Constellations Over Us – Book 1 – Chapter 1

Constellations Over Us – Book 1 – Chapter 1


Glais reeled back, falling onto his rear in the soft moss of the forest. White-hot pain shot through his head, gradually dulling to a dimmer ache. He wasn’t exactly sure what he was expecting, but it sure as hell wasn’t that. Normally he would’ve described himself as quite good at dodging attacks, but the bizarreness of first finding a human being in the middle of a forest in Tír na Neart, then being hit over the head with a stick had caught him completely off-guard. Bloody hell…

“W-who the hell are you? Where am I? What a-are you?!”

The voice that spoke to Glais had an accent that he was entirely unfamiliar with, and he could practically hear the frantic shaking of the individual before him in their voice. Glais had to bite back the urge to tell them to hold on a second and calm down – in part because he knew it wouldn’t help, and in part because a very large part of Glais knew it was only going to get him hit on the head again. When he looked up, his vibrant ruby eyes met a moss-green gaze, filled with fear. Their cheeks were covered in a spray of freckles, streaked with tears that ran like rivers from their eyes. Messy auburn hair topped their head and framed their face. There were a few leaves stuck in there.

“My name is Glais. Wh-”

He’d just given his name as a sign of respect and was about to ask for theirs in return when they interrupted him, brandishing the stick like the sword of a triumphant knight. “Aha! You just forked over half your power to me!”

The smile on their face was one of those unhinged ones someone gets when they’re feeling a lot of complicated emotions at once but are still laughing through the struggle. It was a fragile kind of thing, sort of like watching a butterfly attempt to fly away with only half of its wings intact. Even with that grin on their face, Glais knew that one wrong move would have them break down sobbing all over again. He almost didn’t want to correct them, but he came from a family that loved intellect and accuracy, so he opened his mouth to break it to them anyways.

“That’s… uh… not how this works.”

The stick made a threatening twitch, causing Glais to shrink away from its reach as the human looked down at him in absolute befuddlement. Then, with a mixture of shock and anger; “What do you mean ‘that’s not how this works’?!”

Glais didn’t have an answer to that. How was he supposed to explain the meaning of something as straightforward as ‘that’s not how this works’? It was exactly what it sounded like! It took him a second to piece together what was going on, and at that point he felt like the dumbest being in the entire universe. Looking back up into those emotion-filled eyes, Glais took a deep breath and tried to center himself. “Do you… Do you think that names hold that kind of power?”

There was uncomfortably, horrifically awkward silence there for a moment, filled mostly with the sound of birdsong in the woods and the shaky breathing of the human.

“… Are you telling me they don’t?”

“Uh… Yeah, I’d say that’s pretty spot on, aye.”

“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph…” they muttered. Glais wasn’t entirely sure what any of that meant, but he assumed it must have been some sort of expression of frustration. Against his better judgment, he extended one of his slender, clawed hands out to them in a gesture of sympathy. As a child, Glais and his sister had always held hands when they were comforting one another. He supposed it was just baked into his muscle memory for this kind of situation. Not unexpectedly, they flinched away, and his face fell.

“Are you alright? Tír na Neart must be quite a strange place for you, huh.”

“T-tír na Neart?”

“Yeah. The Land of Strength. It’s like… um… Faerieland, I guess?”

The moment the word “Faerieland” left his mouth, he watched as the stick dropped and the stranger before him crumpled to their knees on the moss, holding their head in their hands. Sobs, torn and ragged like the cloth of the old war flag his family kept somewhere in their attic, escaped their throat, nearly shredding Glais’ heart with them. He fumbled for words to say to reassure them – to help the poor schmuck – but none came to him, tongue coated in lead and brain drawing a blank. Eventually, he just gave in and sat down quietly across from them, fidgeting with some moss to avoid staring at them.

Glais wasn’t sure how long it was before the crying ceased again, but eventually, he heard their shaky voice once more.

“… This is insane…”

“Huh? What do you mean?”

Those mossy eyes made contact with his again, full of worry and grief. They took a long, shaky breath in. “I guess I just… I guessed you were one of the Fair Folk, but hearing you say I was in Faerieland just… It messed me the frick up.”

Glais didn’t really have any response to that, so he just nodded and said “Aye,” like an idiot.

“… I don’t mean to give you an existential crisis, but are you sure you’re real?”

He had to try extremely hard to stifle his laughter at that. That question was certainly a first! Was Glais real? “Uh… Yeah, I think so. At least, last time I checked.”

A little giggle, building up into a chuckle and then a full-on laugh. Glais couldn’t help but grin with his rows upon rows of sharp teeth as he watched his new acquaintance break down into gales of laughter. His own body shook with desperately stifled giggles, but it wasn’t long before Glais was absolutely cracking up, laying back in the moss with tears in his eyes. The woods echoed with the cackling of the pair for what felt like millennia, washing the dim shadows of the trees in a new sense of strange, delirious warmth.

“I’m sorry…” a wheeze, “for… for hitting you.”

“No, no, it’s fine,” Glais calmed down from his high, wiping away a tear from his cheek and laying still on the soft moss for a few more minutes. “If most of my family members were you, they would’ve run me through on a sword instead.”

The third or so awkward silence of the day, then; “Well, that’s a frightening thought.”


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