Chapter 18: Changeling

I had never considered myself a violent person. Sure, I’d been doing some Sim Fu and that had meant a lot of punching and kicking air and sometimes sparring partners, but that was not violence. That was just a fun lifestyle derived from violence. But now, when I looked at Villia’s friendly smile, I seriously wanted to deck her in the face. Rem stepped between her and me, though, before I could do anything of the sort, and raised his hands in a calming gesture.

“At least hear her out,” he said.

“Exactly,” said Villia, “I owe you that much.”

I gritted my teeth and glared at her. Rem put his hand on my shoulder.

“It’s okay,” he said quietly, “She has the answers.”

“Like we have any reason to trust her!” I hissed.

“Yeah, I suppose you don’t,” Villia said, “I know I messed up. Badly, and many times. But I’m here to fix what I can. Rem wanted to find his family, and I wanted him to find them, so here we are.”

My eyes narrowed.

“So wait, you’re saying that you’ve known all along who and – more importantly – where Rem’s real parents were all this time? Seriously?”

“Yes,” said Rem, “I think that… I think that she’s been lying about very little during all these years.”

“Well, thank you for giving me that, at least,” Villia smiled, “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry. Terribly sorry. I never realised things would go this wrong. And I completely understand why you’ve been avoiding me.”

“But not anymore,” Rem said, “Tell Lynn what you told me, please.”

“What?” I asked, “Here?”

“There’s no one around,” Villia shrugged, “Besides, it’s easy to make people ignore things. That’s how no one knew I was at the bar with Laketon.”

I stared. Villia smiled.

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“Let me start from at least some sort of beginning. First of all, yes, you could call us fairies, though we prefer the term fair folk.”

I opened my mouth to say something, but an annoyed look from Villia silenced me. Not that I’d have much to say other than “What? Seriously?” Even after all this time of suspecting something like that, it was still a bit of a shock to hear someone say it. Not to mention it sounded like a half-baked, crazy story. At this point I was really hoping that Villia wasn’t lying, though. At least that would take us forward.

“Second of all,” Villia went on, “Yes, Rem is a changeling – which I’ve been trying to tell him for years. I was tasked with bringing him back home with us.

She tilted her head.

“But you seem to have finally accepted that part. I guess talking to Mrs. Brooke was what you really needed. I should have maybe realised that.”

“You knew about Donna?” I asked before I could stop myself.

“Of course I did,” Villia said, “She saw right through Rem from the beginning. Some people are better at that that sort of thing than most. Like you are, Lynn. Your father… I’m sorry, Laketon, is pretty good at it too.”

Villia glanced around as if to make sure we weren’t being eavesdropped on. I took that moment to ask the question that had become the most pressing in the last few moments:

“Why? Why did you do all this?”

Villia sighed.

“If you’re looking for some kind of conspiracy, don’t bother: there is none. We used to go around switching babies back in the Dark Ages, but we don’t do that sort of thing anymore. Rem was a secret to us too for the first ten years. We thought he was dead.”

She looked a bit uncomfortable now. She cleared her throat and the sound rang in the empty park before it was muffled by the vegetation.

“Look, this is getting into awkward family talk territory, and I’m not quite family. Rem told me he’s finally agreed to see his home and his family. I can take you to them.”

“To Rem’s real parents?” I asked.

“No,” said Rem in a very quiet voice, “She told me they’re dead. I didn’t believe it before, but…”

Villia nodded, a hint of regret on her face.

“But there is still family left for you. Your aunt, for one, and the rest of us, if you want to count that.”

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Rem looked questioningly at me, and I looked back. Then I glanced at Villia. I still couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that Rem seemed to be just forgiving this woman. Or well, maybe not forgiving, but at least tolerating her enough to listen and maybe even to trust her. I didn’t know if I was even ready to believe that she was sorry about all the pain she’d caused us. Maybe she was. But was that enough? And oh, right, she was also spilling secrets about some kind of fair folk and magic. In a way I found myself to be strangely calm about that part.

Finally, after a thoughtful and definitely awkward silence, Rem spoke again:

“I’ll go with you.”

I sighed. So Rem really was going to follow her to the truth, or whatever it was that we would find if we listened to her. And I couldn’t possibly leave him alone with this manipulative, life-ruining bitch no matter how sincere she was being now.

“Alright,” I said, and then turned to Villia, “But if anything goes wrong, I’ll make you regret it.”

They were mostly empty words, and Villia must have known that. But at least I was fulfilling my protective big sister duties.

When Villia turned and started leading us out of the gardens, I felt Rem’s hand close around mine and squeeze in a desperate search for comfort and safety. I squeezed his hand back briefly before I let go again. Sometimes I forgot that he was still really, really young. That I too was – as much as I hated to admit it. We were just two scared kids, possibly walking into death or misery. Like Hansel and Gretel lost in the woods and stumbling upon a gingerbread house inhabited by a man-eating witch. We could only hope there would be no man-eating anything in our tale.

We walked out of the town centre, towards the swampy edges where the houses turned smaller and eventually more ramshackle. The summer day had been quite hot in the town, but here amidst the trees and the watery ground it felt much colder and I wished I’d worn my hoodie. Next to me, Rem shivered a bit, but he voiced no complaints. His eyes stayed fixed on Villia’s back. Villia herself didn’t seem to be bothered by the temperature, even in her short shorts and light shirt. I didn’t know if that was a fair folk -thing or if she just wanted to show how badass she was by not being inconvenienced by something as trivial as weather.

We didn’t talk for a long while. There was just the wet splash of our shoes – and Rem’s feet – against the ground, along with the occasional rustle in the leaves of the limp tree branches. Even the air felt quieter than normal. The silence made things feel even colder. I reminded myself that this was home. Or at least used to be. This was Twinbrook, the place we’d done a lot of our growing up in. We’d sometimes come to the edges of the swamp to play, though only with our parents coming with us to make sure we didn’t wander off. But that had been years ago. Lives ago, almost. And now we were much deeper into the woods than we’d ever been. At least if one didn’t count Rem’s dreamworld excursions. And I didn’t.

We were way past anything familiar when Rem spoke. His voice cut the silence like rusty scissors, hesitant but still effective:

“Villia.”

Villia halted and turned around. She smiled her too-sweet smile.

“Yes?”

“Now that we’re outside of the town, I want you to stop hiding. I want Lynn to see your real face too.”

I raised a brow. Rem had said something about not real faces before, hadn’t he? I found myself holding my breath. Villia let out a small chuckle.

“Oh, fine. I guess I owe you that too.”

And then she changed.

At first I almost didn’t notice it, because it felt for a second like she had always been the greenish-skinned, gangly redhead. But then my brain caught up with what I was seeing and I gasped. Villia turned around, her creepily pretty face less human-like and her too green eyes now entirely too green. They reminded me of Rem’s eyes back when he had been sick. Villia smiled, straight from the depths of the uncanny valley.

“Well? Happy now?” she asked.

Rem nodded.

“Thank you.”

“So that’s… what you really look like?” I asked, my voice all too uncertain for my liking.

“Yes.”

I glanced at Rem.

“And Rem…”

“Looks the way he is used to,” Villia said, “Our people have a knack for tricking the eyes and the mind of others. You know, illusions, glamour, subtle manipulation… all that.”

“Yeah, I’ve gathered,” I said, “What else? You shoot fireballs from your hands too?”

“No, of course not,” Villia said with a snort, “Some of us have more uncommon abilities, of course, just like you humans do. Like Rem and his ability to get glimpses of possible futures. Look, it’ll take some time to explain, so I’d rather not do it right now. It’s already dark and I don’t want to take all night to get home.”

Rem looked at me, trying to give me an encouraging smile. The keyword being “trying”. The encouragement-thing didn’t really work when he was just as unsure as I was. We didn’t have much time to hesitate, though, because Villia was again walking, and I really didn’t want to be left this deep into the swamp without someone who knew where she was going. Rem and I hurried after her.

It really was getting dark. I kept glancing at my cell phone’s clock. It went past six, then seven… almost eight… my legs were starting to ache from trudging through the swamp. Villia didn’t seem to be showing any signs that we were anywhere near the end. Not that anything around us looked like a fairy forest or whatever it was that we were going towards anyway. I glanced at the clock again and realised only now that we were long past getting a signal to the phone.

“Rem?” I said.

“What?”

“We’re so going to make Grandma and Grandpa worried.”

“It’s not far anymore,” said Villia, “Just a little bit longer.”

“Yeah,” I scoffed, “that’s not very comforting when we’ve already been walking for hours.”

“If we lived right next to humans we wouldn’t be that well-hidden, now would we?”

So why are you hiding, anyway?

That was only one of the things I wanted to ask. But Villia was again picking up her pace. I had a feeling she wanted to sit on most of her answers until we were “home”, as she kept calling it. If she even wanted to really tell us anything. She could be leading us right into some kind of messed up trap for all we knew. Almost all of my thoughts kept screaming at me to turn back, to take Rem with me and run until we found someone or could call for help. But I kept ignoring it. Maybe it was because of my damned curiosity. Or maybe it was because I could see something sincere in Villia’s apologies even though I still wanted to be mad at her. Or maybe I was just so tired of being confused.

Finally Villia stopped and turned around.

“Well, here we are,” she said.

I looked around. Nothing looked especially different.

“Uhh… what’s this all about?” I asked.

“Oh, right, the wards…” Villia muttered and then trailed off. She seemed to focus intently on something I couldn’t see.

I looked at Rem and noticed that he was staring.

“It’s… it’s just the way I remembered…” he said almost disbelievingly, “I didn’t think it would be this… accurate.”

“What? The swamp? What are you-? What the hell?!”

The scene changed. Instead of the by now numbingly repetitive swampy forest I saw Rem’s dream in the distance. I blinked rapidly and even looked at my hands to make sure I wasn’t dreaming this time too. I wasn’t. And the fairy forest was still there when I looked back up.

“I take it you see it now?” said Villia almost smugly, “It always takes a bit of adjusting for a human to get in.”

“Villia!”

Villia spun around and I saw a man walking menacingly towards us. Villia sighed.

“Oh, right… This will require some explaining. Bringing humans here isn’t exactly legal. Don’t worry. I’ll speak for you.”

The man stopped in front of Villia, and in the dark he looked very eerie. Maybe it was the eyes. Maybe it was the almost porcelain-looking skin. Maybe it was the look of utter distrust he sent my way. He said a few words in a low voice, and I wasn’t sure if he was speaking in another language or just mumbled deliberately so we wouldn’t understand. Villia responded to him in clear Simlish, though.

“Oh, give me a break, Myrsky!” she snapped, “I’ve finally accomplished my mission and you start lecturing me about protocol? I brought the changeling, so I’d say that’s a reason for some rule-bending!”

The man whose name I couldn’t pronounce looked at me again. His eyes narrowed and he turned back to Villia.

“If something happens, it’ll be on you!” he said, “We’ll deal with this later.”

“Nobody has to ‘deal’ with this but me. I’ll inform the matriarch and the family. Now just… keep doing your job!”

“I am doing my job at this very moment.”

“Yes. Great. Now let me pass; everything’s under control.”

The man who was apparently some sort of guard shook his head, but stepped aside. I noticed Rem walking closer to me, and I wasn’t sure if it was to protect me or himself.

“I don’t think we’re wanted here,” he said.

“Oh, don’t worry,” said Villia, “It’s Myrsky’s job to be overly paranoid and a stickler to rules. He’s not that bad otherwise.”

I wasn’t convinced. I heard the quiet shuffle of the man’s feet and knew he was trailing closely behind us. Villia didn’t seem to mind, though, and just led us through the final stretch that led us under odd spike-trees and spiralling branches that seemed to glow in the dark. It was almost nine in the evening. Grandma and Grandpa were probably already organising search parties.

We circled around the windows that peeked through the branches until the trees parted and we came into a clearing.

Some sort of crystal ball-like contraption shone light on the houses that seemed to be build out of very old wood. They were like an unholy mix of honeycombs and layered birthday cakes, but they had a certain quirky charm to them. As we stood in the clearing, surrounded by the strange houses, giant mushrooms and bizarre trees, it all really sunk in and I felt my lungs become weightless and my arms lose all strength. I struggled to keep my legs at least somewhat functional even though I was lost in some sort of haze. Reality crashed in, except reality was fantasy now. We really were in fairyland.

I found myself staring, but my widened eyes were nothing compared to Rem’s look of enthusiasm and awe. For a moment he seemed to forget how to breathe.

“Home sweet home, as you’d say,” Villia said, “Now come on, there’s someone you must meet. Well, many someones. But I figured we should start with the family.”

“Family?” Rem managed to say in a very small voice. I couldn’t help noticing that he was swaying on his feet.

“I think we need a moment here,” I said.

“You can have a break once we’re indoors,” Villia said and pointed towards the nearest house, “It’s right there.”

A small child ran past us and greeted Villia. Villia’s usually either annoyed or too-sweet expression melted into genuine fondness and she greeted the boy back. Another set of tiny footsteps stopped near us as well.

“Humans?” said a girl whose white hair and pale skin matched the boy’s so well I assumed the two were siblings, “What’re they doing here?”

She squinted her ice blue eyes at Rem.

“Wait, he’s one of us! He just looks a bit like a human. Is he… hey, did you finally get him to follow?”

Villia chuckled.

“Yes, I did. Now run along, I can watch you two tomorrow if your mother is busy.”

The girl and the boy let out whoops of joy and were on their way. If it weren’t for their looks and the otherworldly feeling they gave me they could have been completely ordinary kids playing tag. Villia looked at their retreating backs with an almost motherly smile on her face, though only for a moment before she turned back to her task at hand and knocked on the nearest house’s door.

Rem stopped breathing again for a worryingly long while. He didn’t seem to be able to get comfortable in his skin. He was still staring wide-eyed at the not-dream around us, and I saw his fingers occasionally twitch as if he wanted to try to tear it all down… or possibly embrace it. I myself managed to find a nice spot in a state of floating between dream and reality and settled there. Maybe we would both wake up in our sleeping bags. Or maybe we wouldn’t. At this point I honestly didn’t know which would have been preferable.

The door was opened, and a woman with greenish skin and red hair stepped out. Her eyes were yellow – almost gold. Like Rem’s. She greeted Villia with a smile and a hug and they talked in hushed voices for a while.

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“Rem?” I whispered.

Rem only tilted his head.

“This is really happening, isn’t it?”

Rem nodded.

“I’m scared,” he said.

“Me too.”

The women stopped talking, and the one with the Rem-eyes turned to scrutinise my brother.

“Hello,” she said in a soft voice that sounded a bit like water flowing through rocks, “You’re finally here.”

“I… yes?” Rem squeaked.

The woman let out a long-suffering sigh when she glanced at me.

“And you brought a kid from the human family as well… Oh dear… this should be fun… what a fine mess my sister left me…”

Rem’s eyes became way too big again.

“You mean you’re…”

“Your aunt, yes. I am Kielo. Honestly, Villia, haven’t you told the poor boy anything?”

Villia huffed.

“Hey, I told him most of what he needed to know in order to come home! He just never listened until now.”

“Yes. I’ve heard,” Kielo said and sighed again, “Well, come on in. I think it’s high time someone actually explained these things to you.”

She opened her front door further, and Rem and I walked in with numb legs.

I wasn’t sure what I’d been expecting to find inside the honeycomb-cake house. Maybe another forest with flower-people prancing about in it. Or maybe some kind of chamber built into an ancient, huge tree. The latter was more accurate. It really felt a bit like we had stepped inside a hollow tree trunk. There was an appropriately woodland-style sofa against a wall, and there were candles lighting the place up with gentle flames. But then there were the mismatched chairs that reminded me more of Grandma and Grandpa than fairytales, and the stove that stuck out like a sore thumb. Kielo noticed when I stared at it a moment too long and smiled at me.

“I’m a bit of a scavenger. Quite a lot of us are, actually. Technology is just so fascinating!”

“Uh… sure is,” I said. Kielo sat us all down around a very plain-looking garden table and then took a deep breath. In the light of the candles I could see her freckles and the nuances in her skin colour that could have been make-up or just natural variety. I couldn’t tell for sure. She reminded me a bit of a human-shaped plant. All of the fair folk did, really.

“Okay…” Kielo said wearily, “Well, I guess I should say ‘welcome home, child’, or something like that, first. So, welcome home.”

“Thank you,” Rem said.

Kielo smiled. It was a mixture of nervousness, compassion and even understanding, so it made for an odd smile to say the least.

“This must be a bit of a shock to you. Or is it?”

Rem stared at the table for a moment, his body tense.

“I… I don’t really know what to feel about all this. It’s all so… overwhelming. I guess a part of me always knew… but I didn’t want to listen. Especially after… after things went wrong.”

“Right. Villia’s oh-so-brilliant plan of masking your disappearance by making it seem like a crazed man did it,” Kielo said, “And making herself look like a trustworthy person by being the one to save you from him. I told you it wouldn’t work!”

“What?” I said, “That’s why you did all that?”

“Hey! I’d like to see you do better!” Villia retorted, glaring at Kielo and ignoring me completely. My desire to punch her was back with a vengeance, “This isn’t exactly something we’ve had much experience with!”

“Don’t start again! We’re not here to judge stupid decisions. We’re here to help confused children.”

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“No, I want to talk about this!” I said, “You made Laketon take us just so you could take Rem ‘home’ without people coming to look for him?”

I looked at Rem, who had fallen silent. He was trembling and his eyes had that desperately suppressed shine that I could guess was somehow related to his episodes of uncontrollable magic.

Yes!” Villia snapped, “But I never meant it to go that far! It was supposed to be simple, but Laketon was far more unpredictable than I thought! I told you I was sorry and I promise not to do that again. I was wrong and stupid. Are you happy now?”

I glared at her in disbelieving rage.

No! I’m the opposite of happy about all this!”

“Fine!” Villia snapped, and then her defiant expression melted into regret, “Just… I’m trying to make up for it. I really am.”

“I believe you,” Rem whispered. His shoulders were still far too tense and his fists were clenched. I felt his magic thinning the air around us.

“Alright, let’s all calm down,” said Kielo, “We can all agree that Villia was an idiot. But she was just trying to fix the mess my sister started.”

“Um… What mess?” Rem asked, “Villia told us that I’m a changeling… and I guess I have to believe it now. It’s hard not to, really. She told me that this isn’t… normal for you. I… I still don’t understand this.”

“Of course you don’t,” Kielo said, “That’s why we’re here, having this questioning session. Now… first, a little history lesson. Back in the happy, birdsong-filled ancient past our kind would sometimes meddle with humans, and humans would meddle with us. Back then the fair folk was more curious about people, and it was almost customary to switch some of their babies with ours to see how the families would react. Messed up, I know.”

She laughed bitterly and I realised that I might actually be able to like her.

“Later it was done to give some of our orphaned children a good home. We’d find a family with a dying baby and make the switch. The changeling would subconsciously adapt to the new environment by creating their human disguise, which they grow into so well that it basically becomes their real shape. Usually the human parents’ relief of their child being ‘miraculously healed’ combined with the baby’s illusions was enough to fool them. The human baby usually died soon after in the care of the fair folk, and eventually the changeling would return to us after giving the human parents a taste of parental love.”

Kielo paused, looking thoughtfully at the table and tracing her finger in the seams between the planks. The mix of regret and discomfort on her face was obvious.

“But nowadays we hardly do anything to mingle with humans,” she said, “Some, like Villia here, are pretty good at blending in and helping us understand people, but that’s about it. There’s no messed up baby-switches or… magical deals that always go wrong. We just want to be left in peace for the most part.”

“So… why did my mother switch me?” Rem asked, his voice trembling just a bit.

Kielo wrung her hands and laughed nervously.

“Yeah, that is the big question, huh? Oh, I so love crushing other people’s nice worldviews and talking judgementally about my dead sister. Well, long story short… she did it because you were sick and dying.”

Rem stared.

“What?”

“It was a nasty illness,” Kielo said, “Some kind of influenza, or whatever it is you call it, but much angrier than usually. Normally we are very resilient to most illnesses, but this one got straight through our immune system. We lost many to it, including your father. His name was Kaita. Your mother – Taru – was expecting at the time and had you soon after your father’s passing…”

“To be honest, Kaita and Taru’s whole relationship had basically been a fling, nothing more… but I guess his passing hit her harder than she wanted to admit. She named you after him and tried to move on. But you got sick with the same illness almost right after.”

She took a deep, mournful breath.

“I remember her crying, being desperate, begging the healers to help. She had seen your death so many times in her mind. She was clairvoyant, much like you are from what I’ve heard. Though it didn’t really take a vision to see that we were just delaying the inevitable.”

Rem’s breath hitched. He wasn’t crying, but his fists were clenched so tight that it was a wonder his fingernails hadn’t drawn blood yet.

“Then, only a week or two after you were born, Taru disappeared with you,” Kielo went on, “She was gone for days, and none of us could tell where she had gone.”

“When she returned she had a human baby with her. She claimed she had had one of her visions. That there had been a baby abandoned in the woods nearby. She said you were dead and that she had buried you, that the new child was like a gift from the forest. She called him Alvar.”

Kielo shook her head.

“We were stupid to believe her. Even though she had always been the most honest of us, we should have seen that her grief had made her desperate. It took us years to realise she’d been lying…”

“…that she had walked right into a nearby hospital and pretended it was the Dark Ages and that changelings were okay.”

“She took a healthy baby boy with her, and left her dying child for the humans to sort out.”

“Even she couldn’t see that they would manage to save him. Human medicine has been ahead of ours for decades now, so maybe we could have realised before… but no… it took us years to figure it out.”

Kielo sighed.

“At first we were just happy to see Taru smile again. I guess we didn’t want to believe she could have been lying. When we found out, we were so angry with her. But we’d already learned to love Alvar, and there was no way we could have taken him back. But we couldn’t just ignore you either. In the old times the changelings used to eventually seek their way back home. You know, before they reached their teenage years and would need guidance with their developing magic. But you wouldn’t come back. We knew we needed to fix it somehow.”

“So they sent me,” said Villia, “I was an old family friend, and I felt rather at home during my visits to the human world. But you know the rest. Needless to say, things didn’t work out like we planned.”

My mouth had suddenly become very dry. These… these people… Rem’s mother had stolen a frickin’ baby from Patrick and Donna? And thought that it would have been okay to dump the grief of losing a child on someone else? And more importantly, she had been okay with just abandoning her own dying child, rather than facing the possibility of losing him? It was so fucked up that I couldn’t find any civilised words for it. And then Villia had continued the same messed up logic and thought it would have been okay to steal a kid from our family again and let us believe that Rem had died… or worse?

“What the hell is wrong with you people?” I managed to hiss through my teeth.

Kielo raised her hands defensively.

“Hey, I was always against all of this! I mean, I wanted our Kaita home once I heard he was alive, but not like… not like this. Kai- I mean, Rem? Are you… can you hear me?”

I turned to look at my stepbrother, who wasn’t really my stepbrother at all. He didn’t seem to find any words for this. He was shaking and his eyes had a frighteningly shocked look in them. The air around him seemed to waver. Villia shifted in her seat.

“I think he’s having a stress-induced power surge,” she said and to her credit managed to sound genuinely worried despite her clinical choice of words, “Just breathe, Rem.”

“Hey, what’s going on here? People are talking that… oh, guests! Hi!”

Rem suddenly stopped shaking at the sound of the new voice. In fact, he became completely still. I looked over his shoulder and saw a teenager at the door. And even though I had already begun expecting to see him at some point after the pieces of Rem’s past had started clicking together, it was still a shock.

I stared at the human who had the unmistakable features of Patrick and Donna on his face. The boy whom Donna Brooke had lost and mourned at the cost of hating the rest of her family. My real stepbrother.

Rem stood and pushed past the teen without looking at him. He was running before I could stop him. The boy at the door looked at Kielo and Villia helplessly.

“Uh… was it something I said?” he asked.

Then his eyes found me, and he smiled.

“Oh? Hi! You’re different! There’s never been another human here! I’m Alvar.”

“Yeah,” I said, my vocal cords feeling strangely weak, “I kinda guessed that.”

Then I rushed outside after Rem.

Author’s Note: Well, that was… problematic to write. Aside from this part of the story requiring a lot of building and Sim-creation – which I love, but will also admit that it takes a lot of time – I’m again almost having these “this story sucks and should be destroyed” -moods, but I’m trying to fix that by really trying to bring the threads of the plot together. So the answer to the mystery that has plagued the Farley-Monsoon family iiiis… that people have been in denial a lot about things they could have known earlier and that Rem’s past is filled with some really selfish people. Then again, they have their reasons, even though they’ve been pretty stupid at times. Oh, well, you can be the judge of just how messed up these people were. I mean, I can at least think of hundreds of ways they could have been worse.

And oh man, Rem’s mum turned out pretty even if I say so myself. I was especially surprised by her human form, which I made by creating a twin of the pixie form and just changing the skin tone, hair, clothes and makeup.

But I’m rambling now. I hope you’ve been enjoying this mess of a story. I’m super, super grateful of all the wonderful comments and other support you people have given me. 🙂 Now don’t worry (or do worry, depending on how you like my story), this story is far from being over even after this whole changeling-mess has been sorted out. I mean, these characters are just kids so they still have plenty of life left for me to mess with! *evil chuckle*

Also here’s a fun(?) bit of trivia for you: All of the names of the fair folk are either Finnish words, Finnish names (most are both), or at the very least slightly modified versions of them. For those who are curious, here’s a list of the ones that were mentioned in this chapter:

Villia: This is an intentional butchering of the word vilja, which is Finnish for grain/crop. I modified the word in a way that should hopefully trick English-speakers into pronouncing it correctly (In Finnish, the letter ‘j’ is always pronounced like the ‘y’ in ‘you’). There’s also the word villi in the name. It means wild.

Kielo: Finnish for a lily of the valley.

Myrsky: Finnish for storm. It’s also a word that is probably going to be a pain for English speakers to pronounce correctly. 😛 Sorry, I’m evil. (The letter ‘y’ is always pronounced like the ‘u’ in the French word ‘lune’ (moon), for example).

Taru: Finnish for (fairytale-like) legend or myth.

Kaita: Finnish for narrow, though the word is almost never used and people use the same-meaning word kapea much more often. Can also be an older, nowadays not often used form of the verb kaitsea, which means to shepherd, to guard, or to protect (with devotion).

Alvar: A Finnish name, though uncommon and not a native one. Comes from the Old Norse name Alfarr, which is formed from alfr (elf) and arr (warrior). Also a Swedish and Estonian name. One of the most famous Finnish architects/designers was called Alvar Aalto.

Whew, that’s that. I hope you have a lovely time!

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8 thoughts on “Chapter 18: Changeling

  1. The fairies are all so surprisingly nice! I half-expected Vilia to end up leading them into a trap, but it looks like they are just confused by the whole occurence as the kids. Rem’s mom sure messed things up.

    Liked by 1 person

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