Interview With a Teenage Faerie
For this week’s post, I’m doing something a little different. I’ve interviewed a faerie. She is Siobhan Bla h’Eithne (siv-von blah hen-ya), the main character in my novel Music of Dragons. I thought you might enjoy getting to know a little about her and I can still keep to the blog’s focus on Celtic folklore since she and her world are inspired by that folk tradition. Her mother, for example, is a banshee. (Imagine being a teenager with a banshee for a mother!) I hope you enjoy the interview!
Interviewer: Welcome, Siobhan. You have a beautiful and unusual name. Many human surnames indicate occupations, such as Carpenter or Baker, or places, such as Woods. Is your last name indicative of anything?
Siobhan: Yes. It means “flower of Eithne.” My great-grandmother was Eithne Fis Gaela, the last Faerie Queen of Cu Tailte.
Interviewer: Fis Gaela? And what does that mean?
Siobhan: “Moon Vision.” Her royal emblem was a crescent moon shining on a Willow. We—Cu Tailtan Faeries—associate Willows with enchantment and protection. As Queen, she protected the country. The crescent moon honors the moon goddess, Gaela, who chose my great-grandmother as a faeryling to become the Si an Cadhar [“Faerie of the Chair”]. That was the official title of Cu Tailte’s monarchs.
Interviewer: Your homeland, Cu Tailte, is no longer a monarchy?
Siobhan: [grimaces] No. Since the Great Dragon War, which happened about sixty ages ago, Cu Tailte has been governed by the Si Comhaer-li, the Faerie Council.
Interviewer: Not a fan, huh?
Siobhan: No, and I’d prefer not to discuss it. The subject is controversial and I have been quite outspoken about my position and that upsets my mother. So, out of consideration to her, today I will keep my opinion of the Council and its government to myself.
Interviewer: Your mother is an interesting topic.
Siobhan: My mother is not a topic. She is a person.
Interviewer: Yes, of course. I’m sorry. I meant that the readers might find it interesting that your mother is a banshee.
Interviewer: Most would be surprised even at the thought of a banshee being a mother. For the most part, banshees don’t have a good reputation among humans.
Siobhan: That’s because most humans have misconceptions about the magical races. In fact, some things humans believe about us are utterly ridiculous. But I will admit that many Cu Tailtans have equally silly ideas about humans. There’s a lot of ignorance and even prejudice on both sides.
Interviewer: That’s true. Well, I mean I know we humans have some mistaken ideas about magical beings. For example, some of my readers might picture you with wings, but you have none.
Siobhan: No. And I’m not tiny either. Pixies and Sprites look more like the butterfly creatures humans think of as fairies. I’m an Arda Si, a High Faerie. The Arda Si are wingless and resemble humans in size and other physical characteristics. And there are many other types of Faeries as well. Besides, most Faeries can glamour, so you never know how we might appear.
Interviewer: Do you mean Faeries are shapeshifters?
Siobhan: No. Well, some are, but shapeshifting involves actually changing from one form to another. Glamour is an illusion. Faeries can use enchantments to make themselves look different than their actual physical form.
Interviewer: You are quite beautiful—light reddish-brown hair, green eyes, and a face most humans would find considerably attractive. Are you glamouring?
Siobhan: No. The Arda Si are known for their exquisite beauty.
Interviewer: [laughs] What about your mother?
Siobhan: What about her?
Interviewer: Well, humans tend to picture banshees as ugly old hags.
Siobhan: Ugh! As I’ve said, humans have many mistaken ideas about us. To be fair, some banshees appear as old hags. Some may actually be old. But even human folklore says that sometimes banshees are young and extremely beautiful or that they are matronly women of noble bearing. Why is it the ugly old hag image is the one that sticks in your heads? Oh, I know. Because you also think Banshees are predatory monsters who kill people by screaming at them, and that is utter nonsense.
Interviewer: People do tend to die after hearing a banshee’s wail.
Siobhan: [clicks her tongue] The Banshee doesn’t cause the death. Banshees are Faerie women who—out of compassion—wail to warn human families that one of their members is about to die. And the cry isn’t just a way to send a message. The Banshees actually grieve. They are heart-wrenchingly saddened by the person’s death and the pain it will cause the family. But you humans have taken this act of empathy and twisted it into something horrible.
Interviewer: On behalf of humankind, I apologize.
Siobhan: My mother is one of the most loving, caring, and nurturing beings in all of creation. And she is utterly devoted to the human family she watches over. They are fortunate to have her. There was a time, long ago, when humans in a place called Ireland considered it a privilege to have a Banshee wail for their family.
Interviewer: Again, I can only say I’m sorry.
Siobhan: And move on.
Siobhan: Oh, one last thing. My mother is beautiful. She has raven black hair with sparkling purple highlights. Her eyes are gray and filled with warmth. She is noble and graceful, and she glides rather than walks.
Interviewer: I’d be honored to meet her one day.
[Siobhan raises one eyebrow and a wry smile dances on her lips]
Interviewer: I understand your aunt lives in the human world.
Siobhan: Yes. Aunt Keena moved here when she was sixteen. The Council insisted she minister as a Banshee but she has a gift for healing and felt it was ridiculous to sit by and wail for a dying human when she could heal the person. But the Council refused to let her be a healer in Cu Tailte, so she told them what they could do with themselves, then left to live among the humans. She ministers to them as…oh, what is the term? An…alternative medicine practitioner.
Interviewer: Does she use magic as an alternative medicine?
Siobhan: Only when nothing else will help. Primarily, she uses herbs and massage. Sometimes she just uses what humans call psychology.
Interviewer: Do people know she’s a faerie?
Siobhan: Oh no. She has to keep her identity a secret because of human prejudice, especially against women who have magical gifts. I know most humans are frightened of magical beings but why is it you feel particularly threatened when it’s a woman?
Interviewer: Um…that’s a good question and I don’t think there is a satisfactory answer. Anyway, speaking of herbs, I understand Cu Tailtans have a particular respect for trees and plants. Why is that?
Siobhan: Why is it so hard to understand? Trees and plants contribute so much to us—medicine, fruit, shade, beauty and so much more. All creation should be respected and valued. I don’t understand why there are humans who don’t understand that.
Interviewer: I agree. You know, you are so well-spoken, it’s hard to remember you’re a teenager.
Siobhan: We don’t use that term in Cu Tailte. And I am an adult. I am seventeen which in my country, marks adulthood. Besides, I spent some time in the human world not long ago and there were seventeen and eighteen year olds who were quite well-spoken.
Interviewer: I stand corrected.
Siobhan: [smiling] I must admit, though, I am speaking more formally than I usually do. I am the great-granddaughter of a queen and my mother expects me, when I’m in public, to comport myself appropriately.
Interviewer: Well, I’m sure she’ll be pleased. There is so much more I’d like to talk with you about, especially your time in the human world. You must have gone through a bit of culture shock.
Siobhan: [nods] It took a little getting used to. The human way of doing things, I mean.
Interviewer: Would you be willing to do another interview?
Siobhan: If you’d like.
Interviewer: Great. I look forward to it.
I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit about Siobhan. The second interview where she discusses her culture shock adjusting to the human world is coming soon.
*All artwork for this post (except for the Ukrainian flag and the Kermit GIF) was done by Christine Dorman via Bing Image Creator.
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Slan go foil!
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