Happy NaNoWriMo, Aledans! While the blog is going mostly dark for the month of November, I’ll still be posting Fie Eoin Friday’s so you don’t have to wait until December to find out what happens to the Changelings.
Did you miss the first two installments of Faye and Tarrin? You can find them here.
“Stop following me, Leah.” Alaric pushed her and she fell backwards and began to cry.
“Ali!” Faye chided and scooped the babe – who was now two summers old – into her arms. She bounced the little girl on her hip and pet her hair. “She follows you because she likes you. Don’t be mean.”
“I don’t like her,” Ali spat. “She killed my mother.”
Faye kissed the top of Leah’s head. “It wasn’t her fault, she was just a babe.” Leah would never know the woman she was named after, nor the father who tried to kill her. “Coyle killed your mother.”
“Because of Leah.”
Faye didn’t reply. When Ali was in one of his moods it was best not to, and these days he was always in a mood. With the adults stuck at the bottom of the cliff Faye and Alaric had become the head of the Children, despite being eleven summers old. Sometimes Faye wished she hadn’t found the cliff and the adults were still in charge of Alaric.
She bounced Leah again. “Shh. He doesn’t mean it, Leah. Ali loves you, just like the rest of us.”
“I hate her.”
The vehemence in Alaric’s voice made Faye cringe and grip Leah tighter. “You don’t mean that,” she said, her voice almost a whisper.
“We should have left her to die.”
Faye shut her eyes against his words.
“You should have left her to die.” His voice cut into her and she turned away. “It’s your fault my mother died.”
The words were out in the light of day, and the guilt Faye had carried since she was nine surfaced with a small gasp. She turned and stared at Alaric. “How could you say that?”
“Because it’s true.” He was glaring at her. Glaring. At her. Tears blurred her vision and her throat tightened with the effort to keep them from spilling.
“If you had waited like you were supposed to none of this would have happened. If you hadn’t stolen Leah from Coyle’s arms he wouldn’t have gone after you. He wouldn’t have upset Mountain. He wouldn’t have killed my mother.”
“Coyle was different,” Faye whispered as a tear fell. “He wouldn’t have left Leah in the cove. He would have drowned her. I could feel it rolling off him.”
Alaric leaned forward. “Then you should have let him kill her.”
Faye held his gaze for as long as she could before she looked away. Leah began crying again and Faye took a step back and covered the girl’s face to avoid Ali’s hand. “It’s not her fault,” Faye said again and flew away with Leah in her arms.
They landed near the clearing where Coyle had caught Faye and Aleda had died. The boulder Mountain claimed her with was still black from the pyre, and Faye sat against a tree at the edge of the clearing, rocking Leah and speaking soft words to calm them both.