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The Market is never in the same place twice. Word passes from Goblin to Fairy, from Angel to Djinn, carried by the Rats and Pigeons, Cats and Dogs. All one has to do is ask... But Word only passes at the last minute, and Fiona doesn't make it to them all. She's missed three Markets in a Row. The last time it was held in a rural part of North China and she simply wasn't interested in the trek there. The plane ride and local transportation isn't the problem, but her family doesn't have clear passage through certain tracts of land. Old feuds. Even if it is to go to the Market, she decides it isn't worth the trouble. The time before that it was in a supermarket in Moscow and she had been busy--romantically entangled with a Fairy of some roguish nature. She had been going through a phase, and he played in a human band.

Two days ago she got the location of The Market from the cats in the alley near the apartment she calls home. At sunset she steps through the doorway of a shopping arcade in Shibuya, her wares tucked into a rolling suitcase to peddle. There are no Glamours in the Goblin Market--one of the rules--and she lets her human face fall away like so many dried leaves which scatter on the ground and drift away in the wind. Her pretty human face and ginger hair is replaced with something far older, far more terrible, and completely inhuman.

The Goblin Markets are neutral ground, filled with the lowest class pixie and boggan to Sidhe like Fiona, born to royalty. As she wanders between booths, searching for things to trade, she inevitably meets up with friends--regulars to the Market--and they find themselves in a smokey tent, drinking mead, sharing honey and good cheese, watching snakes and slaves dance. A Nightmare of her mother's lands (perhaps her oldest friend) shares gossip: Cian the Green Knight of the Summer Kingdome has (finally) proposed the Southern Lady of Pink Roses, a minor princess with family lands in the south of wales. No one is particularly surprised, least of all Fiona who wins a small blue diamond ring in a bet that an announcement would be made this decade.

"A wedding then or perhaps war between the clans..." Kiernan, the Nightmare says.

"If the marriage goes sour."

"Or perhaps there will be children,"

No one truly expects that, another Faerie points out. It's dangerous to leave a Changeling but so few fairy children survive otherwise... No one wants another incident of bestowing wishes either. There's a sympathetic nod to Fiona and her situation and the Nightmare offers a gesture of comfort, a gentle stroking of the silver leaves that grow from the tips of her hair. The gossip continues but with a change of topic and after a while the gossip of romance and political alliances bleed into the tall tales of pranks and murders and daring thefts. Finally when the Mead, honey, and cheese has touched their heads, songs and drunkenness and a brawl replace the talk.



By the time the Market is over, Fiona has sold most of her wares, and she has made a good profit. A pigeon in a trilby hat buys the colour of a boy's eyes to colour its feathers, and several goblins pool together their gold for six months of an old man's life. The dreams of a teenage girl fetch even more. Other trinkets round out her sales and she thinks she will be quite comfortable for a while.

Fiona is frugal though and there's no saying when the next market will be. She must survive in the Human world, living as one, until the next market and then the one after that... She buys a significant chunk of dried and salted cemetery flesh, and has a clasp of her favorite bracelet repaired. She trades for other things too. Gifts to repay the kindness for a young human boy, delivered regularly as politeness dictates.

Before she leaves, as she weaving her way through the quiet alleys, she sees a seller she knows quite well. he greets her knowingly and with her proper title. She stops in spite of herself, and buys a glimpses of the Winter Lands in an enchanted mirror. The price is high but she can recoup some of the cost. Melancholy always fetches a good price in trade.
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(Iníon rí) Fiona Nic'Geimhreadh

June 2016

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