It is a rare thing for a fae to claim a name. But I have used the name of Dana for some years, worn the glamour of her form for so long that it is the easiest glamour I know. I almost died, in ways fae do not die, and I can no longer let go of this glamour. It may be that the wandering magician did something to me, or it is simply a result of the entity named Jay binding me into life. I have been told I am not Dana, even though I am. I travelled with a magician, when that is not a thing fae do. I am moving between states, shifting into new thought-forms, and I do not know why.
Fae are. We have a Duty, and we follow through with it until we are not. To be fae is to be magic, to be power in a way foreign to almost everything else in the universe. We do not have limits as they have limits. But we can die. There are Outsiders potent enough to tear the magic that we are apart. Magicians who might, with great skill, impede us. Magicians who can give up their magic to become powers even we do not like to face.
We are not immortal. And I do not know what happens to the piece of magic that we are once we are gone. It is not a thing fae speak of: glamour are our illusions so deep their fool the universe. We are not creatures of certainty, and that is why the arrangements with make with monsters and Outsiders can fail. We bind them with our glamour, trading protective illusions in return for favours, hide them from magicians in turn for limits on what they will do in the world. But we are rivers more than stone, and there are ways to flow between our bindings. Ways to evade, if one has will and means.
I cannot believe the older fae do not know this, but they allowed it to happen.
Which means they had a reason.
There is a fae bound under a tree for crimes so terrible their name has been stricken from memory.
I seek answers, when I should know better. Seek enlightenment, when I should be far past such needs. I follow rumours and whispers, moving from place to place across the world. The wandering magician is busy with Charlie and Jay, too busy to wonder where I am. I have regained enough strength to act if I need to, though fae seldom need to act.
I can trap enemies in the folds of the Universe, bound outside space and time until freed. I can make glamours that cannot be broken, can bend reality and unreality with nothing more than a wish. But there are forces from Outside far beyond even that. Powers that magicians can banish while fae can barely touch them. The reasons for this are probably stepped in irony.
I push open the door of another cheap motel room. There are a dozen humans piled about a bed in states of saitated exhaustion. The Walker of the Far Reaches slips off the bed, and it shines. Beauty, need, desire: power burns in the air realer than any glamour, stronger than any force I could bring to bear against it. But I know the shape of illusion when I see it, and do not move at all.
“My name is Dana. I have come to speak with you.”
The pull fades slightly; I can feel power testing the edges of my nature as the Walker smiles coldly. “Why?”
“I would ask what you know of the wandering magician?”
The Walker blinks, and is off the bed and in front of me between moments of my awareness, and there is little a fae is not aware of. “Be very specific, little creature,” it says flatly.
“It is said that Walkers serve the Lords of the Fae Reaches, the true powers Outside the universe. That you are to the Outsider what magicians are to the universe.” The Walker nods once; I relax a little inside. “Then you know what the child named Jay is.”
“I do not. Nor do I know of any who do,” the Walker says softly. “You think Jay will be his death, fae? it is possible: magicians are human, and dying is a part of being human. You are concerned for him?”
“I am concerned with what Jay will do when the magician dies.”
The Walker sighs, the sound almost human. “I am disappointed. You ask all the wrong questions and seek all the wrong answers. You should wonder why Jay was sent to the wandering magician, and why this wandering magician. He is not the only magician to wander in this age.” And the Walker smiles, a baring of impossible teeth. Too sharp, and too many as it laughs. “I would suggest you seek out Mary-Lee, but she would be far less kinder to you than I.”
“I have no idea who that is,” I manage to get out. The edges of my self are fraying without the Walker doing more than existing. I don’t even know how it’s remaining in place right now without the universe dissolving around it.
“Learn. And do not seek me again,” the Walker says, and
the voice is like a magicians, a binding and a loosing
and I am bound. I, fae, a power of the universe, bound to silence about the Walker between one moment and the next.
I raise up glamour, calling power recklessly, but the Walker is unmoved. The Walker is too far beyond me, too much more than even fae can be, and between one moment and the next I am left with unconscious bodies and an empty hotel room.
I leave them to their fates, draw glamour about me, and limp out back into the world. The wandering magician bound the Walker once, it is said, and I am certain that cannot be true. But I have no way to ask, no way to speak of this. I am chained, in ways I have never been, not in this life or before it, and all I can do is move and try to escape the weight of my new shadow pressing down against me.
I sought enlightenment, and I thought I could simply accept what I found.