Original Prompt: “The reason why faerie folk and magic folk trade their magic for unborn children is to spare their souls from abuse and neglect by people who readily barter them in exchange for fortune, fame, or power. They are cared for and loved and learn the magic of their benefactors to save other children.”
Rosemary stood there for a second, frozen by the news she had just received. This lady in front of her, standing in the doorway, was her mother. Her real mother. Her human mother.
Rosemary took a step back.
Rosemary then turned to Lady Fee.
“You…you lied to me. You told me we were on a mission. A special mission,” Rosemary said.
Her breathing increased as she took another step back.
“Rosemary, listen to me,” Lady Fee said trying to calm her.
“No! You lied. I trusted you and you lied to me!” Rosemary yelled.
“Rosemary,” Lady Fee held out a hand to Rosemary, but she took another step backwards.
“Rose…Rosemary?” Her mother stepped out from the door. “Why don’t you come inside and we can talk about things.”
“Stay away from me, all of you! Stay away!” Rosemary yelled turning on her heel.
With tears in her eyes, Rosemary took off running into the woods. Both Lady Fee and Mrs. Tanner, Rosemary’s mother, yelled, but Rosemary continued to run.
Rosemary ran and ran until she found herself lost in the middle of the woods. She sat down placing her back against the tree and let out a loud sob. Tears streamed down her face which was red hot. She was angry and sad and confused and wasn’t sure what else she should do.
She had been tricked. She wasn’t prepared for this. She thought that this was some kind of special mission where she got to use her magical talents. Not some kind of reunion. Of course, Rosemary had always been interested in where she came from and what her human mother and father were like, but this was all too much. Why didn’t Lady Fee say something?
Rosemary wiped her eyes once again and did her best of wiping the tears off her face.
“Excuse me, miss. Are you alright?”
Rosemary looked up and there was a bearded man standing in front of her. He wore leather garments with a quiver and longbow strung over his shoulder. The man also had several rabbits hanging from his belt. This man looked like some kind of hunter.
Rosemary got to her feet quickly and raised her hands.
“Stay back, human! I know magic!” She yelled trying to be menacing.
The man chuckled.
“That is very impressive,” The man smiled at Rosemary. “But don’t worry, I’m not here to hurt you.”
Rosemary glanced down to the rabbits.
“What about those?”
“The rabbits I hunted for food. To feed my family. I live pretty close to here.”
Rosemary’s heart dropped.
“You live here in the woods? Are…are you Mr. Tanner?”
“Yes I am,” He said raising his eyebrows. “I didn’t know I was that recognizable.”
“Well…I…uh… I think I’m on a mission to help you,” Rosemary said.
The gears seemed to turn in the man’s head and he finally gave a nod.
“I see. You’re here with Lady Fee, correct?”
“Well, can I ask you for your name?”
“Rosemary! That’s a wonderful name,” The man said taking a seat on the forest floor.
“Why did you get rid of me?” Rosemary asked. “Didn’t you want me?”
Rosemary blurted out the question with force behind it. The anger and sadness still hung in the air.
The man let out a sigh.
“We wanted you more than anything…” The man started.
“Then why did you get rid of me?”
The man frowned. His eyes were full of sadness.
“It’s complicated. Why don’t you take a seat and I can explain everything to you.”
Rosemary folded her arms.
“Ok. Well let me tell you what happened. Fourteen years ago you were just a little baby. And we lived in the cottage in the woods. The one I presume you have already been too. The problem was that these forests weren’t very bountiful. It was not the lush forest you see before you. This was all rocky soil where things didn’t grow. There wasn’t any animals to hunt and we couldn’t grow food. We were in the middle of a historic doubt. No rain. No growth. No food.”
The man continued.
“We didn’t have enough resources to keep us alive let alone a newborn baby. We thought that we’d die out there. We didn’t know if starvation would get us first. Or dehydration. The little food we had we gave to you and your mother. We tried our best to keep you alive. I worked the fields the best I could but I couldn’t get a single thing to grow. We were desperate for any kind of relief.”
“So you sold me for food?” Rosemary asked.
“Not exactly,” The man said. “When all things seemed lost, a woman appeared in a cloud of magic and light. This was Lady Fee. She took pity on us. She told us that she could provide us with food and nourishment and keep us alive, but the magic would have a cost. We had no money or worldly possessions, so I offered my life, but she turned that offer down. She said that my life was not worth the trade.”
The man grew silent as tears ran down his face.
“She told us that she would accept your life for the help we needed,” He said through airy breaths. “We didn’t want to give you up. We offered her everything we could, but she would not take it. It was your life for survival. We would either die together or we could live without you. We were selfish. We were awful. We picked our own life and that’s a decision I regret every single day of my life.”
The man wiped his face.
“We traded you away and in return, Lady Fee provided me with the nature magic necessary to fix the forest and the soil. I turned this place around and made it into a prosperous landscape. I was able to grow food and hunt in these woods. I was able to provide for my family. But there was a hole in my heart where you should have been.”
Rosemary stood there not knowing what to say. Her heart hurt.
“So Lady Fee took me from you,” Rosemary said.
“She told us that magic has great costs to it. That without the sacrifice, the magic would not hold. I do not think she is to blame for any of this. She saved our lives,” The man stood up and took a step towards Rosemary.
“I’m sorry I was not here,” Rosemary said.
“It is not your fault, Rosemary. You had no choice. The important thing is that you are back and we can spend time together now.”
“And I know magic now,” Rosemary let out a small laugh.
The man cracked a smile.
“And you know magic,” He repeated.” So you’re here for the mission?”
The man reached out his arms.
“Is it ok if…”
Before he could finish that sentence, Rosemary ran forward and wrapped her arms around him. The man hugged Rosemary and brought her close.
“I’m glad I got to meet you,” Rosemary said.
“I’m glad I got to see you again,” Rosemary’s father smiled.
They ended their embrace and both people wiped tears from their faces.
“If we keep having these moments, I’m going to run out of tears,” Rosemary said.
“Agreed,” He nodded. “Now let’s get back to the cabin. I’m sure Lady Fee and your mother are worried about you. Plus you still need to meet your brother.”
“Yes, his name is Kyle. And I’m sure you’re going to get along with him. He reminds me of you.”
Header Photo Credit to The Elfin Trail’s Facebook Page