The Fae Worlds



Sam was calm. We stood looking at the room Beth was in, the two of us called on by Lou and Jen to help their cousin. They were too far away to do any good if Beth was right about what was coming. Neither of them thought for a moment she might be lying to them, while I had my doubts, something I was certain they’d taken into consideration before they made the decision we were right for the job.
Had I been then I wouldn’t have called on us, and yet it seemed like they’d had no other choice. I raked a hand through my hair, telling myself not to do anything to complicate the situation more than it already was, because there was no reason for me to go running in there. There were two possibilities – she was being honest with us, meaning Max was somewhere out there calling on the dead, or she was lying, and she was already calling on them.
As the thought came to me I glanced at Sam. He opened his mouth, I was certain about to tell me not to do anything stupid, but before he could I was moving toward the door. Knocking, as a warning more than anything, I opened the door, stepping into the room. Beth, a wry smile on her lips, sat on the bed. The way she looked at me made it obvious she’d been expecting me.
“Jared.” Her eyes then switched to the person who’d followed me in. “Sam.” She breathed in deeply. “Close the door. The sooner we get this done the better it’s going to be.”
“Get what done?” I heard the door close, Sam stepping forward so he was next to me, probably to make sure he was close enough to stop me from doing anything he believed was stupid. “You going to sacrifice the two of us?”
Beth laughed. “Calling on the dead in the numbers we’re going to see needs a lot longer than a few hours of work. Max had been in the midst of this for months, long before I had any idea what he was doing, which is why we aren’t going to stand a chance of stopping him. I don’t have his power, and I never have done.”
I studied her. “Why are we here?”
“To mitigate the damage, as best we can.” She nibbled on her bottom lip. Then, looking between us again, she stood. “I know you don’t trust me, Jared, but this… it’s beyond me. We’re here for one main reason: to buy time for the others. At least those who know what’s coming.”
Sam put a hand on my shoulder before I could take a step toward her, obviously being able to tell from the tension in my body what I was about to do. “Death, for all of us, is a certainty?”
“No, fortunately. I can protect us from this, with your help, but I can’t end it. At least not yet. There is a time when I might in the future, but this…” Beth shook her head. “I am going to get the two of you out of here, even if it does kill me. There is a chance it will. It’s something I’ve been prepared for ever since I learnt what Max was in the midst of, and this…” Her eyes met with mine as she shrugged. “Sometimes I wish I’d been born into a different family.
“Had Lou and Jen not been a part of my life I might never have chosen to walk this path, but I’d never be like either my father or my brother. I know you don’t trust me, Jared, and I understand why. Being what I am is complicated. Learning the magics they did, to be able to turn it against them, isn’t something I’d ever suggest anyone did. Holding on to who I am isn’t always easy.”
“Why do you do it?” Sam’s question wasn’t the one I would have asked, but he was the one of us who was going to give Beth the benefit of the doubt. “Surely it would be easier for you to make other choices.”
“Necromancers are… they break the balance, and without someone like me there would be no chance of us surviving this. Max has tried to kill me more than once for a reason. He knows, from experience, I’m the only one who can put a stop to his plans. This time he did something I can’t, but there are others who might be able to, if I can find them… or someone else can.”
Reaching out with a hand she picked up a book on the bed, and it took me a moment to realise there was only one thing it could be. Beth’s eyes met with mine. The journal was in my hand, catching it easily when she threw it at me, which made her smile. At least I thought it was me.
“You’ll find all the information you need in there. I don’t know how this morning will work out, Jared, but I trust you to do what needs to be done. All I ask is you promise me something.”
“What?” I heard the suspicion in my own voice, so there was no chance she didn’t hear it. “Beth…”
“They aren’t human. I know how you feel, only there’s no one else.” She stepped closer to me, something I hadn’t expected her to do, her eyes on mine the whole time. It was almost interesting to see how she was reacting to me being there. “Think before you say anything. Nothing about what you need to do if I die is going to be easy. It means setting aside your beliefs to do what’s best.”
Looking at the journal I ran my tongue over my bottom lip. Giving me something so personal wasn’t something I imagined her doing, but she trusted me, for some reason, to be the one to hold it. Then I looked back at Beth. She was certain of me, of the choices I’d make, otherwise she wouldn’t have made the choice she did.
“Promise me, Jared. If I survive this I’ll work with you. There are places I know of to start looking, although, with the amount of power Max is going to be using, there’s a chance they won’t be where I expect them to be.”
Feeling Sam’s hand leave my shoulder I looked at him. His eyes were on Beth. Like always there was something he knew I didn’t, and all I could do was wait for him to say something, to give me an idea of what it was he’d thought of which led to him looking at her the way he was.
“Are you certain it’s the only way?”
“It is for us.”
Slowly, he nodded. “Whatever happens the power will be enough to wake them.”
“Yes, because this…” She gestured. “Max made his choice knowing what it would do, and I’m almost certain he believes he can stop them, but I know better than to think it’s possible. They…” She nodded. “I can understand the worry, Sam, because I’m not happy either. What I do know is it’s better for us to go to them to ask for help than it is for us to bury our heads in the sand.”
“Does she know?”
“Of course she knows. Who do you think I’ve been working with?” Beth glanced at me, and I knew then who ‘she’ was, but neither of them were going to say the name around me. “If you need her help all you need to do is call.”
“Hearing Raina’s name isn’t going to break me.” I shook my head. “How long has she known about this?”
“Known is an interesting word to use, Jared, because you should understand by now she doesn’t know anything for certain. There are possibilities, and this was one of them. With the amount of power Max is using there was the possibility he’d kill himself trying, but unfortunately for us that’s not our reality. He manages to call them into this world, leaving us with limited options in front of us, but I trust the two of you to do what needs to be done.”