All Recognized and Recognizable characters remain the sole property of their creators. I simply had to borrow them for a little while.

Thanks again for the fun and inspiration of FAGE!

FAGEtastic Four

Title: Your True North

Written for: Jacquel Chrissy C. May / Claire Violet Thorpe

Written By: Rebekah Adams/Rebadams7

Beta: My Better Half, Really and Truly!

Rating: M, for things both plain and in the imagination so inspired.

Summary/Prompt used: 4. This is a dark comedy. The story is about a drunken merchant who is constantly annoying a cooperative conjurer. It starts in a city-sized magical device. The story begins with a flashback. Monsters on a rampage play a major part in the story.

Your True North

Part the First – While on Walkabout

While searching under the floorboards of the old mansion, Alice was positive the black teapot covered in a light film of dust was the same one she had purchased from the original fortune-teller in Boulia, from that caravan that had stopped near the town.

It had been another hot night in the wilds of Australia and the native folk had been going on about a kianpraty coming out to devour the children – native and not. It had been hard to get her charges, Elizabeth and Edward Hampton; twins age eight, to sleep. She'd taken the job when her funds for her world ranging adventure had been stolen in Adelaide.

Come to think of it, the theft occurred after passing the night in that very strange hostel. The whole city had seemed dreamlike in her eyes after the long train ride to arrive. Everything had the look of sherbet, pastel and shimmery. Nothing had felt real as she'd shopped and laughed with the other young travelers she'd tagged along with from Japan. From Tokyo to Auckland, on to Wellington, Sydney to Adelaide, the cities rolled on in her memory.

The companions were long gone in the morning, and not a drop of strong drink the night before, but with her head swimming she'd sat at a café table with a cup of coffee, contemplating her loss of ready cash and her bank card. A passport, sixty-eight coins of various countries and an Australian twenty-dollar note sat in small plies before her, when the elegant woman's shadow had crossed her space.

The offer of the job on their station was a godsend – or perhaps she was the fairy godmother that was in dire need at the moment, but that had to wait for the tea.

A black pot, of a familiar and yet slightly off shape, arrived for the tea and a white flower formed from five petals fixed the bottom, visible at the pour. The tea was heady, hot and sweet and as it coursed from lip to brain, it electrified and energized the sleepy Fey deep within her.

The elegant woman watched her eyes and remarked that her guide would be waiting by the firepot in the garden at dusk, whenever Alice was ready to find her. Cryptic though many might find the quip, the Fey in Alice understood and worked to make a friendly place in Alice. It was the knowledge as old as the opals that called from the tales.

Kianpraties did enjoy the taste of fresh innocence but as Fey were guardian they were also the finest, tastiest morsels to cover this third ground from old Sol.

Was it luck or divine providence that the lesson of the day had been the power of patience, that gave Alice the presence to hold, to draw, to cajole and to conquer.

Alice watched the dust continue to fall through the cracks to the Aubusson rug that covered the concrete where she waited. She was Fey after all. She would deal with what pricked her thumbs, but not till they were in the perfect position. Alice was patient; above all patience had proved her strong suit more than once.

The slightly off key crooning of Danny Boy indicated her plan was working. Kianpraty never were appreciative of music.

Part the Second – Because no one can eat just one!

Jasper had woken that morning with a clear head, certain that he'd finally found the perfect prescription for allowing him to forget himself in his favorite fashion and still rise to toil another day. The youngest seventh son of a seventh son, he'd thought he would escape the family firm to a myriad of brothers and their wives. Fate had fixed a fine opportunity for him, which was now fallen by the wayside. Fickle was the fire that rampaged like a living monster, whipping through the warehouse and lane where most had called home. Left with injured or missing and presumed lost fraternals, the family fortune fell to his shoulders to defend.

So the intrepid lad dropped his dreams on the deck and took up the reigns. He rallied the staff to replenishing the rosters and took on the task of calling on the biggest clients. Whitlock's had been supplying the culinary and beverage trade for over a hundred years. Teapots to saucier, napkins to cauldrons, if you could cook in it, eat off it, drink or pour from it Whitlock's would find it for you and keep your stock tight.

Jasper had dreamed of sailing the seas or singing his way to a woman's heart. Instead he displayed fine crockery and such all day – and stayed in his cups all night.

Thus he remained and thus he would till he'd had his tea from a fine black teapot from a fine maiden with hair so shiny short and so black, as it'd cupped round her head tightly making him think of that teapot. Spying that teapot again had him thinking of her.

Was it the tea or was it the girl? What did it matter in this mess of a world? He turned over to kiss the raven-haired vixen who had seemed so demure until darkness fell.

She'd come to him in the tavern near the green the first night. He'd been onto his fourth pint and almost to the point where he'd forget what he did all day and dream about what he might find. He'd left his post for a moment, urgent necessities' garnering his attention and upon his return he'd found his sprite perched on his stool. Her smile lit his path like a lighthouse.

"You have long kept me waiting sir" Her ruby lips had formed the words with perfection and the sound of her voice was of soft waves and distant ship's bells.

"My apologies miss. I did not mean to keep you in attendance." He took her hand and surprised them both with the duck of his head and the brush of her hand with his lips. Henceforth he followed any instruction the beacon presented. He pursued her in the slippery lanes of Seattle every night since.

In truth he'd no idea he was in thrall to the Fey maiden. His brain so often sodden with barley pop he only knew her presence soothed him, so he sought her out. Alice felt a blagguard while she spun her web. In truth she could not lose him and he was sublime in all the ways that mattered. Forswearing the possibility, but in truth her heart was no longer hers to command.

He'd been a high mind to virtue after a long spell of dalliances with friends who came bearing gifts, more than a benefit but less than a perfect fit. When her hand, enfolded by his long fingers, found a key to a lock and a perfect melody to a poem. If a true north existed for the soul, certainly he was on the right heading.

In his chambers, he brought her with a shy blush, beguiling her all the more. Her trysts had more trying than truth, but her heart longed for a safe haven, a port in the storm. He did not presume to ponder all was his to plunder, but he instead had pondered her face, memorizing each feature at his fingertips. Her hands had found purchase on his buttons and freed of cotton confines, he'd caressed her bosom, her soft rose peaks pebbling to his palms as eager mouths met in increasingly fervent open kisses. With little more than her soft pants to guide him, he slid his hands under silky chemise and intimate lace. Her eyes blazed as her hands learned the geography of his chest and back, softly caressing and firmly clasping his button and zippered fly. She pulled back only to divest her torso of textile trappings. In firm steps measure for measure they brought naught but skin to rest on the soft cotton coverings of mattress and duvet in the master, well the only bedroom in the bachelor quarters.

Tender kisses found shoulders and knees, chest and bottoms, caressed, embraced and fondly fondled as prelude to the portion. Eyes wide with souls shining perfection found privilege as she enfolded him in her most private place. Whispers to moans, breathy entireties to bold exclamations, they came together in this sphere and the one above, two souls found whilst two people embodied love.

Thus Jasper's nights were body sobered because his heart was drunk on love. Mercy was that Alice held fear of her thralling; the result was a solicitous merchant, always finding a way to be with his pixie he thought he only dreamed of each night. Such was the sadness that shadowed this thought, he forbeared temperance and his coffee was well irished while the sun shone. While the moon owned the skies he'd thought he was just still in his cups, but in truth, it was Sancerre of soul that brought the tipsy to his tone

In all that, he awoke, pondering what fresh excuse would allow him to call on the salon of Alice's endeavors. He'd fixed himself that something there gave him comfort after toil and a peaceful night's repose without pause. In truth he had found his genie's lamp but not the method he'd conjured in his head.

The commission had drawn him, but now he committed any error and reason to pass an hour by the velvet curtains to the main salon. A forgotten signature, a missed quantity, a question on color ( blanc-sur-blanc or with the raised roses?)

For the first time in his short but harried existence, he was a major distraction. Alice sought naught but a moment in his existence. Dazzling him to the point of distraction each day was not a chore, but a clandestine call of her heart. Her strength lied in his smile, her inspiration in his gaze. Her greatest sin was leaving him in the mire of his imagination, that he only saw her in the professional sense. He groaned under the weight of the misapprehension that he was now a solitary celibate except for his dreams.

Part the Third – Why all the cloak and dagger?

Alice had woken to her Fey nature warring with her logical sense in her second night on the station. It wasn't much of a fight, her heart and inner compass paying scant attention to that part of her which attempted logic and cool reason. There was little that found traction on that side of her brain, so there were few reserves, but it is a friendly truce, for even the power of a Fey needs to add and subtract from time to time. Death and taxes call on Fey folk as well as those not so gifted.

Each morning found Alice grown in comfort and ability, from the parlor trick of kissing elbows all the way to enticing cook to fix her favorite repasts with but a wink and a flick of a wrist. At dusk, a Fey from the outback would wait by the fire for a boil in the Billy and some tucker, sometimes chewing on a bit of wild grass, other times working on a bit of art, holding for the opportunity to pass on some bit of law or lore, the duties of a master being embraced by another whole, no guilt or guile, just duty to ground them..

It was three months from the theft that the first attach reached her station. On a night with no moon and little breeze, the kianpraty crept up the south trellis into the nursery.

Alice felt her Fey take over her limbs and creep into the main playroom. It was to be a duel of shadows and stealth. The creatures first crawled up the walls and hovered over the iron bead stands, their drool naught but moon mist on a whisper of wind. Alice hid under the stairs that led to a little loft and balcony that overlooked the nursery floor.

Pricking her thumbs passed as the form covered the lithe form of Elizabeth, and then a burp of prodigious portion and ponderous sound escaped her rosebud lips. It caught the harridan figure by surprise and it shot up and into his companion, impaling the pair on the shiny spikes protruding from the prominent spine. The shriek was such that only dogs and Fey folk could enjoy the tone.

Before Alice could do much more, the conjoined fled through an open transom, shrinking to slip through into the inky night.

On the morrow, Alice praised the cook for the Italian incantation supper and Edward teased his sister about her nighttime concert, but not too much. Even his subconscious recognized the guardian presence that had covered and encouraged them.

In their memories of that time, could they but recall a nanny with the powers of childlike innocence who made their fleeting childhood days pass pleasantly. It would take great events for their conversation to breach even the possibility for more.

In time Alice garnered the funds to return to her dream journey and the twins attained the age for boarding school. In haste they found themselves on opposite sides of the tracks, one awaiting a coach to the coast and the other pair a ride to the station where coaching of the intellect would be the main occupation.

University held no carrot for the Fey and Alice could no longer find her muse in the ivy-covered walls. After a few weeks back on campus, Alice drifted down to the commercial part of town, finding the old mansion in need of love, care and a sprinkling of fairy dust. Under her brush the walls again gained the ability to shelter and surround, the roof to push off the worst weather and the windows to welcome the warm sunbeam or two.

The doors with fresh red paint and bright brass hardware welcomed the weary and famished alike.

Alice had taken her tuition and schooled a mansion instead. It became a handful of special rooms for the weary and a tearoom for celebration and contemplation alike. All the fancy coffee drinks of the current fashion were catered as well, that little bit of practical had melded with the magic just enough to ensure the business end was strong enough to permit the propagation of both mores practical and fantastical.

It was there that Jasper sought the commerce of the comely owner of the Bonnet Mansion.

To the locals, it was odd that the son and heir apparent to the copper clad fortune and firm would call on such a tiny enterprise. To call on the Hilton, the Headquarters of Ateake and Sle, of course but why the small concern.

Sly was the trade to the Fey folk, but come they did and such a clumsy lot. A gross of china a month was required to keep up appearances, and such a faithful subscription to Porcelains Du Nancy could not be ignored.

In such circumstances did time march right on. What? You might be asking of our intrepid nightmare. They such as they are, come not tied to a latitude and longitude as much as one might wish. This blue marble is there for them to roam.

Her newfound country was a wintry soul of a space.

Into this forest of angst, the Kianpraty feasted on the banquet of emotions and grew in torment. Solo when they should be paired desiring a pair that lived in the delusion of one coercing their heart, pricked with guilt.

For the broken spirit of one cruelly feasted on the semi soul of the other, a dish of revenge set to simmer while creeping round the twins, edging small misdeeds into their education.

Ask you must, what will be the comeuppance of a stew of such unenviable bits of emotions? It's hot and heady, ignorant of an important truism.

REVENGE IS A DISH BEST SERVED COLD.

Part the Fourth – May the Fourth Be with You.

Such was the springy sun in a fine humor that it broke over the harbor that May morn. In search of celebrations and repast did the twins find escape from their stations down under to begin their own walkabout on the contiguous forty-eight? It was still little more than breaking dawn when they discovered the beacon housed in the Bonnet Mansion.

Not eclipsed by the long separation, the pair adoringly gazed upon their former leader. So now the stage is set for the final act: the young charges full of intellect and equations, the Fey, her incantations and a force frothing fear and loathing, lurking, full from feasting through the new moon darkness the night before.

One would not guess the Thunderdome of conflict coming to rest on the leafy lawn, but before twilight could transform to inky sky, transgressions would be charged and hearts chained would be liberated, at least that is the plan of the maker. Such is decreed that all that passes must hold a purpose under heaven, eventually.

The Kianpraty bid her time, red still her spines and sore her throat in desire of the hot broth of vindication, just or not. She admired the crystal and china, set as a feast for the eyes and body surrounding her denied feast from years' prior. Twins are always a sweet and tasty treat, this pair especially so with years of ripening, their hearts at the edge of tumbling to love's call.

The Fey Alice, in full form thoroughly together, felt the pricking of her thumbs and set herself to the task of protection, wary of shadow and breeze, full on that such anger existed that would no longer ache for the cover of darkness. In the soft spring morning there was not full safety guaranteed.

It was the opportunity and the allegory that our evil rode in on the coat-tails of dear Jasper, set to deliver a sampling of new spices and teas so potent in scent that a full cover brought revenge right inside the velvet drapes.

To our weak senses it was a sprinkling of dust motes in a sunbeam, a shadow crossing a polished floor, little more than a wink and a sigh.

To the five figures in a pentacle, each point fell like an hour in examination. Alice, in full on flight up from the dusty under-floor, was drawing back the curtain and the creature rushing forth to the table to feast.

Jasper, sensing the doom all around them, coming to high alert, his military musings and naval knowledge jumping to his aid.

The twins, looking up from their scones to the horror of transparent teeth intent on more than a taste of their form.

Alice was not true on as she called out an incantation, funneled by her Fey fascination divided by love, for her charges and her own beacon.

Jasper in that moment realized he was in his own dream, charged with protection of the innocent and an ally of the virtuous, he raised the shiny tin over his head, protecting not himself from the furious, but offering himself as true target, shield and weapon.

So, on May the fourth, the force from Alice, not dividable to aid both her dear past and as dear and more so future, found an ally and aid in the form of a tin teabox that gave the prescribed trajectory. Bouncing from the shiny lid, to the crystal pretties in the cabinets set round the room, her spell multiplied and surrounded the enraged one, popping the poltergeist into piquant motes, scintillating in the morning sunbeams.

The twins, thus protected and freed from her pricking influences were freed to their walkabout, to discover their own beacons in life's seas. Eight and bells would call them cross the plains.

Alice found her true force and power lied not only in her intellect, but also in her heart as it grew ten times over under the full beam of love. He was still there, in pure form, for her alone.

Jasper knew and saw his own heart standing safe before him, no longer veiled in Fey mists but true and full in love outright. She was safe, his for the taking, holding and adoring forevermore.

Even the hearts of the doomed kianpraty found their own harbor on their reunion in another plane.

In time, the sons and daughters of the fallen would rise to the reins Jasper held so dear, and Alice would be there, their time to wander hence to commence.

For the true thing set all free, and real love does conquer all.

~fin~

Kianpraty is a creature of Australian incantation, I'm off to find some tucker!