Warning: Bawdy innuendo, faux-Shakespearian dialect
Fairies had two origin stories. Many believed they were cast out by the Watcher, cursed to wander for eternity in two earthly bodies, marked on the ears as a warning sign to humans.
Most fairies themselves were of the opinion they had willingly left, choosing free will over divine power, taking on immortal bodies so that they’d never be subject to the Watcher’s will again.
No one remembered which was actually true.
“You are too wild, cousin.”
“I’m sure your Oberon doesn’t think so.”
“Cousins” was only an approximation of Jennicor and Titania’s relationship; fairy families were rarely deep and wide enough to have cousins in the mortal way. But in a poetic sense, they were both daughters of “titans”, descendants of the Earth and Sky, and in a taxonomic sense, both members of the family Canidae.
“You can touch them if you’d like.”
“My pack. They’re quite gentle once soothed by a silver song.” She smiled, baring the canines she kept even in her humanlike form. “They’ll not eat you unless I should ask it of them.”
“We’re not here for games, Jennicor,” said Titania. “We seek your help.”
Stories remembered this humble pair as royalty, but those were tales of what had been or would be. Though fairies were not subject to age or Death, they were still subject to time and change. Sometimes a few centuries of exile was the best cure for boredom.
“What can I do for you that your fairy council cannot?”
“We’re here on behalf of our council.” He spoke in a perfect mimicry of the local dialect, which Jennicor had never bothered to keep up with. “We’re searching for a mortal who has shielded himself from my lady’s visions. One who may be a threat to our kind.”
“I should guess a dark warlock and his coven of followers?”
Titania shook her head. “One man. Fully human.”
“But he is a man of science.”
Oberon struggled to be heard over her laughter. “Do not underestimate them. You’ve seen what the Industrial Age has wrought!”
“Oh indeed. Have they really learned to fly without pixie dust? Perhaps in another millenium they’ll touch the stars!”
“Well, I for one marvel at what they’ve accomplished without magic. Let’s not forget it was humans who invented the wheel.”
This was met with a groan from Titania. “My love been pestering me about buying an ‘automobile’,” she said. “But I don’t see the point for one who can run 40 miles per hour.”
“I could enchant it to go faster.”
“Because that worked out so well with the bicycle.”
Jennicor was still laughing.
“Anyway...” Oberon coughed, adjusting his monocle. “The ‘scientist’ we seek wishes to claim magic for his own. Such a thing is not possible. Even if he did succeed, the human body could not handle such power. It would be unable to control it; sooner controlled by it.”
“And you would forbid him to dream?”
“He’s attempted to abduct several of our brethren for what we can only assume are experimental purposes. He was thwarted, but he did make off with some blood and hair samples.”
“Each time escaped like a wisp of smoke upon the wind. He uses our weakness to his advantage.”
“And so you call on me to hunt him down and bring him to justice.”
Titania followed Jennicor to her feet. “None of your curses! Turning ill-tempered men into ferocious beasts never solves anything.”
“Solves more than your silly mind games!”
“All we ask, madam, is that you find his hideaway so that my lady and I may take care of the rest.”
“And what will you give me for my trouble?”
“A new fiddle,” said Titania. “Enchanted wood, silver plated strings, and a bow strung with unicorn hair.”
“Give me the scent.”
“I’ll have him before sunrise.”
“Be careful, cousin.”
“As careful as wisdom calls for.” She didn’t bother to wake up her pack and bid them goodbye. “‘Til morrow, proud Titania and sweet Oberon.”
Almost a hundred years later, she was still hunting.
“The girl must have instigated it; I can’t believe my brother would behave so inappropriately. In the library of all places!”
“Did you not hear them first?”
“All I heard was giggling. I assumed somebody was reading a witty novel. And there was a certain smell in the air, but it wasn’t - I mean it just smelled like toothpaste or something.”
The scent lingered here in the bushes too, but Jennicor didn’t draw attention to it. Bella’s concern over her brother’s sex life was hardly at the forefront of her mind.
“Here’s the artifact you desire. I’m unable to use it myself; that realm is not for me to enter.”
“Is there something you’d like me to say to Jon?”
“Tell him… not to wait for me.”
Sleep was the best coping mechanism for those unqualified for Death’s release.
A/N: Another mid-chapter "interlude" getting some information out there so that the next chapter won't be so packed. Hopefully you enjoyed Titania and Oberon in their cute steampunk outfits (And Jennicor's "adventurewear").