Willow Lang has been a loner all her young life. She is an artist working in a famous museum in New York City, restoring classic canvas paintings. Is it magic that put Shayne Bantry in her way? Is it magic that took her to Ireland and opened her eyes to a world she never wanted to be a part of? Is it the handsome gypsy that will steal her heart, or is it her mysterious boss?
My name—Willow Lang. So much has happened that you need to know, so I will start at the beginning—but first, I’ll give you some stats.
How I got to the ripe old age of twenty-three and still remained sane is beyond me. Maybe I’m not sane. I have been told that my pale blonde, very thick, very long hair catches the eye. Eyes? Mine are violet. Come on, you say, but yes, they are violet, like the flower. That is an accident of birth—I take no credit for it.
I stand about five foot three in my stocking feet, and I have a really good figure. Now, please don’t think I am being immodest. I am not, because in spite of all that, I know, have always known, I am a freak!
Let me explain.
I should first give you a little history of the Tuatha Dé (the Fae). They came to Ireland before the beginning of history. They are immortal, which means they don’t get sick, they don’t age past their maturity (which generally looks
about twenty-eight to thirty years old), and more often than not, they get sadly, dangerously bored. When they get so bored that they are ready to off themselves, they look for really good entertainment.
Apparently to many of the Fae, humans provide that entertainment for them.
So you should know right up front, I am not quite human
. My father is Tuatha Dé.
Yep—an alien, ancient race from the World Danu. No Tinker Bells
, no flitting about, tiny winged things. The Seelie Fae are tall, bold, and many of them (male and female alike) have been warriors and are built along those lines. All of them are almost too beautiful to look at (especially the members of the Seelie four Royal Houses). Their eyes are iridescent (unless they have taken human Glamour).
Glamour is something they use to disguise the alien in themselves, which can be seen in the iridescence of their eyes.
My mom was human, but a very unusual kind.
I guess my eyes are such a unique shade of violet because of the combination of my dad’s many-colored thing going on in his Fae eyes and the deep blue of my mom’s. At any rate, my dad enjoyed describing how totally, completely, and madly in love with my mom he was. I always knew my mom was even more totally and madly in love with him. They both doted on me.
My mom died when I was ten years old.
Okay, what does all that really mean, you ask? It meant that from the start I never belonged in either world—freak
I didn’t belong in Tir (the world of the Fae), and although here in Wilmington, North Carolina, was where I lived, where I grew up, I didn’t completely fit in with my peers here either.
In spite of that, we were really a very happy family. It felt like we were always laughing. My dad spent a great deal of his time here with us, and although sometimes he would have to go to Tir on Fae matters, he was content living with us in Wilmington. I was content hiding my Faeness and pretending to be all human.
My dad was what anyone would call a serious hunk. His hair, blond, like mine. His height just over six-foot (like most Fae), and his build athletic. He was a musician on the Isle of Tir and even dabbled a bit down here until he got too much notoriety. (Fae need anonymity amongst humans.)
My mom met him when she was eighteen. Dad doesn’t age, but when a Fae reaches maturity, he usually takes the Glamour of the form closest to what he looks like. He was about ten thousand years old, but he looked about twenty-eight to thirty when they met in Wilmington at a rock concert, fell in love, and were married shortly thereafter. My grandma didn’t like him, by the way—she still doesn’t.
Ten years later, he looked the same, and my mom although still young and beautiful was twenty-eight. He didn’t want her to age. He didn’t want her to grow old without him. He didn’t want to go on living his immortal life without her. Simply put, Dad didn’t want Mom to die a human death.
He had a solution. He petitioned the queen of Fae, Aaibhe, for a very special elixir. She granted him his wish. Dad was ecstatic. He began insisting Mom take the elixir of immortality to stop her aging. After months of his insistence, mom finally agreed, but before she had a chance to do so, she was jogging on her way home to us after her morning run in the park and she was hit by a drunk driver—a drunk driver in the morning
For weeks and weeks I felt alone. I had lost my mom whom I adored, and my father was so struck with grief that he was a basket case.
Summer vacation was approaching when Dad suddenly took me by the hand and said we were going to Tir. It wasn’t the first time we had been there together. He had taken my mom and me there for a day or two at a time over the years. The problem with that was their time doesn’t work like ours. A day or two in the world of Fae could be almost two to three weeks on Earth. And there is no figuring it out. It is not an absolute. The time difference varies. Very inconvenient.
Thus, Dad told Grandma we would be back soon and she gave him an unending argument, but off we went. He touched my shoulder, we shifted through space, and there we were on Tir. (Shifting is the Fae’s mode of locomotion. Think of it as parting the airwaves and then stepping through the tunnel it creates.)
The Isle of Tir is multi-faceted. It has a mountain range. It has a beach to rival the Caribbean, it has gardens, and it has fields, piney forests, and lakes of all sizes. Tir is...absolutely breathtakingly, beautiful. Color rivals the rich hues of a Disney cartoon. Everything in Tir is wildly vibrant. Flowers, waterfalls, trees of every imagination, and birds of all kinds sing, spread their beautiful wings, and everywhere you look...you find beauty.
My father is Fae, but he is not royalty. Even so, his wonderful estate was on the edge of a river, and there were animals of every kind roaming around. As a child, I was at first quite content.
I was also getting quite an education. There are many things Fae are taught as they attain their maturity. My father tended to that from the moment I started to walk, but on Tir that summer he put me in a class with other Fae young just about my age.
There are not many Fae young—their ability to reproduce has diminished over time.
Right, so there I was with other Fae young, some older, some younger than I was.
I felt like it was the end of my world. They looked at me like I was some kind of freak, and I was dubbed the ‘Faeling’.