fire two dancing without background 2


Two Heads are Better than One

Richard was running the kitchen so Eitilt spent the rest of the evening behind the bar going through his newfound information. “They poisoned Aed,” he felt like killing both of his parents at that moment. Something far more horrific and making it last longer than what they had endured. “I will have to tell him,” he felt like puking. “I wonder if Lady Gael and Mer’lyn can un-poison him? That is a much better thought,” he sighed but felt like he still needed to puke.

His eyes went towards the stairs. His heart was already in residence in the tower. His beloved was now there studying. He needed to let her be. Soon though, he would hold her and be done with this foulness that wanted to consume him.

“A twin,” he was thoughtful, “and only twins were to be found in the House of the Sun who won the first dragon war. That would explain the dragon and his rider…to be so simpatico. So in tune they thought and acted as one. Yes, I can see how to a dragon’s mind they would be twins.   How could any dragon who had not witnessed that credit a human with the ability to help you to steal the air from under the other dragons, sending them crashing to earth?

Stealing their air. Key phrase. That is no coincidence.

Twins,” he grinned as he washed out a glass. Each time they had sex he was finding it harder to maintain the human. Somewhere in their time alone, he always shifted to dragon and B.B. seemed to enjoy that time the best. She let go of something that held her as human and would moan like she was a female dragon in heat the entire time he pushed against her.

Last night…last night he had carefully inserted the head. Only the head. For a moment, he thought maybe she was dying, the way her body was thrashing around, every bit of her vibrating, with frantic thrusts, her body pushing onto his as she took more and more of him. He tried to stop it but it was not something he was able to control he realized as instinct took over. His body responded to hers and they both moaned when he was in her. Deep and satisfying for him and she had become even more frantic. He had steadied her with the three short pushes and the one long that she liked. Her orgasm was not long after that. Her scream of pleasure had torn apart the night and he could see the colors of his house vibrating in the air when he bellowed his release. She had gone to sleep lying on top of him, not moving, and had stayed there until the alarm sounded.

“Thank you,” she had kissed him as he reached over to turn off the sound. Then with only kisses for encouragement, he thought maybe he had a few minutes to spare as she wrapped herself around him and sighed his name when she came.

She was upstairs waiting for him. Her shift had finished early. Thinking about her made him hard. Maybe his teeth got a little sharper as well. He was a bit more of the dragon these days in word, thought, and deed. And sex…

After last night…her last scream of pleasure had done something to him. It felt like he had grown another chamber in his heart causing his blood to surge faster through his body. The author of the poem had died from a broken heart when her dragon had perished. “I am beginning to understand that. How am I going to live without her?”

At midnight Taylor took over for him. That was good. He did not think he was going to last much longer.

Up the stairs he went and once he was in their chamber, off went the clothes as he wanted to take flight to her. The warm up sex always started with him as human. He always needed her tenderness. Her lips kissing his as he felt her softly move her hands about his body. She gently rubbed her nose against his.

“What happened?” she kissed his chin and then his shoulder.

Sitting her on his lap, he explained to her what had transpired earlier this evening.

“They poisoned Aed,” was all she could get out through her tears. “For fucking money, they poisoned their baby…the…” sorrow ebbed through her, “they poisoned their baby…!”

He did not think her tears were ever going to stop or her sobbing.

“I love you,” he kept repeating softly as he stoked her back and felt her sorrow lessoning.

Letting go of a big shuddering sigh, she sat up and looked at him. “Just let me say this…”

“Yes,” he nodded.

“If you ever,” she hissed, “hurt our child, I shall skin you alive, give your meat to the thumb-bellas and grind your bones to feed to the leprechauns.”

“Rightly so,” he rubbed his nose against hers. “Feel better,” he gave her a small smile.

“Yes,” she took a big breath and let it out.

“You going to tell Aed?” she asked.

“Yes, oh puking coward poured over rice pudding yes,” he hissed. “It should be mandatory, when you do horrific things, you should be required to explain it. Not leave it for someone else to do. I hate this.”

Gently she rubbed her nose against his. “So what else did you learn from the fucking evil monster that gave life to the perfect being.”

“An age and an age, ago, the House of the Heart of the Sun had twins that could steal the air from under dragons and send them hurtling to the earth.”

“No fucking kidding,” she arched one eyebrow.

“I fucking kid you not,” he smiled charmingly and began the tale.

The day started early. He needed to be up and about. Kissing B.B., he left her sleeping as he made his way downstairs. Apparently Sanctuary meant that he had fae up and about in his establishment at all hours. Not that he minded. He prided himself on how clean his establishment was. With Sara, the washer-woman soul pounder in residence, you could eat off the floors.

The thumb-bellas liked spinning sugar. His baked goods took on a whole new look. Like something not created by humans.

Aed was here and they were having a very early breakfast and then some time on the roof, comparing skills. His brother wanted to be back at home before his mate awoke. But first…Eitilt saw no need in putting it off. “Brother,” he held Aed’s hand and started…

“…I guess I am not surprised,” was all he could say when Eitilt explained about The Pansy.   “I will tell Gael, perhaps…” he shrugged. “Perhaps once the war is over and the library is once more available, she and Mer’lyn will be able to find…something,” he smiled at Eitilt. “Brother, I know no other way than this, human is the way I have always been. I am dragon in my bones and for now, I am content with that. For this moment, we cannot undo this wrong.

Moving on.”

“It has been a month now,” Eitilt smiled at his brother. “How is marriage?”

Aed grinned. “Most excellent. My wife is most excellent. Mer’lyn is most excellent. Together they try something new everyday.   It is amazing to watch her bloom,” the proud husband and father grinned.

“How about you? Marriage seems to agree with you. Now that you know how babies are made,” he chuckled, “are you working on that?”

“Well yes, we have purchased the pregnancy kit, in the morning, we pee on the stick.”

Aed raised an eyebrow. “How do you feel about this?”

“Pleased, honored, pleased, happy, pleased,” he said to his brother. “And very happy. With this new twin information, we need dinner tonight, with the family. But for now, let’s get to the roof.   I feel like I am more.”

During dinner Bee Bee read the poems.

Gael kept nodding her head, yes. “Dragon rider, yes, wynd ryder, that makes sense.”

Both men looked at her.

“The healer’s daughter was a wynd ryder, Mer’lyn agrees with me. His Auntie is a wynd ryder, as well.” Her focus shifted to Bee Bee. “You are not magic but you have this extra life force, I can see it shimmering around you. Interesting. It is the same that now shimmers around Eitilt.   It is an energy that is compatible with Eitilt’s dragon…especially tuned to him.  You will give Eitilt that extra that he needs to defeat them all. Together you will steal their air. You need to tell those on the ground to be prepared to kill dragons and anything else that thinks to take to the air that shall come crashing down.”

Dinner had been very nice. They retired from the small dining room, each saying good night and making their way out the door. At two-ish, Eitilt was walking Bee Bee back to campus to her room.

“I know how sad you are because the stick said not pregnant,” she held his hand that much tighter. “But you have to remember, the fae child has a say in this and his mom and dad don’t even live, together. He wants his mom and dad to live, together.”
“It is for the best,” Eitilt said, his voice steady. From time to time they had this conversation. She wanted to be with him. He wanted to be with her, but it was not safe. Not yet.

“Yes, the safest place for me to be is not on the fae radar, I agree. But,” she smiled up at him, “our baby…he knows his mom and dad do not live together.” She put her arm around him. “There was no bed of fire and ice, no colors of your house dancing in the sky. I can see how that would entice a child,” her grin got bigger.    “No wonder Mer’lyn jumped when he did. I know it would entice me. I’d push everyone out of the way to get to the front of that line. I know I would want to live with whoever put that in the sky.”

“You are laughing at me,” he could not hide the smile. She was laughing.

Then in a very sweet voice she said, “Please don’t be sad because there is no baby, because then I would have to be sad, also,” she said leaning her body against his. “Granny did give us her blessing and told us to wait until after the war before we start a family.”

There was something that sounded like a growl from him. “I could storm the castle, tonight,” he cut his eyes to her.

“Yes you could but I am your wynd ryder and I would at least like to have sex one more time before we going soaring off into the night sky. Sex is how babies are made. And I have been looking at the cutest little outfits. Little tiny t-shirts just a bit bigger than my hand.”

Pulling him down for a kiss, together they went up to her room. “No male guests, allowed,” she grinned at him as she unlocked the door.

“I am your husband, your mate, not a guest,” he answered as he swung her up into his arms and carried her inside.

Eitilt lay beside her, his body satisfied, his mind still active, holding her while she slept, her words from earlier ringing in his ears. “We do not even live together. A fae child has a say in this.

“No child would choose me for their father,” he felt like banging his head against the pillow. No he could not even get that right. He should be flaming his own body parts! “I have given her no jewels to show that I can provide for her. She works,” he hissed to himself, “for me. Provide for her!   All the unborn children of fae must be horrified that my wife must labor so she can eat! And I have asked her to put aside her granny’s charmed necklace which are the jewels of my house!  I hide her away, to keep her safe! I have fought no one for her honor! I hide her away! I am a puking coward poured over rice pudding! No dragon hides his mate away! In triumph he bellows and struts that he pleased her and survived the mating ritual. And there was no mating ritual, just me rutting and her hanging on, offering me her kisses while I just pound her to gain my own release. The fact that she orgasms at all probably has nothing to do with me. She is just so pleased when it is finally over, she screams in delight when I get off her.”

“What are you doing?” she asked sleepily as she rolled over to face him.

“Beating myself up,” he sighed.

“Stop it,” she nuzzled his side. “Makes me all itchy inside. I mean it…I…I…Eitilt,” her voice caught in her throat, “I don’t feel right…” she said as she grabbed the lower part of her stomach.

“What happened?” she asked when she came too.

“Appendix,” Eitilt smiled at her. “The very small offender has been removed. I smoked it to ash. I have been assured that you did not need it and that you will be fine.” His eyes tracked the medical personal that was checking her bandage and I.V.

A pair of nervous fae eyes nodded her head in a very deliberate yes.

“Oh,” she sighed.

“Aed and Gael are moving your things into the center tower,” he kissed her hand. “Just as soon as the doctor says, I am taking you home.”

“Oh,” she smiled. “I know I am hooked up to some good drugs. So are we living together? Forever?”

“Yes,” he nodded. “Forever. Anyone who objects can just go fuck themselves. And if they are not capable, I am more than happy to do it for them. When I am finished with them, they will not be able to unfuck themselves.”

“What happened?” she asked.

“You are my mate,” he kissed her gently. “Time I started acting like it.”

“Welcome back,” was called out as she was greeted with flowers and kisses from the staff.

“She is my mate, my wife, my Mrs.” And that was all that was said as Eitilt carried her upstairs to their suite.

“You are to rest, for a month,” Eitilt said for the last time as he checked their chamber. Oh-h-h, she was fussing about that. Oh so very, very sad. She could fuss all she liked. The to-do list from the hospital was the righteous words that must be obeyed and the three sheets now resided in Gael’s hand as she nodded in firm agreement with everything Eitilt had to say. “Food will be brought to you for the next several days. You are to be up and walking about, no stairs until you are more stable on your legs.”

“Does it say anything at all about sex?” Bee Bee asked.

“No,” Gael read through the list, with Aed looking over her shoulder.

“So, we can,” she grinned at her new sister.

Eitilt cleared his throat. “You are still drugged. Once those bottles of pain medicine are empty we shall discuss sex. Not until then.”

“I think I am going to sleep now,” she yawned.

“Excellent,” he tucked her in. “You heal when you sleep,” he whispered as they all left the room.

Eitilt passed what he thought was the shortest night in history in the kitchen. His wife was sleeping upstairs. The fae spoke in kind words about her. Each one wishing to visit with her when she was up to receiving guests and leave her a special blessing. He had even allowed Gael into his kitchen and she had blended some herbs for him to infuse for her to drink. “A little something for her from Mer’lyn,” she smiled at him, kissing him on the check and then she and Aed walked off into the night.

The hour was late. There was a soft knock at their door.

“Yes,” he said opening it. There was Joy, a tiny tinker staring up at him. That was odd. The only fae that ventured up here was Sara.

“There is someone here from the crown. They have a message they can only deliver to you.”

Downstairs was quiet, no fae in sight. The alarm must have been sounded and they had retreated from the front so they could not be seen. Waiting for him at the door was not only a messenger but a full company of at-arms soldiers accompanying him.

“We are closed for the night,” he motioned with his head to the seating area out front. “We may sit there.”

“I am only to deliver this, watch you open it and read it.”

Skimming through it he looked at the messenger.   “My brother, Aed is to bring Lady Gael to the royal residence. There she shall be given to the Master Assassin as consort and Aed shall become the Master Assassin. Message received. I shall contact Aed and tell him that his duty to Lady Gael is over and that his duty to the realm soon begins. Anything else?”

“Three days time,” the Captain motioned with his head to the document. “We need to hear you say it.”

“I shall find him and Aed shall have her there within three days time,” Eitilt added.

“Long live King Rowan,” the troops bowed and then were gone.

“Fuck…me…running,” Eitilt said to no one as he started walking to Aed’s and Gael’s door.

While he walked, he started formulating plans. This was his family and he wanted to destroy all who stood in his way! Bellow his outrage and flame all! But the warrior knew that was not the way to victory. When he knocked on the door, Aed opened it with Gael peeking around a corner.

“I have news and I have questions. I need you both,” he said as he stepped in and closed the door with Gael going to Aed’s side.

“Can Gael in her enhanced state put a spell on the Master Assassin?” Eitilt asked, hope in his voice.

“It is my understanding that the Master Assassin can not be spelled,” Aed’s voice was soft.   “I know one or two have tried and ended up dead. They…they melted from the inside, out. Their estates heavily fined. This is because of the chi that surrounds the office of the Master.”

“Your fealty oath?” Eitilt knew better than to ask. But he could not help, himself. “Can that be breached?”

“If I kill him, myself and my family die as well. What is going on?”

Eitilt put his arm around his brother and his sister. “That is what I thought. Here is what I know…things have changed. A messenger from the crown appeared at my door…”

Aed and Gael stood there with their mouths’ open, then Aed was outraged…when he had stopped spewing what he was going to do to Rowan, Gael rubbed her nose against his.

“Aed,” she placed her hands on his face. “You will,” she stressed, “accompany me and be there to wish your Master well. No war! Promise me!”

In his eyes, she could see the wild, exhausted, hunted animal.   Willing to strike out and kill with whatever strength remained.

Her eyes turned to Eitilt, begging him for sanity! Anything beside this madness that her husband wanted to inflict!

Eitilt bridled himself and pulled his fury back into himself. “Do not worry, my brother,” he hugged Aed, “we are not handing over Gael and Mer’lyn, not while I still draw breath.”

Eitilt had an arm around each of them as he hugged them close. “Lady Gael, ah-h,” he looked at her. “Do you feel like breathing fire or hissing curses or anything at all like you did that morning at breakfast?”

“No,” she shook her head. “No, not at all.”

“Odd,” he said taking a step back and taking a better look at her.

“Yes,” Aed let go of a big sigh, the rage now contained and considered that. “So…perhaps the two of you are in no danger.”

“I am taking this as a sign,” Eitilt kissed them each on the forehead. “That no matter what happens, Gael, you will have the definitive say in the matter. If no harm is intended to you, peace shall reign. But I leave nothing to chance. That is how you die, by not having a back-up plan. And this is mine, I shall be there and with me on the inside, I could start the war.”

“Yes,” Aed grinned, “I cannot kill my Master but I can make short work of everyone else standing in the room.”

“You can not,” Gael looked from one brother to another, “declare war. We are not ready. If you fail, we will all be caught up in this and Mer’lyn must be protected at all costs. I can do this,” she said with strength.  “Bee Bee must heal. You,” she pointed her finger at Eitilt “must have a wynd ryder before you began any type of attack or this nightmare only escalates and gets worse.   And she cannot withstand that type of abuse until she is completely healed. Otherwise it will kill her.

“I will be just fine,” she kissed her mate softly on the lips. “Mer’lyn and I will be fine. Everyday we grow stronger. By the time you storm the castle, we shall be much stronger and fiercer. There is nothing the Master Assassin can do to me.   I have you here in my heart and your son in my body. We shall be well.”

She could see her words wash over Aed. The dragon’s wrath that he rode was back.

“What if he wants you to destroy Mer’lyn?” his voice roared in anger.

“He will not,” she stroked his face. “If it comes to that, he will think that the babe is his.”

“No!” he yelled, standing, shaking so hard she thought he might come apart.

“Yes,” she took his hands and drew him back down to her. “My mother did this to protect me, my husband. I can do this to protect us. When Rowan dies, we live. This I promise you.

At the end of the second day, we will be ready to go,” she said to Eitilt.   “We must not delay much longer than that or they will become suspicious.”

“Of course, Lady Gael,” Eitilt said bowing his head. “I shall return for you then. But, we have two days and with Rowan, everything and anything can change. And until we have eyes on the situation, we honestly do not know what to expect. We are not going in, Lady Gael, expecting the worse. Leaving you there, that is not a plan. We are going in expecting things to work to our favor once we are eyes on.”

Eitilt sat up out under The Rotunda with a bottle for each hand, drinking from both. He heard the “Easy up you go,” then he saw Sara step out with her arm around Bee Bee.

Standing, he hurried over to her and taking her in his arms, he nodded his thanks to Sara and then wanted to scold his wife, instead, tears began making their way down his face.

“Tell me,” was all she said as he carried her over to a chair and he carefully held her in his lap.

Rubbing her nose against his, Bee Bee placed a kiss on each cheek. “We can go now and together we shall set fire to the land of fae.”

“No we shall not,” he frowned at her. “You,” he shook his head, “should not have climbed those stairs. I have half a mind to…to…”

“Lock me in a tower and throw away the key,” she finished for him with a smile. “Correct me, but I think you have already done that.”

“I could not do it,” his eyes pierced her soul. “I could not turn you over to Rowan so that he could pander you to whoever’s favor he needed at the moment to be their…not even his mate…just his consort.   I would destroy all that stood in my path. I will not allow Gael to do it either. There will be a way out of this, I know. She is Aed’s and he is hers and Rowan and his plotting is not going to change that.”

“I agree,” she said gently. “My husband,” she caressed the words, “the Master Assassin does not know what there is between Aed and Gael.  If he did, things would be different. But he does not. You must be there to assess the situation. And Gael is correct, it is good to have a back up plan in place. Even one as horrific as…” her words faltered, “as her mating with the Master Assassin. You walk into this with options.”

A low rumble from him rattled everything on the top of the building. His fangs were down and his eyes were flashing sparks.

“Did Lady Gael burn with the colors of our house?” she asked.

“No,” and he began to look more human than dragon, “and that was just odd,” he was thoughtful.  “I thought she would…at least have the same reaction as she did that morning at breakfast, but nothing. She was so composed and calm and insisted that we have this plan of leaving her there. All I could think of was to storm the castle and let the war begin. That my brother should have his family taken from him!” he roared.

“Eitilt,” she softly kissed him. “I am human. In my lifetime I cannot spend all your wealth,” she grinned at him.

“Do not,” the tears started. “Do not…I do not want any of it. I only want you. Do not talk to me about the shortness of your lifetime.”

“There will come a time when I shall be taken from you and you will set my spirit free. Until then, we have my lifetime, together. And all the joy and sorrow that comes with that. This sorrow shall also pass if we allow it. For Aed and Gael this shall pass and they have all of forever to live their lives.”

There was sorrow on his face.

“I hate this for all of us,” he sighed.

“I know,” she stroked his face. “In a month or less, I will be healed. If Gael does not flame all of them, or this cannot be fixed once you are there, with eyes on the situation, then war and then we shall bring Gael home.”

Bee Bee did not think much of resting in bed. Her pain meds would cause her to doze off from time to time so attempting to do translations was not very successful. To keep from falling asleep, she began reading them out loud.

A couple of the shades peeked in her door. “Mrs., what a wonderful story,” they smiled at her. “May we come in?

“No,” Sara swatted them with her mop. “You may stand at the door and listen. Betty, bring that tea tray in here. We shall keep Mrs. company while she reads.”

Bee Bee found it difficult to concentrate on the old Celtic and the odd Celtic and the strange Celtic word.

Putting down her copy of the manuscript, sad eyes were staring back at her.

“Is there another story, Mrs.?” Faber asked.

“Well, yes,” she smiled at her audience, “Sara, if you would please, there is a book there on that shelf. There should be several with Fairy Tales printed on it. Just bring me one, please.”

There were fae everywhere, listening with rapt attention, occasionally sipping their tea. “No-o-o,” Sara whispered and nudged O’Collin in the ribs with her pinky. “Is that what happened to Jack? I wondered why he got to be so scared of heights.”

O’Collin was sitting on Sara’s shoulder, whispering in her ear. “I been tellin’ folks I have not been seein’ that giant for an age and a bit. Now I know why.”

“Jack seems like such a sweet lad,” Sara was shaking her head. “Why would he do such a thing? There are a plenty of geese that lay golden eggs. He knows that.”

“Sad day when you plant your beans and have your stalk cut down because a lad wanted a grand adventure,” O’Collin took a sip of his tea.   “Sad day.”

Eitilt was carrying the dinner tray upstairs. There by their door lurked six shades. “What,” his voice brokered his discontent, “are you doing loitering here?”

“Just listening,” they all replied with a squeak as they flattened themselves against the ceiling. “We know we cannot go in, but Mrs. is reading stories. We just wanted to listen to the stories and smell the tea and scones.”

“Tea and scones,” Eitilt echoed back.

When he opened the door he understood immediately where several of the fae had taken themselves, too. Along with a tray of scones that had been hot from the oven. Along with a fresh pot of lemon curd.

“It is dinner time for my Mrs.,” he said arching his eyebrow. “We shall be having dinner.”

They all smiled at him.

“You need to be gone, downstairs, to your dinner.”

“Oh,” they all nodded in understanding and picking up their tea things all curtsied to Mrs. and made their way out.

“I will be gone tomorrow afternoon for a bit. I do not wish to stay long, but I will be there and…and… I will try talking to the Master Assassin. Then we shall see what we shall see. If,” he stressed, “if it should come to it, then I shall stand with my brother when Aed hands over,” he scowled, “Gael.

“It is going to be okay,” she took his hand. “If you get the Master Assassin to agree to something sneaky and underhanded to get past Rowan, great. If not, Gael and Mer’lyn will see to it.”

He shook all over and then continued. “Should I leave you here or take you back to your room at Trinity? I have been trying to decide all day. I did not wish to take your from your rest,” he scowled as he looked over at the door. “I did not know the others did not have this problem.”

“You would not have,” she smiled at him. “And they did not. I enjoyed their company. It was nice.”

“But the questions still dangle before me in the air. What if someone makes their way upstairs? I will not be here to protect you. At Trinity, you will not be in the target area, but who will be there to make sure you eat and take your medicines on time?”

Sitting down next to her, he took her hand. “I do not know. Only that I must be there for Aed…after…after…in case we cannot devise some scheme and must leave Gael.” He blinked back tears. “I feel so useless. That I can not stand and destroy those who thinks to take his family from him.”

“Sometimes, my husband,” she wiped the tears from his face, “it takes a woman to see to the heart of the matter. Males see with their pride and their honor, we see with our hearts and our love.”

“What if my pride and my honor get in my way and I start the war, what then?”

“I love you,” she said softly. “Do not doubt that. Gael is the 7th of a 7th. Mer’lyn,” she offered up a small smile, “he is there with her. Do not doubt, my husband, the wisdom of their ways. But if you can find no way around this, and it comes to the very worst possible outcome, then you stand with your brother and if she is led away, once you are both away, if he cannot walk home for his grief, then you carry him. If he wants to go raging back in, then you haul his ass back here and tie him down. I need one month to heal. Then we shall go to war.”

For long moments he sat staring at nothing. With a sigh, his fingertips traced the lines of the bones in her hand. “I made apple and parsnip soup,” he smiled at her as he uncovered her tray.

“My favorite,” she grinned as she laid back into the pillows.

Very carefully he spooned the soup into her mouth. “I don’t know how long I will be away,” he finally said.

“You will be gone for as long as it takes,” she replied as she took a bite of buttered brown bread.

Shade Cecil did not like to think he was a sneak. He tried to be honest and trustworthy.   But something had to be done. Mr. and Mrs. were having their dinner. He floated downstairs to the main sitting area between the towers. He could only go so far down the steps to the main floor. But this was important. He pushed his will as far as he could and he was on the 4th step from the main lobby. “Mistress Sara,” he called out. “Mistress Sara. Goody Robin, Shelly, anybody…!”

Thumb-bella Yarborough went whizzing by when she heard the calls. “What is required Shade Cecil?” she asked.

“I need to speak with someone in authority. Mr. speaks of moving Mrs. to someplace they call Trinity while he is gone to see the king. He does not know how long he will be gone.   If he moves her, who will see to her?” he asked. “And who would read to us? And she has lovely underwear. Who will wash it delicately for her?”

“Oh dear!” Yarborough exclaimed. “I will spread the word. Not to worry!”

Eitilt was feeding Bee Bee her pudding when there was a knock at the door. “Come in,” he called. When the door pushed open only a bit, he called out again, “Come in.”

Mistress Sara peeked her nose in and then in she came with the rest of the small fae contingent behind her.

“Yes…” Eitilt said, then he took a very good look at what was before him. They all bristled with the weapons of their choice, dressed for war.

Sara curtsied and began. “Shade Cecil says your are going to see the king and do not know when you shall return.   That Mrs. might be moved to Trinity, because perhaps it is not safe enough for her here and we have all consulted and we do not know what Trinity, is.

Here is her home. Here is our home. We protect who is ours. Mrs. is ours. We have sharpened our swords and set out spells and we shall destroy any and all that would think to harm her.

And this Trinity,” Sara scoffed, “who is going to care for her there? And Shade Cecil told us about the list from the doctor Lady Gael read.   This wound that Mrs. has,” her voice was full of concern, “it must be kept clean. Here,” she raised her hands, “here is clean. I see to this, personally. Do they keep clean at Trinity?” She rolled her eyes, “I do not think so for I am not there to keep it clean. Mrs. must be where there is clean. She cannot be taken to this Trinity. And Shade Cecil says she must take her medicine on time and rest and have her tea and nourishment. Her bandages must be kept clean and the wound must be kept clean and I do not know about this Trinity,” she sobbed, “being clean.” There were numerous pairs of very sad eyes all nodding in agreement and dabbing at their faces.

“We have sharpened our swords,” she said with surety, standing tall.   “None shall hurt her. Even Shade Cecil says he can toss them from the top of the tower.”

“What if it is a witch flying in on a dragon?” his voice was very serious.

“Show them Yarborough,” Sara said.

Smiling at him from the mouths of the thumb-bella faes were very sharp teeth. “We are to-war,” was all she said with a smile. “And we are hungry.”

Eitilt was thoughtful then his gaze rested on Cecil who stood at the door.

“This is my mate, my wife, my Mrs., my very heart,” he said, his eyes focused on the shade. “Who are you?” he asked, his voice low and knowing.

Tears formed in Cecil’s eyes, pools of sorrow. So the question he had dreaded had finally been asked. Once again, he would be alone. How could he bear the loneliness after such fine company? After once more of being apart of something honest and trustworthy to be denied and his soul starved. This also would be taken from him. He felt what was left of his heart slip away. All he could do was answer. “I am the first, I am the traitor that brought this never ending strife to the homeworld. I am the traitor Cecil.”

“Traitor,” Eitilt nodded. “And I am to leave my beloved heart with a traitor?”

“I would not,” he sobbed. “I swear, I would not betray any here,” he was crying as he dropped to his knees. “It was not my intent that day to betray, I swear, I swear,” all could hear the pleading in his voice.  “I was late returning. I thought the cause was lost. They were going to torch The Gate and all that was inside. My friends were inside,” misery poured from him. “My friends,” sorrow wracked his words. “I could not allow them to burn because it was their misfortune to be here, waiting on my return.” He sat down on the floor, the agony of his despair through the ages weighing him to the floorboards, wretchedness and loneliness his only companions throughout forever. The word traitor branded on everything he touched. “I thought the cause was lost and so I gave them the name. The Hill of Uisneach. I did not know anyone would be there. I thought all had scattered to the wind. I did not know the troops had rallied, there. It was just a place…just a place,” he sobbed out his desolation. “I thought the cause was lost and I did not know,” he wiped the tears away but his misery was all about him as he buried his face in his hands. “My friends were inside, here,” he said softly, weeping, the grief still eating away on him as he gazed up at Eitilt. “My friends…” the torment feed tears started again. “I could not bear to part with them also because I thought I had lost everything else.”

The room was silent. All thought they knew the story of how The Gate came to be haunted. That the traitor had betrayed them all and left them in this madness; even to this day as wars were still fought there was no fouler insult than to be called The First Traitor…it was the most insulting of slurs.

But all here knew Shade Cecil. He was quiet and went about his duties on the top floor. No one knew exactly what those duties were, but they would see him, standing guard.

“Late from returning from where?” Eitilt asked.

“I am under a geas from my queen,” was all he said as he stood. There in his eyes, loyalty and steel.

“Queen Dechtire,” Eitilt said and Cecil nodded yes.

“Cecil, you know that you are a ghost and have been for an age upon an age. You have been haunting The Gate for a span of ages before I came to be. There is nothing that you can do or say that would harm Queen Dechtire.”

Everyone in the room nodded yes.

“Shade Cecil,” Sara’s voice was soft and sweet, “Your Queen is safe. After their final breaths, she and her child suffered no more. They left together and are safe in the bosom of home,” she smiled at him.

“No,” Cecil shook his head. “No, her son did not suffer death that day. No,” he shook his head violently. “I was her Captain-at-Arms. Her friend and confidant. She knew the war was coming and we made plans. She knew a human family in the 18th century Earth, they had agreed to take the babe. We had left jewels and gold to provide for him. She knew that I would have to take him at a moment’s notice, so when…when…” tears were once more running down his face. “We heard that the king had fallen. She kissed her lad and offered him her blessing and handed him to me, but then I must away. They were breaching the walls. I ran with the Prince. She trusted me to take him and I did and I told no one where I had put him. I did not care what they did to me,” he snarled. “I did not care. The Prince was safe.   Her son was safe.”

Everything in the room, stopped.

Cecil wiped his eyes and swallowed and standing straight with pride he said, “The Prince lived and those of Ryland’s house can all be damned.”

“Ryland said the child had died. That Dechtire had killed him along with herself was she heard the king had perished,” was whispered throughout the room.

“No!” Cecil bellowed.   “She did not! She would never! That is a lie! I saw the arrows strike her as she stood and blocked us so that I could away.”

“It has all been a lie,” Yarborough hissed. “With no heirs, Ryland’s family warred their way to be next on the throne. And in stepped insanity. To this day.”

Eitilt could feel the currents sweeping through the room. There was no way to keep this contained. But these here were allies. They would tell who needed to be told and the secret would be kept.

But none of that mattered at this moment because here stood a heart that had been tried, belittled, crushed, branded with the word traitor and had remained true. Cecil needed peace. He deserved it. Eitilt knew he had to walk him through it. Something only a warrior could do for another warrior. This is where the healing, began. “History is kept by those on the winning side,” he began, looking at Cecil. “And we still fight this war, today. So tell me Cecil, look around this room and tell me what have you learned from these good folks?”

Here is this room were his friends, he dared to call them that to himself. They were good of heart and they protected those they called their own. In his heart, he wanted to stand and be counted with them. He listened to their words and kept in his heart all that they said. “That the cause is never lost and as long as the idea lives, there will always be someone to fight.”

“Yes, always, and you kept your promise to Queen Dechtire. You took her child to safety.”

“Yes,” he nodded, “yes I did,” he smiled. “She told me that was her last standing order. Once that was accomplished, I was free to follow my heart.”

“She was your good Queen and friend. You did exactly as she asked. Be free to follow you heart, Cecil. You may continue here, or you may journey elsewhere. Please know, this is my mate, my wife, my Mrs., my heart,” Eitilt said. “If it is your desire, I trust you to watch after her.” Looking out into the crowd he bowed his head and said,  “I will leave her to your tender mercies.”

“Thank you Mr., “ they all bowed.

“Cecil, Captain of the Guards of Queen’s Dechtire’s Own,” Eitilt said.

“Yes,” he wiped at his eyes, again.

“Stand tall, Captain of the Queen’s Guard,” and Eitilt saluted him. “Death this day to any who call you traitor. You are welcome here as long as you wish. You may travel where you care.”

“Thank you,” he returned the salute as tears once more covered his face. “Thank you, thank you…”

Cecil was lost in Eitilt’s eyes that spoke of forgiveness. The impossible happened, his name was no longer traitor and he could stand forever wherever he was needed.

Eitilt nodded his head at Sara. Smiling, she turned to everyone and made a shooing motion with her hands.

“Good night Mrs.,” they blew kisses to her and then the door softly closed.

“That the cause is never lost and as long as the idea lives, there will always be someone to fight,” Bee Bee smiled at him and picked up his hand and kissed it. “How did you get to be so wise?”

“Because the victor does keep the history. Those kept out of history never allows the cause to be forgotten. He is old, B.B. he was there at the beginning of this nightmare. And because he was branded traitor, his words were never heard. That is a most effective way of shutting up the truth. Traitor plays on everyone’s sense of duty, no matter how you define it or whose side you stand on. Clearly he was a threat. They just had no idea how much of one.  Then he was burned and his shade condemned to exist here. The real reason the crown did not burn The Gate was because it was Cecil’s prison. To continue his days here, alone. The worst torture outside of The Living Death they could imagine. By rights, he should be a raving maniac, the sorrow having consumed him. Eaten him and spit him out then licked up the vomit. Now he is no longer alone and once more useful and a lie that put Rowan’s house on the throne has been uncovered.”

“How did you get to be so wise,” there were tears in her voice this time.

“I am not,” he shook his head.

“Yes you are,” she whispered to him as she pulled him down for a kiss.

That morning, when he unlocked the doors, waiting for him was another messenger. Reading the message out loud, he went back inside and started his plan.

His wife was looking at his sketches with her mouth open. “You are not to start the war without me,” was all she said in a hiss. “I mean it. I will kick your ass if you do. You think of something else beside a full-scale invasion. I do not care who is willing to back you. Dragons will be a factor. You need me.”

His eyes took in everything about her. She was… he wanted to laugh out loud but that would not please her, not happy with him. Of course, she was right. “When we go to-war, you are going to need some armor. Something…..I would like to know what the first Wynd Ryder wore and have something patterned after it made for you. I will talk that around and see what comes up.”

It was time to put a plan into action. That fucking Rowan…Eitilt wanted to spite fire and destroy complete villages, starting with the royal castle. He was out his door and walking toward Aed’s and Gael’s. As he worked through his anger, he arrived at their door.

Knocking, Aed answered.

Eitilt grimaced. “You both need to hear this. First, there is a shade that lives in the tower…

“All a lie,” Aed hissed. “Ryland lied so he could move his family into play.”

“Oh,” Eitilt took a deep breath and slowly let it out. “There is more.

There was another messenger this morning. We are all three to go to The Tower. There the king and whoever shall witness the giving is going to be in attendance. I am sure that means all his lackeys and come-hithers not to mention the court. The Master Assassin has requested that his apprentice and his apprentice’s brother be with him to share in the delights of his bed. He states that he wants his consort to know his desires and wants and needs. That with the three of us in attendance upon her at once, she will be broken-in properly.

The king is most pleased. He wants the Master Assassin to have a frolic, I believe is how Rowan worded it.”

“What?” Aed spewed. “Do what! With my mate!

Aed paused and collected himself. Now was not the time to destroy Rowan. He did need to collect himself. He knew his Master.  “The Master would not turn his home and place of study and reverence into a house of frolic!”

“Are you certain?” Eitilt asked.

“Certain, yes. This does not speak to the manner of the one I know. Who I have lived with, trained with, and observed. No…not ever.”

“I understand your respect for him, Aed. But no one gossips about the Master Assassin.   That would be foolish. So, we do not know his preferences. Maybe he does want a frolic.”

Aed growled.

“Or maybe,” Eitilt continued, “Rowan just dreamed all this up because…well just because he is a depraved, degenerate piece of shit.”

Aed nodded his head, death in his eyes. “And why us, why not two others?”

“My thoughts exactly. This reeks,” Eitilt growled. “All information containing our lineage goes missing. I wonder where on Rowan’s desk it sits. The librarians are going to be a tasty snack when all is said and done.”

Aed growled deep in his throat.

“But until we know differently,” he cautioned his brother, “we are believing the frolic to be the truth.

I have promised B.B. that I will not start a war without her. In no uncertain terms she said she would physically harm me if I did this. And I believe her. So, this is our plan until we get there and have eyes on the situation,” Eitilt said. “We get to the bedchamber and I reason with him. If he insists on the frolic, I am going to kill him and claim he tried to rape me. I did this to preserve my honor.

Oh, and least I forget,” he rolled his eyes. “Rowan wants to hear pleasure screaming. And he wants a grandchild.”

“A grandchild?” Aed and Gael said together.

“Yes, and apparently he does not object to a dragon fathering said child. He wants one tied to a dragon’s lineage. How the times have changed,” Eitilt snarked. “If you are ready, let us be gone. Same rule as always. Trust no one.”

Aed hesitated.

“I mean it Brother,” Eitilt took his arm. “I will kill the Master Assassin if he can not see reason or things my way. Lady Gael shall be no one’s amusement. Besides, if I kill him, since she is only a consort and since you are the next Master Assassin and with this position you are elevated to a royal, she becomes your property.”

“Well yes,” Gael was thoughtful. “Perhaps that is why I sense no danger. Either the Master agrees or…or he does not…” her eyes saw the Heart of the Sun, ready for the kill.   This Eitilt was new to her and frightening! A mixture of old magic and dragon and raw power!

“Thank you my brother,” Aed said and then kissed Gael on the forehead. Righting his shoulders, his eyes held Eitilt’s. “We are brothers to the bloody end.”

“To the bloody end.”