pandas2001 - Thanks for commenting. Michael's fey heritage will be addressed very soon. We don't want to give too much away as all of their status plays into the coming plot. But we are glad you're still reading and enjoying the story!
HypnotiqBlueEyes - Is everything over for them...well, we'll see. We will be covering the next steps of the pod squad as well as just what is to come with Michael and Liz meeting up. Soon.
AN: So I was on the site updating one of my own stories and decided to post this a day early! Enjoy! ~Ash
Diminished, useless, restrained, impotent – the words raged in his blood in ceaseless tempo as he watched his people fall around him, becoming less as they were subjected to unstable rulers and got caught up in the petty human world; until they became mere imitations of their former glorious selves. As was he. He remembered being a god among gods, a force to be reckoned with, who didn’t have to bow down to the cruel whims of a malicious Queen. The Courts had once been majestic things of beauty and power, and yes cruelty and bloodshed, but not to the extent suffered under Andais’s increasingly heavy hand or Taranis’s encroaching insanity.
When Essus had been alive, he’d had hope of things changing, of becoming in truth what they called him behind his back – the Kingmaker. Essus had been worthy of the Unseelie throne, if softer in his approach than Barinthus liked. But Essus had refused to force his sister from the throne, and then he had been killed, cowardly and viciously, by someone who was dead, even if they didn’t know it yet. The moment that Barinthus found out who had killed the man he’d loved as a brother in arms, a King, and in ways that didn’t require explanation, he would prove that Andais was a rank amateur when it came to inflicting pain. The queen had been but a babe in arms when he was at the height of his power, and he had forgotten more about creative cruelty than she had ever known.
With Merry’s, who was almost like a daughter to him, disappearance, he had once again seen a chance to right the wrongs in the Courts slip through his fingers, although he couldn’t fault her from fleeing a deadly existence he had failed to protect her from. But then he had felt the ancient call of blood to blood, and had followed it to find the child of his true daughter, the result of a night with a curious Seelie Lady in the days before he’d become one of Andais’s eunuchs. A child who was also the daughter of Uar, and as such in line for the Seelie throne, and who unlike Merry, had already come into her power, some of it, enough to fill him with hope once more.
Perhaps he could become a Queenmaker, and see the flesh of his flesh sit upon a faerie throne. His granddaughter already seemed to have a knack for alliances, with her betrothal to one of the most powerful sidhe Lords remaining in the Seelie Court, and one whom Barinthus respected for his skills and honor, a rare commodity in the diminishing Courts. She had also survived the first true test of her power, triumphing over a Noble with far more experience, and in doing so, had gained herself silent support he doubted she was aware of.
Although, he was sure that Lord Alexandru knew the name of every Noble now supporting her, and every one who did not.
In her, he also felt the faint whisper of a Goddess who had abandoned them long ago, faint whispers he sometimes thought were merely wishful thinking, tempered with fear that She would disapprove of his actions, of all of their actions, in recent centuries. He could only hope that those whispers were a sign that She hadn’t truly abandoned her people, or given up on them, and that through Elizabeth, they could be restored to their former greatness.
Rising out of the lake, he smiled at the tiny, dark-haired beauty sitting on the shore, pride stirring in his breast as she smiled back. Nainsí had been taken from him before he even knew she existed, to the Seelie Court and out of his reach as she did not share his affinity with water. By the time she left the Courts, she’d made it clear that she had no interest in welcoming him as a father, and as he’d been unaware of her pregnancy, he had acquiesced without a fight. But Elizabeth was so strong, despite her disadvantages and mixed blood, and she had never shown fear in his presence, or complained about her treatment at Court. She was worthy of her power, and her potential, and he intended to see it brought forth.
This time, he wouldn’t let chance or fate take the opportunity from him.