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The Big Tea

Well, it finally happened. Her Majesty, Queen Gwyneth, Mistress of All She Surveys, had one of her people invite me for a morning tea in the Remembrance Garden.

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Welcome, she said.

“Welcome,” she said, as if it were the most natural thing to be meeting up like this, after all this time. “I know I have promised you a face to face meeting for some time. In that time, I’ve had a lot of things to contend with, and that’s one of the reasons why I simply had you released from the Faery Realm in the Wylds. It had been too long.”

“I’ll say,” I muttered. “I hope you will forgive me for not using all the honourifics and proper forms of address, Gwyneth.”

“Under the circumstances,” she replied, “I think that’s quite understandable. Fenella. Fen.”

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Oh, I did not trust this woman.

I could feel my lips tightening. “How can you even call me that, after what you did to me?” Oh, I did not trust this woman. “You kept me a prisoner. That fucked with my livelihood. A livelihood I had to take up when I was catapulted from our home Realm into  whatever this is.”

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I know it must feel strange

“I know it must feel strange, for this to have waited so long,” Gwyneth said, “but in that time I’ve been busy building a new Realm after having had to abdicate the old one, putting together Awenia, so to speak. And I haven’t left other things out. I’ve searched, now that I have the Internet again, for Richard. For Emma.

“And what about Kevin?”

“Fen, I don’t think he made it,” Gwyneth said. “There was so much blood.”

“I don’t think any of us made it,” I said flatly. “I think we all died and were somehow transported. How else would you explain any of this?”

“Come and sit,” she said. “Let’s have some tea and discuss all of this— or as much as we can possibly get through in a couple of hours, OK? And then, then— I have a proposal for you.”

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Fine, I said.

“Fine,” I said. I came here for tea: might as well have some tea.

“I didn’t know what to do,” Gwyneth said, probably anticipating another angry question from me. “That’s why I’ve waited so long. I didn’t have anything to offer you, any information, any idea of what happened. I had nothing to give you that you’d have valued.”

“And you do now?” I drummed my fingertips on the table.

“What my adoptive Father said to me was that I could never have gotten to the Realm we were in, this series of Realms, without already having Faerie blood in me. I think that has to be the same for you; otherwise you’d have perished.”

Perished?” I snickered. “Who even says that?”

“Hello? PhD in English?”

Then we both laughed, and for a few seconds, it felt like it always did; like we were the best friends in the world and this was just another morning-after tea. And then, there was an awkward silence.

I broke it, finally. “So, you think Richard, Emma, and Kevin might not have had any Fae blood in them.”

“I don’t know what to think,” Gwyneth said. “I remember, not long after I first crossed into Jasper Cove, starting to receive some odd photographs; one was of Richard and me kissing.”

“But that had just happened, before we left the LARP,” I said. “How could you have a print out of something like that?”

“I don’t know,” Gwyneth replied. It felt heavy in the air.

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She’d heard nothing from the others.

“I’ve heard nothing from the others,” she admitted. “Not even a peep, not the slightest indication that they were out there. So, when I finally realised who you were—do you remember that awful radio show?—I had to keep you. I told myself I’d explain it to you, that if two of us were together, we might draw the other two—three.” She hastily corrected herself.

“You really think Kevin didn’t survive.” I looked down at my left hand, the one with Kevin’s ring on it.

Gwyneth leaned forward. “I don’t know,” she said. “I just don’t know.”

I considered.

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that like attracts like.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that like attracts like,” I said. “Somehow, no matter where I end up, other svart alfar find me. And for whatever reason, when I was so confused and upset and everything was going wrong, I ended up on your altar. What’s to say the others won’t, eventually, as well?”

“It’s been years,” Gwyneth said. “Then again, it had been years for you as well.” She rested her elbows on the table, put her chin in her hands. Such a Gwyneth-like gesture. I almost liked her for a minute there. “OK,” she continued. “I have a proposal for you.”

“Should I be scared?” I asked.

“I don’t think so,” she replied. “Awenia will open to the public soon—well, soon is a relative term—and I’d like you to stay here and help Wulfrich with security.”

“Captain Wulfrich?” I responded. “From the Wylds?”

“Yes. He’s a loyal sort,” Gwyneth said. “If what you say is true, like attracting like and all, let’s stick together. Let’s make our story public. Maybe we’ll get some bites if we put out a line with bait.”

“Public?” I said. “I know something happened and the Veils have fallen, but really?”

“Oh, good,” Gwyneth said. “You know about that.”

“Wasn’t hard to deduce,” I replied. “One day I’m operating under cover of secrecy, every Realm a potential landmine, and the next day government agencies are fine with hiring me and I’m allowed to be me, at least some of the time.”

Gwyneth shook her head. “I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you.”

“No, you can’t.” My right hand clenched reflexively into a fist.

Svart will always be welcome here,” Gwyneth said. “I don’t have any illusions about anybody being more evil than anybody else, except in some isolated incidents where a being is more selfish and justifies horrible things more easily than most others. We are all the same, and the public must learn to see us as such.”

“So you put me in a position of some authority, and people will think you’re amazing and open-minded,” I retorted.

“So you stay here, you and I do some magick on the side, and maybe we scry Emma or Richard. Or Kevin.”

“Will you stop talking about Kevin as if he’s dead!” I couldn’t take it any more. “I’ve never taken this ring off, you know.”

“I suspected,” Gwyneth said. “So, do we have a deal?”

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I stood up.

I stood up. “Reservedly,” I said, “we have a deal.” Then I whistled for Harris (yes, I call the dark unicorn Harris), and I just rode away while Her Smug Majesty stood there agape.

I turned away as Fen, or TAC, or whatever I am to call her, rode away on a unicorn of all things. As if life couldn’t get any weirder. Then, I climbed the stairs of the Serenity monument.

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Halfway up, I stopped to think.

Halfway up, I stopped to think. What if she was right about all this? Could we find Richard, Emma and maybe even Kevin? I shook my head. Probably too much to ask for.

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Hope.

But, if there’s any one thing that’s gotta me this far in my unbelievable and fantastical life, it’s Hope. I shall hope.

Style Cards:

The Amazing Catwoman
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ Bento Mesh Head, Lulu
Skin: The Plastik: Elvenne Skin, Charcus
Ears: Illusions, Sylph Ears
Hair: Truth, VIP Gaea
Clothes: Noble Creations, Mama Erzule (Available NOW at We Love Roleplay!) (includes hat!)
Eyes: Seydr, Versicolor Eyes, Autumn (Available NOW at We Love Roleplay!)
Necklace: Rozoregalia, Lezato
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife

Gwyneth
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Simone Bento Mesh Head
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Monday (Available NOW at The Chapter Four!)
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears HD
Eyes: Seydr, Versicolor Eyes, Druid (Available NOW at We Love Roleplay!)
Gown: Senzafine, Elswyth (Available NOW at We Love Role-play!)
Hair: Truth, VIP Gwen
Head and Chest adornments: Bauhaus Movement, Susanne Set

Environment
The Serenity Monument: Kaelis Ember, Find Here Amenity
Tea Set: Trine Epiphany, Artisan Tea Set, Summer
Ground Cover: The Looking Glass, Harmony Garden Daisies (Available NOW at Swank!)
Tea Table and Chairs: The Looking Glass, Harmony Garden Tea Time (Available NOW at Swank!)
Bounding Trees (with birdhouses): Harmony Garden Birdhouse Trees (Available NOW at Swank!)
All Poses from The Black Tulip
Facial Expressions Created with Lelutka AXIS

 

 

 

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