Bella had been an agent of Winter for centuries, ever since the defeat and imprisonment of Oberon, King of Autumn and his entourage. She made a deal with Mab, Winter’s Queen. That deal became null and void once Oberon had become freed (although Bella had nothing to do with his release, having sworn an oath to Mab to stay away and not become involved). All bets were off, however, after her King was rescued and freed. Since 1990, Bella (whose title is The Deadly Nightshade) has been charged with protecting Autumns demesne, specifically the Nexus of the Ways in the Barony of Ten Thousand Oaks (which happen to converge with the mortal realm in and around Sacramento). She commands a small army of Oak Men, male dwarf faeries with huge heads who are the guardians of sacred oak groves. They are not very friendly towards people, but no one has ever been harmed by one that did not deserve it.
THE SONG OF THE NIGHTSHADE BERRY FAIRY
“You see my berries, how they gleam and glow,
Clear ruby-red, and green, and orange-yellow;
Do they not tempt you, fairies, dangling so?”
The fairies shake their heads and answer “No!
You are a crafty fellow!”
“What, won’t you try them? There is naught to pay!
Why should you think my berries poisoned things?
You fairies may look scared and fly away—
The children will believe me when I say
My fruit is fruit for kings!”
But all good fairies cry in anxious haste,
“0 children, do not taste!”
Info about Deadly Nighshade
Deadly Nightshade (Atropa Belladonna):
- Translation: Atropos (the Fate who cuts the thread of life); beautiful lady.
- Synonyms: Belladonna, Devil’s Herb, Devil’s Cherries, Naughty Man’s Cherries, Black Cherry, Dwale, Divale, Dwayberry, Great Morel.
- Definition: dark thoughts; bitter truth; sorcery.
In Chaucer’s days Deadly Nightshade was known as Dwale, perhaps from the Scandinavian dool, meaning delay or sleep, or from the French, deuil, grief, a reference to its fatal properties. According to legend, the plant belongs to the devil, who goes about trimming and tending it. He can only be diverted from its care one night in the year, on Walpurgis, when he is preparing for the witches’ sabbath. Some hold that the apples of Sodom are the berries of Nightshade. The name Belladonna may have come from the old superstition that at times the plant would take on the appearance of an enchantress of exceeding loveliness. More generally it is said that the name came from the practice of Italian ladies to use its juice to give their eyes greater brilliancy, by dilating the pupil of the eye. Priests also used to drink an infusion of Belladonna when invoking the aid of Bellona, the Goddess of War, also it was referred to as the Wine of Circe. The generic name, Atropa, is derived from the Greek Atropos, the Fate who cut the thread of human life. Poisoning by Belladonna has symptoms of a complete loss of voice, frequent bending forward of the trunk and continual motion of the hands and fingers, and the pupils of the eyes becoming very dilated. Deadly Nightshade is one of the four classic poisons, along with Aconite, Hemlock, and Hellebore.