CHAPTER THREE: Revelations
“I told you,” she gestured around him, “it’s in your aura. I can see it, I can read it, so I felt I should tell you what I saw. It’s your
aura, after all!” she finished, giving him an impish grin that completely deflated him.
He sat back in his chair, ankles crossed. Taking a deep breath, David decided to see if he could get around the blessed Ban of Lugh that had been enacted on him and his friends, to prevent them from talking about their experiences in Tir-Nan-Og and the other Lands of Faerie with anyone but each other. “About five years ago, I was watchin’ a funeral procession go by,” he began slowly, looking at the ceiling. “The weird part about that is, I was watchin’ it upside down, from between my knees. Next thing I knew, my eyes were burnin’, and then I thought…” he paused. “I thought I’d been struck blind, ‘cause I couldn’t see anything for about fifteen seconds. Then my eyes were OK, and I got up and went home, didn’t really think much of it after a while.” David took a drink of his coffee, or tried to; the cup was empty. Calvin silently came forward and took the mug to refill it.
“Oh, hang on, I know this one,” Willow said excitedly. “Is that, by any chance,
the endowment ritual from Reverend Kirk’s Secret Common-wealth
David gaped at her. “Y-yes it is, how did you know?” He was completely flabbergasted; the fortuneteller who’d given him the tiny, ancient book had inherited it from her mother, who had it from her mother, and so on and so forth. And the lady in question had not been young. He wondered how a young woman like Willow knew about such an obscure volume.
Willow waved dismissively, a silver ring on her right hand catching the light. “Book geek,” she breezed. “Go on, I bet I know what happened next but I wanna hear it from you.” She settled back in her chair, crossing her legs and taking up her coffee mug, sipping from it. Her green eyes twinkled at him over the rim of what he now noticed was a NASA mug that his father, Big Billy Sullivan, had brought back from a road trip to Florida. Book geek
. Raising an eyebrow, David continued with his tale. “So, from there, things got…interestin’
,” he deadpanned.
Calvin snickered, almost spitting his coffee across the kitchen.
Little Billy snorted cookie crumbs across the table, showering Xander, and the greater portion of the area in front of himself with them.
“Interesting, huh? I bet
,” Willow said with mild sarcasm. The corners of her mouth turned up as she attempted to smother a grin. “Go on…” she encouraged, pushing up the sleeves of her thin dark green sweater, and propping her chin on her hand as she leaned forward onto the table.
“Well, that’s the thing,” David said quietly. “I don’t know how much I can
tell you.” He looked unhappily at his hands, twisting together in his lap.
“Ohhh, a geas
?” Willow gave David a sympathetic look, pulling her bottom lip between her teeth for a moment as he nodded glumly. “Why don’t you see how far it reaches, then?” she suggested. “Have you tried talking to anyone about it recently?”
He considered her question. “Not…in the last, oh, five months or so, and not anybody outside our group,” he answered slowly. Could it be that Lugh had lifted
, or at least relaxed, the Ban? In for a penny, he reckoned.
“The same week I watched the funeral go by, another strange thing happened,” David said very quietly, looking at Little Billy sympathetically. “These folks came ridin’ along in a—parade of sorts, I guess, right through our bottom land, out by them briars along the old railroad tracks.” He pointed out past the driveway, indicating the general direction of the area he referred to.
Nothing had caused his tongue to cleave to the roof of his mouth…so far. But David was willing to bet that Lugh Samildinach, High King of the Tuatha de Danaan in Tir-Nan-Og, would not let him just blithely tell all to the two admittedly unusual folks sitting at his parents’ kitchen table. Nonetheless, he continued, explaining to the newcomers how Ailill Windmaster had called out to him and Little Billy, thereby attracting the attention of the entire host to them; Ailill’s challenge, and how Nuada Silverhand, Lugh’s warlord and friend, had taken the challenge from Ailill, and by doing so, protected David and Little Billy…and made a powerful enemy of the Windmaster, both for himself and for David. The tale flowed with surprising ease, with Little Billy interjecting bits that he’d never told David about, and Willow chiming in with incisive questions, Xander intently taking it all in, and Calvin absorbing the new information like the trained listener he was.
Before David was done speaking, the entire tale of that summer five years before had been laid out. And when he concluded with, “…and that was only the first
year!”, he knew, somehow, that these people…got
it. They understood
, with that bone-deep, total conviction that only people who’d lived through similar experiences could ever
Willow smiled kindly at David, Little Billy and Calvin. “There are more of us than you think, David Sullivan,” she said, reaching out to place a comforting hand on his arm, and the other on Little Billy’s bony-but-growing shoulder. “And always room for one more...Calvin,” she said with a humorous wiggle of her auburn eyebrows.
The Cherokee wizard smiled, dark eyes twinkling at the pretty redhead. “Well, since you put it that way, Miz Willow...” He plunked himself into her lap, grinning madly.
She giggled in that trees-and-sunlight way again, making everyone in the room kind of drift off for a moment. Then, her hair shifting rapidly from red to pure moon-white, she levitated
Calvin off her lap, maneuvering him into her chair as she stood up.
“If you wanted a chair, all you had to do was ask,” she chuckled.
Across the table, Xander sniggered into his newly filled cup of java goodness. * * *
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Upon re-reading 'Windmaster's Bane' this weekend, I discovered that Deitz uses 'Silverhand' instead of 'Silverarm'. Fixed!