Remembered Kisses: Chapter 19: Three Pixies and a Mage
“I’ve seen glamour before,” Sam said vaguely, just watching. “And read a book or two. Although I’ve never seen a pixie in the flesh. I was given to understand the door to faerie was shut.”
“It is,” Petal said. “We’re an exception.” She peered at him. “Was it really that easy to pierce our glamour? I don’t think your third eye is even open!”
“I didn’t see through it,” he said. “I felt the difference. Your energy fills up a room, and there’s a unique smell.”
“We smell?” Lapis said, and she turned to Fen. “I bet it’s you. I bet you smell like blood and crankiness.”
“As opposed to gin and bad decisions?”
“I stand by all my decisions! Well, most of them. Some of them. One or two.”
Sam looked at Petal, who was smoothing her tie-dye dress while the others bickered. She shrugged.
“They’re always like this. It’s only gotten worse the month since we’ve been here.” She stepped a little closer to him. “Speaking of smells. You smell hurt.”
“I was pretty torn up,” he said. “But Pallas helped.”
“Most of the work was creating sacred space around him. That chased off most of the nightmare taint. Other than that, I just cleaned the wounds and put a poultice on them. That’s it.”
“Is that why his trousers are over here?”
“That’s why,” Pallas said. “The only reason.”
“She’s way too young for me,” Sam said lamely.
Pallas gave him an appraising look. “How old do you think I am?”
She laughed. “Perhaps not so perceptive after all.” She looked at Fen and gently nudged her. “Hey. Stop arguing with your sister. You told me you wanted this man found. Now’s your chance to explain why.”
Fen looked at her, and then back at the mage. “Right. That.”
Sam cleared his throat. “I just want to say, that I have never spoken of the faerie court with anything but respect, and would like to go ahead and apologize for any offense I might have ever caused.”
Fen shook her head. “It is nothing like that. You helped our niece, Eileen, yet this very spring. We wanted to know why.”
“She needed help,” Sam said. “I didn’t need more reason than that.”
“I see.” The blue-eyed pixie frowned. “She needs help again. More than we can manage alone.”
“The webs,” Sam said. “We’re near to her apartment. I know.” His eyes narrowed. “Is she involved in this?”
“Maybe,” said Fen. “We think the spiders are related to the Goblin King. The Prince of Winter… and he could make use of a human with faerie blood.”
“I’m going to need a second to unpack that,” Sam said. “I’m not sure which part to start with.” He took a deep breath. “Okay. Most relevant first. Eileen’s a fairy?”
“Yes. Or a half-faerie, at least.” The pixie looked at her friends. “Her mother’s name was Dewdrop. We can here to find her. We find Eileen instead. Not only that, but we hear that she has been attacked. By goblins. Mister Mage, humans help generate the underworld. Their dreams and willpower help fuel it. Combine that with a half-pixie’s connection to faerie, and our niece becomes a very interesting piece on the board.”
“Ah,” Sam said, leaning back. “And the leader of the goblins. This Goblin King. He’s the Prince of Winter.”
“Well he’s not a spider from Mars,” said Petal.
“No. The spiders are from Arachne.”
They all turned to look at Pallas. She shrugged. “I thought it was funny.”
Sam looked back at the others. “So what do we do? Lightning works on the webs, but using that much nearly killed me, and I don’t exactly command it.” He glanced at Pallas. “I’m not a theurgist.”
“We need to know where they’re coming from, and who’s directing them.” Fen tapped her finger on the back of a chair. “There may be a nexus to the webs. If we undo it, that should stop them.”
“I think we’re talking about two different places,” Sam said. “They are coming from the door in the arsenal.”
“The door in the arsenal?”
“Long story. There’s a door to nightmare and evil killer fog is seeping from underneath it, unleashing nightmare children into the streets of New Tamsbridge.”
“That is phenomenally horrifying,” Lapis said. “So that’s where all the bloody fog comes from?”
“Partly, yes.” Sam folded his fingers. “But I don’t think that’s there base. No, I think it’s at the lighthouse. It’s covered.”
“So what do we do about it?”
“Well,” Sam asked. “We have a conduit, a mage, three faeries, and whoever else I can scramble together. We do what any ecosystem does. We attack and throw these nightmares back where they came from.” He slowly pushed himself out of the bed. “I hurt.”
“I bet you do,” Pallas said. “But I think you’re up for walking. Not that you asked.” She smiled.
“But if you’re up for it, we can have some olives and hummus in the kitchen before you go.”
“Go? You’re going to let him go out into the night in his state?” Petal looked shocked. “He’s only been here a few hours!”
“I imagine,” Pallas said calmly, “He has people to get back to. He has the care of a child.” She looked at Petal. “And he seems to recover pretty quickly.”
“She’s right,” Sam said. “If I didn’t get home tonight, Audrey would be very worried. And this problem won’t be solved tonight. I need some time to marshal some forces.”
Pallas pointed. “Your clothes are there. Your coat is pretty torn up. I suggest finding a tailor.” She gestured at the pixies. “Let’s give him time to find his feet - and his trousers - and come down.”
They started to file out. “Lapis! That means you too!”
“Dammit I wanted a show,” Lapis said, and left with the others.
Sam got dressed and went down.
The small kitchen was at the bottom of the stairs. Pallas was setting the hummus, pita, and olives on a round wooden table, and Petal was making a pot of coffee. The other two were sitting at the table.
“So,” Fen said as he settled onto a chair. “How many do you think you can gather?”
“I don’t know,” Sam said quietly. “I can talk to Marcus. Maybe some of the faculty, but that seems unlikely. It was all I could do to get them to patrol. What about you?”
“We don’t really know anyone much here, yet.”
“Can you get any help from Faerie?”
“No,” Fen said.
“No,” Fen said again. “That’s not how it works.”
“John might be able to help,” Pallas said. “He’s seen things. And he can handle a blade. We could bring Lily in. And Deidre. I would call neither of them fighters, but they can provide some support.”
“Lily’s been taking lessons at my shop,” Sam said. “And I agree. She’s not much of a fighter, but support would work. Some protective spells would be useful. The spider bites are vicious.”
“Private lessons, Professor?” Pallas said. “She’s barely eighteen.”
He glared at her. “I appreciate everything you’ve done for me tonight. But I don’t appreciate my ethics being questioned. She’s just a student.”
“Good. It pleases me to hear it. Now sit and eat.”
The hummus and pita were both handmade, very good. The olives were excellent: nice and bitter, with small pieces of garlic pressed inside. Sam ate them all. “I’m impressed,” he said when he finished.
“I’m Greek,” Pallas answered. “My mother would be ashamed if I couldn’t manage good pita.” She folded her arms. “I’m glad you are mending. But it is well passed midnight and well unto dawn.”
Sam nodded and finished his coffee as he rose. “I’ll see who I can get.” He put his coat on. It was as torn up as she’d said. I’ll need a new one soon. “I’ll be in touch, Pallas. And thank you.”