Why we all gravitated to Mysthaven Castle the next evening, I do not know. But Lord Maric was there to receive us, as ambiguous and infuriating as always, with his paternal demeanour toward Aoibheann that makes me want to strangle him, with his lordly manners and the always untrustworthy light behind his eyes. I knew I would not be able to stay awake for long, so I came mostly to bring Nathaniel back to the sithen. Even though we are still besieged there, I knew we’d be able to sleep.
Aoibheann seemed on the verge of flight when I arrived: she and Maric had clearly been arguing about something, but I was in no mood to talk about their differences. One day I will find out what Aoibheann sees in this man I distrust so much.
Nathaniel was more than amenable to coming away with me for the night: it seemed no one had a calm day in Mysthaven, and I don’t know if anyone had slept any better than I did: I didn’t ask.
Paasheeluu was there, with some sort of creature she kept talking to in her own language, but all I could think of was my own weariness. I am certainly not playing the part of the dutiful princess very well, am I?
The whole of my mission was to get out of the castle and get Nathaniel and me into a warm bed where we could hold one another and not think about anything until morning.
But Orie and Galyanna arrived soon after, still raw from the previous night’s battle. Maric saw this, as he seems to see everything, as an information-gathering circus he could direct, and so there were more and more questions, and my irritation grew.
The only kind thing I was able to say, in the end, was “Good night,” as Nathaniel and I finally quit the castle and sped away over the Shadow Roads to the (soon to be lost, I fear) Seelie Sithen.
I look forward now, to every night I spend in Nathaniel’s arms, as perhaps the last peaceful night I shall ever spend. I wonder when it all got so complicated, and yet I find it harder and harder to remember a time before I had to worry about gods and demons and creatures of wild magic. What I wouldn’t give to wake up tomorrow and find the only thing I had to do was clean linens for the Lucky Leaf’s newest stray world traveller, pull a pint for an alien or a cat person, and hear Aoibheann tell me what an improper woman I must be, to dress the way I did. My last thought before falling asleep was of a song from Jesus Christ Superstar — my parents made me see it once — called “Could We Start Again, Please?” Could we?