(Link to part 41)
I stared at the man -- the fae -- who claimed to be my father. Too young, I thought -- but he was fae. Maggie's wings were doing more than fluttering now. I feared she was going to spread them wide and knock us all into the water.
Lord Cayman stared at me with appraisal. I could see why people thought I was oriental now, seeing his almond eyes and dark hair. "You did well to get here with so little trouble."
"And with no help from you," I added, which may not have been the best first words to a father.
His eyes narrowed slightly. "I dared not give you too much help or else my brother would have killed you out of hand. He could have and taken the consequences if he'd known you were this important."
The last of that statement sent a chill through me. "Important."
"My son," he said, as though that explained everything.
I glanced at Maggie, my guide in all of this. She glanced at Lord Cayman, who gave a little wave of his hand, an obvious sign that she should explain things. Then he walked back to the metal pole and put his hands on it. The light brightened.
"There are a dozen high lords," she said quickly. "And each has only two children in their lifetime. That he chose one to be half human --" She stopped and shook her head. "I don't understand that part. Lord Cayman is a High Lord and sits on the council. His brother, Darman, has always wanted that post, but he wouldn't get it if he simply killed his brother. No one would accept him. I don't know what that means for you."
"Does he have another child?" I asked.
"I do not," Lord Cayman replied. He stepped away from the pole and looked me over again. "Fae do not have children on a whim. We must be bonded with the fae of our choice. It is not a bond we can easily break, either."
"Does that apply to a human mate as well?" I asked, thinking of my mother.
"Peggy was a star in the darkness," Cayman said. "She took me in, she sheltered me at a time of grave danger. Yes, I love her very much."
Those could have just been words, but they were not. I could feel the truth in what he said. Could fae trick me that way? Maybe so, but at the moment, it was better that I accept and move on. We could have a serious family discussion at another time.
"She's married. She has other children," I said.
His eyes flickered. "I know. I've watched over you and her, as best I dared."
"Why me?" I finally asked. "What am I supposed to do?"
"Years ago, in the way humans count time, before you were born --" He stopped and looked around. I was aware of fae watching us from the gallery, though I couldn't see them. I suspected judgments were passed, and not just on me. "I had a vision of disaster; of a darkness spreading across Elsewhere, and destroying everything good. I wasn't the only one who had visions in those days, but mine were more than simple forebodings about the future. I didn't tell the others. I was aware that we had a problem within our own group and that I was the problem."
"You were going to bring the darkness?" Maggie asked, obviously shocked.
"No, not intentionally. But it was linked through me --"
"Uncle Darman," I said.
He gave a quick nod. "Visions are warnings. They future can be changed. I started planning for how to change what I had seen. The first step was to allow Darman to think he was winning. I confronted him and planned to make a strategic retreat and draw him into a trap where I would hold him. He was smarter than that; he wounded me and I barely escaped into the human world."
"To my mother."
"It was fated," he said with a soft smile I hadn't expected. "But if I had stayed any longer, then Darman would have claimed my position. I dared not show much interest in what was happening on the other side, either. To that purpose I gave Edmond the gift of Visions and speech so that he could do what I could not."
"Ah," Edmond said. "That's why you were always so interested in Maggie and me."
"I blocked this from you, Edmond, though I always nudged you in that direction," he said and then looked back at me. "You want to know why you are here. You arrived before I expected. I hadn't seen the trouble in the human world, and quite honestly, it bothers me. It shows someone interfering with that side, and I suspect it is Darman."
"Why would he -- to flush me out?" I asked.
"If he suspected you existed, yes. And he might have felt your presence, so close to Elsewhere's entrance. He might well have released weres on that side because they would have had the best chance of finding you. But from what I can tell, they have gotten out of hand. Not that he'd care."
"So what does that mean for me?" I asked.
"The darkness is coming," Edmond said. He stared, blinking at the wall of light in the distance. "Darman has set things in motion already."
"I know," Lord Cayman replied. "He has allies that are willing to risk total destruction if there is a chance they might win."
"What do we do?" I asked. I was here. I was stuck. I might as well work with this man. At least he was giving answers.
"First it is time I take back what is mine," he said. "Edmond --"
He reached towards the cat and Edmond gave a cry of dismay as magic played from his fingers.
"No!" I leapt forward and threw myself between them.
Well what did you expect me to do?
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