“The Great Catastrophe…it has many names, and none do it justice. A great black sun moved through both our skies, laying waste to all its tainted light touched.”

Aquamarine lights danced about the chamber, pulsing in tune with the rhythm of the speech.

The Feyqueene spread her spindly fingers wide. “Our people had long known of each other, but the Great Catastrophe forced us to unify against a common threat. We agreed to merge our two spheres, repairing the damage wrought to two by suturing them into one. Perhaps you can guess what problem there was with this arrangement?”

“There wasn’t enough room,” said Quinn. “Not enough room for both you and us.”

“Very good. So we made a bargain in blood, a pact of steel: every thousand years we would swap places. The dominant kind would live as they had, whilst the other would live on only as myth and legend, eking out the most miserable of existences.”

“I don’t understand how that could work,” Quinn said.

“Do you understand how a nuclear reactor works?” snapped the Feyqueene. “And yet you accept that it is so, and that larger minds than yours are required to grasp the finer details.”

“Fair enough…but what happened?”

“The first to rule was determined by a game of chance. For the first cycles, all was well. Every thousand years, one of us would be sent to wrack and ruin as the other reemerged, leaving the others as the barest phantoms, in agony.”

“But we reneged on the deal, didn’t we?” said Quinn sadly.

“Of course you did! Duplicitous, shallow beings that you are!” spat the Feyqueene. “One of your kind–I have forgotten his name–found a way to avoid the neccessary ritual. And so now it has been six thousand years since we last switched, and our combined world groans at the strain that this has put on it.”

“So you mean to switch back.”

“We mean to put you through what we have suffered. We will make the switch at first light on Midsummer’s Eve, as the contract specified. Then we shall destroy it and make this world ours forever in revenge.”

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