You asked, so here it is:
A Friday Fairytale
What happened so far:
Nadisda is a being of pure magic. She is approached by the super-evil Villain Valentine to concoct a nasty curse for his arch-enemy, the Hero Hugo. However, Nadisda has ADD, often causing her magic to go off the rails. So she consults with her mentor, the ancient dragon Faff, who gives her a magically charged moonstone to help her focus better.
As she mixes the curse for Hugo (altered a little with her own fairy magic because she doesn’t see why Hugo should suffer so pointlessly), Valentine comes to check and breaks her focus. The Moonstone touches the potion, it all explodes and both get blasted into the who-knows-where.
Nadisda tried to see through the impenetrable blackness. Total silence. She had the impression that she was falling through nothingness, tumbling around her own axis. The void seemed airless. She must have banged her head really hard.
That’s what you get for doing a villain favours, she scolded herself. A curse on the hero? For what? Just because she couldn’t shake her head rather than nod, when the villain made his one-sided conversation? She’d show that brute, next time he visited! She was pure magic – she was not afraid of him!
The spinning stopped, and she held her breath, waiting for some sort of impact. None came. The sense of movement ceased altogether; she hung suspended in nowhere.
And panic set in. Was this the end? Her karma catching her and sending her spiralling into Nirvana? Was her beingness, her very spirit being destroyed as punishment for arbitrarily abusing magic for senseless evil?
Nadisda had never worried about karma before. It was something that happened to others. But now the thought gnawed at her that perhaps magical beings got hit harder by karma.
She lit a little white mage-light from her left hand and held it up. Nothing, still. She was literally in the middle of nowhere, but now at least she could see her own pale arms. Her right hand searched for the chain around her neck, the moonstone pendant – both were gone. She hoped the moonstone hadn’t been destroyed by the spell.
So what came next? She watched the white mage-light for a few more moments before panic threatened to take over again. She reached out with her mind.
Nothing happened. She called out several more time and was about to despair when an answer came:
“Fairy! You’re calling me?”
“Where am I?” she asked desperately.
“You are lost between worlds,” came the unpromising answer.
“Can you find me?”
“No. You’re lost in your own head. You need to find your own way out.”
“Am I dead?”
“No. Just unconscious. But to wake up, you must find an exit.”
“How do I do that?”
“Just focus,” said the dragon. “Stay calm.”
She tried to focus harder. The silence and blackness all round stayed the same; but her mage-light went out.
“Faff!” she cried in panic.
The dragon was gone from her head though. She was alone.
Find an exit. She groped in the dark to try and find anything at all: A door, a handle… a rope end… but all she found was void.
With longing she thought of her grove at home, her cosy cave behind the moss and the shielding spell. A crunching footstep on the moss pushed itself into this image of home, and she remembered that she’d once again have to heal her poor moss. How could anyone be so vile that plants withered wherever he stepped?
Well, the Villain had probably caused her to break some or other fairy code she had been unaware of. She resolved to deal with him severely the next time she saw him. How dare he?
Suddenly that hard surface was there underneath her, and sound returned, and with it, smell. Foul smell. Wherever she had come out of her exile, it had to be bad. Also, the place was noisy, with something causing a thundering and roaring that had nothing in common with waterfalls or storms. She opened her eyes to painful daylight, to find someone crouching over her.
Young, sea-green eyes with golden flecks studied her face intently. Wild, shoulder-long brown hair hung in tatty strings around the face. A steep crease between two well-shaped masculine eyebrows. And a chin pushed forward in determination that was only showing the very first fuzz of beard growth.
“So,” said the youngster, “you’re awake?”
She did a double-take, her eyes wide open now. She wouldn’t have recognized him, but for his voice and accent.
“You’re -” she gasped. “You’re you!”
The Villain laughed softly. “Course I’m me, fairy! The real question is, are you alright? Did you survive intact? Is your magic okay?”
“I… I don’t know.” She tried to comprehend the surrounds. They were somewhere dank and dark, somewhere surrounded by grey walls that looked like tunnels. Lewd words were painted over the walls, and the place stank.
Valentine helped her sit up and gave her some water to drink from a water skin he had with him.
“Check if you can use your magic,” he said.
She tried to light a mage-light and failed, but it was mostly a function of not having enough energy for it.
“You lost it!” said the young Valentine, sounding disappointed.
He was disappointed? She was more than that! She was horrified. It was a disaster! Her magic!
“If I did, it’s your fault,” she pointed out. “For asking for that arbitrary curse against Hugo.” It was surprising how flowers entirely failed to spring up wherever she turned her head.
“My fault, really?” huffed Valentine. “And who was so quick to accommodate me? I’d have guessed you enjoy your black magic!”
“Where are we?” she asked, panicking.
“In the canals under Detroit,” said Valentine. “Earth.”
He shook his head with an evil grin. “I’m from here.”
Nadisda gaped at him. “You were born here?” Suddenly, all the anger she had felt towards the Villain evaporated. What a horrible place to grow up in!
“Not down here, of course,” he laughed. “But up there is not exactly a picnic, either. Come!” He extended a hand. “Feel good enough to get up?”
Nadisda took his hand and allowed him to help her up. Instantly her head started spinning and her legs gave way under her again. The darkness crept in around the corners.
“Whoa there, slow down!” she heard his voice and wished that he should just keep talking so that she could have that anchor point. She didn’t want to get lost in her own head again.
Valentine did keep talking to her.
“Wow, girl, you really must have banged your head hard! You’re still feeling sick?”
Nadisda groaned, wishing she could wake up in her comfortable bed of moss. But that fairy wish was not granted. Instead, as the spinning stopped and the world steadied, she found herself once again looking up into that too-young villain face. She tried taking a deep breath.
“You’re apparently not going anywhere in a hurry,” muttered Valentine and lowered her back down to the hard, cold floor.
“Careful, my wings…” she started objecting, then realized they were missing. “Where are my wings?” she whispered in horror.
“Wait!” He took off his slightly smelly jersey and rolled it up, and lifted her head again and stuffed the woolly thing underneath as a cushion. “I’m going to organize you some blankets.” And he turned away and started scrambling up rungs that led to what seemed like the outside.
“Don’t go!” Nadisda whimpered after him, despairing.
Time passed. Nadisda listened to the loud rushing that ebbed and flowed around her, like water yet not like water. Sometimes something roared like a wounded beast; sometimes something groaned and ached along, sighing loudly, before she could hear it disappear again. All this was coming from overhead.
Down here, there was movement too. The roaches and bugs were the first to come crawling to investigate her. Next, a few grey shapes flitted furtively along the shadows. Nadisda realized with mounting terror that they were rats.
Mice and rats in the forest context, she had no problem with. But here, the rats seemed evil, their red eyes glinting in the semi-dark. And there were too many, now that she paid attention. They seemed to be listening to her.
Valentine, where are you? Her desperation was beginning to climb. Faff? Can’t you get me out of here?
There was no answer from Faff, and of course none from Valentine either, as the Villain had not a single magical cell in his body. Where was that forsaken scoundrel? What took him so long?
One of the rats came a bit too close. Nadisda panicked and flung a reflexive spell at the rodent. A blast of lightning lit up the tunnel and hit the ground right next to the rat which squeaked in fright and fled. Where it had been, a fern pushed out of the barren ground.
So her magic was back. Nadisda tried getting up, to find her way out of the tunnels; but her body betrayed her once more and collapsed out under her again. It felt heavy and unwieldy, as though it were made of mud. She swore heartily and looked around for something to use as a wand. There was absolutely nothing.
With another curse she pointed her finger, abusing it for a wand. She didn’t like doing this as the focus was never quite the same as a real wand. There was no telling what would run off the rails. But it was all she had now. She drew a circle around herself, and dense sword ferns arose from the cold floor, growing so tightly together that not even roaches would find their way. And rats could forget it! And then, for her own comfort, she sat up with immense effort and patted the hard floor, and lush, deep moss grew up, providing a soft covering. She lay back down on it with a thankful sigh and allowed herself to slip away into troubled, noise-riddled dreams, trying to ignore the too-close-for-comfort young villain smell rising out of the jersey, mingling unfortunately with the dank odours of the cavern.
When Nadisda next opened her eyes, it was because someone was shaking her.
“C’mon, fairy! C’mon, up, we’ve got to get you out of here!”
She glanced up at Valentine.
“You’re burning up with fever,” he pointed out. “C’mon, got to go, get you back to where I stay. If I leave you here, you’ll die!”
“Die?” she croaked, horrified.
Nadisda let him help her sit up; then he put his arm around her back and helped her stand. He pulled her right arm across his shoulders and supported her with his left, making her lean on him as he half-dragged her away from her mossy bed.
“What’s wrong with me?” she asked crossly. It was his fault, for making her work that spell, and then distracting her at the wrong moment!
“A virus,” said Valentine. “That’s what you’ve got, from being in the real world!” He panted a bit from the effort of heaving her along. “Girl, did you eat rocks while I was gone? I’m sure you weren’t this heavy in the Realms.”
Nadisda snorted in disgust.
“Well, I’m sure you weigh as much as a mountain wherever you happen to be,” she shot back, annoyed. “A mountain range!” She had no idea what a virus was. They didn’t exist in the Magic Realms. She was feeling miserable. It was all his fault!
Valentine laughed. She recognised that little snigger, laced with his inherent evil.
“Just come along,” he instructed and kept on dragging her through the grey tunnels that smelled so bad.
It seemed to be an eternity until they finally came out into the open air, and it was into a glorious sunset over a ruined town. The wood fairy gasped.
“It’s so – beautiful! And then again not!”
Valentine laughed. There was that cutting edge on that laugh, again! “That’s exactly how many of us feel about it.” He rolled his eyes and nudged her onwards. “Come, fairy, it’s far to go!”
“We got to get to Faff,” she muttered as they together started down the pebbly, rubble-strewn slope. “He can take us home.”
“I am home,” said Valentine, pausing with her at the bottom of the slope. “As for you – I have no idea! Who’s that Faff?”
She gaped at him. “You don’t know Faff? The Ancient One? The dragon?”
“Oh,” said Valentine. “That one.” He grinned. “Forgot about him. Got to work on him a little, there’s an idea… Hey! How is it that you and Faff know each other?”
“You forgot about Faff? He’s my mentor in magic and in life wisdom!” said Nadisda, taken aback. “He’s the single most powerful creature in the Realms.”
“That’s a fallacy,” said Valentine, urging her to carry on. “C’mon, fairy. It will be dark soon!”
“But where are we going?” she asked.
“My place,” he replied. And he stopped her again, and looked at her critically. “We’ve got to find a good name for you.”
“A name? What’s wrong with Nadisda?” she challenged.
“It’s so… otherworldy. I’ve got it. You’re Fae. That should keep reminding you what you are, too.”
Nadisda laughed. “Oh, no chance of forgetting that!”
“That’s where you’re wrong,” said Valentine, pointing at her. “Fae. Yes. I like it.”
“But Valentine -”
“Ah. That’s another thing.” He grinned at her in the fast-deepening dusk. “Here in this world, I’m not Valentine. I’m Mike. Just Mike. Please, don’t call me Valentine where people can hear you.”
“But I like the name Valentine!” objected Nadisda.
Valentine laughed. “So do I. That’s why I picked it. Pretty cool name for a dreadful villain, don’t you think? Wimpy and evil, yet with options.”
“You picked it? Didn’t your mother give it to you?”
“You’ll understand in due course,” said Valentine. “Fae.”
She shook herself free from his supporting arm. To her surprise she found that her anger made her stronger. She could stand on her own without collapsing.
“No, dammit. I’ll call you Mike if I must, Valentine. But I am Nadisda and you’ll keep on calling me that or – or I simply will not answer!”
Valentine stared at her in surprise.
“Sure, whatever,” he said. “I also picked your name, incidentally.”
“You did not! I’ve always had it!”
“Nadisda,” said Valentine with that infuriatingly know-it-all grin again, “who were your parents?”
She shook her head. “I was born of pure magic. A star fell from the skies and turned into me.”
“So how did you know what your name was?” he asked triumphantly, as though it proved something.
“It just always was that,” she replied. “What silly villainous game are you playing now, Valentine?”
He shook his head with a secretive grin and beckoned her on.
A good while later they arrived at a ramshackle building, a house with a patchy roof and an overgrown garden and a broken-down picket fence. There was light inside, and interesting smells wafted through the evening air. It was properly dark out here by now.
Valentine led Nadisda up the half-broken cobblestone pathway, and up a few steps to a front door that was overlooking a veranda. The door had a pane of rippled glass set into it, with a crack running diagonally through it, and Valentine rapped on that. There was some movement inside, and then the door opened. Another teenager, this one in an even scruffier torn shirt, peered at Nadisda with curiosity.
“Hey, Mike! You were out late!”
“Yup. I brought someone, guys,” announced Valentine. “She’s in need of help.”
A girl of roughly the same age, with honey-blonde locks that hung care-free to shoulder-length, came to the door to have a look.
“Oh my gosh, bring her in! She looks all torn up, like she’s fallen through a thorny hedge!”
“Been dragged backwards through it, more like,” commented the other teen drily.
“And what on Earth is she wearing?” came a gasped question from another angle.
“Get a life, Nancy! She’s probably got nothing else,” snapped the honey-blonde. “Rather go get her some proper clothes!”
Nadisda peered down at her perfectly good fairy gown – granted, it was a bit tattered from the fall through dimensions, and its lovely moss-green had faded into some dirty grey.
“Come, girl,” said the honey-blonde resolutely. “Let’s get you into something warmer!” She took Nadisda’s hand and led her into the room.
Not two steps into the messy-but-homey front room, Nadisda’s legs folded out under her, and her senses left her again.
This story is not finished yet. But if you enjoy the style, try this one by the same author:
Arcana – by gipsika
Ivy Pennington is a young lady who is going places! With the ink on her degree in Accounting still wet, she is jobbing for a mom-and-pop store while looking to upgrade her options. But one morning, she accidentally falls into magic. She didn’t ask for it, and it annoys her that things suddenly don’t follow the familiar laws of physics and logic anymore. In a fast-developing plot of sinister forces coming to get the newly hatched mage, Ivy has to learn to swim – or in her case, fly – very fast before she can get shot down. Two cats and an enigmatic, shady man are on her side; but are they strong enough together to overcome the forces of darkness that are after Ivy’s blood?