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 2 – Invitations

I have to admit, it was quite a shock to me at first to have Gran in on our little organization. During my ten-day bought with insanity, the faeries had needed a safe place to take Marly and me. Brightly House was an obvious choice, especially since it was empty for the summer. Of course, it also helped that Grandma Brightly was already familiar with Fae folk.

As it was told to me by Keila one night, Gran had been approached by a faerie soon after purchasing the house. Being the hip girl she was at the time, she hardly flinched at the undressed state of the forest denizen and listened carefully. The faerie explained to her that the house would someday be very important to her grandson, which DID surprise her since she didn’t even have any children of her own yet. The details beyond that are lost, save for the fact that she did indeed will the house to me should she depart this world.

It was of more significance however, that when Marly showed up, then Keila and crew, Granny Brightly was way ahead of the game. She not only made sure the house would be for all practical purposes empty in six months, but she also offered her hospitality to the faeries, nymphs and sprites. They were all trying really hard to come and go in secret. And when they were there, they kept as low a profile as possible under the circumstances. Gran had none of that. She pulled the disguised Keila aside one night and sat her down on the sofa.

“Young lady,” she started. “I don’t want to put my nose in where it doesn’t belong, but I want you to know that I know… You know?”

To which Keila responded by pulling off the scarf around her ears and has kept it off while inside ever since.

Gran asked about me, and Keila gave it to her straight. At the time, I wasn’t doing so well, and Marly was even worse. Trooper that she is, Gran just nodded and said, “Let me know if there is anything at all I can do to help. Otherwise, you are all welcome here for as long as you like.”

End of story.

It took me a month to even get used to the idea of faeries, but my eighty plus grandmother took it all in stride.

Now that things had settled down a bit at Brightly House, people started showing up at the main dining table for more formal meals. I use the term “people” very loosely in that our guests for an average meal might have included any one of a dozen different creatures of the Fae. We were, it seemed, quite the curiosity among the Fae folk, and it was hardly surprising anymore to come to breakfast and find yourself being served by a Brownie. Sometimes it could get quite distracting. Gran still required the very best table manners, but she was exceptionally lenient on dress code. I remember one evening in particular, when a faerie sat down across from me and asked if I would please pass the peas. She asked twice more, and finally questioned Ananha next to her if she had botched the use of English. Ananha just giggled. I understood her just fine. The problem stemmed from the fact that I couldn’t tear my eyes off her bare chest. Clothing had become optional at the table and no one had even sent me a damned memo.

Grandma Brightly was enjoying the frequent visitations immensely, as it gave her a chance to play hostess to all manner of interesting peoples. Her table was never less than four now, and topics of conversation ranged from the care and feeding of goblins, to current scandals among the Fae royalty, of which (much to my surprise) I was a part.

Our meals being as they were, it was hardly out of the ordinary that a sprite should drop off a stack of incoming mail as she passed us on her way up the stairs. Gran smiled, as she always did when the mail came. She said it was because it meant change. For better or worse, getting a letter signaled that something in your life was changing. Maybe it was just an electric bill, but it meant that your life wasn’t stagnant. It was very Zen of her, and I had picked up the habit by osmosis and was smiling like a little kid at Christmas.

“Oh boy!” I rubbed my hands together and snagged a few letters off the top of the stack. The table currently consisted of Gran herself, three visiting faeries (none of whom spoke a word of English, not that it mattered), a brownie, and a slightly nervous dryad. Everyone had stopped eating for a moment, watching with curious fascination at the human ritual of Opening the Mail. I thumbed through the envelopes, sorting out the various bills, spam, and personally addressed letters.

“Here’s one for you Gran,” I said, passing her a lavender envelope from France. She beamed, and ran the edge of her butter knife under the flap. I turned back to the pile, letting her have her moment, when I came to a strange brownish envelope that was addressed to a “Marcus de Danaan”.

“I think the mailman slipped up,” I said, checking the address, which was correct. I opened my mouth to ask Gran if she knew a Marcus when I saw the type on the letter go fuzzy and shift before my eyes. In a moment, the letters rearranged themselves and snapped back to sharp focus. Now the letter was addressed to, “Mark Brightly – C/O Brightly House.”

“Yikes!” I exclaimed, tossing the letter to the table as if it were suddenly hot to the touch.

“What is it Mark,” asked Marly as she stepped into the dining room and nodded to Gran and then the others. Always acknowledge your host first.

I was staring at the letter. “Uh, I’m not sure…”

Marly noticed the brown envelope and her eyebrows rose a bit. “Who is it from?”

“I have no idea,” I replied. “It has magic practically dripping off it.”

“I can see that, love.” She moved closer until she was leaning over my shoulder. “No return address,” she stated.

I scrutinized the glyphs embedded in the envelope more deeply, and gasped. “Hey!”

“What is it?” I felt Marly’s hands tighten defensively as she took my inhalation as a precursor to possible danger.

“I can’t disassemble the damn thing!”

“Really,” she asked with concern. “Maybe you should let me open it, just in case.”

I swiveled in my chair so that she could see the pained expression on my face. “Nothin’ doin’!” I exclaimed. “Damned if I’m going to let you face whatever dangers might lay within if I’M not willing to.”

Marly just tilted her head and smiled in that cute little way that told me that I was being unnecessarily valiant, but that she enjoyed the affection. “Someone needs to open it, and I’m better at short range temporal defense.”

Damn. She had me there. I knew from experience that I could bitch all day, but she would still win the argument. When in doubt, give in.

“Alright, but be careful!”

“I love you too,” she said with a smile and kissed me on the top of the head. All eyes were watching as she slowly reached out for the letter, her whole range of magical defenses at max.

<ZAP!> A tiny blue bolt of electricity had reached out from the letter and contacted her fingers when she was still about a foot away. She jerked them back with her mouth open.

“WHOA! Are you alright, Marly?!” I was up and out of my chair, shielding her with my body and deep probing her fingers to see if the spell had done any damage that might not be visibly noticeable.

“I’m fine, I’m fine,” she reassured me. “It was just a static charge. Really, I’m okay.”

“Damned unfriendly is what it is,” snapped Gran, who was also out of her seat.

I looked down at the innocent envelope. “Strange that it didn’t react that way to me. Maybe the spell was activated when the address changed.”

“What did you say,” asked Marly.

“Oh, just before you walked in, the address was different.”

“In what way? What did it say?”

“Instead of my name, it had a Marcus somethingorother.”

She considered for a moment. “Mark, try to remember what it said exactly. Marcus what?”

I frowned and tried to remember. My memory was a damn side better nowadays, but by no means perfect. “It was dee dan something…”

“De Danaan?” She asked with surprise.

“Yes! That’s it. Marcus de Danaan.”

She turned back to the letter on the table and I noticed that it was suddenly very quiet in the room, like I had missed the punchline of a very involved joke of which I was the target.

“What?” I asked finally.

“Take the letter,” suggested Marly flatly, while she held my eyes again. I turned to the table, then back to her, then back to the letter. Before I knew what I was doing, I reached out and snagged the envelope off the table. There were no lightning bolts.

“Now put it back and let me try again,” she asked as if we were conducting some college physics experiment. I did as she asked.

<ZAAAP!> This time the bolt was stronger, and hit her from almost two feet away. Marly was shaking her slightly smoking fingers and mouthing a silent “ow.” She caught my eye and nodded toward the source of her discomfort. “Now you try again.”

I hesitated, opened my mouth, closed it again, and then reached out and took the letter off the table. When we were all breathing normally again, Marly explained.

“It’s warded,” she stated matter-of-factly.

“Warded? Like, as in protected from unauthorized access?”

She nodded. “I haven’t seen a warded object for years. They’re very rare. Only a handful of the best Fae spellmakers could ever pull it off, and all the known ones have been dead for… oh, I don’t know, a millennia. Unless there is another new grand master class crafter out there, this letter could only have come from one other.”

The silence at the table was suddenly back with a vengeance. When I looked around, I realized that none of our Fae patrons were even breathing. In fact, they looked downright pale.

I shook my head in frustration. “Would SOMEONE please fill me in here…”

Marly reached out (with her non-singed hand) and urged me to sit down at the table next to her.

“Mark, you have to understand that a warded object is more than a simple protection spell. This is major A.I. here. That letter is smart enough to identify you, and you alone, and then use an escalating series of defenses to keep others from touching it. There are standard spells available within the Fae that do similar things, but this one has been greatly customized. That and the fact that even you can’t crack the thing open to see how it works, tells me that the warding was put there by someone who knows infinitely more about magic than you do.”

“I thought you said that I was the only grand master in magical creation,” I said frowning.

“To the best of my knowledge, you are. But there IS one other being who could do this… The Earth Mother.”

It was one of those moments when you realize that you are supposed to know something, but don’t, and it’s going to be at the very least, a major embarrassment. It’s like being called to the chalkboard in grade school to demonstrate a math problem from your homework. Only you didn’t do your homework.

Just like grade school, when in doubt, stall.

“The Earth Mother?”

“Yes. Gaia herself,” she reiterated. “I know that I told you that the Powers were the top of the chain of command, but I just didn’t think that it would ever really matter if you…” She faltered, and I could see her skin reddening with shame. Suddenly, some random mental pieces fell together and I had an amazing insight.

“The head of the Tuatha de Danaan reports directly to The Earth Mother, don’t they? Not the Powers.” I asked solemnly.

Marly lowered her eyes and nodded.

I sighed. “And I take it, that since you and I are supposed to reinstate the Tuatha de Danaan, that I, Marcus Brightly, have become the new head of that famous clan?”

She nodded again.

I waited until my simmering anger was back under control.

“You didn’t think I was the one,” I stated flatly.

She looked up, and the pain that was in her eyes told me everything. I was right, that much was certain. But I was also certain that she hadn’t known about my possible greater involvement in the cosmic all when she had been given the assignment of educating and protecting me by her benefactors. The fact that we fell in love wasn’t an accident. It had been carefully orchestrated long in advance. Maybe decades ago. In short, I had just publicly humiliated her in front of her friends and peers for something that was totally out of her control. I was a right and proper ass.

She covered her face with her hands and started sobbing.

Shit. I knew I had to fix it, and I knew that I had to do so very carefully so as to not make the situation worse. I took two deep breaths and then stood.

“Could I be alone with Marly please,” I asked the others in the room using the most serious face I could muster. There was a brief scraping of chairs, and we were suddenly the only ones in the room. No one had said a word, not even Gran. It was almost like they were relieved to be excused from what was certain to be a nasty personal confrontation. And I’m sure that’s what Marly thought was coming; retribution for not seeing who I was.

Instead, I knelt before her and did the only thing that I could under the circumstances. I begged her forgiveness.

When she realized what I was doing, the dam burst and she lost all control of her emotions. Her arms fell around my neck and I found myself kissing her, or rather trying to because she was blabbering so much.

Later, when we were both done groveling and making up (with unspoken promises of more intimate “making up” later), we both turned back to the letter on the table.

“Open it,” she suggested coyly

I reached over for Gran’s butter knife, but then set it down again when I noticed that the flap was loose. It hadn’t been when I picked it up the first time, and I was pretty damn certain it was stuck solid only a moment ago. Okay, so it was a magic envelope. Inside was a cream colored card which I withdrew and folded open. It read:


You are cordially invited to attend a

Garden Tea



this Wednesday at 3 pm.

Transportation to be provided.
Please RSVP by writing Yes or No in the box below.


“Wow…” I mumbled, not quite sure how to respond. Marly was equally speechless, but when I noticed that she was trembling I realized that she hadn’t lost her voice from a lack of words. She was terrified.

“Hey, it’s all right, really,” I said, trying to sooth her. I reached out and rubbed her knee. “Come on now, Marly. This isn’t the incredibly brave girl I know. It’ll be fine. It’s just a tea after all… Isn’t it?”

Marly closed her eyes for a moment and took several controlled breaths. She looked markedly calmer, but still nervous as hell.

“Mark, this isn’t just some minor member of the Fae you are going to see. This is the Earth Mother… The creator of all life! She’s not just powerful. She has ultimate authority over everything and everyone.”

I mulled this over in my head. “Kinda like god or something?”

“Or something,” she answered forcefully. “Lover, I know that you’ve been raised on that sweet and kindly Mother Nature crap, but Gaia is…”


“Listen, legend has it that long before the Fae there was an entirely different realm. The humans that lived during this era numbered about a billion, and used magic in ways that we can only dream about. Unfortunately, they used the magic so selfishly, that one day Gaia just said, ‘ENOUGH’, and completely wiped out every man woman child, as well as most of the animals to boot. The Unseelie believe we are headed down that path again, and are determined to ‘fix’ the problem before the Earth Mother decides to start all over a second time. The Seelie Court, on the other hand, has faith in humanity; that they won’t become like they were in the first era. You have just been invited to stand before the one who decides, and the last time that happened was nearly three thousand years ago. That’s a LONG time, Mark… A whole hell of a lot has changed since then, and certainly not in favor of the overall health of the Earth.”

“Oh…” I mumbled, and felt the bottom drop out of my stomach. I never was much good at interviews.

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