On Wings of Shadow (Part 2)
On Wings of Shadow Part 2
WARNING!! Fairies and Beer: Do NOT Mix
“Time to go, Deathwing.” Thistledown gently told me.
“But…” I stared at the inert body that was supposed to be me – the old me, and shook my head. “I had a life, friends, family. I can’t just go without at least writing a note or something.”
“A note?” My companion gave me a look people generally reserved for the total idiot who thought it was a good idea to have a campfire inside the tent. “And just what would you say in this – umm – note? Hey folks! I’m not really dead, I just changed into this really cool goth fairy and am going to flit off to play with the flowers and other Fairies?”
“Uh, no.” I answered a bit flustered by that idea.
“Then what will you put in it?” She questioned pointedly. “Providing you can manage to handle the pen or pencil – which, I might add, are now as big, or bigger, than you are.”
“Oh, never thought of that.” I answered with a frown. Just how would I manage to manipulate a pen or pencil longer than I was tall without totally messing up anything I was working to accomplish? Then it dawned on me. I was a FAIRY! I can use MAGIC! “I’ll do it with magic.”
“Got any Fairy Dust left?” Thistledown smirked. “Or are you all pooped out? Don’t expect me to use any of MINE for a note you don’t even know what to say in!”
“Ah, c’mon.” I wheedled. “You snuck into my house, changed me into some dark themed Barbie doll with wings, and won’t even use a little of your own – umm – stuff to help me write a goodbye note?”
“Nope.” She answered simply.
“Why not? I would think you kind of owe me after doing what you just did.” My voice held a petulant note that I didn’t really care for, but at that point I wasn’t really going to get overwrought about something like that. There were other things to panic over that seemed a lot more pressing at the moment.
“What I just did,” Thistledown snorted, “was to give you a wonderful gift! I awakened your Faerie blood and self. Besides, I used all mine up getting that done.”
“Okay, forget the note.” I grumbled. “I guess it wasn’t such a great idea after all.”
“Are you through crying in your beer yet?” She questioned.
“I don’t have a beer to cry in.” I pointed out while holding out empty hands.
“Want one?” She grinned. “There’s still a six pack in the fridge.”
“What about that green stuff that wanted to eat you?” I asked distractedly.
“Oh we could grab a couple of cans, be long gone and laughing, not to mention enjoying the beer before its feeble excuse for a mind even realized we’d been there.” Thistledown confidently told me.
Thinking about the ludicrous position I was in, and the total unreality of said position, I nodded. “Couldn’t hurt, I suppose. Let’s do it.”
“Good for you!” Thistledown crowed. “I just knew you were one of us the minute I first saw you! Let’s go get that beer!”
“After you, fearless leader.” I intoned while making formal seeming motions for her to precede me.
“Polite, too.” She nodded then frowned. “I suppose we can cure that with time, though. Come on, beer is waiting!”
“Lay on McDuff!” I answered with a little sigh followed with a grin.
“Shouldn’t that be lead on?” She asked then added. “And my name isn’t McDuff it’s Thistledown.”
“Never mind.” I sighed. “A fairy who isn’t familiar with Shakespheare.”
“I haven’t read many of the newer human authors.” She answered with a shrug. “I don’t get a lot of time to read.”
“Okay, forget that, let’s just go get the beer.” I responded with a sigh thinking I could probably do with the whole six pack but wondering how I could carry the whole thing off given my present size.
“That’s the spirit!” She enthusiastically answered as she flew out of the bedroom. I didn’t have a lot of choice if I intended to find out not only what had happened to me but why it had. I followed her. Besides, the idea of beer was doing things to my mind that it never had before. It was kind of like holding a nicely done rare steak in front of confirmed meat eater’s nose. I just couldn’t resist it.
“Follow me!” I shot back as I streaked past her towards the kitchen, the fridge, and most importantly, the beer that was in that fridge.
One twelve ounce can of Coors was bigger than I was by a long shot. But I managed to get not one, but two cans out of the plastic rings the things come in. I escaped the fridge with my booty (though I had bought the stuff the other day) while thumbing my nose at the sluggish green stuff trying to crawl out of the bowl in the back bottom corner, and exhultantly exited the kitchen. Carrying my plunder into the back yard without the effort I thought it would take even without using magic it occurred to me that I was a lot stronger than I had to look.
Thistledown flew in behind me carrying another two cans and whooped. “I KNEW you were one of us! Two cans on your first try!”
“Whatever.” I muttered back while working the pull tab on one of the cans with both hands, my feet planted firmly on the top, and grunting with effort until the tab gave up the struggle and pulled away from the can. The thick yeasty aroma that emerged from the can once I did that was heavenly and well worth the effort.
Thistledown just waved a hand, and a bunch of sparkles effortlessly pulled the tab from her first can.
“I thought you said you didn’t have any magic left!” I shot her a withering look as she pushed her face into the opening.
“I lied.” Came the muffled response with a long sloppy sounding slurp. “Besides, that note idea was just lame. Get with it girl, enjoy the beer you didn’t have to earn!”
The wonderful aroma and need it aroused in me kept any retort I might have made from happening. I pushed my face into the opening breathed in that wonderful scent, then extended what had to be a proboscis like a straw to start sucking that gods sent brew in.
I will NOT tell you what we got up to once we’d each finished off our booty. I’ll just say that the wilder stories about what fairies do to mortals fall short of the reality. The people who get the worst of the pranks from blasted fairies don’t believe what happened once morning comes. Which is probably a good thing, all things considered. Especially the once billiard ball bald guy who now sported a long, curling, luxurious mane of platinum blonde hair. I was actually kind of proud of that one. Probably because it was the last prank I really remember pulling. Things got a little hazy after that one.
The clearest memory I have of that night was of yelling. “Rar! I am Fairy, I am powerful! Tremble mere mortal while I poop on you!”
Worse, I discovered that I hated sunrise. Being a dark fairy, that heralded bed time, and three sheets to the wind as I was, there wasn’t any way I thought I was ready to sleep.
War with the Roses?
Having a hangover as a fairy isn’t any more fun than it is when you’re human.
But I do have to admit that after imbibing at least ten times my body weight in beer, I was at least able to notice that I felt miserable. Instead of dead like I kind of wished I was that evening. Even better – not! I woke up in a rose bush.
Thorns big enough to impale me loomed threateningly just below where I was still mostly comfortably nestled among some fragrant blooms. Even more interestingly, those thorns appeared to be straining to reach me so they could impale me.
Go away or we will hurt you, fairy. A sibilant voice that held hints of rustling leaves and thorns rubbing together demanded as I became more conscious. Steal any of our young and you will suffer, we swear it!
“You talking to me?” I questioned, feeling like a fool because I was speaking to nothing sentient that I could see – other than the rose bush I was currently ensconced within.
Your kind always steals our young. The voice insisted. You swore not to do that this morning, so we did not impale you as you slept.
“Uhh, thank you for the hospitality.” I answered slowly with a shake of my head. “I wouldn’t willingly steal anyone’s young, especially after I’d slept in – them?”
We sense that you are different in some way, Fairy. Do not cause us to regret our forbearance with you today.
“Violating someone’s hospitality, especially when there is evident enmity between you and – umm – fairies, would be a terrible breach of manners.” I assured the voice(s) which I was beginning to understand were from the rose bushes around me. “Besides, as I recall, I swore an oath to you just after sunrise.”
Just so, Fairy.” The voices, okay the roses – I’d been human and male yesterday, so negotiating with a rose bush or two didn’t seem to be any stranger than what had already happened to me – agreed. Honor your oath, and there will always be protection for you among us, anywhere you go and have need. That is no small thing for a fairy to have.
I somehow recalled that oath. I had told the roses that I would never take their young (pollen) or imbibe of the things fairies routinely made of those. Though how I knew enough to tell them that, or even make the oath, I couldn’t tell anyone. Also, there were other flowers who quite willingly provided fairies with pollen because we (ugh, we. As in fairies which I was still getting my head around being counted as) managed to drop enough to fertilize other flowers of the same kind. Hey, when you’re six inches tall, even carrying a batch of something as tiny as pollen grains is tough. You lose some. But I found that out later.
“My thanks for accepting my oath, beautiful and deadly blossoms. I won’t break it.”
Someone gave you beer last night. The roses countered. Will you claim duress once you have left us?
“I made the oath!” I shouted, outraged at the idea that someone, even a plant, would think that I’d break it though I had no idea at all where that outrage came from or why it was so important to me to hold to an oath I made when I was so blitzed I barely remembered doing it. “Drunk, sober, or stoned on the black lotus, it doesn’t matter! I will never, EVER, break my word, to you or to anyone!”
As you say, Fairy. The voices accepted that but didn’t apologize. Hold to your oath and you will always be welcome among us. Break it and we will not have to worry about how to impale you.
“Fairies do not make oaths lightly.” I answered, still not believing I was talking to a bunch of rose bushes, or understanding exactly what it was I’d done. But I did know breaking my word to these plants would have unpleasant and possibly deadly consequences. “You gave me shelter when I needed it. I’ll always recall that fondly despite the enmity between our kinds.”
Be welcome among us, fairy.
My name is Deathwing.” I answered then added. “Thank you.”
You gave us your use name this morning. The roses told me almost gently. Be welcome among us Deathwing, our petals will always be ready to enclose, comfort and protect you.
“Thank you.” I answered, for some reason feeling as if I had received a very rare honor. “I will always recall you fondly.”
These we give freely, Deathwing and friend. A shower of what I instinctively knew were rose hips fell on and around me. Enjoy the tea, and you have our permission to use a rose as your personal sign and emblem.
“Thank you.” I managed to get out while still trying to puzzle out why that was such a distinction for a fairy, but understanding that generally fairies and rose bushes didn’t get along. “I will treasure that gift always.”
As we will treasure the memory of you, dear Deathwing. The bushes answered -- by then I’d given up any pretense of not believing that I was actually talking to a bunch of rose bushes. Hold to your oath and anywhere you may go, we will be your friends and allies.
“Thank you, I’m honored beyond words.” I responded, and knew that was true even though I wasn’t sure why it was. “I will use the rose as my sigil and sign, and always honor the ones who gave me that right.”
As we will honor you, friend Deathwing. The bushes answered.
“My thanks for the shelter today.” I told them with a happy little sigh. “I don’t think I’ve rested so well in a long time, even if you were making me comfortable so you could kill me without a lot of fuss.”
We were, yes, but not any longer. We recognize your faith, and intent for holding to your oath. Be well beloved Darkwing, and come back often.
Now that was a trip that was more surreal than what I’d done last night with Thistledown. But I felt really good about it. Really good.
I heard her calling me, shook off the pleasantly lazy feeling that wanted to keep me nestled within the welcoming and sweet smelling petals I was still wrapped in, and told the roses. “Okay, it’s time for me to go. Thank you.”
They opened obligingly then I spread my wings and slowly lifted myself into the air.
“Were you stealing pollen?” Thistledown asked while watching in something like astonishment as I emerged unmolested from the rose bush.
“Stealing pollen?” I questioned, though I already had a pretty good idea of what that was about.
“Sure.” My companion answered with a smirk that changed to a worried glance to the rose bushes I had just emerged from. “Why aren’t they attacking you?
“I slept in them today.” I told her. “We have an understanding.”
“Understanding?” She widened her eyes and gave me a look most people reserve for that nut who can ruin a dinner party by telling everyone he or she can commune with the roast they’re eating.
“Yes, an understanding.” I told her. “I won’t steal their young, and they won’t try to kill me whenever I land in them.”
“WHAT?!!!” She actually looked outraged by that. “Rose pollen is the sweetest fruit a fairy can eat, and the wine that comes from the pollen is the best there is! What kind of agreement do you have with the roses that they would allow you to sleep within them?!”
“I promised that I wouldn’t take their young.” I told her with a shrug.
“You did WHAT?” Thistledown almost spluttered. “Fairies and Roses have been adversaries since time began! We eat and drink their young! They hate us!”
“Maybe it’s time for a change then.” I answered quietly while showing her the rose hips. “They gave me these willingly enough.”
“The roses gave you something?” She gave me an incredulous look.
“Yup.” I answered with a grin.
“But fairies have raided rose bushes for pollen since time began!” She shot back. “
Rose pollen is the best fruit a fairy can eat, and the wine from that… Ohhhh.”
“You already said that.” I pointed out and added. “I swore an oath.”
“You are one weird fairy.” She answered but didn’t argue about it.
“I was HUMAN thirty-six hours ago!” I almost shouted at her. “How could I have become weird by fairy standards in that time?”
“Trust me, you managed it.” Thistledown sighed.
My mentor/whatever kept muttering to herself about idiot fairies making deals with rose bushes for another hour or so as we headed in a generally easterly direction.
She was too upset to even try a few obviously waiting pranks on the humans we passed in the darkness.
With an armful of rosehips I didn’t bother with those, either.