At noon, the fae returned to the captain’s cottage. And how powerfully he returned! For Prince Hark arrived upon a mechanical dragon from whose mouth dense fiery smoke issued. Beside them was a winged horse with flesh and blood like any other.

            “I have come for your son,” the fae prince said. From within the dragon loins, a slat opened and after a series of rhythmical clatter, a series of steps unfolded. The fae stepped upon them and lighted down from the dragon. He stood on the last step looking at the captain.

            “He is not here,” the captain answered, quivering in fear. Whether from fear of the dragon or from the fearsome skill required in making such a dragon. For the thing was about three times the length and height of the cottage and it gleamed black like the blackest of oils on a bright blue lake.

            “And where might he be, if not here?” the fae prince asked, with a calm that would have startled the hearts of most human men.

            But the captain only answered. “What does it matter where he is? All that matters is that I have sent him away because I will not allow him to go with you on your travels.”

            The fae prince smiled. An angry smile. “How shrunken-hearted you humans are!”

The old captain muttered under his breath. “If you had such a contraption, why did you not use it to rescue me from that forsaken deserted isle?”

“Are you one who expects a dark one to tell you all his secrets?” the fae prince answered.

Who are you?

I am Hark, Prince of the fae.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

A human man?

Yes.

Man has few qualities I like. No qualities, really.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

 Women aren’t as shrunken-hearted as men. That is a good thing. A woman’s nurturing heart is what I like most.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My beloved people…the fae.

What is your most treasured possession?

My clockwork dragon.

Earlier, you asked man referred to human beings. You are fae, yes?

Yes.

We look very much alike. Are we not the same?

We are more alike than unalike. But in our unalikeness, there is nothing of me that you can understand.

Who are your favorite writers?

Have you ever heard of Carole McDonnell?

Yes, didn’t he play Archie Bunker on Family Matters?

*sighs*

That’s Carroll O’Connor, from All in the Family. Carole McDonnell is a woman; an author. She wrote of one of my adventures in the Rococoa anthology.

What is your greatest regret?

That humans learn much about the fae in the Rococoa anthology; I fear you are not ready.

What is your motto?

How shrunken hearted you humans are!

Check out Carole McDonnell’s story, Sea-Walker, in the Rococoa anthology. Available now!

 

About Balogun

Balogun is the author of the bestselling Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within and screenwriter / producer / director of the films, A Single Link, Rite of Passage: Initiation and Rite of Passage: The Dentist of Westminster. He is one of the leading authorities on Steamfunk – a philosophy or style of writing that combines the African and / or African American culture and approach to life with that of the steampunk philosophy and / or steampunk fiction – and writes about it, the craft of writing, Sword & Soul and Steampunk in general, at https://chroniclesofharriet.com/. He is author of eight novels – the Steamfunk bestseller, MOSES: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman (Books 1 & 2); the Urban Science Fiction saga, Redeemer; the Sword & Soul epic, Once Upon A Time In Afrika; a Fight Fiction, New Pulp novella, Fist of Afrika; the gritty, Urban Superhero series, A Single Link and Wrath of the Siafu; the two-fisted Dieselfunk tale, The Scythe and the “Choose-Your-Own-Destiny”-style Young Adult novel, The Keys. Balogun is also contributing co-editor of two anthologies: Ki: Khanga: The Anthology and Steamfunk. Finally, Balogun is the Director and Fight Choreographer of the Steamfunk feature film, Rite of Passage, which he wrote based on the short story, Rite of Passage, by author Milton Davis and co-author of the award winning screenplay, Ngolo. You can reach him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Afrikan.Martial.Arts; on Twitter @Baba_Balogun and on Tumblr at www.tumblr.com/blog/blackspeculativefiction.

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