Pixie Dust (Object Post 133)
From Green Balls, Pen and Ink, I Promise and Man Overboard
Source: It’s said no one knows; not even the pixies
Deployed at: Hob’s Island, a pub, Tulpenmanie and other places
Aimed at: An annoying publican, Jin Peckerdale and Zach Rowan—twice. Probably at Promise Grene
Related to: In the sense that it’s used mostly by one order of fay, it’s similar to a come-to-me and in the sense that it’s a mystery even to pixies, it’s a bit like Hamish McTavish’s frying pan
Peck slid his ID back into his wallet and put it in his pocket. When he withdrew his hand, he held a pinch of pixie dust which he flung at the publican with a practiced twitch of his fingers.
Peck Grene didn’t use pixie dust all that often, but when he did, it was extremely effective. In the example above, he was fed up with an officious publican who refused to serve him without proof of age, and then refused to believe the proof when he was given it. Peck was annoyed. He wanted a quiet drink after a hard day at Ike’s Motor Services (the motor services were easy, but dealing with Ike wasn’t), so he “dusted” the man, who then served him with perfect equanimity.
“What’ll you have, mate?” asked the publican.
“A bottle of stout, thanks,” said Peck. He put down the relevant coins, received the bottle, cold with condensation, twisted off the top and drank, leaning contentedly on the well-polished bar.
“Another?” asked the publican.
“No thanks.” Peck unpropped himself from the bar, gave a friendly wave and walked out.
He rarely used pixie dust, but the publican had been so smug and disinclined to listen. He wondered what the man thought he saw post-dusting.
That was the only time Peck clearly used the dust without permission, although there’s internal evidence to suggest he used it on his sister for good and sufficient reason during their childhood.
After he got himself into a horribly embarrassing situation with a human woman named Chloe, he gave her supper. She was suspicious about his motives when he offered her a bowl of soup.
“How do I know you haven’t spiked it?”
“You don’t,” said Peck. “But why would I bother? If you don’t want it, I’m quite happy to eat it. You’re safe. I didn’t even add pixie dust though I can if you’d like to forget.”
Chloe rejected that offer, (though she accepted the supper) and Peck respected her wishes. He repeated the offer later, but she rejected it again. She didn’t reject Peck though, and she eventually married him.
His cousin Ryl was half pixie, but she didn’t use dust herself. When she and her friend Skye got into a mess with Pen Swan, they asked Peck to “dust” Pen so erase another embarrassing situation. Peck preferred to talk Pen down instead.
Skye, looking distressed, made a sudden move. “Can’t you just dust her now and get it over with?”
“No! I don’t dust people without their consent unless they’re idiots or throwing their weight about by refusing to serve me in the pub. Mrs Swan’s not an idiot. She’s a perfectly sensible person. That is, she was, until you two got your fingers in the pie. Ryl, go away. Skye, you go too. Shoo!”
Pen, like Chloe, declined to be dusted, but she pretended she had been, to mollify the women.
Pixie dust was easy to use, and its effect could be different depending on the intension of the pixie who used it. Pureblood pixies like Peck were the most effective users. They could use it to make someone temporarily amenable or to create targeted short-or-long-term amnesia. The way Peck used it on the publican was not admirable, but ethical pixies looked on it as a shortcut to gaining an effect they could get anyway, if they had the time and inclination. The amnesia effect was a different matter. The memories erased never went entirely, but they faded to a dream-like state. Once lost, the memory was faded out of clarity forever.
Peck’s cousin Jisinia Peckerdale was a halfling pixie like Ryl, but she could and did use pixie dust on occasion. She used it on Robin Cottman after he rowed her out to an island. He knew she was about to dust his memory, but he didn’t outright refuse.
He drew a deep breath and sighed. “I’m not happy about this, mind, but I can’t stop thee if tha’rt set on it.”
She was committed now.
Jin sprinkled a few grains of pixie dust into her palm and blew it into his face.
“Thanks, Robin,” she said without a beat. “If anyone asks where I am, you haven’t seen me.”
While helping a friend through a traumatic time, Brigitta Merriweather said she’d never before wished to be a pixie. Her husband asked her why, and she said she’d like to use pixie dust to help their friend to forget.
“I don’t understand about pixie dust,” her husband said.
Brigitta got up on tiptoe to put her lips to his ear. “I’ll let you into a secret, Bartholomeus…”
He waited expectantly.
“Neither do the pixies…”
Later, Jin used it on Zach Rowan without his permission, and then she enlisted an acquaintance to deliver a massive overdose to her. Divka wasn’t a pixie, but Jin set up the dust and the intention.
The two large doses had unfortunate effects on Zach and Jin, and they were powerless to know what was wrong with them. Peck was asked to intervene and again he made sure the subject knew what was going on and was willing. He went to the yacht Tulpenmanie to rendezvous with various friends and relatives who had staged an intervention and who collectively asked for his help.
“Who do you want me to dust?” Peck asked Si. He saw no reason for lowering his voice. He rarely dusted anyone who didn’t know the score.
The young human man looked up from his work. “That would be me.”
Peck went to look him over. “Do you know what pixie dust does?”
The man nodded.
“That’s not good enough. Tell me.”
“It can remove short-term memories or make them feel like dreams.”
“That’s part of it. And you want me to dust you?”
Peck complied and went off about his business. Maybe he recalled the occasion when his mother may have asked him to help soften a memory for his younger sister Promise… He never did admit that to Prom, but he certainly implied it.
Promise must have looked blank, because he added, “Soul-cold. You know. The way you were after we went on that picnic for your birthday when you were seven. Ma was nearly out of her mind.”
“I don’t remember that.”
“No. You wouldn’t. It’s not something I’d wish on you, or anyone else.”
No… she wouldn’t remember that time. Not if her brother had done his best for her.
Pixie dust wasn’t exactly a weapon. It could be used as one, but it rarely was. For small matters like cutting through the publican’s obstruction it was handy, but in larger doses it could have a distressing effect. As the trace pixie Si Bakewell said when he found out what Jin had done…
“Idiot woman. You do not use pixie dust for major long-term effects. You can’t use it to cut out grief or longing or misery or any of those messy emotions. You just can’t.”
“Only she has. Er—why can’t you?”“My Granny Bets told me the big emotions are so deeply entrenched that shifting them shifts everything else that’s attached. Kind of like trying to take enough aspirin to remove the pain of a broken leg and wrecking your kidneys in the process. Or dropping bread butter-side-down in a plate of salt and trying to shake off the salt.