[This post is from Phelan’s point of view.]
All of them stared at him in a sort of shocked silence. He’d expected as much, all things considered, though there was the barest hint of a smirk on Lin’s face.
Of course he’d suspect. Hell, he’s likely already figured it out for himself, what this all means.
All Phelan could do was smile weakly and shake his head. “A Taleisin’s curse.”
“That’s a line we’ve heard a thousand times before,” Lin said with a wry smile. “You must have told her a long time ago.”
Phelan nodded slowly. “Aye. Before the retreat. After we thought Seamus was gone. She didn’t believe me at first—why would she, after all? But it made sense later, after our defiance, after all of those wars in the deep and dim yesterdays that are best left to legend and myth.”
“But what we’re talking about is legend and myth, Uncle Phelan,” Tory said, staring at him with a gaze that harkened back to not just his father, but to Seamus himself. There were rare moments when Phelan could see his elder cousin in Artorius Mackenzie, and now was one of them. “We’re talking about a scenario where—” he stopped, staring at him hard for a few seconds as he appeared to collect his thoughts. “Hell. We’re talking about a scenario where somehow I’m this king come back in the world’s greatest time of need. Right?”
Phelan nodded, watching Tory’s face. The teenager didn’t disappoint, his expression melting into a look of incredulity that was truly reminiscent of Seamus Vaughan—so much so that for a second, Phelan’s breath caught as he forgot that it wasn’t, in fact, Seamus he was dealing with.
“We both know exactly how ludicrous this sounds.”
“Yes,” Phelan said quietly. “But that doesn’t make it any less true.”