Sunday Snippet from my gay Victorian fae romance, Oak King Holly King – available now wherever fine books are found!
Wren, meanwhile, rummaged through his satchel. From its depths he produced a hand-mirror and held it out to Shrike.
Shrike took it. Throughout his centuries he’d heard of mirrors in stories and songs and glimpsed them in the hands of fae and mortal gentry. Then Wren had brought his to Blackthorn—a plain thing, he’d called it when he caught Shrike staring, merely a palm-sized circle of silvered glass set in an oaken frame and handle. Shrike had watched him ply his razor with it many a morn.
But he’d never held it in his own hand until now.
His face looked rather like it had in reflections of still water and in Wren’s sketches. There were but two difference—the bulbous, velvet-covered sprouts of a pair of antlers, one on either side of his brow.
“Ah,” said Shrike.
“You don’t seem terribly surprised,” said Wren.
“It’s a bit early for the first tines to split off,” Shrike admitted. He gingerly touched the tips of the new prongs, then pulled his fingers away with a hiss of pain.
“So,” Wren said, filling Shrike’s mug again—minus the laudanum—and pouring another for himself. “Antlers.”
“Aye,” Shrike replied.
“And this has never happened to you before?”
“So you don’t know how long they’ll take to grow in. Or how broad they’ll be when they do.”
“No,” Shrike admitted. Then, “Do you mind them?”
Wren looked at him as though he’d just asked something absurd. “I mind the pain they’ve caused you.”
Shrike chuckled into his tea.
“But, no,” Wren added with a smile of his own. “I don’t mind them.”
Shrike supposed he ought to have surmised as much, given Wren’s reaction to the Court of Hidden Folk, but it still relieved him to hear the answer.
“Do you?” Wren asked. “Mind them, I mean.”
Shrike shrugged. “They’re coming in whether I mind them or not.”
Wren blinked. “Fair enough.”
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