Jhaer held the device to his ear. Each hollow chirp like a knock on an empty house. A summons to someone who was not there and could not hear.
“Hey, Jhaer. What’re you doin’ up here? On another mission?” Tiernan’s Irish accent lilted with informal familiarity uncommon among the Sidhe of the Mounds. “Where are you? Your office? I’ll pop over.”
Without waiting for the invitation, the young Unseelie appeared sitting on the corner of Jhaer’s desk. Though only a century or so old, Tiernan’s cocky attitude didn’t soften for even the head of the Unseelie Elite. Then again, most exiles “didn’t give a shite” about customs in the Mounds. Tiernan swept Jhaer with his light, nearly colorless eyes.
“Been in a scrap? You look wrecked. Did the other bloke survive?”
“I doubt it,” Jhaer said seriously. “They’re gone. Everyone. The Mounds. Just gone.”
Tiernan lifted a brow, the grin disappearing. “Gone? What do you mean gone?”
“The Mounds collapsed. Nothing but a crater left. The Seelie crushed our home to pieces!” Jhaer pounded his fist on his desk, wishing it had connected with Lugh’s proud chin instead. Why couldn’t those arrogant Seelie have just listened to him? Not even just him, but all the Sidhe whose warnings and predictions fell on deaf ears?
“Ain’t that a kick in the bollocks?” Tiernan’s attention slid around the office, taking mental inventory of the equipment on the open shelves, his composure not even mildly ruffled by the devastating news. “Surprised it took this long, really.”
Jhaer glared at his fellow Sidhe. “How can you be so casual? We’re all going to Fade! The Mounds are gone! We have no source of magic to keep us alive!”
Tiernan actually chuckled. “No, you have no source. I never was bound to the Mounds.” He shrugged. “It’s not pure Fey, but hey, I don’t have to worry about Fading.”
Jhaer’s eyes widened as he stared at Tiernan. “You’re connected to this realm? But how? This place isn’t magical. I mean, look at them. Humans have no magical abilities.” His hand swept out in front of him, indicating the general populace.
Tiernan grinned crookedly. “Humans can’t link to the magic, but that doesn’t mean the earth realm doesn’t have any magic. You need to get yourself connected to this realm’s ley lines, that’s what you really need to do.” He hopped off the desk. “Mounds are gone, my friend. Let ’em go. Get yourself a crew and establish yourself. Earth realm’s your home now. Better to embrace it than die fighting it.”
Tiernan ripped a sheet from a note pad on the desk and started jotting on it. “I’ll give you a start. Couple of earthborns. Early twenties. One’s got himself locked up by humans, of all things. Bonehead, I kid you not. Other one’s a corner boy, bashing around the streets. Trouble both of them, but you know how to straighten ’em up. Mostly untrained, but you’re good at that, too.” He left the note. “If they work out, you can owe me one.”
Tiernan clicked closed the ink pen with finality. “And while you’re reinventing yourself, you ought to think about a name change. Something Irish that’ll blend in.”
Part 6/16 of "Aftershock" coming on 12/13/11!