Uluki breathed a quiet sigh of relief when Aorle hugged Rollick. That was the last of her fears gone. Aorle had given his word he would not harm her husband, and she had no doubt he would keep it, but she had still worried Aorle might treat him differently after he knew. Might act cautiously around him, might hold him at arms’ length… as so many people had. It often seemed people were just waiting for Rollick to snap. Uluki was glad that didn’t seem to be the case with Aorle. She wanted Rollick to be accepted, not feared. How their leader reacted would strongly affect how the warriors viewed things; if Aorle had seemed not to trust Rollick, she doubted they ever would either. With Aorle showing confidence, it would be much easier for Rollick to fit in here, and she was so very glad of that. Her husband deserved to be as happy as possible.
In response to the questions, Rollick shook his head and Uluki shrugged helplessly. Rollick seemed to need a moment to recover from the emotions dragged up along with the memories he had spoken of, so Uluki fielded Aorle’s questions, allowing her husband just to listen and collect his thoughts.
“Everyone knew about Rollick getting possessed,” she explained. “I don’t think anyone could have missed hearing about the battle, and a lot of people actually saw it themselves. Everyone knew that I used magic, too. It wasn’t illegal, so there was never any need to hide it. I healed people on a daily basis, and never made any attempt to keep it secret. Those things were common knowledge.”
“The one thing I’m not sure of is how anyone would have known about our daughters. I’m not sure how much Rollick told you, but it was important we keep that quiet. Our daughters were created to be living weapons. They were considered property. Those who made them believed they owned them. They thought they could use them for anything, any purpose, like they weren’t even people. Zee was to be their soldier, and Dash their assassin— created by magic to fight, and to die, without ever being cared about or loved. We couldn’t allow them to be taken back there and forced to live like that. Our daughters are people, and they have hearts and souls just like anyone else. It isn’t right for them to be owned, to be treated like things.”
“The people who made them want them back, though, and would go to great lengths to recover them. We’ve had to be really careful, because they would definitely pay a large reward, and we couldn’t take the risk that someone unscrupulous might be tempted to betray Dash and Zee. No one knows but our family— including Mercedes, my adopted sister. She would never tell anyone, though. She would die before she let our daughters get hurt.”
“The only other thing I can think of is the scientists and mages who made Zee and Dash. They would know about their background, and they might have figured out where we are. That doesn’t makes sense, though, because they’d only care about the girls, not Rollick or me. I’m sure they wouldn’t have any qualm killing us if we got in the way, but I don’t think they’d consider it important to seek us out. If it was the people who created our daughters, they’d be here for the girls, not us, and they wouldn’t suggest you send us away and keep them. So… I don’t know.”
“I also can’t think of anyone who had sufficient grudge against us to follow us all this way to harm us. There were plenty of people who disliked us, and would have killed us if they had a chance. People like Snyde, who preyed on others, considered us an obstacle, and would have been happy to have us out of their way. We made some enemies among those who wanted to exploit the innocent and defenceless, but couldn’t because of us.”
“There were also lots of people who didn’t like me because I was Fae, and they would have killed me except that… after the battle, people both feared and respected Rollick and Mercedes and Mara, and they were afraid to hurt me because of the people I had protecting me, people who made it clear they would not tolerate me being hurt. Otherwise… well, no amount of effort against evil could make the people in our community see me as anything but an untrustworthy Fae, and a dangerous outsider. The others who survived the battle were hailed as heroes… though they were treated with caution, like loaded weapons. I… well, at least the people didn’t kill me, although they wanted to.”
“People hated it even more that Rollick and I were together. They called it an abomination, because he’s a human and I’m Fae. They thought I’d bewitched him, like there was no other way he could possibly love me. They called us bad names, and one time they threw rocks. It made them angry when we had a child together. They called our baby even worse things than they called us. They said he should never have been allowed to be. I think they would have killed Rollick for loving me, and Martin just for being alive and coming from us… but they were mostly too scared to try, luckily. Those people certainly despised us.”
Uluki was deeply glad that Aorle, Julen, Rosemary, and the others here were able to accept her relationship with Rollick, seeming to have no problems with a human and one of the Fae being openly in love. She’d heard no snide comments, seen no disapproving looks. None of that had ever affected how she felt about Rollick, of course… but being accepted felt nicer than being hated. It was a refreshing change.
“The only thing is that I can’t imagine any of those people having reason to pursue us. They didn’t like us, but I would think having us gone would be enough for them. I don’t think anyone hated us enough to follow us here. I’m sorry not to be more help, but I don’t really have any answers for you. We may have to wait for this person to make another move, and that might give us another clue. Until then, I’m just not sure.” She looked to Rollick to see if he had any ideas she hadn’t thought of, but he seemed at as much of a loss as she was.
Unable to resist any longer, she changed the subject to ask Aorle, “How are you feeling today? Are your wounds healing? Is there anything more I can do?”