Come With Me Now- The Fourth Interlude
Every story is a love story.
Mab had lived long enough to know this, the greatest secret truth the universe had ever held to its bosom. It was so simple once you knew it. It made you doubt everything you thought you knew that it had always been obvious but you missed it. There was also joy to be had in taking the knowledge and moving forward, but the irony was that for most who were granted a glimpse at this greatest of all secrets it was impossible to move on.
It was this knowledge and still not being able to change a single thing that mattered to her that had driven her to madness. It spun out in destruction, rage, and in self-indulgence of the things that could be had to compensate for that which was denied. This unraveling had been slow and fast and threatened now to tear apart everything that she had ever worked for, given herself over to, and sacrificed to achieve.
She was further damned in that there were still moments of shining sanity in the sharp edges of her time. Moments when she knew just how very badly she had fucked up, her life, her world, her tribe, and in those moments she searched desperately for a way to reverse course and make amends. Always though, before she could see a way to take the first step the moment passed and she fell back into the darkness that had consumed her. The darkness of a truth that was meant to be a universal panacea.
Every story is a love story.
Their other labels, horror, supernatural, mystery, drama, comedy were all superfluous and relevant only to the perspective of the observer in the moment. Anyone who came into Mab’s story now, so close to the end, would see it as a horror story, for indeed she was, had been for thousands of years, a monster. Allowed to see only what she was, few would wonder at how she had become. Few would look beyond the single dimension of her current state and seek more than what they were presented with in the moment.
But there was more. So much more. In the beginning there had been love.
Once upon a time there was a Water Fae Queen who loved a Sky Fae King. His name was Niall, and he made her pulse pound and her heart beat wildly. He left her breathless when he came into her presence. His backstory made him all the more a romantic figure to her mind. His whole tribe wiped out of existence by a vampire, a young babe left alone in a unforgiving world. How he made his way, a mystery. Who he was, a mystery. A story that that she longed to unravel, and join her own to in a single volume.
For a brief time their love had been brighter than the sun and she had been beyond what the word happy could describe. Together they made the Fae realm a reality to save their race, combining magics and will that could only have existed when nurtured in the bosom of their love story. They were a legend among the supernaturals, the Mother and Father that created an entire realm from their love alone.
She had imagined them ruling it forever, side by side in the same cloud of bliss they had shared in its making, but this was not to be. “I have to return now,” he told her late one night as he held her close, attempting to shield her from the pain that he knew she would feel at his departure.
“Why?” was all she could get out.
“I have to find him, Warlow. He must pay for what he has done.”
“Can’t you let this go? Is what we have here worth so little to you?”
“No! The very opposite! I won’t be able to truly be here with you until I have put this matter to rest once and for all!” Begging her to understand, to give him this time he needed to fight his demons he saw the love slowly start to drain from her beautiful luminous eyes.
“You tell me that all things have a season and reason and yet you take this on yourself alone. To correct this injustice and call for balance by taking this vampire’s life. What is it you truly believe?” Searching deep inside of himself, and realizing the contradiction in his actions and his beliefs he still found himself helpless to change the course that he felt was the right one.
“I can only tell you that while there seems to be conflict in my words and deeds I see none in my heart. These actions I take now I believe are part of the greater truth. I don’t have the knowledge to understand why or how that could be so, perhaps we will know in time. Do you believe in me, in us enough to give us that time?” So desperately he wanted her to say yes. Needed her to say yes. When she had turned from him it had shaken his belief, but not torn it asunder. He still needed to do what he believed was right. He consoled himself with the notion that this meant that she had a different path to walk herself. Those thoughts did little to heal the hole left from her loss.
It had taken him a thousand years to open his heart to love again. A mortal love who gave him a child and started his line on The Other Side.
Mab was never able to move on. The loss of her chosen mate and the impact of his departure to pursue his vengeance remained ever a hole inside her that nothing could fill. She took lovers, she bore children to them, Neave and Lochlan becoming her one solace in a world that seemed only to take and never give in return. She filled them with her grief and her poison and made them into dark and twisted images of what they should have been.
Everything in Mab’s world was a dark and twisted image of what it should have been.
Her love became a poison that she spewed onto her children and her land. Because it was bound to her through the magics of creation became as twisted and crooked as her soul itself. The water, sacred to her tribe, dried up leaving only dessert. With the water, went their ability to reproduce and their numbers waned. More and more of her people breached the divide to The Other Side to escape the world that was drying up around them, and there their seed did take root and grow. Mab resented this all the more. Something else The Other Side had taken from her.
Oh, how she hated that world that had taken her love, her people, her heart! They were beneath the Fae! The Fae should never have had to leave, it was their world first. It would be their world again! So she gathered the Halflings, planning to raise an army for Neave and Lochlan to reclaim what was their birthright! As she had made this world, she would make another for them and the Fae would rule as they were meant to do!
“Queen Mab, you have a visitor.” She had been in her study lost in thoughts and plans for taking the other realm.
“Visitor? No one visits here anymore.” her voice was thin and distant, showing her age, her insanity and the barest glimpse of her loneliness.
“Oh, Mother, you know that’s not true. Lochlan and I are always here for you,” Neave purred, rising from the corner, unwinding herself from her brothers arms. For a moment inside her Mab recoiled from the beautiful monster she had made in daughter. She knew that her children were lovers, everyone knew, but to see it, well, that brought it home in a way that knowing it alone could not do. This is wrong! Her internal voices cried, only to be followed by another. No, only blood can be trusted to not leave you. You are one with blood and to betray that is to betray yourself!
She remembered then that her children were lovers because she had bid it to be so. Filling them with the idea that they could trust no but each other. She even remembered the night- NO! She slammed that door shut and turned away.
“Show them in,” she said. A few moments later a young Sky Fae entered the study and Lochlan rose to stand beside his sister. They moved as one to stand on either side of the boy, looking at him like dinner had just been served.
“Your majesty,” he knelt before her, looking at the floor, his tone uncertain. Her children exchanged a glance that sent a chill up her back before reaching down in unison to pull him back to his feet.
“We don’t stand on ceremony here, boy,” Lochlan whispered in his ear, still holding his upper arm and stepping closer to rub his body against the boy suggestively. “What’s your name?”
“P-Preston,” he stammered out, clearly starting to regret his decision to come here.
“P-Preston,” Neave mocked from the other side of him, pressing her breasts against him, “What news have you for us?” Preston’s eyes darted around the room, clearly looking for a way out. Finding none, he dropped his head and accepted that this was indeed what his fate was to be. In one of her fleeting moments of sanity Mab empathized with Preston. She knew what it was to realize that there was no way out of the course you had set for yourself.
“The Halfling that escaped you has returned to Fae.” Her moment of sanity eclipsed by rage she rose to her feet, the visage of an old weak woman falling away in the wake of this knowledge. Before Preston now stood the nightmare that he had heard whispered about since he was a child. The darkness of the Water Fae Queen was legendary in all of Fae. It kept young Faelings up, or woke them up with night terrors to think that she might grab them one day and spirit them away to her dark and wasted lands.
“WHERE?” she commanded, her voice shaking the very walls around them.
“At Niall’s p-palace. She’s his granddaughter.”
It echoed inside the emptiness of Mab over and over, cutting and stabbing her twisted soul at each iteration. Like collapsing skyscrapers in the city of her mind, everything fell.
He fucked a human when he left me.
He fucked a human when he left me and gave them a child.
He fucked a human when he left me and gave them a child that he has watched over for thousands of years.
And finally, the most damaging realization, the biggest building collapsed.
He fucked a human when he left me and gave them a child that he has watched over for thousands of years because HE LOVED THEM!
HE LOVED THEM!
Her scream tore the walls of palace down, forcing them to explode out with the force of her anger. Before the ceiling could fall on them she teleported them outside to the courtyard where she continued to wail, pulling her hair out in great handfuls. Preston, Neave, and Lochlan fell to their knees before her covering their ears in a futile effort to block out her screams. Chaos ruled Mab, voices gibbering and laughing.
Pierced your illusion!
Made you look weak and foolish!
Niall’s made you look weak and foolish!
Mad laughter rolled through her mind, hers maybe, someone else’s, who knows these things?
“NO!” she screamed out in denial.
Every story is a love story…every story is a love story…every story…every story…
In her mind the door opened on this universal truth again, offering a raft to her sanity. From her perspective it was the cruelest thing that could have happened to her in that moment. What she could not see, had never been able to see or hold onto was that the love story was only the background that our choices play out against. If you get what you want, then you still have to make choices that make you worthy to possess this great gift. If you don’t get what you want then you still have to make choices that show you were worthy. You still have to go on, without the prize and play as if you still mean to win it. Not doing so only proves that you were unworthy from the start.
It is startlingly easy to fail in either instance. If you are allowed possession of your heart’s desire you have to fight becoming complacent and taking it for granted. It’s a different kind of fight but one no less difficult than the one you wage if you are not allowed your heart’s desire. To be denied opens the door for anger, resentment and hatred and if they are allowed to flourish and take root, then no satisfaction can ever be yours again.
It is this crossroads that determines who you will be.
I chose the wrong path, Mab knew in that moment of clarity. I chose the wrong path.
Too late, too late, the voices chided her. She made a fool of you, Niall made a fool of you…fool…fool…fool.
Willfully, in that moment she turned from the truth, and fully embraced the monster she had become. There was only one direction left now.
Outside of her, she stopped screaming, collected herself and stood calm before Preston and her children. She smoothed her dress and looked up with a smile on her face and pure madness in her eyes.
“Let’s pay them a visit, shall we?”