The Golden Lady
The Golden Lady
Found in Chapter…
- This character does not include sex scenes
More to the story…
There is an unseen world. It exists alongside our own, shrouded by mists and the human arrogance that theirs is the only world worth living in. There are many portals, some of which only open at special, liminal times of the year. But those who dwell in this unseen world are always there. Watching. Waiting.
They call themselves the free folk, yet they are bound by rules older than darkness. They thrive on chaos, yet there must be a structure for even the wildest of societies to survive. And the oldest of these structures are the laws of fealty which bind the courts together. Even though their competitive nature and endless intrigues, the structure remains, and everyone is content so long as no one breaks this hierarchy. Rebellion is an unspoken word, and the ambition to step out of ones place is squashed before it can rear its head. Be wild, be feral, be free, but through it all, know your place in the world of the fairy.
In this world, there are many factions, each one led by a mighty and unwavering monarch. Eternal and ageless, they cling to their entourages with possessive fanaticism. They spend their immortality forever plotting against one another in an endless system of reprisals and intrigues to distract from the cold reality of their kind. They are immortal and thus have no soul. They must linger knowing that beyond their death lies nothing but the void, which waits without mercy.
While the Courts challenge one another out of sheer capricious nature, there are three Kingdoms which stand at odds to another, finding new allies within their expansive empires. The Kingdom of the Dawn, which holds sway over the bright and joyful fae who cling to the green and verdant world of life. They are sprightly and fair creatures, who count among their numbers the likes of elves, piksies, gnomes, wisps, and other forms of sightly and the lovely fae that most humans would associate with the folk. The Kingdom of the Dusk holds dominion over the dark and terrible ones who prefer shadows and secrets. They are twisted and strange folk, prone to maliciousness for the sheer joy of it. Kobolds, goblins, banshee, hags, and kelpies are only a few of their kind, and it is unwise to provoke them.
Between these two lies a kingdom which is not quite a kingdom at all, but rather a massive and unruly hoard of fae who have sworn tithe to no faction or ruler. They do what pleases them, when it pleases them, though it is not unknown for them to sell their services to Dawn, Dusk or both. They are by are by far the more horrific of the three, mostly because if caught by them, there is no telling what they will decide to do with you. They form a thousand little troops in which the leader is always the folk who frightens the others into obedience. They can turn on one another at a moments notice, as chaos is in their nature. The two greater Kingdoms ignore them for the most part since it is better to let such rabble squabble among themselves than bother over it.
There was, however, one occasion during which the respective monarchs of the two greater kingdoms were forced to contend with their intemperate numbers. In a time which is beyond reckoning in human years, there arose among the untithed a Golden Lady. The fae folk will never give you their true name if they can help it, so they will use a thousand little names to tell you who they are without ever revealing themselves. Each one is a facet of the truth, and so they garner a reputation without ever having to let the world have too much control over them. So it is saying something unusual when it is said that no one had ever heard of the Golden Lady before she came onto the scene with the intention to unite the untithed fae folk under her banner. She claimed no noble heritage or powerful birthright but gained respect and admiration as she traveled from ring to ring, defeating their leaders and gaining their followers as her own. As the centuries wore on, rumors began to collect of a terrible warrior in a golden battle helm who had begun establishing borders, creating a revelry of the folk big enough to compete with any court.
At first, the rightful monarchs tried to ignore her. It was nothing unusual for an upstart untithed to call themselves a warlord or some such nonsense. But inevitably their own turned against them and they were quashed from within. If not, it was simple enough to put gold into the right hands and ensure it was accomplished. But when a new castle began to rise, it’s foundations shook the very world in which they shared, and the respective rulers were forced to contend with the Golden Lady.
They tried to meet her in honorable combat, sending massive armies against her on the battlefield. But the Golden Lady refused to fight by their means. She used undisciplined hoards and guerrilla fighting tactics, employing thefts, assassination, and all manner of dark and dire magics to ensure her victory. It seemed there was no end to what she was capable of. It became clear that some other methods would have to be used in order to deal with her.
Both the Kingdom of the Dawn and the Kingdom of the Dusk sent envoys to treat with the Golden Lady. In their accords, they promised to respect the borders of the new Kingdom, provided that she allowed for no more expansions. They swore to recognize the Golden Lady as a fellow monarch and to tithe her followers as they did their own. They bid her to attend a grand fete on the Midsummers Eve, bringing with her a selection of her followers to ensure her safety as well as present herself in a queenly manner. The fete was to be held under the boughs of a sacred willow tree, through which many of the folk believed their world connected to others. It was held to be divine in origin, and any vow sworn under it to be sacred. The Golden Lady accepted and traveled with a few hundred of her followers.
But she was deceived.
In their eagerness to be rid of the troublesome lady, Dawn and Dusk had come to their own accords. As the Golden Lady arrived, they opened a massive portal to another realm. They banished the Golden Lady and her followers into it, sealing them away from the world they had sought to make a place for themselves in. Then, in an act of unmitigated cruelty, they led their armies into battle against the once formidable legions under her banner. Divided, leaderless, they had no chance. Rumor says that a thousand times a thousand wild and untithed fae were slain, turning the very roots red with their blood. The land between the Kingdoms was called forbidden, and it is believed to be violently haunted for all time. To trespass there means certain death, even for an eternal folk.
But the Golden Lady and her followers did not die.
They were dropped into the human world, during a time in which people still believed in spirits and entities which were not and never would be human dwelled in the dark places. What went through the Lady’s mind, no one could say. Betrayed, banished, denied a throne she had been promised, abandoned in a world from which she could not escape. Perhaps she went a bit mad. Who could blame her? But she had lost none of her might, and so the Golden Lady began to establish a new realm.
Humans were and are far easier to trick than another fae. At times they called her a goddess, other times she was considered to be a monster. But no one dared crossed the borders of her realm without being forced to contend with her fury. Strange tales were told of the deep forest that belonged to her, and of what would happen should you be lucky enough to survive an encounter with the creatures who dwelt there.
It was only when Martin Hughes and his family began to build on the property that things changed. The Golden Lady allowed her servants to torment the family in any way it amused them. The gave the children terrible nightmares, caused the staff no end of trouble by causing painful accidents. Many times they attempted to switch the infant son with a changeling, but the wife of Martin Hughes prevented this. A woman born in Scotland, she knew well enough what the folk were capable of, and set herself to protecting the household from their wily tricks. When their treachery led to the poor child’s death, Abigail began to seek them out actively, even threatening to burn down the willow tree if she was not allowed to speak to their leader. The Golden Lady found herself intrigued by the woman’s ingenuity and determination. She demanded that Abigail Hughes be brought to her, and when she discovered that the woman had the gift of sight, kept her as a pet for many months until her mind broke. She dumped the poor woman on her husband’s doorstep just to further trouble him and then began to set her sights on the younger daughter, dubbed Marigold.
Before Abigail could be sent to an asylum, she begged her husband to fulfill her last coherent wish. “She is coming for Marigold. She will drag her away into her court deep, deep beneath the willow trees roots. If she stays here, on this land, she is as doomed as the rest of us. Send her away Martin. Please! If you ever loved me, send Marigold away!”
Robbed of little Marigold, the Golden Lady continued to permit her servants to harass and bedevil the family until Martin hung himself from the willow tree and their remaining child, Clark, descended into madness, having been the one who found his father’s body. While it frustrated her to find the girl out of her reach, the Golden Lady contented herself with the knowledge that the land was hers again, and no more humans would be so foolish as to trespass it for some time.
That was until the day Marigold Hughes returned from abroad, determined to reclaim her families home.