Duhywynt’s only weapon against the world will cost him everyone he cares about.
Duhywynt plans to spend his summer catching the legendary Ceffyl Dŵr and swapping make-up tips with his best friend, Myfanwy—until he discovers his older brother has traded his morgenau heritage for mortality. Myrhydion is far more concerned with Duhywynt’s lack of a social life than his own impending death. Duhywynt will do anything to avoid losing him for ever, even if that means faking a friendship with Drew, an annoying tourist holidaying in Aberdaron.
As Drew’s fascination with Duhywynt grows, the prince discovers the deadly legacy of his morgenau heritage. Worse, he risks losing his relationship with Myfanwy—a relationship with depths he is only beginning to understand. Duhywynt knows nothing good can come of having feelings for a human. But can he really say goodbye to Myfanwy forever?
Pairings: F-NB, M-M
Heat Level: 1
Romantic Content: 3
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Genderfluid, Genderqueer, Non Binary, Questioning
Protagonist 1 Age: Under 18
Protagonist 2 Age: Under 18
Tropes: Coming of Age, Families/Raising Kids, Fairy Tales Revisited, Pets Are 'Portant, Wide-Eyed Innocence
Word Count: 73000
Setting: Aberdaron, Wales
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
Mackerel coiled together like one huge silver serpent, dawn glinting on their scales. They twitched as the shadow of a cloud passed overhead, alert to any threat. They saw me floating on the surface, but as I didn’t move, they decided I was safe.
Mackerel are stupid.
One brushed against my open palm, tempting me to snatch it. The fish was faster than it was smart. I summoned the knowledge of the seal. My legs became a powerful tail. I dived, even as the fur of the seal covered my body. By the time my transformation was complete, two mackerel were dead and the school scattered. I let them go, gathering up my catch. Two fish would be more than enough.
The seal’s compact but robust form sliced through the waves. I reached the rocks where the seal colony rested during the day. Mist clung to the tops of the cliffs, shutting out the land entirely. Seabirds called, invisible beyond the cloud.READ MORE
At this early hour, the seals were all out feeding. All but one. Evans Oliver opened sleepy eyes as I surfaced. He was a lump. All seals are, but he was lumpier than most. His fur was mottled grey and his face round, as if someone had squashed it against a plate.
I threw my catch onto the rocks and heaved myself after it. Practice meant I was as graceful as any seal—present company excluded. Evans Oliver was many things, but graceful was not one of them. I transformed back, standing over him on the rocks on the feet of my morgen body. I shook water off my arms, my skin prickling in the cool air.
The seal colony had seen me turn from seal to morgen many times, and every time they scattered, too dense to tell the difference between myself and the humans who inhabited the peninsula. Evans Oliver alone was too stupid to fear me. “You great eyesore. What are you doing napping? You should be out feeding and growing fat like the others.”
Evans Oliver halted before me, his eyes shining with either blind trust or hunger.
I snorted, tossing him the fish. “Here—though you do not deserve this in anyway. A seal is a born fisherman. You should have more pride than to let others do your hunting for you!”
He paid no attention, making short work of the two mackerel. As he nosed the rocks to make sure that he had not missed anything, I heaved an exasperated sigh. “What am I supposed to do with you?”
He looked up at that, shuffling toward me. He stuck his muzzle into my hand. I knew that he smelled the fish, and that a seal as stupid as Evans Oliver was not capable of affection, but I was pleased all the same. “Useless lump. Go on or there will be no fish left for you.”
He snuffled against my hand and flopped into the water as graceless as a stone, resurfacing to gaze at me.
“Do not tell me you have forgotten how to swim!”
With a flick of his tail, he propelled himself through the waves, leaving a trail of ripples behind him. I watched. Should I go with him? If any seal could get himself into trouble feeding in a marine sanctuary, it is Evans Oliver…
Before I could dive into the sea, an unearthly voice echoed off the cliffs. It mingled with the morning mist, rising off the surface of the ocean. It seemed to have no source, but I knew it at once. It was the song of the morgenau. Once, this sound struck fear into the hearts of every sailor, and they knew that if they set out in their boats they would come back mad. Today, the song meant that I was late for breakfast.
I rolled my eyes as I dived into the waves, heading for the beach. Should have gone with Evans Oliver.
Myrhydion waited at the top of the track that lead from the beach to the cottage, wearing one of Olly’s T-shirts over his pyjama bottoms. He held his dark hair out of his face with his hand, but was unable to stop the wind buffeting it about. “Honestly, Duhywynt! I lose all patience with you. I spend the majority of the year fighting to get you out of bed, and the one time you can sleep in freely, you are about before dawn.”
“I do not see that it matters to you what time I wake.” A drop of water tickled my skin as it ran down the back of my leg.
Myrhydion took me by my shoulders and pushed me towards the house. “It matters when the breakfast Olly has made for you is growing colder by the second. And how many times must I tell you to put clothes on? It is the summer season. There are tourists about!”
“If you taught me the trick of the Ceffyl Dŵr, you would not have to worry about me being seen coming back from the beach. I could simply ride the water back to our bathtub and I should be in time for breakfast.”
My brother frowned, pushing me through the front door. “You are not yet ready for such responsibility.”
I smelled warm bread and heard the sizzle of eggs in a frying pan. A wave of hunger went through me, but I dug my heels into the worn carpet of the cottage hall. “How do you know? You have not tried me.”
Myrhydion shook his head. “It is impossible.”
Infuriating! “Does that mean you won’t teach me—or you can’t teach me?” It was five years since Myrhydion lost his magic to our grandfather, but the loss of his powers was still raw. He refused to divulge exactly what had been taken from him. His command of the waves and his use of the trick of travelling from one body of water to another was gone, but I did not know if he still had the knowledge of them.
“Of all the cheek!” Myrhydion propelled me towards the stairs leading to my bedroom. “Here I am, giving you a house, a home, to be rewarded like this!”
“I didn’t lose all my powers to a trick!” I reminded him. “If you had taught me then, like I asked you, I would know how to use my magic.”
Myrhydion narrowed his eyes. “I shall tell Olly that you do not want your breakfast.”
He fought dirty. I went upstairs and dressed.
When I entered the kitchen, it was to find Oliver Evans at the stove, my brother fussing over him as though no one had ever cooked breakfast before.
Olly smiled as he saw me, his blue eyes crinkling. “Bore da, Duhywynt. Good swim?”
I nodded, pulling up my chair. “The best. It was just me and the ocean.”
“You’ll be hungry then.” Olly turned to the toaster.
Once again, I was bemused by my brother’s strange fondness for Olly. His shaggy hair was almost driftwood white on top, sandy brown underneath. He looked like a beach after high tide. Myrhydion enjoys comparing his eyes to the sea on a sunny summer day, but they are nothing extraordinary.
Then there was Olly himself. Placid as a cloudy day, Olly never seemed to mind anything. He had no self-preservation instincts to speak of. That’s why I named Evans Oliver after him. They were a matched pair. Only, unlike Evans Oliver, Olly was not loveable at all—at least, not to anyone but my deluded brother. Myrhydion doted on him in a really embarrassing way. He insisted we do what Olly wanted, which was why I, a morgen prince, lived in a human hovel and was forced to spend most of my days associating with humans against my will.
Olly set a plate in front of me. Despite Myrhydion’s threats, the toast was crisp and the eggs fresh out of the pan. “Myfanwy’s coming back today. You must be looking forward to seeing her.”
Toast stuck in my throat. I swallowed, conscious of a blush stealing across my cheeks. I was looking forward to seeing her, but I was not telling Olly that. “Unlike the two of you, I can stand to be separated from Myfanwy without going to pieces. It was only a week.” I folded my egg between two slices of toast and began to gulp it down.
“A week can be a very long time. With you moaning and whining, this last week has felt like a year.” Myrhydion smiled as Olly put a cup of tea in front of him.
I scowled. “Send Olly to Bangor for a week. You would be surprised how little we miss him.”
“How rude!” Myrhydion thumped a hand against the table. “You know this is Olly’s house we live in, and it is Olly’s hard work that pays all your bills!”
“You don’t have to—” Olly started.
We both ignored him. “I don’t want any bills!” I snapped. “If you would let me live in the ocean like I wanted—”
Myrhydion glared at me. “I have half a mind to kick you out!”
“You can’t kick me out. I’m your brother.” Sunlight glinted on Myrhydion’s sleek black hair, catching the light oddly. I stood, reaching for it. “What’s this?”
Myrhydion stepped back but wasn’t fast enough to evade me. “What is what?”
There was no mistaking it. There, nestled amongst the others, was one grey hair. “Your hair… It’s grey.”
“And why wouldn’t it be, when I have to deal with such a pestilent brother?” Myrhydion swatted my hands away and stood.
The stone surface of the cottage kitchen swayed beneath my feet. “Morgenau don’t go grey, not for hundreds of years. We are immortal.”
“If I am going grey, whose fault is that? Arguing with you every morning is—”
“Myrhydion,” Olly said in a quiet, intent tone. “Don’t you think it’s time you told him?”
Myrhydion looked at him seriously. I couldn’t read the look he gave Olly, but I did not like it. I pushed my plate away. “Tell me what?”
Myrhydion turned back to me, brushing his hair out of his face. He chose to ignore the current fashion and wear it long, almost to his shoulders. “Dewey…” My nickname. I was not going to like this. “Morgenau may be immortal, but humans are not. I have matched my fate with that of my love, Olly. When I married him, I took more than his name. I took his fate.”
I slammed my hands down on the table, making it creak. “No! I forbid it!”
“You cannot forbid me, brother.” Myrhydion spoke in a reasonable tone. That was perhaps the scariest part of this. “It is done.”
“But do you not see what this means?” I stared at him. “You will die!”
He smiled, a thin smile that slid away like sea foam between my fingers. “I would rather die with Olly than live without him.” He half-turned, tucking his hair out of his face, his eyes seeking Olly’s.
My heartbeat thundered in my ears, almost drowning out his words. What spell had Olly cast that my brother looked fondly on his killer? I spun to face him. “You! You—murderer!”
Olly didn’t even look ashamed. “This has come as a shock, Duhywynt.”
“Is there anything else you killing my brother could come as?”
“Olly is not killing me! It is my choice—and you cannot blame him for being born mortal!” Myrhydion stepped towards Olly as if he thought he would protect him from me.
Thoughts crowded my head, too fast to process, crashing down on me like a breaking wave. I was all but unable to think. “I can and I do! Millions of people die every day, and you do not seek to tie your fate to them! It is only Olly—it is his magic, it must be!” Olly inherited the magic of his grandmother, the witch on the cliffs. He did not often use it, but it would be foolish to think he hadn’t. “He has enchanted you, so you do not know what you do!”
“Let me.” Olly placed his hand over Myrhydion’s. He dared to look like he was sorry for me. “I give you my solemn promise that I did not use my magic in anyway to influence Myrhydion’s decision.”
“If anything, Olly tried to dissuade me,” Myrhydion interrupted. “He asked me to wait until I was sure of my mind and bade me consult our father before he would accept it—not that it was his decision to make. It was all mine—and I stand by it!”
“No!” This was too, too cruel! Hadn’t I suffered enough? I pushed the table away from me, sending it sprawling and the remaining breakfast dishes shattering on the floor. “I hate you! I hate you both!”
Myrhydion and Olly jumped back, but they were not fast enough. Olly hissed, caught by the hot tea.
Myrhydion shook broken glass from his feet. “You have gone too far! Apologise to Olly now!”
“I will not! I will never apologise to the one who is killing you!” I stabbed a shaking finger toward Olly. “You—you claim to love him, and yet you kill him? I will never accept this, never!”
“You do not have to accept it.” Myrhydion drew himself up proudly, his eyes flashing like lightning above the waves. He might have lost his princely powers, but he had a way of speaking that reduced me to the lowest form of plankton. “It is done, and like it or not, it will happen!”
Talking to Myrhydion in that frame of mind was useless. I glared at Olly, cradling his burnt arm. “I will not forget this.” My voice wobbled. I had to force myself to speak clearly. “You will rue the day you ever thought to bewitch my brother!”
“For the last time, Duhywynt—”
Olly held out a hand. “Let him,” he said to Myrhydion. “We can talk about this when he’s had the chance to calm down.”
That was the last straw. “I will not calm down! I will never be calm again!” I sent the chair flying behind me for good measure as I stomped towards the door.
“Please, Dewey. Be reasonable!” Myrhydion lunged after me, grabbing my hand.
I pushed him aside. “I am being reasonable! You are as mad as our grandfather!”
Myrhydion halted. His mouth firmed, and I knew I had crossed the line. “Go.”
“I am going! You could not force me to stay and be party to this… this travesty!” I turned on my heel. I barely saw the sunlight that had so delighted me only a half hour before, stumbling blindly toward the gate.
Oliver Evans might have stolen his heart and his immortality, but there was one thing he would never steal from my brother—his insistence on getting the last word in any argument. Myrhydion called after me as I reached the gate. “You are not welcome to return until you apologise to Olly for the insult you have given him!”
I slammed the gate so hard it fell off its hinges. Myrhydion and Olly could deal with it. If they didn’t care that Myrhydion was willing himself out of existence, I did—and I would do something about it.COLLAPSE