A Tale of Three Pixies: Scene Eight
The three faeries climbed down the short stairs into the Day is Dunn. Their guises were less vivid and idiosyncratic than at Pearl’s Dive; they were now three college-aged girls in jeans and tee shirts, each according to their nature. Fen was in black with skull and crossbones, Lapis wore blue with splashes of gold glitter that spelled out pixie, and Petal’s shirt was a cheerful tie-dye.
The bar was not as they expected. It clean but rustic, with lots of real wood furnishings.
A hand-drawn map of Middle Earth hung on one wall. On another, there was a tapestry of a white horse on a green field, and the entire bar was lit by dim lantern-style lights. There were few enough patrons tonight, but they were… interesting. There was a dark haired girl sitting at one of the corner tables, pouring over some text books and fiddling with an astrolabe, a massive lamb burger sitting ignored in front of her. A woman with a red bandanna worn over her hair sat across from her, sipping a gin and tonic and reminding the other to eat. At the bar, a shortish man with a big red beard and a heavy accent was arguing the most authentic way of brewing ale with the barkeep, a man with a scarred bald head that gave the impression of being bigger than he was.
The three sisters looked around, and Petal shook her head in wonderment. “It’s here. It’s all here. This entire bar is a well.” She smiled. “I can feel myself growing stronger already. But why?”
“Well,” Fen said. “It does look a lot like what one of the taverns from the old days would look like. At least in a mortal’s imagination. It’s low, with wooden rafters, and dark.”
“Lots of wood,” Lapis said. “That helps.”
“Of course you like the lots of wood,” Fen muttered.
Lapis punched her on the shoulder.
“But there’s so much here. The well, its confusing scents, I can’t quite… there.”
Coming out of a small door in the back was the prophet, looking just as disheveled as he had at Pearl’s Dive. He stopped, shut the door behind him, and looked right at them with his single eye.
Fen stalked to him, mentally cursing the glamour hiding her sword, and met him eyes to eye. “You son of a bitch,” she growled as her sisters came up to flank her. “That stunt you pulled. We’ve chased you across half the city through gnomes and concrete prisons and nearly wound up skinned for the trouble. You tell us what we want to know or I’ll…”
“You’ll what? Start trouble here?” He gave her a sardonic look. “Look around you. The man at the bar, arguing about beer. He owns the place, and while he’s mostly human, he’s got more than a little dwarf in him. So does the Scot he’s arguing with. That’s why they always fight. The woman drinking gin in the corner is a witch. She is both more connected in this town and better at organizing trouble or counter-trouble than you could possibly imagine. She just doesn’t stop. The girl she’s sitting with? She’s a second year student in arcane studies and has a knack for magical traps like you wouldn’t believe. Nobody likes trouble in this pub. Nobody. So stuff the threats, hound, and have a seat.” He raised an eyebrow. “Unless you don’t want to see what I have for you.”
Fen glared at him, but he was right. She was outnumbered here, and this was clearly a place of hospitality. It would be against the Lady’s rules to start a fight here. She looked at her sisters. Lapis already had a mug of beer and foam on her lips.
She shrugged and took another draught.
“Fine,” Fen said, turning back to the prophet. “Fine! We’ll sit. But no running out this time!”
“No running out this time,” he agreed.
They sat at a table near the middle of the pub. The table was good, real wood; chipped but well cared for. The chairs were old but hand carved, and the cushions on them were new. They settled into the seats and Fen leveled her gaze on the prophet. “So,” she said. “What do you have? I hope it’s more than your useless prophecy.”
“You get what you pay for,” Saul said mildly. “And while the prophecy might not have told you much, it told me plenty. Being more up on current events in the buzzing metropolis that is New Tamsbridge than you are.”
“Buzzing Metropolis? More like supernatural cesspool.”
“Same thing. Anyway. I thought about the prophecy, thought about what I knew about this town. And I think I found your answer.” He grinned. “I swear, sometimes I amaze even myself. I’m the very best at what I do.”
Fen glanced at her sisters, then back at the man. “We’ll see about that. Ass. So what’s your answer?”
Saul laughed. “Oh I can’t tell you that. That wasn’t paid for.”
Fen stared at him, and the colour started to rise in her cheeks. “You have the answer. But you won’t tell us. That is the least helpful fucking thing you son of a…”
And then the door to the kitchen opened, and a black-haired girl with eyes the colour of the greenest grass walked out, holding a pint of beer in an earthenware mug in one hand and a plate with thick fries and a burger on the other. It had to be rare; Fen could smell the lamb’s blood. She hustled over to them and set the burger and drink on the table. “Here’s your grub, Saul,” she said, pushing some of her hair behind her ears as she looked at the three sisters. “Who are your friends?”
“Oh these are some old acquaintances from back home,” he said vaguely. “And they’ve generously offered to pay for my meal here today. Ladies, this is Eileen. She works here.”
“Oh have they?” Eileen asked. She flashed a smile at them.
Fen nodded absently. She looked like she had just been run over by an ox. “Yes,” she said. “Yes, um. Yes we have. Eileen, he said?”
“That’s me,” she said. “For my sins. Anything for you guys?”
“I’ll take another beer,” Lapis said. “And we’ll get some cheese fries. Thank you.”
She beamed at them. They saw the light in her smile and the green of her eyes and the midnight of her hair and they knew that She Was Not From Here, that she could never be, and that there was only one place she could be from.
“As I was going to say, before I was rudely interrupted,” Saul said with a smug grin. “I can’t tell you. But if you just so happened to find out on your own…”
“Then we’d see,” Fen said. “That you’d found our missing pixie.”