- Independent Fiction: Tunnels
- Posted Stories: Fabrication Lab
- An Alp's Lament: Curunir's Insights Winter Society
Please use 1 and only 1 thread for a given story/project. Make revisions to existing posts instead of duplicating sections of your story. Do not post replies in other authors' threads.
Note that using the forums for stories is now considered for experimental projects or for new authors who want some feedback from other authors before exposing their work to the reading community. Of course, anyone is welcome to continue to post their material here... but we hope authors will take advantage of the site features for displaying their stories to more than just the forums community.
An Alp's Lament: Curunir's Insights Winter Society
- Insane Hiker
- Topic Author
Wednesday March 7, 2007
Shuster Hall - Whateley
4:35 PM EDT
Curunir sat in the meeting room with her daughter Ualea filled with trepidation, the arrangements that she had made to have this meeting were tantamount to high treason against the throne of the Winter Court, if her father had caught on to the fact that she had arranged this meeting he killed her himself without a single moment's hesitation. Of course one of her many half-brothers and sisters would not batted an eyelash at having her beheaded and presenting the resulting trophy to the Heir to the Throne, then if she was lucky her daughter would wind up sold as a slave to another house or auctioned off at a Goblin Market of the Dark Court like Fe- oops Apparitia had been.
Still she had managed to keep this secret and here she was, waiting in a room in a mortal school about to meet with Morrigan, the legendary Phantom Queen of the Wild Court, well no one ever said that the price of freedom was easy. Curunir turned to look at her daughter, so much like herself and so much like the innocent boy that the girl's father was once upon a time, long before the boy surrendered the last of his humanity when he fathered her to become a true son of the Winter Court. Ualea was her pride and joy, the shining jewel in the darkness of her life; she would be damned further than the pit of hell that her mother called home if she was to suffer a life of servitude to a family that considered her trash and if that meant braving this meeting then so be it.
Ualea meanwhile had looked on with wonder, everything around her was so new and different, having spent her entire life in the portion of the Faerlands controlled by the Winter Throne this was a new experience for her. "Mom, if we're accepted where are we going to live?"
"I made some friends with those of the Wild Court when I was bound by that horrible sorcerer dear." Curunir replied squeezing her daughter's shoulder. "They should be able to help us find a place to live in the Wild... no the Freelands, you might even get to meet your father's birth parents here in the mortal realm, they at least deserve to know the truth about what happened to their son."
"An admirable sentiment Curunir," Morrigan stated as she walked through the door to the meeting room with Badb in her human form carrying a large and clearly ancient leather-bound tome. "That is the sort of quality that I would love to see in a potential member of my court. Still such an action might not necessarily be one of kindness; the boy's parents have likely moved on with their lives, maybe they even consider the changeling they had been gifted with as their own, so opening such old wounds might do more harm than good."
"I know your highness," Curunir said as she stood and took off her hat as Ualea did the same as mother and daughter both bowed with lowered eyes at the sight of the dreaded Phantom Queen. "However the truth is often painful and as his parents they deserve to learn of their son, and to have a chance to meet their granddaughter as well, at least the only one that would acknowledge them as such."
"Let me guess, her father was one of the leftovers not chosen to pay the Hell Price during a the Winter Solstice many years ago." Morrigan looked at Ualea with sadness. "If I remember the vile ritual from my spies reports properly, the seeding of the first born is used to begin their transmogrification while that of the second completes their change into a being of Faerie. As I recall the second is always their caretaker during their years prior to their firstborn child..."
"Yes the seduction by the lady followed by the violation of the caretaker, an act of wickedness to show that they have fully foresaken the morality of man for the ways of their Court." Curunir said as she closed her eyes and bowed her head. "That was not a pleasant memory, not that I would ever trade them for the gift that day left me made from all the good left in him, but why do you want to bring that moment up now?"
"Let's just say that we like to get to know our new neighbors in the Freelands," Morrigan said as she sat down at the head of the table as Badb handed her the old tome before transforming back into a bird and flew across the room to perch on an empty hat rack in the corner. "Now please as a sign of good faith, place your hats on the rack, do not worry Badb will make certain that they are safe, after that I want to hear you both tell me about yourselves."
With much trepidation Curunir and her daughter complied and carefully placed her bucket hat and her Ualea's berret on the large wooden rack. Now like all alp, powerless without their chapeau the two sat down more both feeling very vulnerable. "I guess that I should start first, I am called many things servant, slave, waste of space, mommy, but I usually go by Curunir and my tale begins eighty-three years ago during the Winter Hell Tithe in Ellinra's Vale." The room seemed to take on a strange air as Curunir began the story of her life, and those listening could almost see as the events unfolded.
It was an event of much magnitude, every year on the when the sun set beginning the longest night of the year those of the Winter Court would renew their pact with Hell with the Winter Hell Tithe. All 100 noble house of Winter, and one not so noble chosen by the prior year's lot would present their offering to the attending Baron of Hell in return for the gift of renewed Essence for the Winter Lands for one year. The terrible part was the offering being was the life and soul of an innocent boy that had been snatched by that house sometime over the course of the year; only one of those offered would be chosen the rest would be adopted by their presenting house.
Every year after the sacrifice was sent to the First Circle, there would be what mortals would call a night of such revelry and debauchery that the Bachanal's during the reign of Caligula Caesar would pale in comparison. It was a dark night filled with absolute abandon during which the retinue of the attending Baron of Hell would often join in the debauchery, the retinue consisted of servants handpicked by the rulers of the middle seven circles, among those was a succubus known as Julia who was chosen by Lilith herself.
Now those of the Winter Court are not exactly known for their inhibitions during such events and my father Eirik of House Pyuathus (Kinship of the Sapphire Lance) was no exception to the rule. Of course comingling during the Solstice was normal however those in attendance use spells and talismans in advance to protect themselves from creating half-breeds, that usually works provided you use the right one beforehand. Unfortunately like many others tonight, Eirik was so inebriated on the spirits flowing from the keg barrels that night that he mistook Julia for a fury (Hell Harpy) and used the wrong talisman.
As usual the festivities went on until morning, and by the time Eirik came to his senses the Baron's retinue had departed back unto the depths of Hell. Now that year had been rather kind to my father his final sibling, my late aunt Nyel had succumbed to a multi-part poison that my father had slipped to her over the years. As was custom for all Nobles once he had dispatched his rivals for the Lordship of the house he proceeded to challenge his reigning parent to a series of duels until he finally unseated the lord or lady, Eirik proved that in this instance the third time was the charm. By the time that he had finally been recognized as the Lord of his House he had already sired three heirs, my three elder sisters Reemar, Mallon and Shewynlas, and my younger sister Firranthar was well on her way, this was a week from the next Winter Hell Tithe occurred.
Now imagine my father's surprise when he found that at the end of the year only a week after his greatest triumph and his coronation as the Lord of House Pyuathus he would also receive the source of our house's greatest scandal in ages- myself. You see as per the part of the treaty between Hell and the Courts of Summer and Winter all children sired in the Fae Lands during the celebration of the Tithe belong to House of their Faerie parent, and to my father's shock that year my mother Julia came as a special guest of the attending Baron to present me to my father's house.
Suffice it to say my father, Duke Eirik of House Pyuathus, was furious at being shamed in front of the entire Winter Court and has never forgiven me for being the irrefutable proof of this slight for as long as I have lived. While I wasn't the only child presented to their new home that night, my presence served to do nothing but sour the taste of his victories the year prior. Then again, I suppose that the fact that I was born alp like his own mother rather than a sidhe with succubus heritage did not help either.
There I was less than three months old and already an irredeemable source of shame to my entire family, naturally I was never officially recognized as being in line for the throne of our house despite the fact that bastards are usually not excluded unless they are the further back than the seventh in line. No- I was raised to be a servant of the household and was expected to perform the duties of such when I became old enough to do so- during my fifth year.
I spent the next forty-eight years as a servant to my father, his consorts and my seven siblings, that was until during my fifty-third year I was given a great honor, I was to become the nursemaid to the chosen male who that year had been obtained by my younger sister Firranthar. Fortunately, for the child he was not chosen for the sacrifice that year this meant that I was both to be his nursemaid and when the time came mother of his abandoning one.
I raised the boy as best as I could, trying to show him as much of real love as I was never shown in some vain hope that I could avert fate, it proved useless for every act of kindness that I showed him, my siblings and father proved far better at instilling the proper ways of the winter court in the boy. By the time the boy's eighteenth year had come there was very little human about him anymore, indeed he dressed and acted in every manner the part of a proper man born of Winter. This mile-stone of age meant that it was time for the Ritual of Casting Off, the ritual where a boy who had taken into the Faerie Lands and raised amongst us becomes a true denizen of the realm.
As the name implies it involves abandoning something, namely the individual's humanity as they become a fae being. For the first part of the ritual they willingly sire their first born child as a gift upon the individual that took them from their true home, this meant that my sister Firranthar bore his first born while he was still technically human (as is not uncommon for such an event the child was born male but yet fully fae). This act symbolizes that the child has cast off all animosity towards those who took him from his birth family and accepting his abductors as true clan along with the essence to begin his transformation. Then came time for the second part of the affair the siring of the child of abandonment, for this the boy forcefully sires upon the one who cared for him a child that would be born with the humanity that they abandon, in this case my daughter Ualea who was born half-alp and half-human.
Those only two bright points that I took from that time in my life were my precious daughter, and my freedom from servitude. Despite how much father despised me the laws were clear as you are no doubt aware any servant who serves this purpose as nursemaid and vessel of a child of abandonment and survives cannot be forced to serve as a slave to the household. Now this meant that while I was still a vassal to the house I was no longer slave to those within the House itself.
This was around the time that I found employment among our clan as an alp, I was sent forth to influence the dreams of sleeping mortals among the human world. Now I am not ashamed when I say this but I was actually very good at my job, mind you that although we are supposed to make dreams that make people run high with emotion most take that as a reason to instill nightmares and night terrors. As for myself well you can blame my succubus heritage I usually preferred to sew erotic dreams of fantasy and passion to those of fear and panic, after all they elicited just as much emotion, they tended to last a lot longer, and were actually pleasant for the dreamer- most really liked them.
Still my success at my job earned me the envy of my colleagues, a number of my younger alps looked on me with wide-eyed admiration however too many of my peers and senior were jealous of my success. About three years ago one of my fellow dream manipulators had the misfortune of trying to give a night terror to the mortal warlock you know as Plagiat, although he intended to enslave her as he had so many others; however he saw an opportunity and struck a deal. Now my heritage was hardly a secret to my colleagues and for a warlock like Plagiat having a being that was equal parts succubus and alp as a slave was too good to pass up, so he released her in exchange for my name of summons.
The next day before I knew it I was forcefully summoned from my home as I was enjoying breakfast with my daughter to find myself inside a heavily warded summoning circle in Plagiat's current hide out, he proceeded to use a cold iron rod to beat my true name out of me and then bound me as his slave. I spent three years spying for him alongside Apparitia as well as weakening spell casters that he was targeting with crippling nightmares so that he could strike while they were vulnerable, this of course ended when your majesty and your apprentice known as Faolan defeated Plagiat and his acquaintance in that Fehde and then freed us all. After that, I returned to my old home and have since resumed my old job amongst the alps of the Winter Court.
As Curunr finished reliving the story of her life she was almost trembling at the memory of treatment at the hands of her father's house, as well as that of her slavery to the Warlock Plagiat. Thankfully Ualea squeezing her knee and looking at her with a compassionate stare, helped the demi-alp find strength and re-center herself, showing such weakness in the presence of the Phantom Queen was not likely to be a wise move.
"That will be more than enough Curunir," Morrigan spoke with an even tone for once not betraying even a hint of emotion at Curunir's tale. "Now, Ualea is it, I wish to hear you tell me about yourself, tell me as much as you can of your life."
"Well, um your Highness there is honestly not much to tell about my life." Ualea squeaked as she almost squirmed under the steely gaze of Morrigan. "I was born about eleven years ago into the House Pyuathus, not part House itself of course but as the daughter of a servant. I lived in a small hut outside the manor with my mother for about eight years, she taught me all kinds of things when she could and would also tell me about the human world where my dad was from."
"Then one morning everything changed," Ualea cast her gaze at the pattern of the wood on the table. "One morning during breakfast mom just disappeared into thin air, I was scared I stayed in the hut all day waiting for her to come home. Then when evening came the Lord's Guards came to our door, they found out that my mom had been bound into slavery by a mortal, and as she could not serve House Pyuathus amongst the alps as she had been doing, I would serve the House as a servant."
"I have spent every day since working assisting the chambermaid to Count Beser my half-brother, I was overjoyed when mom was freed and came home but by then I was already a servant of the Household, even the child of a vassal must earn their way out of servitude once they are made a servant."
"Very well that is all that I need to know," Morrigan said as she produced a quill. "Badb has been watching the both of you this entire time, so between the both of us I know that the two of you have been speaking nothing except the truth this entire time. I also know that you are at the moment forbidden from revealing the name of the Ualea's father. It is my decision that the two of you are deemed worthy to join the Western Court, this is what we call ourselves as we hold out for the hopes of the reestablishment of the ancient court of the Fae rather than to supplant it with a pale mockery of our own design."
"Now all that remains is for the two of you to sign the Occidental Codex." Morrigan said as she floated the large tome along with the quill over to the two alps. "Once you sign your true name inside of the Codex you will be freed of all your prior bonds and responsibilities along with any titles unless you have power that binds land in the Faerie to yourselves in which case you will bring it to the Freelands when you immigrate."
Curunir took the Occidental Codex and opened the leather bound cover, seeing that the first page consisted of a firm and clearly worded pact she read it aloud for her daughter's sake.
"Whom-so-ever signs this pact know that by doing so that you forsake all prior allegiances, oaths, and titles of nobility. You may only sign in your own true name and only of your own freewill, moreover other than the pact of oath until you sign your true name between these two covers you shall find yourself unable to perceive a single word written beyond this page. Know that once you sign this pact that you will proclaim yourself a denizen of the Western Court and that no being of any court, baring the denizens descended of the Center Court, may ever be able to bind you against your will again."
"You also swear your loyalty to the Thrones of the Nine True Queens of the Sidhe and to serve faithfully as their subjust if one who is worthy in crowned. You also swear that you shall never reveal the true name of any being contained within these two cover including your own to any being nor attempt to use them to enslave another signer yourself, also you shall not seek out the true names of others not within these covers and attempt to enslave them. Although you may not enslave those descended from the Center Court you are allowed to enforce oaths of allegiance in return for appropriate debts; however this in turn means that you cannot make a deal with mortals that they shall never be able to balance except in return for eternal servitude."
"You shall not give outsiders access to the Essence of the Western Court unless they are aiding you in battle against one of our enemies and even then only temporarily, nor shall you reveal unto them the source of our essence. Finally you swear your enmity to all who call themselves the enemies of both the Western Court and the Thrones of the Nine True Queens for it is in our solidarity to this oath we of the Western Court find strength."
"Now having read this oath should you chose to walk the path of the Western Court of your own freewill take quill in hand and inscribe your true name within the page that presents itself."
Knowing what was at stake and seeing a complete lack of fine print Curunir took the quill feeling a prick as she did so; right away, the Occidental Codex flipped its pages until it came upon what a surprise- a blank page. Curunir wrote down her true name that thanks to the quill was inked with her own blood, after she was done she grimaced and shut her eyes as she handed the quill to her daughter Ualea who signed right bellow her mother. As soon as Ualea set the quill down on the table the blood soaked into the vellum of the page, and the both pages were now filled with signatures each the true name of one of the inhabitants of the Western Court.
"So I guess that now we are your subjects your majesty." Curunir said with a bow as her daughter curtsied before an odd feeling rushed into the both of them that staggered them and forced the mother and her daughter to sit back down. "What was that?"
Morrigan slyly smiled at the two before she spoke, "First of all despite the fact that Titania and Mab as well as their predecessors refer to me as the Phantom Queen I am only the Royal Regent of the Western Court until a worthy successor of the Nine Queens assumes her throne. This means that I am anxiously awaiting the decision of Aunghadhail's chosen to do so that I might be allowed to finally step down. I am only a figurehead right now; our current government is the Western Council (of which I am part) who shall become the court of the Queen after her coronation. As for what that feeling that the two of you just experienced were your new connection to the World Tree that are within the Freelands namely Yggdrasil and many lesser world trees there as well."
"You see unlike the courts of Winter and Summer we do not need to pay fealty to Hell for Essence, actually we wish that we could reconnect at least one of the World Trees to the planet's Ley Lines. Unfortunately, until the proper key is used by the proper hand to undo what has sundered the Western Court from the Center Court, we are unable to do so. Now feel free I have arranged for a guide to show you escort the two of you on a tour of the campus, after all I assume the both of you would be rather bored waiting until sundown. Naturally, when it turns twilight a guide shall be along to escort you to the Freelands and help you seek a new place to call home and not that I need to remind you to do so but please remember to take your hats. Last of all relax when you first started to read the rules of citizenship I paged your guide, she should be here momentarily."
After a few minutes a knock was heard on the door to which Morrigan replied, "Enter please."
With this an individual all too familiar to Curunir stepped into the room, "Alright Morrigan I'm here to give your new subjects a tour around campus, just don't make a habit of asking me to do this." Faolan explained as she stepped into the room. "Ms. Henderson only cleared this once with administration as a job related duty because of all your donations to our library, so remember next time you'll have to find someone else to do this and pay them appropriately."
"Of course Faolan my dear," Morrigan stated in obvious amusement, "After all you might be my student however you are certainly not my servant."
"I'm not one of your and Aunghadheil's subjects either, so don't forget this fact in the future." Faolan gruffed as she eyed just who she was escorting. "Well Curunir fancy meeting you again, my mother wasn't too appreciative of when you tried to jump my older brother's bones just so you know."
"What can I say," Curunir shrugged in mild embarrassment, "I was trying a mortal method of immigrating out of the Winter Court for my daughter and I, if I had known that you were playing host to Morrigan herself at the time I would have tried to arrange this meeting when we first met."
"Alright, but before we start this tour I am certain that the two of you would enjoy a bite of supper and possibly a chance to talk with your future monarch." Faolan stated with a canine grin upon her face.
"What!" Curunir said in shock as her Ualea looked on at Faolan with wide eyes at this bit of news, "Queen Aunghadhail is here?"
"In a manner of speaking, her chosen host is attending classes as a student of this Academy," Faolan stated as the trio walked down the hallways of Shuster towards the entrance from the administrative wing to the Crystal Hall cafeteria, "As is your old friend Fetch, who I now call my younger sister if you would like to speak with her- oh and please call her Apparitia, it's the name she picked for herself."
"Certainly," Curunir said with a smile, "I would love to introduce my daughter to an old friend, like yourself she is half-fae she deserves to get to know more people closer to her age that are far less..."
"Let me guess, selfish in nature," Faolan stated as the group approached neared the academy's cafeteria.
"Sadly yes," Curunir sighed with a touch of sadness in her voice. "You can find many things in the Faerie Lands, but true and altruistic friends are not one of them, it is after all a place where naked ambition thrives."
"Who knows, she might make some friends yet. If you talk it over with the headmistress and arrange for proper payment perhaps you daughter might actually be able to learn more about the world of the other half of her heritage, provided that she behaves." Faolan stated as they walked up to the oaken doors that separated the administrative wing of Shuster Hall from the Crystal Hall annex, before she opened the doors to the two in more ways than one.
Please Log in to join the conversation.
- Insane Hiker
- Topic Author
A price paid every year by both the Summer and Winter Court during the Solstice of their namesake season, at which they are at the height of their power, in return for the gift of the mystic essence necessary for the Queen and her nobles to maintain their control over their land and its people. In preparation for the tithe all one-hundred noble families and one common family chosen by lottery the year prior offer one mortal child, who was chosen by a guide of fate, exchanged for a child born of their house that year. Of the one-hundred and one, a single child is sacrificed and the rest are then prepared for induction into the House that offered them, any house that has gone a century without presenting a sacrifice worthy enough to be chosen is stripped of their nobility and land, which are then given to the common family who participate in the tithe that year.
An alp is a faerie (typically of the Winter Court) that influences the dreams of sleeping mortals, an alp can be easily identified among other fae by their mono-brow and the fact that they are always seen wearing a hat. An alp if they are not directly in the service of a Noble House are tasked with influencing the dreams of mortals to make sure that they elicit extreme emotional reactions and then gather the resulting essence. Other than cold iron alps have two other weaknesses, they are violently allergic to lemons and if their hat is taken they are rendered almost completely powerless.
Other than the ability to enter the dreams of a mortal, an alp can possess a mortal if they are not aware of their presence, but must exit their host if another mortal discovers their presence or their host is exposed to lemons. Alps can also shift into a monstrous form to defend themselves if threatened, the males transform into a caninesque creature while the females resemble a equinesque creature.
Please Log in to join the conversation.
- Independent Fiction: Tunnels
- Posted Stories: Fabrication Lab
- An Alp's Lament: Curunir's Insights Winter Society