- Character Bashing
- Dark Themes
- Discussion-Child Abuse
- Discussion-Domestic Abuse
- Discussion-Sexual Abuse
- Hate Crimes
- Fix It
Section Five: Family Trees and Destinies
It was nearly midnight on the night of the new moon and Stiles was sitting in the middle of the park area in the Pack Housing Development. Normally this area was used for barbecues and picnics and touch football and basketball pickup games and frisbee. Stiles loved – used to love tossing a frisbee at Scott and praising him with phrases like ‘such a good boy’ and ‘good doggie’ when he caught it. Stiles really missed his best friend and couldn’t believe what had happened three weeks ago. But at the same time, it didn’t actually surprise Stiles in the least.
Stiles had known Scott since they still had to hold a grown up’s hand when they crossed the street. And Scott had always been all about Scott. No one else really recognized it and brushed it off when Scott was caught at something. Or people would assume it was Stiles’ idea or entirely Stiles doing and Scott wasn’t involved or was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And Scott never took responsibility for his actions, unless he got rewarded for them. And he never admitted to a mistake or any wrongdoing, even if he was caught red-handed. And Scott never took the fall for Stiles and never told the truth when people blamed Stiles for something Scott did and got in trouble for it.
It was only in the past few weeks that Stiles and Jackson had made peace. The pack – mostly just the teens – had been sitting around, talking about the Scott scandal. And Stiles had been talking about how he could totally see Scott doing exactly what Allison claimed and reacting the exact way for the exact reasons Scott claimed.
Stiles brought up several examples from their childhood and one of the ones he mentioned in passing was Jackson’s allergic reaction that nearly killed him. Stiles hadn’t realized Jackson had thought it was Stiles’ fault and believed it had been mostly an accident. Stiles explained that he had figured out a few weeks after the incident what Scott had done and why. But when Stiles tried to bring it up, since he felt that Scott had been really over the line, no one would listen, or believe him.
Stiles and Jackson were in a much better place in their developing friendship now. And Stiles’ Dad had apologized sincerely for not listening and brushing him off about things not always being Stiles’ fault. And Mister Whittemore also asked for forgiveness for how he always treated Stiles with suspicion. He had been told that Stiles had been responsible for Jackson’s getting hurt and assumed it had been somewhat deliberate.
But none of that had anything to do with why Stiles was sitting in the middle of the little park area. He was seated inside a chalk circle drawn on the basketball court surface. The symbols ringing the circle were the same runes ringing the bracelet given to him by the Nemeton.
In the center of the circle was a brazier and Stiles was burning various herbs and flowers and stuff in it. And the fire itself was using two specific types of wood. Stiles coated the brazier with oils and pricked his finger and dripped seven drops of his blood on the burning flora.
Peter’s book had been very general as none of the rituals had matched but still quite helpful. The odd thing about what he had been shown by the Nemeton was that the ingredients came from two very different areas of the world. Granted everything was from Europe, but several of the flowers were found only in the United Kingdom – other than greenhouses and stuff – and others were only found in Eastern Europe in the Slovenia area – other than those deliberately cultivated elsewhere. And the same thing applied to the two types of firewood he was using, and the oils. At least one of each was native to the British Isles, and at least one to Eastern Europe.
Peter had pointed that oddity out to Stiles and no matter how they worked it, they couldn’t come up with a definite answer on why nor were they clear on who this ritual would summon. It wouldn’t be a demonic entity. There was no living sacrifice. The few drops of blood wouldn’t be enough for that.
The only thing they knew for sure was that Stiles would be safe in his area of the circle and whatever was summoned would not be able to leave its area of the circle or cross the chalk line that made the circle and bisected the center of it.
When the last drop of blood fell, Stiles felt a build up of power. The hairs on his arms and the back of his neck raised and his chest felt heavy. He could tell he wasn’t really powering this ritual, he was more a conduit for the power to flow through. It was exhilarating and terrifying in equal measure.
The smoke from the brazier began deepening and clouding the circle. The small amount of flora he used should have burned out long before the smoke could get his thick. But Stiles wasn’t sure the rules of physics were applying here right now. He wasn’t sure time actually existed inside this circle, at least not in the same way as it normally did.
After what felt like both an eternity and a second, the smoke pulled back to form a dome inside the chalk circle and to a height of about twelve feet. No one outside would be able to see in and penetrate the thick foggy smoke barrier. Even the normal nighttime nature noises were not just muffled as they had been previously, but absent entirely.
And when the smoke lifted to form this dome, Stiles saw inside the center of the other half of the circle two figures. They appeared male and they towered over the seated teen.
Stiles stared up at them and debated whether he should get to his feet or remain seated. On the one hand, while he was seriously intimidated, he wasn’t really of a mind to make that clear or obvious to the things he had summoned. On the other hand, not only would standing make him more comfortable psychologically, but it may be considered more polite. And suddenly Stiles really didn’t want to come off as an impolite asshhole. He scrambled to his feet awkwardly.
“Uh, hello. I’m Stiles. The, uh, Nemeton told me to summon you. Sorry if you were in the middle of something.”
The man on the left inclined his head, his red hair almost shining in the light of the campfire, it was such a bright shade. “We know who you are, Mieczysław. To some extent, you could say that we summoned you to summon us.”
The man on the right smiled. His hair was dark, nearly pitch black in the uncertain light but his skin was a deep tan that seemed to glow from within. “We have kept watch over you since you were born, my child. You are something quite special.”
Stiles’ eyes widened and he fought not to stumble backwards. “Oh, so you sent me the dream? Thanks for that.”
The dark-haired man shrugged his shoulders, the fur cape he was wearing rippling as if alive. “We did not direct it, like some puppet master on a stage. We simply pushed for circumstances to occur that would lead you use your power in a way that would lead you to us in the end.”
The redhead smiled. “We do apologize for the distress you were caused but it was necessary that we speak and reveal things to you, young Mieczysław.”
The dark-haired man looked at the other with irritation. “The first time I let pass because it was a good way to reveal we knew his true name. But now, you’re just being a prat, showing off your ability with the language and thus the correct pronunciation.”
“You can pronounce it, too. After all, the language is from your general region.”
“Yes, I can. However, it is rude as he prefers his chosen name over the one gifted him at birth.”
The red haired man tilted his head to the side for a few moments before he nodded and turned his attention back to Stiles. “My apologies. I was being rude. I am accustomed to being around beings known by multiple names when in this realm. Even myself.”
Stiles nodded. “Forgiven. Just out of curiosity and so I can stop referring to you in my head by your hair colors, may I have the knowledge of one of those names used for yourselves while in this realm?”
The dark-haired man chuckled. “He’s such a smart one. So quick and such a sharp tongue.” He turned to Stiles and have a short bow. “You may call me Jarnik Jarilo.”
The other have the same depth of bow and smiled. “I am often known as Gwynn ap Nudd to those I interact with in this realm and others.”
Jarnik grinned, lots of teeth showing. “You may call us Jarnik and Gwynn, unless and until Pradziadek and Dziadek feel more comfortable and right.”
“Or, perhaps you would prefer to use Hen Daid and Taid for us.” Gwynn grinned and it seemed like he was trying not to laugh.
Stiles closed his dropped open mouth. “I – uh, I don’t speak, is that Welsh? Gaelic?”
Jarnik huffed a laughter like sound. “Which is why I chose Polish which I know you do know somewhat rather than Slovenian which is closer to my more known area of influence, which would be Pradedek and Dedek. Do feel free to use those if you wish, Stiles.”
Stiles nodded. “Uh, I would probably stick to Polish for now. Or, you know, English. Um, which one of you is Pradziadek?”
Jarnik waved. “I am your Pradziadek, Hen Daid, Pradedek, or Great-Grandfather, as you prefer.”
Stiles blew out a breath. “So, I’ve read mythology and stuff extensively, like a lot, a lot a lot. From like all over the world. And I know that myths have Gwynn ap Nudd in Wales and Britain and is known as the god of the underworld in fairy. And Jarnik or Jarilo is from Slovenia and is the god of youthful life force among other things and is sometimes called the Wolf Herdsmen. But I never found a myth, legend, tale, story, or rumor that Jarnik was the father of Gwynn ap Nudd.”
The two beings laughed loudly. After several minutes, Gwynn got control of himself first. “That would be because it is not so. You leapt over a few conclusions, Stiles. Can you think of no way that I could be your grandfather and Jarnik could be your great-grandfather without the two of us being father and son?”
Stiles could feel himself blushing and hoped the dim light hid it. “Right. Well, Jarnik’s child could have married you or at least had a child with you. And that child was one of my parents?”
Jarnik shook his head. “No. It is more distant than that. And from opposite sides, as it were.”
Stiles gaped. “Oh! One of you is related to me on my mother’s side and one on my father’s side.”
Jarnik smiled. “I am your father’s mother’s father.”
Gwynn nodded. “Yes. I had the honor of being the biological father of your late mother, Claudia.”
Stiles frowned. “Mom always said she named me after her father. But it isn’t even close.”
Gwynn looked sad. “This is because Claudia was adopted, though she knew it not. I was unable to care for her, I could not take her to my realm and her biological mother died giving birth to her. Claudia’s adoptive parents took her in and adopted her when she was only hours old. And her father was indeed named Mieczysław, a young Polish man married to a Welsh girl and visiting her family when Claudia was born.”
Stiles blinked. “Okay. So, on Dad’s side I have his father who is Polish.”
Jarnik nodded. “Yes. And your preferred nickname is also the one he uses.”
“Huh. So, named at birth for my maternal grandfather – as far as Mom knew – and took a name for myself that is the name my paternal grandfather took as his own. Interesting coincidence. And Dad’s mother was half Polish and half – demigod? Half nature spirit?”
Jarnik smiled. “Your paternal grandmother was half human and half fae. And yes her mother, my lover, was Polish.”
Stiles nodded. “Okay, so from that I am half Dad so three quarters Polish on his side and one quarter fae.”
“And on Mom’s side, I am half Welsh – not Polish like we thought. And half – is it fae again?”
Gwynn nodded. “Yes, I am fae. And my lover was a human who lived in Wales though she was not so generalized in her own ancestry. She was British.”
Stiles nodded. “Okay, like most kids in this country whose family have lived here for at least a couple of generations, they’re American.”
Gwynn smiled. “Exactly. May I ask your thought process that makes this relevant, Stiles?”
Stiles waved his hands around. “I’m trying to figure out how much supernatural creature – um – fae, I am biologically. So half fae from Mom’s half would be one quarter fae and one quarter fae on Dad’s half would be one eighth overall. So one quarter plus one eighth is three eighths fae. But my mother was half fae, so how am I powerful more than her?”
Gwynn sighed. “There are several things that tie into that. For one, as Claudia did not know she was adopted she didn’t understand when her fae magic would do things. She suppressed it and ultimately rejected her magic. And -“
Stiles looked down. “That’s what killed her, isn’t it? That’s why she got sick?”
Gwynn nodded sadly. “In a roundabout manner, yes.”
Stiles swallowed hard. “What else?”
Jarnik crossed his hands behind his back. “Well, you are from two very distinct lines of fae. And – well, you have a destiny, Stiles.”
Gwynn nodded. “Yes. When your mother was pregnant with you over three dozen seers in the fae realms gave the same general prophecy about your path. And it referenced a much older prophecy about a child of power born when two lines were unknowingly joined and wolves would be his guard and home.”
Jarnik shuffled in place and his arms came up to cross his chest and then down to fidget against his legs. “You have to understand the backstory. The reason Gwynn was unable to take Claudia to his realm when her mother died at her birth was because travel between this realm and Faerie is nearly impossible for most. Gwynn and I and a few others have a somewhat easier time of it due to the job we share – or once shared – should share but can’t currently.”
Gwynn took over as Jarnik stumbled. “Once upon a time, several centuries ago, both Jarnik and I were leaders of the Wild Hunt our respective area of the globe. I in Wales and Scotland, parts of England and at times parts of Ireland. Jarvik in Slovenia and sometimes ranging into upper Italy or north towards Poland and east into western Russia. There are others who had the task in other parts of the world. The problem began in the early to mid 1800s as humans track time. There were several part fae who – their children – it is complicated and has to do with several part fae who lived in the human realm trying to force the prophecy that culminated in you to occur. There were fae politics and enormous misunderstandings involved but they formed a new Wild Hunt in North America. But it was twists and corrupted from it proper purpose.”
Jarnik sighed. “Those cheap knockoffs were assholes – are assholes and the magic and rituals they used began to poison the paths between this realm and Faerie. Fae getting caught and corrupted by this poison, caused horrendous damage in both realms before they were able to be stopped. Our best researchers worked on the problem but it was insurmountable from our end. As long as the False Hunt was active and continuously poisoning the In-Between, the majority of our people were trapped. But for the few of us whose powers included power over the dead, the Hunt – when it was able to ride, or inter dimensional travel. Gwynn and I are both in the former two categories. And the only thing our people could work out was that we needed to trigger the Child of Cleansing Power prophecy. But not in the way the pretenders had attempted.”
Gwynn shrugged. “Those of us who could return with more ease to this realm were encouraged to take mortal lovers and have children with them. There are more half, quarter, and eighth fae around then you might expect, Stiles. And it worked. Eventually, you were born. But, the consequences of the wait for your birth, the many decades, centuries that have passed, have been – severe and world changing.”
Jarnik continued with a sigh. “The Wild Hunt had a purpose. And when we were unable to continue that purpose – a replacement arose to fill the void. A man was born and became a werewolf and he went bad, not feral, but simply evil. He was so far gone that they simply called him the Beast of Gevaudan. And his reign of terror was so horrible that his own sister rose to find a way to destroy him. After many hardships and much violence and far too many innocent deaths, she was able to trap him in a cage he could not easily break as its bars were laced with mountain ash. She killed her brother and burned his body. All that survived was his claws. But she had come to realize over the years she pursued her brother that the world was filled with non-human creatures and creatures that were sometimes human or seemed human but weren’t. And many of them were violent and humans were hurt by them. She and one of the men who helped her hunt her brother married and took the name of the metal the Beast’s death cage had been made of as their own. In English, it would be Silver. But in her native land, France, it was Argent.”
Gwynn sighed. “And thus her family took on a motto, a code, to hunt those who would hunt them. And her philosophy spread and more Hunting clans were created and the poison of the Wild Hunt poisoned even this originally noble ideal and we have results like Kate and Gerard.”
Stiles flailed around as he paced his half of the circle. “What exactly am I supposed to do? I can’t – I don’t even know -“
Gwynn reached a hand toward the chalk line separating them. “This is your destiny – to destroy the False Hunt. Even if your powers had not been forced out of dormancy with the Bite six years ago, they still would have activated at some point int time, possibly without you having training available. It is your Fate to face the Hunt and destroy it. And we have faith in you and your pack. You all carry the hopes of the fae and the future of the supernatural in this realm with you. The False Hunt will be drawn to you eventually. Will you allow them to do as they will? Destroy innocent creatures and force humans to vanish into the In-Between forever?”
Stiles shook his head. “No, of course I won’t but -“
Jarnik smiled softly. “Just believe, in yourself, in your pack, in the people you surround yourself with, in the love you hold for each other and this realm.”
The smoke barrier began to clear and the fire dimmed, the two fae fading, leaving only an echo in two voices, “Believe, Mieczysław Stilinski, believe.”
Stiles fell flat on his butt and then onto his back, contemplating his future and listening to the fading echo as he gazed up at the stars. “Believe.”