Dandelion followed the mischief sage to her quarters. He felt conscious of the silence between them. Seemed every time he saw Lulu, there was more and more of a strain on their relationship.
Could he take it all back? He felt conflicted about everything, and wasn’t sure what she even really knew, but felt strangely appreciative of her for shielding him away from a truth he wasn’t prepared for.
She cut into his stream of thought. “What did she promise you?”
The warmth Dandelion felt towards her quicky turned into frustration. He already didn’t know how to explain what he learned last night, and this was not helping. “I told you yesterday, Cordie did not ask for the key. She has no idea I have either of them. She doesn’t even know where they belong.”
“Do you seriously expect me to believe that-“
“You don’t know where they belong either, do you?” He interrupted her gently but firmly, sitting down beside her.
“They belong with me! I think you’re trying to change the subject.” Her eyes narrowed. “I’m having a hard time imagining that you just woke up one day and decided to steal my key on a whim.”
“Fine, it was Hawthorne’s idea – not to steal the key, that was me – but to find out where it leads.” Dandelion admitted.
Lulu huffed. “So it was her daughter, as if that is a whole other thing. Oh so very different…”
He wanted to shake her. She was so stuck.
“Lulu stop!” He didn’t know what else to say, but he had to make her see reason somehow.
“Just stop!” He repeated desperately. “I need you. Please. You need to understand, because if you won’t understand, then nobody will. I suddenly have all this past I don’t know what to do with and this man who is supposed to be my father and I feel nothing!”
The words all poured out, and Dandelion suddenly felt like he was going to fall apart. He buried his face in his hands.
He expected her to get back to continuing her loop, but she didn’t. In fact, the mischief sage said nothing at all.
“Lulu?” he turned towards her. The look on her face was sheer confusion.
“I… I don’t… What happened?”
She was the one who always knew what to do, but now she was struggling to even form a sentence.
Dandelion took a deep breath. Just start at the start, he told himself. “Hawthorne found an old castle ruin in Britechester, and figured out her key, the one that used to be Cordie’s, fit in the door. But it needed another one. Yours. So we unlocked it and… He was behind it.”
“Your father?” She asked quietly.
He couldn’t bring himself to say the words. “An old elf. His name is Silveril.”
Lulu flinched at the name. “I know. He was my uncle. Is my uncle.” She corrected herself. “But… what’s he doing there? He’s alive… after all this time, he’s still alive, and he’s not even far…”
“Dandy, I’m so sorry. I had no idea uncle Silveril was still alive. Him and aunt Cedmé sailed somewhere hen I was little, and then when you came to live with us and father was upset like never before I thought… I thought something terrible happened… like it did to us afterwards.”
She wasn’t looking at him anymore. She was sat right next to him, but it felt as if she was a million miles away.
“To Syeldell?” Dandelion asked, reaching for her hand.
“Syeldell.” She repeated, her voice barely a whisper.
“I know what happened in Syeldell.” He told her. “It burned down.”
She nodded. “It’s been so long since I’ve heard someone speak the name out loud… Dandy, I can still see the flames. Sometimes, when I close my eyes. People screaming. The smell of a world burning….”
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.” She stopped herself mechanically.
“It was you that saved me, wasn’t it?” He asked.
She shook her head. “I didn’t know what I was doing. I was just following father’s orders. If it wasn’t for him, we’d both be dead, with the rest of them…”
She was crying. Dandelion had never seen her cry. All his life, she was always so strong.
He wrapped her in his arms and let her cry. It felt like he was supposed to cry too. They both lost their home and family, didn’t they?
But no tears were coming. It was a home he didn’t remember, a family he didn’t know. He just felt empty.
She pulled away abruptly. “Wait. Why was uncle Silveril locked behind that door? Did she imprison him? Gods, and I had one of the keys this whole time…”
“No,” Dandelion interrupted her, his voice stronger than he expected. “Nobody imprisoned him. He transportalated to the room castle when it was already locked. He imprisoned himself. To guard a well. He… he’s been guarding a stupid well for over 70 years.”
Anger inexplicably washed over him. Why? He didn’t know this man. Who cared if Silveril sat by a well for another 70 years, or a century? He could stay there for an eternity, for all Dandelion cared.
Lulu seemed baffled. “That makes no sense.”
“I know it doesn’t.” He replied sharply. “But that’s what he’s doing.”
“If I had any idea he was so close… I would have told you, Dandy. I should have told you.”
“No. You were right.” He stopped her. “All this time I wanted answers, and now that I know where we came from and why… I’d rather if I didn’t. You were right not to tell me. I was happier for it.”
Her face was all upset as she looked at him. He hated seeing her like this. He just wanted to go back to how things were. How they were supposed to be.
“I don’t care about the past. I don’t need a father. You were my father, and you were my mother. You’re the only family I need. The only family I want.”
She gave him a sad smile, shaking her head. “I’d give anything to have my father back, Dandy. Uncle Silveril was always kind to me. I’d try to get to know him, if I were you.”
Dandelion felt his face growing stiff. His anger was shifting towards her for some strange reason. This was stupid. He didn’t want to be angry at her. She was the last person he should be angry at.
“Here.” He handed both of the keys to her, trying his best to stay calm. “If you want to know him, you can. Like I said, the keys are yours. I’ll stick to how things are.”
Morgyn finally found some time to be alone. New Year’s Eve had been… challenging. And of course, it had to be this very morning Simeon would decide to do something slightly less predictable than usual.
At least they managed not to set HQ on fire. Came close to it last night on the balcony, when L Faba, the worst person possible, decided to poke them right after the heated exchange with Micah. But Morgyn managed to stay in control.
That did not change the fact Micah was gone. Done with them, this time for good. Off to skip into the sunset with Cordelia.
As they should. That was the plan, Morgyn told themselves. It was always the plan. If anything, it took the to of them far too long.
Plans change. This one did a long time ago.
Morgyn ignored the demon. Plans were irrelevant. Things rarely turned out the way the sage planned. Morgyn was far better at improvising.
The untamed magic sage sat on the ground, tracing the soil beneath them with their fingers absent-mindedly.
All they needed was a new distraction. A decent distraction. Messing with L Faba at the meeting this morning helped a little, but Morgyn couldn’t squeeze more than a few days out of that one. They would have to find a way to break the news without L Faba finding it validating, but the untamed magic sage did agree with her.
Darrel Charm was not sage material, and always acted far too agreeable to be trusted, far too agreeable for someone who had once threatened Micah and Cordelia. Morgyn could not stand being around him – if anything, their initial reaction to Simeon retiring was that they would finally not have to tolerate Darrel’s presence.
But apparently the old man had gone senile. The practical magic sage was focusing all precaution on the existing sages instead of facing outwards. Perhaps that had always been Simeon’s way. Needless to say, L Faba’s quick wit at the meeting had been a blessing. Not that Morgyn was intending on telling her that.
In any case, a more long-term distraction was in order. Perhaps Morgyn could find a bloody practical magic sage replacement, since that was apparently in order now. The sage groaned at the thought. So practical. So boring. Were they turning into Simeon?
In the past, their go-to distraction would typically be a new lover. Glimmerbrook and the surrounding area had once been filled with intriguing prospects. Why were they all so dull now? Limited to nuisance, the likes of Gemma Charm… Was this a by-product of long-term monogamy? Or was Micah really that special?
Of course Micah was special. Micah was the one.
Morgyn dismissed the thought immediately. The one. How pathetic. They once thought L Faba was the one, didn’t they? No. That was not a place in their past Morgyn was willing to go to.
Why were they so out of sorts? Had they learned nothing in all these years? Love was replaceable. Love was a lie.
And yet, that did not stop the fire from burning.