Soon, echoes began to shush their footsteps and salty humidity began to coat their tongues. The ground became slippery. Orlaith emerged first beneath an outcropping sharp as canine teeth, set into the side of a plunging cliff. The rock met the sea in a short band of pebbles and pink sand.
Just then the windchimes banged together and Lonan appeared with a gull feather tucked behind his ear. He broke in between the three of them, hoisting Meredy and Merle up like cats by the scruff.
The flutist stood at the railing of the ship, playing a cheery jig over it all. The song died when Lonan skidded to the water’s edge. He looked Lonan up and down.
The pirates still in the street—excluding the man who’d taken the swords, with the blacksmith and the Rune-reader dead at his feet—bristled towards the newcomers. One of them seized Lonan by the upper arms and hauled him against the wall with everyone else.
Everyone had abandoned the street by the time Lonan returned to it. Doors still hung open. All the people were turned out of their houses, and continents of pottery shards were scattered outside Serafina Fiamma. There was no fire this time, no scorched feathers.
A solitary auburn-haired figure pored over amber shards split open on a table stacked with maps. With a heavy needle, they chipped at the crinkled legs of spiders and wasps trapped inside. The two seagull feathers sat next to an aged sextant on the maps.
A young man crouched over the embers, stirring them with a stick. His black curls were pulled back in wet strands and a raven skull leered on the shoulder of his tatty greatcoat, spewing its own feathers.
The runners bolted at the signal. Their feet pounded the rock, all Serafina’s teenagers galloping through the crevasses. Jeanie with the leg she’d broken summers ago lagged, but her torch was the first to find kindling. The long fronds of a fescue patch ignited.
Cyprus touched the remnants of the decal. He could make out very faint impressions of white trees, their leafless branches enclosing blue-green globes. Silver-dabbed snakes cradled them, eyes set from trimmed malachite.
To people who experience attraction: would an individual's use of this charm affect your ABILITY to consent to sex?