Samantha Lee’s Picture Choice: 1
Title: As Ourselves
Sometimes, you can put on any costume you want, dress up however you want, but it still doesn't change the truth underneath. I know this Fae girl who spent centuries playing at being human. She had one of the strongest glamours, able to dull her natural glow, hide her fairy markings, conceal her scars. She took extra measures to tightly bind her aura, energy, and psychic signature and even took precautions that ensured she had no scent, no essence, no trace. She lived in relative isolation, letting few near, and was careful to never do or say anything too memorable. It was as near to a perfect charade as any Fae I've ever seen.
Except that it wasn't perfect, not quite. It was her eyes that her away. She couldn't hide them and so they shifted and changed with the sky above her, reflecting clouds, stars, sunsets, sunrises, and even eclipses as they passed overhead. There was something about the way she moved that was slightly off too, as though every movement was intended to be faster than it appeared and consciously slowed. Imagine a snake coiled and posed to strike that looses itself and then forcibly makes itself slow down. Imagine the ripple along its scales and the thrawted kinetic energy seeks another outlet. Imagine the momentary blur as the unconscious and conscious motions conflict. That's how she moved, not jerkily, never that, but not quite natural for either truth or deception.
I asked her about it once. "We are all of us proud creatures," she told me, "too proud to let ourselves ever be truly hidden. We are like peacocks; sooner or later we are going to want to ruffle our feathers, fan our tails, and strut our walk. Try as we might, a peacock can never let itself be thought a duck forever."
When I was in college, I met a boy who masqueraded as Fae. He was Magic Touched, his particular gift the creation of illusions, so it was easy for him. He would pretend to now and then let slip his glamour, hinting at an otherworldly glow, hidden beauty, and preternatural grace. He wore contacts that made his eyes appear to change, rotating through the spectrum seemingly on a whim and took pains to ensure his hair was a little too long and a little too silky.
He was careful to do nothing overt, keeping it subtle so as not to pique the ire of any actual Fae. Turns out, there's no such thing as being subtle enough to avoid the notice of the Fae. One day he went to a coffee shop where a Noble Fae happened by to procure a scone. The Noble noticed his charade, took offence, and challenged him to a duel. It did not end well for my friend.
I told the Fae girl about my friend. She nodded as though his fate was to be expected. I suppose it was. "Ducks don't do too well playing at peacocks either," she told me. "They haven't the plumage and attitude necessary to truly play the part and so the imitation is obvious."
I remember how she shook her head and looked heavenwards, her expression turning exasperated. "I hid out of necessity," she said, "not desire. We are what we are and that cannot be changed. Putting a pointed hat on a woman's head does not make her a witch anymore than a wig on a cat makes it a lion."
The Fae are wise, what can I say?
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