“What have Oberon’s hopes to do with you, grey sister?” Grandmother’s voice did not overpower Darity’s in the way a bombastic politician will drown out an opponent. Instead, it slipped around the chamber like a strand from a web, throwing out more threads of itself until the entire room was subjected to its will. “You are not his vassal, that his hopes and fears should rule your own. Nor are you his ally, except in times of war, and let us pray that war is far from us.”
Darity’s hands stilled. “Do you mean that the Merlin we have foreseen will not be responsible for—”
“He will be what he will be, child. Do you suppose our destinies are woven by so fickle a Weaver that this simple choice can throw them all awry?”
“I have seen gods slain for smaller choices,” Darity whispered.
Spork spotted the golem lumbering up the stairs behind me and shouted, “Look out!”
I caught her wrist before she could cast a spell. “Easy. It’s with us. Spork, meet Bright Eyes.”
“Bright Eyes?” she asked.
“Names can wait. Running cannot,” said the golem.
“Amen to that,” said Spork.
“I Name you nightmare,” I hissed, holding the feeling of waking to safety in my own bed foremost in my mind. “I Name you daydream.” I kept up the rhythm, timing the words to my movements, climbing up the rough wall of the cavern like a dancer adjusting his movements to match his stage. “You are cobweb and sleep dust. I Name you fading and forgetting. I Name you the dusk before the dawn.”
I wondered, not for the first time, how much of Merlin’s destiny had been tied to my own. Not woven as the threads of fate were naturally, but tied like two strands of yarn being patched into the same work. My sisters—and Darity in particular—were going to get an earful from me when this business was finished.
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