Killing the Faerie: from the Book of Cautionary Tales
By Francesca Quarto
“For the last time! Who gives a wasp wing?”
Randell Pearson was livid with his wife. She had little concept of what made him happy and none of what made him furious.
A Wizard of little repute among his peers, he found her doubting him at every turn, a blow to his ego. His deep insecurity made the criticism even worse.
Today, Halloween Eve, he was in a determined frame of mind, despite Katrina’s harangue.
“You can’t kill a Faerie, Randell; there will be horrible retribution to be paid by you; perhaps even by us!” she said imploringly.
“This will prove my abilities beyond any doubt. I shall be elected as Prime Wizard to his Majesty…a giant among my fellows!”
“Besides, this Faerie is an evil runt, who has delighted in tormenting me the whole of my Wizarding life. He has inspired my fellow Wizards to jeer me behind my robe and placed curses upon me so that I slowly shrink in height.”
It was all true; Randell lost his lofty frame of six feet and three inches over time, currently standing at barely five feet in his shoes.
Randell had a plan he’d long ruminated over.
Capture King Alfred’s attention and by the bold act of killing a Faerie, force his fellow Wizards to elevate him to the highest post in Alfred’s Kingdom; Wizard Guardian of the Books.
These volumes held every kind of Magical theory, ward, spell and any relevant guides to performing Magic. There were only one dozen of these great treatises, written by long progressed Wizards and Witches.
“Randell, you mustn’t attempt this folly” Katrina pleaded yet again.
Her husband was young and impetuous, something her mother had warned her about before they wed.
“He’s too young and inexperienced pet; only one century and fifteen years with no Magical credentials either.” She had cautioned.
But Katrina loved the handsome boy and threw her mother’s words to the wind running away with him.
“This Faerie shall fall to me! I have been taunted long enough as he demeans my skill at Magic. And see me! I am shrunken by his very curse!
Now, I’ll show him and the others, before he has a chance to blink his yellow eyes!”
Halloween Eve, Randell stepped out of his small cottage on the rim of the Blue Marsh and into the gathering dusk.
Katrina had left for the Annual Spirit Fest, urging caution one last time and kissing him a fond good bye. She knew his venture would end badly, but his fate was his alone and she had Magic to do.
Randell found the tight cluster of tree houses where the Faerie clan of the Shannon had lived for eons without count.
He moved stealthily, not wanting to give away his presence.
They’ll know me soon enough he thought with a tight smile.
He had brought with him his mentor’s staff, willed to him at his progression, not many years earlier. It contained all the power the old Wizard stored in it, before he left this realm.
Randell held it in front like a Matador’s cape, creeping on his soft leather slippers, circling the one tree home where he knew the hated Fay to live.
He chanted his strongest spell and laid down wards to prevent his foe escaping the terror he was about to unleash.
Just as he finished his Magical machinations, he heard something riding the wind. A chuckle, like water splashing over the rocks of a fast stream.
He abruptly stopped. Searching the gloom around him and he pricked his ears for the sound to reemerge from the murky night.
There! He thought alarmed. Someone is laughing…
He turned in a tight circle trying to locate the being hidden in the shadows of the Faeries tree homes.
“Show yourself, coward!” he hissed into the fearsome dark.
“Tsk, Tsk! Wizard. Tis you who skulk about on this Hallowed Eve. Why are ye creepin’ about like some unholy wraith, I might ask ye?”
The Faerie dropped his camouflage of vine and bark and stepped away from the side of the tree home closest to the Wizard.
“We Faeries have been watching ye Randell. Yer plan to come here ta savage me, has marked ye fer me wrath. Are ye ready to receive yer just pudding?”
Randell was undone by the Faerie’s threat and raised his staff to ward it off.
The Faerie merely laughed again.
He smirked into the Wizards terrified face.
“Oh, tis not yerself alone that shall bear me curse. Fetch ye home en see what ye have done.”
The Faerie blinked out of sight. Randell felt a deep chill burrow into his very marrow.
He sprinted like a yearling deer for his own abode. He was nearly there when his body became sluggish, his legs moved as if through heavy syrup. He dragged himself an inch at a time, until he reached his door.
But it wasn’t anything like his own door; it had shortened until it seemed only passable by a field mouse.
His house, was shrunken, looking from his view above it, like a shriveled mushroom.
“What is this evil art?” Randell screamed out into the tops of the trees surrounding his miniature cottage.
Vaguely, he became aware of his own size. He was gigantic, too big to enter any human’s house, let alone his own diminutive domicile.
His head brushed the trees that would normally have blocked the floating moon.
Now, he not only had a clear view of the witches passing across its face, but he saw over the tree tops to the distant River Shannon, several kilometers away.
There was another chuckle tickling his ear.
“Randell Pearson, ye will be a giant among yer Wizard peers after all” said his Faerie tormentor.
“Be careful not to squish yer wee wife. And before I leave, one last ting…
Be careful what ye wish fer, “Giant among Wizards!”