Orphic Phantasia

26: Y Ddraig Goch

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Lounging in his seat, Sohrabarak al-Hakim added, “Just think of this as an opportunity to take advantage of Seelie’s gracious hospitality.”

“Gracious indeed,” Ms Thorbjorn replied, before explaining how, as initiates, they would receive full access to Seelie’s local amenities, including sports and entertainment facilities and unlimited vendor use. “I would caution against wandering outside Seelie territory, though,” she added. “It can be somewhat overwhelming. But, if you keep your wits about you and don’t go looking for trouble, then I am sure the week will just fly by.”

“Leave the trouble for us,” added Mr al-Hakim with a sly smile. “You kids are the lucky ones here. We’ve got work to do.”

“Yes, I’m afraid you’ll have to have fun without us,” said Ms Thorbjorn. “Now, before we depart, there’s somebody I’d like you to—”

Before she could finish, a pair of breathless figures stumbled into the cabin. Ceres Mendoza mopped her forehead with her arm and laughed. “Sorry we’re late,” she said, flashing a toothy smile. She was still carrying several bags, which she dumped into a spare seat at Hermia Adelheid’s table before collapsing into another. Korrie Wedekind, babbling a string of hurried apologies, settled next to her.

“If we weren’t expecting you, we would have left already,” said Ms Thorbjorn. “Now, as I was saying, there is somebody I would like you to meet.”

She stepped aside and, in her place, a young woman appeared from a swirl of sparkling starlight. She had a long mane of crimson hair, braided with gold, that seemed to sway with a life of its own, and eyes of jade-green fire. “Hello, Seelie initiates,” she said. “I am your captain, Winnifred Ddraig Goch Eurwen.”

Her name sounded strange, foreign, ancient, and yet, despite that, Dante knew its form without question. He figured he must have heard it before somewhere, maybe in one of his mother’s many stories.

“But you can call me Fred,” she added. “I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome you aboard, well, me, and to let you know that my facilities are at your disposal. Should you need anything, please don’t hesitate to ask. My crew will be happy to assist you and, once we’re in flight, I will be too. We’ll be taking it slow, so please make the most of it!”

After informing them of flight preparations and asking them to remain seated until ‘she’ reached cruising speed, Winnifred Ddraig Goch Eurwen vanished as suddenly as she appeared.

Lance Algar, bronze cheeks flushed red, leaned over to Chris. “Dude, you didn’t tell me they had fairies on this thing!”

Across the table, Alonie’s eye scrunched up in disbelief. “Shaw, I think you’ve got to break the truth to Randy Man here.”

“What truth?”

Alonie raised an eyebrow. “Eh, that what we just saw was a hologram, not a fairy?”

“Well, we don’t know that for sure now, do we?”

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Yeah, like anyone is going to go looking for trouble!