Orphic Phantasia

9: A Message from the Past

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The name reached out across time and space to brush freezing fingertips down Dante’s spine. He would have cut the recording short before reaching it, but he knew he had to endure. He had to see this through. He had to see the proof.

The man sighed. “You have an addiction to melodrama, my dear Ophelia. Promising eternal peace is asking a bit much, is it not? Darkness forever lingers, and no one person can ever truly save the world, just—”

I will.” She filled her words with such conviction they frightened Dante more than a name ever could. “When I joined Seelie, I made a promise to Grandmama that I would free the Maidens of Orpheus from their duty. I don’t care what it takes, and what I have to go through, but I’m going to keep that promise — even if it means I have to go up there and stop Theia myself.”

The camera shook, twisted to show the copper-skinned man holding it; Dante turned away. “I would just like to reassure Madam Orpheus and everybody else watching that, despite her obvious enthusiasm, Ophelia will not be heading into space anytime soon. Seelie can work many miracles, but—”

With a jerk, the camera returned to Ophelia’s face. It filled Dante’s wall. “And I would like to reassure everybody watching — especially Grandmama — that I have every intention of protecting this planet.” She stepped back and straightened her blazer, a serious frown on her face. “Besides, I have friends in high places.”

There was an audible grimace from the man. “You don’t mean Eury—”

Ophelia gave him a sardonic smile. “What have I told you about names, Cy?” Then, with a genuine, crescent-moon smile, she waved to another unseen figure. “Hello, Eury.”

“Eury,” said the man, voice strained with exasperation, “it’s a cell. We’re record—no, wait—hey!”

The camera moved through the air as if the wind itself had plucked it free of his grasp. The twirling, diving, spinning image twisted a knot in Dante’s stomach with every swoop of scenery.

“Eury, please,” said Ophelia’s companion, reaching for the camera. There appeared to be a moment of struggle before the recording settled on Dante’s giggling mother.

“Sorry, everyone,” she said. “This here is Europa,” she gestured to the space beside her. “I mean Princess Europa Colleybree, of the Court of Queen Anya Eckreedeh. She says ‘hello’.”

The man sighed. “And if they didn’t think you mad before—”

Dante stopped the recording. He’d heard all he needed to hear. The image of Ophelia Orpheus, standing alone at the ends of the earth, dissolved back to reality — to a view of the south, where the Scar’s twisted abomination stood to remind Dante of all that his lost, and the distant mountain of Malkuth promised him salvation.

Friends in high places. Friends from the Court of Queen Anya. It couldn’t be coincidence. None of this was coincidence. Dante glanced at his crystal, sitting on his desk with its six glistening shards. Right now, he had more important people to impress than Seelie.

And, to do that, he had to save Emily.

Chapter 9 End

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That’s ‘Europa Colibri’. And congratulations! You made it to the end of the first episode! Thanks for reading. Next up, an interlude…

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