If you've read the first book, here's my review of the Iron Daughter. If you've read the first two, here's the Iron Queen. But if you've read all three, read on...
Okay. Stop right there. You're about to enter dangerous territory. This blog post is a mind field of spoilery, and the only way to avoid it is to step on the spaces, avoiding the letters altogether. It's risky, and I advise you not to risk it. The Iron Fey is wonderful, and you don't want the trilogy blowing up just yet, so back away slowly if you haven't read ALL THREE BOOKS, and click that little red X in the corner.
THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM THE ENTIRE IRON FEY TRILOGY! (Well, the third, but read the first two first!)
So, Julie Kagawa is having a contest, to show the LOVE. So pick a team: Ash, Puck (all the way, baby) or Ironhorse, and do something creative! This is spoilery from pages 277-278.
I wrote a story! It's based on what Ash said on the above two pages. Below the story, I paraphrased Ash and Meghan's conversation.
Just, to preface, both names are Irish. Deirdre means a chatterer. And Aisling is pronounced Ashling (I decided it was fitting) and means vision/dream.
I splashed my little sister, making her squeal, and ducked as she splashed back. She shivered from the cold water, so I scooped the girl up and carried her back to our cottage.
“What happened?” my grandmother asked.
“Deirdre got wet,” I answered simply.
My grandmother, the high druid priestess, laughed, tsked her tongue at me, and took Deirdre away to dry her off. Bored, I wandered back outside, and headed back to the creek. I saw a beautiful flower growing in the ground, and I was surprised I hadn’t noticed it before. I knelt down and smelled it.
I caught a flash of movement out of the corner of my eye and looked up to see that, standing before me, was the most beautiful boy I’d ever seen. He had white, shining skin, and black hair falling into silver eyes. He offered me his hand, and reluctantly I took it, my skin tingling from his cold touch. My legs shook as he helped me up, and I almost pulled away when I saw the sharp, pointed ears. But before I could, he lifted my hand and kissed the back of it.
“Charmed,” he smiled. I shivered. His voice was smooth as honey, deep and dangerous, but filled with allure. His other hand was behind his back, and I glanced at it quickly, but he was one of the Fair Folk. He didn’t miss a thing. He pulled his hand out, holding a bouquet of flowers, identical to the one I’d just found. “And to whom do I owe this pleasure?” Before I even realized what I was doing, I’d taken the flowers from him.
“Aisling.” I tried to stop my voice from quivering, but failed. “And you are?” I’d never met a Kindly One myself, but I’d heard enough of the lore to identify one, and I knew of people who had met them. And none of the stories I’d heard had happy endings.
“Ash. Coincidence?” he asked, circling me. I turned my head, trying not to lose sight of him. He stopped behind me and I felt his cold breath on my cheek as he leaned close, whispering right into my ear, “or what you humans call fate?” I shivered again.
“I…I have to go,” I stammered out, trying to remain calm.
He was in front of me again, and I avoided his eyes. “Yes,” he said softly, “that sounds like a wise idea. You wouldn’t want those flowers to die, would you?” And then he was gone. Not into the woods, just gone.
I was shaken awake the next morning, pulled roughly from dreams of certain cold faeries. I blinked awake to see my father kneeling beside me.
“Are you alright, Aisling?” he asked. “You slept late. Are you sick?” I shook my head, and sat up.
“I’m fine, Father. I’m sorry. I suppose I was very tired.” I knew it was a lie though. Truthlly, I didn’t want to leave my dreams.
After my morning chores, I went outside to the fields. I wouldn’t admit that I was moving faster than usual, hoping to see the fae. He was in the woods at the far end of the field, leaning against a tree. He smiled down at me when I approached.
“I’m so happy you’re here,” he murmured. He moved farther into the woods and I followed, drawn to him. He pulled me deeper into the woods, but I felt safe with Ash. When I could no longer see the farm, he stopped and whistled. A black horse, his eyes red, trotted up and snorted at me. Ash patted it, and murmured something too low for me to hear. The horse calmed down, and Ash gestured me closer.
“Come, ride with me. I have a place I really want to show you.” He didn’t wait for my reply, just put his hands on my waist and lifted me up with inhuman strength. I slid onto the horse’s back, and Ash swung up behind me. He slipped his arms around my waist and picked up the reins. A kick and the horse trotted off. I shivered, and not just from the cold the fey carried with him.
Ash brought the horse to a stop in a small clearing. A brook ran beside it, and there, towering over us was a massive weeping willow. Ash helped me down and lifted the leaves of the tree so I could go under it. I sat by the trunk, and he sat beside me.
“So,” I began, my voice shaking again, “Tell me about yourself. Who are you?”
He smirked. “Asking my name, are you?”
I nodded. “Is that wrong?”
He leaned closer to me, his face inches from mine. I smelled peppermint on his cold breathe. “True Names are very powerful, Aisling. They are used for control.” He leaned closer, his hand on my arm, giving me goosebumps.
“Oh. Woops,” I giggled nervously. “I’m sorry. Can you tell me something else?”
He leaned back, studying me with those silver eyes. “My name is Prince Ash, third son of the Unseelie court.”
My heart caught in my throat. “Prince?” I echoed.
He nodded and shrugged. “But don’t let that bother you,” he said softly.
“Oh…okay.” I tried to find something to say. “Well, uh, tell me about your brothers?”
He smiled and my stomach did a flip. “Sage isn’t so bad, but Rowan is a bother.”
“And then there’s you.” I wanted to kick myself
He leaned in again and whispered, “And then there’s me.” And then his lips were on mine, for the briefest moment. I tried remembering how to breathe. “Perfect,” he whispered. And he leaned forward again.
I slid onto his lap, his hands around my waist, his lips tracing a line down my cheekbone to my mouth.
When he pulled away, there was wonder in his eyes. “You’re beautiful.” Before I could respond, he moved me off his lap. “It’s getting late. You should probably get home.”
We met daily, and I spent my nights looking forward to that prince, those conversations, the secret kisses in our private grove. He’d use his glamour for me, making flowers, performing tricks, giving me gifts, even bringing a few animals into my lap.
I was nuzzled up beside him, his arm around my shoulder, one evening. “How about that bird? Can you order it around?” I enjoyed testing him, seeing what he can do with his glamour.
Ash shook his head. “I can turn a stick into a bird, but I cannot command that one already up there.”
“It’s Seelie. Aisling, it’s summer. But I'll be able to do a lot more when fall comes.” And he kissed me again.
I wanted him so much, I’d sneak out at night to meet him. Stolen kisses, dark embraces.
My family worried.
“I know what you’re doing every day,” Deirdre announced when my mother told me to take her for a bath in the stream.
“Oh? What am I doing, then?” I asked, trying to keep my voice neutral, even though my heart pounded.
“You’re meeting a fairy,” she announced.
“Hush, Deirdre,” I scolded. “You know better than to call the Kindly Ones that. Do you want one stealing you away in the night?”
She dropped her head and shook it.
“Well, don’t call them then. And get those absurd ideas out of your head. Why would I talk to the f—a Good Neighbor?”
She shrugged. “I saw you with a big one. I know what he is because of the weird ears.”
I shook my head. “Stop playing games.” And I stopped the conversation by helping her out of her dress and into the water. But when I glanced up, I saw a dark figure watching me from the treeline, silver eyes glowing.
Deirdre told, though, I think. My grandmother kept on giving me warnings.
“There might be Fair Folk in the wooods, Aisling.”
“Aisling, avoid the Kindly Ones, no matter what.”
“Don’t forget, Aisling, nothing good comes from speaking with the Gentry.”
And I ignored the druid each time, giving simple replies, easy ones, “Of course, Grandmother,” and “Grandmother, I know,” and “Thank you, Grandmother, for the words of wisdom.” I always replied calmly, nodded my head, and ran off to the fields and my prince.
Even when suitors came, no matter how handsome they were, none were like the immortal Ash.
I came up to him once, and he took my hand, leading me into the woods and where the tatter-colt waited. I was telling him of the newest suitor, a dull boy with a head that must have been full of coins, because that was all he had.
“No magic, I assume,” Ash murmured. I laughed.
“Nothing like you.”
He pushed me against a tree, and kissed me softly. A ribbon appeared in his hands and he tied it into my hair. A gift. He’d given me many, and they were all hidden away under my cot, to avoid suspicion.
My heart pounded, but I was bursting with what I wanted to say. Ash pulled away and his eyes were warm, expectant. He waited for me to speak.
“Ash, I…” My heart leaped into my throat as he caressed my cheek softly. “Ash, I…” I took a deep breath and let it out. “I love you.” It was barely a whisper, but I knew his sharp ears heard me.
He pulled back sharply, his eyes turning hard, and his lips pulled into a sneer.
“Of course,” he snorted, his voice mocking. “I suppose now you expect me to say the same thing. You’re a mere mortal. Mortals are worthless. You truly expected a fey to love you? You’re nothing!” He flicked his wrist and the horse trotted up. “You mortals take games so seriously. You were nothing but a game.” He mounted the horse. “A game I’ve gotten bored of.” Ash smiled maliciously.
"No," I whispered. "That's not true."
He bent over the horse so I could see his face better. "Fae never lie."
"No," I whispered. "That's not true."
He bent over the horse so I could see his face better. "Fae never lie."
And with a laugh, the winter fey galloped off.
My knees hit the ground with a thud. And then darkness.
All the gifts beneath my bed had turned into piles of sticks, rocks, and dirt.
I went looking for him, once, but he was truly gone.
I stopped eating. I stopped drinking. I stopped sleeping. I did nothing but pine. I did nothing but wait for death, because my winter prince would never return.
[The following is paraphrased. All words are exact quotes, but the non-spoken bits were cut out, as well as some other bits in the middle that aren't needed.]
“Long ago, someone told me that I would be cursed in love, that those I came to cherish would be torn from me, that as long as I remained soulless, I would lose everyone I truly cared for.”
“Who told you that?”
“A very old druid priestess.”
“There was a girl, barely sixteen in mortal years, and as innocent as they came. I made sure she fell in love with me, and then I took it all away. I broke more than her heart, I broke her spirit, and I reveled in it.”
“What happened to her?”
“And you felt horribly guilty about it?”
“I didn’t think twice about her. She was only a human, and a foolish one at that, to fall in love with a faery. But her grandmother, the high priestess of the girl’s clan, was not so foolish. She sought me out and told me what I just told you—she cursed me, promised that I would be destined to lose everyone I truly cared for, that it was the price for being soulless. (277-278)
*bows* And that is, I believe, the first piece of writing I've posted here. It isn't solidly Team Ash, and I'm Team Puck (see the right sidebar), but it's something interesting I came up with in my attempt at originality.