Cerulean eyes stared off in deep offense, the fire nearby reflecting in their depths making it look as if ice were aflame. Aurora tried to control her breathing, but she’d yet to learn how to control the breadth of her newly acquired faery emotions, which ran so much more deeply than her human ones. Looking back, anger as a human was a drop of cool water to the embers that smoldered in her heart now. Her chest heaved, hot air puffing past her lips as her hand gripped a piece of parchment so tightly she was sure it would crumble.
Uncrumpling it, she looked down again to the red ink that she was sure was blood. The missive was a blood oath.
Deir siad i pósadh: Cad é mianach mianach, agus cad é mise mianach.
Dearbhófar do maité ar baois a bheith ar do chuid féin.
Tá slabhra ar bith níos láidre ná an lúb is laige,
agus tá an saol tar éis an tsaoil slabhra.
Beidh tú a bheith ar an slabhra a ghearradh as a anáil.
It had only been short of a week since Luna’s reveal, and already the Queen of the Unseelie was sending correspondence back, with Diaval of all things, threatening... to what? To take Aurora out of the world? Was this a threat specifically for her, or a declaration of war? Over and over she read it, trying to make sense of the circular faery riddles. One line set her teeth on edge particularly: ‘Your mate’s folly will be your own.’ What folly of Maleficent’s was the dark Queen speaking of?
Five days. It had been five days, and all there had been was infighting and arguing between the girls. Normally, Maleficent would have put a quick end to such foolishness, but she’d merely sat back to watch as if she were enjoying a play. Isobel was playing the victim, Sola the instigator, and Luna the martyr. It hadn’t come to blows yet, but it was enough to set Aurora’s teeth on edge.
As if bidden by her thoughts, Maleficent entered their bedchamber. It was late evening, and she’d obviously just returned from her weekly check on the state of the Moors. Her hair and gown windblown, she shook them out, bringing forth the smells of fresh air and burning leaves of the countryside. A rare smile graced her claret lips, but the smile quickly died as she took in Aurora standing by the fireplace.
Quickly, she wiped her feet on the sisal rug nearest the door and crossed the room. “Whatever is the matter, Aurora?”
Aurora opened her mouth as if to answer, but a choking sound came out instead. She lifted the parchment laden hand, and shook it at Maleficent. Finally, the words formed in her throat. “What. Is. This?” she seethed.
Maleficent regarded her with an uncomprehending stare, but Aurora could see the tells of her mate’s face that ran deeper than the calm facade she put forth. Her right eyebrow had raised slightly, and her eyes had flickered down towards the parchment and back up. Maleficent had a very good idea as to what was going on, but she wasn’t going to spell it out.
That only served to incense Aurora further. Wings trembling with ill-concealed irritation, she asked again. “Maleficent, I said... What is this?”
Eyes widened then at her mettle, and the facade began to crumble. “I suppose it’s a parchment, Aurora,” Maleficent shrugged her shoulders slightly.
“Augh! You know very well what this is. It’s a response from Queen Mabh to a letter that I did not send. Therefore, you must have sent one... without consulting me first!” Aurora’s voice was venomous. “I cannot make heads or tails of it all, but I know she threatens to have my head!”
At that pronouncement, Maleficent swiftly snatched the parchment from Aurora’s fingers to scowl at it. “She wouldn’t dare...”
The little Queen stuffed herself into the taller faery’s proximity so that she could glare upwards directly. “Oh, she dares! Just as you dare to send declarations to an enemy without telling me first.”
Maleficent glowered down at Aurora, her voice clipped and short. “You were asleep, exhausted from stress. You’ve always trusted my better judgement. What should be so different now?”
“I am thirty-six years old!” Aurora bellowed impudently.
“And I fifty-seven...” came the sarcastic reply.
A strangled noise left Aurora’s mouth, and her eyes blazed. “I am not a child anymore!” she said.
Maleficent looked Aurora up and down with a roving eye. “I should certainly hope not.” She raised an eyebrow further, and smirked.
Aurora’s anger flared to a breaking point, and a glow rose around her. As Maleficent’s eyes widened at the sparks swirling around her mate, a hand flew up to meet her face. Slap! Taking a quick step backwards, she lifted one hand in defense as the other met a throbbing cheek. Her mind whirled in shock – Aurora had struck her.
Her feet took her quickly towards the short blonde, grasping her firmly around the shoulders. “No,” came the severe command from Maleficent’s lips just before they met Aurora’s in a blistering kiss. Their lips warred for dominance, teeth snapping to pull and bite.
Pulling back for air, Aurora shrugged out of Maleficent’s grasp and pushed harshly against her shoulders.
At the sudden refusal, Maleficent snarled. The sound banked the fire in Aurora’s chest to a blaze. Emboldened, she pushed at her mate again. ‘Yes, be angry with me,’ she thought silently.
Maleficent’s figure swooped upon her then, knocking them both to the floor. Hands held Aurora’s down roughly. “I said no,” she growled.
“I say yes!” Aurora hissed back, knocking the side of her mate’s head with the edge of her long wing.
"Have it your way then," Maleficent said heatedly. One hand lifted from clutching Aurora's to rip down the front of her dress, exposing her chest. She waited for a response, eyes glittering darkly like green jewels in the firelight. Aurora's hands jerked upwards into her hair, fingers twisting deeply into the tresses before tugging Maleficent's face harshly against her own. Their mouths met once more, and Aurora bit down on the bottom lip she'd sucked in hard enough to draw blood. A grunt of pain sounded, and the faery above her drew back to look upon her indignantly.
Maleficent’s hands moved quickly then, divesting Aurora of her night gown with quick tugs, not stopping when it tore. Leaning forward, she took a dusky pink nipple between her teeth and tugged as Aurora had done to her scalp. The petite faery writhed beneath her then, and she raked her fingernails down the soft skin of Aurora’s chest and sides, pleased with the red scratches left behind.
Aurora gasped, and bucked her hips. Pushing upwards with all of her strength, she rolled Maleficent over and straddled her waist. Her hands scrambled to unwrap the robes from her lover, pulling in haste.
A dark chuckle escaped Maleficent’s lips then, and she sat up while pulling Aurora by the waist. Pushing to kneel then, she swooped her arm underneath the Queen’s knees and stood, bringing the naked woman up bridal-style. She deposited her on their bed, and Aurora gave a squeal of surprise at the quickness of the movements. Quickly shrugging out of her robe, she let it slide to her feet and leapt fluidly atop Aurora, nestling herself between her lily-white legs. She let her full weight meet the squirming blonde. Leaning down, she captured Aurora’s lips once more, while one hand snaked down a sweat-glistened belly to find silken folds wetter and hotter than ever before.
Aurora couldn’t stop the deep moan that came forth when fingers swiftly entered her, and her hands clenched against her lover’s waist. Feeling adrift in a losing battle, her fingernails dug deeply into the tender flesh just above sharp hipbones. Maleficent yelped and hissed against her lips. Empowered by the reaction, one of Aurora’s hands came up to knead a soft breast briskly, pinching and tugging at the firming nipple.
Long fingers wrapped firmly around Aurora’s wrist then, dragging her arm quickly above her head and holding it fast to the pillows. The fingers that worked her below had increased in depth and strength, and Aurora’s eyes rolled back with each thrust, her cries punctuating the air. She was aware of dampness against her leg, and heard cussing words whistle through Maleficent’s teeth as she ground against her.
At long last, stars burst behind Aurora’s eyelids, her stomach clenching as she climaxed with a shout. She looked up to Maleficent’s face, relishing the view of her head thrown back in a silent scream as she too found her release.
The swan like neck gulped in great swaths of air as it curled back down, and Maleficent leaned forward to rest her forehead against Aurora’s. Bringing her larger wings around them in a crushing embrace, she shuddered as the Queen’s pants of breath cooled her overheated cheeks.
“I am sorry, Aurora. I don’t know what came over me,” she whispered.
“Don’t ever be sorry for that.” Aurora smiled, the inferno that once resided in her chest dying down in the end. “I am sorry that I hit you.” She kissed the reddened cheek tenderly, attempting to erase the offense.
“Let us not remind me of that particular moment of the evening, please.” Maleficent’s eyes were guarded once more. Slipping off of Aurora, she drew a throw over her naked flesh in an attempt to conceal her shame and hurt.
“Darling, I...” Aurora began, reaching out for Maleficent’s retreating form. “I shouldn’t have done that. You shouldn’t have done what you did, either,” she ended defensively.
Maleficent bristled her wings at that, face impassive but eyes taut with hurt. “Oh, I see. I ought not protect my mate and children? All I said to her was that we knew about Luna and that she had lost in her attempt to have my own child murder me. Quite simply, I was polite.”
“Nobody needs to die over this, Malle! I’ve had enough bloodshed for one lifetime. Besides, your version of diplomatic politeness is acerbic at best!” Aurora bit back.
A hasty shrug of a wing over her face and body was Maleficent’s reply. She turned inwards, feeling quite affronted at Aurora’s assessment of her protective capabilities. She would die to protect her family. Why couldn’t Aurora understand that? In the war with the humans, her father’s dying breaths had been over the injured body of her mother as he sought to protect her from the onslaught of iron swords and spikes. It was the way of faeries – one was driven mad with grief at the loss of a mate. It was best to die fighting.
Aurora huffed “Be that way, then.” Climbing underneath the blankets, she turned her back to the maddening display of stubbornness. She’d tried so many times to understand Maleficent’s mercurial moods, but she couldn’t puzzle them out unless she forced the faery to speak her mind. She was too tired for it now, in body and spirit.
But then, this must have been what Mabh had intended by replying directly to Aurora, going over Maleficent’s head in an attempt to make her appear weak. She wanted to drive a wedge between them, and she was readily succeeding. Wiggling in soreness from their altercation and going over the situation in her head over and over, she didn’t fall asleep until she was sure she heard wispy snores coming from underneath the great brown wings.
Luna dreamt of pleasant things as she slept next to Isobel – picnics with her family, and the lovely foods that she’d tried for the first time ever in the past days. Sweet things that her Mother slipped to her when she thought Queen Aurora wasn’t looking that tasted of chocolate and honey. Chocolate was new, and her lips quirked up into a smile at the memory of the creamy taste.
Her smile drifted down into a frown as she felt weight upon her, and her dreams struggled to keep up with what her body felt. Happy scenes blurred into reminiscing her time locked away in a room, alone with naught but her own sadness. She struggled against those thoughts and slowly came awake, hands pushing against the flesh unmoving over her chest.
Luna’s eyes snapped open, now aware that Sola sat atop her, eyes wide and somewhat disturbed.
“They’re fighting, and it’s all your fault,” she whispered scathingly.
“W-what are you going on about like a crazy loon?” Luna responded, trying to sit up but failing. She didn’t want to push Sola off of her, lest the girl think she was trying to start yet another fight. Her eyes drifted to the slumbering form of Isobel, still fast asleep next to them, but they came back when Sola spoke again.
“Last night... I went to say goodnight, and I heard Mama slap Mother. Then, they yelled a lot, and I ran away. Mama’s never hit Mother before. It’s because of you, they were fighting about you. I am sure of it.” The redhead’s green eyes narrowed in malice, and Luna found herself shrinking deeper into her pillows.
“How do you know? What, did they say my name?” she retorted.
“Noooooo, but Mama did mention Queen Mabh.” Sola sounded victorious in her assessment.
“Well that’s hardly my fault, is it? Would ‘ye git off me already?” Luna began to softly push at the leather-clad thighs that seemed so very heavy.
Sola’s reponse was laden with contempt. “It’s all your fault, you twit.”
Beside them, Isobel began to stir. “What is going on now?” she huffed, rubbing at her eyes.
“Nothing, Bel. Our sweet sister is all sixes and sevens. Go back to sleep, sweetheart.” Luna soothed, brushing Isobel’s cheek with the back of her hand fondly.
Sola’s hand snatched forward to grab Luna’s from Bel’s face. “Don’t touch her! You ruin everything you touch!” Isobel yelped at the rough gesture.
Luna stared at Sola scornfully. “Don’t hurt my sister with your dislike for me.” Wide awake now, Isobel’s eyes went back and forth between the two in worry.
“I didn’t hurt her, you bleedin’ idgit. And she’s my sister! And...and...I don’t dislike you. I hate you!” Sola sputtered. She fisted Luna’s nightgown, hands still sore even though Isobel had healed them from the iron burns four days prior. The ache in her hands made her angrier, and she pulled back and punched Luna squarely in the mouth.
“Agh!” Luna howled, blood gushing from her split lip.
Sola whooped in delight and snickered. “Oh look, you really are bleedin’ now! How d’you like it, huh?”
Luna had enough. She knocked Sola backwards off of the bed and hopped down on top of her, slapping at the girl’s raised hands and face. Willing herself not to use magick, she began to realize the pleasure of smacking someone physically. It was... exhilarating.
“Stop! Stop it, you two!” Isobel yelled, pulling Luna off of Sola.
As her opponent was subdued, Sola popped up. Fuming, she went after the now docile girl enveloped in Isobel’s arms. She grabbed the long, mahogany hair and yanked, tackling Luna again. Isobel went down with them, squalling.
It was a mess of tangled limbs, hair and wings. Fists pummeled and hands whacked any body part accessible as the three girls shouted.
The ruckus had reached such proportions that the guards had gone to fetch Maleficent, so afraid of breaking the teens apart themselves that they’d entered the Queens’ bedchamber unbidden. At the sound of the door slamming open, the tall faery unfurled her gigantic wings and leapt from bed nude as the day she was born. The men’s faces reddened. She stood before them, her face a picture of annoyance.
“Well, what is it?” she sniped.
“Y-your Majesty...” the head guard stammered. “Perhaps, uhh. Your state is that of undress, madam.”
“Damn it all!” Maleficent screeched as she looked down. She quickly threw on a bed-robe around her and glared. The men had the good sense to look anywhere but in her eyes. She snapped her fingers to bring back their attention. “You were saying?”
“The Princesses... Your Majesty,” the guard began again. A shout echoed the hallway, and Isobel’s piercing screams reached her ears.
Not waiting further, she swept down the long hallway as fast as her feet would take her. Entering Isobel and Luna’s bedchamber, the sight that greeted her was equally heartbreaking and comical. On the floor Sola and Luna brawled while sitting upright. Isobel was crushed between their torsos on her belly, trying in vain to crawl away. “Mother, Mother! Help!” she cried, red faced and blubbering. Both Luna’s and Sola’s faces were bloodied messes.
Her nostrils flared and eyes hardened to granite. Summoning her deepest strength, she roared her displeasure. “Sola Rose! Luna Aibhlinn! What in the name of all that is holy are you doing?”
Realizing her presence, Sola and Luna stopped their attacks and turned bruised, horror-stricken faces towards the towering faery. Isobel finally wriggled from between them and crawled to her mother, hiding herself underneath the hem of the robe. She clutched at Maleficent’s bare legs in an attempt to keep her mother from advancing further.
Bel sobbed bitterly, and Maleficent resisted the distinct urge to shake her malcontent daughter off of her legs. Instead, she clenched her jaw and suffered the infantile behavior so that she could focus on the two obvious instigators. Magick furled around her hands and she showed them very clearly. “Up. NOW.”
Aurora rushed into the room, and took in the scene. Holding hands up in appeasement to Maleficent, she crept sideways towards the girls scrambling to stand. “Tsk. Oh, girls... What happened?”
As they each took a breath in to respond against the other, Maleficent interrupted. “I don’t care what happened. They ought to know better than this, Aurora.” Her magick still circled dangerously around her palms, ready to strike.
“Well... two wrongs doesn’t make it right, does it?” Aurora peered knowingly at Maleficent.
In response, Maleficent’s hands dropped slowly to her sides. The magick faded, but her expression was caustic.
Looking at Sola and Luna again, Aurora purposefully ignored Maleficent’s stare. “Girls, I think you ought to go clean up... in separate rooms.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Luna responded obediently, and exited the room quickly. Sola groaned, but hung her head at the sight of Maleficent’s face. She walked out of the chamber, grumbling as she headed the opposite direction of Luna.
Underneath Maleficent’s skirts, Isobel rocked back and forth slightly while smiling and whispering, “Thank you Mama...thank you Mama.”
 They say in marriage: What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine.
Your mate's folly will be your own.
A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and life is after all a chain.
You will be the chain to choke her.
 ‘All sixes and sevens’ – confused.