Eoin barely hid a mischievous laugh behind amused eyes. “I was not always mute, Fearchar.” Eoin waved and a set of low wooden stools carved with intricate knotworks appeared before them. Seonaid and Fearchar cautiously sat down. Eoin eased into his seat across from them. The only source of light in the darkness was the soft glow from Eoin’s torc and crown.
“But ye’re now?” the hired hand persisted. Eoin leaned forward and fingered his torc, just enough for Fearchar to see an incised scar hidden under the necklace. A black shield-cut feathered arrow sprouted from the scar and blood creeped down the pale column of Eoin’s throat. As the image appeared, it disappeared. “Ye were shot,” Fearchar rubbed his own throat at a sympathetic burst of pain.
“Amazing how quickly something you take for granted everyday can be stolen from you,” Eoin leaned further forward to the center of their triangle and snapped. A gentle fire bloomed in the middle of their circle of stools. The wood smoke was strangely tangy and deep compared to the fires found on the Isle of Skye. Fearchar and Seonaid followed the sparks up to witness stars emerge into a long milky band above them. The constellations were pitched in an odd angle from the ones they were familiar with. The black outline of trees encircled them. A warm breeze smelling of damp foreign soil caused large leaves and long grasses to rattle and hiss in the dark. A creature in the forest let out a hooting bark. Seonaid and Fearchar looked around uncertainly. Eoin was unphased from the noise as birds, frogs, and other animals chirped and called quietly in the night.
“What are you? This isn’t – ” Seonaid waived at the void, not sure of the word she was looking for.
“This is not the fair folk’s land, if that is what you are hoping for, my lady. I am no alfr,” Eoin placated. “I have let you into myself. My mind,” Eoin tapped his skull.
“Surely you jest,” Seonaid exclaimed.
“Humor is not a strength of mine.” Eoin shifted in his seat to draw a bag from his belt. He pulled a handful of powder from it and tossed it to the fire, causing sparks to blossom in sharp shades of orange and pink, lighting the space more fully for a moment. The ring of trees were further than Fearchar and Seonaid had expected, and immensely tall. The shape and scale of the forest were different from the woods of the Isle. The creatures settled in the background.
” ‘ow-?” Fearchar peered around the dark glade. A shiver ran down his back at the strangeness.
“A blessing. I will never say otherwise,” Eoin growled. His green eyes flashed and glowed, but it may have been a trick of the firelight. He replaced his bag of powder. “Certain members of the Fyskar clan could do this – share themselves with others. It was a gift, passed down among my people. Anyone could identify those of us with the talent. It was not difficult.” He brushed through the ends of his hair out of habit, unaware of the attention he drew with such an action.
“They all look sort of like ye?” Fearchar asked. Eoin shrugged and nodding. “Is’at why ye wore the mask, ’cause of yer…yer skin, the shape of yer face, yer ‘air? Ye’re as white as the snow at the door,” Fearchar pointed out the obvious.