Home » A second life in pictures » Names and deals and freedom selling

Names and deals and freedom selling

As far behind as I am, the very real fear I felt around a lot of this is going to seem somewhat muffled, I think. That’s because it’s mostly over now, even though there are still some loose ends to be tied up.

I was having bad dreams. They were the same dreams Aoibheann was having, though I didn’t know that because she wouldn’t tell me. Nathaniel was having similar dreams as well, and it just seemed like one of those things the three of us, the little Jasper Cove refugee contingent, have to deal with on a regular basis. Because for whatever reason, we’re the focus of weird in this particular universe. I just can’t quite figure out why: there are so many other weird things to deal with. Why does the weird universe want to make our lives even weirder? Only the gods know, and they’re not talking.

I told Prince Blaise about our meeting with King Gwythyr.

I told Prince Blaise about our meeting with King Gwythyr.

So I had a bad dream, and I got out of bed because I couldn’t sleep, and I heard music. Now, the Prince is a big music fan, so I figured he must be involved somehow, and that’s how I met Ophelia, who was playing violin for the Marron Tree. When I told him I was having bad dreams, he was concerned immediately — I thought he might have been overreacting at first, but it turns out that Aoibheann had been telling him about her dreams that she wasn’t telling me about, so he knew there were bad dreams happening. So I told him about this dream I kept having where the Unseelie King came and told me he had come for me, time to pay the piper, all that stuff. He was concerned, obviously: the Unseelie King has some power over dreams. I told him I worried the King might have more power over me than he did over Aoibh and Nathaniel. He wondered why, and then he asked me if I knew my true name. Which of course led to my telling him the whole story of how I blurted out my true name to the ancient Unseelie King Gwythyr Gwynn  because he asked me my name and it just came out. His reaction was — well, it was scary. Terrifying, actually. He was actually speechless. He gave me a big hug and he was almost trembly, he was so worried. He said they’d have to ward me, put spells on me, do whatever to make me safe. There wasn’t even a fight. He was just scared. It was well weird.

Aislyn accused me of tossing my oaths around lightly.

Aislyn accused me of tossing oaths lightly.

The next night, Aislyn actually came to the tavern. As in, she left the sithen. She was guarded heavily. She wanted to cast all these wards and spells, but I don’t really like Aislyn. There’s just something about her I don’t trust, and she never has time for me unless he tells her she needs to make time for me, or that’s my conception, anyway. So she started to tell me off about how she knew where my true loyalty lay, even though I’d tossed off an oath to Queen Saone as if it were nothing. I was really, really pissed off by this. I have no idea where she thought my loyalty lay instead of with the Queen and the Prince and the sithen, but fuck her for assuming stuff about me: I just walked away, left her standing there, and so be it, because that’s what she deserved. When Aoibheann went back out to get her hand fixed, I didn’t mind, since Aislyn is a gifted healer, but Aoibh told me later she was all trying to get in good with Aoibheann and make her see that she, Aislyn, was right about it all. Glad I choose my friends well: Aoibh wasn’t having any of it and just did her usual silent mming thing.

I spent the night awake in the tavern with Nathaniel.

I spent the night awake in the tavern with Nathaniel.

So, I spent that night awake, in the tavern, with Nathaniel, because I didn’t want to go to sleep. The next morning, Nathaniel was asleep in one of the chairs, and Prince Blaise’s guards came for me. So I’m like, fine, I’ll go. And who should be waiting for me but Aislyn. She called upon my oath and made me start scrubbing the sithen floors while she lectured me on oaths in general. She kept going on about how she wasn’t doing this for her own selfish purposes (shyeah) but to explain to me how serious my oaths were and what King Gwythyr could do to me if he called on these oaths, and how that meant she should have been able to put all these wards on me last night. Yeah, whatever. I’m capable of following orders and doing what needs to be done, but nobody is going to make me love this person. Only her proving she’s not a complete bitch will do that, and let’s just say she wasn’t doing such a great job. Although I explained everything to her, she just kept on heaping tasks and information on me, and I was like fine, fine, whatever, and when she saw she was getting to me and frustrating me, this made her happy enough to dangle a book in my face. So I just concentrated on that, and then everything was all right. I didn’t have to finish the floors, even. So I won that round, I got to read spell books and pick out one of the wards they used, and then I felt all weird throughout the ritual and afterwards, and I couldn’t feel the sithen. I think, because Aislyn is clearly a megalomaniac who desires to have the upper hand in all things, I should just play submissive to her for now, and then we’ll see how things go. I can do that. I am a pretty good actress.

We were sitting with Ardan, just talking.

We were sitting with Ardan, just talking.

Later that day, or maybe it was the next day — stuff is running together and I’m writing this at a distance — I went to see Aoibh by her Special Tree, and Aislyn showed up, so I played nice. I think I even fooled Aoibh, though I’ll tell her eventually it was all bs. There was a lot of moving about, the Prince this way, Valene that way, I had no idea what was going on, but eventually, the Prince came by and asked me to have Nualla carry a message to Valene for him. OK, fine — Nualla isn’t a message girl, but she did it.

And sometime, that night or the next morning, I just felt … I don’t know: clear. Like the King couldn’t bother me any more and never would. Everything just receded. No more bad dreams.

I found out later that Valene had made some kind of deal with him for my life only. He still claims he can take Nathaniel or Aoibheann any time he wants. This doesn’t seem fair to me, and I don’t know what to do about it. It remains unresolved, and I’m really worried about both of them. I do not think it is fair. My life is not worth more than anybody else’s because I am sidhe. It certainly isn’t worth the lives of my two best friends in the world.

I don’t know what Valene had to do, but I know she loves me. And I love her. I’m not OK with writing about all that here, but something amazing happens when Valene, Nathaniel, and I are all together. Something I will never get tired of. Surely she must have some plan in place for Nathaniel. Surely there is some way to save us all and not just me. I don’t want to be safe if they are not safe.

 

 

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