“I did as you asked, I wish to claim my reward,” the young man informed her. The light from the candles illuminated Rayanna as she lounged on the bed lazily the satin blankets rubbing against her skin. Slowly with sensual movements she got up, then it happened, the feeling of something wrong within her. Rayanna shoved the feeling down; it had been going on for days and nothing had happened so it was fine, right? She fixed on a wicked smile tossing her white blond hair thrown over her glowing shoulders. She looked almost luminescent as she stood in the moonlight the nightgown doing little to hide the small curves of her shimmering body.
“So he’s dead, then?” her fingers caressed his broad shoulders as her Scottish accent washed over him. He tried to hide his shiver of anticipation; she shruggled not to wince at the scream in her head. Just a bit more and she could block it all out for five minutes.
He nodded in affirmation, there was a crunch as a glass bottle broke under his foot. With a painful wince, He looked down and then glanced around the room noticing the figures of Hwangnung and Seokga constructed from bits of human junk. There was also an owl made from mechanical pieces and a Victorian doll whose arms were replaced by screw drivers and other odd creations fixed together from bits of garbage arranged lovingly on the mantle place.
“I need a direct answer,” Rayanna slid her leg up his thigh.” Is...he...dead?” she emphasized, the screaming had gotten louder. ” Well!” she snapped on edge.
He jumped at her switch in tone. “Yes he’s definitely dead.”
She nodded, a fairie could not tell a lie even to another fairie. “Good.” She slowly came forward and she was in his arms savoring the moment when she wanted to just toss him onto the bed and get down to it. The screaming was so loud she could no longer ignore it, which meant....
Rayanna shoved him off. “What’s the big idea!” he demanded, Rayanna started to shake. “No I’ve got this!” she yelled at herself.
“Lady Redtail are you alright?” She saw his flash of concern as her her breath sped up.
“No! No! No!” stammering madly she rushed past him down the stairs of the manor, shaky hands tearing open the doors. She rushed out into the garden a wave of fresh air hit her face. Rayanna hurriedly walked around the garden. “Sing a happy wee song, sing to keep going strong, and Sing a happy wee song” she sang quietly until her breath had slowed. Relief filled her as she realized she was still in control, nothing had happened and now she had taken herself out of the situation where something might take the control away.
Rayanna stood there catching her breath. ” Breathe just breathe it’s all right, go back in there put on a teasing smile. If he asks questions laugh it off.” She started back toward the manor and then stopped. “Yee know what? I’m no longer in the mood. Great, right why couldn’t me stupid weak body just wait until after I closed the deal? What if it’s getting worse? Don’t be daft Rayanna, it can’t get worse.” she scolded herself. “Can it?”
Then a bunch of Centaurs trotted up to the manor bearing the royal crest. Their eyes went wide at the sight of her. Rayanna was confused as to why then she realized. She was standing before the knights of the realm in nothing but a nightgown which wasn’t even that modest. Today was really not her day. To their credit they recovered quickly. “Lady Redtail, the King requests the presence of you and your Mother in Law the Countess Fox.” The biggest of the Centaurs said.
“It’s nice ta know the King has such efficient men” she simpered fixing her nightgown.
“We do our best, my Lady” the head Centaur puffed up with pride. ” However I’d suggest we wait in the lounge while milady makes herself descent.” he added awkwardly.
Rayanna inwardly rolled her eyes.“Very well, I’ll leave things in your capable hooves,” she smiled demurely. Then lead them back into the manor to get them settled. Then she proceeded upstairs throwing open her bedroom door. ” Lady Redtail are you?” Oh, she’d almost forgotten about him.
“I’ve been summoned ta court, we’ll have ta conclude our business at a later date.” Rayanna folded her arms not in the mood. “Also I have important guests, so you’ll have ta leave through the window. There’s a rope under the floorboards” she added pulling them away and tossing it to him.
“Leave through the window?” he sounded scandalized. “Yee want the knights ta know of our involvement?” He blanched. ” Thought not out! Go! Shoo!” He did so and she peaked out just to see if he actually started and she got properly dressed at a slow pace. Choosing a pale blue dress from her hand carved chest full of victorian style clothing that came in pastel blues and satin pinks. Rayanna put it on then she slipped long silk stockings that reached the knees. She brushed her hair, and tied it back with a blue ribbon choosing to add nothing more than light blush. Beautiful, but it was still missing something, then it hit her. She went to her chest and took out a large bow which she tied around her slim waist. Satisfied she hurried from the room fakeing a confidence she didn’t feel. A brownie maid nodded at her. ” Fetch Countess Fox, we’re attending court and neither of us will return this evening.” Then she paused. ” I also want everything in my chambers moved ta the west wing.” There was no way she could abide sleeping in that room after the incident today.
" Are we forgetting something?” The brownie maid asked sweetly.
“Please” Rayanna remembered unlike the humans Fox tricked into debt. The Brownies were a round the clock service. They did homes, roads, even landscapes they were mostly employed by the wealthy due to them being the only ones allowed to own the goats required to pay their four bowls of milk price.
Five hours later a very sticky and annoyed Countess Fox was doing what she did best: complain. “That was the worst road I’ve ever gone down!” She gripped “Why did we have to go through sugar town.” Rayanna shook white flakes from her own hair.
“It could be worse, my lady,” one of the centaurs stated.
“Worse? We were nearly trampled by a gaggle of sugar addicted sprites!” the Countess pointed out.
“Did yee see how fast they tore into that gummy bear?“. Rayanna shivered remembering its shrieks and pleas for mercy as the sprites bit its leg off like rabid pack animals. Luckily they had run away before witnessing anymore.
“It’s a right mess my ladies, the candy folk are constantly being hunted by those sprites.” A centaur with a red beard commented.
“That’s why they hole themselves up in Sugar town most of the time” the blond one added.
“Fox, I was thinking of making a trip ta the human world and I was hoping you’d come.” Rayanna propositioned.
“Another?” the countess scoffed. ” We’ve taken several trips lately” she pointed out.
“I just haven’t had much inspiration lately.” The Leanansidhe admitted.
“You are the inspiration!” Fox stressed. It was true but even fairie muses had to be inspired themselves, ideas didn’t grow on trees.
“The problem is, I’ve never chosen a specific area of the arts to inspire. Now it’s normal for a Leanansidhe to flit about fer a few centuries, however, we usually find an area we’re especially passionate about and inspire that subset of artists.”
Countess Fox sighed. ” You think you have problems? Well, I’d love to go around making art and having fun. Unfortunately, I have to put up with my dolt of a husband and all those silly lesser nobles and their demands and Roddy Dearest hasn’t come to call on me. Men are so faithless.”
At this point Rayanna tuned her out. What had she expected, sage advice? This was Fox after all. Luckily her rant ended as they came upon the Seelie Court castle. The dwelling sat on the outskirts of Fairyland. It was carved from crystal and even from far away it twinkled like a brightly as any star in the heavens. While any fairie in the land could have a castle if they choose there was no mistaking this was the castle, a place of pristine perfection that put all other castles to shame. If one were to slice the palace straight down the middle they’d have perfectly matching halves. The drawbridge went up and they entered it and Rayanna was suddenly walking across floors so clean they sparkled.
She gazed around her fighting back a sneer. How could her twin even function in this environment? She secretly wrinkled the carpet with her foot only to watch it straighten itself minutes after she had traipsed across it. “Unnerved?” Fox smirked knowingly Rayanna noticed the gumdrop stick was off her shoes, they gleamed like everything else in this damn place. Rayanna touched her hair the sugar was gone. “Let’s just get this over with so we can leave this sterilization chamber as fast as possible,” she responded bluntly, the party walked into the throne room her skin started to crawl the moment she stepped foot into the chamber.
A silver throne sat in the very center and on it sat King Briar dressed in robes of pure white his long black hair was tied into a top knot.
“Hello, Briar,” Fox purred.
“Yes, yes you’re here, now let’s get to it.” the king looked at Rayanna. “I went to see Oak this morning.” Rayanna struggled to keep a grimace from crossing her face.” She informed me the veil may be failing. You are to fix it.”
“What? I cannot fix the veil!” Rayanna protested.
“Oak told me you could,” the king responded.
“ Dosen’t it bother yee that she has the power ta overule yer will” Rayanna taunted.
“ Mind your tone!” Briar’s voice dropped
“ It was just a simple question” she responded tilting her head slightly.
“ The elders were chosen by the Kami, I will respect their wishes” the King responded. “ We all have our place in the Order of Things” Roots trailed behind his feet when he shifted on the throne.
Rayanna inwardly scowled. Interacting with Briar was like navigating a poisoned flower garden where the sweet scent of the blooms hide the oder of death.
" Fetch your brother from the Summer Court but you both will go.” He said in a tone that couldn’t be argued with. Rayanna opened her mouth and Fox slammed her hand over it. “Of course my lord she’ll go immediately” The women smiled politely.
“I want you to go as well my dear Countess, make sure my wishes are carried out.”
Fox gaped. “Me? Go out there?”
The king turned to them “You’re dismissed.”
Rayanna and Fox quickly left the throne room, the moment they were in the hall Fox’s smile dropped. “You have to ruin everything for me, you stupid little whore!” she hissed as she dragged Rayanna along the hallway. “I took you into my family defended you against my own son. Taught you how to survive court life and what do I get for it? Dragged into your’ mess!” she huffed.
Rayanna repressed the boiling rage inside her there was so much she could of said. She could of told Fox that Roddy dearest had fled the country due to the unfortunate death of his creep of a brother and exactly how she knew all of that.
She could of reminded Fox that her husbands mistress had planned to fry her to a crisp and it was only though Rayanna’s quick intervention that Fox had been spared.
However respect to one’s in laws was part of Seelie Court Culture. Rayanna could defy those expectations but she hadn’t been able to say no to her husband who shriveled fingers wrapped around hers so desperately. Besides, it was more beneficial to play the dutiful daughter in law. However the Seelie fey also had a saying “ bachi ga ataru” and Rayanna hoped someday to become Fox’s karma.
“We’ll stop by the artist garden, so I can steal a bit of what it has.” Rayanna stated.
“You’re not listening to me and who said I’m going.” the other fairie stamped her foot her nine tails swishing back and forth from her anger. The Leanansidhe sighed it seemed like it was going to be one of those days.
“The artist garden has a kitchen I’ll make yee some strawberry Torte” she promised. “I’ll throw in some crepes” she added knowing Fox could not resist French desserts.
“Now what are we waiting for let’s grab a Pegasus and get to that garden” Fox’s tail shook with excitement, her attitude completely changed.