Chapter Forty-One: The Dark Ship

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Éven floated above the street, surrounded by purple curling fog. The shadow of his brow covered most of his face, making his eyes brighter than ever in the darkness. The lining of his long jacket was filled with the rich black and shimmering stars of the night sky, and the edges of his clothing seemed to drift into one with the fog, as if he were coming apart.

He smiled at me.

"Are you sure you can't open the door?" I asked the Admiral.

"You have to go with him, Mr Frazer."

Éven pressed a hand against the window. The fog surged up against it, staining the glass.

I slipped the radio into my pocket, next to the knife.

A crack ran through the glass.

The window shattered, glass falling to the floor. Wind blasted into the room.

Éven was in front of me.

"You ran," he said.

He didn't seem angry. He seemed hurt. He looked at the monitor and saw the briefing room, and he walked over and pressed his hand to the glass. A black shadow spread over the screen and faded almost at once.

"Good evening, Lord Éven," said the Admiral. "I'm sorry we can't meet in person."

Éven smiled. "Open the door, Admiral Winstanley. I will be glad to shake your hand."

"You won't like what you find in the other hand, your lordship."

Éven chuckled.

"You are not to be underestimated, Admiral. Your defences are remarkable. Have you sent for the cavalry?"

"You know that I have."

"They will arrive too late."

The Admiral put her arms behind her back. "You don't want that, Lord Éven. You're making a serious mistake. You think this is going to end with England under fey control, but you're wrong. The twelve courts weren't bullied or tricked into signing the Horseshoe Accords. They signed because they understood the stakes."

Éven sneered at her like he wanted to spit her words back in her face.

"They signed because they knew you would wage war on them with gunpowder and steel if they did not," he said.

"The island was being torn apart. Great Britain was one of the most magic-rich places in the world, your lordship, and it suffered for it. When Dr Dee made contact with the last of the courts, they told him that they could see the whole island from their city in the stars. They could see that the island was cracked, and they could see that the crack was growing. If magic was not contained, the island would be lost in a great cataclysm; lost to all of us, both human and fey."

Éven shook his head. "More than four centuries have passed, Admiral. What cracks there were in this land healed long ago."

"You can't be sure of that. You can draw the nails and raise the ships, but you can't control what happens next."

"What happens, Admiral, is that four hundred years of human dominion comes to an end. The fey will reclaim their land."

Éven held out his hand to me. I looked to the Admiral, but her face was hard like stone.

"Dr Southey, get Tiana Cavendish back on the line. We're done with this," she said.

The screen went black.

Maybe the Admiral had a plan. Maybe she could get her people here in time to stop this, and maybe Tiana Cavendish could help. Maybe something else or someone else could intervene and save the country.

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