I wasn’t playing. I’m seriously sticking with the Camp NaNoWriMo word count until this book is finished and in my editor’s hands. I’m sorry these have been coming so late. The days have been a bit wonky around here, so I’ve been having to write after work, which runs pretty late. I’ll try to put them back on a better schedule.
Oliver’s phone interrupts the conversation. He frowns down at the number, but answers it anyway. “Shaylee? How did you get–…Yeah…Yes…We’re on our way.” He hangs up and begins straightening up the kitchen. “We need to go. Things are moving faster than we thought.”
Kellen goes ridged and gathers the weapons. “How so, Ollie?”
“The fomorians sent us a message,” Oliver answers. “Shaylee wouldn’t say much more than that.”
With the house straightened, we head out to the abandoned farm house and the Faerie Court. While the shift between the Faerie Realm and the Human Realm is still obvious, it doesn’t hit me as hard. Miguel doesn’t seem as disoriented either. I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing and, frankly, we don’t have the time to figure it out.
Titania and the others are gathered in the usual meeting room, muttering and whispering in hushed tones until we arrive. Then, the room falls silent.
“You all remember my brother, Oliver,” Shaylee says, pausing in her pace at the head of the table. “Our mother has put him in charge of rescuing the humans so none of you have to worry about it.”
All the other faeries turn to the queen, mostly in outrage.
“It’s the perfect chance for him to prove himself as a Prince of Faerie,” Titania explains. “And, as we’ve already discussed, we already have our hands full with the fomorians.”
“We already have two queens and neither of you are anywhere close to being in poor health,” balks the old faerie who protested us last night. “Why bring another of your children out of hiding, Titania?”
Titania massages her temple as if she’s already tired of this conversation. “Because we have fomorians on our doorstep, Fargus. I’m not about to pass up any resource we can get our hands on.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Oliver flinch at the word ‘resource,’ but he stays silent.>
“Besides,” Shaylee chimes in, “we need someone who knows humans as well as he does if we want to get them out alive. You know how easily they startle.”
Fargus grumbles in agreement.
Titania turns to Oliver. “So, what do you have for us Oliver.”
He pales slightly, then marches to the front of the room with his head high and the map of Olinis Island like a separator in his hand that he commands. Without a single stutter or uncertainty, he explains our plan to the others. They follow along, stroking their beards and nodding ever so often with furrowed bushy brows and serious expressions.
Oliver looks to us as he finishes. “Of course, none of this would work without the help of my brilliant team.”
Everyone looks to us as if this is the first time they’ve realized we’re here.
“Two young humans and a pair of pixies?” Fargus huffs. “Quite the team.”
“They’ve gotten on and off the island before,” Titania argues, “which is why we have any idea of what’s going on at all.”
“Which is why you’re going back as soon as the sun goes down,” Shaylee says, standing beside her mother.
“We haven’t perfected the distraction charms yet,” Oliver reminds her.
“Well, get them perfected, because they need you.” Shaylee gingerly pulls a worn strip of leather from a satchel at her hip and hands it to Oliver. His face goes from pale to pure white as he looks it over. With wide, terrified eyes, he passes it to Kole and Kellen, whose expressions darken. Over their shoulder I see the message crudely carved into the leather and stained with blood. As I realize it could very well be human, all the air seems to leave the room.
“Bring us the amulet by morning,” it reads, “or more blood will flow.”