Page 157 of Court of Nightmares

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I lift my head to see a ripple in the air, like a shuddering rainbow.

“Well, it appears that we have a job for life,” Reve jokes. “I wonder if we get holidays or overtime.”

I look at them and grin. “I’m guessing so, but let’s not push it just yet.”

“We did it,” Nathair murmurs. “Thanks to you. This means we should celebrate. Our race is safe for another day, so back to our lives we go.”

“Yes, let’s celebrate.” I nod, looking at the ripple again. A scream of horror echoes from the rift and fills my ears. I shudder at the pain and turn away, knowing better than to interfere with the gods’ business. They might have spared us, but they could just as easily wipe us out.

We are the link between them and our race.

I wonder if there are others out there in other races doing the same.

I guess time will tell, but it’s time to move on and live our lives.

To be the judges we promised.

To look to the future together.

As one.

Once, not so long ago, I knelt on this floor and accepted death with open arms. Now, I beg for a life filled with hope and not dread.

Life is funny that way.

Sometimes the ones who are broken, the ones who are about to give up, are the ones who have the most potential, if only they are given the opportunity.

Broken is beautiful.


Just like we are, working in the shadows.




Everything is quiet after the gods leave. My men are busy putting the court back to rights, so I find myself outside with my monsters once more. They gather like they know I am coming, and I sit cross-legged on the grass before them.

The hydra, dragon, shapeshifter, puk, pixie, chimera, unicorn and so many more are all here. Even Tide lingers to listen to what I have to say.

They are a menagerie of unique and beautiful deadly creatures, one that aided us.

“You have fulfilled your duty to me. If you wish to leave, you are always welcome to.” I smile. “But truly, I like having you all here. Our lands feel . . . full, but if you do leave, you are always welcome here. There will always be a place for you.”

“I have other things to attend to. I know I asked you to call upon another for me, and I will keep you to that promise. Just not today. I am needed elsewhere.” The dragon stretches then lowers his head in respect. “I, however, will accept that. I will be back, little queen. I have found friendship and a home here. Until we meet again.” He takes to the sky, and some of the others melt away without a word, but others linger. One or two give me the same sort of response as the dragon, and when they leave, the hydra, puk, pixie, unicorn, and Tide remain.

“We would like to stay,” Tide says, speaking for them all. “The dragon is right. We have found friendship here, safety, and a place to belong. That is rare to find.”

“You are always welcome here. If you need us, we are at your disposal. I like having you guys here.” I smile at them. After all, I know how it feels to be a monster nobody wants and to need a home. “I’ll talk to Nathair about adding some structures and homes. Is there anything you need in particular?”

“Well . . .” The mermaid looks to the others and then seems to speak for them once more. “We could use some supplies.”

I tilt my head, calling on Nathair, knowing he will make a mental list and have it done before the end of the day. “Go ahead, name everything and anything. This is your home, and what’s ours is yours.”

I sit and convey what they need to Nathair, and when they are done, I send him a mental kiss.You are the best, my king.

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