A Calendar of Tales: September

“My mother’s lion ring, lost & found 3 times over… Some things aren’t meant to be kept.”

Nothing among the fey is upfront; I knew that. Still, when Mother gave me the lion ring, I believed it to be a genuine gift, freely given from love.

‘Twas foolish of me.

It was a test. But now I have caught wind of it, and know just what to do.

‘Twas the spring of my Awakening year. Immortal we may be, but not ageless, and Mother’s gift marked the beginnings of my adulthood. The little daemon in the ring was now my responsibility, to be fed three drops of mortal’s blood every day and thus kept complacent. That was my duty, and my honor.

The first time the ring was out of place, I admit I panicked. I ransacked my bower, overturned my bed of petals and dew, upheaved the thistle and grass. With burgeoning wildness I ran through the gardens—I must have been a wicked sight, a holy terror to behold. Just as I was ready to throw myself upon my Mother’s mercy, beg for her aid, did I hear the titter of laughter on the quietest breeze. I found the leprechaun hiding in my eaves and snatched him up, shaking him until he released my precious ring.

With only minutes remaining, I slipped into the village of mortals and squeezed the drops of blood from the seamstress’s pricked finger.

To prevent further loss, I wore the ring on my right hand, so I could never forget it. While I bathed in the deep foamy surf, a selkie  appeared. My kind don’t often interact with the seal-swimmers, but she was friendly, and we soon set about to splashing with great joy.

It wasn’t until she swam off that I realized the ring had gone. White with rage, I dove into the sea and chased the blubbery villain. I followed her into the depths, but that is where she is mighty and I am weak. Thinking she had won, she splashed about, mocking me, the ring held firmly in her teeth.

But the fey are never without friends. I called to the dolphins, friends of the court, and their hard noses and strong fins showed the selkie how foolish she had been.

Now not trusting the ring even on my finger, I wore it on a shining silver chain around my neck. I was in the human village, visiting the houses of those who honor the fey, leaving gifts where appropriate and snatching trinkets from the unwary. I had slipped the gold from a drunkard’s pocket when I ran—quite literally—into the most beautiful man I had ever seen. His skin oozed loveliness, and I wanted to melt into his arms forever. We talked, and I walked with him into the fair places in the woods, and all was wonderful. Heady with love, I brought him to my bower to enjoy the riches of life, and he asked me for the ring. Drunk on his affections, I slipped the chain off my neck—

–and how he howled in pain as the iron I’d had inlaid burned his skin, shattering his glamor and revealing him as the gancanagh he truly was.

That last incident was too much; for a fey to use his glamor on another of our kind is high treachery. He kneeled there, weeping in agony, and in my anger I scalded him again and again with the wicked ring, ‘til he confessed his motive: my Mother had sent him.

—-

So now I know just what to do. In the village is a man, too proud and brash. He disrespects the Old Ways and shows no graciousness for the fey. I have left the little daemon where he shall find it. Now it shall not trouble me further, and it shall have all the mortal blood it needs.

Some gifts aren’t meant to be kept.

Read more of the calendar tales.

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