"All my life, young man, just like almost everyone else who lives here," Lionel said with moderate cheer, his eyes sparkling with amusement. "You are, however, asking me if I am immortal, I assume, to which the answer is ... no. No one is immortal, and only two people on this Isle have lived more than a standard lifetime. I am close to my sixtieth year, myself."
"I see," Dev said thoughtfully. He knew the Lady was one of those who'd lived an extraordinarily long life here, but he had no idea who the other was, and he didn't think this was the time to ask. "I have another question," he said, pausing a moment before putting it into words. "As Alpha I assume Amaris will be welcome to return here, but I will not." And therein, lied the crux of his problem.
"Regular visits to Avalon are denied to all who have not drunk from the Grail," Lionel told him solemnly. "That is not to say that the pair of you will never be invited back, but it is not something you should expect to happen. Your lives are on Earth, though Avalon will always watch over you."
"Right," Dev said, remembering what the Lady had told them. So, he assumed Amaris would not be regularly visiting Avalon without him then. He wasn't sure if that gave him comfort or not. "It is certainly an intriguing place," he said, letting his gaze wander once again over the vastness of the library and all its many tomes.
"I suppose, to one who has lived in the modern era of Earth, Avalon must seem very strange in some ways," Lionel mused cheerfully. "We have a simple way of life, augmented by the magic of the Isle. Yet as far as I know, no one has ever chosen to leave Avalon since the mists took it from the world."
"Leave?" Dev said, brows arching upwards again. "Why would anyone want to leave? We may have modern conveniences, but we also have over-population, pollution, crime, war, disease," he pointed out, just to name a few. "No, it may not have our technological advances, but it's peaceful here." He chuckled at a sudden thought. "Not sure how I'd feel about beating my clothes against a rock though."
"Oh, we have slightly less back-breaking methods," the Grandmaster told him with a grin. "It's like churning butter, I'm told."
Amaris snorted with laughter. "And that's less back-breaking than beating clothes on a rock?"
"At least when you churn butter, you get rewarded with butter," Dev said, chuckling again at the Grandmaster's remark. He had to admit there were some advantages to modern living.
"You think clean clothing isn't a reward?" Lionel let out another of his loud laughs that seemed to reverberate around the library. "My dear boy, when you have spent the entire winter wearing one wool tunic, then you can tell me clean clothing is not a reward for hard work."
Dev grimaced. "You've made your point," he said, glad they'd had time to shower and change before making their way through the mists. "You know what you need? Laundry service," he told the older man, with a teasing grin.
Lionel snorted, shaking his head in amusement. "Yes, I'm sure Elaine would delight in being asked to open the mists so an entire island's worth of laundry could pass back and forth," he said with warm sarcasm, forgetting that the name he had uttered would mean nothing to the two before him.
Dev wasn't very learned in Arthurian legend, and the reference to Elaine was lost on him, but it wasn't too hard putting two and two together.
"You mean, the Lady of Avalon," he said, assuming she was the only one there with the power or authority to open the mists to another time and place.
"I do." Lionel shifted awkwardly, glancing away for a moment. "I should not use her name in conversation. Forgive my lapse."
Amaris' head tilted as she watched the man, her eyes narrowing with curiosity, but she held her tongue. She had a feeling she knew why that name was so easy on the man's lips.
Dev smiled. It was to their credit that the man trusted them enough to let the Lady's name slip into conversation. Dev waved the remark away, as if he'd already forgotten, though he was far shrewder than that.
"No need to worry. If I don't agree to take a vow of secrecy, my memory is going to be scrubbed anyway," he said, chuckling with irony.
"Ah, but you will take that vow of secrecy," Lionel said, turning his eyes back to the younger man. "I know the look of one who has decided as such. You have a compelling reason to do so." He didn't so much as glance at Amaris, yet it seemed clear she was who he was talking about.
"I suppose you are right," Dev said, turning serious. He didn't need to look at Amaris to know what - or rather who - Lionel was referencing. He gave her hand a gentle squeeze as if to reassure her that he, indeed, had made that decision. "The only real question now is who will I report to - you or the Champion?"
"The pack reports to the Champion," Amaris volunteered, "but we can be called on by the Grandmaster as well."
Lionel nodded in agreement. "Rhys often runs such things past me before he sends out the call, in any case," he offered. "In this case, I believe you may choose whom you would rather have the most direct contact with."
"Well, it's not like you're going to call me on the phone," Dev remarked, smirking in amusement. He wasn't sure how he felt about reporting to the hunter, but then, if Adam trusted Rhys, he didn't see any reason why he shouldn't do the same.
"Avalon has her ways of making sure we can contact you," Lionel assured him with a grin. "Now then, do you have any other questions for me?"
"No," Dev replied. "No, I think you have answered all my questions for now," he admitted, that serious expression back on his face. He may not had voiced his decision just yet, but it seemed in his heart, it had already been made.
"Then I would suggest you seek out your friends on the Isle," Lionel said warmly. "You will learn more of the place and of our operations on Earth by speaking with them, I am sure."
"Does Rhys have a house here, or something?" Amaris asked curiously.