Thursday, August 08, 2019

Flash Fiction # 367 -- Connor of Northgate/51

"Creature?" Galen snarled with a shake of his head.  The shadows moved as if half alive, and even the others looked around with new worry.  "It is no such thing.  The mirror is a copy of me, set to do what I am now too weak to do --"

The sound of his voice had grown stronger, and the fire in his eyes made it evident that the real Galen was no better than the copy he must have created.

"You should have stepped down," Druce replied with hardly concealed anger.  "If you are too ill for the work, you should have moved aside."

"Ordin isn't ready," Galen said.  "Ordin has much to learn still."

Galen must have seen something in their faces.  He took a step away before Antisha even spoke.

"Your mirror killed your son for his magic. Your creature has been moving against the fae and killed many.  He's working with the trolls.  And now -- now we know the true answer to the myth, Connor.  It isn't you.  The thing we have been fighting isn't even truly fae.  It is magically made and given purpose.  You told it to rule, didn't you?  And didn't limit how or where it might rule."

"And that's why you are hiding here," Connor added.  "You already knew you couldn't trust it."

"It is me! I have nothing to fear --"

"Don't lie to us!" Antisha sounded very much like her father at that moment.  Galen frowned and made a little waving motion with his hand, but he didn't snap at her.  She leaned closer to him, her eyes blazing. "You are hiding here because you thought this would be the only place where you would be safe.  Where is it?"

"I don't know."

"Don't lie to us."

Galen's face went white with fear. He knew he couldn't get away, and he plainly didn't want to anger Antisha more.  Connor realized that Galen knew she was a member of the royal family.

"He's somewhere in the fae lands.  Not here. He has reason still to fear me."

"Yes, he does," Druce agreed.  He reached forward and caught the man by the arm, drawing a glare from Galen.  "And that's why you are coming with us to undo him."

"No, I will not!"

Galen reached his free hand toward the stone, but Connor moved faster and stood between the Lord of Southgate and the source of his power. Had the stone seemed slow to respond? The others began wrapping Galen in a blanket of power that held the weaker Lord without any trouble.

"How do we find this mirror?" Nylia asked.

"A few drops of Galen's blood will do the trick," Rion replied.  He'd gone stone-faced with his anger.  "With the blood, I can do a simple trace."

"You wouldn't dare wound a Gate Lord --"

Antisha pulled her knife and swiftly cut across the back of Lord Galen's hand, drawing a startled yelp from the man.  Connor could not figure out why Galen thought he was immune, given what he'd admitted. Maybe the illness had unsettled his mind. And what of Ordin? Perhaps instead of illness, it was the family line that had a problem.  Maybe it was time to remove them from power.

Not his decision, though.  He only needed to deal with the problem Lord Galen had created.

The man did not mourn the loss of his son.  As far as Connor knew, Ordin had been his only child, but with the long age of fae, there may have been another.  They were not a prolific breed, though.

Rion had spoken the spell, creating a field of light in his hands.  At his nod, Antisha let a drop of blood from her knife land within the light.  It sparkled and spread in a line, and from that came a view of a room.

"The Court," Antisha said with a hiss of anger and worry.  "That's the room above the royal hall."

"Then that's where we go," Connor said, already preparing to head out again.

"Let's go," Antisha urged.

Connor had used magic for two big leaps already.  He had to concentrate past a growing headache to focus on the way to the Royal Court.  They could not drop in close enough to grab the Mirror Galen and chances were that he was going to feel the magic when they arrived.

Those thoughts stilled him while the others were starting to make the portal.  He looked at Antisha.

"I assume you have some way of getting into the castle quickly," he said.

"Oh, Gods.  I hadn't thought of that problem.  We can't simply leap there.  We'll have to go to the courtyard, and then I can go on in."

Connor nodded.  "You need to be ready to move straight to your parents, and to open the way for the rest of us."

"Yes," she said.  She took a deeper breath and nodded, forcing some of the panic away.  "Let's go."

They had no time for any more planning.  Connor didn't know what was going to happen, but he looked back at Galen and thought what a fool the man had been and what a mess he had created.

"You've not only lost your position but also any good name you may have had," Connor said as he looked at the man.  Galen shook his head in mute disbelief; a fae's name in history was as important as his place in life. 

"I have done nothing -- my mirror --" he began.

Connor didn't wait for any more excuses.  He looked at Druce, Nylia, and Rion who had the man in their control.  Even weakened, he was still a Gate Lord, and they would not take chances.  Connor would keep aware of him, too.

Connor closed his eyes against the growing pounding in his head and turned his attention to the spell.  He had to concentrate and not let his mind wander.

One step forward and another and another.

And they stepped out into chaos.

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