My name is Talith. I'm a greater guardian, one of the six that actually stands guard near the Fae princess Anfel Winterborn.
Anfel is the younger daughter to Queen Maeve, the queen of the White Rose Court of the Five Fold Courts of the Seelie Fae.
I'm young as Fae folks go, just about to celebrate my 250th Midsummer's Eve. Shanci Dupresne will be there as the event starts.
Who is Shanci Dupresne, you ask? Why, the love of my life. She is human, but from a line with Fae blood in it, so she may be very long lived.
I guess I should tell you the tale of how we met and how we discovered our love for each other, hadn't I?
Perhaps, before I go into any great detail about how we met, etc., I should tell you a little bit about myself.
As I said I was born about 250 years ago in a quiet, ever-pretty vale on the eastern borders of the country you might know as France.
I'm a greater guardian of the Fae Court, there are perhaps a score or so of us who stand guard around Queen Maeve and her closest kinfolk.
Guardians came about several thousand years ago when a crazy Fae mage crossed several Fae with an equal amount of large members of the lizard folk. The lizard folk are best described as being much smaller, think large man sized, but appearing similar to a Tyrannosaurus rex.
The eight Fae in question were from the greater faery lineage, approximately man sized but with beautiful, quite functional wings. The faery folk, greater and lesser, all depend on at least some innate magic to be able to fly at all, primarily to offset the weight of their physical bodies.
There are tales, now and then, of faery folk with so little magic they cannot fly at all. I have not seen one like that yet myself, though.
That mage had apparently captured several of the greater faery folk and used them to create his new hirelings? It's hard to say what they might have been intended to do, but he actually went so far as to breed the new creatures, having matched them into four male/female pairs.
The crossing of the two species was done using powerful magics and without any recipient's consent to the action being taken by the mage.
When Queen Maeve found out about it, from what I've been told, she used her much greater personal magics to rip the Fae mage to pieces. Queen Maeve was extremely angry when she found he had not only used her folk to make these odd creatures, but also to breed them.
Visually, my folk are somewhat human looking from a distance, although that fades once one gets close enough for a good look. See, we have scales covering our bodies, except for the hair on the tops of our heads. The scales are a wee bit darker than the skin under them.
We also have wings. It seems we got those thanks to the Fae folk that were unwillingly used to create the first people of my small race. The Fae folks' wings had been rather large, but shaped like a cross between a butterfly's and a dragonfly's, and were built into the lower shoulders.
The odd thing is that, when that crazy mage transformed them, the wings changed, becoming very large and somewhat batlike. The interesting thing is the wings, like the scales, come very close to matching our skin colour, so when folded in, they may not be immediately visible.
The last thing of interest is our forelimbs, our arms in the common parlance. If you have ever seen a picture of a Tyrannosaurus rex in a museum or gallery or at someone's house, you'll know their arms were quite small and not very useful to them. Well, ours are quite different.
See, our arms are only slightly smaller than our legs, a bit shorter, too, which makes things interesting when we choose to run on all fours. We're not very fast on just our two feet, reaching a maximum speed of maybe 10 mph. On all fours, we nearly double that speed.
Our fastest form of movement, though, is flight. We can reach speeds close to fifty miles an hour when we are flying, even more when in a stoop. It goes without saying that our ability to fly is inherent in our ability to touch upon the basic magical energies all around us.
Our arms are strong enough to hold things, to throw things, even to wield fairly large weapons that a human cannot handle.
There is one final physical oddity we have, one that the best Fae mages cannot explain. We have two hearts, one on each side of the spine.
Greater guardians are ones from the guardian lines that have been bred to be bigger, stronger and faster than standard guardians.
What makes me odd from most of the guardians is that I am intersexed... fully functional true hermaphrodite is an accurate description.
I've had fun romps with girls and/or boys now and then. I may be fairly young compared to many Fae folk, but not that young.
My parents chose to let my body mature and to let me decide what I might want to do when I became mature enough to consider the matter.
Well, I found myself falling for another Fae about 50 years ago. Goddess, Antris was a hunk! He's courting one of Queen Maeve's cousins now.
It didn't take long after that before I decided that I liked my body just fine as it was. My parents took it in stride, I suppose, although I get the feeling that each one thought that I would choose to be on their side of things once I became an adult in our society.
So that might give you at least a rather general idea of what I look like. I suppose I could add a few more details.
My eyes are a blue green that remind many of the sea when it is calm. Like the sea, my eyes shift to greyer tones when I am upset or angry.
My hair is a very pale purple in colour, lavender I think the humans call it, falling to my lower back when I am standing, and moderately curly.
Female greater guardians average between 7' even to about 7'9", males from 8'3" to 9'6". I'm 8'8" tall, tall for a female, fairly short for a male.
So now you have an idea of what I look like. I guess I can get on with telling my story, then?
Well, as I've said, I've been with several fae folk over the last fifty years, the last romance ending shortly before the last Midwinter. That romance had, oddly enough, been with another member of my small but growing subgroup of our race, and had been quite a physical romp.
As much fun as it was, though, I knew early on that it wouldn't last. The only thing between us was the simple physical attraction.
Then, oh, then, as I wandered around the Midwinter celebrations one evening, I found a woman who made my heart leap in my chest.
She was a stunner to say the least, being extremely tall for a human female, about 6'7", with waist length raven hair. There is no way you could say that she would be weak, as when I first saw her, she was wielding a bamboo practice sword that was almost as long as she was tall.
That was quite an enlightening thing to see, as she danced across the practice grounds battling four large men at once.
The "battle" lasted a fair while, perhaps a quarter of an hour or so, before she knocked first one, then two of the other three, from the fight.
The last of the four men was a much craftier fighter, but even he fell to her strength and power after another ten minutes of being battered.
She stood there, panting but otherwise unharmed, or mostly so, she'd taken a few minor cuts in the nearly half hour long fight.
That wasn't the end of it, though. A short while later, she very adeptly performed a highland sword dance under one of the big tents.
The surprises were not over yet. Not an hour after after the sword dance had ended, I saw her on the mage field throwing fireballs at targets.
A very tall, yet utterly beautiful human woman who could fight like a great warrior, dance with the best and then display strong mage abilities?
I spent the next few days of the Midwinter celebrations wandering around, watching her for hours whenever I could find her.
It took until the second last night of the Midwinter celebrations before I could approach her, hearts in hand, and ask if I could speak with her.
We spent most of that evening and a good part of the night talking, I don't think we even bothered to eat during that whole time.
We met again over the last two days before the celebrations ended. I met her parents and she met mine.
I can see where Shanci gets her height and size. Goddess, her father is huge for a human, 7'4" tall and built like a large stone block. He claims lineage in three of the highland clans, the Camerons being the primary one, Campbells and MacLeods being the other two.
Her mother is closer to what might be considered more usual for human folk, being just 6'1" tall, slender and quite elegant.
After some discussion among both sets of parents and the two of us, information was exchanged so we could communicate.
We talked almost every day, sometimes for hours at a time, and the love we each had for the other grew as time passed.
On the spring equinox, I pledged my troth to her, and she accepted it. Since then, my hearts have been in her loving hands.
The Midsummer fetes begin this evening, and I smile as I ready myself for what I am about to do.
As far as I know, Shanci has no idea of my intentions. I hope to surprise her, and show her the depth and strength of my love for her.
I spoke with Queen Maeve a few days ago, and she agreed to stand in as my overlord for what I will do.
Why Queen Maeve herself? Well, we don't have strong ties to any single element of the Fae folk, and we serve as the royal guardians.
I smiled, the time was now, I could see the full Midsummer moon rising into view in the distance from the hidden grove where I stood alone.
I walked with a measured pace, which looks a bit awkward to the humanoid folks, but our hips are not like those of a human, aye?
In the distance, I could see Shanci and her parents standing not far from the edge of a small dais where the Queen would hold her court.
I crossed that distance, step by slow step, gazing every moment at the face of my beloved. It's a wonder that I didn't fall on my own face!
Eventually, I reached the edge of the dais, where I then knelt facing Queen Maeve and waited for her approval to rise.
That was given after a brief moment, and I smiled and stood again, then turned to partially face Shanci, my beloved.
With hearts in hand once again, even though Shanci held them in her own gentle hands, I spoke to Queen Maeve.
"My Queen, as a minor member of your court and as a member of those who hold your safety most dear, I stand here this evening to ask your approval in my request to take the hand of my beloved, the inestimable Shanci Dupresne standing here, as my life partner.
"I further request to be wed to her in the grove nearby, using the time honoured rites of our folk and those of her own."
Queen Maeve left me standing there waiting for a moment or three before she smiled and gave her assent to my requests.
An escort was formed, and Shanci and I were led across the fields over to the center of the grove, where we faced Queen Maeve once again.
The Fae folk, for the most part, use the human rite called handfasting to bind one to another, so that was the first part of the rites.
We listened to the elven lady who performed the brief initial part of the handfasting, she then bound a thin silver cord loosely around our wrists.
As she finished the binding, she recited the following statements as we stood before her, our hands bound together:
"These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever.
"These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as you build your future together.
"These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.
"These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind.
"These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and tears of joy.
"These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children, the hands that will join your family as one.
"These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it, support and encouragement to pursue your dreams, and comfort you through difficult times.
"And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch."
She finished her part of the rites with this little ditty:
"May you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.
May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you."
When she had finished reciting that, she stepped aside and an older human male, garbed in what looked like clerical robes, took her place.
"You have been bound together in this handfasting rite as the fae folk have done for long ages.
"Now you will be bound together in the rites of holy matrimony according to the church."
He then proceeded to lead us through a fairly standard human wedding ceremony, where we exchanged simple vows and rings. The ring part was the oddest bit, I think, as getting a white gold ring large enough to fit the ring "finger" of my left hand had not been an easy task.
Shanci's ring matched mine, except in its size, being made of the purest white gold.
The priest, I suppose, then asked us each to repeat, "With this ring, I thee wed", before adding, "Now you may kiss the bride."
Well, that part was probably not quite as expected, as we both were dressed as females in long, white gowns. Yes, I was also a bride.
For the rest of my life, I will walk beside her whenever I can, help her as needed and give her all the love I have in my two hearts.
I am, and always will be, forever hers.
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