[This post is from Phelan’s point of view.]
Hecate and Marin exchanged a look, one that Phelan struggled to ignore. He already knew what they were thinking and it wasn’t something he wanted to address. They were worried. So was he, though not about the same things. He leaned back against the log, his eyes sliding shut for a few seconds.
He might have dozed—probably had—because the next thing he knew, Hecate was nudging him gently, a mug of tea in her hand. Her brow furrowed as she held it out to him. “I wasn’t sure what kind to make, so I just made the usual black. Is that okay?”
“Yeah,” he murmured, taking the mug and sitting up straight. “Yeah, that should be fine, as long as it’s hot as hell.”
“Trust me, it’s hot,” she said.
“Good,” he said, settling the mug on the ground next to him. “Can you get me a spoon?”
Hecate nodded, turning away. Phelan added two generous pinches of the herbs from his pouch to the mug, nodding his thanks to Hecate when she brought the spoon he’d requested, along with some honey.
He had to smile. “What makes you think I’d need that?”
“Something sweet always makes the medicine go down easier,” she said softly, watching him. He exhaled, rubbing gingerly at his temple.
“You’re not wrong,” he said, stirring the herbs into his tea, followed by a trace dribble of honey—just enough to take the edge off the sharp bitterness the herbs would lend to the brew.
“This has happened before,” Marin said softly. “What’s going on?”
“Something’s in flux, I think,” he said, blowing on the surface of the tea to cool it before he risked a sip. It was scalding, but that was what he expected—what he’d hoped. “It’s messing with me.”
“Don’t say that’s all,” Hecate said, pouring two more mugs of tea. “Because this is clearly more than that.”
He exhaled, taking another slight sip of tea. “Fine. Something’s out of joint and it’s messing with me.”
“Out of joint,” Marin echoed. “Out of joint how?”
“I’m going to go with in a pretty serious way,” Hecate said, glancing at her. “Probably why we’ve all had an odd feeling all day.”
“But what the hell is it?”
Phelan swallowed hard, then took another sip of tea. “If I knew that, then maybe I’d know how to fix it.”
“But you don’t,” Marin said.
“No. I don’t.”