Rage and frustration took over Isabeau’s features again. She spat, “What use are you like this? Get out of my sight. I don’t want to see you again until you’re fully healed.”
He froze, not quite believing what he had just heard. Isabeau was Light Fae. She had no real understanding of how long it took humans to heal from serious wounds, and he had once been human. His supernatural attributes were of no use to him in healing wounds made by silver. He would have to recover the slow, hard way. The human way.
Lowering his lids to hide the flare of triumph in his eyes, he murmured, “As you command.”
Her gaze darted around the room and fell on a marble figurine. She swept it up and flung it viciously at his head.
He ducked his head to avoid the figurine while his mind raced. He barely noticed when she stormed out of the audience chamber and slammed the door.
If Isabeau’s temper cooled enough to allow her to think, she might realize what she had done. He had to leave before she could find him and rescind her impetuous order.
Tightening his lips against the vivid, tearing pain in his side, he wended his way through the castle, using magic to avert attention from his presence.
Normally his Power flowed like an abundant, nearly inexhaustible river. With the silver poisoning his system, he could barely manage enough for the avert spell.
He didn’t stop at the infirmary to get medical attention or bother going to his rooms to pack clothes. He was too intent on leaving Avalon as quickly as possible.
At one point guards ran down the hall. He heard them coming in time to step into an alcove. They might have been looking for him, or they might have been sent on some other urgent task. He didn’t know or care, and he wasn’t about to risk finding out.
I don’t want to see you again until you’re fully healed.
As long as he avoided hearing a countermanding order, he would have weeks of freedom, something he’d never had under the unending yoke of Isabeau’s geas.
His imagination leaped ahead, racing through possibilities.
If he could acquire another injury before he was fully healed, he might be able to prolong this hiatus, perhaps even indefinitely. Unfortunately, he couldn’t reinjure himself. Long ago, she forbade him to commit any acts of self-harm.
What if he found someone else to strike the blow for him? Someone he could trust to wield a silver weapon without killing him?
Would the geas allow it? He was sure as hell going to find out. If the geas would only let him, he would happily stick a silver knife in his own gut repeatedly to avoid returning to Avalon and living as Isabeau’s slave.
He could gain time. Time to himself.
Time to research ancient texts and learn everything he could about Azrael’s Athame. Time to see if he could work around the magical restraints that bound him and still find a way to destroy Isabeau and Modred.
The geas wouldn’t allow him to destroy them himself—Isabeau’s long-ago first order had forbade him to harm either her or Modred—but what if he could set in motion certain events that would destroy them for him?
As for the wound… life was full of pain. He would deal with it.
First, however, he had to leave Avalon.
His strength ebbed in a slow, steady trickle. Pausing only long enough to tear off strips from the bottom of his jacket, he folded a pad of material over the wound and tied it in place. The cloth was soon soaked, and he reached the closest crossover passageway in a haze of blood loss and pain. The guard at the passageway had been doubled, and conviction solidified.
They were looking for him. He had to wait until nightfall, and then he used the last of his magical strength to cast a sleeping spell over those on duty. When the guards were stretched out on the ground and snoring, he eased past them.
Into the passageway, to England, where the cool of a rainy summer evening greeted him. Morgan had money and resources on Earth. Cars, safe houses, and go-bags packed with credit cards, clothes, weapons, and necessities.
Nobody would be able to find him. Not unless he wanted them to.