The Other Side of the Forest
Sile leaned against an ancient oak brooding about the past few hours. The white haired girl had played the game very close to her chest since her arrival at Skogshaven. She knew that tonight all of her plans would come to fruition and she would finally get her revenge on the Orkneyjar sorcerer. She had left him blind to the dangers of the town. She had pushed and prodded the old sorcerer and even the others followed. They walked forward blindly not really wanting to know anything about the town. Their simple mindless pursuit made it so much easier. Eòghan had not changed in two hundred years of captivity without realizing that mindless pursuit was what got him imprisoned in the first place. Suddenly her plans all went awry. Revenge for her beloved Phillip almost fell out of her reach when Countess Sianna entered the game. She moved in taking power quickly and easily suppressing Eòghan’s ambitions.
All Unseelie bowed to those who wielded greater strength. Sile, understanding her place, became outwardly docile but she knew it did not fool the Sidhe. That one was dangerous playing a different game than all of them. Sile had a feeling that the Sidhe knew that the information on the Princess’ lack of allies was false. The kidnaping almost caused her to lose hope. Sile believed that the Countess knew of her duplicity but confused Sile more when she asked her to cast the binding on the young Witch.
The Countess had not seemed to be so easily manipulated. Sile did not believe that the Sidhe actually split up her force. The white haired woman had recommended it as an afterthought not really thinking they would do something so foolhardy. Sile pushed herself off the tree disgusted. That one’s game no longer mattered, only her revenge on Eòghan and the hope that the Princess would keep her promise of sanctuary.
“My Mistress wishes to speak with you.” Abigail interrupted Sile’s brooding. The Vampire looked into the young girl’s eyes. Thankfully, some of what was once called Abigail still lingered. With a quick look around Sile reinforced that little bit of will. “Stay with us Abigail, Morgan will be along for both of us shortly.”
Morgan reflected that of all the places she expected to be before the start of a battle a fully decked out RV was not one of them. While two of the Sidhe women worked on her hair, three men discussed what sort of body armor she should wear. Dan Summers wanted to place her in some sort of SWAT Team body armor. Morgan quickly said no. She had no idea how one was supposed to move in that sort of outfit. Finally, a more traditional route was decided. Liam and his family’s occupation now came in handy. He was a smith and worked in the numerous Renaissance festivals up and down the east coast. His work was considered highly regarded, as it should of a Sidhe smith and very expensive. Several well known movie studios had used his armor in a few feature films.
Liam went into the back of the RV and pulled out a shirt of mail made of a bronze composite. “Normally such a shirt would be made of steel or iron but I made this for a Noble Lady of the Court.” He didn’t need to explain what court. “We had a disagreement over payment, so I kept the shirt.”
“I thought that iron would be painful to work with.” Dan asked.
Liam shrugged. “I am a smith.”
Liam handed Morgan the armor; it was unexpectedly light. Not that Morgan knew a lot about medieval armor but she knew enough to be impressed that each link had a rivet attaching itself to another link. “What is everyone else going to be wearing?”
She looked up to see them just smiling. “No...” Morgan began.
“Please if everyone can give me a moment alone with her Highness.” Alex asked. The others respectfully moved to the other side of the RV.
“Alex, I can’t.”
“Yes you can…please Morgan. Everyone in this room will feel better knowing that you have some protection.”
“Everyone but me.” She grumbled. “You know you can’t make me if I don’t want to.” She gave her cousin a mischievous smile.
“If not I’ll just have to tie you up.”
“Oh really.” She gave him a small sad smile then looked down at the armor. “I won’t be happy.”
Alex nodded to the others who came and helped Morgan with the mail shirt. She should not have been but she was surprised when the opening in the neck grew wider so it wouldn’t mess with her hair. Adding the sword belt, Morgan now looked like something out of a story she thought to herself except in this story the monsters were all too real.
Oshun St. Hill and her brother prepared her family for the conflict ahead. She did not totally trust these Fae, her father had fallen victim to an Aycayia when she was but a child. Following a half-naked fish woman into the sea, that man deserved his fate but he left her mamma alone. Perhaps Mami Wata would return him someday with a greater spiritual understanding. She did not believe it so.
“Do you need help dear sister?” Dr. Shango stood to the side with his brothers and cousins. His wife Marie stayed at home along with a few others to protect the children if necessary.
“I think not, Eshne Teague does not know everything about the Sacred Ones.” Oshun stood with two other women along with three men one of them being her husband Roberto.
Shango gave an odd smile. One day he would need to learn why the two women seemed to despise one another. “You stay close to me Nathaniel.” Shango said to a young man. His youngest had turned sixteen over the winter and this night’s adventure would be new to him.
Nathaniel just nodded obviously unhappy having to stick next to his father. His older cousins chuckled and prodded him a little but it was all good-natured. “He will just slow us down anyway.” A beautiful girl strode forward along with another girl who must be her twin. Shango laughed; his daughters were good hunters, quick on their feet but in truth too clever by half. The pair had been off to college all year in some small college town Richard Kincade had recommended. He felt bad for the poor boys that came to their sorority house. One of them was bad enough; two of them were impossible.
“They’re coming, mamma.” Oshun’s daughter Agwe had her eyes closed. She was a little Fae herself always lost in her own world.
Two of the Sacred Ones appeared, mother and daughter, so it was told to Oshun. “Greetings, Mistresses, we are ready.” She gave a little curtsey to the pair.
With nothing more than a nod the world changed. “Follow us.” The oldest one said. Oshun opened her eyes on wonder. The pair had changed. The youngest of the pair had seemed a little mousey but now roaring with power there was a beautiful terribleness about them. Oshun suddenly hoped that her Papa was respectful to his kidnappers if not then there was little chance he would come back from Mami Wata’s embrace.
So beware what you wish for; I truly believe. Addicted to fantasy I always had this vision of riding off into battle astride a charger laying waste to my enemies while trying to rescue the Baron’s daughter. Of course, there would be a great soundtrack in the background like Carmina Burana ~ O Fortuna. Nope, here I was sitting in an RV on the way to battle with no soundtrack; at least a little ‘Rage Against the Machine’ would have been appropriate. A sudden wrongness assaulted me and I motioned Liam to come to a stop. The other vehicles following us also slowed down as our caravan pulled into an empty parking lot. We had reached the borders of the Park that contained the Barrow.
“Remember where we’re parked.” Mal joked as he joined our group. The rest of the Kincades arrived followed by the Shisaa family.
Masanori Shisaa gave me a formal bow. “Foresee more problems?”
I nodded yes but there was little I could do about it now.
He laughed and motioned his group forward. I noticed two conspirators off to the side busy talking. Alex and Mal had been up to something since they first met. It made me uneasy. Eshne Teague and a group of Witches and their Warders also prepared to follow me into the Fae. She came up and enfolded me into a warm hug.
“She loves you.”
“I love her too, Aunt Eshne.”
She cupped my face and smiled as I called her by that name. Kissing my forehead, she looked me in the eye. “Be careful, I do not want to lose you either.”
I motioned for everyone to remain and approached the border of the park. I could feel the darkness in front of me. It had a physical form.
Alex came to stand by my side. “Your thoughts?”
“We will come back with our shields or upon them.”
Alex nodded. “Yes, your Highness.”
I drew my sword and changed the world around us, stepping into the Fae Realm. The miasma was heavy, a darkness that hid all light. I could feel the others around me more than see them. However, I glowed; I brought the whole weight of the Summer Court into me. The bronze armor had changed with my fairy glamour, I could tell by Mal’s look that the effect was impressive. Waving my hand, I easily broke through the ward. Masanori Shisaa and his family roared past me in the form of Japanese Lion-dogs. Guardians of their temples and great adversaries of evil their courage I could admire but the group of Troll-kin outnumbered us. What bother me more were the large numbers of duplicates of the well-dressed Fae all wielding nasty looking swords. The rest of us surged forward slamming into the dark Fae.
Jabol took a comfortable seat overlooking the forest. Thoroughly terrified, the Huldra and her family wisely sat in the kitchen. Happy with his work he sat back and watched the battle unfold. Eyes closed he could see his duplicates encircle the Princess’ small group, what he didn’t expect was the sign of Weres and what appeared to be Witches and their Warders. That did not seem right, they knew that there were other Unseen in the town but no one expected them to be working with the Princess. He frowned thinking he should have paid more attention to the powers of the town than trying to collect slaves. Though outnumbered the Princess and her group were tearing large holes in the Dunkelheit. What could turn out better both groups destroying one another leaving the town defenseless? More duplicates began to form in his mind but so intent on the battle he did not see the Huldra approach.
Jabol staggered as Gerdy brought a cast iron skillet to the side of his head. The iron skillet came down again as he tried to rise slamming him to his knees. Another blow brought him to the ground the cold iron blistering his face.
Tears poured down the Huldra’s face. The skillet burned her skin but she would protect her family. She would not allow the Wild Hunt to take away her children again. Repeatedly the skillet slammed into the downed Fae. Suddenly she could feel strong arms encircle her. “Mamma, enough, he is dead.”
Dropping the skillet with her hands covered in blisters, she turned in her son’s strong arms sobbing for the violence she inflicted and for the children lost so many centuries ago. The eighty-year-old Sven hardly looking older than fifty and owner of the ‘Nordic’ looked down and kissed his mother’s head.
Authors Notes: A special thanks to djkauf for a little elvish editing. Thanks to all for reading! Take Care - Elsbeth
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