Urban Fantasy Fantasy Friendship

This is a very important day. I’ve put off my Spring cleaning until already past the equinox so I’m not being a very seelie sprite. Really, I am though, promise. I just get distracted. Especially with Vivian, my Coyote friend, pregnant. I’m spending as much time in her home as my snug little Oak tree nest these days, helping her nesting instead of tending to my own bed. My father was a Hob… I can’t help but want to help my human sized friend, even if it means disregarding some of my responsibilities to my Oak tree home. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it, but today is an important day and I’ve got work to do.

             What’s so important? There’s a Revel tonight to welcome the Spring! Nothing is more important than a party, especially a party to welcome the season of regrowth and renewal, double especially one with only fey guests so I don’t have to worry about being stepped on. You people and your blind eyes and big feet and hard shoes. I could curse the Brownies who helped your cobblers make shoes to begin with, those unseelie, probably half-damned-Pixie, bastards, but somebody has already - to the seventh generation. They’re only 4 generations in and it will be a wonder if they get to 5, honestly, no one wants to bear their cursed children. That was a nasty trick to play on the rest of us small folk, helping you all stomp around much more dangerously. Clever, I’ll give them that, but that doesn’t make it nice.

             I cannot go to a Revel with all the other seelie fey, with this city’s Court in attendance, with my Spring cleaning undone! Even if it is just past the equinox, even if this court is the most random collection of fey I’ve ever been aligned with – the queen is a siren, a seelie siren, I didn’t even know there were such things before I came here! Even if, even though, I’ve been putting it off because I’m helping a friend of the Court (I am not my Coyote friend’s only fey friend, after all). I’m an Oak Sprite - my Oak tree needs to be happy and tidy for Spring, or you’ll need something other than Tammi Darach to call me.


             Keeping an Oak tree happy is fairly easy, at least, as they’re strong trees. They already drive off other nasty plants that will take the nutrients their roots want. They grow nice and strong an unencumbered, mostly on their own, as long as mistletoe is kept away and no one cuts them down. An Oak tree in a city needs some protection from people – encouragement to bend a bit and a glamour to make it look even more twisted so no one looks at it and thinks of nice straight shelves and handsome tables. This is refreshed and renewed every day, but I add an extra layer just to be safe. At the start of Spring even blind humans are really looking at nature, I need them to see what I want them to see. Also, my tree needs some protection from itself. If it grows out of the little space allotted it – and trust me it wants to - someone will cut it down even if it is too twisted to make a nice bookcase. I have to have a word with some questing roots that are trying to pry up the sidewalk, warning them downwards instead of outwards, and snipping off one that’s too stubborn to listen to me.

             When I was younger, this could have, this would have, taken me all day. I would have tried to reason with the stubborn root all day and half the night, not understanding that once it decided to be stubborn it can’t be reasoned with; worrying that the whole tree might suffer if I snipped one little stubborn root. This isn’t my first Oak Tree, though. By now I know their stubborn, sullen, ways; and I know they’d survive the indignity of losing even half their roots so one stubborn little tendril isn’t even worth fussing over. She’s from an acorn from an Oak from an acorn from the tree my mother and I lived in across the water. Her family is accustomed to listening to mine so there’s never more than 1 or 2 roots that need to be culled each Spring. I told her this little park would be safe for her to grow in, and it will be… if she’ll abide by its borders. It was set here just for her, for me, to live in, and I plan to keep it safe.


             With my tree itself tended to, I supposed I ought to sort out my snug little nest. Even though it’s bigger on the inside, it’s still a bit more than full with all my things. Not that I’m going to get rid of anything, oh gracious no. Some of my things would be precious even to your big blind eyes, their shiny stones catching the light of your avarice. Some of them, as precious as my golden rings to me though they are, might even be garbage to you… Like the bottlecap Vivian Coyote friend left me as a coffee cup the day we properly met. Well, we met the night before, but at a Revel. She let me ride home on her shoulder to save my drunken wings since she lives down the street, but I didn’t know then we would be fast friends, just good neighbors. When she left me coffee to find when I woke up, all muzzy and fuzzy from drunking the night before, then I knew we were friends. Bigfolk never take care of us smallfolk, they’ll pay us if they have to, to bribe us away from mischief - but they don’t care… she’s special. How could I throw away the first gift my best coyote friend gave me, even if it wasn’t nearly the nicest coffee cup I own? My nicest coffee cup ought to be a teacup, but I only drink tea with the Hatter, and I haven’t seen him in years upon years.

             There’s a lot I don’t appreciate about the ways the world has changed around me. You’re so busy, all the time, without a care for what the busy-ness business does to the world around you. Some bits of your incessant industry are nice though, I will admit. I wouldn’t want any Oak tree of mine next to the factory that spews out clouds of smog to make them, but I like these stick-on little hooks of yours. I can hang my rings and bangles and necklaces from the walls of my nest without needing to convince my tree to grow branches indoors (and to stop growing them already, that’s quite enough, I wanted shelving - not an indoor forest) or needing to soothe it for hours and days because I made some little holes to hang things.

             My ring collection might draw your greedy eyes, and it surely has drawn the greedy beady eyes of many a corvid throughout the years, but I’m not sure what you would do with rings so small. Crows and ravens just want to have them, and gift them, just for the shine; you might be the same. Well, you could put them in your ears, perhaps, or use them as beads on a necklace. My bangles, now those, with their silver and gold and precious stones… Those, you would have for rings in a heartbeat. Perhaps your heart would stop beating from the nightmares I’d weave you if you did, though. Small and seelie I might be, I still have teeth.

             I set out a few favorites on my dressing table as I tidy. You don’t make things like this anymore, as much as your busy-ness moves in a way you call forward. Real wood, hand carved and painted with love for a dollhouse inhabited not by plastic mass-produced garbage but dolls sewn with good intensions, with care. The girl who was loved and loved this once is long dead, but my little table is still as sturdy as the day it was made. My great-great-great gran’s amber ring, worn flat to its setting after all these years but still smelling of the pine trees that her ancestors lived in. A tiger’s eye and turquoise bangle because I do need to go through the city to get to the Revel, some extra protection never hurts. My emerald birthstone, even if I stopped counting birthdays a century ago, hanging on a simple chain around my neck - we all need some renewal and rebirth. A fire opal broach, as changeable as my glamours, to soften the actual leather jacket meant for some spoilt rich girl’s plastic doll. She’s not a nice girl, kicking at my tree and pulling flowers up by the roots. She’s more than welcome to her nightmares of dolls coming to life in the night to run away, and I love this coat. It would be cool even without the bit of justice, but that gives it a spark of extra magic.

             The opal broach is just as magic, in a nicer way. Its owner is who I followed across the water, moons and moons ago. The broach was an earring, one of the only nice things she had. A relic of her father’s grand adventures as she set off on some grimmer and grimier adventures of her own. I followed her, as my mother had followed her grandmother, an insignificant serving girl’s insignificant helpful sprite. She had no daughter, just like me. Freed of obligations, I kept her jewelry as a memory and lived for a time in an Oak I’d planted in a huge park in the port town she landed in. When my oak was cut down, to put up a statue of Alice in Wonderland - of all things - I moved on with one of her acorns in my pocket. The nerve of you people, cutting down a fey’s home to put up a monument to a nasty human girl who pestered a whole Court almost to death! At least you’re consistent in your blind absurdity, I’ll give you that.

             My favorite boots are under my table, waiting for my feet. These are not some stolen, found, acquired doll’s shoes. Some ancestor of mine on my father’s side worked with a human named Griggs. This fantastic cobbler was far less blind than your kind is known to be (maybe some elvan fey blood in his family tree, who knows, the big folk do mix sometimes) and actually considered his Hob as part of his household. The boots he made the Hob’s young daughter are perfect on my feet, and sharper-eyed big folk might wonder how I got a pair of Doc Martens in my size. No, it wasn’t a sprinkle of some drink-me potion, these boots – the early prototypes of what became that brand – were actually made, steel toes and all, for my kind. I treasure them; I keep them bathed in sheep-oil and replace the laces with embroidery floss waxed against birthday cake candles when they get frayed.


             After a onceover with a paintbrush broom (sable hair, or course, those new synthetics just leave as many hairs as the specks of dust they sweep across) my little nest is as clean as it gets. Why I put this off for ages I don’t know, it didn’t even take half the day. I’ve got plenty of time to go check on Vivian Coyote friend before I get set for this Revel. I pause on the way out to double check my glamour across the entrance to my nest, so no nesting birds decide they want to share with me. It’s actually harder to trick birds than humans, honestly, because they don’t have to explain to themselves what they’re looking at… But after the third year in a row of being woken in the night by screaming babies who try to eat my baubles, I decided it’s well worth the effort. Pigeons are just rats with wings, anyway, you brought them here and let them go feral when you got bored caring for them. Sort of like some of my cousins, who’ve gone three fourths unseelie with neglect.

             Vivian is nesting… denning? Coyote’s don’t build nests but she’s determined to, cutting off a corner of her living room to make a nursery, as if she won’t end up with the bassinet right in her bed. Driving her mate, poor William the Wolf, to distraction and back again. She’s convinced she’s having twins, and got a human test to check, and won’t believe them or anyone else who tells her she’s not. I would be a bad friend if I didn’t check in before going out for the evening, with how close her babe is to here.


             Tapping on their window with my toes (I don’t need to knock, their home is my freehold after all, but I try to follow their customs) I see William Wolf friend in a tizzy and no Vivian in sight, so I just fly in.

             “Hello and greetings William Wolf friend!” Whether or not I wait for an answer when I knock, I always announce myself. “How are you and my favorite crazy pregnant Coyote friend doing today? It’s almost the day!”

             “It is the day, and crazy is right.” He growls, William Wolf is a gruff one. “She went to her damned office, even though she got it all temporarily shuttered last week, and her water broke there!”

             He’s tossing things around their bedroom, obviously looking for something. But he’s dressed, he has his shoes on, he’s not in his Wolf skin (although I see fangs peeking out) so he can pass for a human… What more would he need before he goes to care for his mate?

             I flit over to land on his shoulder. “William, my gruff growly Wolf friend, you won’t find the way to the hospital in your bedroom so what, may I ask, are you hunting for? You’ve thrown half of your bedroom onto the other half already.”

             If looks could kill, I might be worried. “Her damned bag, Tammi.” He replies through clenched teeth. “The one she packed for the hospital weeks ago and will want there.”

             Poor William Wolf friend, he’s in such a tizzy about being a father that he’s lost all the details of everything.

             “William Wolf friend…” I flit out of his reach, “she’s been carrying it everywhere since she packed it. The only thing our Vivian Coyote needs at the hospital is you, is her mate.” He looks around the room and I can see that now that he sees the mess that he made he might cry. “Just go, William Wolf friend, I’ll put your home back together. It’s my Spring-cleaning day anyway, I’ll do yours too.”

             He storms out, still in high temper. A proper big folk, that one is, barely noticing an insignificant Sprite.


             I lied, which is a rarity for my kind, there is one thing more important than a party. A fairy god-mother needs to be present when her daughter (or daughters) is brought home. Maybe they won’t come home till morning, but I don’t want to be all fuzzy and muzzy with last night’s drink when I meet this baby girl. The least I can do in the meantime is clean their messy nest. 

May 13, 2021 22:12

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