'If I didn't know you better, I would think you were looking sheepish.'

Myrddin had the wrinkled, sun-​​spotted skin of an old man, but his fingers were straight and strong. He folded them neatly together and clucked his tongue.

“If I didn’t know you better, I would think you were looking sheepish.”

Dantalion’s hands were broad and black, and they could have ripped the old man’s head from his body as easily as the old man might have popped the head off a flower. However, he only planted them on his hips and replaced any sheepishness with a scowl.

He only planted them on his hips and replaced any sheepishness with a scowl.

“I suppose you have no good news to report,” Myrddin grumbled, “since you have not reported anything to me in so long.”

“You shall surely get what you want in the end, if only you let me work in my own way.”

“The last time I let you work in your own way, I spent several centuries underground.”

“So did I.”

“Is that supposed to be a consolation to me?” the old man snapped.

“It was as much the fault of your lust as it was of my misjudgment.”

“Shall I get a sermon on chastity from you?” Myrddin cackled.

'Shall I get a sermon on chastity from you?'

Dantalion spread his wings and laughed with him.

Myrddin abruptly held up his arms and barked, “Enough laughing! Where is the Lena-​​elf?”

“She is where she was.”

Myrddin shook his fists in frustration. “Why have you not taken her? We have scarcely more than two moons! If I have to wait – ”

Dantalion spoke quickly to head off this rising tantrum. “At least one elf is waiting to take her the moment she sets foot outside of that tower. But the Khir has her locked in his chamber, and she has not left it since she was taken in.”

Dantalion spoke quickly to head off this rising tantrum.

“What does he want with her?”

“Need I remind you of what lust can do?” Dantalion chuckled.

“This is unbearable! Does he believe the child is his?”

Dantalion bowed humbly. “I am not in his confidence. Assuming it is not, however, he will know it once it is born, and it is unlikely he will want to keep it then.”

“He will kill it.”

“I shall not attempt to guess what the Khir will do with such a child. If he does not kill it, you may at least be certain the elves will not baptize it. And I shall have at least one elf waiting at any hour of the day or night to steal it once it is taken out of that tower.”

'That's not good enough.'

“That’s not good enough. I want her when it’s born.” Myrddin tugged on his beard. “What about the other woman?”

“What other woman?”

“The Scot woman who was going to see the unnamed elf.”

“I do not know. She met him once in the forest, but they did not touch. The elves cannot approach the cave to see what they might do in there.”

“You can.”

Dantalion rolled his eyes. “Is that truly the best use you have for me?”

Dantalion rolled his eyes.

“I do not trust your promises about the Lena-​​elf, and I do not have the patience to begin again if you lose that child for me. Get me another.”


“A girl child from the Scot woman and the elf would serve me just as well.”

“Ah.” Dantalion folded his dark arms across his chest and nodded slowly. “It would, at least, be an agreeable use for me.”

“I am always delighted to provide for Your Grace’s pleasure,” Myrddin sneered.

“You shall surely get your own in the end.”

'You shall surely get your own in the end.'