I truly should have known better than to go to Court. Not the Sidhe's Court, not during the Seelie half of the year. Our Fiona Duke (may he rest in peace!) has far too many clever ideas for his own good. Or mine, for that matter.
And so it is that I (I!) am appointed to manage, in the company of three Sidhe, a freehold set in a community center. Come, Your Grace, certainly even a Fiona could have found a less pathetically transparent way to provide himself with a scapegoat.
The Baron is a babbling, boorish windbag, to be honest, and bootlicking when it suits him to be servile, as well. The young knight - he could be tolerable, perhaps, but his time outside the city tells. And the Guardian - the Guardian. Time will tell, there. Or his satyr-sister will, one or the other.
The Prodigal pooka-kin are no more easy to deal with. The ravensdaughter might be pleasant, if she could bear to close her mouth. And all of them are impulsive.
We shall see. Even the blackest of thunderclouds still brings rain. And even these loud ones (a herd in a china shop!) may yet distract from the pockets of silence and shadow that suit a sluagh best.
Besides, we have always haunted children...
Tonight, for the first time in weeks, there is blood on my hands. Sanctioned, even, by the Seelie and the Sidhe. Sweet it is, and warm. I close my eyes, and I hear his screams, feel his flesh part beneath my blade.
Llew, son of Arislan, fell into the clutches of a satyr. And nothing more surely than use as an object steals the Dreaming from a mortal. He and the other children we saved, if not all in time. The satyr and the troll are delivered into the Duchy's keeping. And both Duke and Duchess yielded me the right to the interrogation.
Ah, how the goat did scream.
The Baron is gone. Let them think it is to be laid at my door. Another baron have we gained as an enemy: Llewellyn of Gwydion, his quite handsome compatriot of Dougal as well. (Glorious. Despised they are to be, but, oh, they can be glorious as well.) Insults, fencing, loss of face. And worse, I spoke to Duke and Duchess first, before they could skew to their benefit. And Cormac, the wildling of Scathach, defeated Llewellyn's champion in a duel. They will fight us, I think.
A pity. The Dougal is lovely.
Llew has his lady, a mortal girl. Fiona always have embraced danger. But then, who am I to speak of it? How much of my hate for that satyr is remembrance of Ethan?
Blood so warm...
I should appreciate more rewards from His Fiona Grace if they were granted in suitable privacy. The Order of the Silver Lion, indeed. And a troll, and a satyr, of all things. So-called help.
It may be necessary after all. A so-called sentai, a war party, has come from the Orient: a Darkness comes, when next the veils between worlds grow thin. Through a font of power...and Heartwood has been a battleground before. Could it be that those seeking to have the site reassigned are servants of this Darkness, this Yama King, wanting the battle to be on ground more familiar and favorable to them? Worth consideration. Worth investigation.
Five warriors - each a warrior, each a gem. One sought by an angry ghost, by the Hungry Dead. It came into my home. This will not be borne.
I have acquired a ruby of my own. Flawed and rough and small, but it will serve. Its powder will I burn, with fire and incense, and shape the flame into a Will o'the Wisp, to chase the jewel of the fire-child.
In the night I shall walk, as we have always walked, and let even the darkness know fear.
Quite an evening, on the whole. We have found two more of the girls, topaz and ruby - that last, Rei, found by mine own flame. Another attack: a mass of spiders forming a warrior. Goblin Spider, the sentai called it.
And then there is the dream, the sword to spare or slay. Something stirs, deep below, and there is madness in the wind. It threatens the young Gnawer-of-Bones. Even Clear Pool can see the shadow upon him.
It is long past time for High Tea.
Tea I have, aged and dried and crumbled. A little wine, ancient past mortal bearing, that I took from the trash-heap of a fine hotel. Cakes small and dry, fit for that tea. The cracks in the glazing are fine and sad and lovely. It is not elegant fare nor a stunning table, but it is proper and fulfilled. Suiting my age and station. A small and broken statuette from Rei's market to serve as centerpiece among the fragile candles.
And then there is the lady-gaki we met upon the stairs. I look forward to encountering her again.
And the wizard-accountant, and the wolves...and the captive-spider. And the Lantern's attraction to a gaijin.
Long past time to share this story, and to discuss matters over Tea....
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