A tall, white vase of blue, purple and pink hydrangeas with a card poking out of them like a tiny flag, sat on the marble countertop in the kitchen. Lizzi looked at them from the living room. Her elaborate apartment was quiet except for the music from the musicians in the park. They played every afternoon, and today, they were playing flutes. It was sweet music, and as Lizzi gazed at the flowers Zaki had sent her, she found it hard to believe he was part demon.
“A demon sent me flowers,” she said to herself as she gazed at them.
She got up and walked over to them, and pulled the card out to read it again.
You are stronger than you think, little gem—hope you find these as beautiful as I find you.
Lizzi stuck the card back. It was strange that he sent them, and even a stranger message on the card, but Lizzi couldn’t help but to smile each time she read the card. At the same time Zaki made her feel uncomfortable, he had opened something inside of her she didn’t know was there. He had helped her with her premonitions, and for the first time in her life, she was in control of them. No more rollercoaster ride of visions, and just like coming off of some amusement ride, she would be sick to her stomach. The taunting of her premonitions was mentally exhausting as well as physically.
Lizzi went to the window that overlooked the park. A small group had formed around the musicians that she could see through the trees. The music had a relaxing quality to it that she found she couldn’t stop listening to. Her mind drifted from the dress she was trying to design that she was doing for herself to the flowers Zaki had sent her.
The music stopped, and the musicians bowed to the clapping of the audience as they began to put away their instruments and the gathered Faes dispersed. Lizzi stepped away from the window and looked at her apartment. It was beautiful, it was amazing, but it troubled her. She wanted to get on with her life, not be a Rebel again, and do the things she used to.
Frustrated, she went into her bedroom and got out the scrying bowl. She took it out into the kitchen and slammed it on the counter as if it was a disobedient child she had to correct. Lizzi then filled it with water; she hadn’t done that in a long time as it amplifies the premonition. Before, she just stared into it and felt she was always at its mercy to show her things. Now, she felt she was in control.
“Show me what is to come.” Lizzi stared into the bowl expecting a delay in her premonition, but as if a servant waiting for an order, the water in the bowl rippled, and the premonition pulled her in.
At first, Lizzi thought she might lose control, but quickly gained it by slowing her thoughts and clearing her mind. The premonition was vivid, and erratic like so many times before.
As if the premonition knew who was always on her mind, it revealed Toby to her. He was with Lyssa, and a Mog. They had him in a barn and were giving him food and tending to his wounds. How did a Mog get to the Etherworld? The vision slipped to another as if it was an impatient child. Lizzi couldn’t think about what she was seeing, she had to focus on the image before her, not question it. She clung to the thought of Toby, and the premonition then showed him standing at a portal that erupted with bright light. A slender hand greeted him that was pale as snow. He reached for it and stepped into a wooded area as the stone portal dimmed behind him.
“Welcome, son of Orzan, to Fae.” Izzet gazed up at him in all of her paleness. “I’ve been waiting for you.”
Toby smiled down at her as they stood in the ruins of an ancient city.
“Arrinia, they’re in Arrinia,” Lizzi said aloud.
“I’m glad to finally be here.” Toby looked around, scanning the old city as one would look beyond the rumble to the potential it still had.
“Yes, this city will come back to life, and you will be the one to do it. With my help and the Everspell….” Izzet looked back towards the portal. “Where is the Everspell?”
Toby smiled coldly as he opened his hand and revealed a clear stone that sparkled in the sunlight.
“My, my, my, you are like your father.” Izzet gazed at the stone with her pale eyes. “I thought I’d have to help you extract it, and you did it all by yourself.” She sounded pleased.
“She was almost willing to give it to me—said it was making her mad, and I helped her—said it wouldn’t even hurt.” Toby laughed.
Had Toby killed Lyssa for the Everspell? He couldn’t of, he isn’t a murderer, and he isn’t like his father. Lizzi was arguing with the premonition, and she felt it slipping, so she concentrated on it rather than giving into her feelings.
“This is your inheritance, Toby. The city of Arrinia needs to be rebuilt as its power is still here, but is dormant and waits for its leader. I am too weak to handle it, but you, son of Orzan, are strong enough to take its power along with the Everspell and rebuild what was never to be abandoned.”
“Don’t listen to her!” Toby!” Lizzi yelled knowing it was just a vision, a picture of the future—just a premonition. But it is the direction things are going right now.
“I’m not done! Show me more!” Lizzi took the scrying bowl, and sat in on the tiled floor sloshing water onto her shirt.
The premonition listened as shadows danced across the ripples of the water until it calmed.
“Who’s the Queen—show me the Queen that will rise against Toby.” Lizzi felt a new bond had been tied between her and her ability. She felt she had finally harnessed its power.
Jagged mountains stood like broken teeth as deep gullies intertwined through the red-orange mountains. The blue sky contrasted with the vivid mountains making a striking landscape. Lizzi felt herself floating about this serene place like a cloud rolling lazily across the sky. She saw no forests, castles, buildings—nothing but the mountains and sky.
Suddenly, she sped up and the ground beneath became a blur. The colors of the landscape ran together in a multitude of colors that shifted, and as quickly as the premonition sped up, it slowed down and revealed a city of slender buildings. They dotted the smooth landscape that had fields of crops growing in the distance, and what Lizzi thought were Faes tending to those fields. The sky was a blueish-purple with the sun hanging on the horizon that could had been dawn or dusk. Lizzi moved closer, but still hovered in the sky. The premonition wouldn’t let her get any closer.
“What is this place?” She asked.
“This is the Spindle City of Nerabeth. It is caught in the past and the future, but exists in silence waiting for its prince.”
Lizzi floated between the narrow towers. Some were smooth and some decorated with animal carvings and swirling designs. To Lizzi, they looked like chess pieces scattered.
“What do you mean? Who are you? Are you…the premonition speaking?” Lizzi felt her heart race as she never thought it would actually have a voice.
“No, child of the stars, we are the Graces of the Isle of Stars, and you are in our world now.”
“What do you mean your world?” Lizzi asked and continued to float over the city that looked misty and caught between ancient ruins to a vibrant city full of life.
“We see everything that has been, is happening, and will come. You see it too, but only you have the power to alter what will come, child of the stars.” The voices were many, but spoke as one.
“Lizzi!” A voice yelled in desperation. “Lizzi, can you hear me?!”
Lizzi paused wondering where the voice was coming from.
“Lizzi!” The female voice repeated, and this time, sounded familiar.
“Zoey?” She questioned.
“Stop the premonition. You’ve been in it too long!” She yelled. “You’ve seen what you need to see…go!”
Before Lizzi could say anything to Zoey, she felt her body begin to tumble through the air. She went through the clouds and past the tall, slender buildings that began to topple and crumble around her.
Her fall, slow at first, sped up like a rollercoaster cresting over a steep incline. Giant sections of the chess-like buildings cracked and whooshed past her as she tried to scream. The air turned sour and full of dirt and dust from the crumbling buildings. She had to do something before she hit the ground, but what could she cling to?
Lizzi watched the buildings topple around her, and one caught her attention because someone was standing in the window. A blonde-haired girl stood pressed to the window holding out a glittering crown in her hands. Her face was calm, unfrighten by the chaos surrounding them. Lizzi’s falling pace slowed, and she made eye contact with the girl. Lizzi clearly saw it was Casperinia, the Banshee Princess.
Her hair blew in the wind as she extended her arms out and let the crown slip from them and tumble through the air along with the destroyed buildings.
Lizzi screamed as she was caught in a storm of falling rocks, bricks and dust. There was nothing to hang onto, nothing to save her, and just as one of the pointed, needle-like tops of one of the buildings headed straight for her like a spear intended to hit her, the vision stopped.
“Lizzi,” Wes’s face was inches from hers, and his voice raspy as if he had been calling her name for days. His eyes had a mixture of fear and relief. “Deravon!” He turned and yelled.
Lizzi didn’t understand why he was so frantic, and tried to speak, but couldn’t. Her throat felt like it was coated with sand, and her body ached as if she had been crushed by the falling buildings.
“Good,” Deravon said, pressing a glass to her lips.
The thick liquid trickled in her mouth causing her to choke on it. “Drink it, Lizzi.” He raised his eyebrows at her, but he appeared much calmer than Wes.
He paced the floor, running his fingers through his hair. Lizzi watched him as she drank the tasteless, cool liquid. Wes, he was the Prince of Nerabeth. She had to tell them what she saw, what the premonition showed and told her.
Lizzi pushed the glass away and tried to speak, but coughed instead.
“Dancing with the Graces, are we now?” Zaki asked sitting beside her. “Very good, child of the stars.”
“How…” Lizzi cleared her throat as her head swam with dizziness. How did Zaki know that she heard the Graces’ voice, and that they called her by that name, but then again, how did Zaki know about her premonitions and how to handle them?
Wes pushed Zaki aside, and lifted Lizzi up. “Move, demon.”
Wes gently put her on the couch and placed one of the lace pillows under her head.
“You’re the Prince of Nerabeth and the Spindle City is crumbling.” Wes gave her a confused look, and shook his head as if to disregard it.
“Lizzi, don’t speak right now, and promise me you’ll never do that again.” His voice pleaded as tears welled in his eyes.
Lizzi looked into his eyes. They were old and young at the same time. She didn’t understand why he was so upset.
“I saw your city—the city that belongs to you. And the Queen is Casperinia Mourhill—the Queen that needs an army to protect her. I used my scrying bowl and asked my premonition to show me. Izzet is after Toby, and if we don’t get to him first, she will and he will kill Lyssa for the Everspell. Zoey was there too—I heard her, Wes…” Lizzi had so much to say that she blurted everything out as quickly as she could.
Suddenly, pain shot through her chest, and she sat up coughing—blood.
Wes’s face paled as Lizzi looked at the red color splattered all over the couch and even on Wes’s sleeves as if someone had splattered paint.
Zaki tried to push Wes out of the way as Lizzi sat looking at her hands covered in blood. Her mouth was coated with its metallic taste, and she felt her surroundings fade. Was she going to die? In the back of her mind, and like a shadow looming in the distance, she heard the gentle laughing of the Graces. Had the premonition done this to her or the Graces?
Lizzi tried to keep her eyes open as all she heard were Wes and Zaki arguing, Deravon telling her she’d be alright, and Eli wiping blood from her hands. Her eyes grew heavy, and sleep beckoned her.
“She’ll die if I don’t!” Lizzi’s eyes popped open at the sound of Zaki’s voice. She didn’t want to die, and she wasn’t.
Through her blurred vision, Lizzi saw Wes staring at her with unblinking eyes as she felt herself calm. She wanted to tell him everything would be alright—she felt it was now as a peacefulness that she never felt before caressed over her like the waves of the Sanudra Ocean in Atlantis. But she had never been there, so why was she comparing what she felt to it? It was Zaki’s thoughts drifting into hers.
“We are intertwining, you and I, little gem.” His voice was as tranquil as watching the sun set into the ocean.
“I’m not a gem.” Lizzi, of everything that was going on now, didn’t like being called that. It was a pet name, and she hated pet names.
“But I say it out of respect, and admiration. Does that change your thoughts?”
“No,” she simply replied.
“But that’s what you are, and you’ve just begun your craft. This is merely the tip of the iceberg. You have a power that the Graces can only dream about, and I’m sure are terribly jealous over enough to try to kill you.”
“Is that who done this to me? Is that why I’m weak?” Lizzi was surrounded in blackness, and the only thing that kept her going was the sound of Zaki’s voice.
“You are truly a gem to this world that is raw and uncut, Lizzi Stokes.” Zaki didn’t answer her question that she felt she already knew the answer to. “Without me, you are just that, but let me, and I will help you catch the light and shine like nothing this world has witnessed.”
“This is a safe place for you, Mike.” Toby tried to calm the whimpering Mog as Lyssa stroked his fur.
“Want to see Craig—he’s my master now.” Mike looked at Toby with sad eyes.
Toby and Lyssa exchanged looks, and Toby didn’t know what to do. They didn’t go to Craig’s house. How do you take something like a mog to a person’s house that has never seen one, or at least no memory of it, and hear it say your name? Lyssa thought it would be best to handle it differently, and they took Mike to a barn next to Lyssa’s house.
Merlin had erased Craig’s memory of the Fae world anyhow, and everything that had happened to him. And it’s been hard for Toby to keep such a secret from him. Many times Toby had wanted to say something just to see if Craig remembered anything, but he didn’t. Craig acted like as if nothing had happened to him.
Toby felt he needed someone to talk, and Lyssa was the only one he could. They talked a lot at first, but as time went by, Lyssa talked about it less and less. She kept pushing it away, and Toby wanted to push it away as well, but it gnawed at him little by little until he felt he would scream. Now, a piece of the Fae world had come to them. While Lyssa looked worried, Toby felt a sense of relief, because this gentle mog was his ticket back to the Fae world.
“What are we going to do?” Lyssa asked as her repetitive stroking of Mike’s puffy mane had put him to sleep. “Surely someone is looking for him, I mean, he used a portal.”
“Not if it was the one in Arrinia. Zoey had showed them how to work it, and more likely that’s the one he came here through. I don’t see him using the ones in the museum in Avalon.” Toby smiled, and just like a tea kettle releasing steam into the air, he felt relieved to say aloud the places he had been that Lyssa made him agree to not say aloud. It had built up, and now, there was no holding back.
“Lyssa, we need to take Mike back to the Fae world, and he’s going to take us. If he came here, then there’s something going on.”
Lyssa looked at the mog and gently stroked his mane as if she didn’t want to hear him.
“Lyssa,” Toby repeated her name.
She lifted her eyes to him and it looked like she was on the verge of crying. Toby felt guilty. He was elated that Mike had come here, because Toby didn’t know how long he could go without something happening to give him a reason to go to the Fae world. He almost said something to his mother, but didn’t. What if she had no memory of the Fae world? He saw her in his vision when Lizzi took him to the oracle to find out his connection to that world. That scene had haunted him, and Toby knew his father was from Fae and he was powerful. That was all he knew, and he wanted more, he deserved more, and now Toby has been given a chance.
“Lyssa,” he took her hand and held it in his. “We shared something extraordinary, and it isn’t going to ever leave us no matter what. How could it? We need to help Mike, and if he said Craig is in danger too, then we have to take him as well.”
Lyssa shook her head. “No, Craig doesn’t need to go, his memory of everything had been erased, so let it go.” She warned with her eyes. “I agree Mike needs to go back, but we need to contact Merlin first. Sean can do that.”
Sean escaped the Fae world and the Muse’s along with his wife Gwen many years ago. They were Lyssa’s aunt and uncle that he thought were just good friends of her and her father, but as everything exploded for not only Lyssa but Toby as well last fall, she found out the truth. But as Lyssa tried to cover it up, Toby had trouble doing so. He couldn’t let it go, and as he looked at Lyssa with tears welling in her eyes, he was glad Mike had found them. Now he had to go the Fae world.
“Hey, Lyssa,” he gently said her name as she tried to hide her tears.
She pushed him away as she wiped her cheeks with her hand. “No, I’m alright.”
Toby drew in a deep breath, and even though his strong feelings for her had slowly faded as if he just had a cold or the flu, he still had a connection to her and something they shared that would always bind them.
“No, you’re not.” He wrapped his arms around her as she cried into his chest.
“I still miss them both so much.” She pulled herself away and pressed her hands to her eyes. “When will it stop hurting?”
Toby wanted to take her pain away of losing Gwen, who had been like a mother to her, and Zoey who loved her like a mother as well, and both were killed protecting her.
Toby pushed back her hair and gently removed her hands from her eyes.
“When my grandma died, I thought I’d never get over it. I was ten, and I cried every night thinking I’d never be happy again, and then my mom told me something that changed my mind. She said what would grandma think of you sitting in your room crying all the time? I answered that she would probably tell me to stop, and make better use of my time rather than keeping the tissue companies in business.” Lyssa laughed between the last remaining tear that rolled down her cheek. “I stopped, and did things that I knew would make her happy and proud of me.”
“You’re right.” Lyssa shook her head.
“Of course I am.” Toby agreed with a crooked smile. “But even though you go on, the hole will always be there, because how can something heal when you loved someone so deeply?”
Toby had found stability with his grandmother that his mother and father could never give him. They fought all the time when he was little, and he hated it. Even though things were calmer now, Toby always felt something hidden and quiet sat dormant just waiting to explode. The only thing was, when it would.Caught in his own thoughts, he didn’t notice Lyssa crying again. He didn’t say anything to her—just wrapped his arms around her tightly and held her.