Thursday, March 15, 2012

Muse Calliope Week 95: Adjustments and Adjournments - Trinity Part IX

Muse Calliope
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Adjustments and Adjournments - Trinity Part IX

Trinity ended up in what she assumed, given the massive desk occupying the corner of the room and the thick, leather bound books lining the walls, was a study of some kind. Likely because of the ball and the large number of masked guests floating about, someone had gone to the trouble of clearing off the top of the desk and Trinity had no qualms about taking advantage of the large, flat surface. With her arms braced against the edge, she hefted herself up backwards and slid back until her knees hit the side. She then proceeded to go about fixing her stupid gown's bodice.

"Well, I must say this is not what I expected to find in here."

Trinity froze. Slowly --very slowly-- she rose her head and turned to look in the direction of the voice. It belonged to the man leaning in the doorway, arms folded across his chest, an arrogant tilt to his head. He was costumed in a black tuxedo and a long flowing black cape with a black half-mask covering his brilliant, green eyes. Short, spiky black hair shot out from his head and his skin had a silvery sheen to it, marking clearly him as one of the Fae. He watched Trinity like a snake would watch a mouse, waiting patiently for her to reply.


“Wardrobe malfunction,” she gave by way of explanation, gesturing down awkwardly at her half-fixed bodice.

One eyebrow arched. “Indeed. And who might you be, little bird? Not one of the Fae ladies of this Court, that I know. So who? One of the Under Fae, perhaps? Daring little feat that would be.”

“What is the point of masks and masquerades,” Trinity countered, fixing what she hoped what a mysterious smile to her lips, “if identities are known so easily?”

The stranger grinned and stepped further into the room. “Are you saying you do not know who I am? Oh, foreign to this Court you must be indeed.” He dipped then in a flourishing bow, the sort of bow that would have put both Dracula and the Phantom of the Opera to shame by comparison. “His highness Fiachra, Prince of the Winter Court, son of her majesty, Queen Aoife, and Knight of the Fae realms at your service, milady.”

Trinity was beyond screwed. What had she done to deserve such bad luck – blown up a mirror factory in a past life?

He spun around then, giving Trinity his back for a moment while he fetched something from behind one of the books at the far end of the room. That was when she noticed his cloak and what it was he had embroidered in blue on its back. Clearly, he was well established in his mother’s affections to be so bold.

“I thought the emblem of the Queen was the Striking Serpent,” she commented quietly.

“Last I checked it was indeed,” Fiachra confirmed, tossing a grin over his shoulder as he rifled through whatever it was he had in his hands. “But I happen to loathe snakes for a whole slew of reasons, not least of which being my mother’s love for them. Thank the gods, I inherited my father’s bear instead.”

Trinity frowned. “Beg your pardon?”

His highness snorted and shook his head sadly, casting an almost disappointed look in her direction. “Careful now, love, you’re showing yourself to be of the Under Fae; everyone in the Noble class knows about our familiars.”

“I had a lazy governess,” she explained coyly, adding a mischievous smile and nonchalant shrug for good measure. “She must have left that part out.”

Fiachra’s chuckle was like dark chocolate, smooth and deep with a hidden hint of bitterness. It made Trinity shiver but she said nothing, barely resisting the urge to rub her arms. “We of the Noble class have whole species of animals we share an affinity with. You know about Artemis and her hounds? Pied Piper and his rats? Laverne and her pigeons? Same basic idea. Mother has snakes, I have bears.”

“If your affinity is for bears, why is it a griffin that is stitched on the back of your cape?” Trinity slid off the desk as she spoke; she had a feeling she might have need of the mobility shortly.

“Would you believe it’s a tribute to a breed made extinct by my mother’s pettiness?”


“Ah, I thought not.” Fiachra sighed and replaced whatever was in his hands back behind the books. He moved to another shelf further to the right, took something else out from behind the books, and started to rifle through its contents. “You know,” he continued, “most of us have mundane beasts as our familiars; any magic or myth attached to them is rare and more often than not accidental.”

“That’s …fascinating.” That sounded false even to Trinity’s ears, but Fiachra just snorted and rolled his eyes.

“Your usual jobs must have limited contact with people,” he noted drily. “You would never have survived this long otherwise. As I was saying, true magical creatures are rare and usually limited to the Royal bloodlines. Would you like to guess who claims the griffin as their familiar?”

“You …” Trinity blinked, then shook her head in disbelief. “Your mother has necromancy banned and all of its naturally inclined mortal bloodlines wiped out. She has griffins hunted into extinction. She casts sun elves out of Court and bans red hair from her presence. Short of making renting a billboard, she’s made her loathing of … the princess very plain, and you would go around Court wearing the image of the princess’ familiar on your back?”

Fiachra grinned. “What’s the point of living if it’s without risk? Besides, as her son, I’m immune to her wrath. More or less. Aha! Found it.” He held up a long, antique looking key with a triumphant grin. “Alright then, Miss Mystery, what’s say you and I take a little trip to my sister’s rooms? Much to my mother’s dismay, Faerie has not been as inclined as the Fae to accede to her leadership. Consequently, my sister’s rooms have remained most annoyingly out of her grasp.”

“You are Aoife’s only child,” Trinity pointed out. “You don’t have a sister.”

“Actually, since I, like so many, have a father as well as a mother, I happen to have three half-siblings floating around, much to my misfortune. In this case, however, I was referring to my step-sister. Under Fae, after all, do not just pop up at a Noble ball with no one noticing without a patron of some kind granting them protection. The list of Fae who would be so daring is short. Very short; there’s only one name on it.”

So much for secrecy. Trinity kept silent and fought to keep her face blank, as much good as it would do at this point.

Fiachra grinned. “Fortunately, most Fae are too busy courting favour to notice an Under Fae playing at Nobility slipping away mid-ball. Shall we adjourn to my sister’s quarters now? Unless, of course, you’d prefer to remain here and explain your party crashing to my mother’s guards.”

Trinity sighed. Three hundred fucking years old - she really should have known better than to jinx herself.

A/N: To be continued soon!