The War of Summer's Ending

Chapter 22 - Good Court, Bad Court

Time: December 1st
Place: UofM Psychology Bldg.

Once they arrive safely back at the University of Miami’s main campus, the Brotherhood of the Willow makes a beeline for the Linda Ray Intervention Center, where Jack, posing as a staff member, requests a session-room for a few hours (“for treatment of a hysterical adolescent patient”.) They take Rosita in through a delivery door in back, to reduce the likelihood of being seen.

Selena checks her cell phone and tells them that the queens are on the way. Jack buys candy and pop from a vending machine downstairs, and bumps into Isabel Espina as she arrives. Jim, while guarding Rosita, lets Naamah and Cerastes into the session-room. Once both queens are there, they immediately come to loggerheads about who gets to be present for the actual interrogation. Naamah says that if Selena can stay, then so can Cerastes. Espina counters that she only has one of her courtiers in the room, while Naamah already has four. Eventually they compromise, asking Alex, Caden, and Cerastes to leave.

Of course, Jack and Jim don’t use any “intensive interrogation techniques” on Rosita, but they do play “Good Cop, Bad Cop” respectively. Jack offers Rosita a bar of chocolate and a bottle of water, which she (of course) refuses. Jim glowers and grumbles, seemingly ready to burst forth with a torrent of rage. “This is a waste of time,” he shouts, “Let’s get some answers already!”

Rosita remains boldly defiant. She hurls invective at the older changelings: how they failed to save her, how they never helped her learn to take care of herself like her new friends have. How they bicker and argue even as they take on the full might of Summer, and fail to present a unified front against him: resistance is pointless, only by remaining hidden can they hope to brave the storm of Thunder’s wrath. She calls them names, she threatens, she belittles, she rages, she even weeps occasionally, but Jim and Jack continue to slowly-but-surely wear down her defenses.

With time, they obtain useful information: Rosita is a new convert to the Onyx Court, so she’s an unlikely source of the leak that’s been plaguing Autumn and True Spring; Rosita was taken in by Winter after her partner Cedric was killed by Summer enforcers; and in gratitude for their “kindness” Rosita told them absolutely everything she knows about both Spring and Autumn.

At this news, Queen Isabel bursts into a rage, calling the girl “a traitor of the worst sort” (and many unkinder names as well). The Antler Crown vows that she will not allow the girl to go free to be killed and/or captured by the Iron Spear, or even some of the more unscrupulous members of Vichy Spring. Jim steps between the girl and her queen, and Jack tries to calm her down, saying that keeping Rosita against her will makes them “no better than the Gentry.”

Espina gives a noncommittal “We’ll discuss this later,” and storms out, leaving Selena to watch the girl until she can be moved to a more secure location within the University.