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 IV: Songsmith

Chapter 4 – Gaia

Since Marly first introduced me to the world of the Fae, I have seen or used a number of strange new means to travel from one place to the next. The Tree-Gates alone could keep me busy with wonder for the rest of my life. When I left Brightly House, I was completely open to what might be waiting for me to carry me off to who knew where. I half expected to see some strange mythical beasts tied to my lamp post with steam for breath and glowing orange eyes. Instead, there was a limo.

Jane was leaning against the vehicle with her head cocked to one side and her arms folded across her chest. I could tell that she was enjoying my surprise.

Taking a deep breath, I walked proudly forward and tried not to show the fact that I was nearly shaking with nervousness. Jane opened and held the back door for me, then went around and got in the driver’s side up front.

“You can drive?” I asked stupidly before I had thought about it.

She turned around to look at me. “I know I look young…”

“Uh, that’s not what I meant. I’m sorry if I offended you Jane. It’s just that every other member of the Fae that I have met has been a little… awkward, around modern human technology.”

She nodded. “That’s because you have never met a member of Gaia’s Household. We’re not like the rest of the Fae. Um, no offense, but I’d like to get moving. I know you said you would take responsibility for being late, but one does not take Gaia’s charges lightly. You can ask me questions while we’re rolling if you like.”

“Oh, sorry. Yes, by all means.” I replied and leaned back.

Jane was not only capable of driving the limo, but damn good at it as well. Even when she hit a bit of traffic coming onto the freeway, she slid in and out of the foray like she had trained in a New York taxi cab. I did notice that she used a complicated collection of glyphs to act as extended “rear-view mirrors”, and something else told me that she was manipulating the minds of those around her as well. It was fascinating to watch her work, and it was Jane herself that finally broke the silence.

“Did you really mean what you said to me back there, or were you just creating a sense of authority so that I would back down?”

I snapped out of a slight daze. “I assume you mean about not being treated as a servant in my house.”

“Yeah,” she confirmed as she pulled back off the busy highway and into residential streets again. We had only been driving for about twenty minutes or so. “Was that for real?”

“Absolutely,” I answered at once. “I won’t see anyone treated that way, but especially a beautiful female. There isn’t enough beauty in this world anymore, and I think it should be respected and cherished most preciously. I have even extended that courtesy to the Unseelie Court, although they have never taken me up on my invitation to meet.”

Jane was silent for a while.

“You think I’m beautiful,” she asked quietly, without catching my eye in the mirror as she had before.

“Jane, I do not ‘think’ you are beautiful, I KNOW you are.” This time, she did look up to meet my eyes. I saw something in that few seconds of contact that made me want to reach out and touch the girl’s shoulder. I resisted, as it would not do to breach protocol… yet.

“No one has ever said that to me,” she replied almost inaudibly.

“You must not get out much then,” I stated flatly. When she didn’t respond, I continued. “You don’t, do you? In fact, beyond driving this car, and any other duties within your Lady’s house, you’ve never really had contact with the human world, have you?”

Her silent stare through the mirror was all the answer I needed.

“How can this be,” I asked, genuinely confused. “How old ARE you, Jane?”

“Gaia, uh, M-My Lady, created me not more than two orbits ago…” She blurted the words out as though she were afraid I would jump from the car upon hearing them.

“Orbits? You mean years?” I asked.

“Yes, sorry…”

I was quiet for a period, thinking fast.

“If you wish it, I will have Gaia assign you someone else to bring you home after your tea,” she exclaimed all at once.

“NO!” I snapped. Then more softly, “No. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to give you the impression that you were unacceptable. Gaia chose well. In fact… never mind. Jane, can I ask you something very personal?”

“I… I suppose so.”

“Do your duties within Gaia’s household allow you any time to… be with others like yourself?”

“Oh, certainly,” she replied, smiling. “There’s Miss Gemma, in the kitchen, and I see Miss Irinde nearly every day…”

“No, I mean, do you interact with any others at a more intimate level?”

“I don’t understand,” she stated.

Was she really that naive? I considered it for a moment and concluded that she just might be.

“Sexually…” I clarified. I was watching her eyes in the mirror when I asked, so I was certain that they widened before they quickly looked away. Again, her silence was quite telling.

Finally, I heard her voice again, though she would not meet my eyes. “I am learned in a great many subjects, but that is one area for which I have no experience whatsoever.”

“Hmmm…” I mumbled more to myself than to her. “I thought that might be the case.”

“Again, if you wish me to find someone, more… experienced, to return you after tea…”


“…I’m sure it could be arranged…”

“Jane, I don’t want anyone else to drive me. I want you.”

She was watching me in the mirror.

“You do? But I thought that since…

“Jane, I _want_ you.” This time, I changed the emphasis slightly so that she fully understood what I was saying. What I was offering.

Her eyes in the mirror grew wide with sudden comprehension. Neither of us spoke for some time. We were traveling through a very nice neighborhood of old, Victorian era homes. Finally, she pulled up in front of a beautiful two story job, complete with a garden hedge and an ornate black metal gate. I knew I didn’t have much time, but I wasn’t eager to jump out of the car anyway.

“I want you to know, Jane, that you are always welcome in my… house. Gaia may have her reasons for not wanting you to fraternize, but if she is willing, then so am I. Do you understand?”

She swallowed, and her face was actually flushed with arousal. She nodded slowly. From the look in her eyes, I think she was considering whether to crawl over the seat and jump my bones right there and then.

“Good. Now unfortunately, I must allow you to return to being an excellent chauffeur…” I let the implication hang, and actually had to motion to the door with my eyes before she broke away from my gaze and blinked.

“Oh! Sorry about that,” she mumbled in apology as she hastily got out of the limo and ran around to my side to open my door. I climbed out, smoothed my suit out, proffered my hat and turned to face the girl. I spread my arms out a bit as if to ask how I looked.

“You look smashing,” she said with a smile.

I allowed her to close the door, then took a deliberate step closer to her so that we were almost touching.

“Jane Mugany,” I said softly. “Thank you very much for the ride. I found it quite enjoyable.” Then, I leaned down and meant to kiss her lightly on the forehead. To my surprise, she tilted her head back, and I found myself at the receiving end of a very warm and loving kiss on the lips. I let the sensations build for a time, until I started to hear her uttering tiny moans of pleasure. I also noticed that she wasn’t standing on the ground any more. Her body had floated up in order to keep the contact, and her hands were now resting on my shoulders and were slowly creeping around the back of my neck.

I separated our mouths and slowly set her back on the sidewalk, admiring the way her eyes held an almost rapturous quality long afterward. She sighed, and then blushed again.

“I look forward to my trip home,” I said and bowed slightly. Jane was grinning as I turned and headed to the gate.

I was greeted at the door by the one Jane referred to as Miss Irinde, who, I later learned acted as both the Housekeeper, and last-line sentry. Not that Gaia needed a personal bodyguard. Irinde was there to handle anything from annoyingly persistent salesmen, to a small extranational invasion force. She opened the door just before I reached the final step to the porch, like any good doorman, and greeted me with a smile that she had had perhaps six millennia to perfect. Understand, that I only found out how old she was at a much later date. The woman who answered the door on that sunny summer day, in no way looked more than thirty years of age, tops, and was so strikingly beautiful that you automatically took your hat off in respect.

“I… I’m, uh…” I stammered, forgetting my own name, let alone why I was there.

“Mr. Brightly. Yes of course. You are expected in the garden. Please come in.” She ushered me into the foyer with a wave of her hand, and I had the distinct feeling as I passed through that doorway, of being poured through some kind of giant magic coffee filter. It was as though every cell in my body was suddenly scrutinized, taken apart, and regurgitated anew. It was weird in the extreme, and I almost stumbled on the marble flooring. Irinde caught my elbow and kept a passive face.

“The house keeps its own time,” she said cryptically, as though her words were an explanation. “The garden is this way.”

Gaia’s “house” was entirely unique in that it spoke incredible volumes about the one who lived there, while still remaining perfectly elegant. Most collectors of rare artifacts place their treasures in such a way that their homes either look like a museum, or a garage sale. Not so in Gaia’s house. All around me were items that would have made any historian cry with joy, yet each piece had its own place, as if the items were left there, and the house built up around it through time.

It was at that moment that it occurred to me that the inside of the structure I was in had to be considerably larger than the outside, which was impossible, or rather not, it seemed, at least here. Had Irinde not urged me forward on several occasions, I’m certain I would have become hopelessly distracted and wandered off like a child seeking out hidden closets and such.

When I was finally led through a pair of ornate glass doors that exited off the den, and into what can only be described as a floral wonderland, I was so overwhelmed by my location that my jaw hung lax; my eyes hardly believing such a beautiful place could exist.

“Marcus! How good of you to come,” said a somewhat short, older woman seated in a white wicker chair near the center of the garden. Having completed her duties, Irinde quietly bowed and withdrew.

How do you describe Gaia? She is simply the most wonderfully alive person anywhere. She’s part Georgia O’Keeffe, part summer sunshine. She’s what everybody thinks of what “mom” should be. She’s terrifyingly beautiful.

I hardly realized that she was addressing me; someone of HER stature wouldn’t be interested in such a lowly worm as myself. But she was indeed addressing me, and could read my thoughts and emotions as though they were being called out on a loudspeaker. I knew from the moment our eyes met that I was completely transparent.

I swallowed nervously, then stepped forward. “My.. my Lady…” I said nearly stammering. How does one greet a god who has invited you to tea? I started to put out my hand, realized how stupid it was and heard her giggle softly. Suddenly, the better part of my brain had a rare moment of briliance, and I took her small fingers in mine and bent over them, placing a very light, dry kiss to the back of her hand. When I came straight again, Gaia was smiling.

“Nicely done,” she announced softly and urged me to sit down.

I breathed. So far, I hadn’t made a fool of myself.

“It’s about time I finally met you face to face,” she explained as she began to serve me tea. “I’ve been watching you for most of your life. The Tuatha dé Danann has been in hiding for far too long. It’s nice to finally see it returning.”

“I… um, I didn’t fully understand my position within the De Danann until, well… this morning.” I took the cup she handed to me absentmindedly.

“Not to worry, Mark. You’ll grow into it. Now,” she said after a few quiet sips of her own tea. “You are no doubt wondering why you are here.”

I sighed. “I pretty much assumed that it wasn’t simply for introductions.”

“Introductions are always important, my dear, but you are correct. Where to begin… I guess a brief bit of history is in order. I’m sure that Marly and others have tried to tell you what I am, yes?” I nodded and she continued. “They have only an outside perspective. To them, I am the mysterious all-powerful being that happens to be in charge at this time. Which is not even a half truth. Let’s see… A VERY long time ago, shortly after the planets had congealed and solidified for the most part, the structure of this planetary body you call Earth became sufficiently organized internally that certain kinds of magnetic, electrical, and gravitational networks formed. These networks became more and more complex with time, until quite suddenly by galactic standards, they collesed into consciousness. It was a shallow and barely stable consciousness, but self-aware none the less. In that moment, I was born.

“Not long afterward, sentience kicked in, and I became aware of other, greater networks that spanned both space and time. I learned that I was not alone, and that there were many many others, some like me, some not, and that they wished to communicate with me.”

“After a great deal of this communication, I was sufficiently ‘educated’ so that I could be given some choices, or options. You see, planetary entities like myself are somewhat limited by our makeup and age. As we cool, our cores harden and our networks become less and less dynamic. We are also restricted by our physical composition. Some bodies have a poor combination of elements, and so do not form healthy networks. Others are better suited to advanced thinking. I was pretty far over on the ‘gifted’ side, and so I was given the life option.”

“You see, organic life has a way of adding to our natural intelligence. It forms its own collections of networks, and is capable of significantly increasing the potential of a given planetary body. If properly cultivated, an entity like myself can host other sentient life, which can easily increase one’s potential by an order of magnitude or more. But at a risk.

“Humans. Sentient beings themselves, humans are capable of incredible leaps of creativity and intelligence. But they are also fully capable of not only destroying themselves, but also any other life on the planet in question, and possibly even the planetary body itself. Unless it is completely neglected, and barring a cosmic disaster, non-sentient life is mostly self-correcting and perpetuating. It will follow pre-designed instructions or instincts without need or desire to change them. Sentient life on the other hand, is not bounded by such restrictions, and is therefore able to expand and adapt at will.”

“I chose to accept the risk and seeded humans into my life network. Now, one of the advantages of having sentient life, is that you can interract. You can experience their joys and pains, and you can much more actively participate in their existence. But, as would be expected, they also require much more attention and management. More so, because they interact with the other life networks, you must set up systems to keep the sentient entities from over-influencing the non-sentient ones. In my case, this brought about the creation of the faeries.”

“These special entities were based off the human organic model. And as you recently found out, they are in fact, humans that have been magically altered. They are changelings, and the easiest form to create, although it was certainly no easy task by any means.”

I shook my head, trying to take in everything that Gaia was telling me. It would take weeks to process it properly, but I was hanging on the edge of my seat. How often do you have the mysteries of the universe explained to you while you sit quietly and sip tea? She went on.

“I gave the faeries certain traits that made them able to better serve in their tasks as caretakers of the other life networks, specifically, I linked them into the network that we shall for now refer to as the magical realm.”

My eyes widened a bit as she started to cover ground with which I was vaugely familiar.

“As you are aware, magic is what we refer to as the collection of complex time-space constructs that allow us to manipulate the physical world. What you might not be aware of, is that this collection also forms its own network, which is connected to all things in some way or another, and that for nearly three of your millennia, all but a very small splinter of this network has been closed down and inaccessible to anyone but myself. Aside from the constructions you more recently devised yourself, all the magic you have seen so far has been, shall we say, precompiled. Even your own constructs are merely composed of other smaller glyphs. For the most part, you have been semi-randomly trying to assemble advanced functions from previously compiled fragments. And you’ve done admirably considering what you’ve had to work with.” Here, Gaia leaned forward, smiling.

“Let me put it another way, Mark. What if I told you that instead of trying to piecemeal things together, you could actually write and compile your own functions from scratch? And that there was not only a whole language already in place to do this, but a whole set of tools available to help you…”

“An operating system!” I blurted out the words before I had even realized it. My mind was suddenly connecting a series of unaswered questions together. For months, I had noticed that there seemed to be hints and references to certain magical commands that didn’t seem to exist. Now I understood why.

“Very good,” nodded Gaia approvingly. “A magical operating system, very much like the operating systems used in your computers, complete with access restrictions, debuggers, and users.”

“But that’s… that’s incredible!” I stammered. Then I paused as something she said occurred to me. “You said the network has been closed down for nearly three millennia?”

“That is correct,” she answered, grinning. She had already figured out what I was thinking, but I had to state it aloud, just for my own clarity.

“About the same time the Tuatha dé Danann was last seen…” I added.

“Indeed. In fact, exactly the same time,” she agreed.

I sighed. “The Tuatha dé Danann were your programmers, weren’t they?”

Gaia chuckled softly. “In a way, yes. But I would categorize them more as custodians, or perhaps, administrators, if you want to keep the OS analogy. The Tuatha were my connection of the magical realm to humanity. They were given the task of both enlightenment, and judgement. They were to be the peacekeepers.”

At this, Gaia frowned and looked into her tea for a second. I could suddenly imagine the ages and ages of memories she must have been reliving, and for the briefest moment, she looked weary and old. And then it was gone, and she was once again the beautiful woman who looked like she belonged on the side of a box of Malt-O-Meal; the embodiment of everything “mom”.

“What happened,” I asked, remembering to breath.

She sighed, and squinted at me. I got the impression she was searching through my mind for something- something that would help her decide if she should tell me more.

“When a new forest has grown large enough that it is no longer easily cared for by a single faerie, a new faerie is created to help,” she began. “Most of the time, I am able to choose the humans who will become part of the Fae from long, well thought-out bloodlines. But in rare instances, it can be an act one of mercy instead. Perhaps their life would have been cut short by cancer, or they were lost as children in one of my forests. Whatever the case, I take them in, and rebirth them as faeries, complete and whole, and immortal.

It was a girl, barely of womanly age. A group of men had chased her into the forest and raped and beaten her to within an inch of her life. In fact, they were certain she was already dead, otherwise they would never have stopped. And she certainly would have died had I not intervened and made her one of my own.

“Normally, in all but the Dominion Queens, the human life of a faerie is deeply buried, such that it is rarely ever recovered or seen. But in this new faerie, it didn’t entirely stick. Although she had no clear memory of what was done to her, she found she had an unexplainable hatred for mankind. This of course, was at odds with her instincts as a faerie, which compell her to respect and protect all life. And so she was presented with a dilemma. How could she feel the way she was, and still hold true to her Fae ways?

“About the same time, she witnessed a horrible tragedy. Humans from one of the villages had accidentally cut down the tree of a dryad, killing her. Although the humans hadn’t meant to do this, it germinated in the faerie a new concept. Could humans themselves become a threat so deadly, that their mere existence was a danger that should be eradicated, or at least heavily controlled? Certainly, by that time in history, she could see that humans were expanding far faster than any other form of life, and by scanning far into the future, she was able to see the horrible devistation that they would cause to every ecosystem that I mothered.”

“Because of her natural hatred toward humans, the answer was irrevokably, yes. She presented her insights to other members of the Fae, and was eventually heard by the counsel of Principalities. Most felt that it was better to try and correct the human damage, rather than eradicate them, but not all. Eventually, as the human population grew, and with it their destruction, there was a split.”

“The Unseelie Court!” I interjected.

“Yes,” she replied, nodding. “But you must understand, Mark, time has a way of warping a cause. When it began, the views of the Unseelie Court where not as disagreeable as you might believe. Remember that the faeries could see much of the future. They could see the awful ripples of human technology, and were they not mostly peaceful by nature, I’m fairly certain that they would have chosen to end it right then and there, while they had the chance and before the damage was done. And they would have been acting in my best interests.”

“So they didn’t kill us off…”

“No,” she continued. “But even the Seelie Court knew that something needed to be done. It was felt that if the humans only knew more, they would find a way to control their own populations. And so a school was formed, and at the request of the Seelie Court, I gave a select few humans the ability to effect the magical realm and learn the ways of the Fae so that they could show the rest of humanity the danger that lay ahead. And for a short while, it worked. But humans have a tendency to idolize power, and the Fae humans were treated first like Kings, then like gods. That was the birth, and unfortunately, the death of the Tuatha dé Danann.”

“Oh my god…” I whispered, considering the implications of what she was telling me. “But… But what happened to them?”

“When it became obvious that they wouldn’t be able to convey to humanity what they needed to learn without becoming idols, I disbanded the Tuatha dé Danann.” Suddenly, a great sadness came over Gaia, and she gazed down into her lap.

“I feared that the de Danann would be forced to use their powers for evil, and so I closed off their access to the magical realm as well. This was a mistake. I did not yet have enough understanding of human nature, and did not foresee…” Gaia started to choke up. “Every one of the Tuatha dé Danann were hunted down and brutally killed by their own people. I had been completely wrong about them. Even faced with death, they refused to use what abilities they had left for evil purposes.”

I was silent. What could I possibly say? These things happened three millennia before I was born. So I waited. After a very long minute and a half, Gaia looked up at me again.

“Humans were incapable of understanding the complexities of time-space manipulation during the last reign of human magic. But they have grown, both in science and in theology. I’m willing to try it again, Mark.”

I shook my head in disbelief. “You want me to train other humans in the magical arts?”

“In essence,” she answered with a curt nod. “But much more than that. I want to reopen the academy that once taught those arts. To a select and descrete few at first, but more with time. Some day soon, it is my wish that you ‘go public’ and bring the Fae back into the world of the humans. I have great hope, that this event may be able to… alter, humanity’s current course in history.”

I caught the hesitation in her voice, and after a moment’s reflection, it became clear to me.

“We’re headed for destruction, aren’t we? Humans I mean.”

She sighed. “Mark, humanity now has the ability to destroy not only itself, but all life, including my own. As much as I would suffer because of it, I will not allow the human race to do this. I would destroy them myself first.”

“Oh,” I said swallowing. “So then, I guess I had better get it right, yes?” I was smilling, but inside I felt like I was going to be sick. Gaia noticed. She notices everything.

“You won’t be alone. Even as we speak, I have mustered great forces to your aid. You will have the complete support of the Seelie Court, as well as guidance from me.” She leaned forward in her chair so that I could see a universe of wrinkles in her face. “I know this is a stretch for you, Mark, and you do not even yet know what odds are against you. But I have learned that humans have a way of overcoming even the most impossible obstacles. It’s what makes you worth fighting for.”

I’m sure that Gaia sensed that I was about to question her about those obstacles, so she quickly changed the subject.

“Tell me about your amplifier,” she said abruptly, as she sat back in her chair with her own tea. I blinked several times while my brain shifted gears.

“My amplifier?” I stalled.

“Yes, the magical one that you have been trying to construct at Brightly House.”

“Oh! I, uh… what would you like to know? I haven’t been able to get it to work yet,” I answered, frowning.

She stared at me over her cup. “What would you do with it, Mark, assuming that you can get it working?”

She was all seriousness now, and I got the feeling that this was some kind of test.

“Well… everything… anything! The uses are limitless!”

“Indeed,” she replied, her brows rising slightly. “And have you considered how others might use it? Specifically, those who do not share your point of view concerning humanity?”

I was frowning again. “The Unseelie Court… I guess I haven’t. But why should I allow them to use it?”

“Oh, please, Mark. Don’t be so naive. Even if they don’t get it at first, once they see that it can be done, they’ll develope it themselves. Dispite what you might believe, you are not the only entity capable of higher magic.” She sighed deeply. “It’s going to have a great effect on things, this little project of yours.”

I gulped nervously. “Should I stop?”

“What? Certainly not. Just because it’s enormously powerful, and incredibly dangerous, doesn’t mean you should abandon it. It has fantastic potential in more ways than you can imagine. Just remember that I won’t take sides when it comes to the Courts. I favor the Seelie, of course, but the Unseelie have done many great things in my honor. Some day I shall have to show you how many times they have kept humanity from destroying major portions of the life network. Their methods may not be favorable to human kind, but they do get results.” Gaia was then silent for nearly a full minute, staring intently over my shoulder. She had a certain glazed look in her eyes that I had seen in Keila when she was trying to deep-sense the future.

“Fine control is going to be your biggest problem,” she said at last, her eyes dropping back to mine.

“Fine control?”

“Yes, here, look…” Suddenly, from the ornate victorian garden table sprang a semi-opaque collection of glyphs which spun around and finally settled into slow orbits between us. Some of them I recognized, and others were completely alien and wholly fascinating. My eyes darted around, desperately trying to take in what I was seeing as it dawned on me that this must be part of the magical OS that Gaia had spoken of, and to my great surprise, it made sense. Perfect sense.

“See here,” she said pointing to an odd structure near the middle of the swarm of light. “You have the right idea, but every time you try to increase the output the whole thing falls apart.” I suddenly realized that I was looking at a duplication of my own construct, and I gasped. Gaia noticed and smiled.

“Don’t be so surprised Mark. I have access to everything that takes place within my networks. I just have to be looking for it, and like I said, I have been watching you for quite a while.”

“Oh,” I responded, feeling a bit like a child who was being helped by an adult to learn their times tables. I looked at where she was pointing, and how she expanded the view until the inner workings of the sub-glyph became apparent.”

“Here,” she pointed, leaning in a bit. I suddenly understood what she was getting at, and my breath caught.

“Yes, yes! That’s exactly the problem! I can’t keep the resonance stable with any real multiplication of output.”

Gaia clucked her tongue. “…At least not within a changing field…” she prompted.

I jumped. “Are you suggesting using a fixed field?”

“Possibly. It would greatly limit your amplifier’s uses, however. You would only be able to use it for highly stable tasks in a pre-compiled setting. There’d be no room for fluctuation.”

I frowned again. The whole point of the amplifier project was to multiply ability in a dynamic setting. But if the environment wasn’t completely static, the glyph would destablize. Gaia was following my train of thought.

“Don’t give up, Mark. What you need is a very flexible correction mechanism.”

“But how? No matter what I do, any self corrections will be post-phase and useless.” It occurred to me that I was having a very technical conversation with Gaia, and she was keeping stride with me without effort. She, at least, did not seem to be hindered with archaic points of view as most of the Fae did. It made me wonder how well integrated she was with human society. Or was it something else?

“I do have access to your mental processes, dear boy,” she said, answering my question before I had even asked it. I pondered this, and noticed Gaia watching me very closely again. “You humans are so wonderfully creative,” she whispered as the idea conjealed in my forebrain.

“That’s it!” I yelled.

“Yes,” she said quietly smiling.

“We can’t control it post-phase, so we’ll do it PRE-phase! We’ll look into the future and see how the environment will change, and then apply the needed corrections to the resonance. That would work! Only…”

“It would require a Fae operator with fantasticly detailed farsight, one microsecond into the future,” she finished.

“But who has that kind of ability? I certainly don’t, and I don’t think the faeries do either.”

“Don’t worry too much about it, Mark. You’ve got it now.”

“Yes, but it’s only really feasible in a static environment. Unless we can find an operator with the right skills…”

Gaia stood and walked over to me. Realizing that I was supposed to stand as well, I set down my cup and awkwardly rose. When she placed her hand lightly on mine, it was like all the stress for the past three weeks was suddenly drained out through a trap door at my feet. I exhaled deeply and lost myself in her eyes.

“Just work with what you have. I think the other problem will fix itself. The answer is in you, Mark.” She was smiling, and in an instant, and without words, I knew she was pleased with me. I had done well, and nothing else in the world mattered.

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