The Vine

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Faery Falling

Sometime around the time that your mother was born, a Faery mother was giving birth to a daughter. Faery labors are notoriously difficult, often resulting in the death of the mother. Phaebee swore (though it sounded like flute music to you or me), she screamed, though it seemed a rare bird call, and she sweated furiously which looked like falling stars were streaming from her. She rocked and pushed and did hundreds of aerial somersaults, for Phaebee was very much an airborn Fae.

Finally during one huge high altitude loop-de-loop, and with relatively little bloodshed (appearing as a magenta fog), the baby popped out of the bump that had ridden nearly fifty years on Phaebee’s back between her wings, for that is the peculiar biology of Phaebee’s sort. To Phaebee’s surprise, the tiny parcel began to plummet towards the earth. Out of curiosity Phaebee flew down, alongside the baby Fae, keeping time with the tug of gravity. As the baby fell through the clouds, Phaebee saw its eyes open, wide, violet, and innocent. By the time the baby was approaching the treetops, Phaebee had formulated a theory that the reason the baby was falling from the sky was because it had no wings. No such reasoning troubled the child’s unwrinkled brow, and it smiled with love and trust at its mother, who by now can be understood to be utterly clueless and indifferent to the realities of the force of gravity, and what it might mean for those of us not blessed with wings.

A swooping rescue was not inevitable, for Phaebee had no idea that the terminal velocity of her baby’s fall, interrupted by the inconvenient placement of the Earth, could result in what us more-prone-to-mortality sorts would call death.

So you think that this could have been the end of this Faery baby. Well, obviously you don’t know very much about one thing about Faeries which has to do with Luck.

Phoooommmm---phhhhh! Went the puffball mushroom, when all of its three inch diameter was impacted by the two and three-quarters of an inch length of the Faery baby.

Poooo—oooph! Went a cloud of puffball spores, causing the baby and Phaebee to sneeze repeatedly, which resembled a mist of rainbows.

After the sneezing, Mother and Daughter went into a peal of laughter, and there is no lark, no canyon wren that can mimic such a tune.

“What is your name, Daughter?” asked Phaebee.

“If you will, Mother, please call me Plummet,” answered the babe.

Phaebee did not exactly approve of her daughter’s name, but you know how children will be. Not knowing exactly what to do with her non-aerial child, she leased from a dove who had built a nest much higher than usual. As a first time mother, Phaebee expected (or at least hoped or at worst convinced herself) that Plummet would develop wings at some stage in her maturation, because did not caterpillars grow wings after a time earthbound?

After the passing of seven years, Plummet asked Phaebee directly, “Mother, when am I to get my wings? I see you gambol, I see you sport, you fly here and where far away, you bring me marvelous toys and treats from many lands, but I tire of waiting in this nest while you and many other Fae fly free across the globe, exploring the stars if you will!”

Knowing that this time would come, Phaebee bluffed. “Child, it is good that you have many intentions, but it is the nature of our sort to be long lived, and one result of this is that we have long childhoods. Enjoy yourself, and your wings will come in time.”

“Send her down here!” called some Pixies and Corrigan beneath the trees. “We go by foot through the woods and valleys, we visit the towns of men on the ground, and we think it a merry life indeed! Come, mislead some oafish manchild fall into the bog and we will laugh and drink of the sport!”

Bluffing again, Phaebee warned, “You will not find a pair of wings amongst their lot, Plummet.”

So Plummet dreamed and imagined for another seven years. How would you have liked it, to be fourteen years old and still being brought worms to eat by your mother, like any robin? Of course, what Phaebee brought Plummet in the way of comestibles was far exceeded by what she was able to bring in the way of poetry, science, herbology, magic, global politics and theology. Those aerial Faeries really get out and about, you know. Plummet desired nothing more than to be one of these couriers of language, knowledge and culture. She pressed her mother further.

“Just when is the average time for a Faerie of our sorts to develop wings, dear Mother? For I am truthfully beginning to wonder if we are really the same sort of being at all. If I am to never gain my wings, how long do you intend to keep me up in this lofty nursery? Until your distant and hard won death?”

Phaebee could no longer illude her daughter. “Child, it is true that I have wondered about the truth of our relation. My own childhood is equally distant from my death, but I remember no time when I had no wings. I am sorry, daughter. Worry has crossed my brow, sparing yours. Our times in this world have more trouble than before. There are kemm-ie-kals now, brought about by the Sons of Adam, which are new to us, and we know not whether they affect the development of the Fae as they affect our Insect OtherKin.”

“But my faith is in you, Plummet. You are my daughter and I know that Faery luck and magic will win you your wings, if Fate wills it.

Plummet had many things to consider which easily took the next seven years. In twenty one years many things pass in the world of the Sons of Adam, compared to a dull and cloistered life among the Fae. For one thing, the very remote nature of Plummet and Phaebee’s nest changed to being not very remote at all. Brownies pretty much went extinct, and Pixies and Phookas increased in number and persistence of attempted seductions. Elves appeared and disappeared, always threatening to leave forever. Plummet continued to be a great student of science and magic, devouring many more complex theorems than her flighty mother could tolerate.

No intellectual pursuit seemed as lofty as the object that floated towards Plummet one Autumn day. Tossing one way and the next, it seemed to be the very personification of the breeze, messy and erratic in its indecision, and utterly fascinating because of it. Sitting on her nest overlooking what had now become suburbs instead of forest, Plummet wished upon the billowy object as if it were a star. No Fae she knew traveled in such a habit, so she simply wished for it to come near. Her Faery luck made the rendezvous inevitable, and the airborn film caught itself on the branch before her.

It was white, and thin, and bore red and blue lettering. “Sam Smith’s Food-N-Go” it said, embellished by a flag of the same color scheme. Plummet examined her new toy with delight, and then, wishing that she could be as free as this plastic bag, she sighed deeply.

Her sigh seemed to be like a swarm of bees flying from her mouth, and they flew into the bag and billowed it out to the seams, lifting it and Plummet from the branch of her childhood nest. She found that the bag would gently sink if she didn’t breathe into it, and that she could alter her course and speed by how hard she blew into it and in what direction. She hung from each handhold of the bag, and made a delightful sport of swinging, racing, and shooting across the sky. The freedom which was the birthright of her species but which she had never experienced was now hers, and the joy of it caused her to soar across the countryside in a flurry of wild abandon.

Abruptly, her bag stopped moving and nearly tossed Plummet off the handholds, high above the ground. Her bag had caught itself up in a tree, and there she was forced to scramble up onto the offending branch. The bag had a big rip in it, and after she untangled it, she was not able to fill it with her breath. So here she was, stranded in a tree very far from home.

As luck would have it, though, there was another bag in a neighboring tree, and Plummet climbed over to inspect it for rips and holes.

“Hey! That’s my bag, Faery!” shouted another Fae who was resting on the branch just behind the bag. This boy seemed similar to Plummet’s kind, but like her, he had no wings.

“You look like me, and my mother. Are you an Aery-Faery or another sort? Plummet asked.

“Yes, I’m an Aery-Faery, but like you, not of my own power. I have to use a bag to fly too.”

“Are there many like us?”

“Many in our generation are born without wings, or worse,” he frowned. It is because of a kind of pesticide that the Sons of Adam used on their food plants back when our mothers were forming. They are pigs, aren’t they!” he said, and spit over his left shoulder.

“I can’t say, I have never met a pig, just seen pictures and read about them. They seem like nice enough people to me.”

“Ha ha, well see for yourself, my fellow Birth Defected, or take my advice and stay away from them!” His anger radiated with the zeal of a warrior, and his spirit seemed valiant and utterly incorruptible. Plummet’s heart twisted up in her chest. He was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. And then he was gone, blowing his bag before him into the sunset. “Good luck!” he hollered back towards her, although it was scarcely necessary. Within a few minutes a fresh plastic bag, “Betty’s Discount Beauty Supplies” blew right in front of her, and with a breath, she was aloft again.

As the sun set, Plummet drifted over fields and woods and even the towns and suburbs of Sons of Adam. Several times she saw the humans pointing up at her, which confused her because she knew herself to be invisible to their eyes.

‘Round about midnight, Plummet was drifting over a small town, and she heard shouts and cries and laughter, but up in the air, not from the ground. At first it seemed like a roiling cloud of smoke, dust from horses’ hooves, and then she found herself in a swarming troop of Unseelies, who were out on a midnight rade. Not having wings themselves, they were mounted on flying horses, though Plummet knew that the horses were no more than glamoured-up stalks of ragweed.

“Hey pretty lady, good job, you got all those stupid AdamSons thinking they saw a flying saucer!”

“How can they see me? I’m invisible to them!” queried Plummet.

“Ah, well then, you are, but your bag is not, and when you blow in it with your glittery Aery-Faery breath, you light it up with all kind of spaceship colors!”

Sure enough, Plummet looked up to her bag, and it was filled with lights of all colors, mesmerizing against the night sky. “Let them think what they will!” she laughed, and all the raggedy Unseelies laughed along.

“Come with us, Pretty, it would amuse us to have such a bit of fancy stuff along for the rade,” they leered.

“Well, I just will do that! Whither hence, Unseelies?”

“Heh, we’re out to go get ourselves a drink or two!”

“Certainly no more than three! On the house, as it were!”

So Plummet followed along the rade, trying not to notice that the Unseelies delighted in causing mischief and mayhem along the way, dropping lit matches over barns, bent nails over roads, Chick tract booklets over synagogues. Then with no warning they all careened down towards a convenience store, and each murmuring some spell, they flew right through the small crack between the closed and locked front doors. Not knowing the spell password, Plummet smacked into the door and bounced back to the sidewalk, where (luckily) a Styrofoam food box absorbed her fall.

She climbed up onto the trash basket in front of the store and looked in. The Unseelies were sprawled out on the floor, chugging beer and wine. She had no doubt that they could make their theft appear as the break-in of local juvenile delinquents. She sighed, and rested till nearly dawn.

From off in the distance she noticed another plastic bag that was not acting normally. It seemed to try to loft itself, but it would settle back down, perhaps tethered to a bush? Blowing into her own bag, Plummet drifted over to investigate.

Next to a concrete drainage ditch by a muddy little tributary, there was a very homely troll holding a plastic bag. “Majestic Electric Value Components.” The troll blew into his bag, which billowed but did not take him aloft, and settled back down again. “I suppose it is because I don’t have your magic glittery breath,” he said.

“I figured that any Fae could do it,” said Plummet. “You are Fae, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am a Troll, or Hill-Folk, Berger is the name.” He wore red velvet, brown tweed, green leggings, a feathered cap, and was on the heavyset side. He had bushy eyebrows, and tufts of hair growing from his ears and nostrils. A beard grew up to the hair on his head, which was almost contained by his cap. “And you are Aery-Faery, or Unseelie, by the company you keep, eh?”

“No, I was just along for the rade. I guess I wasn’t invited to their party. Not very appealing, are they?” sniffed Plummet.

“Oh, they have their good points.” His eyes seemed old and wise, and held hers in their gaze.

“Plummet,” said she, and reached out a hand. “I’m an Aery-Faery, though perhaps of a new strain that has no wings,” and she turned so he could see her back.

Berger held her hand with reverence. “Would you like to come meet my family?”

“Okay, which way?”

Berger pointed to a hole in the ground next to the concrete pipe. “Only a few days by this way.”

Plummet didn’t much like the idea of traveling by way of a musty tunnel. “I have a better idea,” she said. And then next thing he knew, Berger was airborne, hugged onto Plummet’s graceful waist, flying away behind the plastic bag and Plummet’s magic breath. Plummet liked the way he held her so gently, and even though he was quite ugly, she found his smell to be very pleasant.

Following Berger’s directions, Plummet blew the two of them towards a hill, and they settled down next to a bridge which crossed a creek. Two older Trolls ran out of a hole under the bridge to greet their son. They were taken aback by the unexpected guest, the lovely Aery-Faery. Dropping hats in hands, they made to welcome her. “Berger, Miss, welcome!” said the woman. “Berger, if you please pretty lady,” said the man, “Do come in!”

Following them into the hill, Plummet whispered to the young Berger “Are all of you called Berger? How do you tell each other apart?”

“Oh, yes, well, all of our sort are named Berger. But just between you and me, I guess you can call me Culvert. Don’t let my folks hear.”

Once inside, Plummet was plied with honey mead, bread, cheese, fruits and all sorts of baked treats. The Berger family asked her many questions about the outside world, laughed and drank. She asked them about their lives and they showed her their fine metalworks. “Swords, and the best chainmail to be had. Not many orders for that these days. But you try to stay in practice,” explained Berger-the-father.

“We make horseshoes, and plumbing fixtures now is all, truth be told,” admitted Berger-the-mother.

It turned out that Plummet’s education into sciences, especially her chosen field of the study of gravity and magnetism, were of great interest to the Bergers, and it was a very long time before they tired of the conversation. Plummet could tell that the loneliness of her childhood nest was something these genial folk would never experience, and she envied them a little. Too bad they were not prettier.

Presently, Berger Culvert took her back upside for fresh air and a walk along the creek. Stopping at the headwaters spring, he turned to her and said, “You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.”

“And you, dear Culvert, are so ugly.”

She looked directly into his big brown eyes with her wide violet eyes, and together they savored the naked honesty of the moment. After a while, a tear, but not a tear of sadness, formed in his eye. “Would you like to see me as I truly am?” he whispered.

“Do I not already? Then surely I would!” she whispered back.

“These tears will give you the power to see with Compassion,” he explained, and wiping the tear onto his ring finger, he dotted it into her left eye.

A stinging sensation made Plummet squint for a moment, but when she opened the treated eye and looked at Culvert, what she saw was a young man, handsome, genuine, and wise. Holding the Compassionate eye closed she could still see the Culvert who was ugly, non-adventurous and slow. Looking through both eyes together, the two images superimposed, then merged into a Whole. In that moment Plummet knew that she loved him, and burst into tears of joy. She hugged the Hill Man, and said, “This is the most beautiful magical gift in the world, and I will love you forever!”

By the way that he held her, she knew that the same was true for him. “Plummet, now your left eye will also hold the secret of Compassion and you can give it to whoever you wish.”

“Come!” she exclaimed, “We must go meet my mother, Phaebee!” Culvert hugged her waist and they were off.

In truth Plummet had not the least recollection of how to get home, so she just blew herself and Culvert up into the clouds and let the afternoon breeze take them where it would. Faery luck ensured that the prevailing winds just happened to take them to the nest where Plummet spent her first 21 years.

Though not much larger than Plummet, Culvert was much heavier, and the tree branch sagged under his weight. By coincidence, Phaebee was just returning for a visit. She had not noticed Plummet’s absence, because as according to the Faery flow of time, no time had passed during Plummet’s adventure.

Naturally, Plummet and Phaebee had much to catch up with, and Culvert allowed the joyful chatter and laughter to proceed with few interruptions. When it came around to Plummet offering her mother the Tears of Compassion, however, Phaebee declined. “I have other powers, enough to keep me occupied; you keep this one for yourselves!”

“But look, child, did I not teach you the Faery Faith and how it would bring you wings?” exclaimed Phaebee.

Plummet was confused, until Culvert stroked her back. He rubbed and scratched, and a film of old skin fell away on either side of her spine. Flexing her neck back in an impossible bend, Plummet saw what her mother was talking about.

There, tiny nubbins of wings sprouted. With concentration, Plummet could make them flutter and buzz, but because of their very small size, they would not fly. They were wings, though, and as beautiful, iridescent and gossamer as any Aery-Faery’s functional wings.

Plummet giggled and Phaebee beamed with pride, which seemed like a gale force wind of butterflies.

From there, Phaebee followed Plummet back to the Berger’s warren. Culvert was happy to be carried, one hand in Plummet’s hand, one foot held in Phaebee’s grasp.

News spreads quickly among the Aery-Faeries, and in no time at all a merry host, including some Unseelies, Naiads, Dwarves, Corrigans, Pixies, Gnomes and way too many Bergers to account for, had arrived for the wedding, which was a simple ceremony. Accompanied by music, Phaebee led Plummet by the hand and Berger-the-mother led Culvert by the hand. When they met in the middle, the two mothers joined the hands of their children.

The kiss that Plummet and Culvert then exchanged caused the musicians to crescendo, the Unseelies to laugh out loutishly, and the whole room filled with Phaebee’s tears, which seemed like fireworks bursting. Electricity coursed up and down Plummet’s spine, and then seemed to lodge between her tiny vestigial wings. For the first time in her life, Plummets eyebrows knotted with concern.

Other wedding guests gasped, for they could easily see the blister arise on Plummet’s back. They were shocked, even scandalized but considering the recent history of the failing population of Fae all around the world, they could not disapprove of this rare event. It made all the eldest and most long-lived sorts strain their memory back to when a Fae became pregnant at such a young age, much less upon a first kiss. Plummet’s eyes grew impossibly wide, and Culvert simply grinned a grin and winked a wink at her.

For the next seven times seven years, Plummet and Culvert worked on digging out a warren under the drainage ditch where they had first met. It became Plummet’s business to lure Sons of Adam teenagers from the nearby convenience store with the tricks of her plastic bags and glittery lights, and to anoint their eyes with the Tears of Compassion. I am sure you understand the need for such an enterprise.

And if this story of how Phaebee raised an Earthbound Faery daughter was an adventure, imagine the joys and perils of Plummet and Culvert raising their Aery-Faery boy with wings.

Princess Poysen Ivieee c 2006

Princess Poysen Ivieee ©2006


At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Clay said...

Wow! What a beautiful story. You are really good at that.

At 3:36 PM, Anonymous amanda said...

What you've got here, darlin', is a long story, not a short story. It is charming and wonderful, and engaging, and it would be the perfect basis for a book! All you have to do is divide it up into sections and flesh them out a bit. You can add stuff like more at the end about their son, or more at the beginning about Phaebee, or there could be flashbacks (literary, not chemical), detailed scene descriptions, etc. I love this!


At 11:03 AM, Blogger princess poysen ivieee said...

Gee, thanks, y'all!

At 7:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, MAN! it has been WAY too long since I stopped by your blog. What a delectable story! I too would love to see it manifest as a book. And if you don't wanna take on the task of illustrating it, perhaps I can!
hugs to you sister dear ...


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