After finding Xennie and Marcus together earlier Persephone had decided it was probably best she make herself scarce for a while. Getting another glimpse of Marcus naked would be fun, but it would probably make Xennie uncomfortable. Maybe Marcus too, and they were her family so she didn't really want to upset them too much. Not right now, at least. They had enough to keep their minds whirling.
A sound caught her attention and she paused, head tilted slightly, listening. She heard nothing else, but that did not really mean a whole lot.
"Enid?" Persephone's voice was quiet, a hesitant whisper. Her nose suggested to her that the fey was there somewhere. The scent of wild places lingered, just a hint of darker things with it. Despite that Persephone was used to being around weres and was not necessarily a stranger to violence, being around Enid always made her just a little nervous. A part of her suggested that it was the knowledge of being in the presence of a more dangerous hunter.
"Here, kitty, kitty." Enid slipped out of the shadows, baring her teeth at Persephone. For just a moment, the shifter was certain that the teeth she had seen were long and pointed, but when she looked again Enid simply raised her eyebrows and offered a pacifc smile.
Persephone returned the smile, doing her best to mask her nervousness. "I'm surprised you're still here. I thought the fey didn't really like hanging around too much." It was a bit of an understatement. Occasionally one would be seen, mostly those like Enid who either appeared mostly human or could mask their appearance with a glamour. Persephone did not count any fey among her friends though. She'd met Enid a few times though.
After running long fingers through her hair with the sound of rustling leaves and twigs, Enid smiled again. The green of her eyes nearly glowed, and Persephone found herself narrowing her eyes slightly, trying to figure out just what Enid really looked like. "These are interesting times, curious kitten. The pawn becomes a King, ready to bite the hand that had held his puppet strings. Debts come due." The fey closed her eyes and a look of rapture flickered over her face. "Our enemies will learn to fear the weapon they created. And we will be there to bathe in their blood. Right, young shifter?" Persephone found herself the object of Enid's direct gaze for the first time. It made her want to run and hide. In that instant she felt very much like the kitten Enid had called her.
"I.. umm... right. I mostly prefer my bathing be done in water, but to each their own I guess." Laughter followed this statement and then Enid folded herself to sit cross-legged on the tunnel floor. Persephone watched, confused, then slowly sank down as the fey patted the concrete next to her.
"You are an amusing kitten. And brave. Foolish, but brave. For that, I will answer one question. Not the one you managed to ask without asking. Another question. What is it you wish to know?" As she spoke, Enid tilted her head, the angles of her face creating strange and sinister shadows on half her face, the other half looking more normal that usual. More human. The contrast seemed appropriate to Persephone, and she had a feeling that the thing she feared in the fey was the more real of the two appearances.
Wetting her lips, she tugged her knees up against her chest, wrapping her arms around them. "Marcus. He's a.. hybrid. I thought that wasn't possible. Hybrids don't survive. We know that. How? How did the Fraternity get there hands on him? How did he survive?" Earnestness was there in her face, dark hair framing a face that looked so innocent, so believing. Not quite as much a lie as the mask Enid presented, but it was not exactly true either.
Enid's lips curved in a smile, the red too red against her skin, and she noddded. "Technically more than one question, but in the end all one piece with the answer. I do not know everything. We fey may have some skills with scrying, and there may be knowledge we can acquire that others do not, but even we did not know of Marcus until recently. Only fears. So." Enid paused, considering. Her hands sat calmly on her knees, body hidden by a shapeless dress that still seemed to hint at curves, suggest suppleness. The colours shifted as Persephone looked, greys and lavenders and browns and greens, strange patterns.
"The Fraternity do not kill all otherkin they encounter. Some have gone missing, but I think you knew this. Greg has told you of his aunt." Enid did not elaborate that doctor was probably related to Marcus. That was a secret that was his alone to share. His and the rat's.
"Others were taken, disappeared. Fey were presumed dead. We do not believe such deaths as easily as others, however. Some were sent to investigate." There was a pause and Persephone was fairly certain that Enid may also have lost someone. At the least she had known some who disappeared. Persephone could sympathize with that. Losing someone hurt.
"By the time the truth was discovered, it was too late. Those we had lost were too badly damaged if not dead. We did not know the full extent of the experiments the Fraternity had been engaged in. We did know they had tried breeding programs. It had seemed most likely that all had failed, or that their results had been weak, just as those few surviving hybrids have been." Enid drew in a slow breath, pain flitting across her face. It had been an awful time and she preferred not to think of it. Seeing Marcus gave her pain, brought forth memories she did not want.
"Clearly we were wrong. We do not know how, but the Fraternity bred Marcus apurpose. Perhaps it was with drugs, perhaps with some sorcery, but they did manage to keep Marcus alive and ensure he gained strengths alone." Savagery flitted behind Enid's eyes, a glorying in the thought of the destruction this weapon could weild. The King would be glorious. She would enjoy his discoveries of the full worth of the gifts her people had chosen for him.
"So the Fraternity did not 'get their hands on' Marcus, but created him. Through whatever means they used they were able to keep him alive. They even appear to have subdued his beast, at least until recently. Until Xenia was at risk." Enid was well aware of the true beginning of Marcus's change. There had been witnesses lingering in the shadows that neither the weres nor Fraternity had been aware of. The girl was the key for whatever reason. That was unimportant. Unless it was not. Unless there was a reason beyond that she spoke to his beast.
It would bear thinking on, a question Enid filed away.
Persephone cleared her throat as the silence lengthened. "I know you said one question, but... what does it mean that Marcus is half fey?" She knew she was pushing her luck, but Enid might be the only person who could answer such things. Sure, it should be Marcus asking the questions, but he had enough on his mind. This was something Persephone could do for him.
Enid's lips pursed and her eyes narrowed slightly. Her hand snapped out, slapping the wall beside her, returning with a carefully cradled spider in her palm which she watched as it froze, then scuttled over the pads of her fingers, seeking escape. "That is the question we all ask. We know it has given him immunity against silver, freedom from the weaknesses of the weres. His eyes are not as they were either. It is beginning to show. Whether other changes will come... that is something we shall simply have to wait to discover. For his sake, I hope not."
Enid knew who Marcus's father had been, knew what blood mingled with that of the werewolves in his veins. The power that could come with that blood was not something Marcus would enjoy. It seemed unlikely, but she remained to watch.
The fey's eyes returned to the shifter-girl before her. "Curious kitten, you have had your answers. Take one more gift with you. Or perhaps not a gift, but a heavy burden. One we all will have to bear: The Butcher breathes yet. He shall return to his work, not as he was before. We were foolish to accede to the wishes of the woman, and we shall come to regret that. We must hope Marcus is ready on that day." Yes, everything pointed to the awful answer that Alexander had been reclaimed by the Fraternity. Hints of what was to come had been seen by the fey. It was, in truth, for that that Enid remained. The children of Oberon readied for war, finally ready to join the rest of the otherkin. It simply remained to see if their future leader was up to the task. Enid truly hoped he was.
Persephone's eyes widened, and every muscle in her body went taut. Alexander was not dead? He had so nearly killed her, had, for all intents and purposes, killed Marcus. Xenia's mercy meant that they would see him again. There was no doubt about that.
The shifter jumped to her feet, already racing off. As much as she would prefer to forget she had heard such news, it was something others needed to know. Greg first. Then Marcus and Xennie. Persephone hoped Greg would tell them because it was not news she wanted to give them. Not at all.
Enid smiled into the shadows, needle-sharp teeth bared. Dark eyes peered from the hollows of her face, framed by hair that resembled moss and twigs and leaves far more than the human covering. As she stood it was clear that she was still beautiful, a deadly beauty.
Yes, the war was coming. The Butcher would be just the beginning. What had passed so far would be as nothing, merely the prelude. Blood would flow, and all that could be hoped was that in the end the otherkin would stumble to their feet, their foes left as fertilizer for the grass and trees.
Blow the horns.