantage, always, whether in mortal combat, or in the arms of a lover. In this class, I will teach you charms to arouse passion, and ways to counter such charms and traps if they are used against you yourselves. I can teach you how to bring on extreme pleasure with a mere touch, or how to kiss such that it leaves the one so graced in a state of near unconsciousness. You will also learn the rights and formalities of courtship within the Fae. We will study famous unions, and infamous scandals. You will be trained in how to act and react when confronted by Fae royalty, and you will even learn how to properly bargain when bartering over sex for profit. I will shock you, and I will shatter everything you know about sexuality and relationships. But I promise you that it will be both entertaining and critical to your life within the Fae. Let’s begin, shall we.”

For the next hour and a half, Rachael the nymph was true to her word. I’ll say this for her, she knew her stuff. After we got over the whole idea that she was naked, and started listening to what she was saying instead of staring at her breasts, even Douglas agreed that she was a wealth of important information. She was sort of like the ‘Miss Manners’ of the Fae, and there really were a ton of protocols that had to be adhered to if you didn’t want to make a fool of yourself. At first I thought that Douglas was only paying such close attention because he liked the way she swiveled her hips as she walked around the half arc, lecturing. But later, when we were all talking about the class over the evening meal, he recalled more details than anyone else by far, including myself. I guess that’s why he was guided into a sociology track. He picked up the stuff like a sponge.

Candice was also paying attention, and I don’t think it was just to the brief introduction to charm-crafting. There was something of a gleam in the eyes of that girl when she listened to our teacher in the buff. Perhaps Candice was sick of human males slobbering over her and was caught up in a female of such brazenness. I didn’t ask.

Michelle was the least interested, but learned what she needed to and tucked it away for reference. The more I watched the tall red-head, the more I saw what the others did regarding her abilities as a warrior. Even after a day, I could already see the way people naturally moved out of her way in the halls. She just had a confidence that defied anything and everyone. She wasn’t challenging or offensive, just sure of herself and her place. I secretly envied her that confidence, but also took it upon myself to be certain that she never felt isolated, either in our little group, or in the whole of the academy. I knew what it was like to be without peers, so I planned on letting her know sooner than later, that she had a friend.

After supper, Candice and I went off to a short lecture on Fae history, then were joined by Michelle for a class in Mathematics. It wasn’t especially difficult stuff, being more like geometry than calculus, but there were concepts discussed in there that our teachers back in high-school had probably never even considered. Things like how gravity and time fit into the picture, as well as their respective relativity. Instead of the simple word problems you might have gotten in your junior year back home, we were getting things like, “If a train leaves the station going 20 miles per hour in standard Earth-based time reference, and has to travel for 16 miles, how much do we have shift the gravitational norm to arrive in 28 minutes?”

Michelle I noticed, seemed to have a real problem with basic math. It wasn’t that she didn’t “get” it, she just wasn’t very quick at working out the problems. As we were leaving, I gave her shoulder a squeeze and she seemed to brighten a bit before she went down the hall toward the combat areas. Candice and I then skipped off to our first class in spell crafting.

I was experiencing that familiar feeling of excitement again as we entered the oddly decorated room. It was completely different from our Sexual Arts class in that instead of couches, the floor to this room was nearly completely covered with ornately decorated pillows. The class was also quite small, and it wasn’t until much later that I found out it was a late-evening class just for high-placed students. There were only eight of us in the room that first night, all female.

Candice and I were chatting about how to make an impression on our nymph professor when the girl went suddenly silent. Turning around, I saw a somewhat scruffy-looking man in blue-jeans, a purple t-shirt, and a very odd and disheveled-looking pointed hat. Upon closer inspection, I could see that it was covered in a seemingly random collection of unreadable characters, which had an unsettling way of shifting around every so often as if alive.

“Is that the Headmaster?” asked Candice in a whisper as the man hurried into the center of the room and set the armload of books he had been carrying in the air. I meant that literally – the books sat there floating about four feet off the ground while he searched through the pockets of the loose robe he wore. It seemed to have an abnormal number of storage places, and Candice and I looked at each other with quickly broadening smiles.

“Oh goodness,” he exclaimed finally. “Where in the blazes are my glasses?”

I laughed softly, but Candice chimed right in.

“Uh, sir. I believe they’re on your face…”

He stopped and sighed as he repositioned the eyeware and turned to the girl.

“Thank you, Candice. I have so much on my mind lately, I tend to forget the little things.”

“Um, Professor Brightly, sir… How did you know my name? I’m certain I didn’t mention it yet.” I was a bit surprised myself.

“Hmmm, well that’s simple, really. I just looked a few moments into the future and heard you speaking it to me just now.”

Candice’s eyes got wide. So did mine for that matter.

“But sir, how can that be? I mean…”

“Wait,” he said holding up a hand. “I’m kidding, my dear. While such paradoxes may find their way into our class at a later date, there is a much simpler explanation, which is that I know everyone’s name at this academy, as I am blessed with a nearly perfect memory. I highly urge you all to work on your memories as much as possible. Stretch yourselves whenever you can. But before we get ahead of ourselves, we need introductions. Always remember the courtesies. As you seem to know, I am Professor Marcus Brightly, and this is Introductory Spell Crafting. You may call me ‘sir’, or ‘Professor’, or even ‘Mr. Brightly’ if we’re in an informal setting, but please don’t address me as ‘Marcus’ or ‘Mark’ unless I give you express permission. We have appearances to uphold and all that. Now, since we all know your name now, Candice, let’s start with the fine young woman to your left. You would be Bridgett, yes? And you there, with the smashing yellow outfit, would be Arianna. Next to you…”

He continued around the circle of students until he finally came to me. I hated to be last as it was, but when he paused, and did not immediately read-off my name as he had the others, I started to panic. Finally, when I was just about ready to pop, he continued.

“Ah, Miranda. There’s no forgetting you… Welcome. Welcome to you all,” he said, addressing the group once again. I remembered to breathe and tried to look as small as possible.

“What was that all about?” whispered Candice to my left.

“Beats the hell out of me,” I replied, and shrugged my shoulders.

Professor Brightly waved his hands, and was suddenly standing in the middle of a cloud of lines, symbols and semi-transparent objects, all of which were laid out in front and around him in some unknown and cryptic order. I could see Candice grinning from ear to ear as she studied the Grandmaster’s MOS with nearly painful admiration. Her eyes darted from one object to another as though it might all suddenly fall to the ground and shatter.

“As you all should be aware by now, what you see before you is what is known as the Magical Operating System. This realm is where we will be spending the bulk of our time in this class, so you should get used to seeing it. Normally, you would not be able to see my, or any other person’s MOS, but for the ease of teaching, all systems are visible within this room. Please activate your amulets, and bring up your own systems at this time. We will spend much of our three hours going over some of the basic built-in commands and programs available to you as students here. We will also discuss some terminologies, and perhaps, if there is time, I will get you started into your first lessons of crafting.”

The dark-haired girl raised her hand.

“Yes Bridgett? You have a question?”

“Yes, sir. You said, ‘programs’ just now. Are the amulets computers, sir?”

He looked thoughtful before answering. “In a way, yes. But a better analogy would be a portal. The amulets hold a link to a personal collection of pre-crafted spells, glyphs and information nodes, and are keyed only to the student who owns them. A magical spell, as you will soon discover, is nothing more than a collection of instructions and precisely organized bits of energy that, when activated, cause a certain result or function. In that respect, they are identical to the ‘programs’ used in human computers. Right now, your amulet allows you to ‘log-in’ to that magical realm and use your operating system. But, by the time you graduate officially into the Fae, you will no longer need your amulet to call this up,” he indicated the swirling mass of glowing objects around him. “You will simply command it so, and it will be there, available to you. Does that answer your question?”

She nodded. “Yes, professor.”

“Excellent! Then let’s continue. Where was I? Dramia? Where is that blasted sprite?”

At that moment, there was a soft pop, and a frenetic ball of light about the size of a basketball zipped through the wall. It swished around the room several times and then came to a stop in front of the professor. Once it was still, I could see that it wasn’t simply a ball, but a small female figure made of softly shifting light. She instantly reminded me of Tinkerbell from Peter Pan, only without the wings and clothing.

Candice looked about ready to pop.

“Class, this is Dramia. She is my assistant, and will be helping me teach you the finer points of magical crafting. Please give her all the respect you would myself, or any other member of the staff. And listen to what she has to say. She’s had nearly two thousand years to perfect her art.” He then turned to the sprite directly. “You’re late…”

By the time Candice and I left Professor Brightly’s class that night, we were both exhausted. He assured us that it wouldn’t be quite so mundane and rote every day, but we still felt like we had been force-fed an entirely new language. Several actually.

“I need a shower,” said Candice wearily as she dropped her heavy bag of supplies and books on her bed.

I nodded in agreement. “I heard this rumor that there’s a huge public bath somewhere…” Our suite had a single shower stall for the three of us, and even though it was a beautiful bathroom, the idea of soaking in a large, hot, tub was incredibly appealing.

“Did you also hear that it’s coed, and that the entrance is magically hidden,” she mentioned.

I was startled. “Really? I never thought about it, but I guess it would have to be. Well, like Professor Rachael said, things are a lot more open in the Fae. I saw a couple of fourth semester students today who were walking around topless. They hardly seemed to notice the newer students gaping at them.”

Candice snorted. “Topless. I can really see myself cruising down the halls with these counterweights swinging around…” She demonstrated the effect by turning sharply on her heels. Even with a sturdy bra, her bosom had a mind of its own. She was grinning at her own joke, and I found myself laughing.

“Magically hidden,” I repeated to myself, as I stretched out on my bed and let my mind drift away from the complex information from my previous class and into the simple mystery. I pictured the layout of the dorms in my head as best as I could, and considered what the resulting space would look like. Candice and I had traversed most of the Academy at one time or another that day, and so we knew the halls in at least a cursory way. The place was big. Very big. There were eight dorm “blocks” that each took up one side of a loose octagon. An access hall encircled the whole thing, but getting to the far side at any time was quite a walk. Even considering that the upper-class dorm rooms might be larger than the others, that still left an enormous unaccounted area in the center of the octagon.

“Access to the pools would have to be convenient for everyone,” I said, thinking aloud. “And since modern plumbing wasn’t around when the place was built, they wouldn’t want to put them at one side of the dorms, or in a different part of the Iron Mountain. So I bet they put it in the center…”

“What are you babbling about?” mumbled Candice.

I ignored her, thinking. “But when Professor Brightly reopened the academy, they installed modern showers, making the bathing pools redundant. They wouldn’t want to waste time and resources upgrading the pools and making them safe for a bunch of slightly freaked-out adolescents, so they would have blocked them off.”

“Yeah, so?”

I closed my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose as I placed myself in the professor’s shoes. “The access to these bath pools would have to have been simple and efficient, and the best way to do that would be to give each dorm room its own entrance.”

This got Candice’s attention. “Are you saying that there used to be an entrance into the pool area within this room?” She was sitting up in bed scanning the walls and bookcases.

I sat up too. “It would make sense.”

“And they just bricked it over or something…” She was up out of bed and peeking behind furniture.

“Maybe,” I answered, my brain grinding away on the problem. “But somehow that doesn’t seem right. There are a lot of dorm rooms. It would take a hell of a lot of work to block all those off.”

Candice finished her circle of the room and sighed. “Well,” she said, plopping back down in her bed. “If they did block it off, then they did a damn good job making it look like the rest of the wall. I don’t see a thing.”

My head snapped up. “That’s it! That’s how they did it!”

“Say what?”

“Candice, you said that you heard the entrance was magically hidden, right? Was it ‘entrance’ or ‘entrances’ that you heard?”

She looked thoughtful. “Oh hell, I don’t know. I suppose it could have been entrances…”

I was up out of bed and standing in the center of the room. As I spoke, I slowly turned, considering. “Think about it. You’re on a tight budget, both for time and resources. You have to make it difficult or impossible for students to get into the pools. New students particularly. New students who…”

“Don’t know anything about magic yet!” She finished for me, finally getting excited.

“Right. Later, when they have been here a while, the pools won’t be dangerous anymore. But why not use magic to hide the entrance from the first-years? It’s cheap, easy, and takes almost no time. The question is, what sort of spell would you use?”

“I’ve seen the sprites make invisible walls that seemed a damn side like running into stone,” offered Candice. “But they take quite a bit a bit of energy and set-up to work. Doesn’t seem practical.”

“No, it doesn’t. Besides, the idea is not to forcibly block the entrance, only to make it seem like there isn’t one there.” I was walking toward one corner of our room, near where the modern shower and bathroom had been installed. Candice watched me silently.

Each of the dorms was furnished with built-in bookcases, a table, beds with smaller night stands, ornate dressers, separate work desks for each student, even a small refrigerator. How they got electrical power was still a mystery. The academy supplied everything we needed to be comfortable, and the decor was simple, but tasteful and efficient. Directly outside of the bathroom was a large full-length mirror in a simple frame. Walking over, I stood directly before my reflection.

“They wouldn’t have to block the entrance,” I repeated. “Only make you think that the entrance wasn’t there…” Slowly, I reached my hand out toward the mirror. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but when my finger made contact with that of my duplicate, I sighed in disappointment.

“Damn,” I muttered, letting my arm drop back to my side.

“Maybe behind it? I think it’s fixed to the wall though.”

I was just starting to turn away when I noticed something. With a start, I turned back to the mirror. Starting at the bottom, I scanned the whole surface.

Candice sensed the change in my demeanor. “What is it? Did you see something?”

My heart was going a mile a minute, and a smile was slowly forming on my face. “Son of a bitch…” I whispered, grinning like a fool.

Candice hopped out of bed and came over to my side. She stared at the mirror for a few moments then shook her head. “Sorry, I don’t see it.”

“It’s what you don’t see…”


I took a half-step closer so that I was back within arm’s reach of the mirror again. “Candice, have you cleaned this mirror since we’ve been here?”

“No,” she replied, shrugging her shoulders.

“I’m pretty sure that Michelle hasn’t either, and I certainly haven’t bothered. Do you see any fingerprints?”

She squinted and leaned forward a bit, checking. “Nope. Looks pretty clean to me.”

“There aren’t any, I checked. Not even the one that should have been there when I touched it just now…” I let the implication hang. It took about two seconds, and then her mouth dropped open.

“The mirror is completely clean, because the mirror isn’t there,” I stated flatly.

I saw the confusion on her face.

“But… you touched it…”

I shook my head. “I only THOUGHT I touched it, because that’s what I was expecting. This is a spell, Candice. It’s a spell that takes what we expect a mirror to look and feel like and makes it seem real. But, it doesn’t have a memory. It can’t take fingerprints. It’s just the image of a mirror on the wall, not an actual mirror.”

The girl was shaking her head, not quite able to wrap her mind around the concept. She needed proof. Reaching out to the mirror, I placed my hand flat against its surface. It was hard and smooth and slightly cold, just as a mirror should be. But I noticed that its surface didn’t become warm from the heat of my hand, and that my hand didn’t become cold from the cool surface of the mirror. In short, I was only having the sensation of feeling the mirror, not the experience.

“This isn’t real,” I said, to myself more than Candice, and then pushed my fingers forward. With a slight tingling, they passed though the mirrored surface like dipping my hand into a pool of water. I smiled again. Behind me, Candice cursed.

“Holy shit! Look at that!”

“This is our entrance to the pools.” I pulled my hand out and turned to face her. “Still feel like a bath?”

She squealed and clapped her hands together as she turned to grab a towel.

« prev next »