sa01 teaser

31 10 2009

“In the beginning, there were two worlds — the world of humans, and the world of Faerie. Basically they were the same world, but explaining what I mean by that would take a lot of time and probably just confuse people.

“The Pandora Effect made those two worlds into one. Well, not really, it was more like a transposition, a layering. You take, say, an onion skin and put it on top of a rutebega skin, and–

“Right. The confusion. Let me start again.

“The Pandora Effect pasted the Faeries into the world of humans. Things didn’t go real well after that. Two centuries of war were kicked off that day as one tried to lay waste to the other, because OBVIOUSLY they couldn’t just share the same land mass. Nooo, that would’ve actually made a lick of sense and wouldn’t have given them anybody to shoot at and/or skewer and/or blow up with magic.

“At some point, the Faeries got it in their heads that if they lured away young girls with promises of witchcraft (and I don’t know if they got the idea of ‘witches’ from human folklore or if it was another remarkable cultural coincidence) they could turn human against human, arming them with magic. See, the problem is that human brains just can’t handle the burnout of casting spells, and the Faeries had no problems with that, since witches were basically disposable. …we’ve found ways around that problem, before any of you start to wonder if coming here was such a brilliant idea. I’m getting to that bit.

“Anyway. The war carried on, and on, then eventually people started getting sick and tired of the war. It cooled off, but never really settled down, with a raid here, some sniping there, and so on. Everybody sat in their little corners glaring at each other and sometimes throwing rocks. It wasn’t really that much of an improvement over open warfare, except in terms of body count, I guess…

“Then for reasons which would, again, be highly confusing, the twin Queens of Faerie dumped their crowns on me. A human. And I was given the charge of kickstarting the Second Age. –yes? Back row.”

The young girl adjusted her pointy hat, which she’d nearly knocked off with the speed at which she raised her hand.

“Wot’s a Second Age?” she inquired.

“It’s a Faerie legend,” Lady Emily (Queen of Faerie) continued. “The seasons are a constantly shifting thing, time pushing forward. Everything changes. Even the thousands of years of Faerie tradition have to change in time. The Second Age calls for a time of upheaval, when all the old conventions shuffle around, and enemies become allies… but in the end, it’s what has to be, and it’s the only way towards a better tomorrow.”

“So we’re in the Second Age thing, then,” the girl decided. “Funny, I didn’t see it on my calendar this morning. I got a really ‘spensive one that does email and lets me call my mum.”

“Way I’m seeing the Second Age is that we’re going to do everything we can to make peace with our neighbors,” Emily explained. “I’m a human, just like you, despite being the new Queen of Faerie. I’m doing my best to make a bridge between the old enemies. And this Witching Academy is part of that. –middle row, green hat?”

“When do we get to cast Magic Missile?” the slightly older girl asked.

Emily sighed. “You don’t. I don’t know how to blast things to bits with magic,” she noted.

“But you’re the Queen of Faerie. That means you’re, like, Jesus or something, right? You can do anything–”

“Can and should are entirely different things,” Emily said, cutting that line of thinking right off. “Witches of the past got that muddled up. The most important part of magic is knowing when you should be using it — that’s why you’re here. All of you are from fringe communities that want to put the past behind them, and to take part in the future. Each of you is going to learn not to lob fireballs at people or bake kids into cakes in a giant gingerbread house… you’re going to learn how to help your communities, your families, your friends. You’ll be powerful, but in the sense that any problem put in front of you gets solved. Period. You are going to be totally capable, self-reliant, clever little girls–”

“Hey!”

“–and little boys. Err. Boy,” Emily corrected, quickly, as the young boy in the pointy hat glowered. “Speaking of which, Melvin, please talk to Instructor Elriel tonight about your special washroom arrangements. …for simplicity’s sake we’re going to be calling you a witch rather than a wizard or a warlock or a witchalok or whatever. I like to think it’s gender neutral. …where was I? Right. Magic. The future.”

Emily rose from her rocking chair, to get some extra height over her new flock of young witches. Never hurt to be a little intimidating. Scout was teaching her how to look imposing and impressive.

“Man and Faerie need to live together, and learn together. We’re all stuck on this continent together; we’re all Americans. The borders are still strong, but I hope that in your lifetime — and with your help, armed with the knowledge you bring home from this academy — we can one day put the past behind us and be one nation again. Keep that in mind. Faerie, human, we look different and do things differently, but in the end, we’re just folks. …alright. I think that’s enough speechmaking for one day. The Instructors will show you to your dormitories, and classes begin tomorrow. Any more questions?”

The girl with the fancy digital calendar raised her hand.

“Why’s your hat so old and nasty looking compared to ours?” she asked.

“Because,” Emily informed. “Now, amscray, Queenie’s got work to do. The Second Age isn’t starting itself, y’know. Class dismissed.”

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7 responses

31 10 2009
cmdr_zoom

heehee, witchalok.

31 10 2009
tozetre

eeeEEEE! schoolgirlsqueal
also, heh, witchalok.

31 10 2009
luinthoron

Very nice! :) Although… Wasn’t it the Pandora Event?

31 10 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Whoops. Yeah, I’ll fix that in the final.

1 11 2009
kamalloy

Emily is so awesome. ^^ Also, the girl with the electronic calendar sounds rather British, which indicates that they have the interwebs up and running to some extent and people are making it over from the UK. Very intriguing.
And I echo some of the other posters in being amused by the witchalok reference. ^^

1 11 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

The British Empire is yet to be introduced in the series; she only sounds that way because it felt like the funniest read of the line. She might have some English ancestry, though. Plenty of nationals were stranded in America when the Pandora Event struck.
We will in fact be learning about the jolly old english by the end of this chapter.

2 11 2009
jaeai

^_^ Squee!!

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