It takes time to find another of my kind, but time is all it takes. I leave the magician to the small worries and cares of his kind and walk the world until I find a piece that is too real, an anchor made solid by the will of a fae.
“This is Dana,” I say to the old oak tree. I have been going by this name for sometime now, in one form or another. So many of my kind like being oak trees in this world when they can; I have not.
The tree bestirs itself, an old man’s face peering out of bark. “What have you done to yourself?”
He is so shocked he does not even hide the shock, which is a worrying thing for a fae as old as he. “Nothing, old friend. This was done to me.”
“A creature named Jay from Outside this universe, bound into the services of the wandering magician. He bound me together and saved my life when I would otherwise have been destroyed.”
“Saved? For a moment I thought you a ghost, and the fae produce no ghosts when we pass on. You are frighteningly close to such a state, Dana.” A tree branch reaches out to almost brush my shoulder. “You are so empty even this glamour must tire.”
“A duty has been placed upon me, to judge all who have dared alter their compacts with us and punish those who broke their vows.”
“You are not enough to do this.”
He at least does not say I was not strong enough before. “I travel with the wandering magician; he aids me.”
The tree goes still, the old man quiet for a long moment. “I will not tell you how how dangerous this is when you must know yourself.”
“He has power and skill; I cannot do this duty alone as I am now.”
“It would be better if you had died.” He couches the fact in a terrible kindness.
“Perhaps. But I prefer even this shadow of a life to what awaits the fae after we die.”
The fae within the tree stirs briefly, the wind a soft laugh. “You think you know, Dana?”
“No. For all that we are, that is one thing no fae knows. And that terrifies me more than anything else in all the worlds.”
He snorts, somehow still sounding like a tree. “You are fae: you know there are far more awful things than that.”
I look away. “I am no longer sure I do.”
And to that, my fellow fae offers only silence and not a single hint as to how I can heal myself.
I have pride enough not to press the silence. I turn, I walk away. My glamour does not cry, because I have control enough for that. I weave more of myself into the glamour that is Dana. I need to find a source of power, who never needed such things before. I need healing, and I do not know how glamour can be healed. We are what we are: that is the nature of the fae.
I walk back to where the magician sleeps, and I sleep as if my body was truly made of mortal things. I try to pretend I am not at all as terrified of this life as I am of death. I have not been afraid in a very long time: I no longer understand how humans bear it through their entire lives. I sleep, and I do not dream. I do not have hope enough in me to sustain a single dream at all.