Wednesday ALREADY? Good lords... so much going on! Picked at the Peak is selling really well, *grins* and I'm taking part in a contest that ends on Oct. 29th where you can win some eBooks for a lovely treat (no tricks, I promise!). Info on that contest is right there on the sidebar. Now... you get more Birch and Sayer in this week's flash update from the Wednesday Briefers!
As always, we get a lovely list of prompts from Julie, write a 500 to 1,000 word flash story/chapter update and then share it on Wednesdays. If you're interested in taking part, feel free to message Julie through her blog or shoot me an email and I can help you connect. This week my prompt was the picture below.
Take Flight Part 14
“Your human has some good ideas.” Croll smirked at Birch.
Sayer flicked his fingers. Croll’s chair toppled over. He sprawled on the ground, staring up at Sayer. Birch started laughing.
“Are you okay?” Sayer jumped up. He held a hand out to Croll. “Let me help you up.”
“What was that?” Croll rubbed his shoulder.
“I have no idea.” Sayer shuddered. Power that usually took energy to channel just… poured out of him. He’d only meant to mess up Croll’s hair, a surefire way to set off the finicky fae.
“What do you mean?” Birch frowned.
“I wasn’t trying to tip over Croll’s chair.”
“Is that bad?”
Sayer nodded slowly. “Darklings are stronger than they were as normal fae.”
“But… you took power from me, right? Maybe you’re just energized.”
Croll righted his chair. “That may be. But if this contamination is really happening as you say, this could be the goal. Right? Sayer doesn’t have an heir. There’s no one to take up the mantle of the king, should he fall.”
Birch paled. “Maybe we should have that doctor take a look at you?”
Sayer shook his head. “No. We need to investigate. We should talk to the Darkling you brought back, find out what he remembers. Then… then we’ll figure this out.”
Birch’s mouth dropped open. He spun to face Sayer. “You use shackles? Like real shackles?”
“My lord.” The fae dropped to his knees at Birch’s feet and bowed his head. Birch stepped back. What the hell was the guy doing? Birch shivered and wrapped his arms around his chest.
“You may rise,” Sayer said.
The fae didn’t rise, but he did look at Birch. “Thank you for my life.”
Birch shook his head. “I didn’t do anything.”
“You told me to be free.” He stared wide-eyed up at Birch.
Birch couldn’t make sense of him. “You’re not free. Those chains look heavy.”
“They are. I cannot raise my hands.”
“Yet, you are free?”
Sayer leaned forward. “Of what?”
“The magic isn’t wild, my lord. Whatever that was… it was precise, controlled, and very, very powerful.”
Sayer gestured to the two guards flanking the kneeling fae. They lifted him to his feet. “Let’s sit down by the window.”
The fae’s pale green skin turned yellow in the light. “I do not believe that would be safe, my lord.” He tried to move back.
“Why?” Sayer halted. He grabbed Birch, shoving him behind his back. The guards grabbed the fae by his biceps.
“Oh for the love of Christ.” The fae winced when Birch snapped. “I don’t need you to protect me. Look at the guy! He’s shackled with such heavy chains he couldn’t stand on his own.”
“You might want to ease off on that whole ‘Christ’ thing,” Sayer whispered.
“It’s just a saying!” Birch rolled his eyes.
“And winged fae are just make-believe.” Sayer’s wings sparkled in the air, not quite solid, and then disappeared again.
Birch’s breath caught in his throat. He blinked. “Okay. You have a point. But can we please get back to business? Why are you afraid of the light?” he asked.
“I am not afraid of light, but the heat.”
“Why?” Was that why the room was so cold?
“I was gathering energy for the pool at the veil. The plants there have been suffering. When I went there to heal the plants… something happened. I began to hear it,” his voice dropped to a whisper, “a dissonance. I got hotter and hotter, but I wasn’t able to channel the power or control the intake. It was night in the human realm, I made sure of it. There was no energy for me to harness from the sun. But it filled me up until I was saturated in energy unlike any I’ve ever felt. Then… I was gone, until I heard your beloved’s words.”
“That’s impossible.” Sayer licked his lips. “You cannot gain energy from heat.”
Birch gasped. The memory flashed through his mind of his junior class on ecosystems and thermodynamics. “Energy laws remain constant here?”
Sayer nodded. “We are beside, not apart, from the human world.”
“So we’re talking about something that took over a fae who gathers energy from the sun and can use it to heal plants. Something that can violate the second law of thermodynamics by re-using energy… from heat?”
“That’s why it is so cold in here.” Birch shivered.
“Did you think the king was punishing me with the chill?” the fae asked. He cocked his head sideways when Birch shrugged uncomfortably. “He’d never do such a thing, my lord.”
It was hard for Birch to admit that he did think that maybe Sayer had done exactly that. He felt so out of his element. Sayer wasn’t what he expected, at all. Trying to face the fact that his childhood best friend, the boy he grew up loving who protected him was something other than human, as well as figuring out what was attempting to destroy the fae world sent his mind in circles. “I....” He flushed.
Sayer turned around. He caressed Birch’s cheek. “Don’t worry about it, beloved. I understand.”
“You have given us a lot of new information. Thank you.”
“Anything I can do to help, my lords. I can never repay you for freeing me.”
“I need you to stay here for me, until we figure this out. I know that being away from the sun is painful for you, but I understand your fear. If it gets to be too much, please tell us and we will try to find a safe way to help you.” Sayer placed a hand on the head of the fae as he bowed.
“We’ll figure this out.”
Birch’s mind raced. There was too much he didn’t know.
“I know the biological rules of the human world,” he said. “But not how they work here with the fae abilities. I need more data.”
Sayer paused at the door to their suite. “We need the Alchemist.”
Now check out the other great updates from the other Briefers!