Home > Knights Magica (Rosie O'Grady's Paranormal Bar and Grill #5)(7)

Knights Magica (Rosie O'Grady's Paranormal Bar and Grill #5)(7)
Author: B.R. Kingsolver

“So, once humans are subjugated and docile, the Fae take out the Knights and rule the world,” I said.

All three shrugged.

“More likely, they plan to finish the job by subjugating the Knights,” Tiana said. “Then, in their fever dreams, they’ll use human slave magicians as cannon fodder to win the Winter Court and launch their conquest of the Seelie.” She gave me a wink. “Political idiocy is something the Fae invented before humans crawled out of their caves.” She waved her hand in the air in a random way. “There are many things in which we can claim superiority to humans, but I daresay, our tendency to embrace stupidity is on a par with yours.”

“The woman tonight was Unseelie?”

“We all are,” Tiana said. “That doesn’t mean the Knights don’t have Seelie friends. Watch your back around us just as you would around other humans.”

Oriel put his arm on my shoulder. “I realize we can be confusing, because the Fae don’t have the concepts of good or bad, naughty or nice. You should consider us in terms of malevolence and benevolence. I once heard Roisin compare us to human children. We’re instinctual. We know what hurts and what feels good. We know anger, hunger, and pleasure, but many of your human emotions are foreign to us.”

“Like love,” I said.

“Yes, like love. But I’m half human.”

“And that makes you different?”

“Just as your Fae blood, however little, makes you different from normal humans,” Tiana said.

I blinked at her, not comprehending at first that she was speaking to me.

“I have Fae blood?”

She nodded. “Not a grandparent, but possibly as close as one or two generations earlier. Enough that you would be accepted at the Winter Court, even though you can’t cross the veil by yourself, but not enough for the Seelie to deign to recognize you.” She cocked her head to the side. “It’s your Fae blood that interferes with your ability to perform human magic. You can access the ley lines, but you can’t transform the energy.”

“I’m a ley line mage,” I blurted.

“That’s what I just said.” She turned to the others. “Well, now that we know what’s going on, what are we going to do about it? We’re a long way from Norway.”

“And we don’t have a clue as to where the Heart is,” Reginn said. “Unless we can find someone who can duplicate the Heart, we’re at a disadvantage.”

Tiana let out a deep sigh. “Unfortunately, Fuamnach’s secrets died with her. It took her more than two hundred years to create the Heart, and I’m afraid we don’t have the luxury of time.”

“So, what are we going to do?” Oriel asked. “Surely we can’t be the first to report a Fae working with the Knights.”

“Actually, you are, that I know of,” Tiana said. “I’ll check and see what I can find.”

She turned to me. “Please allow me to leave.”

I walked her to the door and dissolved the ward. She stared at my face, then nodded.

“Roisin speaks highly of you. I’ll reserve judgement, but she’s rarely wrong.” With that, she opened the door and promptly disappeared. Reginn followed her and turned the same disappearing trick.

I reset the ward and turned to Oriel. “Who is she?”

“My mother.”

The following morning, I went out to meet with the kids I was tutoring at the Academy. Both were starting to become comfortable with their magic, although Jay still tried to pull in too much magical energy while Sally tended to pull in too little. Remembering when I started my training with the Illuminati, I knew it took a couple of years before I was able to regulate my contact with the ley lines without conscious effort, and I reminded myself that patience was a virtue.

On our walk back to the Academy, I asked, “Do either of you have any Fae blood?”

Jay shook his head. “No, not that anyone ever told me.”

Sally gave me a side-eyed look and also shook her head.

But when I sent them off to lunch in the cafeteria, Sally hung back until Jay left.

“Ms. McLane? Uh, why did you ask about the Fae?”

“Just curious. I was recently told that ley line mages often have some Fae heritage.”

She was silent, staring down at her shoes, then she said, “My mom told me that her grandfather was part Fae. But it’s not something I’m supposed to talk about. I’m not sure why.”

“Is your mom a ley line mage?” I asked.

“I’m not sure. Her magic is very weak, and she never uses it. My dad is an aeromancer.”

I was willing to bet that her mom had scared herself as a kid and shut her magic off. It happened, especially if one of her parents was a normal human.

“Okay,” I said. “Thanks for telling me.”

She took off to eat her lunch, and I thought about the ramifications of all ley line mages having Fae descent. That would include Liam. I had met his mother, and her magic felt very weak.

Of course, the Fae had lived beside humans for thousands of years, so it would make sense that there would be a lot of interbreeding. It occupied my mind as I drove over to Rosie’s to talk to Sam. I found him in his office.

“What’s up?” he asked. “How did that operation go last night?”

I told him about the Fae woman we had killed, and how Oriel and Reginn thought she was actually working with the Knights. Sam leaned back in his chair, staring at the ceiling.

“You told me once that your mom was part elf,” I said.

Sam chuckled. “So she used to tell me. No idea if it’s true or not. Me mam had the gift of gab, and she sometimes embellished a story.”

“Oriel’s mother dropped by last night. She said that Fae blood was what blocked me from transforming ley line energy. She said that being part Fae is what produced ley line mages. But if you have elf blood…”

“Ah, and there be the misconception. Elves are sometimes considered Fae, and they are closely related to the Seelie, just as both are related to humans, but their magic is different.” He winked at me. “And witches in Asia and witches in Europe have slightly different magic. We magic users be as diverse as humans.”

“Okay, so, what’s your take on some of the Fae helping the Knights?”

He blew out his breath. “Not a good thing. Of course, it really depends on how many of them are involved. We aren’t getting that much help from the Fae ourselves, with them sealing off their mounds.”

“Oriel once told me that the Fae wouldn’t stay quiet forever.”

Sam nodded. “Well, I hope they decide to get noisy fairly soon. The Knights are an organized military group. We’re a rag-tag group of guerillas. Guerilla warfare tends to be a long-term strategy that wears down the enemy, but with humans in the mix, and the Church supporting the Knights, I’m not sure we have the luxury of fighting such a war. Oriel’s mother? I’m sure that was interesting.”

“Yeah. It was a little bit unnerving. I’m not sure what to think about her.”

“Watch your back.”

“Funny, that’s what she said.”

Chapter 6

“You met his mother?” Jolene asked. “How old is she?”

I was tending bar, and Jolene had come in for dinner. While she waited for her meal, I told her about Tiana.

“Ancient, I’d guess. Her magic is as strong as Roisin’s.”

Jolene’s eyebrows shot up almost to her hairline. “Damn. I know that Roisin was friends with Boudicca, and that was two thousand years ago.”

“Yeah, well, the Fae are supposedly immortal.”

“Unless some Roman centurion cuts off their head. She was in her human form?”

“Yeah. She’s Unseelie, and I’ve seen Oriel’s Fae form, so who knows what she really looks like. But the scary thing is the Fae woman who was with the Knights.”

“And Oriel said Reginn was his uncle? Are you sure he’s the Reginn of legend, or simply another Fae with the same name?”

“Dunno. They say all myths have a kernel of truth. I know he was strong enough to be scary. But what about some of the Fae aligning themselves with the Knights?”

Jolene shrugged. “They die just like the Knights do.”

“And we do.”

“Yeah. Depressing, huh?”

As I put on my jacket to go home, my phone rang. To my surprise, it was Gabriel Laurent. I answered it, silently wondering what in the hell the vampire Master of the City wanted with me.

“Long time, Monsieur. What’s up?”

“Can you come to see me?” he asked without preamble.

“Tonight? It’s a little late for me. And I work the next three nights as well. What’s this about?”

“Someone is killing my people, and it’s not the Knights.”

“How can you tell?” I knew the Knights slaughtered vampires and shifters any time they had the chance.

“The method of death.”

“Can’t this wait until Monday?”

There was a long silence. Laurent wasn’t used to people pushing back about anything. Finally, he said, “Monday, nine o’clock.” The line went dead.

I walked the block to where my car was parked and found Oriel waiting for me. I thought that was sweet, but the dozen Knights he had with him sort of took the glow off. I was already shielded, but I drew my sword and braced for battle.

The Knights formed a loose circle around my boyfriend and my car. A couple of them noticed me and turned to face me.

That was when more shapes appeared out of the darkness, converging on the parking lot. The seven-foot-tall man, with stag’s antlers that added another three feet to his height, drew my attention first, but none of them would have been mistaken for human on the darkest of nights.

“Demons!” one of the Knights shrieked.

Oriel changed to his Unseelie Fae form and grinned, showing teeth that would have caused a grizzly bear to hesitate.

   
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