“Here, Barghest! Who’s my sweet boy?” Fiona rubbed her dog’s ears, cooing. The massive gargoyle dog wiggled with joy, as if they’d been parted for weeks instead of a day. Built like a Rottweiler, but thicker through the body, the monstrous dog had enormous gargoyle feet with sharp talons, perfect for climbing rock. He rubbed against her, begging for a scratch between his stubby wings.
“Why are you wet?” Fiona obliged, wrinkling her nose at the scent of fishy, wet dog. “Heel, boy.” Fiona headed for the ferry ramp, surveying the soggy passengers with growing concern. It was overcast, but hadn’t rained in Dover. Maybe they’d encountered rain on the way from Calais?
“Biggest bloody dog I ever saw,” a sailor muttered, offloading baggage from the ramp. Fiona ignored him as she hurried to meet her parents. Her father was soaking wet, her mother shivering as they waited for a sailor to help them with their luggage. Human dwarfs, the couple had met and married in the carnival circuit before retiring to open a bakery. Unlike their adopted gargoyle daughter, they couldn’t disguise their appearance and were accustomed to open stares and speculation.
Fiona sent a chastising look at a subtly gawking gentleman and hugged her parents. “What happened?” She picked up a couple of heavy traveling cases, handing a valise to Barghest, who proudly trotted with the handle in his mouth. It might look odd, but her glamour was large for a human woman, and she was too impatient to worry about appearances. Her parents needed to get warm.
“It was awful,” her mother fretted. “We hit the most alarming storm; blew in out of nowhere! I thought we were all going to drown. There were people praying and crying, and even the sailors seemed terrified. I was never so glad to step foot on land.”Fiona frowned. Could it have been storm hags? She’d suspected their recent troubles were deliberate attempts to kill them, but who would want that? Had she unwittingly offended a fae?