Kenna learned more from Gerald than he realized. She had long been a student of human emotions, but seldom got such rich insights into how young men related.
Then Gerald caught Kenna off guard. “Why were you banished?”
She lay as if frozen for a long while. When she finally spoke, her voice wandered distantly, as if from a maze of twisty little passages deep in the mountain. “I was a child. My parents were both at Liqeni i Zjarrtë. Mother was part of the triad, and my father had come to teach them newly discovered methods of alchemy. Though I was young—I might have looked like an eight-year-old human—I had more experience and understanding than most humans get in a lifetime. And we do not rush our children’s education.
“Anyway, I was helping. There was a relic—a woman's wire belt—infused with both magic and poison. Without the magic the poison would have been trapped in the belt. The triad wanted to remove the poison, leaving the belt its defensive power. My father asked me to bring him a beaker with a potion he had made. He carefully placed the belt in it and turned to look at his notes.
“Darciere had no idea I was supposed to help. She had not been around children since she was much younger than I was. She walked into the room and saw a child holding a beaker with acrid fumes coming from it. She screamed my name. Startled, I flung the beaker. Mother caught it, but a great deal of the potion hit her in the face. She was dead within seconds, much of her face and hair melted away.
“Darciere blamed me and banished me. Father was furious, but the triad answers to no one else regarding such things, so we left. The faerie tribes came together to pick a new triad member. They chose Father, but he would not agree to join until I was of age and on my own. Even then he would not join until Darciere revoked the ban. For many years the triad was no such thing.
“Today is the first time Darciere has spoken to me since she banished me. I do not recall seeing her smile before the accident, but since then she has rarely stopped smiling. I believe Mother's death—and Darciere’s inability to cope with her part in it—drove her mad.
“I long ago forgave her. I do not know if she has forgiven herself.”
Excerpt from Chapter 20, "Fewmets & Fish", of Into Otherness, Book III of The Dragon Lord Chronicles. November 2017.