Meditate, Breathe, Centre. It may be that I am nervous. My contact is Arcturus Treem, who’s a Consilium Arcanum …. would you call him a civil servant? I guess he is. We’re to meet later today at his magic shop, Cave of Wonders, to discuss the opening of Awenia up to humans and other magical beings. The townsfolk have been pretty open to it so far; they want to encourage passage between beings, and now that the walls are down, we can do this. I’ve done some research on the few other Realms that have taken this course of action, and they’re mostly coming from the other direction: human Realms who want to open themselves to other beings. I can’t help but wonder about their reasons, but I suppose that’s what Treem wants to talk to me about as well.
I’ve been here since last night, in a Seattle where I used to have to travel glamoured— but when I arrived, no one batted an eye at my obvious differences. The staff at the hotel were very nice, but the room is very small, which I suppose I should have expected. It’s not like this is a diplomatic visit from a Queenly sort of viewpoint. One plus for the staff: the moment the concierge saw me, he asked if I’d like a large mirror put in my room. Of course I said yes: if Nathaniel or Wren or even (gods help me) Drysi want to get in touch, the mirror is the easiest way for them to reach me when I’m so far away. Will O’ the Wisps get… well, they get distracted sometimes. I am so happy I met up with the talented Queue Marlowe and got her to braid my hair over at Analog Dog before I hopped back here and boarded a ferry to Seattle, because they still don’t have great Fae portal service here.
The truth is, I’m inpatient. You never would have guessed that about me, I’m sure. Our meeting is set for two o’clock this afternoon, and here I am, awake at barely ten, already full of a dazzling hotel breakfast that included Belgian waffles and syrup and so much whipped cream. It’s a good thing my body can function completely off carbs and fat!
I know what I have to do. Basically, I have to convince this guy that I’m opening up the Realm for positive and legal reasons, namely better communication among different types of beings, and of course the tourism dollars won’t hurt. And I need not to go off on tangents about love and light and all that stuff. I need to speak as a town representative and not a Fae Queen.
Barely ten minutes after I embark on this train of thought, there’s a chime from the mirror. I stand up, compose myself.
“Arcturus Treem, Miss…. I’m sorry; I don’t know your last name.”
“I don’t really have one any more, Mr Treem. Most people who address me formally use “Your Majesty”, but I’m not coming to you as a Queen. Gwyneth is fine.”
“In that case, it’s Arcturus or Art if you prefer.” He is an older gentleman, with crinkles around his blue eyes and the weathered look of a man who’s seen many seasons. “I only wanted to check in with you and see if we were on track for our meeting this afternoon. I see you’re settled in nicely. Is that the Abbot House?”
I smile. He’s not difficult to talk to, which is a good thing. “Yes; that’s right. They’ve been lovely here. Such a surprise after…”
He raises a brow. “Have you had bad experiences elsewhere, Gwyneth?”
“Um…” I swallow. Not everyone has the same set of memories as I do now, but I expected the magician might be a little more informed. Then again, he is human. Maybe I need to put Skeleton or Nathaniel on research which folk have two different sets of memories, and which folk do not.
There’s that eye-crinkling smile again. “You remember the Cataclysm. Good. Not all Fae do, of course: those who are confined to their own realms mostly, but it’s important to make sure before we begin any conversation.” He nods as if I’ve passed a test.
I exhale. And I smile. “Great. We’re on the same page. So yes, walking into Seattle last night, unglamoured, was very interesting. And while I recognise that whoever perpetrated the Cataclysm has been a very bad boy or girl, I can’t say I’m altogether displeased with the result.”
He laughs outright at that. “Very diplomatic, Your Majesty. I begin to see some of that Sidhe charm I was expecting from someone like you. Did you know, the flowers on the paintings in your room look as if they’re alive?”
I glance back to the now super-saturated paintings. “I have that effect on things. It’s part of being what the Fae call a Life-Bringer, but I don’t claim that title. I believe just about anything can be accomplished if the challenges are met with love, rather than trickery, greed, violence…. That’s one reason why I want Awenia to be a Fae town open to everyone: I want different beings to see the good in each other, learn about their differences, learn to co-exist. Because even if they think they have co-existed for a long time, there are bound to be problems.”
“No need to launch into your sales pitch right away,” replies Art with another one of those smiles. “I can’t keep the mirror communication up for long: for me, it requires a rather difficult spell. One thing I’d love to acquire from you in Awenia, as a Fae town where trade will be encouraged, is a proper magic mirror. Do you have a mirror smith?”
“Of course we do, and a good one too,” I reply. “I think we can make that happen for you.”
“All paid for, of course,” he is quick to reply. “I could not accept a gift from you, for many reasons.” He meets my eyes. “But before we sit down in the shop to do business this afternoon, I was wondering if you’d like to have lunch with me, just so we can get to know one another a little better, lay some ground rules for future interactions, if you will.”
I smile. “That sounds like a great idea.”
“Wonderful. I’ll pick you up at your hotel around eleven thirty, and then we’ll have a while to natter about whatever we like before we get down to business. Now I’ll bid you good morning, and thank you very much for your time.”
I don’t wrinkle my nose at the ‘thank you’; I know it’s a human custom and I used to do it myself. But I’ll have to make sure Mr Treem knows what’s meant by ‘thank you’ to one of us. “It is nothing,” I reply. “I’m happy and honoured to be here, and I look forward to our meeting later.”
I even blow him a little kiss before I dismiss the mirror communication. Can’t hurt.
Head: Catwa, Lona
Eyes: Mesange, Sanford Eyes
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Skin: The Plastik, Golha (Amethyst) (Available NOW at Season of the Witch!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!), Moira A (Available NOW at The Epiphany!)
Headpiece: Cae, Lasa Circlet
Bracelets: The Plastik, The Aeliora Cuffs (Available NOW at The Season’s Story!)
Dress: Oubliette, Royal Vega Dress (Available NOW at Season of the Witch!)
Boots: !go, Fae Boots Brown
Photo Backdrop: Mary Etc., After Hour Background (Available NOW at Designer Circle!)
Thanks are always due to the incredibly talented Queue Marlowe of Analog Dog who created such.a lovely set of hairs for The Epiphany. I’ll be showing you the other versions soon!