When I finally felt alive, I went to find Aoibheann. I felt a little guilty, because I thought such cross things at her the night before. I mean, it’s not like she knows. Or maybe she does. But I won’t go off on that, because it’ll spark discussion about whether mad people know they’re mad and why if there were institutions here in Fair Elfland, there’d be nobody roaming the forests. Sanity is not high on the list of fae priorities. But Aoibheann continues to insist that she is, in fact, human, which means her batshititude is either an anomaly or perfectly understandable, given where she is and what she’s doing.
Right. So I went to find Aoibh, and I found her on the bridge, talking to Aerodine about going to visit Her Unseelie Majesty. Aerodine asked that I come with them, so with some trepidation, I agreed.
When we crossed into Unseelie territory, one of the Queen’s Ravens was waiting for us, not unexpectedly. He informed us that yes, we could visit with Her Unseelie Majesty, but that we would have to go blindfolded, again, not unexpected. We complied, and he came up with scraps of cloth that looked like they’d seen better days.
Mine was leopard printed. Seriously? I mean, obviously, I rocked it, but animal print is so 1999.
He brought some of his Raven friends along to fly us to wherever Faermorn was hiding out.
Luckily the flight was short, so nobody hurled, and we arrived into the sort of bower I’d like to have myself one day, assuming I end up with a bower at all. But, you know. it would be kind of nice to have my own bower. Oddly enough, the non-fae among us is the closest to having her own bower. But I have to stop dissing Aoibh and Ardan, because one day I’ll slip up and say something to her out loud and then she will never love me again. If she loves me now. Maybe she’s like a cat: she tolerates me because I give her food or something.
Aerodine and I ripped the blindfolds off as soon as we landed, but Aoibh elected to keep hers on. Go figure.
Obviously, I’d never been here before– I wasn’t sure about the two of them. We walked down a flower-lined path until we came to a huge door.
A servant of some kind let us in, and then we went around the corner to meet with the Queen.
Her Unseelie Majesty did not look well at all. Of course, I would never have said that, but her light was very dim and we could see she was in pain.
She greeted us graciously, calling us “Heroes of the lake.” I didn’t feel much like a hero, but whatever.
She was more careful with me than with the other two, but then she’d have to be, I guess, what with me being the Seelie Princess and all. That still sounds so fucking weird.
There was talk of boons and gifts to be given. I felt intensely uncomfortable with the idea of Her Unseelie Majesty giving me a gift or a wish, so I said I wanted nothing, I hope graciously. I suppose from her point of view, it feels like tit for tat, but I don’t feel that I contributed very much to the taming of the sea monster: Aerodine did much more than I did. She definitely deserves a reward. I just led them along and fiddled with the water a bit.
To be honest, I found the whole experience quite stressful. It felt like an examination of some kind, like my first outing as a Real Princess™. I would give just about anything to be able to ask Lady Siansa what the proper protocols are for something like that. I mean, should I have arrived with guards of some kind? Was I dressed appropriately? It is what it is, I guess, and I’ll have to find the path on my own, but let’s just say I wasn’t anticipating a state visit that afternoon.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, Orie showed up, prompting everybody (or maybe it was just me) to ask, “Who the fuck invited him?” I guess he was there at the lake, so it made sense from that perspective. I guess it doesn’t matter. He was properly deferential and reacted as one would expect a mortal to act when meeting a Fae Queen for the first time. Thank all the gods I don’t have that sort of power over mortals. Or maybe he just doesn’t realise what I am. Possibly because I am not so good at projecting it yet.
Aoibheann finally took the blindfold off, which made me feel a little better about it all. She has a lot more experience with Queen Faermorn than I do. I confess I didn’t say much beyond the formalities. I felt so out of place.
Maybe it’s not such a good idea to go see the Queen when you’re suffering from your first wine hangover since your undergraduate days at Aber. Of course I could have avoided all that with a little forethought and planning. But I can avoid most mishaps I get into with a little forethought and planning: it doesn’t mean I ever do it.
In the end, I was weary beyond belief, and I left, just after Aerodine had fallen asleep at the edge of the Queen’s rug. I don’t know what she and Aoibheann discussed after I left.
I hope I did something right. I hope I did anything right.