The Fae Worlds



Staring at the ceiling, the room still lit by the street light as Beth wasn’t comfortable closing the curtains, she thought of Max. For as long as she could remember he’d viewed her as competition. Of the two she was the elder, her dad’s true heir, not that she’d ever wanted the weight on her shoulders – especially when she came to realise what it meant. Unlike Max her choice wasn’t to become a necromancer, but had it thrust on her. There was never any chance for her to become anyone else.
Yet, even with her fate being so certain, Beth made choices Max didn’t, choosing to work with her cousins rather than any of the people her father suggested. Louise and Jennifer were the only two people who were able to see who she was. They helped her escape at times, when she most needed a chance to regain her balance. Had they not… she rolled onto her side, staring at one of the walls.
There were times when it was hard to keep fighting. Learning necromancy meant working with dark powers, and every day was a fight to hold on to who she’d chosen to be. Beth ran her tongue over her bottom lip, thinking of the choice she’d made for the other Talis, because it meant drawing someone in who wasn’t prepared. Even with everything she’d written she knew it was never going to be enough, but it was the only choice she could make. One ritual to hopefully save them from the future she’d be living.
Whatever happened in the morning Beth knew there were other futures. Some where she’d die, trying to buy time for everyone who knew of the walking dead. Others where she’d survive, but the world would be changed, and there was no way of knowing if hers was the one where she’d succeed in undoing the change her brother wrought on their home.
Max’s decision was one Beth understood. Growing up with him made it easier for her to see how he’d come to the illogical conclusion his ex would return to him if she had no other option. It was the kind of thing he’d done in the past, albeit on a smaller scale, choosing to use his skills against her, and anyone else who disagreed with him. As time passed he changed, choosing instead to turn to his inner charisma. Like their dad he was someone people liked, even if they didn’t want to, unless those people were able to see past the mask.
Beth was one of the few who never saw it. He didn’t pretend with her the way he did with everyone else. Their past made it impossible for her to ever see Max as anyone else. It was one of the things he hated most about her, and she did her best to keep her distance, because the times they did see each other he was likely to attempt to kill her.
It seemed unlikely he didn’t know she was there. Max planned for every eventuality. There was probably somewhere Beth was already fighting him, trying to be there to help in the morning. Whether or not she survived almost always depended on luck. She had wards in place to warn her if anyone came close to her room, but it wasn’t enough, hence the lack of sleep. Knowing he was out there was worse than him being in the room.
Giving up on trying Beth slipped out from under the covers. Like always she was half dressed, ready to go if anything happened, a lesson she’d learnt working with hunters in the past. Mostly Louise and Jennifer, the two of them trusting her in a way most other people couldn’t. They knew her too well to worry she was dangerous.
At the same time they understood she was. Beth smiled at the thought of her two favourite people, pulling her jeans on as she did, wishing they were the ones making the journey to join her. Had it been the three of them together it was likely everything would work out differently, but they were too far away. Calling on Sam and Jared was the last resort, as they happened to be closest, even if they weren’t the hunters she’d have chosen to work with.
Raina, for months, shared stories of what it was like to work with the two of them, needing to be there to keep them safe from harm. Back then neither of them knew what was coming. All Raina knew was they’d be needed in the future, so she did what she had to do. Then they learnt it was the two of them who’d be working with her to try to stop Max.
Stepping over to the window Beth looked out at the small town Max chose for his first conquest. He, from what they’d learnt, didn’t understand exactly what he was going to end up doing, and there was a chance he was the one who’d die. Not that it mattered. His death wasn’t coming to change anything. There were those who thought it would, but what he’d done… she bit her lip hard. It was more than they knew. More than he knew. He was simply following the instructions in a book he found.
Given a year Beth might have been able to stop the dead from walking. She’d have a chance to go around to all the graveyards he’d visited to remove the sigils. Then the only dead he’d raise would be close to him, rather than it happening in multiple areas at the same time. Plus he was raising them with a magic no one had seen in centuries.
Hunters might, in certain places, have noticed them, and known enough to remove them, but it wasn’t something Beth relied on. Almost all hunters did know what was coming, thanks to Louise and Jennifer passing on the word, ready to stand against the dead… knowing they wouldn’t be enough. It was hard to accept. Only they didn’t have time. Max kept his plan hidden until it was too late for them to be able to do anything more.
Of course he didn’t want anyone to know until it was too late. Beth paced from one side of the room to the other. Had it not been for Raina it was possible Beth would never have known, but the future was bleak for all of them, and it led to Raina looking into it more closely.
Receiving the call was something Beth wished had been a surprise. Hearing Raina explain Max was in the midst of a ritual no one should have ever tried in the first place Beth simply nodded. For Max it was a case of two birds with one stone. He’d, he believed, get his ex back, while also showing what he was capable of. By raising so many of the dead it was impossible for anyone to doubt his skills, and there were those who had in the past.
Death wasn’t something he cared about the way he should, but Beth, closing her eyes, saw him for a moment as one of the walking dead. It wasn’t inevitable. The dead would view him as one of them, as he’d raised them. Yet it was the dead who could kill him. Using everything he had to bring thousands of the dead back from the grave could easily kill him. Necromancers with less power had died raising too many of the dead in the past, and what Max had chosen to do was beyond any of them.
Like it always had the weight of his choices weighed heavily on her shoulders. Had it not been Max maybe she’d have been able to walk away, to leave it to someone else to deal with, but he was her brother. Beth couldn’t walk away when it was family. He was her responsibility to deal with. At least she wasn’t going to be alone. When the sun rose Jared and Sam would arrive, and she could explain to the two of them how things may work out.