The Way By

Fairies are real. Or they ought to be, at least, according to Madame Bel Carmen's best hypotheses. Her problem, however, is that after searching the world over for the lore to prove it, she hasn't uncovered anything that someone didn't already know. Out of options, she knows her only chance to prove the existence of the Fae is to find someone who's met them, and she's just heard tell of a reclusive scholar who has reportedly done just that. This folklorist is more than just withdrawn; she's nowhere, an academic ghost known only by a few obscure writings. So, with the help of the Hearthcraft Society of Massachusetts – a local pagan association – and its most skeptical member, Ms. Alice Guthrie, Madam Bel Carmen thus sets out and finds Somerset Sayer, the incomparable scholar of fae-kind, and her proof. But her proof is nothing short of insane. In the span of an afternoon, on a walk that should have taken them first from one room to another, and then down the street, Madam Bel Carmen and Alice Guthrie find that they've traversed the entire New England coastline and crossed an ocean to set foot on the grounds of Stonehenge. Along the way, fantastical creatures come and go, impossible images are born and vanish, and the world manifests new possibilities just as easily as the company can think of them. Sayer calls it the Way By – an ethereal place of in-betweenness that is both physical and immaterial, tangible and not, and that she is a Waysmith, one of the last people capable of navigating it without becoming irretrievably lost. Sayer cautions the group's enduring doubt, however, because Madam Bel Carmen is right. The Fae are real, and they are dangerous.