Although this fiction blog is illustrated with photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and content of the storyline is intended for an adult audience. Please be advised.
|Brian explains Fey protocol to She Who Is All|
If Beckett was shocked at the unusual demand, there was nothing in his expression or body language to show it. Instead, he leaned against the fireplace, and stuck his his hands in his pocket.
"And if I do this...sign myself over to you...you'll get Maureen back?"
The wings fluttered again, ever so lightly, though there was no wind in the room. "That I did not say, Croi Diamhair. I grow weary of repeating myself. It is you I can send, through space and time, and return you once again. Not so the girl. She must have the key, and unlock the door. As I have already explained, the spell she is under can not be broken. But if you know where the door can be found, and if she has the watch in hand, you can direct her through it. She will return, in her natural form, to the life she knew before, and you can then follow her back."
During the entire conversation, Fr. Kevin sat in mental battle. It was the answer to their prayers. Maureen back, safe and sound, in her God given form. Rachel Revere once again home with her children. But at what cost? Beckett would be doomed forever, under the thumb of the Fey world's most powerful citizen, and at her immortal mercy. He knew just enough of fairy history to fully understand exactly what that meant, but he was doubtful his brother-in-law did. He couldn't, in good conscience, let him make that sacrifice. Not without knowing the consequences. They would have to find another way. The Sheriff opened his mouth to agree, but Kevin was out of his chair, and across the room, covering Beckett's mouth with his palm.
"You can't do this, Ted! You don't know what you're agreeing to! If you accept her proposition, you will be forever trapped in the Fey world, belonging neither there, or here. I can't let you do that. Maureen herself would never forgive me. She'd be back home, but you'd be gone from her for..." He never got to finish his sentence. His lips moved, but no sound came from them. In addition, the soles of his feet began to burn, and he was forced to tear at his shoes and socks to seek relief.
She Who Was All clapped her hands and giggled in amused delight, as the priest hopped about the room in obvious distress. She pointed a a tiny finger at Brian, who up to this point, had offered no dialogue. "See, Old One, how your Church Man dances? We shall invite him to our next fairy ring. He will make my sisters laugh and laugh."
The little man was gone from his spot in an instant, suddenly next to the queen on the mantle, and though both knees shook as he spoke, he forced the words out with a firm sense of valor. "Your Majesty. The Church Man is correct. You must disclose... without falsehood...all terms of your dealings with mortals. It is our way according to She Who Was Before."
The fairy narrowed her eyes at the clurichaun, and a heavy mist began to rise from all four corners of the room. Fr. Kevin stopped his frantic hopping, intent on the scene unfolding before him, and even Beckett took a short step away from the two.
"You dare question me, Old One? Know you not that I am She Who Is All? I can banish you to the bowels of the Earth, where you will spend your last days in suffocating blackness! Cut off from the life blood of the Creator. Is that what you want?"
Tears gathered in the corners of his purple eyes, and his shaking was strong enough to rattle the candle sticks on the mantle. Still he held his ground. "That is not what I want, your Majesty. But I vowed to honor the ways of our people. Those laws set down by your own honored mother at our last Gathering. I must stand for what is right, your Majesty. The law states you must disclose all when making exchanges with mortals."
With a gale of wind, the clurichaun was blown of the fireplace, landing several feet away, and hitting Kevin's desk with a thump. The little man groaned, but got straight to his feet.
"I will do as I please, Old One. I am She Who Is All."
"Then you bring shame to your house, your Majesty. Do as you wish to me, but you know I speak the truth."
The Fairy Queen looked about, her eyes holding the fury in her heart. She pounded at the plaster statue of the Last Supper, beating at the heads of the frozen apostles in sheer frustration. When she was spent, she sat herself on the edge of the mantle, and drew the rest of the room to a spot in front of her. "Very well, Old One. It shall be as you say. I will disclose all the terms of my offering." She pointed a finger at each of them. "Know this...I will offer only once, and then I shall be gone. Do not call me again under the threat of my fury."
It was Beckett who spoke for the group. "I am listening, your Majesty. What are the terms?"
The little fairy smiled, pointed tiny teeth like little pearls in her mouth. Her whole body seemed to shimmer, and there was the sweet smell of May lilacs in the room. She crossed her legs daintily at the ankles, fluffed out the dress around her, and addressed Ted in liquid voice. "I offer you the following...gift, Black Heart. I shall cast a spell and grace you with a talisman that allows you the power to break the bonds of time and space. It shall bring you to the side of your beloved's soul. She will not be in her given form, so you must recognize her on your own. Do you understand that?"
Beckett nodded. "I do your majesty. I will be able to find her in her new form. What else?"
She pouted. "You are very blunt, Mortal. It hides your charm." She studied him for a moment, then added, "It will be up to you to help your lassie find the door that brings her back. Once she has stepped through, you can use the talisman to return back yourself. It is all verra simple."
Feeling brave in the moment, Brian interjected, "You must explain about the dark magic, your Majesty. All of it. These mortals hold much stock in the state of their soul."
She Who Was All tisked, her lips smacking against the pearly teeth "You grow tiresome, clurichaun. I miss the days when your people were full of mischief. These new times are most dull." She sighed, "Very well...there are things the Old One wants me to reveal. The spell I use is a dark one. All magic comes at a price, and dark magic is costly. If you use the spell and talisman to break the time bonds, you blacken a part of your immortal soul. Not the whole thing...just a wee bit. But it is irreversible, and lost to you forever. Payment for your granted wish."
Fr. Kevin looked at Beckett in shock, but before he could add to the conversation, the Sheriff waved him off. "That is of no consequence to me. Is there anything else I should know?"
"Of course, my Impatient One. Like all spells, there is a limit to its fruitfulness."
"You mean...like a time limit?"
"Aye. A time limit."
"How long do I have?"
"It will depend on when the spell is cast. It has strength until Lady Moon comes to term, round and white and bursting with life. At her labor, the spell evaporates."
He pondered her words, trying to make 21st Century sense of the unbelievable. "So, you mean until the full moon? We have until the full moon rises?"
"You are correct, Croi Diamhair."
Both Beckett and Fr. Kevin reached for their cell phones at the same time, frantically tapping at the screen, the Sheriff retrieving the information first. "That's in nine days. We have nine days to get to Maureen, and bring her back."
"Actually eight, mortal, as it will take me a full setting and rising of the sun to prepare the spell. I can send you on the morrow at this very time...if that is what is agreed upon."
"It sounds as you have what I need, Lady Queen. And you require me in exchange?"
"Aye, Croi Diamhair. I require you. But not in the way the Church Man fears. I have no use for you among the Fey, though I will admit are a pretty man. My need of you is where you can serve me the best...among your own kind. You have a black heart, mortal, thoroughly lacking in general conscience. It is that which I need. A champion in my service among those who would do me harm. A Ridire Dubh, of sorts. I have enemies among mortal man."
"And what would I need to do?"
"Whatever I require, Ridire Dubh. We both know there are no boundaries you will not cross to follow orders. It is who you are. What you are. It would serve me well."
"And the length of my service, Your Majesty? How long will you require my services?"
"Come now, Dubh, we...you and I... understand the way of things. Once in, never out. But the Old One will insist on proper protocol. So we will set terms. What say you to this...you will serve as Ridire Dubh, my Black Knight, until the birth of your first born son? Upon your heir's birth, the debt is paid."
Beckett's reaction was so slight, it might have gone unnoticed if Fr. Kevin hadn't been so focused on the man's face during the discussion. At the mention of a son, his brother-in-law grimaced, a slight intake of breath, and it was gone. Beckett had never shared his grief, never opened up to him on on the tremendous loss he and Maureen had experienced, though he had tried to start the conversation a multitude of times. But it had been there in that moment, real and deep, a wound not yet healed.
Despite the glimmer of grief, there was little hesitation on the Sheriff's part. He had no care of his soul, fully believing it had been lost years ago. And the work she required of him was already part of his nature, every bloody, immoral bit of it. It seemed like a small price to pay for the return of Maureen. "I accept, your Majesty. Fully and unconditionally."
Fr. Kevin leapt from his chair, and Beckett expected a full blown sermon aimed at changing his mind. But what followed shocked even his jaded view of the world as it was.
"Your Majesty, I would like the same deal. Same as Beckett's. I need to go with him to find my sister."
"I don't need your help, Kevin. Just let me take care of this on my own. She's my wife."
"And she's my sister! Plus, I have first hand knowledge of where the watch opens the door. I've been there. Been through the experience. You need me."
"Just explain to me where to go, and I'll handle the rest. You're not cut out for this, O'Kenney."
"You're wrong, Ted! I've done this before. You haven't. I can help."
She Who Was All waved her hands across the two, and they instantly silenced. "Silence, you arguing dogs! It is at my will the contract is offered, and I will decide the writing of it." She turned toward Kevin, the smile gone, and her growing irritation apparent. "I have no use of you, Fear Seipeal Dearg. You are the Old One's pet. And what of the part of your soul that you will loose in this attempt? Do you not fear over what your heart holds dearest? Surely your soul is worth more than this?"
"I am willing to sacrifice that part of me if it means my sister's safe return. I can help. I know I can."
"You have nothing to offer me in return, Churchman."
"Surely your Majesty has enemies among the clergy. I can be useful. I can"
"And you are willing to shake all you believe, all you have held dear... in my aid?"
"I won't have to shake my belief, your Majesty. I can work around it. I'm good at thinking outside the box. Of finding alternatives. Ask anyone."
The Fairy Queen stared at both men, shaking her head and making grinding noises with her teeth. The seconds clicked by on the grandfather clock in the corner of the rectory parlor, the noise crazy loud in the silence of the room. Then, with a nod of her head, she was airborne. "I shall agree to the terms discussed in this room. Return on the morrow to this very place. I will bring the contract with me. Once signed, the spell will be woven as you ask."
|Fr. Kevin pleads his case with the Fairy Queen|
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