As the Prince drives away, the Girls start discussing what to do. They have a contract with the Prince of Minneapolis and now they’re starting to think about having a contract with the Prince of St. Paul.
“He’s always been fair with us,” Lilith says.
“But a contract binds all vampires,” Misty says.
The Girls think about that for a while. But, it’s late. Time for bed.
Misty turns to Lilith. “Do you want to look at the mansion?”
Melanie asks, “The crime scene mansion?”
“I think the lady who owned it was my mom,” Misty says.
“Then I’m going with you,” Lilith says. Melanie agrees.
Kiera tells the others she’s going to sleep. After they leave, she asks a few birds where the limousine went. “To the scary building,” they tell her. So, she heads off to the Cathedral.
She climbs up to one of the higher windows and picks the lock. When she enters, she feels an overwhelming sense of dread. Like a cat pounced on her.
She looks around the upper rooms. She pockets a few items. Then, when she comes out to the corridor, Jacob Collins is there. Waiting for her.
Meanwhile, across town, the other Girls drive up to Elaine Tennyson’s home. There’s a gate and a long driveway that leads up to the house. The Girls break the lock on the gate and drive up to the house.
“There’s a garage,” Melanie says. “If your mom had a big house, maybe she has a bunch of cool cars, too.”
The Girls break into the garage. Inside, they find eight cars and a motorcycle. A Jaguar. A Mercedes. A…
“Hold it right there!”
They all turn and see a tall man with an M16 machine gun. They raise their hands. The man recognizes Misty. “I’m sorry,” he says. “I didn’t recognize you.”
Misty smiles. “It’s okay.”
“Did you forget your code again?” he asks.
She nods. “Yeah. Sorry.”
He asks for a new code and reprograms the security system. “There you go,” he says. “Don’t forget it this time, okay?”
The Girls head up to the house. They use the new code to get into the door. Misty checks out the library.
Kiera looks at the Prince. “I was checking out your church,” she says.
“I just signed a contract with you,” he says. “And you break into my home and steal my possessions.”
Kiera shrugs. “The contract doesn’t say anything about stealing.”
The Prince… smiles. “Yes. I suppose you’re right.” Then he asks, “Would you like to come downstairs into the Cathedral proper?”
Kiera tilts her head. “Sure,” she says.
They walk downstairs. In the Cathedral, she says many figures in red robes. “I’m afraid you disrupted a ritual,” the Prince tells her.
“Can I watch?” she asks.
“I’m afraid it is rather a private ritual.”
“Oh,” Kiera says. “One of those.”
“We could make you a part of it,” he says.
She shakes her head. “No,” she tells him. “I’d better go.”
“Very well,” he says. “Come back any time.” He pauses. “Oh, and please leave the things you stole.”
Kiera empties her pockets, smiles and leaves the front door.
Misty is looking for anything that will trigger a memory. She walks into the woman’s bedroom and smells perfume. Nothing. She looks at pictures and dresses in the closet. Nothing.
Lilith is in the library. She looks at this book and that. Then, she sees a woman opening a secret panel. The woman disappears.
“Misty!” Lilith screams.
Misty and Melanie rush downstairs. Lilith points at the secret passage. “Yeah,” Misty says. “I know about that.”
“But a ghost was here,” she says. “She opened the door.”
Misty opens the secret passage. Only Lilith sees the woman standing at the end of the small chamber pointing at the wall. She tells the other Girls. They close the door. A black light turns on, showing them a symbol that Lilith and Misty have seen before.
“The Tree of Life,” Misty says.
“Why would she point that out to us?” Lilith asks. “I don’t understand.”
Kiera returns to the coffee shop. Jack is there drinking coffee with someone Kiera has never seen before.
“Hi,” the woman says. “My name is Mathilda.”
Kiera sees Mathilda’s Seeming. “You’re a changeling,” she says.
Mathilda nods. “I’ve been living in St. Paul for ten years. I never knew you were here.” She nods at Jack. “Until I met him.”
“I brought her here,” he says.
Kiera nods. “Good. We need more of us. Too many vampires.” She looks around. “Have you seen Barnabas or Sebastian?” she asks.
Jack nods. “They went out to get a drink.” He smiles. “Male bondin’ or some foolishness like that.” He points at the bar. “They left ya a note.”
Kiera looks at the note. She calls a bird. “Go find Barnabas,” she says. The bird flies away.
Back at the house, the Girls are looking at the rune on the wall.
Misty says, “I want you guys to bring up Bess. Maybe she remembers some of this.”
The other Girls don’t think that’s a good idea, but Misty insists.
Lilith says, “Rumplestiltskin.”
Misty’s face darkens with confusion. “Where—where am I?”
And that’s when something in Lilith’s pocket clicks… clicks… clicks…
Bells and thunder. A hundred thousand churches and a hundred thousand lightning strikes.
“Oh no,” she says. “Oh no!”
The other Girls look at her. “What?”
“Can’t you hear it?” she asks. She can barely hear her own voice though the clamour.
“Hear what?” Bess asks. “Where am I?”
“Rumplestiltskin,” Lilith says, shouting over the sound in her ears.
“Why are you shouting?” Melanie asks.
Lilith looks at Bess. Nothing’s happened.
“Rumplestiltskin!” she shouts again.
“Why are you saying that?” Bess asks.
Melanie and Lilith look at each other. Lilith grabs Bess. “We have to get out of here.”
Lilith starts dragging Bess out of the house. Melanie runs after them. “Where are we going?” she asks.
“We have to get Kiera,” she says. “And Walker.” She looks at the watch. “And we don’t have any time.”
Her phone buzzes. It’s Walker.
“Where are you?” he asks.
“At the Tennyson house,” she says. “Where are you?”
“Nowhere near there,” he says. “It’s started.”
“I know!” She can’t hear anything anymore. She just shouts through the noise. “Where can we meet?”
She hears “cathedral” on the other end of the line. She shouts into the phone, “We’ll meet you there!”
She hands the phone to Melanie. “Call the coffee shop. Have Kiera bring all the changelings to the cathedral!”
Lilith sees Melanie’s lips ask, “Why?”
Lilith looks at Bess. Her terrified tears roll down her cheeks. She holds on to Bess’s hand and says to Melaine…
“Because the world is about to die.”
Across town, Kiera’s birds find Sebastian and Barnabas. Kiera steps into the bar. The two men sit in a corner, drinking beers.
“Beer is good,” Sebastian says.
Barnabas laughs. “But not as good as coffee.”
Kiera steps up to the booth. “What are you two doing here?”
“Bonding!” Sebastian says with a smile.
Kiera shrugs. “Both Walker and Lilith called me. They said we have to get to the Cathedral right away.”
Barnabas shakes his head. “Why?”
“I don’t know,” she says. “Something about the end of the world.”
Barnabas and Sebastian laugh. “Sit down,” Sebastian says. “Sit here next to me.”
Kiera does. He puts his arm around her. “Stay a while. You don’t need to go anywhere.”
Kiera feels the Wolf’s arm around her. He’s large and strong and warm. Like a nest. She smiles.
* * *
At the Cathedral, the other Girls begin hearing the sound. Bells and thunder.
“What is that?” Melanie asks.
Lilith doesn’t hear her. She looks around. Where are they?
Another car pulls up. Walker jumps out. “We’ve got seconds left!” he says. He reaches out. “Hold hands!”
Before she takes anybody by the hand, Melanie takes out a pen and starts writing things on her arm.
“What’s that?” Walker asks.
“Phone numbers,” she says. “I don’t want to forget them.”
Walker looks at Misty. “Misty, are you okay?”
“Who is Misty?” Bess asks.
Walker’s eyes fill up with tears and understanding. He reaches out with his hand. Their rings touch.
And at that moment, Bess and Misty see each other. They know each other. They are each other.
The clamor around them thrashes their bodies. It rips at their grip, trying to tear them apart. And just when the sound is too much…
… standing in a tent. The smell of grass and recent rain. There are voices outside.
The Girls look at each other. Lilith, Melanie and Bess/Misty. But they aren’t.
Lilith asks, “Where did Walker go?”
Bess/Misty cocks her head. “Who?”
Lilith looks down at herself. Her body is smaller. She wears a dress made of cotton and wool. Her skin is lighter. Pale. She… she…
“My name is Anwyn,” she says.
“Why am I here?” Bess/Misty asks.
The three Girls are still holding hands. Anwyn/Lilith’s head is full of memories. Memories of learning in the woods. Memories of blessing the water. Memories of…
“I’m blessing you,” Anwyn/Lilith says. “For luck in the joust.”
Bess/Misty nods. She wears black armor. She carries a sword. She wears no heraldry on her armor. That way, the men will not know she’s a woman.
“I’m blessing you,” Anwyn says again. “Lady Terrwyn.”
Lady Terrwyn nods. “Are you finished?” she asks.
“I am,” Anwyn says.
Terrwyn salutes her. “Thank you,” she says. And Anwyn sees that Terrwyn still wears Lady Fate’s ring.
When Terrwyn leaves the tent, Anwyn looks at Melanie. “Melanie?” she asks.
Melanie nods. “What happened?”
Lilith tells her. “The world ended. It became something else.”
Melanie asks, “Who is Ysbail? Why do I know everything about her?”
“You are Ysbail,” Lilith says. “Ysbail of Leon.” She gestures at herself. “And I’m Anwyn.”
Melanie looks at Lilith. “You’re a witch?”
Lilith shakes her head. “No. I’m an Enchantress. I’m a pagan priestess.”
Melanie looks confused. “I’m confused,” she says.
Lilith sits her down. “The world ended,” she says. “And was born again. A new world. And we’re these people in this new world.”
“We have their memories and everything?”
Lilith nods. “Yes. We are them. They’re us.”
“When did this happen?”
“Apparently, it happens all the time.”
Melanie points out the doorway of the tent. “What happened to Misty?”
Lilith shakes her head. “She doesn’t remember the old world. All she remembers is this one.”
“Maybe that’s a good thing,” Melanie says.
Just then, Lilith stands up. “Oh my gosh!” she says. “We forgot all about Kiera!”
“You don’t look well, my wife,” Barnabas says.
Kiera looks at Barnabas with wide eyes. “Did you say ‘wife?’”
“Was I supposed to say something else?”
In a tent elsewhere, Sir Barnabas and his wife, the Lady Brangaine sit with their lunch.
“Wait a second,” Kiera says. “This is weird.”
“You are not well,” Barnabas says. “Let me fetch an apothecary.”
Kiera shakes her head. “No, no. I’m okay.”
Barnabas looks confused. “Okay, my wife? What manner of foreign tongue is that?”
Kiera’s temper starts to boil. “I’m all right. I’m…” she pauses. “I’m… Lady Bragaine.”
“You aren’t well,” Barnabas says. “I will fetch an apothecary.”
Kiera tries to protest, but he sits her down in the bed and leaves the tent.
A few moments later, he returns. With the Enchantress Anwyn.
“She says she is well, but I think she is ill,” Barnabas tells Anwyn.
Anwyn nods. “Leave me alone with your wife for a moment,” she says. Barnabas nods and leaves.
“What’s going on?” Kiera asks. “What happened?”
Slowly, Anwyn explains the story again.
Kiera/Bragaine nods. “Okay. Then who am I? Kiera or Bragaine?”
Anwyn smiles a shaky smile. “Both,” she says.
“Where’s everyone else?” Bragaine asks.
“Melanie’s with me. Misty doesn’t remember the old world. She only remembers who she is here.”
Anwyn shakes her head. “I don’t know.”
In her black armor, Lady Terrwyn sits upon her horse. Lance in hand, she looks down the field at the knight who faces her.
The herald announces the next joust for today. “Here,” he says, pointing at the knight on the other side, “is a young knight! His first joust! The fair and strong son of Sir Ector. Sir Kay!”
The crowd cheers a little.
The herald points at Lady Terrwyn. “And here stands ready to joust is his opponent! The unknown… black knight!”
The crowd cheers a little.
The two riders salute each other. They kick their horses and rush forward.
When the lances crash, Sir Kay is downed but the black knight remains in the saddle.
“The winner! The unknown… black knight!”
The crowd cheers a little more. Under her helmet, Lady Terrwyn breathes a little easier.
Ysbail of Leon returns to her tent at the tournament. Her eyes show more than a little confusion.
“Madame,” her servant says. “A Lady here to see you. From France. She says she has business with you.”
Ysbail enters the tent. A slight, slender woman sits. Her face is sharp and beautiful. Her skin is pale and smooth. She stands and courtseys.
“I am sorry,” Ysbail says. “But I do not know you.”
The Lady bows her head. “It is true,” she says. Her accent is thick and difficult to manage.
“I speak French,” Ysbail says.
“Merci,” the Lady says. She continues in her native tongue. “Your family has had dealings with my husband. But, he has been killed and I have taken up the duties of the household.”
“I am sorry to hear it,” Ysbail says. Then, Ysbail remembers that she’s Melanie. A changeling from the Twin Cities. She doesn’t know any French.
“Stay focused,” she says to herself. And Ysbail’s memories converge in her mind, eclipsing Melanie’s. She speaks French again. “What was your husband’s name?”
“Bouyant of Champaigne,” she says.
Ysbail remembers the man. Tall, handsome. Strong. “A shame,” she says. “An honest shame to lose a husband so young.”
The Lady nods. “I hope our families can continue our trade,” she says.
Ysbail smiles. “I’m sure we can.”
The Lady stands. “I must leave,” she says. “I have others to notify of my husband’s passing.”
“What was your name?” Ysbail asks.
The Lady pauses at the door. “Auriculaire,” she says. She blushes. “A nickname my father gave me when I was young. I’m afraid it has remained with me all these years.”
Ysbail smiles and pours herself some wine. It is only after a few moments that the cup slips from her fingers and smashes to the ground.