It was already dark outside when Cordelia woke up. She must have slept all day. Clearly, her body rhythm was all messed up after the events of the last few days.
She almost didn’t notice the sprites fluttering above her bed at first. It had been a while since she’d last seen them. Not well since before going to Selvadorada, it dawned on her. But they were back now, and with a vengeance, it seemed – the fae seemed particularly agitated as they circled around her.
Cordelia decided the best course of action was to ignore them. She headed downstairs to get some food; her stomach was rumbling. Her needs had not been a big priority over the last few days, but now that Morgyn was back, she could ease off and replenish.
Morgyn was back. Alive. The thought alone was almost enough to forget about the sprites. Her and Micah’s efforts succeeded.
Speaking of Micah, she ran into him as soon as she got downstairs. He just got back to the house, by the looks of it.
“Hi,” he greeted her, his eyes bright. And was that an actual smile on his face? It was only then when it occurred to Cordelia that for the whole time she’d known Micah, she’d never really seen him express joy.
“You look…” She wasn’t sure how to finish the sentence. Happy? It almost say like saying that would jinx it. “Have you fed?” She asked instead; his lack of tension would suggest that, she thought.
“You could say that.” The vampire said. She wasn’t sure why he phrased it that way, other than that he knew his diet made her uncomfortable. Uncharacteristically for Micah, he actually elaborated on his response somewhat. “Something good happened.”
So he was in a good mood. Of course, she could understand why.
“I know.” Cordelia agreed. “We brought Morgyn back to life. Well, the sages did. But…”
He nodded, but his expression confused her. “True. But that’s not what I meant.”
Cordelia felt a burst of appreciation for him in the moment. They’d been through a lot together in a short space of time, and she wanted him to know what that meant to her, that she didn’t see him as a cold-hearted killer…
“Hey, Micah… I… thank you.” She started, unsure how to put her thoughts into words. “I can’t imagine the last few days without you. You were the only thing that kept me going.”
“Same.” He agreed, his voice unusually light. “You have no idea. Cordelia, I- Hang on. There’s someone outside.”
Cordelia hadn’t heard anything, but she got used to Micah’s senses being much sharper than hers. But when she saw him open the door, a strange discomfort overcame her. She felt almost as on edge as the sprites surrounding her looked. And so she followed him out.
She was not prepared for the scene that greeted her.
What in the world was going on? A group of spellcasters in front of their house, all looking right about ready to charge ahead and unleash their magic at them. Cordelia felt dizzy, she could barely make out anyone’s face…
“It’s ok.” Micah told her, oddly calm. “They’re here for me.”
“That is why you’re here, isn’t it?” He addressed the crowd.
“Is that the vampire?” Cordelia recognised Minerva Charm… and god, it couldn’t be. The person Minerva was asking was Grace, with her friend Tomax by her side.
“It is.” Tomax confirmed.
“Step away from the house.” Micah growled at the crowd. “I’ll give myself over willingly, but she has nothing to do with it. Leave her and her home alone, do what you want with me.”
The realisation of what was going on hit Cordelia. She had no idea how the residents of Glimmerbrook found out who Micah was, but she could not allow this to happen.
“No!” She cried out, jumping between Micah and the spellcaster group. “I won’t let you hurt him!”
“Cordelia, what are you doing?” Micah hissed at her, but she paid him no mind.
“He means no harm to anyone!” She cried out.
“That’s a lie!” Tomax burst out. “He attacked me right in front of the village pub, just a few nights ago. And who knows how many others there have been! People have been talking. The blackouts, the puncture wounds in people’s throats… Doesn’t sound like someone that means no harm to me!”
“I saw it, Cordelia, it’s true!” Grace added.
“But Tomax is alive,” Cordelia objected. “As is everyone else in Glimmerbrook! Micah hasn’t hurt anybody!”
“Not killing people is good enough in your book?” She made out Darrell Charm’s voice in the crowd. “So drinking people’s blood, attacking them in the middle of the night, that’s fine? Because he hasn’t killed anybody yet?”
“You have every right to feel that way,” Micah said in a grave tone. “All I can promise you is that I have found a way to make it stop, a way that means I won’t ever need to feed on a single person in Glimmerbrook again. But if that’s not enough for you, I understand. Cordelia, step away from me. This is between them and me. They have a right to take their revenge.”
But she knew all too well what would happen if she did. “No!”
“Delusional girl!” Minerva Charm shouted at her.
“Just do what he says, Cordelia!” Grace tried to sway her.
“He must have mesmerised her or something!” One of the other spellcasters cried out.
“Cordelia please, it’s me.” Grace pleaded, her eyes filled with worry. “Everything will be ok, we’ll help you, whatever he did to you…”
“He didn’t do anything to me!” Cordelia burst out. “You of all people should know that all he did is save my life! I told you Micah is not dangerous!”
“Don’t listen to her Grace,” Tomax glared at his friend.
“You have one last chance to be reasonable,” Minerva Charm yelled in Cordelia’s direction. “I suggest you take it!”
“I’m not going anywhere!” Cordelia stepped in front of Micah to shield his body as much as she could. “If you want to get through to him, you’ll have me on your conscience too!”
Everything that came after was a blur. The spellcasters readying themselves to attack. The struggle as Micah tried to push her away. The look on Grace’s face… at least Grace was not lifting her wand or raising her magic against her, Cordelia thought. Silver linings…
A pink blast erupted through the air. At first, Cordelia thought it was whatever spells the crowd threw at them, but she soon realised it was Morgyn who teleported between them and the group.
“No invitation to the party for the sage of untamed magic?” Morgyn turned to the spellcasters. “And you know how much I adore social events… I take this very personally.”
Cordelia could barely process what was happening. The sage created some kind of fire barrier between them and the crowd, and then rose into the air, defying all laws of nature.
“What I take even more personally is an attack on my loves.” Morgyn’s tone was calm but cold as they addressed the crowd, in stark contrast to the flames around them.
“I assure you that if any harm comes to them, I will set your world on fire, and not in the way you’d like me to.” The sage continued. “Do you really want the sage of the untamed for an enemy?”
A couple of the spellcasters ran off immediately, the rest stopped mid-spell.
The only one to openly defy Morgyn was Minerva Charm. “Are you just expecting us to accept that there’s a vampire who will prey on us in our midst from now on? I’ve seen sages be overthrown.”
“As have I, first hand.” Morgyn retorted. “But I’m not the one being unreasonable, Minerva. What is this, a witch hunt? Surely I don’t need to remind you of the irony. Didn’t you hear the man? He found a way to stop his thirst.”
“Is that something you have done?” Darrell Charm looked up at Morgyn. “An untamed magic spell?”
The stance of none of the spellcasters was defensive anymore. They would be ok, Cordelia breathed out.
“You have the word of the sage of the untamed, Micah will never feed on the people of Glimmerbrook again.” Morgyn promised the crowd. “If the agreement is broken, you take it up with me. Now get out of my sight.”
Morgyn descended back to the ground, and Cordelia watched the fire wall subside. One by one, the spellcasters started to leave. Grace was the last one, briefly looking at Cordelia before following the others. Cordelia wondered if things would ever be the same between the two of them after tonight. No, they never could be, could they?
But there were so many other questions on Cordelia’s mind. Had Morgyn really found a way for Micah to no longer need blood? Was that why Micah was so pleased earlier?
Morgyn joined them on the porch. “I see the two of you have made many friends in my absence.” They said with a slight smirk. “It might be a good idea to keep the relationships with your neighbours slightly less… heated.”
“You don’t say,” Micah replied, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
“Let’s go inside.” Morgyn gestured towards the front door. “We have matters to address, it would seem.”
They all headed back into the living room. Cordelia sat down on the couch next to Micah and helped herself to a glass of water from the coffee table. She realised her hand was shaking.
“Well then, what do I do with the two of you…” Morgyn said to them playfully. “Cordelia, I would have thought that after everything you witnessed in the temple in Selvadorada, you’d know that putting yourself in the line of fire rarely ends well.”
She looked down. Clearly Morgyn was regretting taking the arrow for her. How could they not? It was a miracle they were back among the living…
“But I suppose the more pressing concern is Micah’s feeding,” Morgyn continued, turning to the vampire. “Clearly, you can no longer dine on the residents of Glimmerbrook. I could, in theory, teleport you elsewhere every night so that you can satisfy your cravings, but of course, it would be dreadfully inconvenient…”
“It would also be unnecessary,” Micah interrupted. “I wasn’t lying. I really have found a way to avoid drinking blood, it seems.”
Cordelia looked at Micah, perplexed. Not only was what he claimed to the spellcasters true, but by the looks of it, Morgyn had nothing to do with it. How could that be?
“Is that so?” The sage seemed intrigued. “What’s your secret?”
“Does it matter? It’s not like you’ll ever be a vampire, so why should it matter to you?” Micah replied teasingly.
It occurred to Cordelia that while she’d spent plenty of time with both Morgyn and Micah individually, this was the first time she actually saw the two of them interact.
She suddenly felt small and insignificant. This was definitely not how she pictured reuniting with Morgyn when they came back from the dead. She shifted on the couch uncomfortably, instinctively moving closer to the sage.
“In any case, I think I’ll keep my secrets for now,” Micah told Morgyn. He looked so confident as he spoke. Different from how she’d gotten to know him. “There are plenty of secrets of yours I’d like to know, after all. Especially now.”
“Let me guess, is it about afterlife?” Morgyn sat down on the sofa between Micah and Cordelia, but their attention was only on the vampire. “Afraid I will disappoint you, I don’t know any more about it than I did back when we had our talk in the botanical gardens. All I know is that it’s good to be back.”
“You need to stop this obsession with death, Micah.” Morgyn continued. “As you’ve so eloquently put it, why should it matter to you? It’s not like you’ll ever die. Why don’t we focus on living instead?”
The look in Morgyn’s eyes, the brush against Micah’s hand… Cordelia felt sick. She had to get out of there.
She dashed through the front door, back out onto the porch, bursting into tears.
The door opened behind her. “Cordelia?”
Morgyn had followed her out, but she wished they hadn’t. She’d been so stupid. Their time in Selvadorada – before entering the temple, that was – almost made her believe there was a future for her and the sage, but seeing them with Micah now, she knew how deluded she’d been.
She wiped the tears off her face before turning around to face them.
“You should go back inside.” She tried her best to stay composed. “I don’t think Micah would like you going after me.”
“On the contrary, Micah was concerned for you, in fact.” Morgyn informed her.
The words stung. Of course Micah was concerned for her, he just had to take every opportunity to prove he was better than her in every way, didn’t he?
“I understand you two have bonded while I was gone,” the sage carried on. “It’s not such a terrible thing, don’t you think?”
She couldn’t take it anymore. The tears rushed back, and before she knew it, she was sobbing in Morgyn’s arms.
But the sage didn’t allow her to stay that way for long.
“Cordelia, we’ve been here before.” They whispered in her ear, drawing away slightly.
It was true. Of course she remembered being out here on the porch with Morgyn and crying. It hadn’t been that long, but in some ways, it felt like a lifetime.
“But a lot has happened since.” Cordelia said, looking into Morgyn’s eyes. “Is that what it is? What happened in the temple… I understand if you can’t forgive me.”
Morgyn shook their head. “That couldn’t be further from the truth. Nothing has changed. Everything’s just like when we were stood here last time. What I said to you then stands. You and me, we can keep exploring what we have. But I will not give up Micah. It’s up to you to decide whether that’s something you’re ok with.”
Whether that was something she was ok with… Seeing Morgyn and Micah together back inside the house hurt her more than she could admit to the sage.
But the alternative, letting Morgyn go – wouldn’t that hurt immeasurably more? Cordelia didn’t want to imagine it. She couldn’t lose them, not again.
“You should probably take some time to think about it.” Morgyn told her quietly.
“No. I don’t want to think. I want to just… be.”
And before the sage could say anything else, she pressed her lips on to theirs.