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 51 – Theatrics

I’m not sure what I expected when we cracked the door to peek into the Great Hall, but the rush of noise and yelling was completely out of place, even for a room that was normally pretty loud to begin with. On any given day, you could walk into the huge open space and find your voice lost in the hundreds of others all speaking at the same time over a meal or in preparation for some event. But now, the sound that rushed in the moment the door was set ajar was completely random. Competing voices were yelling back and forth, peppered with an occasional wail of fear.

The Headmaster turned and looked to Cailleach, and I could see that the two of them were sharing a conversation without words. At last, the faerie nodded. It was time.

Cailleach made several complex motions within her Ob’ilar and the small globes of light illuminating Conference Room J seemed to be sucked away into almost nothing. I had been staring right at the faerie as she performed her magic, and so I saw it as she silently faded from view. It was as though her body were literally consumed by the darkness and shadow. Feeling an odd fluttery sensation along my legs, I looked down and jumped. I too had faded until there was only shadow left where I stood. Professor Brightly opened the door and we moved out of the room in a rush.

The Great Hall was in chaos. Everyone seemed to be yelling at everyone else. Most of the staff at the Academy was present, but had simply backed away, obviously unsure how to proceed. I didn’t blame them. I wouldn’t have wanted to face that crowd either, especially if it meant having to physically restrain many of them. My fellow Firsts I noticed, were still all grouped together out of the way on the roof. They were quiet, but obviously terrified at the sight of what was transpiring below them.

I saw the Headmaster fade into view as he stepped to the far end of the hall, and one by one we let the light wash away the shadows that Cailleach had enveloped us in until we were all standing next to the man. He was just about to call for order when the faerie caught his elbow.

“Mind if I just cut to the chase?” asked the Unseelie Principality, amused.

Marcus sighed. “Be my guest…” Then he saw Cailleach’s wicked grin and added, “Uh, try not to overdo it, okay?”

The faerie actually laughed, then began to work her Ob’ilar. It was several seconds before I noticed something forming in the air in front of her, and when I took a quick peak into the magical realm, I gasped. A glyph of incredible power and complexity was building itself under her command, and when it was ready, she looked up at me with a devilish smile and headed toward one of the tables, her new creation in tow like a large battle mace. I had a moment of panic as I considered that everything that had happened to me in the last day and a half could have been a setup for this very moment, and that Cailleach had fooled us all and was about to unleash some horrendous magical monstrosity to wipe out the entire Seelie Court in a single glorious moment of pure death.

Apparently, both the Headmaster and the faerie herself had picked up my thoughts. The Professor looked like he was about to try and stop her, when she turned to me and spoke.

“I need you all alive, remember?” She replied, as she began to heft the massive glyph in a slow spiral. Finally, at the top of her arc she released the magical construct as though she were performing an Olympic hammer toss, complete with a guttural yell that caused those closest to her to jump in surprise. They had only a moment to realize that the most powerful entity in the entire Unseelie Court was standing a few feet from them before Cailleach’s magic exploded into the ceiling and the whole room went instantly and totally dark.

There were screams of terror almost everywhere, and when I tried, and failed, to stretch my vision into the infrared, I could understand their fear. Cailleach’s darkness was so complete that it was as though we were all suddenly buried alive, or dunked into a vat of black oil. There was simply nothing, and I found myself starting to hyperventilate in a panic as I was instantly brought back mentally to Sherith Mal.

Then, just before I was about ready to start screaming myself, there was a blast of noise and a sudden flare of bright light. When I turned my head, involuntarily shielding my own eyes from the glare with my hand, there, standing in what appeared to be a raging bonfire of cold blue flame, was the Unseelie Principality, her features hard and fearsome. It was at that moment that I understood why my faerie lover was so feared and respected. She was terrifying, and yet beautiful at the same time, and her immense power was unmistakable.

“HEAR ME, CHILDREN! HEAR THE WORDS OF THE WINTER WITCH… THE VEILED ONE… THE MISTRESS OF THE UNSEELIE COURT!” Her voice echoed through the Great Hall like a freight train, the sheer force of her words causing those nearest to her to flee in panic.

“Hear my words,” she repeated, lowering her voice. “For time is short, and you can no longer afford to be kept in darkness…” As if to prove her point, the liquid shadow seemed to melt back away from her until it was pushed out the far wall, leaving the room lit normally, or almost so. An odd, almost fog-like dark overcast remained. I also saw that the blue fire around the faerie continued, swirling and dancing about her body as though alive.

“Long, long ago, when the life web was still young, the Earth Mother was attacked by a terrible force, an evil force, which sought to corrupt and destroy her. And it very nearly succeeded! Gaia prevailed, but only at great cost. The enemy had come at her through the gates that connect the worlds… Gates that cannot be locked, only blocked. And when she had pushed back her aggressors, she vowed that she would never again allow these gates to go unguarded. To this end, she created defenders from the newest of her life forms, you humans. From you she made the faeries, and gave them charge over not only her living domains, but the defense of her gates as well. Why she eventually choose the Unseelie Court to manage this task, I cannot say, but chosen we were, and for many thousands of years we have faithfully upheld our charge. Through wars, and internal conflict, we have always managed to fight back the enemy… Oh, they have not been quiet! They test us constantly, watching, looking for a weakness so they can slip through and consume the Mother’s heart. For they have seen the prize she harbors. They know we posses the secret of time; the ability to see into the future, and they hunger to obtain this talent like a starving wolf drools for a tasty bit of fresh meat.

“The Fomorians. They are the enemy. They are the wolf at the gates, and they grow stronger with each day. Soon,” and she paused for a moment, “we will no longer be able to hold them back, and they will overwhelm our defenses. When this happens, we will have to fight their full numbers, and without help, we will fall.”

There was a murmur of whispering from the crowd.

“This is foreseen! The fall of the gates is imminent, and if I am to have any hope of completing the task that Gaia has given to me, then I MUST consider any option… even coming to my enemy for help. For the petty squabbles between the Courts will be NOTHING compared to the horror that will come through those gates. The Fomorians know no mercy. They will mentally enslave those they feel are useful to them, kill those they can’t enslave, and torture the rest for the mere sport!

“Gaia has told you this. She delivered to you a Telling… But instead of heeding her voice, you have ridiculed the messenger! Even when the truth was revealed by your own Queen, you still called her traitor and sought her demise!”

I spotted Grace Leavy in the crowd and saw that she had her hands to her face, the stinging accusation finally hitting home.

“Some of you have been told that the Unseelie are preparing for war with your court. I am standing before you today to testify that we have NO interest in another war with the Seelie. There are those here who would not believe this…” I saw her lock eyes with the Principality of the North. “I understand. There is much blood between the clans. I do not ask forgiveness for that blood, for I know it will not be given. But whether or not you believe me, BELIEVE THE MOTHER!” The blue flames surrounding the faerie slowly faded down until they were gone.

“Professor Brightly… sir,” came a small voice from the crowd after a moment. I couldn’t tell who the speaker was in the odd light. “Is it true then? Are the Fomorians really coming?”

The Headmaster stepped forward to stand next to Cailleach before speaking. “Yes. It’s true.” The room was suddenly abuzz with frightened discussions and the man had to call for order before continuing. “There are many details that are still clouded to us, but all four Seelie Principalities have foreseen it, as well as the Queen.”

“When? How long do we have?” asked the same girl.

Marcus Brightly surprised me by deferring to Cailleach. “As was said, many details are unclear,” she continued for him, “but it is generally held in high confidence that the Fomorians will find a way to breach our defenses before the sixth winter solstice hence.”

“Six years?” exclaimed Rea Teos, a bright-eyed girl I recognized from Advanced Spell Crafting. “We only have six year left?!”

“No,” said Cailleach sternly. “I said the event will occur within six seasons, which means it could just as easily take place tomorrow. We simply do not know. It is generally believed that we may have a year or two, but it hardly matters. The point is, we are out of time. Circumstances have arisen which have made cooperation between the courts a possibility…” The faerie turned and looked at me, and although her face was passive, I could feel a distinct warmth in her bright blue eyes. “I have no intention of letting that opportunity slip by.” Sighing, she suddenly looked sad, and as I watched, her skin color began to change, the deep indigo gently fading until her natural, slightly pale flesh was all that remained. The magical marks that covered her torso were still visible, but nowhere near as present. I heard several startled gasps from the crowd. “No more theatrics.”

Cailleach stepped slowly forward off the table, those closest moving out of her way as she gradually made her way into the very center of the Great Hall. There, she turned so that she could see each and every face in the room as she spoke.

“The time has come. You each must choose. Will you stand and fight when the time comes? Will the Tuatha dé Danann heed the call of Gaia? Or will you hide in her skirts while the world above is ravaged? Make no mistake, the coming struggle will be for your very lives, and the Fomorians are not even your only enemy. The Sluagh is also on the move… My being called here was a testament to that fact.” Her gaze fixed briefly on me once again.

Finally, she was facing back to the Headmaster.

“What is your answer, Marcus Brightly? Where stands your court? Will you join with me, if not as friends, at least as allies against the Fomorians?”

The Headmaster walked slowly up to the Fae woman. Directly in front of her small form he seemed a giant.

“Not an hour ago I was ready to give up the ability to make that decision. An hour before that I was kneeling at the feet of Gaia herself as she chastised me, and three hours past I was making the worst decision since becoming Headmaster at this school. This has not been one of my better days.”

The man took a deep breath, and let it out in a rush. Suddenly, I recognized in his features, a tired resolution. It was the same expression I had when my Grandmother had explained my own role in future events. The inevitability of duty, and the responsibility to so many.

“But…” he continued. “Now, I stand before you, Cailleach, and say with all the authority of the Head of the Tuatha, that we will indeed heed Gaia’s call. The full force of the Seelie Court shall be with you when the time comes.”

Suddenly, from high above came a loud voice that caused nearly everyone in the room to jump and look up. It was Petra Kosilov. She stood with her fist raised high as she began to chant.


The rest of the Badb Catha were on their feet at once, adding their own voices to the battle cry. And then, without prompting, I saw that every single student in the Great Hall was rising and joining the quickly building chant. As one, our voices needed no magic to shake the very foundation of that room. I found myself laughing, unable to hold back the tears of relief and pent up feelings, for even through the roar of collective emotion, there was one small voice that seemed to cut through it all. It was a voice that I knew only I could hear, for it was the voice of my Grandmother.

“Well done child,” it said. “Well done.”

« prev next »