Dash of Unseelie
July 21, 2004
After spending a full week in the Seelie court, and several days with the Unseelies, Reyna was sure that if she never saw another Fairy again it’d be too soon. She was beginning to feel claustrophobic with all the time she’d spend around the creatures. Sure, Dunstan and she left every night just before the sun set to return to their hotel, but from 7:00 A.M until that point she was constantly around others. At first they seemed charming, and they were fun to play games with, but sometimes they became too aggressive in their game play or would try and play for keeps. Three Fairies tried to trick her into eating some of their food, which would trap her in their realm forever, a few tried to keep her dancing until her feet set on fire, and one even tried to bite her because she was just ‘too cute!’. Reyna’s nerves had never been so on edge before her trip to France. She feared that her heart would never return to its normal, steady pace.
Unlike her sister, the Unseelie Queen spent a great deal of time in the mortal realm, and even held court there. The two queens were identical in body proportions, facial structure, and black marble-esque skin color, but where the Seelie queen’s hair burned like fire, the Unseelie queen’s hair shimmered like starlight. Looking closely, Reyna swore she could see into the recesses of the universe in her hair. Sometimes a shooting comet would pass through the Fairy’s hair, or Reyna would be entranced by a star going supernova, or devolving into a black hole, but then the image would disappear as quickly as it came, and Reyna would be released from its enchantment.
The Unseelie Queen sat upon a tree, half broken by lightning and fashioned into a wooden throne. A wicked smile graced her thin lips as she gazed upon her court. She had also allowed Reyna and Dunstan into court with only the promise of Dunstan’s friendship—whatever that was about—and had left the two of them to their own devices since. It seemed, however, that she’d be benefiting from Dunstan’s friendship earlier than expected.
“Lookie, lookie,” The Queen giggled. “What’s a silly little Goblin doing in my forest, hmm? Trying to steal from me, were you?”
Two Fairy guards held a small, stumpy creature with green skin and sharp, yellow teeth. The Goblin snarled and thrashed against his captors. Reyna was sure that if his body wasn’t covered with slashes and bruises he’d have been able to break their hold and escape. She wondered how strong and fast Goblins were when unhindered, but filed that away quickly once the Queen asked again in a high pitched voice, “Well? Were you?”
The Goblin made no reply, instead he spat on the ground in front of the Unseelie Queen. The Fairy bared her teeth at him, murder apparent in her eyes. She stood from her tree-throne and gracefully, but aggressively walked towards the small green creature. Lightly impaling his shallow cheeks with her long nails, the Queen lifted the small creature off the ground to look her in the eyes. “You dare spit on me, gremlin?”
Letting out a cold laugh that Reyna felt deep in her bones, the Queen dropped the poor Goblin unceremoniously to the ground. Licking the small amount of blood from her fingernails, the frightening Fairy looked around her court. “You’ll regret that,” she sang, her gaze landing on Dunstan. “Ah, friend,” she cooed, “Come. Come, come, come, come, come. I am in need of your assistance! Look at this creature, Dunstan. Would you consider it attractive?”
“No,” The sorcerer replied immediately with a small curl of his lips. Reyna could see the disgust grow as he looked at the Goblin laying at his feet.
“No,” the queen sighed. “Hmm, what would you suggest, then? Perhaps a nose job? One to replace that hideous clunk of cartilage that currently sits upon his face? Or perhaps a new hair style? I could give him one to resemble my sister. It’s be quite the statement. His green skin glowing under the flames of his hair! Ooh, I love the aesthetic!”
“Might I suggest a bath first, Queen? The foul creature reeks.” Dunstan added, waving a lazy hand in front of his own nose. Reyna’s eyebrows knit together, confused as to where this was going.
The queen snapped her fingers, “Yes! A bath. What a great idea, friend! Why don’t you help him clean up, hmm?”
Dunstan let out a sigh and took a step closer to the Goblin. “Well, first of all we’ll need some water. Hot water, too. We need to disinfect this disgusting creature.”
Reyna felt the rush of magic surround her, heading towards Dunstan, right before the earth beneath the Goblin began to dissolve and water pooled up from underneath. “Heitt, heitt, heitara,” Dunstan hissed into the ground. The Goblin hollered in agony as the water surrounding him began to boil and steam.
Gasping, Reyna took a step towards them, not sure what to do. She wanted to stop them, to help the small creature escape the horror, but one look from Dunstan and her feet were glued to the forest floor. Dunstan would be angry if she acted against him in front of the entire Unseelie court, maybe angry enough to turn his magic towards her, and what could she do against him? Nothing, that’s what. Whimpering, the young girl looked back to the poor green creature that screamed and thrashed in the boiling water with regret.
Reyna knew that if she didn’t do something to help him, that if she let him die, she’d absolutely hate herself. Taking a step backwards, into the thicket of Fairies that surrounded the cruel display, she bit into the fleshy part of her forearm as quickly and inconspicuously as she could. As soon as she tasted the coppery substance of her own blood, Reyna pulled her teeth away. The continuous shrieking urged her on and she reached down into the earth with her magic, searching for the underground spring that Dunstan had brought to the surface for his torturous intent.
Once Reyna found a branch of the stream beneath her, she whispered into her falling blood, “S'il vous plaît, s'il vous plaît laisser mon flux sanguin à travers ce flux à l'étranger en hurlant. Liez-lui à moi pour aussi longtemps que dure cette douleur.”
The words that poured from her mouth were broken and clipped, but she knew her spell had been heard by the Landes forest as soon as her blood hit the soil beneath her feet. Reyna could hear the winds brush against the tree branches above her, like a lover’s caress, and the way the trees answered back with their creaking voices.
None of the Fairies, nor Dunstan, seemed to pay any mind to the whispers of the forest. They were too enraptured in the Goblin’s pain to notice such a subtle thing as the trees and wind speaking. The Goblin continued to scream though for what seemed like forever. Reyna closed her eyes and bit down on her lip to keep from crying out. She couldn’t do anything to stop the pain, but at least the creature would get away with his life. Her throbbed around the bite mark, and once the Goblin’s screams stopped, it burned like someone wrapped a searing hot rope around her forearm and pulled her towards a seemingly dead body.
The Unseelie Queen laughed gleefully, clapped her hands, and did a pretty little twirl. Dunstan made no outward facial appearance, but Reyna could tell from the slight lift in his lips and crease in his eyes that he was proud of himself. The knowledge made her stomach churn. Her arm pulsed twice, letting her know time was limited before her spell became null and void. Taking in a deep breath, Reyna knew she’d have to be brave for the next few minutes. Braver than ever before. Stepping towards Dunstan, she didn’t have to work hard to muster up some tears. Just thinking about the Goblin’s screams brought them forth.
“D—Dunstan?” She whimpered, standing beside him. He raised a brow at her, judgement clear on his face, but Reyna refused to cower away from it. “Can I—can I please bury him?”
A harsh laugh came from the Unseelie Queen and Reyna had to hold in her anger towards the Fairy. She wished she was more powerful if only to be able to wipe the Queen’s taunting smile off her face for just two seconds. Instead, she folded her hands into fists and held her tongue. “That piece of filth doesn’t deserve such attention, child. Trust me.”
Reyna sneered at her, unable to help the facial expression. Looking up at Dunstan, she batted her lashes a few times, adding a sniffle or two. Dunstan ran a hand down his face and sighed, “Fine,” he agreed, “but bury him nice and deep. We don’t want his newly cleaned body stinking up the place.” He joked, drawing a few laughs from the surrounding Fairies and a smile from their queen. Turning away from him, Reyna grabbed the Goblin’s body from the now cool pool of water and dragged him away from the supposed Fair Folk and their laughter.
Once shewas far enough away she placed the body on the forest floor. Putting more pressure on her wound, Reyna drew few drops from her arm and smeared some of it on the Goblin’s body. “Debout,” she whispered, shaking the creature’s body.
Gasping to life, the Goblin’s eyes opened wide and his head swung left to right, trying to get his bearings. Reyna helped him sit up and patted him soothingly on the back. “It’s okay, it’s okay,” she whispered. “You’re safe.”
Flinging himself away from her, the Goblin hissed at Reyna. “What trick is this?” he rasped out. “Boil me, burn me, kill me, then bring me back to life for round two?”
“N-No! I just . . . I just wanted to help,” Reyna explained softly. “I couldn’t just listen to you scream like that,” she explained, “So I anchored you to me. Just for a little bit, though! So, so you didn’t die. Not really. Kind of like a near death experience!” She said in a rush, trying to make him understand that she didn’t want to hurt him. That she wasn’t like Dunstan or the Fairies.
“Oh, is that all?” He cooed condescendingly, “And now I bet you want something from me, huh? You want a favor, is that what you thought you’d get out of this? Well fat chance of that!” He growled darkly. Before Reyna could tell him that he was wrong, the Goblin spat on the ground in front of her and hobbled away on his weakened legs. Frowning as she watched him go, Reyna wondered if all Goblins were as hostile as he was, or if he was the exception.
Looking down at her arm, Reyna could feel the relief of tension that had been building up since she’d anchored herself to the Goblin. She’d read about anchor spells, but they were risky and she’d never tried one before. Still, she knew the risk would be worth it if she was able to save him—and she did. Kudos to her. Standing up and heading back to the Unseelie Court, most of the Fairies had dispersed now that the entertainment was over. Dunstan swiftly walked over to her, grabbed her by her bicep and dragged her out of the forest. The two didn’t speak for the entire walk out, not until they reached their rental car.
“Reyna,” Dunstan said in a deathly quiet voice. His face was drawn and looked like he’d eaten a sour lemon, making her gulp in trepidation. “Did you save that Goblin?”
Reyna opened her mouth with the intent to lie, to tell him that she hadn’t done anything when she was cut off before she began. “Don’t you lie to me!” He and Reyna sucked in a sharp breath, her eyes going wide in fear. Dunstan grabbed her bleeding forearm where the impression of her teeth cut into her skin. “What did you do?”
“I anchored him to me!” Reyna squeaked, trying to pull her skinny arm out of his tight grip.
Dunstan froze for a second, his eyes going just as wide as hers, impressed by his apprentice. Then, just as quickly as a strike of lightning, Reyna felt a sharp sting on her cheek. Her head snapped to the right from the force and she tasted a rush of blood pool into her mouth from where her teeth pierced the tender tissue of her cheek. Dunstan’s hand was still raised and poised to hit again. Reyna flinched away from him, closing her eyes and bracing for impact.
“You stupid girl!” He screamed. “You could have died! Or worse, the Fairies could have noticed! Do you know what the Unseelie Queen would have done to you if she’d noticed your interference? Much worse than what I just did to that creature, I assure you!”
Reyna’s body shook so terribly she was sure she’d break into pieces and the wind would scatter her across the country. Tears falling onto her bruised cheek, Reyna nodded her head, trying not to anger Dunstan any further. Letting go of her bicep, he knelt down to her level with a soft sigh of regret. Shushing her, he tried to wipe away some of Reyna’s tears, pulling his hand back when she once again flinched from him.
“Come now, Reyna. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have hit you. Here,” he placed his palm against her cheek and Reyna felt a warmth travel into her body. The soreness in her cheek soon disappeared along with the cut inside her mouth. Even her bitten forearm healed up. Grabbing onto Reyna’s limp hand, Dunstan led her to the car. “Why don’t we get some nice ice cream, huh? I’ll buy you however much you want. Doesn’t that sound yummy, Reyna?”Not waiting for Reyna to respond, Dunstan drove back into town. Reyna wished she could stop her tears from falling. She was able to quell her whimpers, but the tears just kept coming. Sniffling, Reyna looked out at the road that stretched before them and thought about everything that happened that day. It took her a while, but Reyna finally stopped her tears with the simple fact that she could look back on her actions and honestly say she regret nothing.