I was missing everyone, so I took some time on Sunday to visit Mysthaven. It felt so good to be there! I never thought I’d say that, but there you go. Nathaniel and Aoibheann were nowhere in sight, but my senses told me they were with Faermorn: I kept getting flashes from Nathaniel, so I know he was thinking of me. That always makes me feel good, but we need to work out a method of communication. I’ve thought about leaving him with a mirror; he thinks we should use blood communication; the matter has been tabled pending further discussion, I suppose. Nualla was quick to find me as soon as I was in Mysthaven; she was on my shoulder, pinpricking me with her claws and reproaching me almost from the moment I came through the arch.
I explained where I’d been and told her I’d take her back with me so she could suss the place out and get a feeling for it. She seemed unimpressed, but when does she ever seem impressed? I was told in no uncertain terms that I was never to just disappear like that again….but then her words faded and I could feel a vision coming on.
It was a dark vision, of a dark forest and the terror of being chased by nightmares, the sort of nightmares you know will catch you eventually, no matter what you do. Terror took me like a lover; I was covered in goosebumps. Vaguely, I felt Nualla’s fur bristle as she reacted to what I was seeing. Then, the terror revealed itself, and I felt deep, indigo eyes staring at me, a shadowy face, illuminated horns atop a perfectly beautiful, perfectly twisted head.
For a moment (OK, more than a moment), I felt sorry for myself. Here I was, in the tavern, no Nathaniel, no Aoibheann, just Hal to listen to troubles I couldn’t possibly tell him, an angry Cait on my shoulder, and my only visitor was the horror of my visions. It was enough to make me wonder why I bothered to visit at all, but I knew, really, why I’d come.
Dark or not, the Wylds are my home and have been my home for longer than anywhere since this whole thing started. I’ve lived here longer than I lived in Jasper, and even though I’m unequal to all the tasks it’s set me, angry with the people who’ve left me behind, and completely unsure of where it’s going, it will always be my home in some sense.
I did a quick scrying and realised Nathaniel and Aoibheann were going to be hours yet, that Her Unseelie Majesty was still very poorly, and that as much as I’d like to stay and spend some time with my favourite people, I had things to do in the morning and I must make my way back to Cranberry Cove. So I told Hal I’d see him later and thanked him for the cider.
Nualla wanted to use the Shadow Roads, but I had no idea how to find Cranberry Cove that way. So I showed her my way, and I have puncture wounds in my left shoulder to show for that. I scrawled a quick note to Nathaniel before we left and gave it to Hal to keep at the bar: I know he’ll be in the tavern sooner rather than later.
Once we were back in my flat, I was too tired to show Nualla around, so I just gave her the run of the place and collapsed onto my bed. I don’t even remember taking my dress off.