CHAPTER TEN: The Faerie Prince

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CHAPTER TEN: The Faerie Prince

Story stared at the fire, absentmindedly turning her father’s knife over and over in her hands. Eirnin was on his side of the fire, apparently asleep, though she couldn’t really be sure since he slept so rarely. Curled up under his cloak, he looked peaceful, almost childlike. She had to fight the urge to make sure the cloak was tucked in snug around him like she used to do for Will and Katie. Like her father used to do for her.

He’s not the twins. He’s not your family. He wants to kill you. He’s the enemy.

Her concern for his comfort vanished.

As she watched him sleep, she had to admit that he was not at all how she’d expected an elf to be. Not that she’d ever actually expected to meet an elf, but from everything she’d read and seen, elves, unless they lived in the north pole, were supposed to be very tall and willowy, kind, wise, and incredibly magical. Essentially, everything that Eirnin said his sort of elves were before the legendary “Change”.

Though according to Morrigann, that wasn’t exactly the case.

It sounded like the elves were more like bullies, abusing their power and running roughshod across Ailionora. Even Eirnin admitted that most elves now only cared about their own race’s survival, to the exclusion of everything else. He himself was as fickle as a cat, one minute implying that guiding her was a burden, and the next acting like nothing was more important than her well-being.

The tattoos on his face danced in the firelight, making him look exotic, almost alien. They were also a bit of a shock, his tattoos. They were lovely and intricate, true, but when he wasn’t smiling, they lent him an air of menace. Quite the opposite of her demure, majestic mental image of elves. Either way, the only things about Eirnin that seemed to jive with her preconceived notions were his pointed ears.

Story sighed, shifting her gaze from Eirnin’s sleeping form back to her father’s knife. The pixies would be here any moment, and when she left with them the knife would have to stay behind. Her stomach clenched at the thought.

It’s just a stupid knife.

But even her logical side knew that it was much more than just a knife to her. It was a memory of her father; it was how she had kept him with her during this last year. The thought of leaving it behind nearly made her sick.

She reminded herself forcefully that the knife was not worth getting sacrificed over. Though the very fact that she’d even considered staying, even if only for a fleeting moment, revealed to her just how fragile her psyche still was.

Blowing out a resigned breath, Story continued to turn the knife around in her hands. No, when the time came she’d go with the pixies and leave the knife behind. She was, for all intents and purposes, an adult. It was time to start acting like one.

* * * * *

She woke with a start. Despite her best efforts, she’d still drifted off to sleep. The long days of walking were taking their toll on her. By her estimation, Eirnin had them hiking fifteen to twenty miles a day, and while she was a fit person, it was still bodily exhausting. The really annoying thing was he never seemed to tire at all.

Glancing over at him, she saw that he was still asleep.

Then I can’t have been out for that long myself.

She heard a soft giggle behind her and turned to see a handful of adorable little pixies flitting around just outside the circle that Eirnin had drawn. They beckoned her to follow them. Story hesitated and looked over at Eirnin’s quietly slumbering form one last time. A shade of doubt clouded her mind for a moment, but then she remembered: he wants to kill me. She stood and stepped outside of the circle.

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