Iron & Rust

by Stranger Ways

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You don't understand You stand on the brink of a changing world But your kind never does When the world was young, it was covered in a veil of darkness And the sun didn’t shine and the plants didn’t grow And the waters were cold and the barren stone cursed the sky And the stone’s stark cry struck a hole in the sky, just a tiny thing at first But that hole in the sky let the first magic in and the world began to thirst And the magic formed a bubble, a womb for the first faerie And the faerie was born and the magic made more to join in its revelry The selkies moved on the waters and tides and the leprechauns weaved light The dryads’ trees drank from shellycoat ponds and the wisp-lights filled the night And the faeries fed on the magic of the world and our numbers grew as the magic was gobbled up And our reign was long and the air filled with song until that dismal day when the well of magic dried up And that day saw the birth of something new on the earth, neither animal nor fae Something born when the world couldn't muster enough magic and creation went astray A beast called man, born deaf, dumb, and blind, too sad to be humorous But the world was starved and it couldn’t do better and they soon outnumbered us And the colors slowly faded, like a sunset after dusk And the faeries fled to hidden courts in a world of iron and rust But we faeries are full of mischief; we’re unseen, but far from done We have made a world that they don’t deserve - in exchange they’re ours for fun Pluck a child from under her bed, or a lover full of sighs Steal them away to the courts of the fae, we'll trade music for their Cries, and they'll be playthings, or curiosities Small price to pay to be guests among the fae; they alone get to see what life can be When the world was young, it was covered in a veil of darkness Now the darkness returns but there will come a day when our glory is restored When our will finds a way to set man’s world ablaze by the ruse or by the sword
Desmond 04:26
There once was a boy, a boy they called Desmond Charming and brave with a happy young life He lived in a village not too far from here The son of an old preacher man and his wife He wanted for nothing, he knew he was loved But there comes a time when a boy wants to climb That tree a bit higher, to pick through that briar To stray from his home and to see the world for himself He took an old compass his father had earned When he was at sea while he, too, longed to be A gallant adventurer, exploring the world When the lad left home, his parents despaired His father cried out, "the woods are not safe Now do as you're told and don't stray from the road Don't give your poor mother a fright; there are demons at night They're seductive as sin!", but he did not heed Now I think you all know what happens next Poor Desmond was taken, enthralled to the fae And there he remained as a slave far beyond The mercy that should have been his dying day The thing about fae is they aren't quite cruel They just don't know pleasure and pain like we do And we are just playthings, like bugs in a jar As poor Desmond cries out, but his voice doesn't carry far Show me the way out of here The plea grows hollow, as hope is killed by fear I see the others taken like me See them forget that they once were free... not me Cling, cling, cling to my memories My poor dad must worry over me He looked like - oh no, not this again Must hold on - the stubble on his chin Eyes were brown - this is my litany Hair was white - you won't take him from me My will alone gives me a chance But drives me mad; it's the only way to dance When you are bound by hands and your feet And then it's clear as reason retreats This magic - I start to understand Poisonous, but woven to the land My compass - how did I never see How it glows with all this energy Channel it - my will to do them harm Show me the way The needle starts to turn The needle starts to turn The needle starts to turn I'll make their kingdom burn
Time Passes 04:42
Head in the grass, surrounded by flowers Sun in my face, clouds above me Sleeping for days or just a few hours I can't remember the last time I felt so free Time to get up, time to get going Time to return to my family Feels like so long, but I'm happy knowing That I'm going home, finally Passing the clearing by the stream where the woods end Why is that hill no longer green? Home is just around the bend That cottage up the road seems much bigger than before The path turns smooth and black; my home is not there anymore I woke up somewhere and I don't know when Almost familiar, but how long has it been? Is this a nightmare or could it be true? What kind of twisted fate have I fallen into? So many people in one place, how can it be? I woke up somewhere and I don't know when This is not my time; this is not my home Cut off from my line, now I'm all alone But I guess I'm here to stay in this place I woke up somewhere and I don't know when I woke up somewhere and I don't know when Good morning Desmond, where have you been? Is this a nightmare or could it be real? Well, how could anybody know how I feel? And all the people I once knew, they’re all dead I woke up somewhere and I don’t know when Have you heard the news? I’m not from your time Though I feel confused, I’ve made up my mind But there will come a day, I’ll have my revenge I woke up somewhere and I don’t know when I woke up somewhere and I don’t know when Well, it might take a year - it might take ten I’ll take this nightmare and I’ll make it mine It was too cruel to take a kid from his time They won’t get away with this; they’ll rue the day I woke up somewhere and I don’t know when I woke up somewhere and I don’t know when
If you wanna taste some magic If you wanna feel the rainbow Then kids, I've got the ticket To take you where you wanna go LSD you say, that’s so yesterday This robs heroin of its kick There's only one way to make the cool kids sway and that's a little baking trick Put some brownies in your brownies They're like chocolate mixed with hope Put some brownies in your brownies See? It just got easier to cope First you'll feel a sparkles, then a kind of smoke It smells like terror, feels like color and makes you want to choke But then the veil will part, and you will see with brand new eyes You’ll hear the stones and the trees discuss the birds and the bees, and greet each butterfly And when you start to come down, it’s like waking from a dream but I’ve got good news, you don’t have to lose, ‘cause you’re on the winning team The fae are like a plague, but that’s no reason to dismay We’ll make the most of it, save some lemons, and use them for lemonade So put some selkie in your smoothie Put some banshee in your blow It’s got faerie it’s got dairy It will make your insides glow Bake ‘em in the oven, alone or by the dozen It’s not wrong, because they can’t feel pain Now grind them into flakes, that’s really all it takes And sprinkle plenty on your coffee and your cakes Remember, they’d do the same to you Do the same to you So put some boggan in your noggin Put some dryad in your drink Then just sit back and relax, and you Won’t even have to think
Tom 03:28
It started like a lot of days, the sky was as gray as my town With a sound like a train the rain began to fall I trudged along without a word, and ducked into the mall, Which I blame, in part, for the drain that keeps this place tame But freaks are here, and freaks peddle Dust And Dust is what I want Dealers and weirdos belong in the shadows, but these aren’t your usual fare. Find the gaudiest neon glare and there they stare, In rev’rent revelry; aware of something I can’t see But will... The deal is quick, and I score, and I soar, and finally relax Hallelujah for the fae! Buck up, little guys, your loss has made my day And now the rain is colorful, and even this town makes sense And I can hear every stone down in my bones and they all scream, ‘Get thee hence!’ ‘Quicken your pace! Leave this place before it sucks you dry.’ So I wandered deep into the woods at the edge of the town If Mama knew, she’d be so afraid But I was beyond fear Well, then I saw the craziest thing I wasn’t alone, somebody was singing! Somebody else as hazed up as me Pranced and sang to an old willow tree Well hell, this day just keeps getting better I’m not the only one out here unfettered I laughed and I joined in the crazy dance Feeling too good to not take a chance Well, maybe I’ll hate myself in the morning But I’ll do that regardless, so why be boring? I walked right up to that willow tree What fools, what fools we mortals be
Echo 03:08
Oh, a merry fae went wandering to see what lay outside, And I know to be true because that merry fae was I They say that magic’s dead beyond the hedge’s hidden walls But I think that wonder doesn’t die, it hides when shadows fall And wondrous are the places deep and hidden I will find For I’m sure I’ve but to listen and the earth will hum in kind They've tried to tell me do not go, for badly I will fare, they may be right, I’ve heard about the men that rule out there They say they're taking those who stray much farther than is They’re vile, voracious, vicious things with iron in their hearts Oh, these tales are so exciting! Did they think I’d be afraid? ...well maybe just a little, but I won’t be scared away I've always wanderlusted; I will take charge of my fate For not much worth is safety when you’re stuck behind a gate And so I went a-wandering, to see what lay outside, And I sang with crickets and starlings, even made the old willow sigh Oh, this world is just as wondrous as I knew that it could be; So many creatures big and small to greet, befriend, to see… I’m glad I went a-wandering and meandered down the path That rambles through these woods without a sign of iron wrath Perhaps I will find dangers still within the realm of men But I can’t seem to believe that; all this world's a peaceful glen But lo, what's this I merry see? A figure further down Infused with magic just like me; this must be kin I've found! What joy to have found suddenly a fellow fae as free as me! The tales we’ll tell of how we’ve fared will become history!
Tom and Echo 01:11
Hail to you, you radiant thing! And also you, who to the woods bring a music that’s mirthful but soft as a pillow-- Your talents are wasted upon that old willow The willow is shy and reserving its praise. It’s probably pining for happier days! Oh, the willow’s a sap for a past evergreen! Take the past and the future, leave me what’s between! Oh a present you’d like? A particular kind? Just the gift of adventure, and life unconfined. At home it’s so formal, so nice it’s oppressive. I know! And the petty political games, the obsessive, aggressive pursuit of dilution of things that might threaten their tired old ways... So away from them beckoned. Yes... and here we are now, as if it were fated! Then here’s to new friends, well met if belated! We’ve heard the same call, you and I have been sent From our homes by that half-hearted muse, discontent. It’s strange we’ve not met, coming from the same place. Yes I’m not sure that I’ve ever once seen your face And I know I would recognize something so pretty. No, it’s not even like it’s that big of a city! Wait, you live in the city?!
Oh a foolish fae went wandering into the land of beasts Where magic isn’t dead, but is the food that monsters eat Run away you foolish fae before the human sucks you dry, Eats your magic, leaves you far from home, alone to die Fear is like a banshee scream, rusalka kiss, a waking dream Flying through the woods to flee my newfound monster friend We danced and laughed and bandied words, he seemed a kindred soul But now I see the game was me, a clever, hidden goal Oh, she warned me she warned me that I was a fool To venture outside of the realm faeries rule For I am no hunter of monsters and so I’d make easy prey for a fearsome new foe But I did not believe the tales of what they’d done to us The human seemed to understand the hidden courts of fae He spoke of leaving home, of discontentment and dismay Who knows what lies in the hearts of things that on magic’s arts do feed? But as I run, I realize... he thought I wasn’t me And underneath that willow tree he seemed surprised as I But I hadn’t time to wonder, and for refuge I did fly So now I fly through a strange, dark wood, alone without a map-- OOF! And you were so distracted that you ran into our trap Oh she warned you she warned you that you were a fool To venture inside of the realm humans rule For we’ve become hunters of monsters like you You’ll fight in our ring and we’ll see how you do For what your kind has done to us you’ll get what you deserve
I can hardly see; this chamber is dark, but I can Hear their voices screaming for blood, and I know I was not abducted to join a picnic Shackled to a cage, and I hear them shouting “Step into the iron octagon” We have taken their kind but never like this “Step into the iron octagon” The crowd resumes its menacing hiss, I’m caught Sprite fight night I have been here many times before but I never Thought I’d ever come to the fight on a mission In this place, the faeries are made to fight and Die for sport, and kill their kin while the crowd cheers Step into the iron octagon Full nelsons don't work when your rival has wings Step into the iron octagon Bet on the winners and make out like kings Your ramen days are over If you pick your faeries right So grab your four leaf clover And come on - sprite fight night It was in the woods I saw the men take her and I Followed close behind while they brought her downtown I knew then that I was responsible and I knew then what I had to do, before she’d Step into the iron octagon It's better in person than on Pay Per View Step into the iron octagon You know this town's boring, what else would you do? You can't fight pugs or beagles Cause that'd be cruel, right? (Right!) But fighting sprites is legal So come on - sprite fight night Tom what are you doing here, this is madness What have you betwixt your hands--is that water? You should not be back here without the handlers Who knows what these monsters will do if I don’t Step into the iron octagon And come watch Titania fight Oberon Step into the iron octagon It's half pro wrestling, and half Pokémon The ticket booth is closing You know you want to bite So here's what I'm proposing Step right up - sprite fight night Take your seats now ladies and gents The first fight is about to start Tom where are you taking me? I do not understand your plan Just duck and I’ll take care of it How well can you see in the dark? Sorry folks, a system glitch No need to panic; please stand by I was behind you, where’d you go? My legs are not as long as yours I’ve cut the power--now’s our chance, let’s Beat it while we can-- “Hey douchetruck, If you like the faeries so much you can go live with them!”
Kicked Out 03:20
“Hey now get your hands off me!” / “What is this supposed to be?” “Stop! You’re hurting me” “Hey now, where you taking me?” and then I begin to see Oh, please no not this There’s a Rift not far from here, what they intend is crystal clear I’m dead to them now. Might as well Toss me into faerieland, let me suffer at their hands And laugh all the while I’ll be kicked out of my home, left here all alone I’m thrown by my fortune to places unknown I’m shunned by my race, kicked out on my face They left me to die in disgrace Will my mother shed a tear if I don’t get out of here? Please don’t forget me How could they have been so cruel; how could I be such a fool Why did I set them free? Spent my life believing they were nothing but deceiving fae We just paid them in kind, but when she Found out what I really was, terrified of me because Oh! I’ve been so blind And just what did I think my new friend would infer When she found I'd consumed other folks just like her? She ran and was caught, and I couldn’t stand by But now for my troubles am I gonna die? Well, they started it first, yes they started this fight So why should they care if I tried to do right? I’ve heard all the tales, what they’ve done to good men So why do I feel like I’d do it again? I’m kicked out of my home, to the fae realm, alone To follow my conscience to places unknown She ran away; should I do the same? If I try to talk then will I get the blame for it all?
Why’s she asking me to guard this one? Can’t we throw him through the Rift? I’ve been through quite enough today Without a dungeon shift Hey! Never thought I would find you again But you made it out, I see Oh, now my luck has finally turned You’ve got to set me free Hey, I know you! (Stop!) I can show you How to sneak away-- You’ll have to wait, but I can… [spoken] What? What? No, you tell me - what? What's the plan? Did you miss the things your monarch said? I’m not sneaking back to home! Her rants are long and I bore easily That’s why I tend to roam Let me tell you what she told me, then She’s preparing for a war She wants to take things back to how She claims they were before Do you agree? Would you kill me If she told you to? Your ruler plans to kill us all All her power here is absolute Even when she dooms us all I do not want to wage a war But we live in her thrall I cannot control her actions, Tom Nor can I delay her hand You bid me rise against my Queen But you don’t have a plan So that’s it, then? Is it written? We’re all gonna die? There has to be some other way Think what her battle will mean You will all take casualties too There are more of us than her and we can stop her if we try Says the man whose whole experience Of the faerie court involves Getting locked inside a cage And not much else at all Look, if we are to make a difference here We should start with something small Let me out of this prison cell And then we’ll show them all On your feet, then Have to beat them There’s no time to lose Okay, so what’s the plan? I have one thought... [spoken] But we should probably talk about it on the way.
Once there was a time for laughter Once there was a time for play But there must come a time when we must draw the line Because that time is over today Once there was a time for faeries And magic, and wonder, and lore But we must take a stand to defend human land Because now it is the time for war I have come to raise the alarm We must stand, hold the line, take up arms We shall not yield to our enemy We are strong, we are proud, we are free So god damn all sprites, elves and faeries And god damn the songs that they sing We’ll pillage their homes and we’ll smash their queen’s throne And we’ll burn down the faery ring The world once was young and all faeries were one We fae and our magic were free But you beast-men instead, clumsy and overbred, Have taken the world from me Lurking in every dark alley Waiting, we’ve always been here Complacent no more, here to settle the score We are your deepest fear Come, my friends! Let us stand as one The dawn of the fae has begun The world’s ablaze, by our magic, rise On this night, by the sword mankind dies Ready for battle, my legions Take back the world for the fae Together we’ll fight, we will triumph this night We’ll right the world gone astray Join me in glorious battle Together we will make them pay We'll take none alive and our people will thrive They’ll not live to rue the day You know our cause is righteous You know our faith is true We must now stop their lot; kill them all; let them rot They'd do no less to you Curse the fae! They will steal your kin In return they will burn for their sin Curse all men! They’re our world’s decline Prove your worth and the earth shall be thine March through the rift on my order My friends, we are destined to win Our triumph draws near; we will teach them to fear Let their destruction begin Our triumph draws near; we will teach them to fear Let their destruction begin
Two ancient enemies arrived here today Your people praying for salvation I’ve seen the madness and the vengeance in their eyes That way leads to annihilation You’ve ignited the fuse, now you cannot but lose You lead your own men into slaughter When the battle is done, you will fall to the gun The end is nigh, this war that cannot be won Two ancient enemies have been kept apart Their worlds completely separated But over time the wall has been chipped away The hedge between them desecrated It was better before you kicked open the door We’ve proven we can’t live together Separation a gift now destroyed by this rift I’ve got to end this war that cannot be won Tom, if you really want to stop the coming bloodshed Then we could close the rift, but at a cost I think I know a way to separate our worlds forever But its power must arise from human loss Your queen could throw away a hundred thousand of my people But for her that would be no sacrifice The willing death of just one tiny human holds more power Than the slaughter she would use to pay the price Two ancient enemies that met in the wood And found their fates woven together Until today I only cared for myself So we can do your queen one better Never thought that a friend would deliver my end My virtue the death of my conscience We must give human life to the will of the knife To save us from the war that cannot Be they human or fae, I will curse those I save Our worlds must be parted forever So now take up the blade, blood and tears will be paid We won’t let you fight the war that cannot be won
I took a walk down by the stream today I sat alone and let time just slip away There was a path here winding through the wood I used to play there, but now it’s gone for good I met a stranger there who looked like me But then he showed me how cruel the world could be My friend is gone now, but the Rift is too I wonder is this really what he had to do? But now I know that it’s part of our nature Doesn’t matter how we tried I know that nothing good can last, and we are why [instrumental break] But it was time, there was just no solution Doesn’t matter how we tried I know that nothing good can last, and we are why They said the world was ours, and we believed Through all our hubris, what did we achieve? Now we have a world all to ourselves, and nothing more And they a world of rust and iron won, If both had looked to the future, what could we have done? Instead we Fought over grudges back to ancient times Drunken on old mem’ries that had aged like wine And I have learned history can be poison It enthralls us in its spell So maybe "nothing good can last" is just as well We gods of old and we youthful rivals Pray these words outlive ourselves Our story’s done, but not alone upon the shelves


"It started like a lot of days; the sky was as grey as my town."

Long, long ago, the hedge dividing the human and faery realms started to crack. Human children began disappearing in the night, replaced by changelings and kept as playthings by the Queen of the Fae. The humans, in turn, began kidnapping any faery foolish enough to venture beyond the hedge--making the fae fight to the death for sport, or killing and eating them for the Dust their bodies naturally produce, which is a powerful intoxicant when ingested by humans.

"You don't understand; you stand at the brink of a changing world - but your kind never does."

The Queen of the Fae has lived since time immemorial, and holds absolute power in the faery realm. She has had enough of the treatment her kin has received at the hands of humans, and has developed a plan to rid the earth of them forever.

"I'll take this nightmare and I'll make it mine."

Desmond was born in colonial America and fell into the faery realm, where time passes differently. When he escaped, he found that centuries had gone by, and swore revenge against the faeries who did this to him. Under the name "Dizzy Dez," he became a talk radio demagogue, stirring up anti-fae sentiment until it reaches a boiling point.

"I've heard all the tales, what they've done to good men - so why do I feel like I'd do it again?"

Tom never wanted to be any kind of hero - he just wanted to get high in the woods. But on one such venture, he met a wandering fae, mistook her for another human on a Dust trip, and flirted with her. Now he finds himself on a misadventure that could decide the fate of two worlds.

"These tales are so exciting! Did they think I'd be afraid?"

Echo, the niece of the Faery Queen, wanted more than anything else to get away from her home. But what was supposed to be a nice stroll into the human realm turned into a nightmare when she met Tom. Whether she knows it or not, Echo has both the knowledge and the will to stop the violence between the two worlds for good.


released January 19, 2020

Nat Budin as Desmond
Kara Hurvitz as Echo
Brad Smith as Tom
Alexandria Wilkie as the Faerie Queen

Nat Budin: guitar
Jon Sagotsky: bass
Brad Smith: percussion
Alexandria Wilkie: flute

All songs composed by Stranger Ways.
Recorded, edited and mastered by the band.

"Sprite Fight Night" includes the sounds "Jacob's Ladder Single 2" by Halleck, "Splash, Jumping, F" by InspectorJ, and "VomackovaK_ambulance" by kristynavom98 from

Special thanks to:
Julia Kedge, the original Echo
Murder Ballads and Sassafrass for all their support over the years
Susan Weiner, our founder and composer-in-repose
Jesse Cox, OG Stranger
Kate Fractal, SMOF, house concert host, and friend of the band

And an extra-special thanks to everyone who has supported Stranger Ways. Thank you all!


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