Moon-Singer groaned as he woke.
“Hey, kiddo,” a familiar voice said from above him. It was Silver-Dancer, the ætt chieftain and a member who he frequently ran with… a man he had come to think of as a father. Silver-Dancer was an imposing figure; tall, with sandy blonde hair and bright blue eyes. Were he to assume his wolf form, his black fur would be streaked with gray and white. Silver-Dancer lightly tousled Moon-Singer’s dust-colored hair.
Moon-Singer grimaced. “Don’t call me kiddo,” he replied. He sat up; a bandage covered his torso, and he could feel the long, ragged sting of a wound. “What happened? I went to fight those unseelie fae… and then…”
“I was hoping you could tell me,” Silver-Dancer replied. “You don’t remember what happened?”
Moon-Singer tried to think back to the fight. All he could remember was the sickening dread in his stomach and the horrifying stinging sensation of the wound. “No,” he said at last. “I was cut… that’s all I remember, and that much is obvious anyway.”
“No doubt that was all the faeries wanted you to remember,” Silver-Dancer said. “That was a fool move, boy, taking on an elfdan by yourself.”
“I was only chasing one faery,” Moon-Singer protested. “I could take on one faery easy.”
“Following them back to the elfdan, you didn’t know how many you were going to fight,” Silver-Dancer retorted. He frowned as he looked at Moon-Singer’s bandage. “What if you had come against one of the ancient faeries?! You were lucky to come back in one piece. By Fionn’s spear–you were lucky to come back at all.”
Moon-Singer frowned but said nothing.
“Well,” Silver-Dancer said, a bit more kindly, “It was probably just a gang of weaker unseelie fae. Nothing we can’t take care of.”
“Damn right! Just wait until I’m healed and–”
Silver-Dancer smiled and held up a hand. “You’re staying here.”
“They’ll probably be gone by the time you’re healed. I’m going with some of the regulars, and we’ll get back at them for you. You’ll just have to show off next time, eh?” Silver-Dancer rubbed Moon-Singer affectionately on the head again as he stood up to leave. Moon-Singer always hated how he did that.
“Wait…” Moon-Singer said, shivering as he brushed his hand against his wound. “Silver-Dancer… don’t go.”
Silver-Dancer noticed the change in his voice and looked down at him, worried. “Yeah? Why not?”
“I have a bad feeling,” he said. “Are you really sure it’s just a bunch of unseelie thugs?”
Silver-Dancer chortled. “‘Course it is, kiddo,” he said. “You’re just coming up with things because you don’t want me to leave you behind.”
“I am not!” Moon-Singer protested. “I really–”
“You just focus on getting your strength back,” Silver-Dancer replied as he made for the door. “Just watch. In a few days, you’ll be fit as a fiddle, and those thugs will be a story over the dinner table.” With a careless laugh, Silver-Dancer left Moon-Singer’s cabin and shut the door behind him.
That was the last time Moon-Singer ever saw my father.