Just a Dream

"Slap the slowpoke!"

"Eegit sports indeed…" Muttered Talon, while rubbing his arm.

"Oh, you're such a sore loser." Magpie teased.

"Yes I am! Because you just hit me!" He laughed.

The caravans had set down in the bow of a tree and the crows were setting up camp. They were somewhere in the middle of a manny forest town. Magpie looked around and surveyed her surroundings. She needed to have a quick getaway if one of them spotted her. She saw a small opening high up in the canopy that would do fine. She saw all the tangled vines and long, mossy trees and she remembered that night in the spider downs, that horrid night when she'd been trapped within the bottle of the Blackbringer.

"Hoy, Mags!" Sqauked Pup, while he hopped over to greet her. He eyed the flask that she'd just received from Poppy. "Where'd ya' get that?"

"Pup!" Yelled Calypso. In his excitement he had forgotten to remove his harness.

"Oh." He said and shrugged it off.

"Ya' know feather." Magpie said tenderly before heading over to help Calypso set up a fire to make…"dinner".

"How'd it go?" Asked Calypso.

"Bellatrix and Kipepeo were with Fade, so I couldn't see them. Poppy gave me a new bottle of Moonlight Mist."

"Aye? Ya' saw Poppy?"

"Aye. She insisted I show her my glamour. She loves it." Magpie explained with a chuckle.

"Did she give you anything today?"

"Just a bottle of Moonlight Mist. I'm gonna' use it tonight."

Calypso and Magpie chatted on until the meal was done cooking. By now most of the crows had settled down and were laughing and singing around the campfire. Talon flew up to her and sat down. "Where's ol' Batch?"

"Off trying to get some poor firefly's wings." Said Mingus.

It had quickly gotten dark and the first crickets had begun to play their beautiful songs. She remembered a song Snoshti sang to her while she was just a lass. She felt a gentle breeze on her face. Goodnight, Grandfather. Often he would blow along with them, every once in a while whispering something into Magpie's ear.

"Hoy, Pie. You ready for yer'…food?" Asked Calypso, pausing to think of a better way to describe the stuff he'd just cooked up.

"Sure, feather."

"Mags, when you're done, I need to ask you somethin'." Calypso's face became serious.

She nodded her head in agreement and quickly finished her dinner, all the time the birds laughing and making jokes. Calypso stood up and motioned for Magpie to follow him. She set her bowl aside and flew off to a higher branch where he was now perched.

"Did ya' see how slow Maniac seemed today?" He asked promptly.

"Y-yes." Magpie faltered. She'd noticed that he seemed smaller somehow since his time within theBlackbringer, like his spark had begun to fade and was struggling to stay strong, like a dying candle it wavered and danced, sometimes strong and sometimes shrinking.

She looked down at her feather skirt, the one Bertram had made for her, and gently stroked Maniac's soft, glossy feathers. "I'm sure he'll be fine, Feather." She said with a false smile, leaning over to kiss him. She stepped into the air and dropped back down to the branch where everyone else was. By now Batch had given up and was farting by the fire. Bertram shooed him away to make sure the flames wouldn't ignite.

Calypso fluttered down and rested on the branch. "Bed. Yev' got a big day tomorrow, meatin' the Ratherstings an' all." He ordered looking from Magpie to Talon and back again.

Magpie gave him a look that said 'Do I have to?' but when Calypso's face didn't change she got up and entered her caravan. Talon followed her, anxious to talk of today's adventures.

"Talon, he said sleep."

"Since when do you care what he tells you to do?"

"Always." She said, only slightly offended.

Talon scoffed and turned to go. He stopped at the door and walked back. "Could I have some of that?" He asked, looking at Magpie's flask.

"Sure." She said, taking a sip herself and then passing it off to Talon. He drank, screwed the cap back on and left.

He hadn't been back home for months. He and Magpie had been working and working to satisfy the Djinn King. He knew the missions would be hard, but he wanted to help Magpie, be with her. He always wanted to be with her.

Magpie was running through the forest, searching, searching. She leaped into the air and everything melted away. She was suddenly standing among the high pillars of Issrin Ev. The Magruwen approached her, in all his golden glory. She could feel the intense heat as he approached her. She'd obviously done something to infuriate him.

"Now look what you've done!" He boomed. I spend years teaching you to weave and you destroy it!"

"I'm sorry Lord. I never-" She faltered. She destroyed it? Could she really have destroyed the tapestry? How? How was the world still alive? The fabric of creation, destroyed!

"The world will be flooded with devils now! All death will be unleashed! How dare you!"

"My Lord, what have I done?" She begged desperately.

"You have unweaved, unraveled! You have destroyed my work!"

"But-how Lord? How?"

"You have unleashed all evil! Something worse than the Blackbringer and Ethiag combined! This world will perish!" His voice faded away and Magpie recognized the familiar scent of Nightspink. She was standing on the bridge. But this time instead of just seeing the regular elderly fairies she saw a sight more hideous than death. Devils, hundreds of them, swarmed above the cowering picnickers, reaching down and devouring them one at a time. In the middle of the swarm were Kippepeo and Bellatrix. Magpie whipped out Skulldraig and raced into the heat of battle.

But she was too late. Bellatrix looked up at her with pleading eyes as a devil clamped down on her shoulder. It seemed to suck the spark straight out of her. Kippepeo saw his love being snuffed out of existence and faltered. Magpie saw him get swarmed by devils and when they cleared he was gone too.

Magpie sat up straight in bed. She quickly envisioned the glyph for threshold, moonlight and garden. She felt herself set down by the river and many of the fairies attempted to speak to her. She didn't listen. She ran past them and straight to Bellatrix's place. When she saw the legendary hero she leaped with joy and tackled her with a giant hug. Bellatrix turned and looked down.

"Oh, Magpie. It's you!"

"I had a dream and - the Magruwen said that I-and you were- and Kippepeo- the devils- all the people- I'm so glad to see you!"

"W-what?" She asked.

Magpie proceeded to tell Bellatrix about her dream. She looked more concerned with every word Magpie spoke. When she finished, Magpie took a deep breath and rested her head on Bellatrix's shoulder. "Where's Kippepeo?"

"Telling stories to Fade." She said simply.

"Oh." Magpie said, relieved to hear that none of her dream was real.

"I think he likes you." Bellatrix said with a smile.

"Who?"

"Fade."

"For true?"

"Well, he did choose not to incinerate you."

"I'm glad." Magpie laughed.

"You know Magpie, you were so concerned of my death, and yet we are all just a sliver in the palm of time. I seem so great to you, while there were hundreds of others who could have done the deeds I have done. The Magruwen chose me. I was simply his hammer, he is the craftsman."

"I see…" She lied. How could Bellatrix say that? She was the most important fairy that ever lived! And yet, she was so wise…

"I should go…"

"Well, goodbye then." And with that Magpie faded out.

Talon was back in Rathersting Castle. There was a table set with a feast. Talon entered the room and it fell silent. There were coughs of "King Scuffle" and "Lord Scamperer". Before his father had died he had said no skins in the castle. It had made life there torture. He had also been forbidden to travel with Magpie. That had really killed him. He had to obey his father, even after death.

"Evening Nettle."

"Hello brother." She replied dryly. She was upset about their father's death, but more upset about Talon being their leader, she had explained it in great detail to Talon. Nettle was the oldest. She should be in charge. Talon didn't go on raids like she did. He didn't know how to fight. All that he knew how to do was knit and make fantasims.

He sat down at the head of the table, with his sister and his mother on either side of him. The men began eating and laughing. It was a typical meal, although it wasn't. It was the first feast without his father. With "King Scuffle". None of the men spoke to Talon or even looked to him. They respected him, they had too, but that didn't mean they had to be nice to him.

Talon knew they would never accept him as their real king. Talon was just feeling sorry for himself when Nettle spoke.

"You don't deserve to sit there, wart."

"Your sister's right." His mother added. "You always were a disappointment to your father. You ruined his reign."

"You made a fool of the family, running off with that ugly Windwich girl. She defied Vesper, the great queen of all Dreamdark! I couldn't believe it myself until I saw her. Savage little thing she is. If I sat there at least I wouldn't let traitors like her live. I'd have executed her long ago." Nettle had gone to far.

"Sister," said Talon, trying to retain his temper. "If you would only talk to her, you would realize how good a person she is." He wanted desperately to see her again and might as well have been down on his knees begging.

"See mother! See how he throws himself at her like a love sick puppy!"

"She's right, you know. Nettle's always right. She's always the best anyone could want. She deserves that throne, not trash like you."

Talon stood up as if to offer Nettle the seat. When she stood up he interrupted. "If you would both please leave." He said with a smile. Nettle sat back down defiantly. "Well if you won't leave than behave yourselves." The men laughed and laughed at this and the two lady turned radish red, not only with embarssment but with rage. This was not the life they deserved. They were supposed to be rulers not be ruled. Especially by a scamperer.

Nettle gave him a nasty look and went to sit with one of the other warriors. She sat down on his lap. "See Talon," She taunted "Real men appreciate me." She leaned over and kissed him on the lips. They fell to the ground locked together. The men cheered, transfixed.

Talon felt smaller and smaller with every second. Home was supposed to be a place of happiness, not torture. He slumped off to his room and Nettle took her "rightful" place at the head of the table.

When Talon awoke, tears were streaming down his face. He knew it had only been a dream, that father was still alive, that Nettle and his mother loved him, but maybe they were right. Maybe he wasn't fit to be the head of the Ratherstings.

"Sweet, sugary patty cakes." He heard one of the crows mutter, probably Pigeon he decided. The first light still hadn't come over the trees and the crows were all still asleep. Talon silently got up and wandered out to see Magpie sitting by the dead embers of last night's fire.

"Hey." He said.

Magpie turned and looked into his eyes. He had been crying. He came and sat down next to her.

"You alright?" She asked.

"Yeah. I'm perfect." He said grabbing her hand, and together they stared of into the sunrise.