Lord of the Wolves
The next three people that Liam and Tyler took David to had also refused to help. The last one had slammed the door in Tyler’s face. The sun had been up for an hour when they pulled into the driveway of a very ordinary suburban semi-detached house, yet in spite of not having slept in over twenty four hours â€“ unless you counted being knocked out briefly â€“ David did not feel fatigued at all. It seemed that Tyler was right about him not having to sleep as much.
â€œIf Cherie won’t help us I really can’t imagine who will,â€ Liam said as he put the handbrake on. Even before he turned off the engine a statuesque woman with long black hair and soft blue eyes with catlike pupils came out and strode towards the car.
â€œWell that doesn’t look too hopeful,â€ Tyler said as Liam opened the car door Cherie bent down so her eyes were level with his.
â€œYou already know what I’m going to say don’t you,â€ she said. â€œI know youâ€™ve spoken to the other lore keepers already.â€ She sounded sad.
â€œI have a fair idea, yes,â€ Liam said.
â€œI thought so,â€ she said. â€œAt least that makes this easier. I’m very sorry but I can’t help you.â€ She looked to where David was sitting in the back. â€œI’m really sorry, kid. I want to help you, really I do, but I can’t.â€
â€œCherie, is someone stopping you helping us?â€ Tyler asked.
â€œI never said that,â€ she said quickly. â€œI merely said I can’t help you.â€ She gave another heavy sigh. â€œI’m afraid you won’t find anyone who will be able to help you. Most of those who could won’t even want to.â€
â€œWhy not?â€ Liam asked.
Cherie looked around cautiously before replying. â€œWhat do all the current lore keepers in the area have in common?â€
â€œAre you saying the court of seasons has something to do with this?â€ Tyler exclaimed.
Cherie looked straight at him with a sad smile. â€œI didn’t say that, my Lord,â€ she said.
â€œNo, but you implied it,â€ Tyler said. â€œIf you need shelter, Cherie, you know where to find me.â€
â€œThank you, my Lord,â€ she said quietly. â€œBut I really hope it won’t come to that.â€ She looked back at David. â€œGood luck, kid. I’m afraid you’re going to need it.â€ She rose to her feet and headed back into the house leaving them sitting there. Liam watched her go before putting the car in gear and driving off.
â€œWell that was informative,â€ he said after a moment,
â€œIt was,â€ Tyler agreed. â€œI hope she doesn’t get in trouble.â€
â€œWas it?â€ David asked, before looking at Tyler. â€œShe called you lord?â€
â€œAh, yes.â€ Tyler looked embarrassed. â€œI have some rank among the courts.â€
Liam snorted. â€œSome rank he calls it.â€
â€œWell it means very little,â€ Tyler said.
â€œYou’re the Night King’s champion, Tyler,â€ Liam said dryly. â€œYou have real power, and not just in the Court of Hours. You just don’t care to exercise it.â€
â€œI know, but don’t want to upset anyone by throwing my weight around,â€ Tyler said.
â€œI do understand but if the Court of Seasons are being antagonistic you may have to,â€ Liam said. â€œCall Kate. I have a funny feeling about this.â€
Tyler didn’t reply to that but he did produce a phone and dial someone. â€œHi, Kate, it’s me–â€ He stopped abruptly and listened. â€œShe did? What did she have to say?â€ He listened some more and glanced around at David with a worried scowl. â€œDamn! What did you say?â€ Another pause then he burst out laughing, â€œShe won’t like that.â€ After a moment he sobered again. â€œBut Kate, the Summer Champion is very dangerous and you’re expos– Yes, I quite agree. As long as you’re sure. We’ll have to warn people. I’ll call the night folk if you call the day… yes, of course including Penny. I may not like her but I wouldn’t leave her at their mercy. Yes, talk to you later, Kate. Take care.â€ He turned the phone off and leaned back. â€œDamn!â€
â€œSounds like I was right,â€ Liam said.
â€œYou were,â€ Tyler said. â€œThe Summer Champion requested an audience with Kate. She says the Court of Seasons will declare war on us if we don’t deliver David’s head on a platter.â€ He turned and looked at David with a wry smile. â€œDon’t worry, Kate told her where to shove her platter.â€
â€œYou shouldn’t put yourself at risk for my sake,â€ David said.
â€œNo, it’s fine,â€ Tyler said. â€œWe won’t be bullied.â€
â€œBut you said she was exposed?â€ David said.
â€œKate is the Day Queen of the Court of Hours.â€ It was Liam who answered. â€œShe’s exposed because her champion died recently.â€
â€œOf an iron tipped crossbow bolt to the throat,â€ Tyler said neutrally.
â€œNo, that was just a symptom,â€ Liam said. â€œHe died of being an evil arsehole.â€
Tyler snorted at that. â€œI never said I disapproved.â€
â€œYou killed him?â€ David asked.
â€œI did,â€ Liam said. â€œHe fed on unhappiness â€“ which would be neither here nor there â€“ all fairies and daemons have to feed on something â€“ but he was deliberately manipulating people into suicidal despair in order to feast â€“ and he really didn’t need to. He wasn’t a bond feeder and there’s unhappiness enough in the world.â€
â€œUgh!â€ David said. He looked over at Tyler. â€œUm…â€
â€œFear,â€ Tyler said.
â€œHuh?â€ David said.
â€œBren and I feed on fear,â€ Tyler said. â€œYou were wondering.â€
David eyed him uncertainly. â€œYou scare people. That seems â€“ huh–â€
â€œNot usually,â€ Tyler said. â€œThough if I’m hungry I will. Sadly that’s not often.â€
â€œSadly?!â€ David stared at him.
â€œYes, sadly,â€ Tyler said. â€œUnless you think it’s a good thing that there’s more than enough ambient fear and anxiety in the world that I can remain well fed with out having to actively evoke the emotion.â€
â€œHuh,â€ David said again. â€œWell when you put it that way I see what you mean. But I’m going to feed on something.â€
â€œSure,â€ Liam said. â€œBut unless you are really, really unlucky it won’t require hurting anyone, let alone killing them.â€
â€œI’ll probably be unlucky,â€ David said sourly.
â€œEven if you are there’s usually a work around,â€ Tyler said. â€œBut really it’s not likely.â€
â€œExcept his grandmother was Leannaun which increases the chance,â€ Liam said
â€œBuh,â€ David said.
â€œYou’ll be fine,â€ Tyler said. â€œThough we will need to find out what you are soon. You don’t want to get hungry.â€
â€œYou need to teach him to glamour those eyes, and teach him about the mists.â€ Liam glanced at David in the rear view mirror. â€œYou won’t get hungry for a few days yet but you’d probably wander into the mists without realising and with the Summer Champion after you that’s really not a good idea.â€
â€œLiam’s right,â€ Tyler said. â€œI’ll do that later today.â€
â€œAnna woke up briefly while you were out,â€ Tanya said. â€œDaniel gave her a sedative but she should wake up soon.â€
â€œIs she okay?â€ David asked.
â€œNo, she’s scared and confused,â€ Tanya said. â€œBut that’s to be expected and I’m sure she will be.â€
â€œIs someone keeping an eye on her?â€ David asked. â€œShe shouldn’t be alone.â€
â€œOf course,â€ Tanya said. â€œJason’s with her right now, I was just going to relieve him when you knocked on the door.â€
â€œI’ll do it if you want,â€ David said. â€œI’m still technically responsible for her.â€
â€œAre you sure?â€ Tanya said. â€œHow long since you slept?â€
â€œI’m fine, Tan,â€ David said. â€œApparently fairies and daemons don’t sleep much.â€
â€œReally?â€ Tanya said. â€œThat’s interesting. Werewolves don’t either. So did you find out what you are?â€
â€œNo,â€ David said. â€œBut apparently whatever it is it might be worth going to war over.â€
â€œWhat?â€ Tanya stared at him.
â€œI’ll explain later,â€ Liam said. â€œBut apparently the Court of Seasons want him dead so badly they’ve threatened the Court of Hours over him.â€
â€œThat’s not good,â€ Tanya said. â€œI don’t know much about mistwalkers but I know enough to know the Court of Seasons are very dangerous.â€
â€œMistwalkers?â€ Liam said. â€œI like that. It’s accurate.â€
â€œIt’s what my kind call fairies and daemons,â€ Tanya said then turned to look up the stairs as Jason appeared with Anna leaning on him. â€œAh! You’re up. I’ll make breakfast and it’s time for some introductions I think. Pretty much everyone is still here.â€
â€œHow do you feel?â€ David asked softly as he slid into a seat next to Anna at the large dining table. Anna looked around from where she was studying the various people in the room thoughtfully. She was fairly sure most of them weren’t human.
â€œConfused, I–â€ she broke off when she saw his eyes. While the change wasn’t as pronounced as her own she was sure they hadn’t been that liquid silver before. â€œYour eyes changed too? Or is this another thing I just couldn’t see?â€
â€œNo, they changed,â€ David said. â€œApparently I’m not human either. We’re still trying to work out what I am.â€ He gave a scowl that spoke whole volumes. â€œIt isn’t going well.â€
Anna stared at David, her mind whirling and stomach churning. She opened her mouth and just a squeak came out, so she swallowed and tried again. This time she managed words but they weren’t what she meant to say. â€œThis bloody town!â€ She flushed when everyone burst out laughing.
â€œNow that’s the truth,â€ the daemon girl who had helped with her rescue said before extending her hand. â€œHi, kid, I’m Brenna. We didn’t really have chance to get acquainted yesterday.â€
â€œAnna.â€ Anna managed as she shook Brenna’s hand.
â€œI see you started the introductions without me.â€ Tanya put a plate of sandwiches beside her and looked around. “So I’ll take that as a hint to finish them.” She pointed to a slim guy in jeans and a shirt. “This is Liam, he’s on the Council too. The Spectral Branch’s only councillor. He called in some backup for us. She nodded to the two daemons and a black woman who was sat on the other side of the room from them. “You’ve met Brenna already. The man is her father, Tyler. And this is Penny. She’s a nightmare – a dream fairy.” She tilted her head again at Anna’s surprise. “I told you that the Spectral Branch is a little different.” She grinned then gestured to a young woman seated next to Meredith who bore a startling resemblance to David but who also had amber eyes. “This is my cousin, David’s sister, Sarah.” She smirked. “I’m sure you’ve noticed she’s a werewolf too but she’s also a werewolf hunter–”
“Wha– Are you mad?” Anna stared at Sarah in shock.
“It’s a long story,” Sarah said. “I’ll tell you about it sometime.”
“We should get on with this.” Daniel said. â€œAre you feeling better?â€
“Yes, thank you.” Anna took a bite of her sandwich. â€œBut that potion gave me weird dreams.â€ She looked at the last two people in the room. She remembered them from the rescue and she rather got the impression they were vampires. “And who are you? You’re both vampires aren’t you?”
“Indeed.” The blonde smiled. “I’m Leisa, and this is Michael.”
“Hmm… well this is possibly the most unexpected gathering I’ve ever been a member of,” Anna said. “But thank you for rescuing me.”
â€œIn the end you rescued yourself, dear,â€ Leisa said. â€œHe was giving us a lot of trouble until you gutted him.â€ Her expression darkened. â€œBut all the same he got away. We think he’s hibernating but we’re going to make sure.â€
Anna’s stomach flipped again. â€œOh, God! What if he comes after me again. He really hates werewolves and home isn’t safe â€“ he’s got an invitation.â€
â€œWe’ve thought of that,â€ Tanya said. â€œYou and Jason are staying with me until we’re sure it’s safe for you to go bac–â€ She broke off as her, Meredith and Liam’s mobile phones all started ringing simultaneously. â€œWell, that can’t be good.â€ She answered it as Liam and Meredith did the same. â€œKeith, what’s wrong?â€ She listened for a moment and her eyes widened. â€œWhat?! That’s bad. Okay, I’m coming in. Stop Rhianne doing anything stupid before I get there. Sit on her if you have to.â€ She clicked off her phone and walked over to Meredith who had also ended her phone call and was sitting there staring into space. Her eyes were suspiciously wet. Tanya squeezed her shoulder. â€œAre you okay, Merry?â€
â€œN-no.â€ Meredith shook her head. â€œHow can I be?â€
â€œWhat’s happened?â€ Sarah asked. Then when Meredith didn’t answer she turned to Tanya. â€œTan, what’s happened?â€
Tanya took a breath. â€œSomeone has left the body of one of Merry’s other subordinates in the Council’s main meeting room. Apparently he’s been torn to shreds.â€
â€œI-it’s Paul, Sal,â€ Merry said. She buried her face in her hands. â€œDammit! Why? I know I’d been getting through to him.â€ She sat there a moment longer before scrubbing at her face with her hands. â€œWe’d better go in. They’re expecting us.â€
â€œWe can’t go together,â€ Liam said. â€œThe others will think we’re plotting.â€ He reached over and squeezed Meredith’s hand. â€œWe’ll get to the bottom of this.â€ He looked back at Tanya. â€œI’ll leave now. You get your guests settled and bring Merry along since she’s supposed to be here anyway and I don’t think she should drive in this state.â€
â€œShe is?â€ Anna asked.
â€œShe’s helping me learn to control my psychic powers,â€ David said.
â€œGood idea,â€ Tanya said as Liam headed to the door. â€œKeep an eye on Rhiane until we get there. Keith said he would but he doesn’t understand how far gone she is.â€
Liam paused and looked back. â€œI will. Fortunately, I persuaded Floyd to help me clear out all her stashed silver weapons last week. He may be a zealot but he does know Rhiane’s losing it. He was asking if I knew anyone who might be able to stabilise her decline.â€ He turned and disappeared out the door.
Tanya watched him then shook her head. â€œJason knows where everything is already so make yourselves at home. And can someone escort him and Anna to pick up some stuff from their house while we’re gone.â€