Author's Note: Hi all! This is my first time posting so please bear with me with the format. I am posting this for a friend as she doesn't have an account on here. This is her first time sharing something she has written with the public. I hope you enjoy it. She does have an Ao3 account under HighLadySolo if you would like to visit her there.
Fear of a Thing
Iron nails flicked out, snapping into place over her fingertips. In and out, in and out.
Manon Blackbeak's patience was wearing thin. Dorian Havilliard had sworn that he would only be an hour and that he would I most certainly be waiting for her at the end of that hour.
He was not.
After thirty more seconds, Manon stalked through the doorway and resisted the urge to snap out her iron teeth. Feyre had explained to her that the guardians of the library were broken but gentle, and Manon did not wish to frighten them. She left the nails out, though.
Sniffing the air for Dorian's scent, Manon prowled forward through the library's downward spiraling walkways. She had no understanding of Dorian's love of books, nor of his desire to remain in a space such as this library. It was too dry, and the scent of old parchment and cracked leather made her stifle a sneeze as she weaved in and out of shelves. Dorian's scent drifted back and forth, stronger in the places where he'd lingered. After several minutes of searching, Manon came across two other familiar scents: Aelin Ashryver Whitethorn Galathynius and wine.
Manon chose to follow those scents instead.
Rounding a corner, the first thing Manon saw was a pair of worn leather boots propped up on a table. The second thing was a golden head bowed forward reading "The Ice Prince's Fiery Queen". The third was a nearly full bottle of wine on the table beside the Queen of Terrasen's boots. Manon strode past the queen to the table and took a long drink of wine before wordlessly handing the bottle to Aelin, who had her hand held out with her nose still buried in her book.
"What, exactly, are you reading, your majesty?" Manon drawled.
"This is a gripping tale of adventure, deceit, and-" Aelin said, but Manon interrupted.
"Bodice ripping?" Manon asked.
"Absolutely." Aelin gave her signature wicked grin. "Do join me, Witchling, and we shall see what we can learn from this, this very informative, very educational tome." Aelin waggled her eyebrows at Manon's faint smirk.
"Gods, woman." Manon rolled her eyes, but pulled a chair from the nearby table and sat beside the queen.
An hour and two bottles of wine later, somehow the queen had snuck in a leather satchel filled with alcohol, Manon and Aelin decided to give up their smut-reading to go in search of the still-missing King of Adarlan. This decision came after Manon's barks of laughter and Aelin's over-dramatic gasps had caused one of the kind-faced priestesses to shush them. Twice. Another bottle appeared from Manon what was beginning to think was some sort of magical bag, and the two women sauntered off to hunt down Dorian.
Their immortal bodies allowed them to drink more than humans, and really, Manon thought, wasn't that one of the best parts of being some sort of magical monster. After the teeth and nails, the lifespan, the strength, and… everything else. Manon looked sidelong at Aelin, who was very determinedly trying to walk in a straight line. Around a curved walkway. The fae queen walked directly into the railing and very possibly would have fallen into the abyss had Manon not yanked her backward by the back of her tunic. Giggling was not something witches did often, particularly not the Queen of both the Crochans and Ironteeth clans, but Manon felt it bubbling out before she could stop herself. Aelin looked at her aghast, let out a huge guffaw, and promptly doubled over with her hands on her knees, gasping for breath.
"Come on, before the priestesses come after us again." Manon dragged the hysterically laughing queen down deeper into the bowels of the great library. She faintly noticed the temperature dropping and the light growing dimmer, but decided that was just part of being so deep underground. Aelin was still gasping for air, but she was at least upright enough to continue walking.
"What are we doing anyway?" Aelin griped, holding up the most recent bottle to see how much wine remained.
"We are looking for gods-damned Dorian Havilliard so we can get out of here," Manon hissed.
"Ooh but libraries are the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons!" Aelin crooned.
Manon thought she might actually be serious.
"Abraxos is waiting for us," she snapped, "although by now the great beast has probably found a flower patch to sleep in or some moon-eyed orphan to follow around." She huffed in mock exasperation at the wyvern's temperament.
Aelin, who was not listening, said,
"Look at these shelves. I need to get Rowan down here and…" she trailed off, raising her eyebrows at Manon.
Manon chose to ignore her.
"Maybe His Highness is down here," Manon said loudly, in hopes that the highness in question would hear her and make his presence known.
She had no such luck.
Several fruitless minutes of searching later, Manon and Aelin found themselves wandering directly into a patch of darkness.
It was pure, inky darkness, with no lights or sounds penetrating its depths. Manon felt Aelin stiffen beside her. It surrounded them, and no matter which way she turned, there was no way out.
"My flame," she said, "I can't see it." Manon felt the panic begin to rise in the other woman's voice.
"Hello," a voice crooned beside her ear. A pair of silvery, cat-like eyes materialized out of the space in which the darkness seemed blackest.
Manon's iron teeth and nails snapped out.
"Come no closer," she hissed and swiped out with a hand. Her sharp nails met no resistance, only cold darkness.
Beside her, Manon could feel Aelin fumbling with her hands, trying to summon the only ember that remained of her former flame.
"Put those away," the thing said. "I mean you no harm. I only wish to speak of life with you."
Before Manon could scoff at it, the darkness around them loosened enough for the two women to see each other. Aelin's small flame was visible, and she thrust her hand forward as if trying to light a path to whatever had spoken. Manon did not follow instructions and left her teeth and nails on display.
"Is that," the voice spoke with hesitation, "wine?" If a pair of disembodied eyes floating in the darkest darkness Manon had seen could sound wistful, then it sounded wistful. Both Manon and Aelin took half a step back from the creature's absolute longing.
"Yes," Aelin answered slowly.
"May I," the creature paused. "May I imbibe with you?"
The two queens first stared at the eyes, then at each other. Aelin, as usual, broke the silence.
"You… want to drink with us?" She sounded incredulous.
"Yessss." The voice hissed, still wistful. "I heard your laughter from above and wished to join you. And now here you are!"
"How, exactly, do you drink?" Aelin asked. "You're just a pair of floating eyes." She was clearly still feeling the effects of the wine.
"I just do," the voice said. "Now, shall we drink?"
Aelin eyed Manon, shrugged, and tossed yet another bottle of wine into the darkness. There was no crash of breaking glass, only a short silence followed by a long sigh.
"Thank you," the voice sighed. "It has been a long time."
"Well," Aelin said, "cheers!" She fished out another bottle, took a few gulps, and passed it to Manon, who also drank deeply, despite still being wary of the floating eyeballs beside her head.
"Now, ladies," the thing said, "tell me everything."
Between the two of them, Manon and Aelin told the creature their very long tale. It laughed and gasped and oh-hell-no'ed in all the right places, and Manon found herself feeling almost friendly to it.
Once their tale was completed, Aelin stared intently at the eyes.
"You have lovely eyes, friend, but you must have a name," she said.
"I am known as Bryaxis."
"Well, Bryaxis, here's to you." Aelin toasted the creature with her bottle.
After a while of sharing their adventures and hearing some of Bryaxis's, Aelin and Manon came to the conclusion that they should all have some sort of adventure together.
She was not drunk, Manon thought, just pleasantly tipsy. The two women agreed to reconvene with Bryaxis outside the library. The monster, for he had admitted to being such, did not like to traverse through the library and frighten the priestesses. He had his own methods of travel and would meet them outside.
"There's a wyvern waiting near the entrance; we'll wait for you with him. He'll likely have his snout buried in flowers, the soft hearted brute. "Manon's gold eyes rolled skyward, but she felt the hint of a smile grace her lips.
Somehow, Manon and Aelin managed to find their way back up through the spiraling library to the outside. Dorian's scent wove faintly through the air near the center of the library, but Manon decided to find him later. He had been late to meet her, after all, and she would not be made to wait on some man.
Abraxos was indeed waiting with his snout in a patch of blue and purple flowers. He had fallen asleep in the sun, and Manon felt a brief surge of emotion that was still vaguely foreign to her at the sight of him. Aelin sauntered right up to the wyvern and brushed a hand along his snout. A deep humming reverberated from him, but he didn't stir.
"Wake up, you." When he didn't move, Manon prodded a wing with her boot. When he still didn't respond, Manon climbed into the saddle and squeezed his sides with her knees to wake him. Abraxos grunted in response, and Aelin continued petting him like some sort of oversized dog.
"We'll find you a treat," Aelin said in a sing-song voice. The wyvern actually pushed his head into her head and stretched his wings forward.
"Our guest has arrived," Aelin gestured behind Manon. The darkness that had surrounded them in the library was now contained to a small cloud of darkness with silvery, slitted eyes. The cloud floated over and hovered between them. It bobbed slightly, almost as if it were bowing. Aelin snorted and leaned back against Abraxos' wing.
"I would very much like to fly," the dark cloud, no, Bryaxis said. It spoke almost tentatively, as if it were afraid to ask. Abraxos swung his large body around and stared at the dark floating cloud for moment before inching forward and slowly pushing the very tip of his snout into the swirling cloud of blackness. "Oh! That tickles!" Manon felt her eyebrows shoot skyward as the monster inside the darkness… laughed? Abraxos apparently approved of the creature and huffed at Aelin. She understood and vaulted herself onto the saddle behind Manon.
Unfortunately, she vaulted herself too far with her fae strength, and slid right off the other side. Bryaxis floated over, followed Aelin's path, and floated her up and over, depositing her ass in the saddle. Her turquoise eyes widened as she stared at the spot where she had been two seconds before.
"Did you see-" she gestured between the ground and Bryaxis, gaping. "A cloud just floated me."
Manon grinned at her.
"Oh, I need snacks," Aelin moaned and buried her face in her hands.
Bryaxis bobbed up and down in what Manon interpreted as some semblance of an enthusiastic nod.
"Abraxos, take us to Velaris," Manon roared as Abraxos dove into the sky.
Aelin Ashryver Whitethorn Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen and Faerie Queen of the West, was well and truly drunk. And flying on a wyvern. With a pair of floating silver eyeballs that were nestled inside a cloud of roiling darkness. In another world.
What was her life?
Aelin was exceptionally glad that His Royal Buzzardness, Rowan Whitethorn Galathynius, was not present to berate her for her present drunken state. After discovering a wyrdmark that translated to "endless" she had naturally put it to good use by using it to replicate her favorite wine and to magically extend the inside of her satchel. It didn't particularly make sense, but she didn't question it.
Endless wine was endless wine.
Aelin glanced sidelong at Bryaxis, who was merely hovering a few inches over Abraxos' tail. She felt certain that the monster should be terrifying, but as it was, a pair of floating eyeballs really was rather comical. And it had wanted to gossip and drink with her and Manon. Perhaps it was just lonely, down in the library all by itself. Aelin could certainly relate to that, but she was certainly enjoying herself too much to drag up those unpleasant memories.
Flying on a wyvern was incredible, though Aelin felt it might have been more so if she hadn't been feeling the wine too much on her empty stomach. As a child she'd always pondered flying, propelling herself with great jets of flame out of her feet and hands, and she had certainly considered it before giving her magic to forge the Lock, but she'd never gotten the chance. She felt that it might be better flying with a wyvern who was able to easily steer, anyway.
After a few minutes flying, Aelin found herself deposited outside the Palace of Salt and Bone along with her companions. Abraxos tucked in his wings and tail to make himself as small as possible in order to follow them into the thriving marketplace. The cobblestoned streets were wide enough for him to traverse if he made himself small, and Aelin thought the wyvern rather liked the attention that was lavished upon him since Prythian had no such beasts.
Within moments of their entrance to the market, Manon had sniffed out the nearest seller of smoked meats and had bought them all a turkey leg, with the exception of Abraxos who had received an entire turkey. Aelin and Manon both gaped at Bryaxis. Manon had tossed the monster a piece of meat, and it currently floated in midair, beneath the eyes, with strips vanishing off it in neat rows. The two women grinned at each other, and Aelin reached into her bag and procured two more bottles, one of which she tossed at Bryaxis' cloud. The other she drank from and then passed to Manon. Bryaxis' bottle had been neatly intercepted midair, and then deposited gently into a trash receptacle. It was completely empty. Aelin was impressed with the monster's drinking abilities, and ever so slightly jealous.
A beautiful scent hit her nose.
"Chocolate," she said, at the same time as Bryaxis. She looked at the creature and burst out laughing. Manon just looked at them.
"Chocolate," Aelin repeated. Manon shrugged.
"I've never had it," Manon stated.
Aelin and Bryaxis both gasped in offense.
"You must try it. Now." Bryaxis was imperative and Aelin nodded in intense agreement.
The monster and the faerie queen herded Manon inside the shop while Abraxos waited outside with his snout buried in the window-box. Once their purchases had been made, Aelin and Bryaxis watched Manon impatiently as she took what was apparently her first bite of chocolate.
Aelin wasn't sure how the witch had survived for over a century without it.
"It is," Manon paused as she chewed, "all right."
"I will take those!" Her small bag of candy floated over to the dark cloud and disappeared within its depths with a disapproving crinkle of paper.
Aelin wrinkled her nose at Manon, wondering what on earth the witch would like if she didn't like chocolate. Something dreadful, no doubt. Aelin shuddered and drank more wine.
They wandered on, pausing for Bryaxis to examine spices and fruits and all manner of other delicacies. Aelin and Manon were content to drink and follow behind the monster; they both had their own bottle by now as Aelin grew annoyed at sharing. Abraxos followed behind as well, though he was at a slight distance; the wyvern seemed to have picked up a gaggle of giggling stray children who demanded rides from him. The little girls had even placed a wreath of flowers around his scaly neck.
Manon glowered at them, and they'd scampered off for a moment, but the children returned when they saw the witch harbored them no ill intentions.
Finally, once they'd reached the end of the marketplace, and Manon had absolutely denied them use of her wyvern to use as a shopping cart (Aelin and Bryaxis had demanded to visit the Palace of Thread and Jewels) when the group decided to visit the House of Wind in search of more amusement.
Aelin had noticed a bit of a twinkle in Bryaxis eye when the monster had suggested it, but had refrained from mentioning it. A bit of mischief sounded rather intriguing.
The flight to the House of Wind was rather uneventful, but they all continued drinking as they traveled upward. Aelin thought she noticed Bryaxis containing the darkness in its cloud a bit, but thought perhaps the wind was a bother. It was certainly a bother to her; she'd forgotten to braid her hair back before flight and bemoaned its snarled stated. She wondered if she could convince Rowan to comb it out later.
For now, though, Abraxos' leisurely pace upward was very relaxing.
Manon's mind had been wandering for a few moments when she felt Abraxos stop moving forward. He just hovered in midair, flapping his wings with great, thunderous booms.
"Abraxos?" Manon questioned. What in the name of the three faced goddess was the beast doing?
"Whaz wrong?" Aelin slurred. The queen appeared to have fallen asleep on their flight, and her golden hair was twisted and snarled into what looked like a storm cloud on her head.
"Oh, my. We appear to have stopped," Bryaxis added helpfully.
Manon shook her head, clenching her jaw to avoid snapping out her iron teeth at the blatant obviousness of the creature's statement.
"The wards," Bryaxis said, "the House of Wind is warded against winnowing and well, strangers." The pair of floating eyeballs somehow managed to look embarrassed.
Manon refrained from smacking herself in the forehead, though Aelin did not. The queen smacked her palm to her brow and fell backward into Bryaxis' cloud. Gods. How drunk was she?
Nudging Abraxos with her knees, Manon peered forward toward where the House lay blanketed in sunlight. No figures were visible, but she knew someone would be there. Movement and a curse sounded behind her, and Manon turned to see Aelin scrambling out of the darkness that was Bryaxis. She watched in amazement as the other woman managed to pull herself upright out of the cloud of Bryaxis and stood straight up on Abraxos' back. Manon gaped. Bryaxis hissed. Abraxos whipped his huge head around to see what the fuss was about, and Aelin was jostled just enough to lose her balance.
Starflecked wind wrapped around the Queen of Terrasen, hauling her back upright, even as she cursed at its owner.
"Rhys, you godsdamned overgrown bat, let us in!"
Rhysand, High Lord of the Night Court and most powerful male in Prythian, obliged the drunk queen.
A ripple appeared in the fabric of the ward before them, and Abraxos shot through it with enough speed that they all were forced backward. Manon's head smacked into Aelin's, and from the other woman's curse, Aelin smacked into Bryaxis again. Manon snorted; grace of the fae indeed.
Abraxos landed on one of the lower levels of the House of Wind, and Manon felt Aelin slide off his back to the ground. Manon herself leaped gracefully to the tiled floor of the roof but couldn't quite stick the landing. A large hand shot out, and Manon found herself looking up into the violet eyes of Rhysand, one of the most beautiful males she'd ever encountered. If she weren't entirely certain that she'd have to contend with Feyre's wrath, she would have seriously considered inviting him to join her and Dorian some night. But an angry Feyre was a fearsome thing to behold, particularly now that she was very, very pregnant with her second child. So, Manon allowed Rhys to help her stand and kept her mouth shut.
He smirked and quirked an eyebrow at her, though, and she wondered if she needed to work on strengthening her mental shields. Manon thanked the three-faced goddess when she noticed his attention shift behind her.
"Ah, what is that doing here?" Rhys had paled slightly. Manon assumed he meant Bryaxis, but Aelin beat her to the answer.
"Oh, we ran into Bryaxis in the library, and one thing led to another, and we're all drunk and we wanted to raid your wonderful wine cellar." Aelin beamed up at the High Lord of the Night Court. The High Lord looked rather taken aback.
"You- ran into- Bryaxis… and you drank with it?" Rhys sounded a bit concerned for their sanity. Abraxos grunted in response, and Rhys nodded in agreement, like the wyvern was the sanest one of their group.
Manon snorted and fished about for her latest bottle of wine.
"He, Bryaxis, said he was lonely, so we invited him along," Manon said.
"And you weren't," Rhys paused, as if completely unbelieving of their explanation, "weren't frightened at all?"
"Frightened?" Aelin scoffed. "Have you met us? We are frightening. Bryaxis is just a cloud with eyes." The queen shrugged. "Besides he's been a wonderful drinking partner, AND he saved me from falling off Abraxos." Aelin began surreptitiously rummaging in her bag, and finding what she wanted, handed Rhys his very own bottle of magical wyrd-wine.
"The monster, Bryaxis, is a good drinking partner…" Rhys trailed off and took the wine, downing half of it in one go. Then an absolutely evil grin crossed his face. "Perhaps you should take your new friend to see Cassian. They are very old friends and he would be quite surprised."
Bryaxis, who had been completely quiet during the entire exchange between royals, began to speak but Aelin cut him off.
"Yes! How is dear Cassian? I'd love to get in the ring with him!" The queen practically squealed as she hopped back on Abraxos' back. Manon silently followed, gesturing for Rhys to join them. His own wings materialized from darkness behind him, and he led the way to the highest roof of the House of Wind where Manon could just make out Cassian and Azriel sparring while Elain, Amren, and Mor watched from beneath the shade of a large umbrella, their own bottles of wine on a table between them, though they were at least civilized enough to use glasses. Feyre was absent, though she was likely teaching younglings to paint in the Rainbow.
Abraxos made the short flight in seconds, but it was enough for the trio on his back to each finish off their most recent magical bottles of wine. Bryaxis looked, Manon thought, rather nervous, if a pair of floating eyeballs in a cloud could look nervous. She shook off the feeling as she slid off Abraxos' saddle. Aelin had already run off toward the ring where Cassian and Azriel were currently grappling in midair.
Manon watched as Aelin bounded toward them and launched herself skyward, joining their sparring match with almost excessive eagerness. It was a beautiful jump, Manon thought, and the queen seemed to have shed her drunkenness in the process. The two Illyrians turned toward her, snarling with their knives out, as she drew her own, and for one heartbeat, Manon almost felt something like fear. But then Cassian's enormous arms wrapped around Aelin, keeping her aloft while spinning her in midair. It amused Manon to see the queen's drunkenness return to her as the queen turned positively green in the face.
Azriel smacked Cassian's arm, and the two Illyrians landed, with Cassian gently depositing Aelin on the tiled floor of the ring. Rhysand, Manon noticed, remained on the far side behind Abraxos. The two Illyrians turned to greet her as she walked toward them and into the ring.
As he looked toward her, Cassian's face went pure white beneath his deep tan, and he stumbled backward.
"What in all manner of hells, Cassian?" Manon growled at his retreat.
"It's… I can't…but why?" The general of the Night Court appeared to be reduced to a stumbling and stuttering mess.
Her wine-soaked brain realized that Cassian was too close to the edge of the roof, but her reactions were too slow for her to really care, and Manon watched in slow-motion as Cassian took one step too far and tumble backward off the roof.
Feyre Archeron, High Lady of the Night Court, Defender of the Rainbow, Cauldron Blessed, and whatever else she was called these days, was covered in paint and starving. To be fair, neither of those things were new or uncommon, but being pregnant just made everything worse. And she was still at least a block away from her usual takeoff point for flying to the House of Wind. At some point, she really needed to talk Rhys into removing the warding against winnowing to the House, at least for a time. Or for very pregnant females.
She huffed out a frustrated breath.
Rhys had been sending hints of amusement down their bond, but hadn't responded to her questioning. It must have something to do with Aelin's visit, and she wondered what kind of trouble the queen was getting herself into. She felt a slight pang at not being able to partake in what was sure to be a good time, but then she felt the baby move in her belly and remembered that this was why she couldn't currently join in with the drinking and shenanigans. And she was fine with that. Besides, they would have plenty of time after the baby was born. Rhys would certainly not begrudge her time out drinking with her friends.
A screech sounded nearby, and then a large hawk swooped down overhead.
"Hello, Rowan," she laughed. "Shall we join them?"
The hawk dipped in front of her in response, and still laughing, she summoned her own wings. The flight up to the House of Wind only took a few minutes, but it was growing more difficult even as her belly grew.
So she was not entirely paying attention to where she was going when the hawk screamed a warning beside her.
Feyre jumped as much as one can jump while flying in midair, and looked up to see a winged figure fall over the side of the highest level of the House.
Why wasn't he flying?
"Pull up!" she yelled at him, but he continued falling toward her.
"GODDAMMIT, CASSIAN, FLY!" she roared at him, but it was no use.
She continued to curse at him as she used most of her remaining strength to summon a blast of wind to boost him upward. The scent of ice and snow joined the scent of a night in Velaris, and she knew Rowan was harnessing his own wind to boost Cassian too. Between the two of them, they managed to slow the enormous male's fall enough that she was able to catch him, but he was so huge that there was no way she'd be able to fly them both the rest of the way up to the roof, especially not in her state.
At that moment, another shape came off the roof, though this one was huge and moved with intent.
Thank the cauldron for soft-hearted wyverns, she thought, and was grateful when he hovered below her, catching both her and Cassian on his large back.
By now, a row of figures was visible, peering over the edge above them. Rowan flew behind her, a flash, and then she knew he'd shifted in order to keep an unconscious Cassian from sliding off the wyvern. A strange sound reached her ears as she grew near enough to make out their faces. The usual beat of pleasure and contentment at seeing her flicked down the bond, along with… laughter?
They were laughing?
Abraxos hauled them all on top of the roof, and Feyre used the last of her energy to vault off his back.
Panting slightly at her exertion, she growled, "what in the cauldron is going on?"
Because they were all still laughing. Aelin was literally rolling around on the tiled floor, shaking and crying in silent laughter. Manon's grin and occasional bark of laughter were terrifying. Elain was chuckling behind her hand, Amren was pounding her fist on her knee, and Mor looked to be near to joining Aelin on the floor. Rhysand walked over and wrapped an arm around Feyre's shoulders, then gently turned her to see -
"Will one of you laughing idiots please explain what is going on?" Feyre snapped.
Azriel walked over to Mor's abandoned chair, and brought it over so Feyre could rest.
"It seems that Her Flaming Majesty and Her Witchiness have made a new friend," he said.
Feyre gaped at Az. He never said things like that. She watched his face contort and thought for a moment he was in pain until he let out a loud bark of laughter.
"What the-" Cassian was apparently awake.
Azriel, stoic, calm, cold Azriel, took one look at his brother in arms, and doubled over, wheezing.
"My Lady," Bryaxis said, "I encountered Manon and Aelin in the library, and we became friends and imbibed a bit too much, and I, ah, apparently frightened Cassian so much so that he fell off the roof." The monster spoke in a rush.
Feyre stared at the floating cloud with eyes and blinked. And blinked again.
"You two," Feyre pointed at Aelin and Manon, "got drunk with Bryaxis, who then scared the shit out of Cassian?"
"Why is it still here?" hissed Cassian, and Feyre turned to see him, enormous, winged Illyrian baby that he was, cowering behind a confused looking Rowan.
"Bryaxis is our friend!" Aelin gasped out between laughing sobs. "He drank wine with us! And went shopping!"
Feyre really did feel left out then, but Rhys sent soothing calm across the bond and rubbed between her aching shoulder blades.
Azriel, who was still doubled over let out a strangled noise at Aelin's response.
Cassian muttered something about monsters and sneaking up on people and falling off of a roof.
"But," he gasped out; he was nearly sobbing with laughter too, "Cassian, you have wings."
Cassian looked positively murderous at that, but Aelin, who had managed to somehow get upright, sauntered over to him and shoved a bottle of wine into his hands. He drank it, glaring at them all over the bottle as he drained it in one go.
After the full story had been told and everyone had calmed down, Feyre was reminded that she was starving by her stomach growling very loudly. Rhys grinned down at her, and snapped his fingers.
Instantly, a table full of food from Rita's appeared, right there on the roof, along with even more bottles of wine, and several barrels as well. Once they'd all been seated, Rhys held up his glass and made a toast.
"To our heroes!" He said, and snapped again. One of the barrels slid over to Abraxos, who promptly gripped it in the claws at the front of his wings and poured it down his great throat. Manon snorted.
"To new friends!" Aelin called, grinning across at Cassian, who looked extremely uncomfortable near a floating Bryaxis.
"To eating the fucking food!" Feyre sniped, and everyone toasted her and laughed.
Several hours into the party, an annoyed looking Dorian wandered out of the hallway and onto the roof. What he saw was incredibly confusing.
Manon appeared to be arm-wrestling Cassian. Elain was dancing around Abraxos in circles, tossing flowers at him, and the wyvern had a chain of flowers on his head. Rowan, Az, and Rhys appeared to be deep in conversation. Feyre was asleep at the table, leaned back in her chair with a half-eaten pastry in hand. And Aelin, Mor, and Amren were dancing… with a cloud…with eyes.
"What in all hells is going on?" Dorian demanded.
They all just looked at him and laughed.