Stole was sitting on the fence in front of an intimidating gothic mansion with barred windows and surrounded by dead oaks. It looked like something out of a bad horror movie, but Stole was unimpressed. After all, his people went bump in the night, and bars mattered little to tooth fairies.
Like most of his people he was short, rosy faced and winged, although he had bat wings rather than the dragonfly wings of his happier brethren. He had shiny black hair caked onto his head, and wore rough black leather with a lot of buckles and chains. These held powerful charms from his seelie overlords, and he felt in his bones he would need them tonight.
As he hopped down he mused how humans never seemed to understand why the tooth fairy came for their teeth. The fact was tooth fairies were seers of the faerie race. They used the innocence buried in the teeth of the young to create seeings that told of great secrets and warned of dangers.
Stole wasn’t a normal tooth fairy. He went after the hard cases, where important teeth were lost or hidden that were needed to reveal some great secret. Usually it was just messy, digging through rubbish, crawling into sewers or tracking the path a fairy took on its way home. The average fairies had been known to sneak wine when in human homes and would drop teeth.
Today’s mission was more vital. A whole set of teeth had gone uncollected. Worse, they were the bridge to tell of an impending battle with the unseelie. Without this knowledge the dark fae would use their ignorance to strike without warning. Stole, the top fairy, was called in in such cases.
There was a broken cobblestone path leading to the door of the home. Stole’s first instinct was to avoid being in the open but he was convinced something was behind this and knew caution was the order of the day.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a slimy bloodshot eye. It came from a boggart sent to spy on the fae. Muttering a few words, Stole held the eye in the air and it spun wildly around, light shining from its pupil. As it spun, areas began to glow – traps to catch the unwary. In one he saw the body of one of his brethren in comically red robes. The corpse was just bones at this point, but he knew who it was; Teetle. He was just an everyday tooth fairy who got the wrong job.
As he suspected the front path was clear, but wide open. Anyone could see him approach, at least that was the plan. Stole was too clever for that. He jumped in shadows lining the path, using burst of unnatural speed to hover from shadow to shadow, making his way slowly towards the home.
As he got closer to the door, something began burning in his mind. It grew hotter as he approached. He stopped 5 feet from the door and looked at it. There was something off there, and he didn’t trust it. He could use the boggart’s eye again, but that would alert the resident to his presence. Instead he pulled a small ball from his pocket. He spent several minutes scraping his nail across it, ignoring the moans that came from the ball. His head pounded and he ground his teeth when he finally found the seam and unfolding a paper thin facsimile of himself.
The thing grumped at him “You always send me out to get crunched or flattened to protect your sorry hide. When is my turn to watch YOU get crunched?”
Stole shook the thing roughly and said “You know you won’t get that chance, traitor. Now get out there and check the door,” the thing was about to refuse when a red glow came from the paper thin amulet it wore. It’s eyes glazed over and the decoy marched dazedly towards the heavy oak door.
Doing as Stole might have, the creature flew up and grasped the handle. Stole wasn’t surprised when the handle sprouted claws and wild bulbous eyes spun around, locking on the decoy. Hundreds of tiny cat’s paws sprouted and began to tear the decoy to shreds. The pitiful creature screamed as it was shredded to bits. It didn’t matter, really. The traitor had been cursed with immortality by Titania herself. Stole made a mental note to collect its bits before he left.
First he had to find a way past the door. He thought of the windows first, but they could be trapped as well, and he didn’t have an extra decoy. He dropped on his ass with a thump, and stared at the trap. There had to be some way around it. The resident obviously could enter. After long thought he slapped his forehead. Reaching into one of the many pockets on his suit, he pulled out a pair of mirror sunglasses. Unlike normal glasses of the type, these had the mirror pointed inwards.
Stole muttered an incantation, and donned the glasses. For a moment he saw his own eyes, then the door appeared before him. He watched as time reversed, seeing his decoy unshred. He muttered again and the reverse sped up. Hours were covered in minutes. Apparently the owner had not left his house in a long time. After a month had passed he saw a figure walking backwards away from the door. With a quick spell the scene stopped and began to move forward in normal time.
The owner wore a black trench coat and was abnormally thin for a human. He touched the doorknob and the thing grabbed him, the wild eyes scanning him. After a moment it released his hand and opened on its own.
Stole groaned, removing the glasses. He pulled open another pocket and removed a blupink potion. Grimacing he swallowed it, holding the image of the man in his mind. Stole bit his tongue to keep from screaming as his body tore itself apart and flew back together in the shape of the odd man.
Stole’s chest heaved and his eyes watered as he slowly recovered. After a moment he stood up straight, walked to the door and grabbed the handle. He held his breath, knowing the man might have had a charm, or it scanned his soul. The hand grasped him and the strange bulbous eyes sprouted looking him over.
After several agonizing moments the hand withdrew and the door opened. He strode quickly inside, making a mental note to have some goblins come and bash the door to bits. He walked in quietly, looking around the corner into a lounge. In the center of the room was a table with a jar filled with teeth. A small, pitch black creature sat staring at them.
“Peter, when did you go out? I thought you were..” the creature turned and looked at him with wide, crossed eyes “Stole! I should have suspected they would send you. No matter, I will take of you myself,” he jumped from the table, holding a tiny sword.
Stole took a couple of steps back and released his spell, letting himself scream as he tore himself back to his usual form. “Pith the cross eyed, master of hiding. Why are you here?” he asked.
Pith just laughed. “Why ask stupid questions? Fight me or run. Those are your options.”
Stole reached in pocket, confidently pulling a sword out of a tiny pocket and putting it at ready. His mind raced furiously. Stole was the most competent of his people but Pith was on a whole different level. He had never won a confrontation with him, but he couldn’t run. The teeth were too important.
Pith laughed “I think I’ll kill you this time. Titania obviously values you enough to regrow your limbs.” Stole shuddered, remembering the day Pith had removed all his limbs and left him for dead.
Pith slowly approached and took a testing slash at Stole, who ducked aside and slapped the blade away with his own. Pith laughed, but Stole was running through his equipment. He had hundreds of tools at his disposal, something must be able to help. Only one thought came to him and it was insane. He slid his hand into his pocket, sliding a gilded eagle claw over his finger. This was going to hurt.
Stole slashed forward at Pith, forcing the creature to hop backwards. Using the opening Stole leapt into the air, flying over Pith. The evil creature struck upwards at the exposed fairy and took one of his legs. Stole grimaced and flew for the teeth.
“You think I’ll let you get away with those?” Pith cackled. “I’ll let you touch them, then remove your head.”
Stole ignored him, grabbed the bottle and slashed the air with the talon, ripping a hole in the fabric of reality.
“NO!” he screamed “Elrick the Many Traveled would never let a lowly fairy use that!”
For his part, Stole simply saluted with two fingers and jumped through the opening. His last thought before passing through was if Titania would grow his leg back again. She was rather annoyed at his penchant for losing limbs.