Chapter 11: Planting trees and travelling the realms
“Be warned,” Randi said as she handed Titania the rainbow glass ring. “Anyone who succeeds in freeing him will take his place.”
Oberon, Titania, Randi and I stood in an offshoot of the Maze Between the Worlds, a creation of Merlin’s that would allow anyone with the will to travel between Everworld, Earth, Fay, and someday Albion.
In the small dead end was an angry tree that used to be Melchior.
“Maybe someday he’ll have learned his lesson and deserve a return to Fay life.” Titania sounded hopeful.
“What do we do now?” asked Oberon.
I wasn’t sure what he meant, but I replied by saying, “Randi has taught you the ritual to strip powers called the Mireinio. It will turn our children into regular Fay, or if they’re half human, they can choose human. We must each agree to do so by their tenth birthday.”
They all nodded except Oberon who added, “I meant about the rings?”
Randi replied this time, “We keep them secret and safe. No one needs to know.”
“We know. What if one of us gets power hungry and decides to conquer?” Oberon looked at Randi suspiciously.
It took all my self control to not burst into laughter.
Randi’s brow furrowed but her eyes were filled with the most delightful mischief as she replied, “I swear on Fay itself that I will never try to conquer, coerce, or capture any of the four Fay rings of power of which I have no claim.” Swearing on a Fay is binding, the realm itself would ensure she kept her promise.
Titania and Oberon stood mouths agape, even Melchior the tree was quiet. I repeated the oath myself with ease; I didn’t want to be a king, god, or leader.
It took them a long time, but eventually my siblings followed suit.
“We must help clean up the mess our son created. Fay still needs leadership,” Titania said and looked at me expectantly.
“I think I’d be more interested in visiting Earth and establishing ties with Everworld.”
“Fine. Someday you’ll need to grow up and take responsibility for our world.”
That was the last time I saw or spoke to my siblings. They went on to rule Fay for generations, setting the framework for the nine kingdoms and then they disappeared. No one can tell me where they went or what happened. One day, they got up and rode into the Deep Realms and never returned.
I took Randi’s hand and she smiled at me sadly. “I can’t travel with you this time.” When I looked confused, she said, “I have to return to the fissure in the Deep Realms and sew it closed.”
“I can go with you,” I offered.
“You are the Guardian of Imagination and one of the original Fay. Your magic wouldn’t work and would disrupt what I need to do.” I knew she was right, her magic was of pure chaos with the flavour of nature. She was the wind that changed, I was the story explaining where the wind came from. My presence would distract and undermine hers as she closed the fissure between our universe and the other.
She was gone that first time for fifty years as I travelled the Earth and met its people. Humans have such capacity for stories and imagination that I found myself falling in love. I never acted on it and I confessed the second night of her return. She laughed at me.
“Of course you love the humans. They are chaos, imagination, and stories all wrapped into flesh. The Fay reflect an aspect of your power, they are your children, but they are too much the same.”
“You don’t resent it?” I asked, surprised.
“Do you still love me beyond all others?”
I answered without hesitation, “Yes!”
“Then don’t worry. Love, but remember Mireinio.” We conceived our first children together that night on top of mount Olympus.
Over the years, I met and loved many humans. I was father, and mother, to more children than I could count.
It was after I’d left my friend William with a great idea for a play that Randi and I decided Titania was right.
My children and descendants were many and I was tired of not giving them a place to live. Travelling between Earth and Everworld was great, but I needed a home.
My brother and sister’s disappearance had destabilised the Fay kingdoms and from that strife had risen powerful leaders whose magic was more than a regular Fay. They rose to power on their strength and ruled.
Just because they had power didn’t mean they were good rulers and I chose the cruellest lord and settled into his kingdom. I made myself a nice home and with my children. I had a wonderful household. It had been long enough since I’d been back and my siblings disappeared that we’d faded into myth. So much so that it had become a trend to name themselves after one of us.
It wasn’t long before the Fay lord became angry at my prosperity and declared me an enemy. I made it clear that I would pay fair wages and protection to any that would join me.
The lord found himself with a dozen loyal courtiers and a few soldiers while I took over his kingdom.
The kingdom thrived, as did Fay herself. That’s when I discovered that while I was gone, plagues, pestilence, and marauding creatures from the Goblin Markets had enveloped Fay. It had become a dark and dangerous place.
The longer I stayed, the better the Realm became, as if my presence was its fuel. That’s when I vowed never to leave Fay again, and I wish I could have kept that vow.
Read Chapter 12 (December 2022)
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