One night not too long ago, when I was still hiding in Val’s den, Aoibheann and I ran into a stranger who went by the name of Janus. Now, it was a little freaky to find him lurking round the den, but he seemed perfectly at home, and it wasn’t a bad conversation. I feel safe at Val’s, anyway.
But last night, there he was on the bridge, and as I was calling for Aoibheann round the tree (she wasn’t around), he came and sat down to talk to me. Well, how could anybody refuse to talk to him? He’s quite interesting. We had a philosophical discussion about the nature of good and evil or something, and then I became completely fascinated by his ears.
It’s not a creepy fascination, I swear. Anyone, looking at this guy’s ears, would be fascinated. Because there are little glowing orbs on his ears, and they’re not earrings, that change colour depending on what he’s touching or what mood he’s in, something like that. I don’t know. So it’s bad enough that he’s really quite attractive in sort of a butch, earthy way that the beautiful Nathaniel is not — his ears change colour in their glowy bits, and that’s just fascinating.
We talked for a while before I finally asked him about his ears and whether they just changed colour on their own accord, or what. He must hear that question a lot, because he laughed at me. He said if he touched my hair, maybe they’d change to white, and maybe they wouldn’t.
So I did what any girl would have done: I leaned forward so he could touch my hair. He didn’t touch me at all, just my hair. But when he got a lock of hair around his finger, the orbs flashed pure white for a second before going dark again. That was really cool, and I was just about to tell him that, when Renata came crashing through the glade and into the river. I stood up, of course, and called for her.
I wouldn’t have been worried if she were running around like that, in the middle of the night, through running water, as a lioness: she does that all the time, and that’s what the lioness form is for, for her, if I understand Blaise correctly. It allows her to be free sometimes, do the crazy things she likes to do, without hurting herself.
But Renata was in Sidhe form, not lioness form, which struck me as odd. When she ran back through the river and crashed out in front of Ardan, snoring like a chainsaw, I realised she was sleepwalking and had somehow got out of the sithen without an escort, in Sidhe form. I didn’t tell any of this to Janus, of course; I just tried to get her attention. He said we’d talk later and that he’d enjoyed our conversation (what a nice guy!), but that taking care of my family obviously came first. I was grateful, because while I try not to feel pity for Renata, it’s hard to just leave somebody soaked to the skin sleeping beside a possibly hostile marron tree.
Once I started directing her, she was easy to lead, and we were back in the sithen before too long. We got her into some dry clothes and I walked her to the Prince’s suite where she could curl up in the extra warding of his room. I wonder if she’ll remember a thing about it next time we talk! Something fun to tease her about, I guess, though I don’t know how far I can really tease Renata. That’s the thing with her: I find her so fun and delightful most of the time, but I know she’s capable of harsh judgmentalism and according to Blaise, chaos and destruction. I have to tread carefully. Still, Lady Siansa’s words about my taking some kind of responsibility for her keep ringing in my ears. Maybe I’ll just do that without really being asked. Maybe I can help her.