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No news is good news.
Who: Puck and Oberon.
What: Oberon informs Puck that the war is over before it's begun.
When: A day or so after this and this.
Where: The Sleeping Woods.
Rating: PG.

Despite the lovely spring weather, Puck was in a good mood. The last several days had proved quite fruitful for him in terms of war preparation efforts and he was quite proud of himself, indeed. Now, humming softly to himself, he sought out Oberon, intent on informing his king of the development with his false faerie and also the new bargain made with the lupine hunter. There was also the odd matter of the black flowers, but that was hardly important. The unseelie king's bower was not the first place he checked for his quarry, but Puck was a wanderer by nature and his routes were always less than direct unless necessary. He made his way there eventually, hopping down from the branch of a twisted oak and calling, "I bring you news, my king!"

Oberon lay in his bower, one arm dragging along the ground, his fingertips dancing on the earth as if to draw up the dark energy stored there. He heard Puck's call and he wondered, but his excitement was running cold these days. Too many strange things had come to pass, such as his most recent entanglement with Titania. He sighed loudly and opened a lazy eye. "Yes Puck?"

It was hardly the greeting he was used to, but he was in too much of a pleasant mood to wonder at it. He bounded over to his king, landing in a happy pile of fae beside him. "Guess what? My business with that pretend faerie went quite well. I have her firmly in my pocket so we can use her to keep an eye on things for us. And I also managed to get a mortal to owe us his service as well. He wants to meet you before he'll fully commit, but I figure it's a small boon considering. He trades with Camlann so he'll work well in keeping an eye on our enemy in the coming war." He paused, beaming, he added, sounding so proud of himself, "I did well, didn't I?"

The answering sigh was certainly indication that something was very wrong. The faerie king wasn't sure he could look at his most beloved servant to deliver this news. "You did well," he said quietly. "Though I fear all of your hard work must be used for other gains."

The young faerie's cheerful prattling was effectively silenced, more by that telling sigh than the words that followed. Pushing himself up slowly to look down at Oberon with wary eyes, he asked far too calmly, "What do you mean 'other gains'?"

There were two ways to go about answering this question. The first was to charm his way around words and set it up so nicely that Puck's anger wouldn't last long. The second was straight to it, blunt and hard, certain to raise the young fae's ire. For his mood and his lack of energy, perhaps even care, Oberon took the latter route. "There will be no war Puck," he said quietly, leaving the silence to hang around him as a heavy mantle. He could explain, he could reason, but he chose not to do any of these things, only to watch Puck's reaction.

As expected, the news was not taken well, Puck's brows snapping down in an immediate scowl, eyes glittering like distant lightning portending a fast approaching storm. "No war?" The words were a vicious hiss. "All this planning, this preparation, and there's to be no war?" Puck loomed over his king, arms braced on either side of him as he searched his face, his eyes. "Why not? What has changed? Tell me." His anger had him forgetting himself, forgetting he was a servant addressing his king.

Oberon had not forgotten and he rose slightly in his seat. "You will not speak so," he warned. "I allow you many liberties Goodfellow, but this is a line you will not cross." He folded his arms over his chest, his eyes softening enough to let Puck know that he understood his anger. "It is too risky a venture, far too risky when there are dark things creeping into our woods, things that I must assume you have not sensed."

Puck was chastised, but far from appeased. Sitting back, putting a little distance between himself and his king, he crossed his own arms and regarded Oberon with a steady glare. "I've noticed nothing. And since when do dark things make you so cautious? Our kind are at home in the dark." He turned his head away, muttering, "You talk like a seelie."

"Do not insult me," Oberon said, his temper foul enough that Puck's usual attitude was straying dangerously close to his bad side where normally it would not. He lowered his voice, "there are council members dead. The entire woods are spooked. It is not just the seelie kind. Something dark and powerful is coming. Has already arrived in my estimation. It is only a matter of time before she shows herself." He stopped after these words, looking up in surprise. She. Since when did this entity become a she?

A retort on his tongue, whatever dangerous words Puck would have uttered were stayed by the expression on Oberon's face. And his ire made room for a niggle of curiosity. "She? Who is this 'she'?" he demanded, his tone more petulant than poisonous now. Surely not Titania. The seelie queen would hardly unnerve his king so, shake his resolve. And then the rest of what Oberon said filtered through and narrowed eyes went wide. "Council members dead? How? When?" He hardly held the council in the highest regard, but they'd been a constant in his relatively short existence and to hear that their members were dying... it shook him on some level.

He would answer the latter part first; he was still very confused over the former. "Three, so far as I know. Gruesomely slain," he whispered. It sent a little thrill of terror up his back. He was aroused in some odd way by the butchering of the council. They had been such a constant pain in his side and their creative, if horrific deaths had been a peculiarly pleasant surprise and a fearsome indication all at once. "In the woods, our woods. They did not stray into death. She, for I must assume it is she, is hunting them down. To what purpose I cannot divine for I know little more of her than her eyes and only that from my dreams." It must be her. It must be the woman that I have fought to remember every morning upon waking.

To hear Oberon speak of this...She...Puck didn't know quite what to make of these revelations except that maybe... "This...isn't perhaps a bad thing," he began slowly, mind gradually starting to whir, churning up plots and schemes. "The council has always been such a nuisance," he continued as if reading his king's mind. "Perhaps this is a kind of dark luck. Perhaps your She could help separate the courts like you wanted." Puck's eyes glittered again, this time with shrewd speculation. "If She comes in your dreams and no other's, She must be of great importance indeed."

"The courts will separate with or without her help," he said quietly, some good news to deliver at least. "I have spoken of it with Titania and she feels much the same. It is time for the marriage of our courts to end."

"At last, some truly good news," Puck said, tone wry. He was certainly glad to hear it, though, and his posture finally became less defensive, arms easing down to his sides. "What to do about our new assets, then? The pretender, Princess Puny, is easily enough manipulated, but the other...He's a smart one. Would you be willing to meet with this hunter? He's quite interesting, I assure you." Puck had moved on, so it seemed, but the thoughts of a war aborted still sat sour in the back of his mind. If not careful, it might fester. At the moment, though, his face and tone betrayed nothing.

"Of course," he replied, of meeting the Hunter. "As for what to do with them, I'm certain we'll find some task that will need attention."

"Very well, then. I will show you where to meet him in a few days time. It will be marked by a clutch of black flowers like the one I gave you." It was a petty thing to keep the information about the hunter's special...circumstances from Oberon, but Puck considered it fair enough. His king had deigned to cancel a war without so much as consulting him after all. Smiling sweetly now, Puck closed the distance he'd put between himself and his master, pressing close against his side, a hand going to toy in dark hair. "I'd like to apologize. For insulting you so before." He'd like to, but he wouldn't.

Oberon was not waylaid by the touches. "Puck, have you seen many of those black flowers?" he asked distractedly. He remembered what they had told him. Do not eat us faerie king. We will put you into the deepest of deep sleeps. It was troubling and he wondered if perhaps he shouldn't warn Puck not to eat them. He thought it safe to assume Puck would not, but the thought was still in his mind.

"Here and there," he murmured, a bit displeased that Oberon wasn't responding as he'd hoped and he ceased his efforts, pulling away once more. "There seems to be no rhyme or reason for them, but there they be. I've been toying with the idea of experimenting with them. Perhaps brew a potion or two." He stood suddenly, hopping from Oberon's bower with the ease of a jackrabbit. "I think I'll do that now since you have no need of me at the moment." Puck silently hoped that it was only a temporary thing, that his king was just in one of his moods.

"Do not eat them," he said at word of potion making. "And if you give them to anyone, make sure they are foe and not friend." His words, ominous and dark, his eyes clouding over once again. He was in one of his moods and there was no telling when he'd come back out of it.

There was no way to mistake that for anything but a warning. Whether Puck would heed it or not, was another thing entirely. The young fae said nothing, his own mood shuttered away behind a half-cocked smirk and blank eyes. Skirting an almost mocking bow, Puck took his leave of Oberon, disappearing into the trees, his mood much less bright than when he first arrived.

Tags: oberon, puck

Community: [info]pentamerone
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