The room they walked into was much the same as the one they'd arrived in. It too had rough walls of rock, though more of it was covered in the glowing green fungus, making it brighter. The floor was also dirt, deep enough that it felt like walking on a beach. But this room was cavernous, the sounds they made echoing off the far walls and high, pointed ceiling.
For all its size, the room was almost empty, only a handful of, Whitney wasn't sure if it was the right word, people standing in front of them. There were five unfamiliar faces in front of her, ten if she counted both versions of them. Starting from the right, she did her best to fix both appearances of each of them in her mind.
The first was a man a bit shorter than Dylan. And he fit in with all the stories she'd read about Fae making their glamour alluring to humans. His eyes were a bright, dancing green, the kind that would call to you from across the room. They sat above a strong nose and well-formed lips which were currently twisted around the end of a pipe. His body was muscular and as well-sculpted as his face. Only what she could see underneath kept her from blushing like a kid with her first crush.
Skin with a pale greenish cast that shone faintly in the glow of the fungus, almost like his skin was just slightly wet. His hair was just as strong a red-brown but now it hung lankly and longer, his features oddly flat and his green eyes almost bulbous. He looked kind of like a frog.
The next one in line was a very short man, his coat looked to be leather, lined with fine wool thought he outside had an almost patchwork look to it. He continued the leather down to his pants and his shoes. His brown hair was partially covered by a hat made of what looked like moss, one bright blue feather sticking out of it. His true form wasn't much different from what she was seeing, only his features were more blocky, almost like chunks of clay jammed on.
Beside him was the only other woman present. She was beautiful, her long blonde hair falling in gentle waves to the back of her knees. Eyes the colour of the sky at dusk were trained mostly on Dylan, though they flickered to her every once in a while. Under the illusion, she could see a woman faintly covered in scales, her features and teeth much sharper. Though Whitney found herself forced to only look at the other's face after her quick realization that the dress she wore was also part of the glamour.
The last in the line directly in front of her had eyes of burning red in both forms. His black hair was shaggy and his teeth strong and white. Only the fingers in his human form gave away that fact he wasn't quite normal, the fingers just a trifle too long for his hands and arms. But she could she why they were when she looked at his other form.
A monstrous dog stood in front of her, his massive jaw filled with sharp teeth. His head was level with her chest and his wide paws had claws that looked more like knives than nails. The muscles in his body told her that this was a creature she didn't want to meet alone at night.
The last of the new faces stood just behind the other four, his hands clasped behind his back. He was of average height, his hair silver under the bright red cap he wore. His coat was a matching colour while his face was seamed with wrinkles. Thick eyebrows the same colour as his hair stood like caterpillars over his brown eyes. His glamour was also light, only smoothing out and improving his face rather than painting over it completely.
Bract grinned and stepped forward from where he stood to one side. He bowed to the first four before winking at Whitney and Dylan. "May I introduce you to our leaders? Not all of them of course, but it was decided not to overwhelm you on your first visit."
Whitney bowed, feeling awkward. The rustle she could hear beside her made her think that Dylan was doing the same. "It's nice to meet you," she said, her voice high and soft. "I'm Whitney."
"I'm Dylan" he added, keeping his gaze steady as he looked at them all.
They didn't acknowledge them beyond the one on the right standing forward, pulling the pipe out and saying "Caoin."
"Roarie," the short one said.
"Merrila," replied the woman, tossing her hair.
The last studied them for a moment before finishing it with "Dubhain."
Merrila stepped up, her gaze turning from Dylan to Bract. "Which one is it? And if it's not the man then I-"
Bract shook his head, the smile on his face tinged with regret as he interrupted her. "I had assured them we'd do our best to treat them the same. And I think it'd be better for all of us if no one, who doesn't already know, should be told who it is. The temptation to…get up to the usual tricks on the other would almost be too much I think."
Caoin snorted, managing to do it even with the pipe back in his mouth and held their by some very strong teeth. "Don't try to charm us. It might work on mortals but we're the kind who rely on our allure and appeal to feed. You can't hope to win against us."
The horse's ears flickered back lightly as the man held his hands up in a placating gesture. "I mean no disrespect but you have made the mortals my responsibility. We need them and we need them willing to cooperate. Harming either one of them wouldn't really make the other very likely to want to help and all."
"Enough," Dubhain said, his voice like a growl even as a human. He jerked his head towards another of the doorways. "We'll discuss this as a whole. Bract, you will accompany us. Rahan can watch the mortals and answer their questions well enough for a short time."
Dylan frowned and Whitney squeezed his hand as they watched Bract follow the four of them. He paused just beside the door to grin at them and wave before disappearing inside. The two of them exchanged a glance before looking to the only remaining person who they could only assume was Rahan.
"What just happened?" Dylan asked the man in the red hat.
He sighed. "Trouble, mortal. If they let the horse back here without a lashing I'll be surprised."