• Arthur: Merlin is such an idiot.
  • Arthur: Honestly, how does he function in day to day life?
  • Arthur: An utter failure at life is what he is.
  • Uther: Yes, I absolutely agr-

“Everything is so full of life. Every tree, every leaf… every insect. It’s as if the world is vibrating. As if everything is much more than itself.”
The characters as the four seasons of the year: Merlin as autumn, Arthur as summer, Morgana as winter and Guinevere as spring.

A Better World

Keep your gods-damned lives to yourselves and leave me alone.

I watched the broken heir of Terrasen cackle out of my kitchen. My beautiful mate was lunging for the door, I grabbed Malakai’s arm before he sped off to protect me, “No, this was not about me, this was about her.”

I turned to Luca, “Could you please give us a moment?”

I shuddered at the thought of how quickly the boy could move, whatever had happened in his life, whatever scars he wore, it was evident when he fell into the shadows.

With sadness in my voice, “Malakai, she’s hurting.”

“I’m not going after her, I am going after him. This is his fault. He should have never said that to her last night. Even a human could look at her and know she is broken. She is so young.”

I could see the hurt in my mate’s eyes, we had both loved Evalin. It broke our hearts to see her daughter like this. He took a deep breath, the way that he always did when he held back his tears, “I was completing my final rounds last night, when I heard her whisper, ‘I have no one left. No one.’ It was so hard to hear her so defeated. It took all my being not to run to her, not to hug her and give her the love that she deserved. What he said to her was cruel, the girl needed a love, understanding, compassion, and he spat at her with such words of hate.”

I shook my head, that damn fae male. “Why would the blade set her off?”

“I think I may also have an idea. We know her name is not Elentiya, why go by an Eyllwe name, unless it means something? There have been rumors that the rebel Eyllwe princess was in Adarlan and that she was assassinated in her bed.”

My gods. Why where they so cruel to this girl, had she not been through enough?

“Let me handle him, please, it is the least I can do for her.” He kissed my brow in the way he knew I loved before he left the kitchens.

I made a cup of tea, the same tea that Evalin loved and I waited, I knew the warrior would come. He always came to take her to training.

I looked the warrior up and down, gods, what was Maeve playing at? Why was she sending this broken soul to train the girl? Any of her Cadre, well anyone but Lorcan would have been a better choice.

In the calmest voice I could command in my grief, “What are you doing?”

The fae male ground out, “what?”

Oh he was in a dangerous foul mood, for Evalin, I could do this for Evalin. “To that girl. What are you doing that makes her come in here with such emptiness in her eyes?”

“That’s none of your concern.” The girl was right, the tone was infuriating and I now understood half the vulgar words she spat at this prince.

The hell it wasn’t my concern, he was further breaking my friend’s daughter. I tightened my lips, holding back a scream. “What do you see when you look at her, Prince?”

“That’s none of your concern, either.”

I ran a hand over my face, I could see a crack in his ice, a question he did not know an answer for. “I see her slipping away, bit by bit, because you shove her down when she so desperately needs someone to help her back up.”

“I don’t see why I would be of any use to –”

Oh, I had had enough of this crap. Anyone that looked at them could see there was a connection. Even as they spat vulgar words at each other. Luca and I were there for her, she needed someone else.

“Did you know that Evalin Ashryver was my friend?”

I almost chuckled at the look of surprise on the Prince’s face, which meant I had his attention.

“She spent almost a year working in this kitchen – living here with us, fighting to convince your queen that demi-Fae have a place in your realm. She fought for our rights until the very day she departed this kingdom – and many years after, until she was murdered by those monsters across the sea. So I knew. I knew who her daughter was the moment you brought her into this kitchen. All of us who were here twenty-five years ago recognized her for what she is.”

I watched the prince just stare at me. It was then that I realized this prince was lost, just as lost as Aelin. Maybe Maeve had broken him. Maybe life had broken him. I could see in those pine green eyes that he also needed a purpose. Maybe through me I could do that. I could help them both crawl out of their darkness.

“She has no hope, Prince. She has no hope left in her heart. Help her. If not for her sake, then at least for what she represents – what she could offer all of us, you included.”

“And what is that?”

I whispered with the last ounce of hope I had for the girl, for the Prince, “A better world.”