Friday, July 10, 2015

Seluna and the Starless Night

Why this project

I love the Winter Court of Welsh fairies. The best holidays belong to them. From Halloween and Christmas to Easter. This is the story of two witches who come to work for these fairies. A few years back when the cold snow and rain of winter didn't come to Wales their crops almost died. Without winter we don't get water. For winter means rain in the jungles, it means the cold that helps apples blossom when spring comes. The winter court can be destructive however.

A thousand five hundred years ago the English water spirits went from being kind creatures to man eating hags. That is happening again, with fairies turning into monsters. Seluna and Karen must find out way and stop it from taking over.

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Rain fell in thick sporadic waves, washing down the back of Seluna’s silvery violet hair, and over her blue animal print dress. She took a deep breath. Smelling the rain cleaned world and the popcorn from the theatre she’d just stepped out of helped to calm her. She tossed the last of her own popcorn on soaking wet lawn. Before the rain could make it vanish a dozen Wichtelmänner fluttered down from the roof of the movie theater like pidgins to collect her offering. The tiny exquisite fairies ran about, playfully sliding through the soaking grass like otters, even as they gathered the, now wet, popcorn.
“It’s moments like these,” she whispered to herself, “that I realize how truly lucky I am.”
Most of the humans in the small crowd that was chatting and laughing about the movie they’d just seen under the awning behind her would never get to see any of the fairies. “I’m lucky indeed,” Seluna smiled, even though an anxious knot still sat in her stomach. She handed the last piece of popcorn to a little Wichtelmänner boy who beamed happily at her. A moment later he followed his family home to squirrel away the food for the winter Seluna knew would start tonight. Seluna felt bad for them, the winter which was coming would be a cold one, and they had no clothes. But unlike the shoemaker who’d made the mistake of giving clothes to some Wichtelmänner generations before, Seluna knew that if she did they would lose their caring, generous nature. Human actions and words had power over fairies. Seluna understood that, she understood them. What she was on a mission to discover was her own human heritage. The few shows she’d seen on one of the new witch’s cell phones told her that teenagers often went on dates to learn about other people. So she’d decided to try that. It had been fairly easy finding someone to go out with. She knew hundreds of house fairies which kept secret watch over the people who lived in their homes. So she’d arranged an ‘accidental’ meeting with someone they’d recommended to her. Not knowing the person she was dating at all had been part of the adventure. And it had been intriguingly fun. Now on their third date she found herself worrying about what he thought. Which meant she was worried about the fact that she’d truly hated the movie they’d just watched together. What was the protocol for hating a movie? Should she say something, keep quite? If the people passing her by were any indication humans talked about the movies they’d just seen pretty extensively. They laughed, they made jokes. She wanted to do that, but she couldn’t think of any funny moments in that awful, awful movie.
Seluna peered around the corner to see if he was out of the bathroom yet. The line outside the door had been long and he’d drank so much during the movie she’d thought he was obviously done and looking for her. She waved at him and a few moments later he slid outside beside her.
“That was the worst movie ever,” Kevin laughed the moment he came out the door. “I can’t believe I let you talk me into that.” He popped open his dark black umbrella for the two of them.
Seluna gave him a bemused, all be it, somewhat confused smile. He’d laughed when he’d told her how awful the movie was. That had to be good right? She tugged gently on her silver purple hair. She’d thought that watching this movie was his idea. Was it normal for him to claim otherwise? The few TV show’s she’d watched did seem to indicate that women like her were always befuddled by their boyfriends, so maybe they were supposed to do confusing things? The two of them stepped out from under the awning and sloshed through the parking lot, the rain pattering against the black umbrella overhead. What a bizarre puzzle, trying to understand a human, Seluna mused to herself. This was exactly the type of silly puzzle she needed to get her mind off of the second time she’d died. She shuddered and turned her attention back to trying to understand the adorable problem at hand.
“If you remember you were the one who wanted to see that movie,” Seluna told Kevin. “You showed me the trailer three times during dinner, and all I could think was that it looked ridiculous. “
 “It was ridiculous, I showed you the trailers as an ironic joke,” Keven told her.
“Really? Seluna asked with some surprise. She laughed at the idea. We need to work on our communication, because I didn't get that at all.”
They crossed the street, and Seluna could see people through their car windows, families just coming from the movies, the children in the back seat. She found herself wondering, about their lives, their hopes and dreams, and what it might have been like if she’d grown up as a normal human.
She discreetly dropped a pastry from a pocket of her light blue raincoat into the wet grass for the swarm of curious fairies, mostly tywelth teg, sith and pixies that secretly made their homes in the neatly trimmed hedges along the edge of the suburban yards. No matter how fondly she might recall the child she’d once had when she’d been an ordinary person, she would never really trade it for being a part of this world.

The red hand shaped light stopped blinking when they were halfway across the street so they started running, Seluna’s foot splashed in a cold stream of water running down the gutter.
“I can’t believe you thought I wanted to see that movie,” Kevin said. I laughed through the whole trailer,” He laughed a little before Seluna could respond.
“Exactly, you never stopped laughing, you kept quoting it. I thought it was supposed to be one of those comedies I didn’t get,” Seluna said. She wracked her brain to understand why anyone would laugh at something they hated.
 “It wasn’t a comedy,” Kevin told her.
“Yeah, I know that now. What I don’t know, is how your crazy mind works,” Seluna allowed herself to fall a little behind so she could toss a pastry into a tree for a little dragon known as a niskepuk. She flicked a little meat to coyote who was denning in some shrubs. “Who makes someone watch a trailer for a movie hate over and over again as a joke?” Seluna laughed. “Couldn’t you just wait around a corner and yell boo when I come by?”
“Doesn’t that seem a little immature to you?”
“Well, at least if you did that, I’d have the pleasure of slapping you in surprise,” Seluna told him as she slapped at the air to emphasize her point. “At this point I just feel whelmed.”
“Whelmed, you mean like overwhelmed or underwhelmed?”
“No whelmed, sort of like just blah,” Seluna tried to stop herself from grinning, so she could look – whelmed - but she just couldn’t do it. This whole conversation had become so wonderfully ridiculous. It was nice to chat about nothing, to think about, essentially, nothing.
“Who uses words like whelmed?”
A troll queen, disguised as a toads was resting on the lawn ahead. Seluna watched her closely. She never even considered not introducing herself. It was important to be on good terms with the trolls. Besides, a King had once snubbed a Fee Queen in France and so had had his baby cursed to sleep a hundred year slumber on her 16th birthday. Seluna shuddered to think a Queen would do to a peasant like her if she snubbed her. So as she passed she turned as formally as she could towards the toad, and bowed low. “You look especially lovely this evening.”
“I don’t know,” Kevin’s voice startled her. But not as much as his laugh.  “She looks like she could use a bit of wart remover and maybe a bit of plastic surgery.”
Seluna’s heart lurched. The toad scowled. How stupid could I be? Seluna thought, of course Kevin thought it was a joke. As far as he knew a toad was just a toad. And it would be ridiculous to bow to a toad, they don’t usually care about such things. In fact the few time’s she’d talked to toads, they’d been too lazy to say much of anything.
“He didn’t mean it,” Seluna cried out, though she was already pulling her bell and blackthorn wand from her purse for the fight she knew was coming. She could see her father now, in the form of an owl standing in a nearby tree, ready to step in now that she was about to need help. Perhaps he’d been right, perhaps she was too interwoven with the fairy world to go out with someone as normal as Keven was.