[This post is from Thomas Merlin Ambrose’s point of view.]
Kailey stopped pacing, stopped dead in her tracks, and stared at him hard. “Time out,” she said. “What?”
I glared at her, my heart in my throat, then looked back at Phelan. “How do you know? Did someone—did someone tell you?”
“I’m kicking myself for not realizing it,” Phelan said, shaking his head. He squeezed his eyes shut, pressed the heels of his hands against them, as if he was trying to hold something in, something painful and strong. “But I only saw him for a moment. He felt familiar but I didn’t—déithe agus arrachtaigh, how did I not know it then?”
“There was a lot going on,” I said quietly. “And you’ve had a bit of a crazy day already, right?”
That, at least, won a snort from him. He shook his head, letting his hands fall away. “You sound so much like both of them sometimes that it hurts, Lin. Truly. Way to look for a silver lining.”
“Why would your sister have sent them looking for us? I don’t understand, Uncle Phelan. I thought—I thought she’d given up on you and on us. That’s why she never came back after—” Kailey grimaced. “After.”
“Stories,” Phelan said, shaking his head as he glanced toward her. “She told them stories and those stories were never forgotten. I didn’t stay long enough to hear all of it. It just hurt too much. But they’re come looking for the king born again. Some prophecies never die.”
“The king born again,” I echoed, my stomach dropping. “You—you sound like you know what that means.”
“So do you,” Phelan said, smiling sadly. “So do all of us. This quest they’re on, it’s no fool’s errand. I just wish I knew why it was so damn important right this second, you know? But I don’t. I know something’s changed. I just don’t know what.”
I stared at him for a few seconds, feeling hollow. I wondered if my parents had ever felt the same, when they’d been sitting where I was.
I wondered if they ever felt like railing against the threads of fate even as they wanted to embrace them with open hearts.
“So what does that mean?” Kailey asked softly, drawing closer to the two of us. “You guys seem like we’re talking in riddles.”
“It’s because we are,” Phelan said, staring at me. “It’s because we are.”