fairy rings and toadstools

Fractured Fairytale II


Sakura pulled her hands back from the thorns, retrieving the flower that had caught her eye. A rose, how poetic. She dropped it below the bush of thorns, plucked and limp, before turning away and striding through the rest of the woodlands.

She had been given three tasks by her monster husband before their union could be considered valid. There were three tasks she had to complete before she could sleep without worrying about the girls in her village and all the families who feared having to say goodbye to a sweet girl that didn’t deserve death. Not that Sakura thought she deserved her fate any more than they did theirs, she had to admit it could be worse.

When she stopped in the clearing light filtered through the emerald canopy to reach out and bounce of the gold of her enchanted armor. It had been a gift after Madara told her of the first of her tasks. Years ago he had hidden away his death in the eye of a needle and hidden that needle in an egg and that egg in a box and that box in a chest and that chest in a tower and that tower in a clearing in the forest without end. He hadn’t told her his other two tasks for her, but the servants in the walls whispered what they thought it would be.

She had heard plenty of stories from her girlhood and too many of the whispers sounded just like bedtime stories. They whispered about secret names and spinning wedding shawls with gold and catching firebirds and dancing forever away inside a fairy ring. She doubted they meant to do anything more than distract her from the task set before her.

“I have no more need of you, you may leave me be,” Sakura says over her shoulder without turning her head enough to see.

She doesn’t have to, if Madara’s envoy wants to be seen, he will make himself visible. So far, Kakashi has kept to the shadows and appeared only at night to sit across from her fire. Still, Sakura knows he always watches her with those mismatched eyes of his. One of them is red, the way Madara’s is red. Sakura heard stories about all the creatures in the world who have red eyes seeing things for the Bone Husk King. Sakura didn’t doubt Madara watched her and kept track of her through Kakashi even when she couldn’t see him.

“Maaa, so cold. Let us hope she is not so when our king makes his bed with her.”

Sakura huffs angrily, not yet used to the teasing or the adult content. She’s been isolated and cloistered away for too long to have any amount of substantial exposure to the world of birds and bees aside from the lessons the old woman taught in privet after the waking hours were past.

“When you make yourself scares, take heed to keep your foul speech to yourself,” Sakura ground out.

“You’ll be lonely.”

“I’m used to being alone.”

“That is true, oh, but why does that make me sad to hear it?”  Kakashi was smoke behind her and then a solid figure in front of her.Taller, he leaned down, blocking out sunlight. “Maybe you’d be less of a pity if you had someone to talk to.”

“I didn’t ask for your pity.” Sakura pushed him to the side and trekked on.  

The forest around her was starting to show her things. She knew it was laced with enchantments, and most of the trees were more alive than others. When she picked flower free of their stalks their voices cried out in an ancient language. The deeper she traveled, the louder the flowers screamed, and that’s how Sakura knew she was heading the right way. Someone as vain as Madara wouldn’t dare hid his death in a place less than the very best the forest had to offer. She didn’t doubt the tower was encircled in a fairy ring or toadstool circlet. That flashy taunting was typically his style.

Kakashi huffed before turning around and skipping ahead of her to fade back into a shadow and remain unseen. He played the part of a nonchalant observer, but sakura could tell that he was a bit more than just that. She didn’t know how much more, but he watched her too keenly and hid his confidence too well to not be worth the Bone Husk King’s favor.

Sakura reached for another flower, but hesitated, looking once more for Kakashi. He wasn’t as well hidden this time, instead sitting atop a long tree branch above her head. He pretended to be looking at something from his pocket, but Sakura could feel his eyes as if they were a physical force.

The other reason she knew she was heading in the right direction was on account of how active her escort seemed to become. The closer they got, the more Kakashi came out from his hiding. And it wasn’t lost on Sakura how he made no offer to direct or aid her yet. Still, he’s too keen.

Sakura pulls the flower and there’s strong magic as it screams in the oldest of languages yet. She is getting closer and it’s enough to make her run. Ahead of her in the direction the flowers were growing towards, Sakura ran towards the clearing where the world would become a little less clustered. There were stone things caught int he ivy, and underneath her feet she glimpsed the ruins of a long forgotten place made from stone. Once upon a time this place used to be something more than just a forest. But that was too long ago, back when the stories say man had learned to fly and even touched the edges of the sky before triggering their own demise in greed and fire.

The stones become less sparse, and soon there is a steady path underneath the greenery for her to follow. A single stone pillar stood up on one side of the path and Sakura could see the indent in the ground on the other side of the path where the other would stand in order for the two to connect in an arch. A little ways on there was another pair, and then another. She didn’t have to pluck anymore flowers, the place she desired was finally before her.  

The stone structure was old and ancient with no roofs and crumbling walls, but built in the center of what used to be a church, there was something new. Stepping into the clearing, Sakura saw it was a seamless, stone tower. Rushing through the ruins Sakura skips around what used to be doorways and walls to stop at the base of the enchanted tower. It vibrated with magic and seemed almost alive when she stood too close to it. She reached out and the halo on her stomach hummed in response.

A vision of he moon, choked in singing voices, made her gasp. She stumbled backwards falling onto her bottom, her body was still a mess of shivers as the echo of the voices made her head feel hallow.

Too much magic.

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Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria) by markhortonphotography
Via Flickr:
The last pristine toadstool of a fairy ring on the village green, Pirbright.

orangebaccarat  asked:

What are your "contact with fairies" protocols? Are your prepared in the case of fairy encounters?

You can always be more prepared, of course.

And it depends on which type of fairies, but in cases of Fairy Emergency, my general policy is thus:

  • Be polite, but not thankful; generally, they don’t like that.
  • Don’t step on any toadstools or in any fairy rings and respect the nature around you.
  • Don’t take anything of theirs, not even a bramble on your clothing or a leaf in your hair.
  • Leave something of yours (that is of value) for them.
  • If lost, turn shirt inside out and put it on backwards to find your way again.
  • If you have anything edible, offer it or leave it behind.
  • Do NOT eat/drink anything offered, but decline with a simple “I couldn’t.” This is polite but doesn’t insist that other food is better/makes you fuller/all you’ll eat.
  • Don’t make any wagers, bets, or play any games. Especially don’t answer riddles.
  • Never, ever dance.
  • If they do something nice for you, leave out milk and a candle for three nights – either in the place they were last seen (at day break) or for the next three New Moons in a north facing window. 
  • Don’t ever mention the encounter to anyone.

There are a few tips I’m missing, but it wouldn’t be polite to mention them.