Selcouth sel'kooth, adj (Old English sel(d)cuth, from seldan seldom, and cuth, known)
Strange; unfamiliar; marvelous. Combining the sense of strangeness with that of wonder, selcouth is a fantastic self-referential word, being both marvelous and (to most English speakers) entirely unfamiliar.
I can't promise I'll update this regularly or at all, but I am working on the next chapter and it is one of my favorites of my own stories. I'm not really sure where I'm going from here, so I'm open to suggestions.
You know the beginning of this story. The beginning is a story in itself – a story of a spinner and his deals. It is a story whispered at night around the campfire. It is not a pleasant story, but it is a good one.
The words all change, the goals, the everything. The son, the all-important son, is forgotten.
But it always begins the same.
Once upon a time...
...There was a cowardly spinner.
He had a son, and he made several unwise deals.
He lost his son to a world without magic.
There the son is, crying on the forest floor – but getting up.
This boy is no coward.
He stumbles deeper into the forest and finds a well – moss covered, abandoned, stones about to tumble into the deep water.
And later he will leave the forest, he will find a civilization so very different from the one he knows. He will live.
But that is less important.
He drinks from a moss covered well in the middle of a forest, and perhaps that is where this story starts.
But though the story has started, now it stalls. The spinner's son disappears into the mundane stories; his one of many. It is merely filler. Though he was the beginning of the beginning, he is not the middle or the end.
Let us forget him for a time, and remember the world he left behind.
There are threads of stories here, blinding in the not-color of not-space. These threads reach out from this place, and perhaps they may twist and turn along the way, but they are the same. Stories told during both cloudy nights and bright mornings. They are universal.
They are different here.
Here they are not stories.
Here they are real.
They dance; weaving and embroidering, braiding together, essences bleeding into one another.
Remember, they always begin the same.
But the ending, that is something else entirely.
Here, it is a prophecy.
A prophecy, and a spinner who plans and plots but does not brew.
That is all it takes – a misplaced comma and one wrong word, and suddenly the entire story has changed. No longer happily ever after – or perhaps happily ever after after all.
A princess is born, and an evil queen knows before the babe's parents.
The spinner and the queen are not invited to her christening.
They show up anyway.
The two clash, the dark spinner who has his plans (but not his brew) and the evil queen who has her prophecy (but not, just yet, her revenge). They stand across from each other. In the middle is the little princess.
They are magicians, all three, the evil queen and the little princess and the dark spinner. He cackles and she screeches and the baby cries. Magic, bright and hot and very, very costly spits across the room.
Watch closely, dearie. The magicians are about to perform a disappearing act.
Something blows up, magic hissing at magic. A woman screams in the background.
The princess is gone.
And she, too, disappears into a world without magic, her story, but for its beginning, mundane.
She has a son.
The well is patient. It is limited to the realm of possibility, here. Remember the spinner's son?
It is not so impossible, that he adopts the princess's son.
It has been twenty eight years since the princess arrived, ten since she had her child and gave him up.
It has been twenty one since the spinner's son did.
It has been two hundred and eighty five years since the spinner's son disappeared.
It has been a year and a half since the princess did.
Time is not linear. It bends and twists and teases itself into seven dimensional shapes.
The spinner's son has a son.
That son does not have a mother.
His classmates are cruel, bullying the boy who has always been more interested in his books than a game of tag.
It is mother's day, today, and they make cards.
Henry sits and reads a book.
His classmates tease and poke and make fun, and when recess is over, he just wants to go home to his father.
That night, he considers. He thinks. He realizes he shouldn't; the next morning, he does anyway. The internet helps; a filched credit card helps more.
Henry makes it to Boston and finds his mother's hotel. He chirpily informs her that he is her son and she has to come home with him.
Partially out of worry for him, partially out of indulgence, and partially because she hasn't seen her baby's face since he was born, Emma agrees.
The trip back to Oakton, Henry's home, is nearly silent despite Henry's chatter.
She meets his father. He has a direct gaze, piercing; he skewers Emma and then, thanking her for bringing Henry home, dismisses her.
That should be the end of it.
She reaches out to hug him one last time as he holds fast to his father's hand.
All three have magic – the princess is magical by nature, as is her son, and the spinner's son was touched, once, twice, enough to linger. It is stifled in this world, unusable, but it forms kindling, and a spark of childish belief lights the fire. And that is all the well needs to leave behind, for just a moment, the realm of possibility, to let these three passengers ride its waters to a world that was once theirs.