As you know by now Rue took over her father’s kingdom after he faded away on her false wedding day. Our once family-less fairy found herself suddenly swarmed by brothers and sisters on all sides—such a shame so few of them were with friendly intentions in mind! Many of her half siblings resented her claim to the crown, and wanted nothing more than to take it for themselves.
True, Rue spent little time in fairy realms and instead roamed our own plane for quite some time, but still she knew it was her duty—her right as her father’s eldest—to reign over her people. And rule she would!
The first challenger to her throne was a sister, the daughter of the Fairy King that was and a well-respected Dryad maiden. The poor foolish thing tried to take Rue unaware as she mourned the sudden loss of her father, but was quickly throttled to death by Rue’s demon lover.
Rue’s other siblings learned to be a bit more discrete after that. There were poisoned flowers delivered to her doorstep so she would bury nose in the sweet deadly scent; cloaked changelings left in houses, in hopes that she would steal them away unawares and raise an enemy’s child under her own roof. Why, one foolish pooka even tried to take on the shape of her beloved old mule and hide among her stables!
She mounted that head over one of her gates, as a warning to others.
Rue and Jay spent a long century holding off attack after attack on their home, rebuilding the petty damages done to their walls and spitefully living a blissfully happy life with each other. Each battle was peppered with love talk between the King and Queen, and it was not an uncommon sight for the two to share a gore splattered kiss at the end of the skirmish.
Some of her kin rallied behind her and were well rewarded for their support; but this is not a tale about them, oh no. This is the tale of one her more crafty brothers, Oleander.
Oleander was the son of the Fairy King that was and Foxglove, one of his favorite paramours. Now, Foxglove was as lovely as her namesake—and just as deadly. She raised her son to believe that since she was the King’s favorite, then her son would have to be his favorite offspring. Oh, sure, everyone knew of the hidden away Rue—but how could a father truly love a child if he kept her away from his home for so long? Truly Oleander was the next to inherit the realm, and so he believed his mother’s false hopes.
He grew up to be a cunning and brave soldier. He led many a Wild Hunt…and quietly disposed of much of his competition to the throne.
When Rue’s return was first known he was not among the masses to flock to fight—he instead sat back, and learned weakness after weakness of his comrade foes, content to let others do the dirty work of damaging her forces while extinguishing themselves. Sure, soon enough he was present at almost every battle, but always in the background just beyond reach without fear of being called a coward.
Decades and attacks passed while Oleander plotted and waited. He watched as his siblings dwindled, one after the other failing to take what he knew was his. He had waited long enough for the King that was to die, his patience was able to stretch just further still before he felt the time was right to play his hand.
One fateful day his half-sister Neira had surrounded their False Queen, and seemed as close to victory as anyone had before. Oleander saw Rue’s home before him, showing signs of crumbling, just within his grasp.
Now, clever fairy that he was, he was able to move his own men up in her ranks and soon enough Neira was surrounded by soldiers not of her alliance although none the wiser. The brother and sister met for dinner nightly to hatch plans and gloat of their victory to come. On one such night, so close to Rue’s walls, Oleander insisted they have a special feast and toasted to their triumph—although his flowery words were soon enough drowned out by the sounds of Neira gagging and retching from her tainted wine.
Rue was all his to conquer alone.
(Did he win? That’s the story I’m trying to tell, you stupid child, now don’t interrupt me again!)
Early the next morning Oleander rallied his troops to lay siege to what he saw as his lawful home. His men spread out impressively behind him, and he rode his magnificent steed to the front lines. He had waited years for this, had practiced speech after speech for this moment—but in his excitement, he could only blurt out the first words to come to his tongue.
“Come out, you half breed bitch! This should be mine by rights!” Oleander, annoyed that his perfect speeches were lost to the heat of the moment, watched as the winged disgrace herself came into view.
“You’re just jealous because Father never built you an island all to keep you safe” and with that the Fairy Queen leaned far over her high walls and blew a raspberry at her brother, to his sputtering rage.
Oleander could just hear the massive demon at her side give a quiet scolding. “My love, could you refrain from sticking your tongue out at your enemies. It’s not very becoming of a queen.”
High on the wall Rue turned her haughty eyes on her demon husband “But I am queen, am I not? Which means I may act as I wish.”
“Yes, you said as much last night when you demanded the kitchens bring you waffles and ice cream for dinner. In regard to battle, however, I think your tongue should stay in your mouth.”
The fairy huffed and turned her attention back to the horsemen below, “Spoilsport.”
Ignoring the scene above him, Oleander paraded his horse back and forth, leather armor waxed and cleaned to a mellow glow. “I’ll give you one last chance, sister dear! Come down, with those abominations you birthed in chains, and we will spare you. I may even feel generous enough to let the demon live—I’m sure I could find a nice deep mine where he would feel right at home and useful!”
I know smart children such as yourselves know never to poke a little bear cub for mama bear may be nearby—also should you know this wisdom includes fairies. You do not threaten the offspring of a living mother, unless you want to leave behind an interesting death.
Rue’s face hardened as if a mask had fallen away, the smirk she wore now transformed to a fang filled snarl. Quick as a snake she snatched up her bow and let three arrows fly in rapid succession.
The brash Oleander below rose to stand on the saddle of his mount and opened his arms, confident the glittering golden arrows would do little harm if they even found their mark. So the arrogance of the fae would be his downfall.
Oh, but my darlings, you remember that Rue was a good shot—and those were no ordinary golden arrows.
All three slammed into the fairy, two in his shoulder and one high on his chest—just piercing his armor, but pierced it was. Oleander began to laugh, because such wounds meant nothing to him.
And then his body seemed to catch fire with agony.
He shrieked and twisted from the pain, contorting to try and rip the arrows from his body, but in his clumsy panic only succeeding in driving them in deeper. The wounds smoked and sizzled as those golden covered iron arrows did their job and extinguished his life, the iron tainting the very blood that ran through his veins, and he crumpled to the blood soaked grass below.
Rue jumped to the top of her walls, now daring her slain brother’s archers with an open target, and spoke but one word.
Brave fighters though they were, they were mere foot soldiers for Oleander would not have a second in command, no possible cutthroat with hopes of glory to skulk in his shadow. They were without a leader, and took the first command they were given—they ran as if the very Kings of Hell were at their heels (though Jay was still as his wife’s side), and did not stop until they were clear from her sights. Some argued about forming their own army to attack once more, yet more decided that perhaps a quiet life far from the Queen’s eyes would be the more enjoyable and happy option.
Back at the walls Rue turned to her husband, her careful mask of playfulness once more stuck in place. “Will you go dispose of the body, my love?” The great demon answered with a gentle kiss on her temple, and swooped down to the corpse to drag it far from his Queen’s realm.
Well my friends, was that enough excitement? Did that tale quench the thirst in your minds? Stay a little while longer, for I still have a few drops in my cup, a few flicker flames, and one more tale on my tongue.