• FSOS: Wait, Summer Child – I

    The fair folk rarely were guests to Nells. In a lifetime, I have witnessed them coming three times, and it always was a great occasion to celebrate. The fair ones from spring, summer and autumn courts were generous and their presence always meant wealth. With open hands, they were offering spellbinding and charms and magic and not demanding anything in return.

    The fae were coming like a gust of wind, in groups or alone, looking around with curious piercing gazes and delving into people’s fantasies. Which is in some cases better to stay hidden.

    For me, the visits of fair folks were always a time of fear, which I dreaded. When I was younger, I was simply hiding at home, to avoid seeing them. Seeing them was the worst. Not even hearing the wild tones in their voices, and feeling the scent of rotting flowers and tree bark. For others, fair folk seemed perfection incarnate, smelling of petrichor and summer nights. I felt decay and death. And when the glamour masks were shattering, I was seeing beasts, old forest dwellers, dark gods of the overgrowth.

    And that even wasn’t as terrible as the idea that they might know that I see them that way.

    I was the only child of a town blacksmith, an older man who never cared for the fair folk. He stated a long time ago that I have all the right to avoid them, as they were useless as a pair of moldy shoes and have the attention span of a cat in the spring night. His words were reassuring, even if he also didn’t know about my… flaw. A defect. How could one not admire the enchanted ones?

    It was four years since the last visit of the summer prince and his suite, when the town was set in fire – literally. After the prince’s visit an enchanted baker forgot to turn down the oven. The fire spread fast and swallowed ten buildings until it was stopped.

    The summer prince couldn’t care less because he was not present anymore, but if he was, I was tempted to think that it would amuse him.

    Summer court. Most easygoing, but also most hungry for sensations. If you invite a summer fae, you prepare yourself for trying almost everything. Not necessarily needed and wanted. Spring court was airy and breezy, autumn court – stoic and composed.

    There was also a winter court, but no one even saw any fair one from it and in this all agreed – no one wanted them here. If you believe tales, and I believed in them thoroughly, they were feeding on negative emotion and back in the days, they were enslaving humans with their enchantments. It was long since a mortal saw a winter fae, but the last one who did, got mad and died under eternal poverty curse.

    All fae were wicked, in their own twisted ways, that made all believe they are gifts from and messengers of nature itself. But winter ones were pure darkness.

    If you believed tales.

    So when I heard that a fair one was going to visit Nells, I knew it would be either spring, autumn or summer fairy. The princes liked to pretend that they were common fairies, until someone guessed who they really were. They were spending a few generous days in the Nells, and I knew that they also visited other towns. No one knew why. And I think only I was asking the question. Why did they visit mortal lands? Why so rarely? Out of simple curiosity? Or there was another reason, evading comprehension? We all knew fairies are curious, but if that was the reason, who only a few times a human lifetime?

    People didn’t ask and I wasn’t eager to mend their ways.

    The fear of being exposed in the fae eyes was keeping me away from gatherings, festivities and parties. People were happy, used new powers willingly – until they weathered down. But a month or two of magical life was better than a life without it.

    No one knew how I perceived fairies. Even my father. And that’s why, when we sat to supper, the topic of the fae was forcefully pulled out.

    “The fair folk arrive. Gossip says that it’s the summer prince again. Cheeky bastard.”

    With my mouth filled with stew, I partially choked at his words.

    “Again?”

    “He is even more useless than the others.”

    My faaher, Garreth, never received a spell or enchantment. Never wanted to, he was aware that good things come only with hard work and honest life. The fair folk were the opposite of it.

    “The summer prince is all’s favorite” I muttered with a huge dose of irony.

    “Yes, because he is a layabout and most of the young ones are not less of idlers” Garreth put a huge amount of stew in his mouth and started to violently chew. “I count no one will burn half of the city during or after his visit.”

    I didn’t reply. Silence prolonged. Violent sounds of my father moving his jaws was a sign that he had something to tell me. And that I will not like it.

    “Shili…”

    I poked the slice of meat with the fork.

    “Shilien.”

    His voice made me raise my gaze.

    “You know that last time I allowed you to not go. But the mayor is insisting.”

    Ah yes, the mayor.

    “Even I go. You don’t need to take anything they offer. You don’t need to agree on anything. Just be there.”

    I shook my head. Yes, the unwritten rule was that all people from the town come to greet the fair ones. Last two times, I lied that I was sick, but the third time would be impossible. My father didn’t want me to order it, but we both knew. I had to go, or I would get a stigma. Small towns were good to live a peaceful life in, but tongues were worse than blades.

    “At least once. The summer prince has favorite places he goes. He won’t demand your presence, if you bow to him.”

    I sighed. That day was going to come, whether I wanted it or not. The summer prince may not see my inner eye.

    Or he may, and it will offend him, making his vengeance unpleasant the least.

    Or even worse. If he hides some monstrous form under the enchantment, it will be the end of my days.

    “I will go.”

    Garreth sighed with relief.

    “But no powers to gain.”

    A laughter.

    “You were always a reasonable daughter.”

    The rest of the supper we spent weighing it, and even if we tried to keep a pleasant conversation, I felt like a river stone fell down my throat and lay in my stomach.

    Why if… they will know?

  • Introduction

    For you, summer is beaming with radiant glory. It warms your skin with ferocious kisses of the sun. All people who I ever knew, loved summer, when crops were growing on the fields, when birds sang and one could spend whole season, without worrying about what to put on a plate, because black soil was giving more than it was taking. The summer was my time as well. With feet deep in the grass, I ran through the meadows, to admire the clear sky. I was filled with life and joy, always, every time. I thought forever.

    Until the Fae changed that.

    For you, winter is a time when everything sleeps and dies. Wolves leave their teritories. Frozen chains keep the villages as their captives. If it’s mild, you can only hope it passes quickly, so the spring could start her reign. If it’s harsh… then you fight for life. Fight for one month of existence. In Nells, winters are harsh. I despised winter with all my might.

    Until the Fae changed that.

    I was chased by the summer and found solace in winter’s embrace. I was persecuted by the light, which’s talons turned to be poisonous. And saved by the cold hands bathed in snow, icy yet inviting.

    I was the one who allowed winter to last and the one who opened the heart of the death itself.

    I spent one winter in the castle filled with chill, to cause the meltdown. And…

    … let the flowers grew on the frozen ground.

    This is my story. Which you might or not heard. Perhaps you did, in another form.

    I want us to believe that not all what is dark is vile.

    And not all what glitters has good intentions.

  • Never Look Behind You

    Welcome to the Winter Court.

    I am going to write here about faeries. I am going to write here about frozen hearts. And about the Beast that is only few winters away from his Beauty.

    Enjoy your time among the fey, mortals.