I was never a patient person.
To be honest, very few of us were. My
brother liked to say that it was strange that impatience should be
one of the defining characteristics of an immortal race, but he
never developed the idea very far. He wasnít patient enough. I
didnít care either way, and when he started talking like that, I
simply shrugged. To me, having all the years till the end of
forever stretching before me simply meant that there would be time
to fix the mistakes I had made, or to perfect something that I
didnít know how to do just yet. Patience was more suited towards
those who had to finish their work in the century or less they had
before death claimed them.
Which only made it stranger.
I stared like a rabbit hypnotized by
a snakeís gaze, although with none of the fear of such a
creature. My foot tapped the ground ever so slightly, and I found
myself swaying almost imperceptibly as memories centuries old were
dredged up from the recesses of my mind, memories of fiercely wild
dances under the stars and moonlight accompanied by music such as
this. Forcing myself to remain still, for I itched to recreate
those long-ago dances in the late afternoon light, I shoved the
music to the back of my mind and watched the fiddler instead.
Humans, as a general rule, were quite
boring to watch. Something about them made them seem blurry, as
though they were seen from a great distance; a smudge of reddish
brown for hair, a pale blob of a face, a twiggy suggestion of
limbs and a strange lump of a torso was all I had seen of the last
human to pass through this part of the forest. Yet the fiddler--
A lovely face; small with simple
lines, and softer than any faerieís yet nowhere near the blob
that other human faces resembled. A little shadow following a lock
of pale brown hair down his forehead and over his bright brown
eyes. I only saw them on occasion, for he closed them when he
played, but when they opened to make certain of a chord, I admired
the clear, almost faceted way his iris was split into tiny shards
of rich brown and soft gold and near-black. A smile quirked his
lips, lips that seemed as though they might very well kiss the
violin tucked under his chin.
I smiled wanly when I realized I had
conquered the urge to dance, only to find myself confronted with
the whimsical desire to touch his hair and see how it differed
from my own, if the softening of a fae body was more than just
appearance. Whimsical and more than a little foolish. I stamped my
harshly just as he stopped playing.
He glanced skywards, noting the
setting sun and the quickly darkening sky and shook his head. I
could almost read his thoughts on his face--No time for another
song. Disappointed, I nearly turned to leave when he brought
his violin to his chin and began to play a song that rang in my
bones and all but dragged me to the fiddler. This was more than a
memory of that dance; it was the very tune that another had
played. On a flute, I remembered, not a violin, but it was close
enough. More than close enough.
My brown-eyed fiddler walked through
the forest, a pack of firewood on his back, bow flashing across
the strings of the violin in a tune that the fae had danced to on
moonlit nights long ago. There was something deeper, subtler to it
than when it had been played on a flute, and I wondered if perhaps
the song had been written for the violin in the first place. Out
of the corners of my eyes, I saw others of my court following him,
sharp eyes fixed on the violin.
He didnít know what the song was.
That much was obvious, especially when he changed it to a version
that had only been played twelve times every year, the night
before the fae ran the Wild Hunt. No human would play that, not
when they were certain that they were the prey we dreamed of. Even
in the earliest times, it had been one of the few patient fae who
had played this song.
By the time we reached his home,
night had fallen. I didnít know if he realized that and worried
about what might come after him in the forest after dark, but his
pace only increased long after I had seen the gleam of a lantern
inside a window. In any case, he neednít have worried; nothing
in the forest was foolish enough to attack the fae, and before
now, none but the fae had played the Hunt-song in this forest. He
couldnít have been safer if a thousand men with iron blades had
been with him.
And that was before one took we fae
At the sight of the village, a
cluster of thirty or forty similar houses, those who had joined me
after my fiddler had begun to play faded back into the forest.
Still I followed him, for I couldnít feel any iron in the
village. Iron was quite new, and there was nothing else to
The Hunt-song ended, and the fiddler
knocked on the door of a house, where he was quickly admitted for
fear of the creatures that walked the night. I frowned and walked
over to the house, hoping to hear him play another song, but there
was nothing more, just a hurried conversation and a name: Tam. My
fiddler, my Tam.
Finally convinced that there would be
no more fiddling coming, I turned to leave and heard a soft song
that was quickly cut of by a sharp voice. Not my fiddlerís
voice. It was indistinct, like any other humanís, and I knew
that it couldnít be his. His... sister? Lover? Mother?
In any case, the song hadnít been
his. It was played on a flute.