I should have known. I have all these wonderful people in my life, great friends, good advisors, wise and thoughtful teachers, and they’ve all said at one time or another, Gwyn, you know you can’t trust a demon. You can’t be friends with a demon. I thought they were prejudiced. Sure, I started my formal relationship with Rachel because I was afraid she’d kill me if I didn’t, and then I learned I was wrong about that, but I tried, so hard, to be a good mentor and even a friend.
When I woke up yesterday, everything seemed so nice. Everything seemed so good, even though I knew there was a battle raging outside. I trusted our warriors, the Prince, the Cait, all the people out there fighting, to take care of us, and I still do. But none of that helps, when I think about hat happened yesterday.
I came in to the pavilion, and Aoibheann was there. And Rachel was there. And Aislyn was there asleep. And squared off against Rachel, furious and spitting, was Valene. I hurried to Aoibheann to find out what happened.
I was stunned to find out what it was. Rachel struck and kicked Aoibheann, and she tried to drown both of the kittens. Cait Sidhe kittens left with Aoibheann for safekeeping, because they are precious. I was gobsmacked. I knew she could be childish, reckless, obviously mean and vindictive, but attacking Aoibh? The terms of our agreement should have forbidden her from that. There must have been a loophole I didn’t see. Trying to drown cait sidhe? I said nothing in her defence: there was no defence for her. I’m sure Valene knew instantly that I’d washed my hands of Rachel. It didn’t matter to me at that point what happened to her: I was done.
Valene crouched on the pavilion floor, sending shadow attack after shadow attack, and every one struck true. Tentacles of shadow choked and pierced Rachel, and I just looked on impassively, because I felt she deserved it. Nathaniel told me later I’d have been sorry if Valene had killed her then, but I don’t know. Some part of me thinks we’d all be safer if she just went back to Hell for a little while. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about her status as a security risk, particularly after she was able to twist the terms of the binding and inflict harm on Aoibheann. If she was able to twist out of that, she’d have found ways to twist out of all of it, and as Valene showed me when we spoke of Braeden’s oath with me, I have a lot to learn about fae bargains and language. I need a fucking law degree; extensive knowledge of folklore and balladry just doesn’t cut it with these beings for real.
Meanwhile, Aoibheann was concerned about Aislyn, who apparently needed to wake up. She said the Prince had put her to sleep and wouldn’t wake her up. Far as I’m concerned, if the Prince put her to sleep, he had a good reason to do so; she was probably weak to near death protecting the sithen and he’s just looking out for his harem, but I led her over there and let her do what she could. She was immediately rebuked by the guards who seem to surround the Princess like worker ants, though. I had to tell her telepathically to back off because I was afraid one of them would hurt her. They all know she’s been struck blind and deaf, but I don’t trust them not to forget it temporarily if they need to protect their prize Princess and Aoibh gets in the way somehow. They’ll shoot first and ask me to ask her a question later.
Then the Prince showed up, and he was furious that fighting was going on in the sithen, of course. The guards just shook their heads; they’d been busy taking care of the Princess, and I’m pretty sure most of them would have rejoiced if Val had killed Rachel right there; I know I would have at that moment. So furious. I’ve never felt so angry with anyone, ever before. It was bad enough when I trusted her before and she influenced me to go charging in against Major FuckBeak. When Nathaniel and later Valene explained to me that I’d been influenced by Rachel because demons can do that to get what feeds them, I was so angry. Later on, I realised she might not have known what she was doing, but we weren’t ready to have that conversation yet. It would have happened, as soon as I was sure and as soon as we had a moment, and as soon as I felt comfortable. I was going to apologise for being angry, can you believe that? But now. Now she’s somehow gotten around the terms of our agreement, attacked my best friend, attacked Cait, for god’s sake, and I will never forgive her. She just excels at burning bridges, doesn’t she? How on earth did she survive so long as a vampire with this reckless, consequence-free attitude? I don’t know.
Prince Blaise charged in then and demanded the fighting stop. I offered to explain, but Val just did it, telling him Rachel had attacked her children. The Prince expelled Rachel from the sithen. I mean, he pointed a finger at her and then she just wasn’t there any more. He explained to us there could be no duelling in the sithen and no demon blood spilled there. He told Valene he believed she was in the right, to go and hunt her prey outside.
Then, the Prince woke Aislyn up, and she was furious with him as he’d predicted. Nathaniel showed up, and I was so angry I cried all over him. Aoibheann had all she could take and curled up to take a nap, and of course the Prince and Princess went off to have a fight or something, leaving me alone with Nathaniel. Not a bad place to be, and I was mostly calmed down after I spent a few minutes screaming and beating on his chest. Still, I look forward to the day when one of these people will tell me something casually, have it not be a lesson, as if I were part of the family, a peer, and not the visiting foreign student who speaks little of their language and may have some kind of mental problem as well.
There’s more to write about that night, but I am going to have to think on it a bit before I put it down.
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