And all my days are trances
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy gray eye glances,
And where thy footstep gleams -
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams.
- Edgar Allan Poe: "To One in Paradise"
“Eren, are you almost done with your painting? Your most recent client is rather…impatient.”
Eren scoffed as the soft words left his sisters mouth and drifted into his ears. He was finishing up on his most recent painting, a depiction of the small village of Shiganshina during Autumn. Autumn was personally Eren’s favorite season of the year and he always wished it would last longer, however, the Winter Fae King was known to be a harsh man and if the Autumn Fae King dared to encroach on his territory things could turn for the worse. Eren had heard that one year, in retaliation for the Autumn Fae King making his season last for just a short two extra weeks, the Winter Fae King had forced his season upon the town for an extra two months. Only because the Spring Fae Queen was known to be so sweet was she able to finally convince the Winter Fae King to back down.
Shiganshina was a small town near Ireland, and while it was widely known around the world for being charming due to the town’s olden day charms in a modern-day world, it was unmarked on nearly every map in existence and therefor only the occasional lucky tourist was able to find their way there. The villagers preferred it this way as their town was special. You see, Shiganshina was a town near the mystical realm of the Fae. The seasons changed based on which Fae King and Queen were ruling and the villagers were often visited by the Fae who were unable to craft things as magnificently as humans could. Apparently, immortality took the ability to create away. Eren supposed it only made sense, you couldn’t possibly have immortality and be talented and be good looking all at once.
The Fae were known to be the most cunning of creatures to ever exist and they loved to play with humans. At least, that’s what Eren had heard. Eren had never actually seen a Fae in person, which at times had caused him to doubt their existence.
“Well, it’s not like he doesn’t have his entire life to wait. Honestly, Mikasa, did you not think I wouldn’t find out my most recent clients have been the Fae? You aren’t as good at hiding things as you think. Your insistence on being the middle man for my last five clients gave it away.”
Eren didn’t look up from his painting as he put the final touches on the shading beneath the trees. Eren had been painting for as long as he could hold a brush in his hands and it hadn’t taken long for the entire village to recognize the pure talent that exuded from him. Each painting was one of a kind and with each painting Eren had only gotten better and better. He quickly became known as the most talented painter the village had ever had, and with that status came the interest from the Fae.
The Fae loved beautiful things and coveted them for their own, so it was no surprise to Eren that they had finally started to request paintings from him. He wondered what bullshit story Mikasa had come up with to keep them from requesting to see the man behind the masterpieces.
“Eren, look…” Mikasa said and came up behind Eren to regard his now finished piece. “I know it’s frustrating for you, but I will not have them take you away from me. It’s best for you to remain in the house when they visit the village. It’s a good thing the last few clients have been Fae because as payment one of them put a protection spell on the house and even did a protection border, now you can wonder out into the woods a little bit. I know how much you love Autumn…”
Eren let out a frustrated sigh and stood up from the stool he had been sitting at. He didn’t want to be near Mikasa right now. Between her and his mother, he constantly felt as though he was being suffocated. At one point they had both suggested he move away, that way he would have more freedom, but there was just something about Shiganshina that made it impossible for him to leave. Eren had barely made it half a year away in Germany before the intense depression hit. He was unable to paint, unable to eat, and unable to sleep. He had been like a real-life zombie and once his family had been made aware of the situation they had to get him back.
For most of the people residing in the village, the Fae weren’t too dangerous if you knew how to play their games and if you weren’t considered rare in standards of beauty. Fae were known to take what they wanted, and as they always coveted beautiful things, it was always of the utmost importance for anyone of rare beauty to be kept away from them. There were many stories told of Fae kidnapping villagers and once that happened, very rarely would they ever return.
This was the problem that Eren faced. While everyone in the village could agree that Mikasa was beautiful, there wasn’t anything particularly extraordinary about her beauty. She had long silky jet-black hair, pale smooth skin, and eyes the color of the shiniest silver. There were plenty of men in the village who wanted her as a wife and there were plenty of Fae who wanted her…in other ways. However, Mikasa was excellent at playing the Fae’s games and she had a connection to the famed painter which earned her bonus points. Mikasa was also an astounding violinist. Most of the time she could get the Fae off her back rather easily.
Even Armin, Eren’s best friend, had better luck than him. While Armin was a renowned poet the only striking thing about his appearance was that, upon first glance, with his coconut shaped long blonde hair-cut, he appeared to be a girl. Armin also happened to be one of the smartest humans in existence so when a Fae did appear to be interested in him, Armin was more than ready to play their game.
No, it was Eren who had to be the unlucky one. Eren had what most people in the village considered the most beautiful face to ever exist. It’s not that his parents weren’t good looking, however, Eren’s features were on a whole different level. He inherited his moms natural tan skin and his silky brown locks from both of his parents but whereas his moms’ eyes were a golden brown and his fathers were a light blue-grey, Eren had somehow been born with emerald green eyes. He was the first male ever born in Shiganshina to have them. Before him, there had only ever been two women born with green-eyes and that was over 2,000 years ago. The green eyes were bad enough but pair that with his overall good looks and any Fae who set eyes on him would want him all for himself.
Eren was aware of the dangers of the Fae but he knew he could handle himself. Hell, he was going to be turning 18 in four months and he’d already spent almost 18 years practically held in captivity. He didn’t want to go on for the rest of his life like this and he’d even contemplated fucking up his face somehow to ensure that no one, human or Fae, would covet after him.
The truth was, Eren wanted to see the Fae. He had spent years imagining the Autumn Fae King in particular. Whoever could dream up those colors and make them real…he had to meet them. The Autumn Fae King was known to be the most flirtatious out of all the courts. This could be just as convenient as it was dangerous. One had to be careful to never insult a Fae, especially one of the royal courts. He had heard great things about the Summer and Spring Fae Queen’s as well. The Spring Fae Queen was known to be the most approachable out of all the Fae. In fact, it was her and her court who visited Shiganshina most often. The Summer Fae Queen was known to be extremely eccentric, which explained the intense summer storms that would scour across Shiganshina during the warm months.
Everyone who had ever met the Fae Kings and Queens said that the Summer Fae Queen was the exact opposite of the Winter Fae King. He was the one who you had to watch out for. Eren knew his name, for although Autumn was his favorite season Winter intrigued him. It was as cold and uninviting as it was beautiful and alluring. King Levi…that was his name. He had ruled over his court the longest out of the four, though no one knew exactly how long. He hadn’t taken the time to visit Shiganshina in around three hundred years, so it was unlikely that Eren or anyone else in his lifetime would meet him. Eren deemed that as a good thing because from what he had heard of Levi, he wasn’t a Fae you wanted to ever be on your bad side.
Eren was so lost in thought that he almost didn’t notice Mikasa pick up his painting and head towards the door. He picked up the hot cup of tea that he had absentmindedly prepared while deep in his own mind and practically sneered “What is it you tell them anyway? It’s hard to believe no Fae have ever tried to find me.”
Mikasa turned and looked at Eren, the only sign that she had noticed the malice in his words was the slight lift of her left brow. “The rest of the villagers came to an agreement with your mother and I. We value you too much to let the Fae get a hold of you. Rumor has it that you have the ugliest face to ever grace this village and we wouldn’t want to offend any of the Fae by making them look upon it.” With that, she slipped out the door silently leaving Eren with a scowl on his face.
It was a strange world to live in where being born beautiful was considered unlucky. Eren wanted to interact with the Fae and trade knowledge with them. He wanted to play their games. Sure, he knew they were dangerous but hearing stories from people like Jean made him seethe with jealousy. If only he had been born with a horse face. Eren shuddered at the thought. Okay, maybe that had been taking it a bit too far. Still, he wanted to live. He wanted to explore without fear of being whisked away. He was sure that most of the stories were exaggerated anyway. Probably stories mothers told their children to keep them from sneaking off into the woods together. Besides, it’s not like Eren that he was that good looking and so what if his eyes were green? Although it was a rare feature he doubted it was enough to make a Fae interested in him.
With that final thought Eren finished his tea and decided that he would take Mikasa’s second piece of information to heart. He had often wondered to the woods outside his home only for his mother to quickly pull him back into the safety of their home. While their father was the renowned village doctor and often away healing people or in his office working on new medications, his mother stayed home and sewed. She used to own a shop but once Eren was born she sold the space and moved her business to her home, so she could stay and keep an eye on him.
Eren was guessing that Mikasa must have informed his mother of this border the nameless Fae had placed around their home because she had been gone most of the day. This was Eren’s chance to finally be able to explore a little! He excited grabbed his easel, paints, and a new canvas and dragged them out of the house smiling widely when he felt the cool Autumn wind tickle his cheeks. By the briskness in the air, he could tell that King Erwin’s season was going to be up in only a few short weeks. Eren had to take the chance to paint the beautiful colors all around him as much as possible before then.
Eren only managed to make it about fifteen feet into the forest when he felt a shift in the air. Really, this is all I get? He sighed, head turning to look back at the home that was still clearly in view. That’s when the sound of water made it to his ears. A stream! Eren strained his eyes and could see the running water peeking through the trees about another twenty feet away. He decided it wasn’t that far, it was unlikely he would run into any Fae, and he wouldn’t be gone for long, so it would be fine.
Once Eren was all set up he excitedly looked at the scene before him. It was perfect! The stream was a clear sparkling blue and the ground around it was littered with leaves that matched the colors of the sunset. There were some small animals, such as bunnies and squirrels, scattering back and forth along the stream which Eren would be sure to include in his depiction. He wasn’t sure if he could do such a landscape justice, but he sure as hell would try.
As Eren began to paint, he also began to sing. It was a little-known fact about him that he also had one of the best voices to grace their village. He only ever sang for his close friends and family, not wanting to seem like he was trying to show off in front of the rest of the village. His painting skills and looks were enough, he felt that if he had anymore to give people would just take and take and take.
Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
For once she was a true love of mine
He started off by coating his canvas in white paint. It was essential to making sure that each color showed up exactly as he wanted it to. As Eren painted, he felt as though everything else around him melted away. The only thing in the world that existed was him and his craft. He began to paint the sky, head tilted to the side and mouth open as he continued to sing without abandon.
Have her make me a cambric shirt
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Without no seam nor fine needle work
And then she'll be a true love of mine
Eren felt freer than he had in his entire life. He was finally able to paint something he had never seen in his entire life. His paintbrush moved across the painting wildly as he tried in vain to match the colors perfectly to the ones that were right before his eyes. He had continued singing as he worked, his voice rising in volume with each stroke of his brush. He’d never felt this passionate in all his years of painting and he didn’t know how much longer he could contain it.
If she tells me she can't, I'll reply
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Let me know that at least she will try
And then she'll be a true love of mine
Eren had never pumped out a painting this fast before, but something in his body was telling him that he needed to hurry up. There was a change in the air around him that if he were not so engrossed in his work may have warned him of what was about to happen before it was too late. The next time Eren began to sing, there was a voice that joined him.
Love imposes impossible tasks
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Though not more than any heart asks
And I must know she's a true love of mine
The voice that had joined him was deep, sultry, and filled Eren’s veins with so much fear that he abruptly smashed his mouth shut and turned his eyes down and away from the painting in front of him. There was no other way to describe the voice than to say that it was ancient and full of so much power that Eren began to involuntarily shiver. He must have been singing louder than he thought to have attracted the attention of what was undoubtedly one of the Fae.
“Oh…you stopped singing. Come now, you can’t start a song and leave it unfinished. Sing the last part with me or I shall be rightfully angry.”
Eren gulped, the voice sounded so much closer than it was before. He knew what it could mean to refuse the request a Fae, so he tentatively opened his mouth and began to sing softly.
Dear, when thou has finished thy task
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Come to me, my hand for to ask
For thou then art a true love of mine
His head was still down making his voice much less full of passion than it had been earlier, therefore the Fae’s voice dominated his. He couldn’t stop the nerves that were raking through his entire being. Sure, he had wanted to meet a Fae at least once in his life, but he could tell by this one’s voice that it had to be one of the royal courts. There was too much power there for him to be dealing with a normal Fae, if any of them could be considered normal.
“Hm, no one ever mentioned that the renowned painter was also a singer. How about that. I wasn’t sure any of us Fae would ever meet you, given you’re always holed up inside your home. I wonder if you’re as ugly as they say you are. Care to give me a look?”
Rather than answer, Eren lowered his head even further, chin now resting against his chest. He could feel his heart rapidly beating against it. What was he supposed to do? It’s not like he could outrun a Fae, even if his home was still close by.
“I…I wouldn’t want to insult you with such a sight…” he mumbled quietly in response.
“Oh, but I doubt I would mind. After all, it’s hard to believe someone with a voice like that and with the ability to paint the way you do would be that ugly. Come on, brat. Just a little peek.” The Fae’s voice was so close now that Eren could feel the breath tickle his ear. His body responded by curling even further in on himself. Fuck fuck fuck fuck.
Eren straightened just a bit as the sound of Mikasa’s voice found his ears. He kept his head down, not wanting to give the Fae even the slightest glimpse of his face.
“Excuse me, sir. But my brother is quite an ugly site and does not wish to have to offend your kind with his presence. He is clearly uncomfortable right now, and I apologize if that bothers you. If you are interested in one of his paintings I could arrange something for the two of you.” Mikasa’s voice did not faulter one bit as she spoke. She’d spent most of her life dealing with the Fae and was an expert at this point. However, she had never had to deal with one of the Fae King’s before, and this just happened to be their unlucky day.
The Fae moved away from Eren, his attention now focused on Mikasa. “Oh, but I’m interested in so much more than paintings. You see, I’ve been ruling for such a long time now and life can get so boring. I thought I might spice it up by looking upon the ugliest face to ever grace this village. However, if I can’t do that I suppose I could take you back instead. There are some in my court who have been a bit restless and I’m sure they would enjoy your company.”
And that was all that it took to get Eren’s full attention. It was a cheap trick, one that Mikasa did not have enough time to tell Eren who had never dealt with the Fae to not fall for. Eren immediately lifted his head up and turned it to regard his sister with wide eyes. Her name was on the tip of his tongue but he felt all words fail him as he looked upon the Fae standing just a few feet in front of his.
Bright emerald green eyes met steely grey ones and everything around Eren ceased to exist. The man standing in front of him was quite simply the most magnificent creature he had ever lay his eyes on. He stood barely above five feet and was wearing a long black and green cloak with a white under-shirt where the entire chest was uncovered revealing a set of magnificently sculpted abs on porcelain white skin. There was a large belt around his waist and green pants finished off with a pair of brown boots. Sitting idly on top of his chest was a necklace with a set of wings on it. His hair was short and black and styled with an undercut while a few strands fell idly against his face. Eren noticed the pointed ears before his eyes shifted back to the Fae’s face. He had what appeared to be a bored expression permanently on his face but Eren noticed the way his eyes widened ever so slightly as he looked right back at the brunette.
“Oh my…is this what you villagers consider ugly?”
The Fae began to walk back towards Eren and Eren noticed how Mikasa’s calm demeanor shifted into one of panic. She made a move to come to Eren’s aid when vines shot out of the ground and wound their way around her ankles, capturing her like a prisoner to the spot.
“Eren! Eren! Don’t touch him!”
The Fae ignored Mikasa’s pleas as he stood in front of Eren and brought his hand down to place it against the brunette’s cheek. His skin was cool to the touch and sent shivers down Eren’s spine. He knew he should do or so something but all he could do was look at the man in front of him with a mixture of fear and wonder.
“What amazing eyes you have…I don’t think in all my years living that I’ve ever seen a human as marvelous as you.” He leaned in closer, his lips brushing against Eren’s as he spoke softly “I always get what I want. And I want you.”
Eren felt as though his heart had stopped. The Fae’s breath was like ice against his lips and he couldn’t tell if he wanted to flee or smash his lips against the Fae’s with reckless abandon. Was this a Fae spell? No one had ever warned him of how incredibly seductive the Fae could be. Eren did not think it would be possible to refuse even though he wanted to. He did want to, right? He couldn’t possibly allow a Fae to take him away. That’s what he had been avoiding his entire life.
“Come now, brat. All you must do is say yes. You can’t tell me you don’t want me too.” The man’s voice was low, his eyes nearly black now as he ran his tongue across Eren’s bottom lip. Eren sucked in a breath and felt his eyelids begin to drift closed. He could hear Mikasa yelling his name in the back, something about not allowing the spell to take over. Something about his mother…his mother! Eren thoughts were clouded and messy and he struggled to regain his composure when suddenly a hiss came from the Fae and he backed away, taking the cloudiness with him.
Eren’s eyes snapped open and he watched as Jean wielded what appeared to be a bow and arrow. It was laden with iron arrows and when he shifted his eyes back to the Fae he could see his arm bleeding slightly. Jean was getting ready to fire again but before he could the Fae spoke in one the most menacing voices Eren had ever heard in his life.
“Do you know who I am, you little shit. I’m King Levi of the Winter Court and you have offended me greatly.” Eren’s breath hitched at his words, oh fuck. They were dealing with the worst out of all the Fae Kings and Queens and now Jean had made an enemy of him.
“Don’t worry, you’ll get what’s coming for you. And as for you…” Levi’s voice dipped back into that sultry tone it had taken on earlier, “As I said, I always get what I want. Sleep well, my green-eyed treasure. I’m sure I’ll be seeing you again soon.” And with that, Levi was gone.
Mikasa was freed from the vines and she immediately ran over to Eren and pulled him into her arms. He could feel her heart beating as rapidly as his currently was. He knew he was going to get chewed out by both her and his mother later, but for now, they were all just happy to be safe.
“Man, I’m really going to have to thank Armin for crafting this bow and arrow and for suggesting the iron arrows. He may be one fucking good poet but he’s an even better inventor. Also, that Levi is a fucking prick.”
Eren couldn’t agree more. Levi had proved every stereotype he had ever heard about the Fae to be correct, but he couldn’t help but allow his mind to linger on the way the Fae’s breath and tongue had felt against his own lips. He reached his pointer finger up to trace his bottom lip and wondered what Levi had meant about seeing him again soon. And why had he told him to sleep well?
While Eren was lost in thought Mikasa had gathered all his materials up before sending him a death glare that almost rivaled that of King Levi’s. “Come on, Eren. You’ve got some explaining to do.”