29: The Prophecy
The Daughters of Ernmas would have left Rorric Yenta to contemplate his sins in a pool of his own blood, regardless of his standing in society. Ceres Mendoza, on the other hand, was content to leave him in Seelie custody with little more than a bloody nose. Devoid of his magical powers of persuasion, which had riled up an audience with whispers of Oracular prophecies and almost succeeded in convincing Emily he was an honest man, the alleged representative of the Fortunate Isles shuffled out of the secret backstreet and into the daylight with nary a protest. Sohrabarak al-Hakim was waiting for him.
“We have not even been here half a day, and already you girls are looking for trouble,” he said.
Ceres handed him the dead crystal. “Think it was some kind of mesmeric spell,” she explained. “Water element, very potent. Shattered when I tried to use it myself, so probably had a safeguard.”
Mr al-Hakim held the stone up to the light and hummed. “I am no expert on such things, but it is rare to see such a purity outside of Sidhe magic. I shall have Seelie perform a more thorough analysis and let you know the results.”
He slipped the crystal into his pocket and grabbed Rorric Yenta by the arm. “As for you, might I remind you one of the stipulations of Seelie’s business here is that we have full jurisdiction over matters concerning our own. If they are threatened or harmed in any way, we are within our rights to take whatever action we deem necessary to protect them. Besides,” he smiled, both charming and threatening at the same time, “I am certain your superiors will be as curious as we are as to where you acquired such a powerful enchantment.”
Rorric glowered, but did not resist as the Commander led him away. Once they were out of sight, Ceres slipped her knife back into its sheath.
“Not the holiday you had in mind, huh?” she asked Emily. “Still, at least we know that whole prophecy thing was a lie.”
“Yeah.” Emily tried to fake some enthusiasm, but the encounter had left her drained. She couldn’t even force a smile.
Ceres took her arm. “C’mon, Korrie’s got a lead during all that commotion. Let’s see what this Himeros character has to say about all this.”
Emily followed. It was what Emily would do, after all. Aliza Adel would have retreated into her dreams, and the Macha would have rallied her sisters to bring the masterminds behind this to justice, but Emily Fomalhaut? She would brush it all aside and get on with her life.
But it was hard to get on with life when, within two hours of arrival, people were targeting her with magic enough to sway a crowd and leave even Seelie concerned. Whoever had organised this holiday had done so for this very purpose: to leave Emily exposed and vulnerable.
No, not Emily: Aliza Adel, the cursed Maiden who could see things no others could. Even here, hundreds of miles from Torsten and its malevolent shadows, she was still a target, still a resource. Still a tool.
Sohrabarak just casually hanging around, as you do.