FOREVER KNIGHTS: #14 Broken Birds

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He's Prepared

“I hope you’re wrong.” Nora whispered. Walking as she opened her fingers and stared at Isabelle reclining in her palm, blinking up at her.

“You know I want to talk to you?”

The tiny fey woman nodded solemnly.

“Can you help?”

She shook her head.

“Why not?”

Moving to stand in her palm Isabelle spoke but the words rose in Nora’s mind. “He’s been waiting for you. Patiently. But his infinite patience wanes even now. You have to learn the things he wants to teach you to keep the balance that’s been maintained for centuries.”

The balance of good and evil. Deragan understood what the fey girl was trying to tell Nora.

Something Nora did not. Nora chewed her cheek before asking in a small voice. “Why me?”

“Everything about you calls to him. Resisting him just makes things harder for everyone.”

Nora’s heart dropped. “Isabelle?” The tiny woman cocked her head expectantly. “He’s coming for me, isn’t he?”

“Of course.” Isabelle said. “And this time he’ll be prepared.”

Nora blew out a long breath which nearly knocked Isabelle over. Isabelle stumbled and balanced herself by clutching Nora’s thumb. Shooting Nora a dark look.

Nora started when her shutters whipped open then decisively snapped shut. The hook dropping into place.

Isabelle looked alarmed. “I can’t say any more. I need to sleep.” Isabelle’s translucent wings fluttered. Lifting her from Nora’s palm.

“Don’t go.”

Isabelle gestured to the window. “He doesn’t wish me to say anymore.”

Nora reluctantly followed the fairy back to Beth’s room. Lifting the pillow. Kicking a little, Isabelle managed to squirm underneath. Somehow avoiding being smushed.

Returning to the window in her chamber, Nora creaked open the shutters.

An odd hush hung over the isolated lawn. Mist crept from Phalanx Forest. Wolves paced near the steps. The panther lying along the bottom level.

Lifting her gaze to the starry night resulted in clouds parting and the moon’s glow boring down on her. Going to the bed she stole the blanket and wrapped it around her shoulders. Seating herself in the middle of the room. Against the opposite wall to watch out the window.

A drawn-out howl sounded heartbroken.

Nora shuddered at the despondent sound. Knowing it was the silver and black wolf. Leaping to her feet she scurried to close the shutters. Catching the blanket on the way back, she returned to her bed and pulled its weight over her.

Outside the manor. Just beyond the treeline of Phalanx Forest, small dark things scurried. A nightbird screeched. The soft breathing of something larger rose. Something bright darted around, hesitating a heartbeat before flying off on delicate wings. Disappearing.

A rabbit crossed thumped through the underbrush.

Peaceful. Until the quiet was broken by Nora’s voice.

Like so many nights before, Nora awoke screaming. Lighting the bedside candle, she jerked the quilt back to climb from bed. Moonlight bright in her room and she was able to discern her feet were muddied. A large bleeding scratch alongside her foot. Her breath caught in her throat.

Every sense she had was enhancing.

Deragan could feel it. Knew the moon’s luminescence helped unlock it.

“Deragan…” She whispered his name. Terror marking her voice.

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