"Sometimes her work keeps her out all night," Joffrey explains, "I'm not sure when she'll be back."
"I didn't expect you so early," he says, greeting her with a hug and a passionate kiss, "Can I make you some lunch?"
Sage accepts the lunch, and spends the rest of the day with her family.
"I'll be leaving before dawn," she says, "Moth says Aymeri has gone deep underground and it might be sometime before I get back."
"Maybe I should go with you," Joffrey offers, "Kieran could spend the night with the Saint James family. He and Theophile have gotten very close."
"I'd love to have you along, but Moth says only someone with fae blood would be allowed to enter," she answers, "But I will need your help in this. Moth doesn't know where Cecilia has taken Summerdream. You know MorcuCorp, I'll need you to help me find her, whether or not I suceed in getting Aymer's aid."
Aymeri frowns, "I gave the traitor to Summerdream to bind her. Instead, she made a bargain with the woman, and set her free. Why should I rescue her from a trap she stepped in to?"
Sage is taken aback by the sharp anger in his tone, but it doesn't frighten her the way it did poor Moth. "Cecilia promised her she could help her and Auberon conceive a child," she says, "You must understand how difficult it would have been to walk away from that."
Aymeri doesn't soften in the least, "I understand Tania's weakness," he says, "She believes in a future that will never be. And I am done with fighting a war we lost ages ago. We are over, and it is time we let it go."
"How can you say that?" she asks, "As long as you fight, there's always a chance."
Aymeri shakes his head, "I have fought for more years than can be counted. Fighting will not bring us back to what we were before the mortals came. We were numerous then, the world was ours. Everything changed when the mortals came, we became vulnerable, we began to die, and there were fewer and fewer children to replace those that were lost. The world belongs to the mortals now, and perhaps that is the way it is meant to be."
"That sounds like an excuse to me," Sage says, her jaw set firmly, "Your human wife and children have grown old and died, and you're holing yourself up here because you don't want to face it."
"I cannot deny it," Aymeri agrees sadly, "I have seen too much of death, and my will to fight has died in the process."
"You come here, to my place, and yet you are surprised to see me?" Ico says.
"I came here for you, but I did expect you would show yourself," Aymeri answers.
"I grieve for many things I've done, Ico, and many more that I haven't," Aymeri answers, "You saw what she became, the pollution made us into monsters. Your own hands are not so clean, you fought in the war, and killed in it."
"She was your daughter."
"I have not forgotten, Ico. Would you have wanted her to live, polluted and twisted as she was. You know as well as I, death was a mercy."
Sage listens uncomfortable to their exchange. Clearly, there is much she doesn't know about her great-grandfather.
"Excuse me," Sage interrupts, addressing Ico, "I came here to find help rescuing Tania Summerdream."
The fae woman stares at Sage for a moment, "You are his kin, and yet mortal. And you are fae, as well," her eyebrows raise, "I even sense some elf in you. Strange. I am Icovellauna, and this is my place. Tell me, what has become of Summerdream that she sends a halfing to my spring to ask my assistance?
Sage explains the situation.
"Oh, poor Tania," Ico sighs, "She has long wanted a child. But to throw herself into the hands of mortals...she must have become desperate. Of course we will aid you, mortal child."
"'We', Ico?" Aymeri says, a spark of hope lighting in his eyes.
"I will put aside my wrath to join you on this quest, Meri," Ico says, "For Tania," she adds, looking away with a blush.