Y'Bent City of Thieves
You say you want a Fairy tale?
Oh sure—you know the stories. You heed the warnings to stay away from fairy rings and keep a pocketful of oatmeal; you’d never eat the bread or drink the wine, and you’re smart enough to stuff your ears full of cotton the moment you hear that sweet music rip open the air. You know all about the Jenny Greenteeths, the Robin Goodfellows, never would you be tricked by the likes of them.
But how well do you really know the Fae? You’ve heard tales of the lads and lasses seduced to revel in the fairy realm, the hundred years lost in one night of dancing. You’ve heard of mortals spurned and saved by their ethereal lovers, but do you know of those born from that union? The ones who don’t fit into either realm, the ones not trusted by any kin they know.
No? Well, perhaps it’s for the best, they don’t make as exciting a story. Which yarn would you rather have spun— the tale of lovely Abigail Locke who ran off with a charming Fairy fellow and danced her life away, or the child born from that night of lust and decadence? Dancing is exciting, with its swirling melodies and writhing bodies, the thrumming veins and racing minds. Babies are…babies. Small, pink, wrinkly screaming things, nothing to cause too much fuss.
Well…except for Abigail’s baby.
This bundle was born blue, as if she knew she was destined for a life in the shadows. Now, a good midwife would have dismissed the color for favor of a complicated birth, or the mother’s diet (too many blueberries will do that, you know) if it weren’t for the wings. Abigail’s little one was born with wings wrapped tight around her tiny body and the faintest hint of the ram horns to come (lucky for Abigail!). Being the devout family the Lockes were they immediately demanded Abigail destroy the abomination, but the girl was able to smuggle her child to the father, and gave up her daughter to the Fairy realm.
Now I’m sure you’re expecting grand stories of high adventure from Rue, the misplaced child, with mischief and mayhem abound. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but the girl had a fairly normal childhood…as normal as a half Fae can have, anyway. Her father stole her away to the woods of Gryffin Peak and built them a home in the trees, a quaint little structure high in the branches where she was able to first practice flying and then master the art. Rue’s father was protective of his only daughter, however Rue never met her other siblings, full Fae brothers, and only knew of them through tales and half promises of “one day you’ll know your true family”— whatever that means. While at times secretive, her father cared for his half mortal daughter as much as any father would; he taught her the ways of the Fae, how to hunt and gather, and how to protect herself. When druids came to their woods he allowed her to be mentored by them, where she learned not only the common tongue but also how to better understand and control her own natural abilities.
Her constant companion was a flying fox bat she raised from youth. She found him with an injured wing as a baby and nursed him to health; growing up his wing was a bit stiff at times, but never have you seen a pair of thieves as thick as these two. They flew together at night and during the day he slept in their tree, or curled up in her quiver if he knew she would spend the day roaming the forest. In fact her father constructed an extra-large quiver for her, one compartment for arrows and another just for the bat to roost. Sure sometimes he’d give a little squeak and off would run Rue’s quarry, spoiling her shot, but nevertheless she loved the little thing; besides, there’s nothing wrong with having a moving target to hone your skills!
I can hear you crying “but surely she had some misadventures with the Fae! There have to be stories of dangerous trysts with monsters and perils escaped by the skin of her teeth! What evils did her bat unleash on unsuspecting travelers?” And what kind of storyteller would I be to lead you so far from the truth? I told you this was not an exciting tale, didn’t I? And don’t you go accusing poor Woden Fruitsbane of mischief, never a sweeter bat will you ever meet!
True, while she was never outright shunned by her father’s kind, she was kept somewhat at bay. The Fae saw her as “belonging” to them due to her lineage; however, as she was not rightfully stolen as would befit a creature of Fairy, she was not fully accepted. They saw her human side as corruptible, but not by them. She did not experience outright hostility or malice, her father would never stand for it, but still she noticed the haughty nature of her Fae companions. Her one childhood friend was a dryad she only knew as Holly (as True Names had a power she was not trusted with) and mothers would threaten young ones with promises of Rue coming in the night to kidnap and sell them to the humans if they did not stop that foolishness and behave this instant! While she was unconcerned with their indifference and at times coldness, it did instill a sense of wanderlust; here was not a place she truly belonged. Against her father’s wishes she decided to set out and find her mother, to find her other family, to find what the wide world had in store for her.
Hmm? What did the world have in store for her you ask? Well, my darlings, that is a tale for another night, another fire.