Plaything

“What happened to your human, Princess?” asked a servant faerie to its mistress.
“I think it is broken,” replied the princess who prodded the curling figure beneath her feet. “I do not understand. I feed it enough summer fruit and spring water to make its sanity last. I make it rest when it has to and perform only the simplest things within its capabilities. I do not let the hounds chase it nor expose it to other nobility for amusement. It is my plaything and now it would not move.”
“Should I get another one, Princess?” offered the servant.
“No. My prince brother gave it to me and I treasure it,” declared the princess, “I will find a way to fix it.”
The servant moved towards the figure and observed, “It cries.”
“At first it does not. It laughs and sings and dances but now all I hear is a faint whisper of a name on its lips,” said the princess.
“Perhaps we should return it to their world if only for a moment. You know what happens to humans who stay long in our realm,” reminded the servant.
“I do. They lose their value and become mere decorations on my mother’s ice garden,” answered the princess.
“They lose a piece of their sanity the longer they remain here and time is insignificant in Faerie. It’s a shame for your plaything to end up this way for I have seen other humans ending in a more…absurd state. Quite entertaining, if you ask me.”
The princess glared, “You speak too forward, servant.”
The servant bowed, “Pardon me, Princess.”
A thinking look settled over the princess’s serene face. A moment after she ordered, “Prepare the carriage.” She crouched over her human, cupped its face with the both of her hands and whispered, “You will be fixed.”

They stood just outside the forest’s outline; the princess in her blue-green spider-silk dress that swayed at the slightest touch of wind, her servant at her side and her plaything on the other. The princess peeked at the human’s face and saw realization and reason and awareness slowly creep in.

“You know where we are, don’t you?” the princess asked.
The human was silent for a moment, then, “Home,” it said that sounded like a sigh and sob combined.

Beyond the forest lies a cottage owned by an old woman whose once beautiful face now marred with time’s passing. The old woman sat on her porch, hummed a lullaby and looked to where they stood in the forest’s shadows. She kept turning a golden ring on her finger that was identical to what the plaything always wore.

“Go,” the princess ordered.
With struggling movements, the human stumbled and turned to her and cupped her face with its hands which caused the servant to gasp. “Thank you,” it said with tears running down its face.
“You do not thank a fey, plaything, if you do not want to be indebted to one,” she said with a straight face.
“Even then, I am grateful to you for bringing me back.”
The princess slowly separated herself from the human’s touch. “You should not be. You needed to be fixed so here we are.” She tilted her head to the side and regarded the human’s expression, “Perhaps if I find myself in need of amusement, I will have someone to fetch you.”
She stepped back and melted into the shadows, her servant silently followed, “Until then, plaything.”

The two faeries watched him stumble towards the cottage, watched as the old woman rose from her seat and welcomed her lover; once lost and now returned.

“Do you think it wise to return the human to its lover?” asked the servant.
“I do. I treasure my plaything and it is the best that I could do,” said the princess proudly.

Together they slipped back into Faerie but not without a last glance and a smile on their lips.

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