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Bound Round

OK this is the last one - my first attaempt as YA... but since I wasn't a convincing 12 year old when I was 12... 

Well anyway, now I can make an index... maybe tomorow

 

 

            When I wake Mum is sitting on the edge of my bed.  For a few minutes I think everything is back to normal, that we are at home and it is William snoring gently beside me.  Then I remember everything, “Mum?”

           

“I’m here baby girl.”

 

            “Is everyone else up?”

 

            “No I thought I’d get you up first,” I glance over to where Ryes is sleeping with Sapphire curled up in his arms.  Mum’s eyes follow mine, “She isn’t the girl I had thought Ryes would be attracted to,” she sighs, “but we can’t control our children.  I just wish he liked human girls.” Next to me I feel Gawain shift, “Up little boy,” Mum says gently.

 

 Gawain sits up and looks around, “Ryes isn’t up yet.”

 

“Yes I am,” Ryes says without opining his eyes. 

 

“You don’t look it,” I retort. 

 

“Teg,” Ryes tone warns me not to continue, as he gets up, pulling Sapphire behind him. 

 

“We should start out soon,” Mum says.

 

“You should eat before we go,” Sapphire says.

 

“Not safe,” Ryes replies. 

 

“They aren’t Fairies,” Mum says, “It’s safe to eat here.  But not where we are going from here, so Sapphy is right, we should eat before we go.”

 

Ryes doesn’t argue with Mum, no one ever argues with Mum.  We follow Sapphire back to the main room under the City Hall.  There are less people there now, but the woman who met us here.  Elisabeth.  She shows us to a table laden with food.

 

“Will this do?” Elisabeth asks us.

 

“Yes, Ma’am,” Mum says bowing her head slightly.  It seems odd that Mum would bow to anyone.  We sit as a family and Sapphire drifts off to speak to the others and it is just the four of us. 

 

“What is this place Mum?”

 

“This is the basement of the City Hall,” Mum says with a smile, “I think this was built for them.”  

 

“But who are they?”

 

“These people are the spirits of the city.  Each one protects a different thing, the girl that brought you here protects the trains, or the subway, I’m not sure what one, maybe both.”

 

“So they are like Fairies in those flower books?”

 

“Well they call themselves Trolls, but I think it’s the same idea,” Ryes supplies. 

 

“It’s true,” Mum nods, “Fairies live in gardens and things like that, and Elves protect the wild places.  Trolls protect the things we have made.  Like houses and things like that.  Elisabeth protects the city its self.”

 

“That sounds like a lot of work,” Ryes says picking carefully at the food, but not eating it.

 

“I’m sure it is, Ryes,” Mum says looking at for a long heartbeat, “Now eat your breakfast, don’t need you starving to death on the way.”

 

We eat quietly for a time, each of us taking comfort that we’ve found Mum.  The food is wonderful, sausage and eggs and anything else I could want.  Ryes is still picking at his food when Sapphire comes back.

 

“We don’t poison Mortals.  And I wouldn’t do anything to harm you,” Sapphire’s eyes are soft, “Elisabeth says the Sidhe are out on Border Islands today.  I’m going with you.”

 

“We will be grateful for your company,” Mum says with a smile.

 

“No we wouldn’t,” Ryes says in a short tone.

 

“Don’t listen to him,” Mum says thumping Ryes’ arm, “he thinks he has to protect everyone.”

 

“He’s sweet,” Sapphire says with a laugh. 

 

“Yes,” Mum says with an affectionate look at Ryes, “He’s a perfect gentleman.”

 

“Except for when he’s being crabby,” I say.

 

“I’m not being crabby,” Ryes snaps. 

 

“You are,” Gawain replies.  

 

“Not.  And eat your breakfast, Gawain,” I got the feeling if Ryes was younger he would have stuck out his tongue.  After breakfast Sapphire leads us up through City Hall and out to the plaza in front of the building.  She leads us across the open area of concrete and back down into a subway station.  Ryes goes to get inline for tickets, but Sapphire puts a hand on his arm.

 

“This way,” she says pulling him to the turnstile, “Just go though.”

 

“No, we should pay.”

 

“Don’t be stupid,” Sapphire says as she shoves him into the turnstile and touches the token slot.  The arms turn and then he is on the other side of the fence.  Then I am.  And then we all are.  We stand on the dim platform for a minute or so before the subway pulls in roaring like a lion in a wind tunnel.  “Get on,” Sapphire shouts over the wind that comes with the train, and we all do.  Alone in the subway car we all sit and ride for three stops and then Sapphire makes a quick hand gesture, the train comes to a slow stop. 

 

“Now what?” Ryes asks.

 

“Have faith son,” Mum says turning to Sapphire and lifting an eyebrow silently asking the same question Ryes asked.

 

“Out,” Sapphire says gesturing to the door.  The door slides open to allow us down into the tunnel, it’s dark and gloomy and damp and dusty all at the same time.  She leads us into a side tunnel and then gestures back at the train.  The train starts off slowly and eventually pulls out of sight.  Sapphire turns to Mum, “So do you know a way to keep people from drowning?”

 

“You know I do, or you wouldn’t have brought us this way,” Mum says with a smile.

 

“Do it then woman.  I want to be home for supper.” Sapphire is smiling at Ryes, and he smiles back.  Mum turns to him and takes his face in her hands, she whispers a few words and then turns to me.  I don’t recognize the words she whispers over me but I can feel the magic flowing into me.  When she’s done with me she turns to Gawain.  And then we are ready.  Sapphire turns to the wall and presses her hand flat against the tunnel wall.  It opens.  “Everybody in.  I need to close it behind us.”

 

As the wall heals behind us a green light appears on the palm of Mum’s hand.  She steps forward and we all follow her light. I can here Sapphire moving behind me and then moving around us until I can see her in the glow that surrounds Mum.  She leads us upward and then we are under the ocean.  The world here is a dim green but maybe that’s Mum’s light.  The floor of the sea is covered with litter; I’d never thought it would be that way.  I had always thought it would be clean under the sea.   I don’t know why I had thought that, I had seen the displays a the Aquarium showing what the bottom looked like, but for the life of me I hadn’t expected the broken posts, abandoned picnic tables and grocery carts.   The deserted things and the half-light is really creepy.  We walk and walk and walk, Ryes in front with Sapphire, the two of them holding hands. We walk close behind them, Mum and Gawain and me, Mum in between us holding our hands.  She holds us tight to her as if she is afraid to lose us.  Like I would go more then a few steps from her while we are under the water.  

 

“We are almost there,” Sapphire calls back to us, and as we walk on I the world around us becomes less and less dark and gloomy.  We start walking upward through the rocks and the rubbish and then our heads are out of the water and we are on one of the Border Islands.  I can’t tell what one we are on, I don’t normally walk to the Islands, I normally take a boat.

 

Deer Island,” Sapphire says as if to answer my unasked question.  Deer Island used to have a prison on it, but now the whole thing is abandoned.   It’s not the sort of place you go on a picnic and I’ve never been here.  I look around, the prison rises off to my left; Sapphire starts toward it, Ryes following her.   The building is large and brick with moss growing on it here and there, walls seem to stretch as far as I can see with only one large door in the wall. I can feel sorrow rolling out of the building, like fog.   The door stands open and that is where she is taking us. 

 

“I don’t want to go in there,” I say pulling back. 

 

“I don’t either,” Mum says, “but we have to, that’s where William is.”

 

“I can feel him,” Gawain says quietly.  I know William is in there as well, but I still don’t want to go in. 

 

“Look Teg,” Ryes says looking over his shoulder, “none of us want to go in there, but we have to.  Do you want to stay out here by yourself?”

 

“No,” my voice is small even to my own ears.

 

“Good, then come on,” I follow along with everyone else.  As we enter the building the feeling of fear and sadness increases until it almost chokes me.  On the other side of Mum I hear Gawain groan.

 

“It’s OK Gawain,” Mum murmurs gently.  The building smells like old socks that have been shut in small spaces for way too long.  We walk down a long hallway and out a large door.  We walk right into a fairy tail.   

 

They don’t look anything like the people under City Hall.   They are tall and lithe and move with unimaginable grace, some have pointed ears and some have the heads of animals, but all seem to be made of light.   And all a dancing to a wild music, the music comes from all around us, as if it is coming out of the earth its self. 

 

All around us the music rises and falls.  The most exquisite music I’ve ever heard; and I’ve grown up in a house full of musicians.  A house full of dancers.  I see Ryes’ hand trace a pattern on the side of his leg eager to join in the dance with the Fairies.  I want to dance as well, but he is actually leaning forward, moving slightly to the fay music.  I remember Father teaching Ryes the old dances, the dances I always wanted to learn, but Father had only wanted to teach Ryes.

 

My eyes turn from my brother back to the dancing fairies.  Back to the lithe bodies of spirits made flesh.  My eyes travel to the center of the circle dance.  Through the dancers I can see a raised dais and on it a throne.  On the throne is a woman, her hair is the color of the midnight sky and her eyes are like stars, even from this distance and with the dancers between us I can see her clearly.  I feel drawn to her, not because she looks welcoming, but because I can feel the Magic flowing off of her.  At her feet, sitting on the dais are other fairy courtiers, and among them I see my brother William.  I grip Mother’s hand tightly as my breath catches in my chest.

 

“I know Teg, I see him,” she says quietly.  She turns to Ryes, “Do you think you can get to him?” she asks.

 

“I don’t know.  Why me?”

 

“Because you are the dancer son, none of us could get through that.  No one but you,” she reaches out to touch Ryes’ face, “You have to save your brother.”

 

Ryes looks nervous; I’m not used to seeing him look like he may not be able to do something he is asked to do, I find it odd.  He looks over at the dancers and then to Sapphire, she smiles and pulls him toward the dance.  She walks backward drawing Ryes along.  They enter the dance and are drawn away from us, spinning with the other dancers.  I watch as Ryes dances, the steps coming quickly to him.  The two are lost in the dance and then re-emerge and then are lost to my eyes again.  The music seems to increase in speed and intensity and I see Ryes dance by again, now looking harried and then, just before he would have slipped out of sight again, he slams his feet into the ground, coming to a complete stop.  As if a cord had been cut, all dancing, all music, all movement stops. 

 

The queen looks at Ryes and stands from her throne to address him, “Why are you here Dancer, son of Dancers?” she asks, her voice sweet as honey. 

 

“I am here for my brother,” Ryes points to William, “You had no right to take him.”

 

“I do have the right to him.  It is payment for the blood debt your family owes me.  I have lost my last servant and your brother is to be my new one.”

 

“No,” Ryes says quietly.

 

“NO!” Mother cries out, “You can not have my son, take me and not him,” she rushes forward, past Ryes and onto the dais.  She takes William in her arms.

 

“To take you would place the burden two times on the same generation.  I took your brother, you should not have to bear the burden twice.”

 

“You think that taking my son is kinder than taking me?”

 

“Indeed.  Is it not?” the Queen seems surprised.

 

“It is not.  It is not kind to make a woman live longer then her children.”

 

“If it is what you wish,” the queen says drawing Mother up to her, pulling William away from her.  The queen takes William’s head in her hands and kisses him on the brow, “He will always be touched by me.”

 

“And my other children?” Mother asks.

 

“I will not touch your daughter, she bears my name and will be left with all the knowledge she has gained.  She will remember our court.  But the Dancer must be punished,” she gestures to Ryes and he comes to her, “I can not bind the magic of his Dance,” her hands reach out and stroke his hair, “but he will have no memory of this.   His eyes will be blind to my kind, his ears deaf to our music and our call.  His own Magic will be Bound Round him and keep him from knowing magic.”

 

“He has no magic so your curse will not work.”

 

“He has magic, just because you never saw it, dose not mean it is not there.  He is a stubborn boy.”

 

“He is,” Mother admits.

 

“He did not want you to see his power, so I will place you outside of this spell.  He will see you Fay, even when no one else can.  He will be blind to the worlds that are not his own for a period of fourteen years,” she leans over and kisses Ryes and suddenly he slumps.  Sapphire catches him and grabs Willaim’s hand.  She walks them back to Gawain and me.  I look over at Gawain, his eyes look glazed over, I know he won’t remember this when we get home.

 

“We have to go now,” she hisses.

 

“No,” I say, “Not without Mother.”

 

“You don’t get it do you?  Your Mother isn’t coming.  And we need to get these two home before they wake, I don’t think either of them will be well when they come around.”

 

I let her hustle me out of the old prison and down to the docks.  A ferry is at the dock and we get on without paying.  No one challenges us.  After the ferry, we take a subway and then we get a train.  The train we met Sapphire on.  Sapphire holds Ryes head on her lap, stroking his hair gently, “I really like him.  Fourteen years aren’t that long for me, but by then he will probably be married to a human woman by then,” She seems so sad, “when you get off the train Gawain’s Father will be there to meet you with bad news.  Someone will have found your mother’s body.  You have to pretend she is dead, everyone else will know she is dead; you just have to go along with it.  I’m sure she will watch over you from court.  Everything will be fine, I know it will or Fay would not have gone along with it.  She would never have agreed to anything that she did not know the outcome of.”

 

When she is done speaking the train pulls to a slow stop.  Sapphire seems to blend into the background, as the boys seem to wake.  When we get out into the parking lot Gawain’s father is sitting in his car waiting for us, just as Sapphire had said.  He doesn’t seem to know we have been gone for a full day; he seems to think we’ve just to a Museum in the city.  He gets us in the car and tells us they’ve found Mother, that she’s dead.  The drive home is quiet.  I guess you would expect that.

 

Mr. Bright shows my brother and I up to Mother’s room, I can tell by the reaction of William and Mr. Bright that they really think it is Mother but I see a bundle of branches tied together in a roughly human shape.  It’s not my Mother, but my twin seems to think it is.  I think back to the deal Mother made to bring William back to us, I know she isn’t coming back and then it is easy to pretend the bundle of sticks is my Mother. 

 

Ryes looks like he is about to be sick, “Tris?”

 

“Yes?” Mr. Bright responds.

 

“We aren’t gonna be sent off are we?  I mean I’ll be eighteen in a few months…”

 

“Don’t worry, when your Father died your Mother made arrangements.  You shouldn’t be worried about that now.”

 

“I have to,” Ryes voice is short, strangled, “I have to worry about the twins, no one else will.”

 

Ryes pushes past Mr. Bright as Gawain’s father says, “I will worry about all of you.”

 

 

 

 

It’s a crappie few days, after all having a funeral for a bundle of sticks that everyone thinks is your Mother is not normal for any twelve year old.  Not even me.  Ryes is acting oddly: as if, maybe, he sees a bundle of sticks as well; as if, maybe, he knows our Mother isn’t dead. 

 

I don’t ask.  I guess I don’t want to know.  It’s easier to not talk about, than it is to share and maybe have him think I’m crazy. 

 

It’s a few days after the funeral and I’m walking past Ryes room, music pours out of his door.  Not the loud thumping music he normally listens to; this one goes out to the one I love, this one goes out to the one I’ve left behind, the singer croons. Ryes looks up from what ever he is doing when I walk by, “Hey Teg, headed to bed?” he asks, pen tapping on his desk.

 

“Not yet,” I say trying to catch a glimpse of what Ryes is writing.  

 

“You could just ask.”

 

“What are you working on?” I ask with a mock sweetness.

 

“College application. In the city, I can commute by train.”

 

“By Train?”

 

“Yeah, I keep having this dream that I met someone on the train,” he says wistfully, “Anyway Mother wants me to go.  Er- she would want me to go.”

 

I smile as I walk down the hall to my room.  I know I’m not the only one to know Mother is out there somewhere watching over us.