7.1 Fairy, Faerie

by Matt P.

“Fairies.” Walter responded simply. It was hardly even a question—it was more of a statement. A statement that didn’t drip with incredulity, only because Walter had sufficient restraint to not want to seem like he was mocking the doctor. But it was certainly sufficiently damp with incredulity that a good shake would have caused it to drip rather aggressively.

The room was silent for a moment as the Doctor looked at him evenly, a quiet of uncomfortable disbelief on some parts and annoyance at being questioned on the others.

“Yes.” Morgan responded after she took a moment to decide exactly how soaked with incredulity Walter’s statement had been, and apparently finding it acceptable to respond to.

“For real real?” Siobhan piped up, her voice no less shocked than Walter’s but less skilled at keeping it from leaking that shock and disbelief all over her listeners.

“Yes. For real real.” Morgan confirmed.

“Not for play play?” Siobhan asked in response, and now Walter couldn’t tell if she was being serious or if this was one more instance she thought she could shoehorn charming teenage sarcasm in to.

“Not for play play.” Morgan avowed seriously. “Whatever the purple hell that means.” She sighed a little bit, and looked back to Walter. “The Marshal knows, as does Leah. He knows because he is the Marshal, and the Marshal must know. She…” Morgan looked over to the deputy with a look of wry fondness. “Well, sometimes people see things they aren’t supposed to, but that is neither here nor there.”

“So what do you mean by fairies?” Walter asked. He moved over a little bit closer to the doctor, looking her in the eyes and then down her body. His eyes weren’t lascivious but curious, as if searching for a set of wings or a stinger, or whatever fairies had.

Morgan sighed a little bit, and leaned her head back. As Walter watched her hair began to shimmer, growing out to waist-length and taking on a gentle movement as if touched by a breeze. Little snowflakes shimmered as if they were falling out of the hair. It was only there for a moment before it stopped, and her hair was back to its normal length and not shimmering with the promise of a color change. Every eye in the room was wide open, even those who had known what she was, and it was not Walter that first managed to speak.

“Wow.” Antigone added helpfully, expressing what everyone felt fairly succinctly.

“The world of Faerie—properly spelled with an eri not an iri—is a world that lies next to and across the world of men.” Morgan began in the practiced voice of a storyteller. “It changes the world of men and is changed by it, but is separate from it. And within it are many races, including those that you would think of as Faeries if you’ve read Shakespeare or mythology: The Sidhe, the rulers and nobles of that realm.”

“So you and your sister are, and stop me if this is too far, but you and your sister are…faerie princesses?” Walter asked, still a little bit stunned—but with his eyes trained on Morgan’s hair in case it did anything else shady while he happened to be watching.

“No.” Morgan answered, shaking her head with a smirk that said she only did it to send her hair waving a bit so Walter would get worried. “There is a whole court structure, and not all sidhe have positions at court. But we are all rather snobby about it.”

Siobhan and Antigone were, meanwhile, sharing a look that meant they were either both thinking the same thing independently or that they had actually developed the twin telepathy they had always threatened.

“So you’re sisters.” Antigone finally said.

“But you’re not from the same court, are you?” Siobhan finished the thought and made it a question, both of them peering between Tania and Morgan with wide, owlishly curious eyes.

“No.” Morgan answered evenly, without a hint of surprise in her voice.

“How—“ Walter began, but the twins cut him off.

“Mom used to tell fairy stories, remember?” Antigone told her father, as she looked back. “And it was pretty easy to figure out, given their names and what she told us. There are two courts of the sidhe—the summer court called the Seelie, and the winter court called the Unseelie.”

Siobhan interjected again. “So the last names are a dead giveaway, the moment bedtime stories are for real.”

“Not for play play.” Morgan confirmed with a nod and a smirk as she turned Siobhan’s words back on her. “And it does not surprise me your mother told you these stories. They are not uncommon ones here in Border, where many men and women carry some amount of Faerie blood in them.”

But Siobhan wasn’t done with her curiosity, following it cat-like in to her next question. “So how old are you, anyway?” She asked. Tania drew in an offended breath, while Morgan just laughed.

“Time moves differently in Faerie, it’s important to note; we are twins because we were born on the same day in Faerie.” Morgan explained. “But by normal reckoning,” she offered with a slight smile, “I was born on the first day of winter in the beginning of the little ice age, in the year of our lord one thousand three hundred and fifteen.”