Once upon a time, there was a kingdom where Fairy Godmothers lived in abject terror.
You know part of this story; you’re aware that in certain magic-positive nation states, beings from the other side of the Thicket might show up to convey blessings upon the firstborn of some particular iteration of the House Royal. It wasn’t a sure thing (there’s no world where you can entirely predict the Fae); but if you invited them, they’d more than likely make an appearance, and bestow upon the sprog a multitude of supernatural-but-wholesome blessings.
Now, if you’ve heard the version of events which hit the press, you know that on one particularly horrible occasion, the Royals failed to invite one of the rather less benign Godmothers, for they feared her power and malice, and thought the best way to avoid her wrath was to have a highly-publicized event to which she was cordially not invited.
If that never sounded stupid to you before, you should have read this story sooner. As should they, for that matter.
That whole mess got sorted out (somewhat), but it left the noblefolk of that realm with a bad case of the collywobbles. They therefore decided that, going forward, they would assume all Fairy Godmothers were rageful murderesses-in-waiting, and should all be shunned and kept at bay by force. That’s clearly irrational and stupid; but (this is a secret, don’t tell)—sometimes humans are irrational and stupid, especially when they’re displacing anxiety-fuelled-aggression onto (what they believe to be) soft, easy targets.
And hey, taking a zero-tolerance policy on potential outside malefactors makes sense. Ward everything with thrice-forged iron, such that no Fae even come near without suffering severe burns, and sure, you might keep out a few good ones, but you’ll make sure you get no bad ones.
And maybe they’re all bad ones. At the very least, they’re certainly weird. Where are they in your social structure? Nowhere; how do you decide how to treat them, then? They’re not artisans, they’re not merchants, they’re not peasants or nobles; they’re not even normal human beings. Who has wings and magical powers? Weirdos and freaks, that’s who.
Do you remember how powerful that one really angry Fairy turned out to be?
Means one of two things:
Either the OTHER Fairy Godmothers are inferior, in which case, we DESERVE better…
….or they’re holding out on us.
And that’s not something we’re going to accept from a bunch of condescending flying things. Know what flies, ain’t a bird, and acts peculiar? Insects, that’s who. And we get RID of those suckers when see see them.
So the Kingdom ringed itself ’round with tall Iron Bars, and but a single gate. And though they could not close the skyways, they fired up as many forges as they could, so that the sky was black with acrid smoke from countless anvil-infused flames. Fairy Godmothers could visit to bestow blessings upon the royal offspring if, and only if, the gifts were good. This led to a few challenges, such as the “What, Precisely, Is The Retail Value Of A Daughter With Excellent Taste In Literature?” and “Why Would You Wish A Rule Of Peace Unto All, Right Before We Plan To Invade The Neighboring Kingdom And Take Their Stuff?!?” incidents.
So the Godmothers were Not Popular. Nor were they pleased.
And finally, they did a thing.
If you’re of Titania’s blood, then cold iron burns like shoving your skin simultaneously into a thousand torches. You can wrap yourself in gloves or armor or spell, but the iron can be felt. It won’t kill you…just likely scar your immortal body and leave your flesh blackened wherever the Faeriesbane touched it. It took almost a hundred of the Fae folk, but they strained and they pushed and they slammed the gates shut. Hard. Peasblossom sacrificed herself in a burst of glitter and flame to sear and wield the gates closed forever.
And as the Kingdom watched, a small, frail Fairy Godmother—the more astute remembered her as “The One Who Did That Gift About The Joys Of Learning”—hobbled painfully forward on a long staff which served as both wand and crutch. And she said,
“You’re not locked in there with me, oh, you sons of bitches, because I got out. You’re locked in with something far worse—you. Let’s see how long you survive.”
She ignored their angry protests, and turned the one half-aimed volley of arrows into a folly of sparrows, which winged ‘back round and pecked at the eyes of her attackers. For a few years thereafter, the Fae would return to the little Kingdom/Zoo to watch the inhabitants make horrible faces and beat against the bars, but eventually they stopped. Faeries drink blood, steal memories, cloud minds, wreck fortunes; but they never claim to be anything different. Humans claim many things about what they are, which is what makes it so unnerving when, if things don’t go as planned, they act far worse than than beasts or monsters.
And they all lived humanly ever after: nasty, brutish, and just tall enough to provide leverage for the hangman.
The unspeakable Villainpunk Jeff Mach has built his house of neither straw nor sticks, but rather, of pure rock-solid sugar. He frequently seeks new, interesting ways to rewrite this part, and then often ends up just shifting a few words around, going back in time to before he wrote this initially, and hitting “Publish”, so that this is technically new. Don’t tell anyone.
Jeff puts on Conventions, writes Books, fights Mobs.