After Auberon had collapsed the fae realm, the circles lost their function as portals between the realms, but the magical energies remained, making them a favorite spot for fae spirits to meet and conduct their business.
"Thank you, my friend," Tania answers, "Please leave me to handle this alone."
"You will be safe?" Aymeri asks.
"What could a halfling to do to me, especially within this circle?" Tania laughs.
"As you wish," Aymeri nods, and departs in a puff of smoke.
"You are my sister's own kin, yet you betrayed us to the mortals," Tania says, frowning, "Though it grieves me greatly, I must bind you."
"How is kidnapping the dragon's kin done in our service?" Summerdream laughs, "You gave her over to your mortal scientists to discover our secrets."
"Tell me, Summerdream, when was the last true fae born? How many of you died in your long war? How long have you tried to have a child of your own, and failed to conceive?"
"Before the mortals came, we were many, before the mortals poisoned our land, our water, our air, we were not at war, and before the mortals...we had children," Tania answers bitterly, "And it is to the mortals that you have betrayed us."
"And it is mortal science that gave me, a halfling, immortality. This same science can be used to enhance the fae blood of all halflings, increasing your numbers. It could even help the true fae begin breeding again, help you have a child of your own."
"Because they are my scientists. MorcuCorp and all its knowledge are mine to use, mine to direct. If you bind me, that power falls back into the hands of the mortals. Let me go, and MorcuCorp belongs to the fae. Think carefully before you waste this opportunity."
"Your science could help me have a child?" Tania asks, uncertainly, "A child with Auberon? A true fae child, not a halfling?"
"Science can do many things that magic cannot," Cecilia answers.
"If I give you your freedom, you must leave Aymeri's kin alone. The dragon will not sit by quietly if you harm his kin."
"So I've seen," Cecilia says, "He has destroyed much of our work."
When Summerdream is gone, the clone approaches.
"You heard all that?" Cecilia asks, not surprised that this one tracked her and followed. Of all the clones produced since her husband's death, this one has shown the greatest promise, and she's seen to his training personally.
"I followed to see you came to no harm," he answers with a laugh, "But of course you had the situation in hand even when the enemy believed they had you captive."
"We lost the dragon, but we've gained something far more powerful," Cecilia says. "With Summerdream in my control, I will be queen of not only the mortal realm, but of the fae itself."
She beckons the clone in close to her, and whispers in his ear, "All of you wear his face, speak with his voice, but you are the first one I've recognized. You have his spirit, as well as his body. Tell me, are you ready to be Harris Landgraab? Are you ready to be my king?"
"I am," he answers.
"Sage, we expected you home days ago!" Kelsey exclaims when her daughter finally walks through the door.
"Mom, this is Joffrey...Lannister," Sage says. On the way over, they decided not to reveal his real name to her family, "He's my fiance."
"Oh!" Kelsey says, and an awkward silence with forced smiles follows. "You met in China, then? I met Sage's father when I was traveling, too," Kelsey babbles, "But we didn't marry until recently." Kelsey decides to shut up at that point.
When they ask about his family, Joff tells them he's an orphan. And that's even close to the truth, if he count Harris Landgraab's long-dead parents as his own. When they ask what he does, he says he's an artist. Painting is what he most liked to do when he wasn't actively engaged in working for MorcuCorp.
Sage's son Kieran doesn't have any questions for him. "I'm going to marry your mother," Joffrey tells the boy, "I know you have a father already. I'm really hoping you and I can get along, and you don't grow up resenting me."
"The lies are piling up," Joffrey sighs when he and Sage are finally alone together, "I wish we didn't have to do this."
"The truth is dangerous," Sage answers soothingly, "And if they knew MorcuCorp kidnapped me because my great-grandfather is a dragon, they'd never let me out of the house again." Sage is still reeling inside from learning about her heritage. "Do you think MorcuCorp will try again?"
"I don't know," Joffrey answers honestly.
The couple don't wait long for their wedding. This time, Sage wants a formal party to celebrate.
"Thanks for coming," Sage says when Jeremy approaches her.
Jeremy smiles and congratulates her, refraining from pointing out that she didn't wait very long to replace him.
"I'm so happy you are here to see your daughter get married," Kelsey sighs.
"I was here for her first marriage, too," Chayton reminds her.
"Oh shush," Kelsey reprimands, but laughing at the same time. They are both a little apprehensive of Sage's sudden second marriage coming so quickly after the first, but neither felt they had any business expressing their worries to her, with their own example being so unusual.
The family gathers outside for the wedding.
Rings are exchanged.
A passionate kiss.
And the cake.
Rory gets his niece alone for a moment. "I've heard from my grandfather, from Aymeri," he says in a quiet voice, "He made it out. He wanted you to know, and to send his congratulations."
"Will I ever get to meet him?" Sage asks. At her insistence, Joffrey had told her everything Aymeri had said to him, and he even told her about things he'd read about her family in MorcuCorp's files, and it had all served to make her wish to meet this dragon in person and see him for herself.
"That's up to him," Rory answers, "He only came to me because he needed an explosives expert. I get the feeling he's not interested in a family reunion."
"He did go out of his way to rescue me," Sage points out.
Rory just shrugs.
Before the last guest has said goodbye, Sage and Joffrey sneak off to their bed to celebrate their marriage.
You didn't think I'd just kill Aymeri off like that, did you?
So, in this chapter I took care of Party To Remember. I had the three course meal (Sushi, Grilled Salmon and Cobbler) and I did serve a bottle of perfect nectar Sage brought back from France. Chayton supplied the music. (He's been working on that since he moved in, preparing for his daughter's wedding.