by Ariana Lussier
Disclaimer: Oh please. If I owned any of this, would I be in debt up to my eyeballs?
Author's Note: Inspired by some of the reviews for Surrender and Five Fingered Mary Sue. I blame my readers for this plot bunny. ;-) And in that same vein, I hope that you enjoy this. Rating subject to change as the, ahem, intensity cranks up. In considering the logic of a Nuada/OC pairing, particularly a human, the only thing that made any sense to me was a master/slave relationship. Ergo, this story will explore themes such as non-consensual sex, bondage and dominance/submission. Now, assuming I haven't scared you away, here's the reasoning for each one:
Non-consensual sex - Keep in mind, this does not mean rape. Maybe it's a fine line, but for me it's still a line. I consider coercion to be a tool for non-consent, and violence to be the definitive tool for rape. I understand that others have a different viewpoint. Consider yourselves warned. There's always the 'back' button. Consider also that until a few centuries ago, the general belief was "old enough to bleed is old enough to breed." The concept of age of majority and age of consent are relatively new things, and this story takes place thousands of years in the past. A young slave, still 'untouched' is given to Nuada. Chances are very bad that she's eighteen. I promise that nothing below puberty is involved. Again, the 'back' button is your friend, if this is repulsive to you.
Bondage - C'mon, it's a slave story. 'Nuff said. Bondage of the mind as well as the body.
Dominance/Submission - Unlike sadism/masochism, this isn't the giving or receiving of punishment for the sake of pain. It's the crafted series of punishments and rewards to train a slave to better serve his or her master. In some cases, the conditioning is physical; but the real work is psychological. Some may call this brainwashing. Maybe they're right. See that little button in the upper corner with the letters B-A-C-K on it? Use it now if this creeps you out.
All in all, this story is not meant to condone anything illegal, and does deal with behaviors have been used throughout history and are still used today. Ideally, they are used in a consensual manner, but sometimes this is not the case. Some people may consider these practices to be aberrant behaviors, and I respect that belief. However, to borrow a phrase from a friend, if this story is not your cup of tea, please turn back now and leave the pot for others to enjoy.
The old woman stirred bits of bone and gravel together in a water-carved hollow of stone with a finger shriveled by weather, work and time. Her gray hair was nearly white with age, the strands matted and snarled together in thick ropes that trailed down her back to drag along the ground. The tanned skins of small mammals formed the crude robes she wore, decorated with marks made by black clay and the juice of red berries. Her eyes were bright blue, unclouded in the nest of wrinkles that had taken over her face, but that was the last vestige of a forgotten beauty. Life on the plains was harsh, and a long life even more so.
The woman peered at the bone and gravel pieces, frowning at the signs. Even the wind seemed troubled today, burdened with a chill that was uncharacteristic of the growing season. Or perhaps the chill that touched her old bones came from within, as the silent message of the spirits resolved itself before her eyes.
The pale ones would come soon.
The hag-mother's frown deepened. Situated in this small canyon fed by a sparkling river, the clan of the Sun Cat had kept to itself save for the occasional peaceful trades with other tribes. They did not raid upon other People, nor did they trouble those that could return such trouble twice over. Word had come to the hag-mother, both from the birds of the sky and the People of the mountains, that the pale ones were angry. They led other hosts of creatures, neither animal nor fish nor fowl, and made war upon the People. Some tribes came away only bloodied, others came away not at all. The spirits had smiled upon the Sun Cat tribe, for the pale ones and their warriors had not seemed to notice them.
But that time was coming to an end. She sighed and stood up, her back creaking as she straightened. First, she must cajole the spirits for more information, before she met with the chieftain and advised him on how to avert the pale ones' wrath.
Bahr frowned, scratching at his long, tangled beard. "Let them come," he scoffed, long accustomed to the easy defense of their small valley. Caves in the mountains that bordered the west were used to store extra food and supplies, and could easily store members of the tribe should they be driven from the flat grasslands on the valley floor. "We will drive them back, or we will retreat and hide, and come back when they have gone."
"Fool," the hag-mother said bluntly. "The pale ones do not fight as we do. They wear shells that arrow and spear cannot penetrate. Their weapons cut through flesh and bone as if it were air. Their warriors are stronger and faster, larger and tougher, than any of the People. They will find us, and when they do, the children of the Sun Cat will be no more."
The chieftain scowled, but unlike anyone else in the tribe, the hag-mother alone could speak to the spirits. That made her uniquely able among the females to even approach him, let alone dress him down as if he were but a child.
"If we fight the pale ones," she said, her voice rough with age and scorn, "we will die. No one will survive."
In the small wikiyup, the heat of the fire was captured and held by skins stretched over a frame of sticks. A hole was left uncovered in the center of the rounded top, so that some of the smoke might find its way out. A gray haze blanketed the inside of the top, the swirls occasionally offering the hag-mother a hint or two when dealing with this proud chieftain. She would have said more, continued arguing what she knew until he finally gave in with a foul temper, but the spirits counseled her to patience. Wait... they had said. You have spoken, now let him think.
Knowing better than to pass the silent time by making any movement, she simply watched Bahr and waited. He poked at the fire with a stick, sending a shower of sparks upward to vanish as they touched the skins. The scowl that peered through his beard deepened as he considered her words.
Finally, as the flames died down to a mere fringe along each charred piece of wood, he finally spoke. "Very well, old one. What do the spirits say to do?"
She sent them a silent thank-you before she answered. "The Ghost Lord drives the pale ones," she replied. "He kills the People because the People take from his tribe. To stay his anger, we must give to him."
"Give him what?"
The hag-mother chortled. "You are chieftain; I am only an old woman. What would you like your enemy to give to you, in exchange for his life?" It was a long tradition of hers to press her advice upon others, then draw back once it was finally accepted in order to make them think for themselves. A mischievous part of her enjoyed doing so.
He thought for a long time again, until the fire was only glowing embers and he grunted at his daughter to bring more wood. Once the fire was growing in strength once more, he spoke, "In trade for his life, and that of his family and his tribe, he would have to give me the best... of everything."
She nodded, the polished bones in her hair clicking against each other with the motion. "Then you have your answer. Give him the best, and only the best."
Bahr stabbed a stick into the fire again, grumbling. "We have good skins stored in the caves; we will send those. The best of our hunters will go out for two days in every direction and bring back the best kills. The women will find the best berries and nuts, and the mushrooms at the edge of the forest-"
The hag-mother scoffed. "Well enough, Bahr," she said. "But pathetic for our lives. Think you that the pale ones cannot get these on their own? You must offer them something of true value. You must show that you are willing to sacrifice for peace."
Another silence, another scowl. She wondered if the chieftain had ever smiled since his father had died.
"Then," he said heavily, "we will send the best of us. Our best hunters and tanners, and our best gatherers. Young ones, to provide a lifetime of service."
The old woman nodded with slow approval. "Good... very good. Together with the skins and beasts and fruits, that may be enough." Her eyes sharpened at a shape nearly hidden by the fire-cast shadows and she pointed with one finger. "And her."
The chieftain's daughter froze like a mouse in the sights of a hawk. Bahr glanced at her and his bushy eyebrows drew together in confusion. "Moom is not the best of anything."
"She must go too," the hag-mother said. It was not likely that Bahr would fight her on this. The girl could not do as much work as her brothers, and at her age, still living in her father's wikiyup, she was a disgrace in the chieftain's eyes. Her menses had been very late, having only begun a few weeks before, but no males had approached Bahr about taking her to mate. Most of the young hunters already had mates, or preferred the company of other males. Some of the People wondered if the girl wasn't deformed inside, and those rumors as well as the lack of suitors to take her off his hands had contributed to the chieftain's sour demeanor.
Despite a look of panic from the girl, Bahr shrugged. "So be it."
"Excellent!" the old woman replied. She got to her feet with an agility of a woman half her age. Moom tried to shrink away and hide behind her father, but the hag-mother caught her forearm in a strong grip and all but dragged her out.
"Grandmother," the girl begged, using the title that everyone called the hag-mother, "please-"
"Hush," the old woman snapped. She half-led, half-dragged the girl back to her own wikiyup, situated at the very edge of the tribe to the south. Few of the People loitered near the hag-mother's home, but occasionally youngsters dared each other to see who would go closest to it while she was away. Once or twice, one was even brave enough to touch the thick furred skins. An angry glare from the old woman sent one adventurous boy scurrying back to his laughing friends, and another glare sent them all running back to other games played with pole and hoop, activities that taught them the basics of hunting. Satisfied that no other curious watchers were nearby, she pushed the girl into the wikiyup ahead of her before ducking inside and pulling the heavy leather flap closed to indicate privacy.
Moom had dropped into a crouch as she'd stumbled in, afraid to venture farther into the hag-mother's home. Desiccated birds hung by their feet from the ceiling, and the skulls of creatures both large and small grinned gapingly from the shadows of the wikiyup. Hollow sticks hung by their ends from the smoke-hole, clattering together and making haunting sounds whenever the wind blew across the opening. Bundles of dried grasses and other plants were stacked neatly near the fire, and scattered throughout the wikiyup were small bowls with colored clay, bits of bone and rock, and dried flowers and berries. She was hesitant to touch anything in here, even the ground.
The hag-mother brushed past the girl, going to a pile of skins and digging through it to find something suitable. "We do not have much time," the woman muttered. "Sending hunters out for two days, then two days more for them to come back. Four days at the most and you are not ready."
"Ready for what?" Moom whispered.
A longshirt was pulled out of the pile, decorated here and there with bits of thong dyed black. The hag-mother eyed it critically, then tossed it aside and pulled out another. This one was a lighter brown with tufts of white rabbit fur. She glanced at the girl, measuring her with experienced eyes.
With a smaller build and lighter weight than most females her age, it was easy to see why some of the People felt Moom was misformed. The maturing of her body should have been evident three winters earlier, but had only recently manifested, which had lent weight to those speculations. She had her father's dark hair, tangled into ropes like the hag-mother's own, though Moom's extended only down to the middle of her back. The eyes were like her mother's, gray as river stones, and the constant sun had turned her skin a healthy bronze. Misformed, perhaps, but the spirits had swirled smoke about her head in Bahr's wikiyup, and the hag-mother had known better than to ignore any signs, great or small. The girl might be next to useless in the eyes of the tribe, but the spirits obviously felt otherwise.
"Child," the old woman said finally. "Did you understand the words I had with the chieftain?"
The girl bowed her head and nodded, wrapping her arms around her knees. The hag-mother held up the furred garment and compared its size to Moom's, then sighed and decided it would have to do. The pelts the girl wore were crude and stitched together with a marked lack of expertise. Likely, she was on her own for making clothing since her mother's passing four winters ago. The dress she wore was ugly and not fit for the sight of the pale ones' bloodthirsty Lord.
But this robe was warmer and of much better quality. She glanced at it, musing about what should be added to the girl's dress before she went to the pale ones. The bones of their clan totem for protection, a bearskin for strength of heart. The pale ones liked flowers and leaves, so the hag-mother would find some and add those as well.
"You're sending me to the enemy," the girl whispered. "I don't want to go."
"What you want does not matter," the hag-mother replied gruffly.
"They kill the People!" she protested.
Leaves and flowers, with the spirits of Sun Cat and Bear to watch over her. It could be enough... the old woman hoped it would be. "You are no longer of this tribe," she said coldly. The girl gasped, her eyes going wide as her skin paled to a hue not unlike the robe in the hag-mother's hands. "You belong to their tribe now. The spirits have given me some of their words; you will use these words to speak to them."
Moom bit her lip as her chin quivered. "Why?" she cried. "Why do I have to go?"
The hag-mother sighed, wishing the girl didn't remind her so much of the daughters she'd buried. She squatted down on her heels before the child, fixing her sky-colored eyes on the girl's rain-colored ones. "The spirits have told me that the Ghost Lord has a heart of stone. Do you understand this?"
Clearly confused, the girl nodded.
"What we do, what the chieftain will do, will keep the Ghost Lord's anger from us for a time, but it will not work forever. His memory is much longer than the lives of any of the People. He will keep killing the People, until someone pierces his stone heart."
Throughout the hag-mother's words, the girl's eyes had gotten wider and wider. Perhaps she was misformed, but she was not a fool. Not like her brothers. The hag-mother smiled and draped the fur-tufted robe across the girl's knees. She patted the girl's smooth cheek with one hand.
"Earn his trust and pierce his heart, little Moom. Save the People."
Nuada looked over the battle-maps spread out on the table once more. Three engagements were actively being coordinated, with another two set to be sprung upon the humans. It was fortunate for him that the humans were a fractious race, split into hundreds of tribes that warred even upon each other. It was sometimes almost child's play to kill them. Other times, however, the humans exploited the land too well, or were allied with other tribes. Fully half of the skirmishes so far had been decisive victories; another handful were full routs. Some of the battles, however, had cost Nuada far more than he liked in terms of fey lives. Every handspan of the earth that was cleared of human infestation seemed to seep with the blood of his kind. It was a hard trade, but one that every soldier in the war camp, up to and including Nuada himself, was willing to make.
His scouts had detailed reports on the size and fighting ability of each of the three tribes. One would be an easy victory - they had retreated to the foothills which were riddled with caves. The trolls would take care of them with little trouble. Another was scattered at the edge of a lake, with crude boats that carried them to the island in its center. Pressed by Nuada's army, the humans had put up enough of a fight to delay pursuit while most of the tribe had fled to the island. The island was ringed with sharpened poles and other rudimentary traps; several fey had come back wounded or killed by the desperate defenses.
The prince scowled, tapping the point of a small dagger on the sketch of that lake and its island. Depending on the reports coming in over the next few days, it may be more beneficial to ensure the human tribe stayed confined to that island than to waste more of his warriors to exterminate them.
The last tribe they battled was the largest of the three. They used their own filth to coat their spears and hatchets, and too many fey had returned with festering wounds. Several had died under the healers' care as battle-fever took them and strangled their wits and lives. The humans of this tribe were especially brutish and aggressive, and encouraged even their females to fight as if possessed by demons. Every one of those humans that fell, it seemed, took their share of fey blood from Nuada's people. Sometimes more than their share. The prince's eyes narrowed as he considered other strategies to deal with this especially troublesome nest of humans.
"Your Highness?" Wink asked, pulling aside one of the drapes that separated Nuada's private room from the rest of the pavilion at the heart of the war camp. He stuck his head inside, nodding his head to the side once as Nuada glanced up at him. "Lord Taruno awaits you."
Already? Nuada thought. He looked back at the candles. They had been new when he'd lit them to pore over the maps, and now barely a thumblength remained. He shook his head, wondering briefly where time always took itself, since it rarely visited him for long enough. The prince stood up from his half-bent position over the small table and straightened his brown and cream tunic. The wine-colored sash was tied around his waist and knotted just above one hip, the ends dangling to brush his thigh as he walked. Aside from his bearing, nothing indicated that his station was higher than any other Elf's - Wink had quietly insisted Nuada take no chances that a human assassin might identify him as a prime target, on the battlefield or off it.
Nuada had laughed at first, questioning how any human would escape the regard of the sentries to infiltrate the war camp. Wink had merely pointed to a human pet in the camp, one of a handful that some fey kept to do menial work. Nuada had frowned; unless one of them directly crossed his field of vision, he didn't notice them at all. The troll had needed no words to make his point; none of them could afford to be careless even if they were safely within camp.
He left the half-circle of the pavilion that was his quarters to meet Taruno in the other half, the one used for the captains to meet with Nuada. At the sight of the older Elf, Nuada's face brightened with a grin. Taruno had been one of his and Wink's first weapon masters, and his advice in this campaign was invaluable to the young prince.
The lord bowed as the prince approached him. "Your Highness, forgive me for disturbing you."
Nuada clapped a hand on Taruno's shoulder. "Not at all, my friend. What brings you here?"
Taruno straightened, his long hair tied back in a complicated set of braids wound together. The dark green and gold of his house colors made his pale skin even whiter by comparison and enhanced the reddish hue of his ochre eyes. Nuada's old teacher had never been overly jolly, but the frown lines around his mouth were deeper than usual. "There is a... delegation," his rich voice soured on the word, "... from one of the human tribes."
The prince pulled his hand back, his eyebrows arching in surprise. "A what?"
"A delegation, from a tribe that lives in one of the southern valleys," his old teacher repeated. "They are waiting outside."
Nuada looked at Wink. "Is this some sort of jest? Why are they here? Why do they live?"
"Apparently," Taruno said dryly, "they sent their offering to your father first. The king sent them here."
One hand came up to rub Nuada's face as the prince rolled his eyes. "Of course," he said with barely-restrained sarcasm. "Why wouldn't my father send them here?"
Balor had been one of Elfland's greatest warriors, but time and regret had dulled his fighting edge and fouled the taste for battle in the king's mouth. He would not stand by and allow the humans to simply push aside the fey until their people fell off the edge of the earth, but neither could he stomach the day-to-day carnage that keeping them back would entail. It was why Nuada Silverlance, was here leading the armies, rather than Balor One-Arm.
Still, Balor's letters to his son at the front continued to counsel the young prince to be conservative in his dealings with humans. One could always declare war in a time of peace, his father had said more than once, but it was much harder to call for peace during a time of war. He was not going to order Nuada to abandon the war, but neither was he going to withold his opinion of the matter or of his son's handling of it.
Nuada respected Balor's wisdom and experience, but disagreed with him on several fundamental points. His first reaction was to simply eliminate the human visitors, but having gone to the king first, then been sent here under Balor's command... that gave them a small measure of royal protection, or at least validation. He sighed, knowing that simply eliminating the humans would make it difficult to gracefully answer his father's inevitable inquiry about the delegation.
Thank you, Father, for the opportunity to exercise patience, he thought, trying to see the matter in a more positive light. It wouldn't surprise him if Nuala had been the one to suggest this to Balor. More than any fey, even the king, his twin forgave the humans everything they did. Her ability to have compassion for lesser creatures was, so far as Nuada could tell, infinite. Nuada took a deep breath, then stalked out of the pavilion with Taruno and Wink following him out.
At first glance, he regretted their presence, Balor's will or no. Dirty and coarse, the humans were clustered together within a circle of armed fey. Though weapons were out and trained on the intruders, there was a generous margin of space between the fey and the humans. Apparently, none of his people wanted to get too close to them.
He looked upon the humans more carefully, evaluating each one and their burdens. Nine stood before him, each one dressed in the half-rotting skins of animals. On crude half-stretchers of more skins and poles, they had brought mounds of dead beasts and more of the skins. The females pulled stretchers filled with nuts, fruit and mushrooms. A slight change in the breeze brought a waft of stench - unwashed bodies, rotting meat and fruit, death of both beast and plant. Nuada covered his mouth with one hand reflexively, at the last moment making the gesture a casual one. The other Elves around him weren't so subtle. One turned a slight shade of green and stepped back from the odor.
Royal validation or not, this was not to be tolerated. Obeying his father's wishes was one thing; Nuada wasn't going to allow human filth and disease to sicken his people. The fey around him looked at him expectantly, awaiting his orders. "Get rid of all that," he said, waving a hand at the stretchers with their burden of rotting skins and food. "Send them away, and if they are not beyond the twin falls by tomorrow night, kill them."
Masked expressions of disgust and gratitude followed the prince as he turned away, back to his tent.
He stiffened. That word was Elven, but the intonations were off, and the voice held none of the lyrical pitch native to his kind. He turned back slowly, his gold eyes narrowing at one of the females who had stepped forward, an odd sort of panic on her face. Unlike the others who wore simple skins, this one was dressed in some patchwork robe that clattered with polished bones in its mantle of bearskin. Wilted flowers and shriveled leaves were stuck in the tangled hair, which bore enough grime and matting to convince the prince it had likely never been combed or washed. She halted suddenly as five swords swung to point at her. The human glanced at the sudden hostile stares from the other fey and even from a few of the other humans and shrank a little in on herself. She swallowed hard and seemed to summon her courage to speak again.
"Master... you please... me serve," she said hesitantly, clearly uncertain how to form the words properly. The intonations were even worse the second time around and her pronunciation made him want to cringe.
"Did she just ask you to serve her?" Taruno quietly asked the prince out of the corner of his mouth.
Nuada glanced at him, seeing a touch of Taruno's dry humor in the other's eyes. The prince's mouth quirked a little at the outrageous suggestion. "For her sake, preferably not," he answered just as softly. He frowned as the realization of just which language she was speaking - atrociously, but still speaking - struck him.
How in the name of the Four did a human learn Elven?
The fey spoke their native languages freely in the camp, but when dealing with the human tribes, they used human speech or their weapons to speak. The few human pets in the camp likely knew enough Elvish, Troll and Goblin to understand what their owners wanted, but they never left the camp. Nuada rarely noticed them, but knew their masters never let them loose. None under his command was so careless as to let such a large breach of security happen. So how did a human from so far away learn Elven?
"Master..." she tried again, looking up at him with a pleading expression. The emphasis and accents were all wrong, and he began to suspect that she had no idea what she was really saying. "You please... me serve?"
Someone had coached her... but then, who? Another human, surely. A fey tutor would have structured the grammar properly, and likely have told the girl just what she was offering. Curiosity began to gnaw at him, but he had much to do before the sun descended below the horizon. He needed more time to figure out this puzzle. Perhaps later.
"...Master...?" she tried again, halting as his eyes locked with hers. The human began to tremble and quickly looked down.
"Haithe," Nuada said.
One of the Elves stepped forward, not the best of his warriors, but a good tactician. More importantly, he was one of the few fey that owned a human pet. Unlike any other fey that Nuada knew of, Haithe possessed three humans and kept them well under control. Younger than Taruno, but still older than Nuada by several centuries, the other Elf was a minor noble whose bloodline was not high enough to belong to a House of his own. He wore the sable and scarlet of the Bethmoora clan, as many commoners and lower nobility did to show their allegiance to Balor's House. The other Elf pressed a hand to his chest and half-bowed, "Your Highness."
"Nuada?" muttered Taruno. "What are you doing?"
"She wants to serve..." Nuada murmured back. He turned his attention back to Haithe. "Take this one and go clean her up. She wishes to be a pet, let her, but remove that stink before you send her back to me."
Distaste crawled over the other Elf's face briefly, with a flicker of something else surfacing briefly in the cool, celadon-tinted flax of his eyes. He bowed his head, "As you command, Prince Nuada." He turned away and walked to the human girl. She stepped back in fear and he let her cower before grabbing her arm roughly. A small cry came and died in her throat as Haithe dragged her away, his strides long and uncaring that she had to scramble to keep her footing.
The other humans looked after her, then at each other with uncertainty. Wink was looking at Nuada with equal confusion. "Sire," he whispered. "A human pet... for yourself?"
"Hardly," Nuada scoffed. "I want to discover how she learned our language." Again, he raised his voice so others could hear. "Get rid of this filth, and send the humans away. If they want to be pets, let them serve the goblins." He turned away, grateful that the humans and their obsession with dead and decaying things would soon be far away.
"Then there is a truce with that tribe?" Taruno asked, again keeping his voice low for privacy.
Nuada halted in mid-step and glanced at him in surprise. "Why would there be?" he asked.
The elder Elf shrugged. "You accepted part of their offer, which was a tribute given for peace between the fey and those humans."
"Nobody told me that," the prince growled.
Taruno gave him a look that used to wither the prince as a child. Even now, it still had the power to make Nuada feel as though he'd done something especially imbecilic. "Your Highness, why do you think they came here at all? Surely not out of the goodness of their hearts."
Wink snorted with a strangled laugh, and even Nuada had to smile at Taruno's wry comment. "Fine," he said with a touch of irritation that he'd overlooked something so obvious. "We will leave that tribe alone for now. I'm certain they'll soon do something imprudent to break the peace, or perhaps one of the humans here will be kind enough to do so. In any regard, it costs us little to overlook them for the time being."
His old teacher gave him another withering look. Nuada scowled.
"Scouts will maintain a watch upon this tribe," he said. "I am not a fool."
Taruno's face relaxed somewhat. "I had wondered," the other Elf said with his customary dryness. He bowed slightly, "By your leave, then, I will see that your orders are carried out."
The prince nodded and went back into the pavilion. Wink followed him, turning to make sure the edges of the flaps sealed together. A ciùinich draíocht was woven into the thick fabric of the pavilion, ensuring that no outside listeners would be able to hear anything while the captains met with Nuada to discuss matters of war. The troll turned back to the prince, who had picked up a scroll and unrolled it to read. "You've never taken a human pet before," he commented.
"I'm not taking a pet now," Nuada replied, rerolling the scroll and tossing it back on the table that dominated the room. "I'm only interested in how she knew those words, badly as they were spoken."
"Forgive me, Sire, but it sounded like you just did," Wink said.
The prince's dark mouth turned downwards thoughtfully as he reviewed exactly what he'd said and how he'd said it, and the reactions of those that heard. It certainly had not been his intention... but it's possible Wink was right. He shrugged. "That one is timid," he said dismissively. "Either she will serve well, in which case I lose nothing - or she will serve poorly, in which case I will simply get rid of her. There are other fey who fancy such pets. If she displeases me, I'm sure Haithe would be happy to add another human to his collection."