A Game of Hearts

Stained glass hearts

Eitilt walked up the sidewalk to his pub door. It was quiet out front, with a couple of locals sitting in the brisk evening air, smoking their pipes and having a hot toddy. Cecil had done a good job of cleaning house. Nothing like a ghost to move the magics along. Especially one that moaned about looking for a new home and wishing to attach himself to the living.

“Eitilt, good to see you man,” a couple of his regulars called as he sat down with them for a few minutes.

“Good to be seen,” he replied. “Rain is moving in at midnight. You still plan on being out here at that time,” he smiled.

“Oh no, we’ll be moving on home after we finish this.   We can smell your wood fire out here in the cold and it is nice. Very nice.”

“Well enjoy,” he clapped Robert and William both on the back. “Time to get back to work.”

When he entered, he could see Sandra behind the bar. When she smiled at him, he smiled back and walked over to her.

“How were…things?” she asked. “We heard that Lady Gael is…is…to the Master Assassin and that you and Aed…” her voice was low and full of questions.

“There is much in the telling,” he grinned. “Just know that Lady Gael and the Master Assassin are very happy.”

“So, he is not going to come looking for you?” He could hear the relief in Sandra’s voice .

“Oh, he might drop by but not for the reasons you think,” he chuckled. “Now, I must upstairs to my wife.”

“Eitilt,” she placed her hand on his arm, “some sort of reassurance.”

“There is going to be war, Sandra, and it is going to be bloody. The Master Assassin will stand with us. He finds the House of the Sun to be worthy and that of Rowan’s house to be of shit.”

“Okay,” she said nodding her head and smiling. “Okay, it was just the stories that we heard…we knew they were not true, but they were…well…told by those that believe…”

“Yes, of course, I know. I helped to spread the stories. Aed as well. And Lady Gael played her part perfectly. As did the Master. The crown needs to believe that we are all just as degenerate as he is. And we will let him believe that until I bring him the death-blow.”

“Perfect,” she grinned as she went back to wiping down the bar.  Her heart-felt the ton of worry lift away.  No one needed the Master Assassin looking for them.

All the fae watched him walk out and head towards the stairs that would take him to his Mrs.

Yarborough was busy dusting the inside of the beer mugs and popped out to smirk at the others. “See, I told you so. All a ruse. We saw this before he took flight into Crozier’s Canyon when he faked that hurt wing. Yancy, Seemore, Claymore, and I were hiding beneath it, waiting for the moment when we could have a clear shot. Eitilt will do whatever it takes to draw your sorry ass in…then death!”

“That is a fact,” Yancy chuckled. “Now, who among us thought he was actually bedding Lady Gael? Hm-m-m-m. Where is Shade Calvin? He has been so scared that it was true he is hiding down in the cellar. Get his ass up here. I have some one I need him to haunt.”

Yarborough danced slowly about on the air as she just as slowly counted out loud to fifty. “Mr. and Mrs. have said their hellos. Time to be upstairs,” she clapped gleefully and then in a shimmer of fairy dust, she was gone.

“I want to hear what is to be said, also” Seemore said in agreement, as he took off as well.

“All them up there,” Sara shook her head knowingly as other fae started slipping from the room, “that floor is going to get dirty. Mrs. must be where it is clean. I need my mop.”

Eitilt felt his feet going faster as he went up the stairs. When he opened the door to their chamber, he saw his Mrs. pushing back the covers from sleep and carefully sitting up. When she smiled at him, at that moment he understood his worth. To her, he was prized above all else.

Going over to her he sat down on the bed.   Taking her face in his hands, he gently kissed her. When he pulled her up to him, he heard a slight “Ouch” and he immediately stopped.

“I am not going to break,” she kissed his lower lip. “And I am feeling much stronger.”

“You still have the pain meds, I see,” he kissed her on the nose as he began an inventory of the bottles on her nightstand.

“A few more days and then I am on the mend and out of bed and walking about. Perhaps to class.”

“Perhaps not,” he said bending his head to hers and kissing her again. “Back to the doctor and we shall hear what he has to say.”

“H-m-m-m,” was all she said in reply to that. “How did it go?” her fingers caressed his check. “During story time, I have been seeing a lot of false bravery. Went that well?”

“Well yes,” he grinned. “Rowan believes that Master Assassin is a drunk that is not able to perform his husbandly duties and that Aed and I both bedded Gael.”

“Sounds like the Master was more than agreeable to your talk with him.”

“Oh, he was more than agreeable,” he laughed. “Gay’el is Gael’s father.”

Bee Bee started laughing went “Ouch” again and grabbing her side, continued laughing.

“And her mother, Engl, is not dead but has been living in The Tower with Gay’el, waiting for this fuckery to roll around. Apparently Rowan is predictable about his fuckery,” he said rolling his eyes.

“I know there have been guards outside,” she motioned with her head towards the window, “looking for a great sorcerer and wynd ryder from the House of the Heart of the Sun named Mer’lin.”

“Yes,” he nodded. “Cecil made contact with me when that began.”

“The librarians?” she asked.

“Yes, Aed and I believe that they have probably written their own version of our family history.

Speaking of which, I am now known and acknowledge as Heart of the Sun. They know Father and Jorja are dead at my hand. I stand as head of this family.”

The door pushed open.   He thought he had closed it all the way. He just had not locked it. “My King,” Cecil dropped to his knees at the door.

“What?” Eitilt’s voice was sharp and his gaze hard. “No, I am not, Cecil. Do not address me as such.”

“My King,” Cecil’s response strong and with purpose. “You may call yourself what you wish, but you are Teach an Chroí an Mhic. You are my King.”

“Oh,” Eitilt’s voice softened. “No Cecil, you misunderstood. I am Croí na Sun. Heart of the Sun. Not Teach an Chroí an Mhic. Heart of the Son.”

“No,” Cecil shook his head. “I am sorry to disagree with you my King, but there is only one dragon house called Heart of the Son.   Since the beginning of time. When dragons ruled, the kings were from the house of the Heart of the Son.

King Keevan, he was dragon in his bones from the Heart of the Son. And my Queen Dechtire, she was his wynd ryder.”

“She…” Yarborough sputtered, fluttering behind Cecil. All the small fae were behind her, listening. “She…she…the, the histories said that Keevan was only her consort,” her voice got louder. “She called him king in kindness.”

Cecil turned his head 180 degrees and looked behind him and rolled his eyes at Yarborough. “What foolishness for talk is that? I just said King Keevan was dragon. Did you not learn your histories? Were you tardy when the histories were being sung? Young ones,” he shook his head in disgrace, “always someplace more important to be.”

All those out in the hall pushed forward into the room. Looks of disbelief, hatred, rage, and self-loathing all being evident at being taken for fools.

Eitilt was holding Bee Bee’s hand. Perhaps his heart had stopped. He was not for sure. He knew he was not breathing. Yes, their dragon histories had been changed. Changed. That was a very mild statement for such fuckery! “Sara, if you would please, go to Sandra and tell her to leave all the humans in charge. I need all the fae up here.”

“Yes my King,” she curtsied, and then mounting her mop, flew down the stairs.

There were the sound of wings and the scurrying of feet as fae of all sizes and descriptions made their way into the room. Small ones set on shoulders and on top of heads. Perched on noses and clinging from ears.   Until all were in the room listening to the very breathing of Mrs.

Eitilt motioned for Cecil to come and stand over by the bed. “Begin, Cecil, if you would please, at the beginning.”

“Of course my King,” he said with a bow and began. “The histories speak for themselves. The Creator of all, His son, Jesse, and his daughter, Jerusalem, walked here.   In her heart, Jerusalem saw us.   And from her heart, her beloved, Jesse, created us. The dragon form,” he smiled, “was her favorite. So her beloved called the dragon clan the Heart of the Son, because he made them for her and she is his heart.

For ages, dragons ruled their clan and because of their great wisdom, other fae sought them out, seeking advice and knowledge when a matter of dispute or disagreement arose.

Ryland wanted all to unite all under the dragon banner. My King Keevan and Queen Dechtire, they did not desire this, let each settle with each, they told Ryland. We able happy to moderate, but their ways are not ours.

When Ryland saw that my King and Queen could not be swayed, he set about spreading his poison, going from door to door and casting long glances at the residence where the royal family lived.

Crowds rose up, demanding a united kingdom. My royals knew that there would be no turning back from this. That wisdom was not going to win the day and so we laid a plan if all failed, to get the prince to safety. It would have to be at the last moment, so that Ryland would not hear of it for then he would know that my King and Queen were no longer abiding, but would be waiting for him as one to destroy him.

So a mighty shout went out through out for war and…and…“ His voice broke. For long minutes nothing was said until he regained control of his emotions.

“My King and Queen, they could see war coming, but it was so very, very late. My Queen would never leave their child unattended. And I watched over both. And that is how they killed my King.   They separated them. For her to leave her son to ride with him would alert those that had betrayal in their hearts.   Ryland waited and plotted and when he rose up against Keevan, it was too late.

We thought, we thought our King had won the day. But then word came that they killed him with a poisoned arrow and Ryland breached the walls.”

“Do you know what type of poison?” Eitilt asked.

“He could not shift, my King. And when he fell to Earth as human, their was no life left in his broken body.

My Queen was struck with arrows, in her back…” he choked back the sob. “Smiling at her son…before I ran and she died.”

Eitilt gave everyone a moment to collect themselves. Eyes were being dabbed and noses blown and one or two were audibly weeping.

“Wynd ryder?” Eitilt repeated softly.

“Yes, with her on his back, he was unstoppable. His fire swept the heavens and those with wings fell to the ground.”

“What did your queen, as a wynd ryder wear?” he asked.

“Oh,” Cecil stood proudly, “My Queen wore nothing, save for her jewels and her shirt.”

“Jewels and her shirt?”

“Well, yes, her skin in contact with his skin. I do not know how it works, I only know this must be so.”

“Naked,” Eitilt was thoughtful.

“On bottom,” Cecil nodded, “splendidly so. On top, the thumb-bellas wove for her a shirt of star-dust.   And…and…” his voice was hushed.   “They would mate before they took to the air. My Queen said this was optimum.”

Eitilt looked around the room. “Any of you thumb-bellas know how to weave a shirt of star-dust? My wynd ryder is going to need one.”

All eyes went to the figure on the bed. “I have heard tales,” was whispered by one. “A sacred wynd ryder,” was heard on the whisper of their breathing. “The old ones,” Yarborough’s voice was heard, “I once heard them speak of such.” From somewhere a very small voice murmured, “Shit just got real. We are to war…we are to victory!”

“Thank you Cecil,” Eitilt bowed his head. “You have given us all much to think about.”

“My pleasure, my King,” he bowed.

“Do not…” Eitilt started.

“Majesty,” Sara curtsied, “You have just returned to our Queen Mrs. I know you desire some sweet alone time with her. We shall be downstairs.”

“No…” was all Eitilt was able to get out as they all bowed and blew kisses and then were out the door. “I repeat,” he said fiercely, “no! Do not call me King…” he called after them.

No,” he said looking at Bee Bee.

“Is that no to sex or no to the blow job or no…”

Laughing, he kissed her, long, hard, and deep.

“Well, I knew there would be a yes in there someplace,” she chuckled when he finally let her go and broke off the kiss. “I have missed you,” she leaned her forehead against his.

“I did not know I could miss anyone so much,” he replied as he pulled her onto his lap.

“Those in Gay’el’s tower, have a month. Rowan is going to want to know at that time if Gael has conceived. If so, he will remove her to the royal residence, instate Aed as the Master Assassin and then get on with his business of wheeling and dealing.”

“Perfect,” Bee Bee smiled. “We will be ready. I wonder if the thumb-bellas remember how to weave star-dust?”

“Oh,” Eitilt laughed, “I am sure they are working on that even as we speak.”

Yarborough had sent word on to their queen, Madame L’sióg. The request was being passed and somewhere in the land of fae was a thumb-bella granny who knew how to weave star-dust into a shirt for Queen Mrs. to wear. Yarborough was singing and dancing as she went about her business. Some spit and polish there, some rubbing on a crystal on a light there and a stop off to the banshee, commenting on how very nice her shirt was, but it did not appear to be woven of star-dust. “We weave star-dust,” she would sing as a lullaby as she cleaned the mirror behind the bar. “How about you? Do you weave star-dust, too-o-o? Have you the fae touch, have you the bloom? Do you know how to weave it upon your loom? Our Queen needs, the finest sort, to wear-air to war-or. She came to us, thumb-bella fae, because we can set her right this day.”

“Yarborough,” McMurphy called out. “How many verses have ye to that? There not be a babe to put to sleep in sight.”

Yarborough flipped him the bird and then the next verse started.

McMurphy sighed,  “Me thinks I am takin’ my fine self out to the front, sit in the rain, and drink my ale.”

“Shade Ryan is out there,” Sara said with a nod of her head. “He heard all. He is waiting for Rowan’s men to come back around. He is on a rant. Wants to scream so loud that it shakes the teeth from their heads and scares the piss from their bone.”

“Oof,” McMurphy shook his head. “I’ll just find a quiet place on the stairs.”

“Good luck with that,” Sandra grinned. “Our King is home. Once those two start,” she rolled her eyes.

“Basement it is,” he let out a deep sigh. “Shade Calvin is not a bad sort. I am taking the cribbage board, please,” he held out his hand. “I think a game of chance is in order.”