10.2 A Long Century

by Matt P.

“So how do we stop him?” Walter asked the only real question he could think of. He couldn’t disagree that Oberon was obviously upping the game, or whether he needed to be stopped.

“That depends on what it actually is that he’s doing, and that’s the problem.” Morgan said, leaning back and crossing her ankles. “We know that he has something planned, and that he’s been trying to draw us out. We know he stole our safe house full of magical artifacts—”

“Powerful crap,” Walter edited the word magic out, which drew an eye-roll from the doctor before she kept right on rolling.

“And that he has been trying to force us to act. Which implies that he needs something from us specifically.” Morgan finished.

“If I’m right.” Walter said with a little bit of a shrug. “Just because it makes sense doesn’t mean that it is the only answer. If there’s another answer that ties it all in together better, then we shouldn’t overlook it.”

Morgan shook her head slowly, rehing up to tuck some hair back behind her ear. “No, it makes sense. He was always testing and probing.” She laughed, and it was a somewhat bitter laugh. “Everything was a test with him, nothing was just a comment or a question. He liked to keep you off guard, constantly wondering what he really wanted from you. It was,” she reflected, “annoying as shit.”

Siobhan had been just about to ask something before Morgan delivered that last line, and it took her several seconds to recover from the giggles enough to ask it. “What I don’t get is why don’t you just go get a posse of crazy ninja elves or whatever and go Elliot Ness on his ass. He puts one of you in the hospital, and in space no one can hear you scream.” She quoted.

Antigone stared at her for a very long moment, along with everyone else as they processed the mishmash. “Bonnie, what you just did to iconic movie lines should be a crime, and I don’t have any other words besides that to express how it makes me feel.” Rather than looking chagrinned, Siobhan beamed.

“I have not been to Faerie proper in years.” Morgan explained, and the tone in her voice leached the laughter out of the room instantly. It was a statement written in sorrow and inked in loss, and it made a not insignificant section of Walter’s heart hurt with the emotion of it.

“Why not?” He asked, almost breathlessly. Morgan sighed and reached up to rub her forehead as she considered her words.

“For a long time after we banished him, we convinced ourselves that Oberon would actually stay banished. And he did…unti he didn’t. He came back, and he came back with people who supported him and who would have opened his ways back in to Faerie. And dark allies that would have made it a much more terrible place, when he fulfilled his promises to them. In order to stop it we needed to change his banishment. Previously it had been linked too much to his physical characteristics, bound with hair and cloth and sweat.” She gestured to her hair, and to the swets she wore as if it explained more. “It was the strongest we could do on short notice.” She explained with a little bit of a shrug. She radiated unhappiness at the memories, but continued along in a level voice. Sorrow and loss, but wrapped around a core of steel, Walter thought.

“When he came back, we barely fought off his allies. He is powerful, but in his wandering had become unrefined—and he still almost lead them to victory. In order to preserve Faerie we needed to banish him with the strongest possible banishment. A banishment bound with salt and bone and blood, that meant his blood would never be able to enter Faerie while the spell stood. And it cast him away and we won, but at great price.” By the end of it Morgan’s voice was calm, but there was water standing in her eyes. She blinked to clear it, and looked away for a moment. Walter reached out to put a hand on her knee, and she reached out to grab it and squeeze.

“But why did that mean you couldn’t go back?” Siobhan asked, blinking slowly.

“Because none of his blood can enter the majority of Faerie, Siobhan.” Morgan explained, and now a few tears did fall. “None of his blood can come in to the Green Grass, or pass under the Tri-Color Arches. Or see our family, and friends. And what are we but half his blood, and half our mother’s?” Morgan asked bitterly. “In order to cut him off from Faerie, we had no choice but to cut it off from ourselves as well. Cut ourselves off from our home.”

Walter stared at her then, as it dawned on him too what she had sacrificed to stop him before—and the realization of what more she would be willing to sacrifice to do it again. “How long?” He asked, softly. “How long has it been since you’ve been home?”

Morgan looked back at him as she wiped the tears off her cheeks again, staring at the droplets as they rested on her fingers. “As of the Winter Solstice, very long. A long century. 100 years”