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Lake District, 2007
Brand stood at the edge of the outcrop, and held out a hand. Juliette took it with a grateful smile, and allowed him to help her over the last meter or so.
'Not much further.' Brand indicated their path to their left. 'The summit is yonder.'
Juliette stretched for a moment, before bending to brush dust from her jeans. As she had told Brand, she had come prepared. In deference to the unpredictable weather, Juliette had donned a thick, blue plaid shirt, in addition to her denims. Stout walking boots protected her feet, and her honey-blond hair was tied back into a ponytail.
'Okay,' she straightened and surveyed the vista sprawled around them, 'then what?'
'Then, we shall see what we shall see.'
Juliette quickly masked the flash of irritation that flickered across her face at Brand's flat tone. 'And what's that supposed to mean?' She was not quite as successful in suppressing the heat in her voice. She flushed. 'I'm sorry. I didn't mean it like that.' She apologized. 'What I meant was - what do you plan on doing?'
'I am uncertain of that, as yet.' Brand replied. 'For the now, I intend to attempt to acquire a feeling for this place; sense any energies that are present, and perhaps, acquire a sense of your husband, from the little that yet remains upon you.'
'You can-,' Juliette looked astonished. She tried again. 'You can actually sense Stephan on me?'
'Indeed.' Brand spared her a glance, then returned to his study of the rocky landscape around them. 'Although faint, due to the time since you were last together, there is yet enough to give me a feel of the man we seek.'
'Do you mean a scent; like a bloodhound would pick up?' Juliette asked. Brand shrugged stiffly; the action looked awkward - strangely out of place upon his well-muscled frame.
'Perhaps.' He replied. 'Yet it is more than a mere scent.' If Brand was uncomfortable discussing the topic, nothing showed in his calm features. 'It is a sense of your husband's essence - his life force, that I detect. I know already, his visage, from the image you have shown me. What I sense from you, is the inner man; his-,' Brand paused for a moment, considering. 'His soul. That is perhaps, the easiest way for you to understand.' He finished.
He did not tell Juliette that it was due only to the Annas'Carile, that he was able to perform the feat at all. Before the elixir had enriched his blunted senses, his perception of Juliette had been little more than that of a mortal. He had actually had to taste her, through her tears, to determine that she was changeling; a feat that could have been accomplished with a single glance by any of his kin.
True to her word, Mab had sent two small flasks of the elixir the previous evening, after Juliette had retired for the night. The messenger, one of Mab's Sidhe guards, had saluted stiffly, not bothering to hide his contempt for Brand, and given him the silver-chased flasks.
'Enough for one saceal,' He had muttered darkly, using the fae term for the time between one full moon and the next - roughly a mortal month. Then, without further ado, he had turned sideways away from Brand and vanished.
One of the flasks now sat in Brand's hotel room in Hawkshead. The other was secreted in the house in Blackpool. Used sparingly, Brand estimated that he might possibly be able to make the one flash last until this case was ended, one way or the other. The second flask, he could keep - against any emergency that might arise. Annas'Carile, lasted indefinitely; even upon this side of the Barrier, and there was no knowing, now that Mab had once more taken an interest in him, how soon it might be, before he might have need of his natural abilities.
'But it's been over three weeks.' Juliette was speaking again. 'Surely any trace of Stephan would have gone - washed away, or eroded, or anything; especially up here. Surely, even you can't expect to find any trace?'
'There are ways.'