A Tale of Three Pixies: Scene Six
“A parking garage,” Lapis said, running a hand through her sweaty purple hair and looking around her. “I had heard of them. They’re more like caves than I would have thought.”
“Something like that,” Fen said, her gaze sweeping. She sighed. “I lost the scent in the chase. I’m not sure where to find it again.”
“It’s hard to sort anything through all this concrete,” Petal murmured. “Not much iron, thank the stars. But lots of concrete. It’s all… cut off,” Petal said, sounding confused. “So far.”
Fen gave her a worried look. “Petal. Sister, what’s wrong?”
She shook her head. “Low on essence,” she said. “We’ve used too much. And now we’re cut off.”
“We need to get out of here quickly,” Lapis said, her voice worried.
“But the redrums and their bats would still be there. And gathering numbers. There was rumor of a whole nest here. All this concrete forest is very much gnome territory. We need to come out a different way.”
“But which way?”
“Harder to be certain.” Fen looked at Petal. “But we need to choose. Quickly. That way.”
“How do you know?”
“I don’t. But we play our chances as they lay.”
Lapis nodded and she followed along with her sister. They garage was full, each spot filled with the steel and fiberglass beasts the mortals rode throughout their cities. It was a place full of manufactured monsters in a concrete cage, and the rigid order of it was part of why it felt so cut off. Their part of faerie was the essence of wild, vibrant, and living. This was alien and stifling. Fen, still glistening with sweat from the desperate flight, saw Petal was beginning to look pale. Of the three of them, Petal was the eldest, and the most tied to Faerie’s power, what she called 'essence' She was accounted among the wisest of the pixie enchantresses, and she could do things with a trickle of essence that most could not manage with a river. But she was so rarely away from the queen’s realm. This cage was killing her.
On they walked. They passed a large red monster, taller than the others. Lapis called them trucks, but Fen was less certain. It was high enough that they could walk underneath it, and when they moved out of its shadow Fen saw the promised a land: a glowing sign writ with the word Exit.”There,” she crowed, pointing, and squeezed Petal’s hand. Her sister squeezed back, but lightly, and they started to break into a run.
“Thank the stars,” Lapis said, and sped into a run behind them. They turned the corner around the concrete partition, and were greeted by a gust of fresh air coming down a concrete tunnel, up they sped up, almost there, and the further they ran the closer to the open sky and stars they were and the closer they felt to faerie…
But when they got to the top, they were not alone. The gnomes were there, and waiting, in force. Four were war-scarred redrums, arrayed in battle-gear, eyes bloodshot and mad with battle-lust. There were four more gnomes beside the warriors, in blue and green tunics that hung to their knees. One of them wore golden rings in his long forked blue beard.
He wore a blue cap, and his little eyes were angry and full of hate. He stood, but the spear he held was taller than either and was tipped with bitter iron. The pixies staggered to a sudden stop, and they stood there watching. They were under the open sky, but could see no stars; the seemingly endless fog of New Tamsbridge was too thick. The power was there, but it was strangely filtered. “Jasper,” she said, and gestured with her chin at the spear. “It’s true. Your kind have been so far away from faerie, so tied to this reality, that the iron is no longer pain to you.”
“What would you know of it? Your Lady serves at the Queen’s behest, and you come and go as you please. What do you know of being cut off?”
“You could have stayed. Your whole race could have stayed. But you lead them from her sight and you have only what you wrought.”
“She was a monster. We had to leave.” He smiled, flashing pointy yellow teeth. “And tonight you have come too far. The lady’s favored hound.”
“Hound, am I?” Fen smiled and again her sword was out. The redrums stepped back as the saw the true-steel of faerie unsheathed in its wielder’s wrath. “Or am I more? Am I a hound or a hawk, a carnivorous bird here to feast on you and your bats? Am I a servant of the green lady, dancing for light under the moon? Or am I her left hand, death for her enemies?” Her eyes glinted hard and she drew more power in. Her sword started to glow silver-blue. “Get out of my way, cast-out, or I will cut you.”
“Your words are like an ass’s braying in the wind. You are outnumbered and far from home. If you try to cut me, you will be dead before your stroke falls.”
“That’s possible. It’s possible I am as craven or clumsy as you, fallen stone. But it’s possible that I am more than you think, and that true steel finds its mark ever and always. You make your choice, you take your chance. Choose. Now.”
She stared at the gnome. He stared at her.
They let them pass.
(Ready for what's next? Scene Seven is here!)