29: The Prophecy
“Not bad,” said Ceres. “I take it you don’t get many visitors.”
“Only those I wish to see, or who wish to see me,” said Himeros, as he ushered them over to the cottage. Its bold green door opened without so much as a gesture. “Sometimes the odd individual wanders in by accident, of course, but we soon persuade them to forget about it. Unless, of course, they are interesting enough to pique our curiosity.”
Hearing such words from Lord Freyr would have sent a chill down Emily’s spine, but there was something about Himeros, from the way he bopped and swayed as he led them through a narrow hallway to a cramped, humid kitchen, where saucepans bubbled and ovens baked, that made her feel at ease. Maybe it was the way he smiled: not the wolfish grin of the Prince, but the cheeky smirk of Lysander Goodfellow.
Two teenagers — a boy and girl — swerved through the kitchen carrying dirty plates, which they dumped into an oversized sink bubbling with soap. Korrie-Anne, catching up to her friends after her brief diversion, was quick to corner them while Himeros gestured Ceres and Emily to seats at a wooden table. A plate of various shaped breads floated over to greet them.
“I know you sensible humans prefer your food fresh and natural,” he said, as a knife and pot of butter settled down on the table. “So, please, help yourself.”
Ceres wasted no time in taking advantage of the hospitality, but all Emily could do was nibble at crumbs.
“So,” Ceres swallowed a mouthful of food, “what’s with this place? It’s rather, eh, rustic. No offense, obviously. It’s my kinda place!”
“It is a sanctuary for those seeking freedom from Avalon’s excesses,” replied Himeros. “Not everyone comes to this island by choice, but it is difficult to escape once you are here.”
Ceres wiped her mouth on the back of her arm. “Tell me about it. I’ve not been here a day and I want to go home. Em here has had it even worse.”
Himeros turned his young eyes on Emily, plucking tuffs of bread from a roll. “Ah yes, the girl who might bring down the sky, or so I heard. Your arrival has caused quite the commotion!”
“It was all a lie,” said Ceres. “There was no prophecy.” She went on to explain about Rorric Yenta and his magic crystal. “We think it might have been Sidhe magic,” she said. “Don’t suppose you know anything about that?”
Himeros laughed. “If only I did, I would not be here! I am afraid I am not important enough to warrant a place in the Courts. To them, I am but a faerie, gifted of name and purpose, true, but still an inferior kind. That I am here with you and not watching the drama unfold is proof of that.”
Korrie-Anne sat down at the table with them and poked the bread with a long finger, but didn’t eat any.
“Drama?” asked Ceres.
“The greatest of dramas, no less!” said Himeros, his face lighting up like a child asked to explain their favourite toy. “They say it is the most important summons since the Four Queens revived the Court, perhaps even as important as the day the wretched Titania destroyed its forbearer. Right now, Prince Dionysus Serpentarius stands accused of treason and, should the Court find him guilty, everything the Four Queens worked to create, from the Court itself to Seelie, will end in an instant.”
Chapter 29 End
Well, I’m glad that’s over with! And yeah, I was ill enough last week that it rather wrecked my schedule, which wasn’t helped by all the troubles I had writing this chapter. I’m a bit iffy on the next one, too, but we’ll see how it goes. In lieu of all this, I set up a Twitter account to keep people informed of story goings-on, just in case there’s another delay or major issue getting stuff out.