It’s been so long. Yes, as usual, I have spent all my time working. The practical side of faery is no less real than anything else you read, but it does not leave everyone’s favourite svart alfar very much leisure time. This is my last faery tour job before I take a short holiday, and it involves a bit of a journey, so I can tell you a bit about what’s been going on with me: I’m sure you’re all vitally interested.
Awenia’s under re-construction this summer, so I signed up to work on fairytale tours. Fairytale tours are a racket and a half, but they keep me busy and you know how I hate to be bored. This was my last tour of the season, last assignment, even, and it was going to be a piece of piss; just spend a night at Merrywether Cottage while the Faery Aunties were gone to market so this particular fairy tale princess could enter the climax of whatever story the legend matrix picked for her. It’s a complicated spell system, and I’m not sure even the story wizards understand it, but basically my job was to keep her alive and on course long enough for the plot to create itself around her organically. What can I say: it’s not an exact science, and I’m only a stand-in, anyway.
I do really like this horse, though. Her name is Omega, and she has this amazing Aurora coat design. This year, Cinnamon won the contract bid to do all the animal art for the tales, so there have been the most beautiful horses everywhere you look. Obviously I’m biased, but I’ll miss Omega most of all when I have to go back to Awenia to get us ready for autumn tourist season opening.
I remember when I visited the Harry Potter studio park when it opened up in Watford Junction. It feels like a lifetime ago now, but it must only have been, what, eight, ten years? Anyway, everything was so close together, and docents explained how camera angles and forced perspective could make everything seem bigger than it was, closer or farther away, that sort of thing. Kevin was nodding away like he understood it all, and he probably did. I nodded too. When you’re immersed in it, it’s easier to realise how you can feel utterly separated from a castle that’s barely fifty yards away if you’re not meant to know it’s there.
This is a roundabout way of saying the ride to the cottage was short and I probably could have had a nice spar with some of the guys in the barracks before I headed out, but the story says it’s a day’s travel, so I took it at its word.
Evidently, the residents did as well, because nobody was home. Garden demifae explained the three fae aunties had gone out to the market early that morning and weren’t expected back and that “Little Fair One” marched out before lunch time with a picnic basket and said she’d be back eventually. Bless their little cotton socks, the fae aunties did not have any benches in their garden, so I liberated Omega from her tack and settled down in a nice forked tree to wait. Luckily, I had some contraband AirPods Pro and my equally if not more contraband iPhone with me, so there was at least some music (I have batteries. Don’t ask).
I fell asleep.
When I woke up, there were three interesting things.
- No tourist.
- No fae aunties
- Omega was being fawned over by four demifae
I couldn’t really do anything about any of these things.
I could laugh at one of them, so that’s what I chose to do in the moment. Because Omega was soaking it up like the Arabian princess she was. Don’t get me wrong, I do miss Awenia’s beautiful unicorns, especially my favourite dark chocolate unicorn of train station fame, but if I’m honest I’d just about swap my whole summer’s wages if they’d let me take this horse back home with me. I’m sure Gwyneth wouldn’t mind. We’ve got plenty of land for fae horses, and the tourists love them.
As the moon began to set, I started to worry, though. Surely the aunties should have been back by now. I didn’t want to take the demifae away from their new toy, and a few minutes more in a fairy tale wouldn’t hurt anyone, so I let it be.
“Don’t worry,” said a gravelly voice.
“The fuck are you?” As an aside, when you jump half out of your skin, coming down hard onto the split trunk of the tree you’ve been dozing in for something like six hours hurts like fuhuhuhuhuck.
And then there was a gravelly laugh. “Well, you’re new, aren’t you? I’m the legend matrix. You didn’t wonder why there are so many dragons with polyhedral dice everywhere along the fairytale tour routes?
OK, I had actually noticed that.
I bit my lip. “Thought you were a fucking design feature,” I said.
“You are not entirely incorrect,” said the dragon. “I suppose you could say I am the central design feature.” He laughed again. It sounded a little bit like if a puppet made entirely out of paving stones had an asthma attack. I guess if you’re the central design feature, you get to laugh at your own jokes.
“So I shouldn’t worry?”
I was going to worry anyway.
“Nothing to worry about at all.”
“And why’s that?”
The glowing D20 slowed, stopped, and began to spin in the opposite direction. “She came to me and asked me to,” and then there was some static and a voice played back through what must have been a speaker somewhere in the dragon’s abdomen, “Just get me out of here, OK? This is not what I paid for!” Some static. “And so I did.”
I paused. “You didn’t send her home did you?” I could foresee that lawsuit.
“Of course not.” The D20 slowed again. “I am the central design feature of the legend matrix, not the all-powerful dragon god of the multiverse. That would require additional upgrades.”
Of course. “So what did you do?”
“I created her plot, of course. She seemed to want to spend her entire fairy tale tour in a castle, so I sent her to one.”
I frowned. “I mean, don’t they usually start off as peasant girls or get kidnapped or something?”
Another gravelly laugh. “When they’re the real protagonists, yes. But when they’re merely the prize to be won, sure, they can live in the castle. But rest assured, I have followed her form to the letter. She will live in a castle and have many servants. She will wear fine dresses and dance at many balls. And in the end, she will marry a prince. So what if she has to kiss a few frogs first? She didn’t specifically exclude it.”
And that’s why I bought a miniature copy of the official fairy tale tour guardian dragon statue in the gift shop before I took myself and my salary (codename Omega) through the realm portal back to Awenia.
Sometimes, even my crap summer jobs have happy endings.
Stay safe out there in the human hinterlands,
The Amazing Catwoman
Notes & Credits:
Enchantment closes today! It’s your last chance to see the beautiful build, enjoy the atmosphere, and grab some Sleeping Beauty souvenirs while they’re all in one place to take home to your own castle. Even if you’ve already been, you probably missed something: it’s an event full of wonderful stuff, beautifully and lovingly designed, and always full of wonder.
Enchantment items featured here:
Omega’s Skin: Cinnamon, Aurora Teeglepet skin (also comes in versions for Jinx Centaur and Waterhorse; matching wings are also available for your Teeglepet Pegasus)
TAC’s circlet: Air, Thorns Crown Gold
Demifae Fan Club: Titans, The Aurora Fae
Guardian Dragon: Cerridwen’s Cauldron, The Guardian Statue
Other Amazing Stuff:
TAC’s stunning new Drow Skin: Wyrd, Nightshade (This is at the Wyrd Main Store, and I cannot tell you how over the moon I am to have been the first person to test this amazing graphite/purple drow skin. It is perfect, and perfectly TAC)
Head: Lelutka Evolution, Nova
Hair: Sintiklia, Connor
Ears: Andore, Hu-gu
Eyes: Yoshi, Alina (I’ve recently fallen madly in love with Yoshi eyes; expect to see lots of them here)
Clothes: Jangka, Hawkeyes outfit black, and Hawkeyes boots black
Castle: Harshlands, Devonshire Castle Keep
Omega Herself, Teeglepet, Arabian