Matt looked at Anna. He looked at her brave, but frightened, face. He looked at the blood on her clothes and knew that she had proved herself. Still, he wished he did not have to be the one to tell her this.
“Do you really want me to tell you, Anna?” he said. “I can understand it if you don’t. I can understand if you just want to live a normal life, without this knowledge. It’s a heavy burden to bear, but if you feel that you are ready…” His words were solemn, reflecting the expression on his pale, beautiful face.
Anna squared her shoulders. She had no idea what they were about to tell her, but she wanted to face it bravely.
“I am ready,” she said. Her words echoed around the room, which was silent despite the amount of people in it. Kathryn and Callie looked frightened, for they too had no idea what Anna was about to find out.
“So young …” said Matt, and smiled sadly.
“I’m only a year younger than you, so don’t start that!” exclaimed Anna, furiously. “Don’t patronize me, Matt!”
“I may only be a year older in human terms, but do you know how long I have truly lived?” he said sincerely. There was silence.
“Just … just tell me,” Anna said at last, choking slightly.
“Anna, you have fairy blood.”
Anna looked at him. She looked directly into his golden-green eyes, and in that moment she knew that he was telling her the truth. He was telling her the truth, in the way that no one ever had.
“Thank you,” she said, and the tears that had been welling up in her eyes finally fell, released from their bonds. Tears that she had been bottling up since she was a small child, afraid to let them go for what they might bring. Afraid, because even then she had known that she was different. As they fell, they sparkled in the light that streamed through the window, where the moon still shone, even though the dawn was breaking over the edge of the horizon like an egg dropped from a great height. They seemed to glow silver, with an almost magical appeal, and Anna knew this was just a confirmation of what she had been told.
“You are one who needs to know truth, fairy child,” said the Telcontar who had spoken before. Anna wondered vaguely whether he was some sort of second-in-command. “You are a being based on truth and justice, and you will not rest until it is achieved. Unlike many of your disreputable race, you have a heart of gold, and you will carry out your duty, even if it kills you.” There was a long silence; a feeling almost of ceremony in the room.
“Thank you, Anna O’Sullivan, for you truly are a fairy child. We hope that you can bring honour back to your disgraced race, for surely if anyone can it is you.”
The Telcontar bowed once. They turned and left the room in silence. Even Matt did not look back. Slowly, Kathryn and Callie followed them. Anna left the room, unable to bear sitting there alone, for with knowledge had come much suffering.