You might wonder what there is to write about that’s happy, since Ashmourne is such a fucking downer. I admit I wondered too, for about thirty seconds. I haven’t written anything but these journal entries for more than a year, but the crazy thing is I used to teach creative writing to university students. And that requires that you’ve at least done a little writing, particularly when they want to know what makes you qualified to teach them.
So, yeah. I might as well use my time wisely, since it’s not like anybody has time for me right now, what with everybody having this or that fucking crisis and me wanting to give Aoibh some space and Nathaniel being busy with negotiations. So here we go.
Once upon a time, there was a Seelie Princess who was so beautiful and powerful the stars sang her name in the evening. She grew up in a beautiful sithen, loved and cherished by her parents, the King and Queen. Her hair was burnished gold and her skin was sun-kissed peach, and everywhere she went, people fell in love with her. Her parents named her Tabitha, because she was like a fawn. She grew to maturity, learned the ways of magic and the elements, enjoyed her share of lovers, but never chose a consort, and the King and Queen were worried; she was their only child, and she needed an heir. They began to believe she was barren, and so, a little, did she.
She was but 300 years old when the humans began to spread their cities, their livestock, and their diseases over Scotland and Wales. Many of the Fae chose to fade, but many also remained; they were a hardy people at that time and did not foresee how their number would be diminished in the centuries to come.
For a time, relations between the humans and the Fae were good: humans were properly afraid of and in awe of the Fae, and Fae power remained strong in the land. Still, because so many of their number had chosen to fade, the Fae courts chose to send ambassadors to one another in order to re-establish relationships and strengthen old treaties. One of these ambassadors came to the Princess’ sithen from the far north of Seelie Lapland, and he bore reindeer skins and brightly woven cloth, gold plunder and tales of heroes. He was the moon to the Princess’ sun, but her parents disapproved of his rough ways and his too-pale skin and his silken silver hair. Still, it was no matter: they believed the Princess barren and now sought among the higher Court Sidhe for an heir, as no barren Sidhe could become a Queen.
The Princess and the northern Ambassador became lovers. Their love was true, for despite his strange ways and exotic appearance, he brought her more fulfilment and ecstasy in a moment than any of her parents’ Court. And soon before it was time for the Ambassador to go, the Princess discovered she was pregnant. At 320, she was still afraid of her parents; she feared they would cast her out if they learned of her condition because of who the father of her child was. She did not tell the Ambassador she was newly with child, and he never knew: they parted on good terms and talked of seeing one another again, but in her heart, she had a plan.
At this time, the Princess’ court was based in what we now know as the Holy Isle of Anglessey, in the north of Wales. In desperation, she glamoured herself fully, shielded herself against magic, and flew from the Sithen and her parents’ court to continue her pregnancy in secret. She found a friend in a cunningwoman in the middle of Wales, in the great forest that covered much of Midwales at that time, who helped her to hide and to make the preparations for a great piece of magic, more ambitious than anything she’d ever done before.
When the time came, Princess Tabitha gave birth to twin girls, one sunkissed with hair of reddish gold like her own, the other as pale as her lover’s moonlit eyes. It took days to re-plan the spell so that she could accommodate two, and then the end she and the cunningwoman had to make two journeys: both forward in time. The sunkissed girl she exchanged for a girl of Alba, a sickly little thing who would benefit from the beautiful forests of Midwales. The other she took farther forward, to a human city that terrified her. This one she exchanged for a lovely fat baby girl with privileged parents. These two children she gave to the cunningwoman to have for her own.
Once she had recovered from the magic working, Tabitha walked away from Midwales and was never seen or heard from again. The two girls raised as sisters there grew up to be sturdy and strong, cunningwomen like their mother, and they married and passed on these traditions to their own daughters.
But what of Tabitha’s twin girls?