Poisonville

The Coed Vanishes: Tom O' Bedlam's Story

This is what the Summer Court Ambassador told you over his class of whiskey that night

“Back when Elvis was around, some of our Folk had, well, an interesting idea. See, we got an equilibrium, a balance, between Summer and Winter, a cycle. But it’s also a tension, right? We pull against each other, push against each other. We bleed on the borders, nothing ever coming of it. Sometimes, every now and then, someone will come up with a plan to try and break that cycle, end the war. Maybe a plan to give victory to one side or the other, maybe a plan to negotiate a permanent truce. It never works. It can’t. But back when ‘In the Ghetto’ was first on the radio, a couple of us gave it a shot. One was kin to me, a lady of the Seelie Court, a lady known for her great beauty and kind heart. The other, though, the other was one of the Unseelie. A lord of Winter. Now, some say he was sincere in his desire for peace, and found a willing partner in that kind lady. Others say he had darker ends, and turned her altruism into a lever to shape her into his tool.

“Whatever the truth was, they had a plan. To bring the Courts together, they would bring Summer and Winter blood together. They would experiment in unifying the courts through shared descendants. I need not tell you that this was dangerous politically, and you at least, Wizard, need not be told that it was dangerous magically as well.

“And that is why they opted to begin with proxies. And that, mortals, is where the woman Tara Natworth came from. She was the daughter of that Summer Lady, sired by a mortal man. And it’s her daughter that you’re seeking now.

“The Winter lord, he made a changeling scion as well. A male whelp, with Winter ice running in his veins. Their plan was to breed them, to use the mortal blood to dilute their fae natures, acting as a stabilizing force like cooling rods in a nuclear reactor. Of course, a child who’s half-human and half ours, they can make the choice, did you know that? They decide which world to live in. So if that second-generation changeling were to choose to become a true fae, what would happen, with the blood of both courts in it?

“Maybe nothing. The smallfolk may go one way or another, depending on their actions. Magically, perhaps it would not have been so overwhelming. Politically, who can say? The nitrogylcerin they were playing with was something entirely new.

“One way or the other, it seemed we’d never know. The girl Tara was a rebellious child. She ran off early, and she quickly fell into low company.

“They called her Wendy. Their little joke. None of them wanted anything to do with their fae kin, and they lived as bohemians, artists and thieves and bums by turns. They drifted together, the four of them, all across the country, but the Reagan years weren’t any kind of a time for bohemians. The Lost Boys came to light here, as so many other pieces of detritus do.

“But first my kinswoman and her conspirator returned to claim their due. The Lost Boys didn’t want to let her go, but they didn’t have the strength to hold her.

“But Tara, it seems she didn’t wish to go so gently. Now, exactly what happened next, that’s a mystery. But a year and a day later, there was an infant girl in a bassinet left at the back doorstep of that movie house of theirs, her name on a card pinned to her blanket, and Tara Natworth was no more, at least as a mortal woman. It’s said by some that she made her Choice, gave up her humanity in exchange for the power needed to protect her child. Maybe a bargain was struck. However it was, the certain thing is that the child grew up as a human girl, looked after by her three godfathers, and none of her grandparents’ folk ever tried to approach her.

“Of course, she turned eighteen, not too long ago. A bargain protecting a child may not protect a woman. It seems likely that the young lady may have entered a season of vulnerability now. Vulnerable, and if her father was indeed that Winterspawn, potentially very powerful. World’s full of predators that can sniff out vulnerability, and power. And there’s still the question of the father. The Winter Changeling’s whereabouts aren’t known to me, and what became of him is a mystery in both courts.

“One last thing. That Winter lord, perhaps this girl’s grandfather, is called Jack Glass.”

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Bellison Bellison

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