Meriwether sighed. “That’s the fae for you.” He rubbed his antler. “I am so glad that I didn’t let anyone convince me to enter one of the settlements. Being trapped there…” He shook his head. “Having the freedom to travel the Web wasn’t something I thought of at the time, but if I had of let either of my parents convince me that I would be better off with them I would never have been able to learn the things I have about the worlds, about the Webs, or about myself. I’m not going to lie and say it’s been easy. Nothing about my life or the choices I’ve faced have been easy, but it has been better than having to live as one of the fae over and over. Maybe that’s part of the reason that the magic of the race is fading away.”
“You think it has something to do with their souls being trapped?” Lucille looked at Meriwether. “I can’t help wondering if the issue has been caused by the way the fae breed, as the one thing I have noticed, even though I don’t think they wanted me to, is the increase in stillbirths and miscarriages they’ve been suffering from.”
“No new souls can get in, so the souls within the settlements have limited choices. It seems likely to me that what they’re having to do is keep splitting, but there comes a point where that’s something the soul can’t do anymore, which would mean there aren’t souls for those babies, leading to the stillbirths and miscarriages. Honestly I’m not surprised that they’re having that sort of problem. Eventually they are going to have no other option but to leave the settlements, although that will be an issue for the older fae.” Meriwether rubbed his antler again. “There is a chance that those older fae have chosen not to split, for whatever reason, so they’re still clinging onto a past that doesn’t exist, while the younger fae have split their souls, probably as much as they can, and that makes them more open to the idea of change. Even though they still have the memories of their past selves they realise that the choices they’ve made in the past are what’s led them to the position they’re currently in.”
Lucille nodded. “That does make sense.” She bit her lip. “I can’t imagine what it’s been like for them to be trapped like that and I know how hard it is for them to change things, because the elders refuse to listen to the younger ones.”
“Honestly, as much as I hate to say it, the fae have always been like that.” He sighed. “Fortunately I’ve been lucky enough to leave them far behind, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still affecting my life. When the time comes that they do leave the settlements that, I think, is going to change much more than they realise.”
“Maybe that’s part of the reason they’ve stayed in the settlements as long as they have. Once they leave they’re going to be nothing more than another race in the Web, but while they’re in the settlements they can do their best to keep control of the Council. They can keep using their rule of fear until the time comes when it’s possible for one of the other races to do what they’ve threatened to do more than once. Even the Weavers have become so angry with the fae that they’ve threatened to remove them from the Web, so they’re going to have to change once they’re outside of it, because there are certain races who would have no qualms about putting an end to the entire fae race if they thought it would do the Web some good.”
“Do you believe the Web would be a better place if it wasn’t for the fae?” Durai asked, studying Lucille, and she couldn’t help wondering what he wanted her answer to be.
“It would be different, but I’m not certain that I could say better.” She bit her lip. “Although the fae have made some terrible choices over the years some of them had to happen and without the fae here I’m not certain that they would. Take the natural Moonjumpers as an example. Personally I think the fae overreacted, and I don’t think they should have made the choice they did, but I know from the worlds that their demonisation, for what of a better word, had to happen. If it didn’t we wouldn’t have the shadow Council and that would have affected our future in ways I can’t imagine. They have done so much more for the Web than anyone can ever know about, even though very few people know of its existence.
“The shadow Council and the natural Moonjumpers who have chosen to ally themselves with it have fixed problems before they’ve happened, which is partly thanks to the connection some of them have with the worlds, as well as help to guide people who have found themselves lost on the wrong world or in the wrong time. So far they haven’t had to deal with anyone from a different Web, but they might do in the future. What I do know is that is that the shadow Council, although it had been created in Riordan’s time, became a much more powerful force for good when everything changed, thanks to the decision that the fae made.”
“How do you know so much about the shadow Council?” Meriwether looked at Lucille and she knew she’d given more away about herself than she had before. “Riordan set it up when he realised how much damage the fae could cause, in part because Emrys told him it was a good idea, so I know how it began and why. I was there when the natural Moonjumper were demonised, I saw Emrys for a few moments as he helped to guide some of the Moonjumpers out of the Council buildings because I couldn’t sleep, and I know how it affected the entire Web, but only certain people are told about it.”
Lucille smiled. “One of those certain people is Carver and Carver told me. So did Leolin, actually, as he wrote about it in his journal, but it was Carver who told me first. He is one of the ten people trusted by someone who is probably, I believe about twenty-seven links away from Kester.”
“You think Kester is in charge of both Councils?”
“I’m certain of it. He was never meant to take over the Council, so I think he would have been prepared to take over the shadow Council. When his sister disappeared they had very limited choices…”
“So Kester became the leader of two Council instead of one, which puts him in a very difficult position.” Meriwether sighed. “Poor boy.”
“Do you know much about Kester?”
Meriwether shook his head. “I stopped paying much attention to the Council leaders a long time ago, Lucille, because I’ve had to focus on other things, but I did know his father before he lived the life in which he became the leader of the Council.” He smiled. “I knew his father very well, actually, although we took very different paths after we stepped onto Athare.”
“How did you know him?”
“At one point, a very long time ago, he was my younger brother. I was one of the few who had two surviving brothers – Oscar, who was my elder brother, and Aifric. Both were half-siblings but it didn’t matter that much. My parents actually got back together before we left for Athare, because they realised that it was better to be together for love than it was to keep finding new partners for alliances. Oscar was Father’s son from an earlier relationship that he later regretted, as it had been with someone else he loved who happened to be from the wrong family, and Aifric was Mother’s son from a later relationship, that she never regretted as she’d married for an alliance that did later fall apart. Unfortunately Oscar had a hard time of it, but it never matter to me and it never matter to his sisters. They were his siblings rather than mine, as they were his mother’s children, but Oscar introduced me when we were on Kalinia.”
“Did you have sisters as well?”
“Yes, I did. It seemed very much like the females had survived everything much better than the males had, which might simply have been to do with their magic. Unfortunately we never really asked as many questions as we should have done, so I’ll never know why for certain. With a lot of things all we’re going to have is theories, including why it is that the fae can drain a world of magic. Emrys said it has to do with the way fae bodies transform it into something they can use, which is entirely different to most other magic users, and I remember he told me that Athare was doing something that might help to combat that issue.”
Mirrored from K. A. Webb Writing.