“You think we’re here to harm Evil?” Beth asked, raising an eyebrow at him.
“Last time someone was brought here without my permission and signature, two people died. That was what started this bloody war. They went behind my back and people died.”
He lit his cigarette like he had the first one, by clicking his fingers.
“What is it you smoke? It’s not tobacco,” Beth pointed out.
“This,” he said, holding up his cigarette, “is aprioris.”
“Isn’t that illegal?”
“Depends who you ask. You ask the brotherhood, they would say yes; ask the Elders, half of them would say yes; ask the general public and they would say no.”
“Are there no laws against drugs and things like that?”
“Not as such. For a law to be passed, it needs to go through the gentry, then the aristocracy before finally reaching the Elders and put to vote. Seeing as nearly all the aristocracy take some form of narcotic, it’s a bit pointless to even try.”
“So you are aware that drugs are bad,” she said, looking at him.
“Oh, yes, I am, I just really don’t care. I’ve gone four thousand years on a large amount of substances that are supposed to destroy my body.”
“How are you still alive?”
Storm laughed. “Not a clue.”
Beth finished her breakfast and kept talking to Storm. She asked him about all sorts of things, but when she reached the subject of family, he closed up completely, his face going blank. His eyes glazed over and flicked away. She recognised that expression from when Robert had spoken to her about his family.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said anything,” she said immediately.
“No,” he said, shaking his head, “it was a long time ago. It’s not your fault I can’t let it go.” He shrugged dismissively.
Beth fell silent, unsure of what to say.
After a moment, Storm said, “Your friend, Thorn, what’s he like?”
“I don’t know him very well, but he’s kind and—”
“I question not his heart, but his reasons. He can enter this world without permission; he is no human and no exile, as you and Daniel are, and therefore needs no permit. I object to his presence in this city, but have no say in his staying here. However, if he acts in such a way that I see as malicious, or behaves wrongly to any of our kind during his stay here, he will be dealt with,” Storm said firmly, his eyes flat and his expression blank. He was a true warrior, a true protector; dedicated entirely to the welfare of his kind and their dwelling place. He stood, preparing to leave. “I must go. It was very nice to meet you, though I think it’s needless to say I’ll be watching.”
With that, he left without much of a fuss, leaving Beth somewhat confused. Did Storm really think Thorn was here to harm people? What did he think of Daniel? Of her?
“Beth, you okay?” she heard Isabella ask, pulling her back to the real world. Or, rather, the world that was now the real one.