Rowan was pacing the floor. It had been a miserable night. He could hear the curses and the callings being carried on the wind. A witch by the name of Bixby was ranting about the Four Corners and using the West Wind to carry her scourges and poxes. He had no idea why she was so hungry at this moment and had she no respect for the dark? All this screeching disrupted the moonbeams that floated about his window. From time to time he would go to the lancet arch and yell at her “Do not..!”
“Shut the fuck up,” the old crone would shout at him, the wind carrying her foulness. “I will be by shortly to open my legs for you.”
“Do not…” he would yell, pulling in his head.
His head was a quick in and out. There was always some type of large bird in attendance close by and whenever he would show himself outside at night, he would get shit upon, no matter how fast he thought he was going. Spending his evenings out on the balcony was a lost cause. He did not venture far outside after dark these days.
If bashing his head against the wall would help, he would do it and then smear his blood on every flower in the land so they would no longer bloom.
There was no help for him from any source. Rumor had it that Trudy was casting Runes for the crows. That they were paying her in ancient jewels that they had plucked from fallen heroes whose bodies had lain neglected on battlefields from ages past. Trudy did have an eye for rare artifacts. Her dragon hoard surpassed his treasury, or so she had led him to believe. “I can see why she would chat up the crows; but not to see me, that defies the mind and all good sense,” Rowan cried out as he threw a tankard full of ale against the wall. “If she would only view my humble countenance once more, we could come to terms. I have artifacts that would tempt her.”
Slowly he walked over to the table and picked up the crow feather with the bag attached to it. Opening the leather pouch, he took out the Rune, Pertho. Holding it up to the light, with great reverence, he admired the color of the stone and the delicate Rune upon it. Chanting the rhyme of self-protection, he carefully put it back in the bag. The feather had been stuck into the wooden gates that led into his garden. That had been a nasty surprise. Someone had gotten in past his guards.
“Truly, I do not,” he regarded the bag, “know what to think of this. Trudy walked in,” he felt his anger rising, “left it,” he could see her jamming the quill into the wood to taunt him, “and then walked out, to mock me,” he threw the bag and feather against the wall as well. It fell to the floor and lay in the puddle of ale.
“I hate females,” he kicked over the chair.
There was a knock at the door and a head stuck in…
“Do not…” he roared as the door swiftly closed.
Sitting down on his throne, he looked around him. He was a laughing stock. Crude and cruel jokes were made about him. How had it come to this? Crow fever, everyone had taken to calling it behind his back, was popular. Before the large birds had been tolerated. They were now openly invited into drinking establishments and would sit and offer advice about lubricants, their favorite, they would chuckle, being called Wee Willy.
The frolic houses were no longer as much fun as they once were, either. The ones that enjoyed his kinks did not do birds and had now posted signs that crow fuckers were not welcome. “Might as well just post a sign that says the king of the fae is not welcome,” he pouted.
His quest for his next mate was not going as well as he had anticipated, either. Yes, there was all manner of strange that were willing to do him, but those that lived in the swamps…he could not bring himself to bend them over without being so intoxicated that he would be blind for three days following.
“This use to be fun,” he grumbled. “Then it got so-o-o serious. This wanting to rule forever is getting to be more than I bargained for. The crows are all surely. Trudy refuses to see me. Crows love her,” he sat down and thought about that and only got angrier. “They sing her praises. I am sure that is the first place they went to tattle. Mistress Trudy, caw, Rowan loves to fuck crows, caw,” he said in his best crow voice. “Do not…” he shook his head, chastising himself. “Do not give this any more life than it already has.
Padd,” he bellowed. “I am tired of waiting for my next sexual tryst to arrive. Where are they and do I need a drink?”
The Lawyer stepped into the throne room. “I have brought the gallon jug.”
“No,” Rowan hissed. “No!”
“Yes,” Padd pulled out the cork and handed him the stoneware flask. “Mistress Grasper, Vulture.”
“Do not…” he moaned. “No…”
“They are jealous that you picked the crow over them. There is talk. Not pleasant.”
“But they smell of death and they harbor all sorts of…” he shuddered as he took the bottle from Padd. “In their feathers and their naked skin…”
“Yes, they do,” Padd nodded in agreement. “But in all fairness, they believe that you stink as well. So drink up and gird your loins. This could be the mate of a lifetime.”
“Do not,” Rowan shook his head at him definitely. “When,” he gulped down the drink, “when can we check on Gael to see if the seed has been firmly planted?”
“Soon, my king, soon. Now, loosen you pants while you still can see. Then drink up heartily so you cannot. Mistress Grasper has brought a meal to share with you. Ugh, dead two weeks by the smell of it. But I am sure you will enjoy this repast, together. Sharing a meal is such a good way to get to know someone.”
Dublin, The Gate
“Do not,” Bee Bee was laughing as Eitilt was explaining to her just what Rowan was going through at the moment. “Please, no more,” she was holding her side as the tears rolled down her face.
“Crinnel the Crow told me so, himself. He was here last night after you had gone to sleep. We sat up under The Rotunda and we had quite the conversation.”
“And everyone thinks Trudy is still alive,” her voice was thoughtful. “So, who did plant the feather and Rune?”
“I have not one clue,” he said running his hand over the top of hers. “If it was anyone from The Tower, I think Aed would have told me. Or who knows. It is not like Rowan does not have enemies. Even his so called allies like to mind fuck with him.
However, there is something amiss. Aed did say that a witch by the name of Bixby was casting a Four Corners spell.”
“In hopes of doing what?” Bee Bee was intrigued.
“She is looking for magics that are not attached to anyone. So you search the four corners of the kingdom and see if there is anything out there that you can absorb into yourself. Anything unguarded or left floating. A forgotten spell, that type of thing.”
“Prepping for war?” she asked.
“Yes,” he replied. “Or perhaps, she is being paid to attempt to break past Trudy’s spells. There are many who are going to want to know just on whose side Trudy stands. They are all believing that she will wait until after the fact to declare, herself. Bixby maybe thinks to hurry that along, a bit.”
“Do we need to worry about Gael and Engl?” Bee Bee’s eyes had narrowed. “I am just about healed. A couple of more days,” she said nodding her head.
“Do not think we are going to push this. Another week, the doctor said,” Eitilt gently corrected her and pushed the hair behind her ears. “Then…by that time, Rowan should be tired of all of this and he will make his move on The Tower. That will be the very first of a list of very bad mistakes.
Engl and Gael have placed their wards at the base of the tower. When the time is right, they will raise them to form a shield and keep Rowan and his evildoer’s away.
Then our family will walk the ley lines of the 7’s and come to us. They will abide in Aed’s home until we close on The House over the Hill. Then they shall move in there until the warring begins in earnest. By the way, we should close on that in a matter of days.”
“Really?” Bee Bee sat back. “How is that possible?”
“I had my estate agent make them an offer they could not refuse. The past owners are taking their clothes and leaving all else. To include the chickens and their coops.”
“Do I want to know?” she grinned.
“It was an obscene amount,” he grinned back. “I do no have the time to dicker over small things and hurt feelings. Our estate agent was in today to do an inventory. I gave him a list of photos of things specific to our boy. If anything goes missing, the deal is off. The x-owners understand that.”
“Good,” she smiled. “Do not underestimate the power of a dragon and his hoard,” she chuckled. “
“That is correct,” he smiled charmingly. “Do not! Especially a dragon that has been collecting as long as I have. And my granny’s hoard is most impressive,” he rubbed his hands together gleefully. Then the dragon slyness was gone and there sat her Eitilt. “What do you think? A working farm? I have always wanted to own a distillery. Grow our own ingredients and distill there? Have tastings on the weekends?”
“Eitilt, really?” her smile got bigger. “You would give up Dublin? You want to live there?”
“Yes,” he smiled. “I believe once Arthur is born, that we shall be in residence there. I could perhaps cook and do whiskey pairings. I am sure I can find something to keep me busy.”
“Granny could come and visit!” Kissing him, she rubbed her nose against his and then kissed him, again.
“Yes,” he smiled. “Arthur is going to need a granny. All children should have a granny that spoils them rotten. Besides, I do believe that Mer’lyn and Arthur are going to be very close. Like brothers. The boys shall need a place to learn about responsibilities. Grooming their horse. Collecting eggs. Plant in the soil and watch things grow. Romp and fish and practice their magic. We shall encourage that.”