This is chapter 6 of a series:
Patreon doesn't respect formatting when copy pasting so feel free to snatch the pdf from the bottom of the post. If you don't mind reading it like this. By all means. Read on:
They arrived at the spot Bren had told her, right at the edge of the water. In front of Rolling Roasters, a diner type restaurant Rosario had been to once before.
"Hey we're here what's going on?"
"Can you see them?" Bren said, faer eyes were fixed on the horizon beyond the water.
"The Faerie lights."
"What like, Aurora Borealis? At this time of the year? In this part of the country? Localised entirely within Brooklyn?"
"Sorry, bad timing. No I don't see any... oh wait yes I do."
At first just out the corner of her eye, but as she focused her inattention she could see them. Not Aurora Borealis, but large columns of light at different points in the horizon, of all different colours.
"What is it?"
"It means they're coming. It means there's going to be a faerie council, the first one this century."
"It can't be a coincidence, that we just met and now they're coming here."
"But why here?"
"Isn't it obvious, it's New York City, it's a pretty good conduit. It's just faeries in the area, Caribbean Faeries, Central and North American Faeries, And Western European Faeries. Others will undoubtedly be meeting elsewhere.
"I didn't know who else to call, my family didn't mention anything in advance. It could be they themselves didn't know. And I haven't actually met any other faeries or changelings in town."
"I see. So what do we need to do?"
"Nothing. There's nothing we can do, I don't even know if we're invited."
"I don't see a bloody thing!" Said Plaz who'd been silent this whole time, staring at the ocean.
"You wouldn't be able to see it. It's on the faerie spectrum."
"Yeah, that sounds like a thing."
"Ugh, did he have to come."
"Well we were in the middle of our thing when you called." Rosario said. She hated being in this position, stuck between two people who clearly disliked each other. But she wasn't gonna dump Plaz for someone she'd just met, and she desperately wanted to know more about her place in the world as a changeling, so stuck she was.
"Listen up you two." She said, suddenly determined.
"Bren, you clearly want my help and support in this situation. Well Plaz is my oldest and closest support system, we come together. Plaz, this is important to me, this gets at to the nature of my very being, I want to see this through. I'm gonna need you two to fucking cool it."
"Ok yeeesh." Bren said
"As you will mistress." Plaz said bowing his head, Rosario thumped the back of it.
"I mean it, smart ass."
"Glad that's settled. So Bren, if there's nothing for us to do, why did you call me?"
"I'm sorry, I was just freaking out a little bit."
"I'm not as cool as I can come across, I guess."
"That's ok, none of us are. When will they get here?"
"They'll get here at different times, but it'll probably take a couple weeks or so for everyone to get here. A lot of them are travelling by land or by sea. Though faster than any usual method, and some are flying I'm sure. There's also faerie workers who can't always travel with their faerie spirits who'll be coming through more mundane methods."
"I see. Um, will our... ancestors be coming."
"I don't know, I figured if mine were my human parents would've let me know somehow. As for yours, you don't even know who they are."
That's right, she hadn't told Bren about her encounter with her aunt. Hard to believe it had all happened in the same day.
"Actually I do know a little bit more about them now."
"Yes, I can tell you about it later. Do you mind if I stop to roll a joint right now?"
"I approve of this plan" Plaz chimed in.
"Go right ahead" answered Bren.
They found a spot to sit by the ocean. It was very windy so she had to be careful and use Plaz as a wind shield whilst rolling. It's usually pretty safe to smoke weed in New York, but all it takes is one cop who wants to ruin your day for that not to be the case. Thankfully as a demon Plaz had a passive stealth field he could lift or thicken at will. One of those, people just happen not to pay attention to them kind of jobs. It was very useful for peace of mind in this situation. The joint rolled Rosario lit it and took a few puffs, then passed it to Plaz, the smoked in silence. He then passed it to Bren, who accepted it this time. This made Rosario smile. Bren started coughing and wheezing.
"Holly shit, you Americans and your joints, they're so freaking strong."
Rosario and Plaz burst out laughing.
"I guess you're a bit Eurotrash after all." Rosario said.
"Am not, am not just a big a pothead as you two!"
"I kid, I kid. Some of my best friends are Eurotrash though."
"I'll take Eurotrash over ameritrash any day." said Bren and passed the joint back to Rosario.
"What time is it?" Rosario said.
"30 past eleven" Said Bren.
"Shit, we can still go to RR over there, anyone down."
Vague signs of agreement from all the gathered.
"Cool let's do it, and I can tell you what I found out about my parentage."
They got dinner, and Rosario told her story for the second time this day.
"I'd say it's entirely possible she'll be here." Bren said when Rosario had been done.
"There's bound to be a Dominican contingent, but it's not certain that every Ciguapa will be here." She still budged the pronunciation but Rosario overlooked it.
"Will she recognise me?" she asked instead.
"Oh yeah, and you'll recognise her. The faerie in you would react quite strongly."
"There are no coincidences, that's not how our world works."
"Faeries never experience coincidences?"
"It's more like we never treat them as such, we find a reason for it even if we have to invent it.
But I don't think they would convene a whole council over this. Like..."
Fae fell silent
"what's the matter?" Rosario asked
"I wasn't the one who was supposed to tell you about you"
"So it was a breech of protocol for me to do it, but like, surely it's not the first time it's happened? Surely it's not that big a deal. I want to say that but fae folk, fae folk have different priorities than humans."
"Ok, now I'm nervous."
Now they were both quiet. Plaz interrupted through a mouthful of burger.
"Just don't go then" he said
"What?" The fae said in unison.
"We can't just not go" said Bren.
"You both said you hadn't been invited so why do you assume they want you there?"
"That's actually a good point" said Rosario.
"No, we can't just not go. It's too important." said Bren.
"Well, Are other Changelings gonna be there?" Asked Rosario
"I really don't know. I need to get in touch with my folks, they must know."
"So why haven't you?"
"I did, I emailed them. But it's like 5 am in Ireland."
"If this is such a momentous occasion you'd think they'd be awake for it."
"Hahah you'd think wrong then, my friend. They don't give up sleep for any spirit. I wish I could say the same."
They sat in silence for a while. Rosario looked at the time on her phone, more for the look of it than anything else. It was 1:20.
"Shall we head home then?" She said, and received various nods and grunts of agreement.
They stepped outside and looked at the column of light again.
"aight then, imma head out. I wish y'all luck in your various commutes, I'm taking the hellway myself." said Plaz.
"Good-Bye" said Bren, cooly, but not coldly.
Plaz pulled Rosario aside and whispered.
"sorry about third-wheeling so far, but now's your chance"
"What, oh give me a break, we're just gonna go home. Fae's probably real tired."
"If you say so." said Plaz and winked
"Toodles" He said and disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
"What did he tell you?" Wren asked. "Did he warn you not to trust me."
"No." said Rosario. "He told me to put the moves on you."
Bren stifled a laugh but it wasn't enough, she started laughing heartily.
"Well" fae said "are you?"
"I don't know" Rosario answered coyly "I'm not sure you're ready for that."
"How bout you just walk me to the subway station?"
"Sure, Rosario said. What's your route?"
"hmm, D, to Atlantic, then the 3 or 4. Well I guess the 4 by now."
"Cool, I also have to... Ride the D"
"Come on you."
They walked to the station together. When they got there, unsurprisingly, they found they had to wait 20 minutes for the train. They got to talking.
"So I've been wondering, how long you've been in the states?" Rosario asked faer inside the station.
"Oh way long time. Since I was 10 years old."
"Yeah, my parents sent me to live with my aunt, upstate."
"It's my destiny, well out destiny. A stipulation of the deal, my Sidhe ancestors wanted to come to the states, to kind of bridge the gap for our people in this country."
"Your shy what?"
"Oh right. It's complicated, but Sidhe is a preferred term for the Irish spirits otherwise known as faeries. Also a word of advice, don't use that term at the gathering around the Neighbors. They really don't like it. I've lived here long enough that I'm desensitized to it and I actually think it's useful as a catch-all, but old habits."
"I see how do you pronounce that again, Shyy?"
"Just say fair folk."
"No I want to learn."
"Ok, it's like she with two Es. Shee, Sidhe"
"There you go that's pretty good."
"And how do you spell it."
"It's anglicized Sidhe."
"Cool lemme write that down. So you've been in the states a while then. That explains it."
"Explains what?" Oops, Rosario hadn't meant to say that last bit out loud.
"Well you don't sound very Irish."
Bren laughed at this.
"Oh I suppose you'd expect me to sound like this then, eh lassie" fae said in a very exaggerated but not very good Irish accent.
"No, I have much of an accent it's true, but people in Eire don't generally have that thick of an accent either. Except maybe in the Gaeltacht."
"Oh, that's the part of the country where Irish is spoken more than English."
"Oh interesting. Ah, here's the train"
They got on the train, it was one of the older cars, the conductor said in their inscrutable not to New Yorkers voice "Manhattan Bound D, stand clear of closing doors." and the train got moving.
"You don't have much of an accent yourself either, isn't your first language Spanish?" Bren said once they'd been seated in the mostly empty carriage.
"Yes, that's right. And I don't have much of an accent, though it jumps out in certain words."
"Yeah, like I have to be very careful to say Yale instead of Jail, or like chair gives me trouble, and don't get me started on shart."
"Did you do that on purpose?"
"No." Rosario was laughing too. "I really can't. Shart, sha, shhh,"
"Yeah that. Shart."
"No come on Ch, Chart"
"there you go. Now I wonder if there's things I say where my accent jumps out."
"I haven't noticed any. But then, English is your first language isn't it."
"More or less more or less. We spoke equal parts English and Irish in my house."
"Oh cool, so you're fluent in Irish?"
"I take it that means yes"
"More or less."
"Does everyone in Ireland speak Irish, then?"
"No, not really. Everyone has to learn some of it, but most people tend to forget it. It's kind of like how almost every American says they took Spanish in High School but can't even ask for the time now. Though it seems Irish is growing in popularity lately, in Eire and abroad, there's even a Duolingo course for it."
"That's cool! You'll have to speak some to me sometime."
Bren then said something that Rosario wouldn't even have been able to try to spell out. She just smiled at Faer.
"That means, 'anytime'" fae said.
"That's amazing." Rosario said "Oh, here we are, Atlantic Avenue."
They got off the train. Walked off the platform to the spot where they'd have to go in different directions.
"Hey, this was really nice, you know considering the circumstance." Rosario said before they split off.
"I agree. I'm still really nervous, but I guess I feel a tiny bit better knowing there's someone else in it with me. I'm really glad we met, Rosario"
"I'm glad we met too. Hug?"
They embraced. Rosario's heart was beating excitedly.
"I'll text you tomorrow. Ok?" Rosario said.
They went in their separate directions, Rosario had to wait 15 minutes for her train again, but eventually she made it home and fell asleep with a smile on her face.
To be continued
Read on! Chapter 7