In Talon Grove, a small community about two hours away from Hallow Hills, there is a strange acceptance of darkness. People enjoy the peace, but they know what is lurking in the shadows. After arriving safely, and dealing with both Elliot and Lorcan, Irene finds herself in the hands of Cole’s uncle, Erik.
“Fire needs to lead,” Cole spoke up as he entered the room.
“I can handle the tactics while you sulk,” Elliot countered.
“His younglings, if they were made by him, will have an eighty percent chance of being ice,” Cole continued. “He’ll sacrifice them first because they don’t matter. You can wipe them out quickly by burning them alive.” Elliot looked to Tristan.
“He’s right,” the Faerie King answered.
“Alright, fire first,” Elliot said. Before long, he had gone through his entire plan, with some help from Cole and Tristan. The air had seemed to calm, the tension between foes finally easing—until a loud roar shook the land. We rushed outside to find numerous dragons transitioning while the Faerie opposing them drew their wings and hovered in defense.
“What is this?” Tristan demanded an answer. A lone Faerie came forward.
“It is our weakness, we are unable to resist,” the man said as he knelt before Tristan.
“I know it is difficult, but you can resist. If you feel you cannot, then please, leave now. I have no room for weak men.” He turned and walked back into the house as Elliot, Cole and I stood there overlooking the creatures. After a few seconds we followed him inside.
“This is a great problem, you know,” I said to Tristan.
“They knew what was being asked of them before they arrived,” he replied.
“You can’t be so cold about this,” I said. “You know what happened when you were starved.” Tristan looked to me with pressed brow and sharp eyes, then he glanced to Elliot.
“What happened?” Elliot said quick and heavy.
“Nothing,” Tristan and I spoke simultaneously. Without thought, Elliot charged at the King with red in his eyes and a roar deep in his heart. I stepped between them and held Elliot as best I could as I tried to calm him. He, however, took my hands from his body and pushed me toward my brother.
“What did you do?” he raged at Tristan.
“It was a moment of weakness, and I’m sorry,” Tristan said with soft eyes.
“And you do not tolerate weak men?” Elliot said, nose to nose with Tristan. “How would you explain this to them? And how did I never see it?” he questioned as he turned to face me.
“He didn’t bond with me then,” I stated. “That came later, before I died.”
“You died?” Elliot said to me gently as he came near.
“It’s a long story,” I said in return.
“One we don’t have time for,” Cole said.
“And it was all because of you,” Elliot spoke through clinched teeth. “I was right to end your life.”
“You can fight one another after this battle is over,” I said with acceptance. “Until then, can we please just focus on the main problem?” I waited as both of them looked to me with a nod. I was curious about Tristan’s aura, however. “Why is it invisible?” I asked the King.
“It isn’t. It’s made of light,” he replied. “It can only be seen in the darkness.” My brows raised at the notion of his endless mythical abilities.
“I’ve seen her in the dark,” Elliot said, and I felt my face blush. “Your aura was not there.”
Tristan stepped closer to Elliot and spoke softly. “It was after Frostmoor.” Cole laughed, and I found myself smiling at his carefree attitude toward mine and Elliot’s relationship.
“But why wasn’t it there on Skye Sorn?” I asked.
“You can’t see your own aura, Irene,” Cole spoke up. “I saw it clearly.”
While the threat of Lorcan seems to weigh down everyone’s mind, the more important problem is how to handle the need for an army. With Tristan joining Elliot, it seems the war will be won, until Irene makes a drastic decision.
But for the Lady of the Wild, choosing sides was never a real choice. Everyone–everywhere–has always been equal and important in her eyes. The enemy, however, has forced her to the edge, and now she makes her mind up.