Chapter 8

Constantine’s report was frustrating yet encouraging. Something wasn’t right, but it was difficult to tell exactly what. He described Dušan as being there, but not. There was something ugly clinging to the scholar that Constantine was only able to catch glimpses of. Tendrils of something that was decidedly not Fae stretched out from him and Constantine swore that there was a heavy shadow that seemed to lurk behind his eyes. The only time this shadow wasn’t as strong was when Dušan was engrossed in his subject.

I turned to Caolán “What do you make of it?”

The prince’s face was set in a puzzled frown, and from the distant look in his eyes I could readily guess what he was thinking. “It doesn’t sound like possession,” he said slowly.

“Split personality?” Constantine offered helpfully.

“In a Fae?” I had heard of such a thing in mortals, but not among the fae. Glancing over at Caolán, he thought much the same.

Constantine shrugged. “Stranger things have happened.”

I froze in my seat and stared at him. Stranger things have happened. What if it was Lyrac, taking on a new form in the hopes of changing things? Wasn’t that his goal: to change things for what he thought was the best?

Caolán made a noise in the back of his throat. “I won’t rule the possibility out, but it is unlikely. Any other suggestions of what could be happening?”

I turned to Constantine. “You’re description almost sounds like possession…” I was unsure of how to finish my thought. How was I to describe my encounter with Lyrac and explain that it may be him without sounding like a madwoman?

“Something is on your mind.” Constantine made sure that he held my gaze. “What is it?”

I told the two of my first encounter with Lyrac in detail, from the moment I awoke on that far distant land , my battle with the being, and my rescue by Kieran and Rhys. I also explained how my unease around Dušan reminded me Lyrac. “I know the two aren’t related, but the feeling is the same. I wonder if perhaps Lyrac is using vessels.”

There. I said it, and I waited for judgment. Caolán looked thoughtful, his mind elsewhere as he considered my words. Constantine looked as though he had never considered the possibility before. It seemed that one or the both of them were about to speak. I hastily added, “We’ll add it to the list of ‘possible, but unlikely.’”

Constantine seemed to change his train of thought at my words. “Whatever is going on with him we need to find out what it is and soon. I don’t like the level of influence he has on those around him.”

“What do you mean?” I glanced over at the prince, and he, too, looked alarmed.

Constantine rubbed the gris-gris in his hand. “Even with this,” he held the bag out to us, “it was difficult to resist the pull he seems to have. It’s a though you’re overwhelmed by a desire to help and please him. It was more of a thought that entered my head; but once I noticed it, I dismissed the thought. Other times, I would find myself helping him without consciously being aware of it.”

I leaned back in my chair, my brow creased. Who was this man? Was he Fae? God? Mortal? Demon? Was he of an ancient race we did not know of? Did he gain knowledge beyond our understanding? Whatever he was, I was sure that he did not mean well.

“Dušan did mention that he wanted to return to the Fae Forest.”

Constantine’s words interrupted my thoughts and I turned to listen. “Go on.”

He tied the gris-gris to his belt and leaned forward. “I didn’t completely understand it. I’m not one to use spells. There was a ritual he wanted to perform. He said that it would cleanse the forest and access to Faerie would open again. The treaty could be signed.”

Caolán watched the man intently as he spoke. “Did he mention a particular time or place?” Judging by the prince’s manner, the information seemed important. It struck me that perhaps Dušan intended to cast an ancient ritual. For what true purpose was anyone’s guess.

“He mentioned a full moon but didn’t say where,” Constantine said apologetically. He grimaced at the last, probably berating himself for not asking questions. “Why? What do you think he’s doing?”

“Attempting to harness the power of the full moon for a spell,” was all the fae said. He wouldn’t elaborate further, confessing that there was nothing more that he knew.

“Then, we wait?” Constantine looked between the two of us, waiting for an answer.

I looked over at Caolán to see if he had suggestions to offer. When none were forthcoming, I looked back to Constantine. “We wait.”

Previous: Chapter 7 | Next: Chapter 9

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