The Other Side of the Forest
There was a slight breeze moving through the trees, it was starting to get a little cooler with the last days of the summer coming to a close. What was going to become a regular thing between Sapphira and me, four of us sat around ‘Father Oak’ partaking in a double mushroom and cheese pizza. Our lunch started a bit dicey, as our fourth diner was Sile. Nervous didn’t exactly cover how the Scottish Vampire felt about meeting the Hamadryad. She was even more confused when I placed the two large pizzas into her hands as a peace offering to Sapphira. The Dryad took one look at the Baobhan Sith then at the pizzas.
“Double Mushroom and Cheese?”
“Yes.” Sapphira answered a little nervously.
“Excellent.” The Dryad replied sounding a little like Mr. Burns.
Now Sapphira sat on a very perplexed Scottish Vampire’s lap, munching on her third slice of pizza. Lunch conversation mostly covered the week’s events. Dan Summer’s well thought out plan prevented any real permanent injuries at least amongst the Witches and Weres. Shoving the Weres down the throats of the Dark Fey worked well while the Witches and their Warders remained in the center for support. By the time that broke up the Unseelie Fae were already being chased by the Cu Sìth.
Unfortunately, the Fae paid the heaviest price. There were those who would not roam the woods again. Cu Sith’s numbers were reduced, which made it almost impossible to call them again if there was need. Brea's sisters who tried to protect me from the Redcap; I couldn’t even think about them without crying, but it was the death of the Green Man that would have long term ramifications. Sapphira might be the Gatekeeper but without the Guardian of the Sacred Grove, she would no longer really be able to watch its borders properly. Many of the Fae crossing from the Fairy Realm find nothing better than to feed on humans. The dark places in the woods would once again become dangerous.
Even so, I knew that this town for the most part only faced the weakest of my kind. The Countess did not call upon the true terrors of the Winter Court, for which I was grateful. She obviously had her own agenda.
“I can’t believe you let her go.”
“I didn’t let her go, she ran away!” Alex looked like he was about to burst something. Watching him exit the woods, I couldn’t help myself but rush into his arms. He was family after all, but I almost beat him when I found out that the Countess got away. The pair had fought to a standstill; then she and the rest of the Dark Fae suddenly retreated. We discussed when it might have happened but Sile was positive the Countess retreated when I broke her hold on Abigail.
“You will have to watch her, Your Highness.” Sile had whispered to me as we retreated out of the forest. Eshne and Abigail fell into each other’s arms but soon Eshne pulled herself back. “You look so much like your great grandmother now, Abigail.” She looked at me; I had noticed the change too. Besides the spells thrown on my girlfriend, there was the little matter of my breathing a little bit of myself into her. Abigail’s magical abilities, now more attuned to the Fae, would require a little training from me. She needed to learn how to protect herself, though if I have my way she would never be alone. Brea would make sure that someone was always watching her, at least for now. Abigail would also need someone to talk to about her experience. Unfortunately, she knew exactly what she was doing the entire time. I would be there for her, of course, and so would her Aunt. Sile was concerned that the Countess would try to get her pet back. The only way that was going to happen would be over my dead body.
“I can’t believe you let her go.” I repeated again but I stopped Alex from interrupting. “Doesn’t matter, next time I am going to kill her myself.” I needed to learn how to supplement my skills with the sword with magic like Alex. At least I have him as a sparring partner; that will make him happy.
“You settled in?” Alex spoke to Sile. The Vampire now resided in a small apartment atop in an old Victorian style home, which doubled as the museum and office for the Skogshaven historical society. The previous caretaker had recently retired also leaving a position open as curator. It appeared that particular job function wore a number of hats.
“Ok, I guess. I’m not exactly tour guide material.”
One of her many responsibilities would be school tours through the house. She could not believe that they were allowing her to work alongside Norms. I told Sile that the people who actually owned the home knew who and what she was and they trusted her to do the job. Two things made this possible; one a fresh supply of blood from the hospital and secondly the Day Pendant. I didn’t tell her that the gift was from my mother but it would allow the Vampire to go outside during the day. I joked with the Baobhan Sith that going to the beach would not be in her future but she should be able to walk around town during the day and be quite comfortable. Of course, Sile would need to make sure she wore an appropriate glamour when interacting with the townspeople.
She and I both knew that there were going to be other complications with this little arrangement. It was not just blood Sile needed to ingest but life energy as well. Sile promised that the night scene on weekends was enough for her to leach energy while dancing without hurting anyone. The dancers might just be a little more tired than usual. Did I trust her? The Baobhan Sith brought Abigail back to me, still I had a feeling that being a babysitter for Sile for the next century or so was going to be a trying experience.
Walking back to the Library parking lot arm in arm I thanked Alex again for his help. I was under no illusion that without his assistance I could have lost everything. He had to return to school, of course, and make up with his girlfriend who apparently had been texting him nasty grams all week. We scheduled time together for training. He of course wanted to schedule time for other things. I declined. Before climbing on his bike, Alex enclosed me in his big arms and told me that he loved me. Sitting back, I grinned. “I love you too, cousin.” He looked at me with his bright blue eyes, kissed my forehead and told me that’s a start. Watching the Sidhe Lord drive away, I knew that Alex too was going to be a trying experience.
Rebecca came home from the hospital before school started. We had a small welcome home party for her, nothing compared to the Kincade’s last of the summer pool party a few weeks later, but how could you compare? Our relationship began to change for the better, Rebecca would work from home two days during the week and come home early as well. Her boss decided that she needed to learn how to balance family time with her work or as he put it the accident was Gods way to tell her to slow down. Rebecca wanted this time to get to know her daughter again. Of course, I really didn’t know her daughter either, I was too busy trying to keep Unseelie Court members from killing me.
Her healing had gone on very well and with my help, Rebecca continued to improve. Moving about still proved to be difficult, until Mab visited. I needed to see my mother, to talk to her and to touch her. Dreams were all we had until now. Rebecca wanted to speak to her, too. I was in such a buzz that morning and almost jumped out of my skin when she knocked on the door. No fanfare, no trumpets blowing ... just a simple knock at the door. There she was in all her glory, my mom Mab. I didn’t really know what to expect but it wasn’t her wearing a white peasant blouse, tight jeans, cute sandals, a beaded purse and purple John Lennon glasses. No, that was wrong, that was exactly what I pictured her to wear. I burst into tears as I tore open the door and leaped into her arms. She rocked me back and forth then started to sing me that stupid tree song, we both started to laugh with tears running down our eyes.
I had a little nut tree,
Nothing would it bear
But a silver nutmeg
And a golden pear;
The King of Spain's daughter
Came to visit me,
And all for the sake
Of my little nut tree.
Her dress was made of crimson,
Jet black was her hair,
She asked me for my nutmeg
And my golden pear.
I said, "So fair a princess
Never did I see,
I'll give you all the fruit
From my little nut tree
So my family nursery rhymes are over 400 years old, go figure. I dragged her into the house to meet Rebecca. While welcoming my birth mother to our home I could immediately see in Rebecca’s eyes why Mab gave me up. My birth mother appeared to be only in her late twenties. Way too young to be responsible for a daughter. Hobbling along on her cane Rebecca greeted Mab warmly. I then got the pleasure of seeing a little Fairy Queen Magic.
Without touching Rebecca as the pair walked to the kitchen, the cane disappeared and so did her hobble. By the time the two of them took a seat to share a cup of coffee Rebecca only has a slight limp. Mab just rocks. I then realized in panic that both of my mothers were now in the same room. Escape wasn’t possible as both turned their mother’s eyes on me. For the next hour, I was painfully the topic of conversation. Mab brought up that I was interested in Law. Well it was something I needed to learn. Rebecca was thrilled. She didn’t know I was even interested in something like that. I could already see her planning my college, Law School and my first job at a Law firm.
After lunch, Mab and I sat under ‘Father Oak’. Snuggling up to her, we talk about my family life and its problems. Those rough times were not her fault but I can tell she wanted to take responsibility for them anyway. Slowly our conversation turned to the fate of my original Guardians Michelle and Lawrence Walcott. Distant cousins, she was a Magister studying the Fae and he was a lawyer. Who could have been better Guardians?
The Fae still didn’t know what exactly happened. Hunters of some type came for the three of us. Did the pair give themselves away or was I their target? No one was exactly sure. What my mom does know Michelle; burned herself out casting enchantments to provide me with protection and to spirit me away. Everyone had assumed my death but not my mother. She said that she would have known if her daughter had died.
“Is that why you never canceled the betrothal with Alex?”
Mab found that question very funny, good for her. She held me close. “As a Princess of the Summer Court, you have responsibilities. One of them will be to someday provide us with an heir. Is he so horrible?”
I laughed. “No that’s the problem. He’s pretty cute in an annoying sort of way. I’m just not ready.”
She smiled. “Well, don’t worry you’re too young anyway. Let’s give it a century and see how it goes.”
I start to giggle, yeah, a century I could work with that.
The summer finally ended and Rebecca and I tried to get me out the door and off to school. Thankfully, I no longer had to depend on my sister’s closet for clothes. My mom, Abigail and I hit the Outlets around Springfield. I discovered that I was really starting to like shopping. You could spend an entire day getting lost in stores, looking for and trying on new outfits and accessories. I did mention that accessories were cool, kind of like getting all of the correct raiding gear before entering a dungeon. It was lost on my mother, Abigail fell out of her seat.
As I walked away from the car, my mom dropping me off in front of the school I realized how much difference a few months could make. Once an unhappy boy fearing the start of a new school year, I was now a girl dressed in an outfit my girlfriend picked out. My life had finally taken a turn and this time for the better. As a Princess of the Summer Court, I had responsibilities that most people would never understand but that didn’t matter. For the first time in a very long time, I looked forward to spending time in school with my friends. At least for that moment everything felt right with the world.
Authors Notes: A special thanks to djkauf for a little elvish editing. Thanks to all for reading! I hope you have enjoyed Morgan's story. *Hugs* - Elsbeth
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