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 The Soul Cages (Past), Tag: Eilonwy!

But you must believe in something, and sometimes that something is real. Sometimes our motivations are tied up in what we feel.

Oct 27 2017, 05:59 PM / Post #: 36838 Quote

Dumas ran. Blinded by tears, he slammed into walls and stumbled down staircases, not caring where his flight took him. In the end, it wouldn’t matter. As long as the heart-shaped mark still scarred Dumas’s chest, Jareth could use it inflict enough pain to make the changeling come crawling back from any corner of the Goblin Kingdom. But, for the moment, Dumas needed the comfort of movement. He needed a simulation of escape, even if it was ultimately impossible.


Less than an hour ago...

“You’re going to sell me?” Dumas gawked at the Goblin King, while a sense of dread squeezed his heart in its unrelenting grip. He knew that other fae sometimes visited Jareth’s court, usually with the purpose of selecting changelings to become their slaves. But he’d never imagined that terrible fate might befall him. Didn’t he and Devon amuse Jareth with their antics? Didn’t Jareth relish the chances to scold them, to make them grovel and suffer?

“Don’t think of it as being sold.” As always, Jareth appeared completely unconcerned by any distress he happened to be causing. Like a sleek cat, he lounged on the throne he’d stolen from others, with his legs carelessly draped over one of its armrests. “Think of it as...being rented. She only wants you for a month.”

A month. After countless years in the Goblin Court, a month shouldn’t seem like anything at all. But there was a reason that it filled Dumas with terror. “But Devon--? We’ve never been apart for more than a few hours.”

Jareth shrugged, an impossibly fluid movement that seemed to ripple from his shoulders all the way down to his toes. “She doesn’t need two of you. And, let’s be honest, you’re much more housebroken than your twin. He’s likely to bite the hand that feeds him.”


Utterly exhausted, Dumas finally staggered to a halt. Cobwebs covered his tattered clothing and dust choked his straining lungs. Coughing, the changeling glanced around his surroundings, startled to discover that he’d accidentally ended up in the dungeon. Dumas always shunned this area during explorations with his brother, regarding it as depressing and dull. Even other changelings rarely got imprisoned here. Jareth’s ability to inflict either agony or ecstasy via their marks gave him much more effective methods of discipline.

Turning in a slow circle, Dumas surveyed the maze of hallways and empty cells. Since he’d never ventured this deep before, he now found himself uncertain how to get out. And, considering what awaited him back in the Goblin Court, he wasn’t even sure that he wanted to get out. Being lost for a little while seemed like a welcome respite.

Dumas wiped away his tears with a dirty sleeve. Then, in no particular hurry, he set off down the nearest hallway. His footsteps echoed along the stone passage like disembodied handclaps, occasionally mixing with the sound of water dripping somewhere in the distance. But it was a different noise that made him freeze in his tracks -- a faint rustle of movement that seemed to come from behind a nearby cell door. For a moment, Dumas remembered a changeling who had insisted that the dungeon was haunted by a terrible ghost, and he nearly bolted. However, curiosity quickly overcame fear. Creeping up to the door, Dumas peered through the bars in its small window. Inside, instead of a vengeful spirit, he saw a pretty girl.

“Hello?” Dumas began, before he could consider the wisdom of interacting with someone who Jareth feared enough to lock away in such a remote prison. “Are you a changeling?”

Nov 2 2017, 05:51 PM / Post #: 36935 Quote

Eilonwy had no idea how many years it’s been. All she knew was that outside her view of the dungeon, the Labyrinth grew, and she could hear Jareth’s and the goblins rampage in her old home. Sometimes the noises will be soft, other times they would be loud. There would be times where everything was eerily still, and there will be others when she felt the ground rumble with the footsteps. The earth was not comfortable with the drastic, violent change that once housed the proud Court of the Bull. Lonnie slid down the wall of her cell and pressed her hand into the ground. It was rough against her hand, and the pulse was foreign. This was not her home. It will never be her home again.

All the stimuli she received were secondhand. The last time she had contact? Sometimes Jareth or one of his subordinates will come down to check to see if she was alive. Those were thankfully brief. It had been forever since she saw a friendly face. The fae pushed herself to her feet and crossed her arms. “This is no way for a princess to be treated. They can’t just lock me up in my home and expect me to take it.” She stomped her foot. With a jolt of magic, the stone floors cracked beneath her foot. The ground parted for its mistress. Unfortunately, she could not make an obvious mistake. Eilonwy will just be caught again and threw back in here. She knew; she tried. Raising a thin hand, she brushed the leaves of a stumpy tree. “One day,” she murmured. She was well aware that her complaints were weak, spoiled, and showed her fear. But that was fine. It wasn’t like anyone heard her anyway.

That was her deduction the number of times she yearned for company. However, a faint echo reached her ears. It was unmistakably the sound of footsteps. Her lips parted to form an ‘o’ and she pushed her dirty hair out of the way of her ears. Not the scuttle of goblin’s feet, nor was it the regal strut of Jareth she could barely hear. This was different – dare she say it – it sounded almost normal. Heavier than a fae’s, but they were even and controlled. Tilting her head, curious, she stepped closer to the door to see if she could spot the mysterious person as they passed.

What she saw instead was the person to stop at her cell and look in. It was obvious he had recently been distressed, with tear stains on his cheeks, yet when he spoke his voice was kind. Odd. She blinked and lowered her hands at the question. “Changeling? Isn’t that what Jareth sells as slaves, the former humans?” She caught glimpses of them before, but that was it. She studied his face. Young, but the eyes incredibly old and tired. Her lips pressed into a frown. “Is that what you are? Poor thing.” She wondered what he was doing down here. With her guess, Lonnie assumed he was not supposed to be. The former princess was not about to say that though. Her heart jumped at the chance of company.

“No, I’m a fae.” To clarify, she summoned her magic. A bulge sprouted from the ground, forcing away the stone tile. Eilonwy smirked and with another bout of magic it shot up with a few specks of dirt and rock. She caught the carrot and waved it in front of him. “See?” It may be immature, but she was smiling and her eyes lit up. Oh, to show off in front of someone again.

child of earth.
by panda for ouan

But you must believe in something, and sometimes that something is real. Sometimes our motivations are tied up in what we feel.

Nov 10 2017, 02:44 PM / Post #: 37013 Quote

Dumas nodded, confirming the girl’s description of changelings. “We used to be human children. But Jareth stole our youth to fuel his magic.” Dumas wasn’t sure how much time had passed since he and Devon were kidnapped. It was hard to measure such things in a realm without seasons, where each day passed much like the last. Regardless, it had been long enough to erode his recollection of the human world, until little remained except a handful of disjointed images. A favorite toy. A word of praise. A kiss on the cheek at bedtime. “Now we can never go home. Few among us even remember where home was.”

So, if she wasn’t a changeling, what was she? Not a goblin, surely. Goblins could use spells to appear beautiful. But it required a lot of magic, and their vulgar manners usually gave them away. In Dumas’s small world, that only left two options. Human or --

Just as the possibility occurred to Dumas, his companion confirmed it. Fae. The changeling’s eyes widened in terror and he took a step backwards. Although Dumas had glimpsed other fae from afar, he’d only ever interacted with one. So he assumed that they were all like Jareth. Clever. Arrogant. Equal parts whimsical and sadistic. The fact that they were willing to buy slaves certainly seemed to support his hypothesis.

However, before Dumas could flee, the sound of cracking earth came from within the girl’s cell. Briefly, fear warred against curiousity. Then, as always, curiousity won. Pressing his face back against the cell window, Dumas gasped in wonderment as a plant sprouted from the ground and jumped into the girl’s hand.

“That’s amazing!” Dumas had never seen Jareth create something. The Goblin King only used his magic to intimidate and deceive. This was a far more wonderful spell, and the girl who’d cast it must be a very different sort of fae.

Dumas’s stomach rumbled as he gazed at the orange root. A...carrot, if he remembered correctly. Jareth never fed them anything except gruel, when he bothered to feed them anything at all. The twins had quickly learned to supplement their diet with whatever scraps they could steal from the goblins. Occasionally, they found a fruit or vegetable during their explorations of the Labyrinth. But those always tasted bitter and rotten, no matter how beautiful they might appear on the outside.

Pushing his hand through the window bars, Dumas strained for the carrot. He didn’t want to take it from the girl. He just wanted to touch it, to trigger the memory of its sweet flavor. At the same time, he also attempted to satisfy his curiosity about another matter. “Why are you locked away down here? I thought that all fae got along with each other.”

Nov 23 2017, 04:53 PM / Post #: 37111 Quote

Eilonwy frowned more. That sounded so sad. She couldn’t say she met a human before – she was born well after the fae were banished to Allutheria – and a changeling, although she never met one face to face before, was the closest she got. They didn’t look that different. The only difference she could pick up was that there was no thrum of magic coming from him. That was fine though; she was sure they found a way to manage. They would have to, if the gods learned to favor them. Beyond anything else, she imagined that humans were innocent creatures that weren’t corrupted by the fae’s godliness or old age. It made her stomach ache to see that being taken advantage of, if of no one else than of children.

“I suppose that can be a bigger curse then what I have. Here I am, trapped in my own home, and you can’t even remember yours.” Lonnie did not know which would be worse. She was haunted of memories of her family and the stable Court of the Bull in the past. It chewed on her insides until she could not take it anymore. Nonetheless, it was impossible for her to imagine if those memories did not exist at all. To not remember the happy and sad times… well, she would just be a girl stuck in a random dungeon. She smiled sadly at the boy. “I wish you could have a better welcome in Allutheria, but many here just see it as a prison, so extending it to others only seem right to them.” How would she handle hosting a party for humans? She’ll probably fumble because she was horrible at stuff like that, but she would be welcoming, and polite.

There was a moment where the changeling appeared afraid. It was after she said she was a fae. She wanted to reprehend him, but was that right? He had plenty of reasons to think they were all crazy, especially if Jareth was his prime example. She knew other fae that were kind and her friends. The majority were probably dead after her court fell. Eilonwy thought of how her court fell, and yes, she could not blame him. Before she could reassure him that she was harmless, her show of magic appeared to bat away the first shock of fear. “Yes, it is pretty impressive, isn’t it?” Her magic often went untested these days, but it was one way she provided herself food if the goblins forgot. “I like fruit more, but that requires more time and effort to grow the initial tree, so in a pinch I stick to the vegetables.” She glanced at her escape tree behind her; maybe she could make it sprout some fruit later. If she grew too many trees, she would not have any room in here and the goblins will get suspicious and rip them out next time they come.

Seeing the changeling, she should really ask for his name, reach for her carrot, her lips quirked up. “Here.” She handed it to him. “You can have it. The soil beneath the stone here is awful, and not as good as the gardens I used to grow my food from, but I’m guessing by what they feed me that the goblins don’t know how to offer proper meals. It won’t be the best, but I’ve gotten better at these conditions, so it should be all right.” Yes, Jareth and the goblins were horrible hosts. The idea that the grounds she grew up on were a place of torture shredded the dignity she had. How dare they.

Lonnie’s sad smile was back as she leaned forward, her eyes light even if there was sadness in her voice. “Oh, some of us can’t stand each other. I guess that all humans are peaceful, innocent creatures, but that’s probably not true either.” How would they let their children be whisked away if that was the case? “I’ll tell you a secret. I used to be a princess here. This was a proud court of fae, with strong security, values, and beautiful gardens. That changed when Jareth came with the goblins and took over.” Eilonwy did not mention her brother’s fault. It was too painful. Lir was still her brother. “I survived that, but Jareth threw me down here. As we all know, the accommodations are horrible.” She drew back and looked around her dinky cell. “As someone who used to have leverage here, I apologize for that.”

child of earth.
by panda for ouan

But you must believe in something, and sometimes that something is real. Sometimes our motivations are tied up in what we feel.

Dec 7 2017, 08:26 AM / Post #: 37227 Quote

Dumas didn’t understand how the fae could view Allutheria as a prison. They seemed to rule it like kings and queens, twisting reality to satisfy their every whim. “But you’re all so powerful,” he protested. “If you don’t like Allutheria, can’t you just leave? What’s strong enough to keep you here?”

When the girl actually offered her carrot to him, Dumas couldn’t believe his luck. Eagerly, he snatched it out of her hand before she could change her mind. She might not consider the vegetable to be one of her best efforts, but it tasted wonderful to him -- fresh, and sweet, and completely unlike old porridge. After wolfing down his first bite, Dumas forced himself to chew the next one more slowly, which kept him from bombarding the girl with even more questions.

Until she mentioned being a princess. Dumas’s eyes grew wide as she described her former court and he felt his curiosity swelling to the bursting point. Hastily, Dumas swallowed, to avoid spewing chewed carrot at his companion when he could no longer remain silent.

“This used to be your home?” Surprise and awe mixed in Dumas’s voice. Jareth always acted like he’d produced the entire kingdom with a wave of his hand, but Dumas had stopped believing that years ago. Clever as he might be, Jareth was no creator. His magic revolved around deception and pain. And all his precious goblins couldn’t cooperate long enough to build a mudpie. During Dumas’s explorations, he occasionally encountered remnants of the former residents -- especially depictions of a particular animal. Dumas had seen it in smashed statuary, tattered tapestries, and faded paintings. “You belonged to the Court of the Really Big Cow?”

Thinking about those explorations reminded Dumas of the person who usually accompanied him during them. Devon. Guiltily, Dumas looked down at the carrot in his hand, already mostly devoured. Devon would have saved half for him. No, Devon would have given him the whole thing, insisting that he wasn’t hungry. But Dumas was not his brother. For better and for worse.

“I’m Dum, by the way. I mean, that’s what Jareth and the goblins call me. Tweedle Dum.”

Feb 13 2018, 06:08 PM / Post #: 37388 Quote

Eilonwy stared in shock. Were humans really that naïve? She never knew Ga’leah, being born after the war, however she knew it was the true home of the fae. And the gods kept them out. She wanted to chastise the boy for his poor knowledge. Then she realized it wasn’t fair. He may be aged appropriately, but Changelings were children, children slaves. They were forced here and Jareth would never give his pets proper education on fae culture. Even if it wasn’t deplorable- it was- the effectiveness of the forced labor would be improved if they knew what to expect from fae. Beyond that, she had no idea what humans in the outside world knew about the fae. So yes, she could not blame him for his naivety.

Instead, she gave a pitying smile, which in a lot of ways was worse, yet she did not mean anything by it. She schooled her expression to one more appropriate. This lad was nice, and she was not going to have a royalty or fae complex after so long from decent company, or any company at all. “We are powerful, I admit.” Lonnie spoke with honesty. “But powerful people like to strip power from others. But beyond that.” She waved her hand around her, to the bleak dungeon, to Allutheria beyond. “The gods are the most powerful. We were trapped here a long time ago by them, after we lost a war, before I was born.” She was young for a fae, but she had no doubt she lived ten lifetimes of the changeling in front of her. It really was a long time ago. She did not hate the gods, it was hard to hate some so disconnected, but she had typical distaste of them and the fae’s circumstance.

Lonnie was not used to having friends. Being a princess, most others when she was in a position of prestige treated her as such. Her parents were different- her parents and the king and queen. Only person she had an equal relationship, without some dangling strings, was her brother. Her heart clenched at the thought- anger and grief and emotions she could not name. This was a little different, and with that she pushed the pain out of her expression and appreciated the differences. Not an older brother, but a younger one, one not as aware of the world but adorable and wise in his own way. It perhaps was not healthy to dub him as such after just meeting- but it was the only positive relationship she had. So, she indulged him with a bigger smile when he questioned her further and stuffed his face with her modest carrot. Curiosity- that was something she could appreciate.

“Yes, it used to be my home. Jareth came after-” There she was, almost thinking of Lir again. This time it was harder to push away the rage of emotions. She cleared her throat to try to cover it up and fiddled with her hair. “Well, after my family fell apart. Jareth took advantage of that, and here we are.” She shrugged. She wasn’t the best student, and now she wasn’t the best teacher, saying how her court fell. Though it was not a lie- it was because of a family tragedy. One she was forced to admit happened every day she woke up in this cell. Luckily, his next words brought her out of her rut. She laughed, an honest laugh she didn’t think was possible. Her father was strict and probably would have whipped the boy for saying ‘court of the really big cow,’ and that thought almost made her flinch.

Eilonwy was not temperamental or cruel like her brother or father though. She could take a moment to laugh at the name. “Close enough. It’s Court of the Bull- what you identify as a really big cow.” She chuckled. Then she curtsied, “It’s a pleasure to meet your acquaintance, Tweedle Dum.” Lonnie greeted like she would any special dignitaries that came to their court. It was the best formality she could offer to someone brave enough to stay soft and sane in this hellhole. “I am Princess Eilonwy, but I suppose it’s just Eilonwy now.”

She thought Dum wasn’t the nicest name. It sounded too much like ‘dumb.’ She wasn’t rude or blunt enough to point that out. Besides, Dum had a nice simple ring to it if not considering what else it sounded like. “Do you not remember your real name?” she asked sadly.

child of earth.
by panda for ouan

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