-18- Fairyluna, Goddess of the Oath

“Geh.” I croaked as I struggled against the pressure I felt weighing me down. It took considerable effort on my part, but I was able to rise to my feet again, and found I was being met with applause.

“There are not many, Earthling or otherwise who can stand in my presence. That just goes to show you how beautiful your mortal heart is.”

“As compared to what… the filthy black heart which must exist to willingly bind people to slavery?”

Even if she was offended by my words, the smile on her face didn’t betray her emotions.

“By now even a stubborn man such as yourself understands this place is vastly different from Earth, and yet you choose to interfere with a process that happens thousands of times a day, and the things you speak of being a rare occurance.”

“But you don’t deny it happening?” I asked in defiance.

She took a step forward. She was a supernaturally beautiful woman, dressed in a long robe which I could only consider to be made of starlight.

“No. I don’t. There will always be humans who will take advantage of an Oath in a nefarious way, just as you have described to this poor young girl who put her faith into me.”

I peered over to Jaxan who was in a position of supplication. Was she feeling the same amount of pressure bearing down on her as well? I felt like I wanted to puke, but I was afraid if I did I would suffocate on my vomit before it would come out of my mouth.

“What business do you have with me, Goddess? If it’s not to return me to Earth, that is.”

She laughed.

“No, you are here for the rest of your life. The magic used to call you to this world has brought you to where you are supposed to be, though it is one-directional, I’m afraid.”

“Where I’m supposed to be?”

“Yes. I will not reveal more of the why, so do not bother asking. Instead I have come to… receive your apology.”

“Why does a Goddess need such a useless thing from me? Surely it’s not because you are unbelievably vain and narcissistic?”

The Goddess laughed.

“I wish I could say that you remind me of Kiyome, but it’s that defiant nature of Reyna Ashford I see in you, child.”

“I have no idea who any of them are.”

She laughed again.

“No, I don’t expect you would, but yet that is the case… Gardavan Ashford.”


“You, of course. Gardavan Ashford, descendant of the Hero of Light and the Traveler Bride.”

“That’s not my name. It may have been a name she gave me, but that’s only because I can’t remember my own!”

“And yet you accepted the name she gave you, such a treasured name, so freely. Yes, I know of Thalica. Long have I heard her prayers.”

“Then if you heard them, she surely prayed for the return of her husband. Why not return him to her?”

“Maybe I should. But that wasn’t what she prayed for, Gardavan, and I’ve granted that prayer already. However you’ve brought her to such a state, I cannot help but get involved personally now.”

“And what does that entail? Being personally involved?”

“It means that I’m willing to humor your ridiculous Earthling sense of compassion. I’m not a Goddess of Deception, and I do take offense to being called that. I am a firm believer in the everlasting beauty of the truest of loves. So, when it is My name, My Oath itself which is said to be the cause of such a love being torn asunder, over such a trifle of a reason…”

“Slavery is not a trifle of a reason.”

“This isn’t Earth. What right do you have to impose a history which hasn’t been written here yet? Yes, there are nasty little humans who warp My Oath, and there are also those who see it for the blessing which it is supposed to bring. Not everyone is cruel of heart to do the things you spoke of to that child.”

“Then, can you take it off of her? That tattoo?”

“Of course! Just as easily as you may reach into your own chest and pluck out your own heart. It’s rather simple and painless to do, you should try it sometime.”

“Great, a sarcastic Goddess.”

Even her tittering laugh was like music.

“The Oath is bound to My name, to my very being, and since Thalica has bound herself to it already with this child, there is not much I can do about it.”

“Not much… but still something?”


“And what is this something which you can do?”

“It is all dependent on the both of them. As you have chosen not to become her master, it must be something the two of them agree upon. I believe the terminology you know it as is called a contract renegotiation?”

“I’m listening.”

“One year. It cannot be reduced any further, but the five years can be reduced to one. After that, you may proceed with this apprenticeship you spoke of with her, but this is depending on your humility, Gardavan. Are you a being capable of apologizing and admitting he is wrong… or do you perhaps actually look forward to plumping this young child up with your seed after all?”

“I would never do such a thing!” I yelled at her in anger.

“It sure doesn’t feel welcoming, being accused so unjustly, does it?”

I met her eyes and sighed.

“Can you turn off that gravity thing, I’m feeling nauseous.”

She lifted her hand and snapped her fingers. I felt a lurch, like when a fast moving elevator comes to an abrupt stop. It caused me to exhale and forcibly take a few breath to steady the sickness I felt in my stomach.

“Now, firstly I will hear your genuine apology. After that, you may discuss with your beloved wife the choice of lessening her slave’s Oath of servitude. That is my kindness and my mercy to you, Gardavan Ashford, descendant of the Hero of Light. But if neither of them should wish for it, it would be in your interest to respect it nonetheless. Should you try and break this Oath forcibly by some other means, even if I favor you, I will pass judgment.”

This time I laughed.

“Alright, I apologize then. From the bottom of my heart I apologize to you, Fairyluna, Goddess of the Oath. I also apologize on your behalf to all the foolish followers who put their faith in a deluded snake oil scam artist who dares to call herself a Goddess.”

Fairyluna snapped her fingers and again the great pressure returned. It came back twice as strong, and I could not help but find myself on both knees in front of her.

“Child, stand.”

Jaxan stood up with ease, and Fairyluna walked over towards her. The strap of her clothes fell enough to reveal the crest which marked her slavery on her chest. Fairyluna touched the center of it with one finger and it began to glow and… slither. The tattoo came alive and moved before settling again.

“For one full day I will suspend the effect of My Oath which you wear. Talk with your mistress without fear and decide if you wish to serve her for less time or not. You see what a fool the husband of your mistress is, and as the Goddess of the Oath, to my believer I am merciful and kind in sparing you from his nonsensical nature insomuch as I can.”

“Yes, my Goddess!”

The hand of Fairyluna touched the crown of her head for a moment, and then removed itself.

“Until we meet again, Gardavan Ashford.”

She snapped her fingers and it was as if she never existed. The force which had me on my knees evaporated in an instant and I could only breathe a sigh of relief.

I should have cared what happens now with Jaxan, yet from our meeting, what I received from the Goddess was a confirmation of one thing I needed. I was no longer on Earth, and she most certainly had something to do with why I couldn’t remember my own name.

“Jaxan. Let us return. You heard that fraud. You have a second chance, and I suggest you use it wisely, though it will not change my feelings that slavery is wrong.”

She followed along as I returned to the Bakery.


When I arrived home at the bakery, Thalica was already busy at work. Nefe was helping out, an apple with a fresh bite taken out of it on the counter next to her. Trev was nowhere to be seen.


I didn’t ignore her, but there was work to do now, and to be perfectly honest, the whole thing at the church was still so surreal, I didn’t want to bring it up.

The odd duck here was Jaxan, who simply stood to the side and waited. Was she waiting for an order or command, or was she just being intelligent enough to know not to get in the way. If I questioned how she looked yesterday when I first saw her, after this experience she now had a gloomy atmosphere tightly wrapped around her.

The day began to take off, and today was just as busy as the days before. Thalica worked the counter, having Jaxan fetch the goods each customer wanted, learning on-the-fly with very few errors. Princess Nefe was my kitchen assistant making sure everything was tasty. I jest a little here, as she had gotten incredibly fast and skilled at making almond butter and jelly sandwiches all on her own.

It goes without saying that the additional pair of hands Jaxan provided was definitely felt in a good way, but it would have also been the same had she just come in looking for regular employment. I mean, if I’m staying here as a husband and father, then do I really need my two copper coin wage anymore?

I could only shake my head at the travesty of it all.

“Daddy, are you feeling okay?” Nefe asked me.

Children are ever quick to notice an adult’s mood.

“I’m fine, princess. Just thinking about something I can’t do anything about.”

She scooted over to me and whispered in my ear. “Is it that big sister’s fault?”

Big sister?

“It’s not important. Don’t worry your little head about it at all.”

She huffed at me, then went back to making sandwiches. It may have been my fault, that the atmosphere in the bakery today was ruined, but I just can’t betray my principles so easily. It’s like that rock-ballad song sung by the fat man named after an oven-baked beef dish. I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that~!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t in the mood to create anything new, and rather than chase everyone out immediately when it was time for sup, she just gradually closed the shop by not letting further people enter, and serving the ones who still remained.

When it was all done, Thalica and I began a quiet stand-offish cleanup.

“What’s going on! Mommy isn’t talking to daddy, and daddy isn’t making kissy faces at mommy, and it’s all weird! It’s weird because she’s here!” Nefe said, pointing directly at Jaxan, accusingly on her own.


“It’s true! When she showed up you wouldn’t tell us where daddy went! And now he’s here but he’s not being daddy! I’m not dumb!”

“Mistress, may I sit for a moment?” Jaxan asked her.

“You may.” My wife answered.

She met my stare and began rubbing her temples.

I threw my hands up and broke eyes contact, putting away everything and clearing the table for Sup. Trevorkane came in around then, having completed four trips today and deposited the money he received in the coin drawer under the front counter.

“Nefe… what’s going on?”

“They won’t tell me, because they think I’m a baby.”

“Children… Nefe, that’s not true. I don’t think that at all.” Mrs. Thalica Said to her daughter.

“Then tell us! Why are you and daddy not talking to each other!?”

“Because he’s upset we got a slave, okay!?” She suddenly screamed at Nefe.

“A slave?”

“A slave, sweetie. Jaxan is our new household slave. She’s here to help around the house because things have gotten busier. Gardavan objects to it for whatever his own reasons are, and I’ve already invoked the contract with her, so for the next five years she’s going to be staying with us.”

“Do we really need a slave, Mommy? TK can do all the deliveries now by himself, and I can help out daddy in the kitchen!”

God, I love this little girl!

“Yes. We need one, sweetie. Things are fine now, but what if mommy has another baby? It will be a lot of work taking care of it. Having her here will make it easier when that time comes.”

“Another baby? You mean I’ll get another little brother?”

“Or sister.” My wife added.

“I don’t want a little sister!” Trev said, crossing his arms.

“I wouldn’t mind if he’s not a poo-poo head like you are TK!”

“Shut up smelly pee-pee-tina!”

It went unnoticed to us all, but Jaxan, who was sitting down with permission, head pressed against her arms and face buried in her knees pulled up to her chest, was crying quietly to herself.

Nefe, coming over to me, tugged on my arm.

“Daddy, why are you mad mommy got us a slave? Other people have slaves and they aren’t mad. My friend Bina has a household slave named Julian.”

I squatted down to look her in the eyes.

“Daddy just believes people should be able to say no, and not be forced to do something entirely against their will.”

“Like eating vegetables?”

I shook my head.

“You can say no to eating vegetables, and then your mommy gives you a choice. You can eat them or something bad might happen. Maybe you can’t have a yummy cookie or you might get a spanking. But you have a choice to say no. Jaxan doesn’t have that choice. If mommy said to eat it, no matter how much she might hate that vegetable, she has to eat it. She can’t even choose to be spanked, she has to eat it.”

Nefe’s eyes opened wide.

“But listen to me, Nefe. This doesn’t mean I hate your mommy. I hate what she did, but I don’t hate her. I don’t hate Jaxan for becoming a slave either. I hate the fact that there are people who can become slaves. There are some circumstances Jaxan has that made her think it was the best thing she could do, but she was very wrong. I think she was very wrong, at least.” I emphasized by tapping my chest with my hand. “My thoughts on the matter are because of where I’ve been in my life. Your mommy’s thoughts are probably because she’s lived here for a long time. In each place the views on slavery are different, and this is just a result of that. It’s like… imagine someone one town away called an apple a bapple. No matter what, that person would always call it a bapple, and it would irritate you that they didn’t call it an apple like you did. Maybe you’re both right, but since you’ve always called it an apple, and they’ve always called it a bapple, you just can’t change how you call it.”

“Am I being made to be a villain to the children, Gar?” My wife added once I finished my monologue.

I took a deep breath and exhaled.

“Aren’t I the villain here, Tally? I’m the one with my common sense being from another land where slavery is unacceptable. But this is the common sense of how you do things here, isn’t it, no matter how I may despise it? I’m only making sure the children know that the reason for why I am upset is just that. The existence of slavery here in Avondale, or anywhere else for the matter is a giant rotten bapple to me, and it will never ever become an apple.”

“But… what if mommy promises never to make Jaxan have to eat the vegetables she hates? Won’t it be okay then?” Nefe asked.

“You would think so, but who can force mommy to never ever do that? Can you do it Nefe? Even if your mommy wouldn’t, no one can force her never to do it, and so Jaxan will always have to worry, what if one day, I have to eat that yucky vegetable? Because all it takes is one word from mommy, and that promise can go away,” I snapped my finger, just like that fake goddess did, “and there’s not a thing to be done about it because Jaxan is a slave. Even though a short while ago, she was just like you, free to choose to eat one or get punished, now she doesn’t even have that choice.”

“Gar. You’re exaggerating the whole thing.”

“I know. I’m focusing exactly on the extreme not taking into account for a moment that you’re a good person, Tally.”

“Then why?”

“There’s a saying from my homeland that is relevant to this subject. An old quote from a wise scholar which says that having absolute power corrupts a person absolutely. Then there’s also the matter of Jaxan herself. Spending five years having to obey any order… what kind of damage will that do to her mind and spirit? Are you confident you can endure five years of it? Five years of not being able to put your children first when they need you to all because of a simple word that says you can’t?”

“Gar, entering into a slave contract is not something done lightly."

"Then why did she seem so surprised when I told her what godawful things were possible but didn’t violate the Oath? She entered to it with faith that she would get a good master, sure, but she was completely ignorance to the fact that there was no guarantee of that as well! And you, with a smile on your face took advantage of that without even saying a word to me about it thinking me happily complicit! It’s the lack of communication which hurt the most, though, Tally. There was a chance to help her without having to resort to this. Do you think I would have turned down you taking in an assistant? I know your heart is charitable, else I’d be dead in an alley right now. But this, to me, is inexcusably wrong. There. I’ve said my piece, and now I’ll hold my peace. It’s for you two to sort it out now. And I suggest you talk in private with her about it before the day is out.”

“Why before the day is out, Gar?”

“I’ll let her explain. I’d rather not put that filthy name in my mouth.”

I left the room and went upstairs to the bedroom. There was a card game that needed to be drafted, and I was already behind the time needed to get it done. While I worked with the sunlight shining into the window and a cool breeze accompanying it... I felt like crap.

I didn’t want to hurt my wife. I took no pleasure in it… but it occurred to me that I can’t live a backwards life if I can help it. Yes, I’m as stubborn as a mule, I accept that, and it’s no different that I have to accept a wife so eager to have a slave instead of a paid personal assistant.

No matter what the outcome between Thalica and Jaxan, there was nothing I could do about the household increasing by one.

But only one, was something I could do something about.