The sinister, the terrible never deceive: the state in which they leave us is always one of enlightenment. And only this condition of vicious insight allows us a full grasp of the world, all things considered, just as a frigid melancholy grants us full possession of ourselves. We may hide from horror only in the heart of horror.
An insidious icy darkness reaches for Gwyneth wherever she may be, regardless whether she is asleep or awake this time, the freezing magic of the Unseelie King seeking her out unless she tried very hard to keep him out…
Gwyneth is troubled by the recent encounter with the Unseelie King, and this contact only makes her more worried. Just now, she is alone, the cavernous Seelie sithen rising like a ruin around her, and she resists, draws on the close-by mallorn tree to bolster her defences, presses, pushes, forces herself inside that protective bubble. The only chink in Gwyn’s armour is her curiosity, but right now her common sense is winning.
That icy blackness again seems to press in, testing her defenses impassively to deliver his words to her, not yet exerting full power as of yet. The fact he could reach right into the Seelie Sithen now might speak volumes of what his full power might now encompass…but for now he merely taps against her shields looking for a weak spot in an almost idle yet focused sort of way that the truly immortal and patient could pursue. This could last all night possibly unless he finds something else to divert his attention…
Gwyneth’s irritation rises like a wave as her concentration is once again forced onto her defences. What could the Unseelie King possibly want from her now? She shores the whole thing up again, considering the icy assault yet another vestige of the retreating winter that cannot ripple her surface. Upon the surface of her psychic lake, there are lilypads, almost ready to flower, tiny hopping toads, skimming insects, the stuff of spring. The wind she fashions is warm; the deer that drinks from the edge is heavy with a fawn. The earth is wet with brimming meltwater, and the sun watches over it all.
Contrary to what she thinks motivates or repels this Sidhe, Gwythyr seems drawn even more to the vista she presents, as if in fact, that was exactly what he was looking for. The black icy power was pressing down all around the edges of her defenses now, almost more of a hint of the Huntsman in this predatory darkness reaching for her light…
Gwyneth doesn’t understand the Unseelie King at all: this much is clear. Beneath that rippling surface, her voice rises, bubbles, a spray. “What?” she asks. “What is it you want from me?” Her irritation is apparent; she’s been interrupted, she’s had little sleep, and last night’s ordeal is fresh in her mind.
Gwythyr’s voice was a breath of winter on the rippling surface of her, a dark invidious undertone that suggested he knew what her heartbeat, her scent, had said to him, seeking to etch lines of frost with the one word he drops into her waters like a stone, “You.”
Gwyneth’s reply comes, bubbling up to the surface in a spray of hot irritation and ire. “Why? I have nothing to offer you. And my fate is not with you: it is far away and unseeable.” Her honest confusion and unconcealed anger cause ripples everywhere. “Tell me why.”
The unseen presence of Gwythyr was a freezing darkness hovering over her waters, out of reach but yet too close, already closer than she might want in this mental exchange just by talking to him….and there was the distinct impression of his cold smile, as if he was drinking in the dark emotions she was throwing his way, as if he thrived on it. “So fresh out of childhood and yet you think you know everything.” His voice crawled needling over the senses possibly even here, getting more biting and icy with each word, “You have no idea what you can offer me nor what I consider sport. I could tear the blindfold off your future, if you had the courage and strength to see it…Your answer did not convince me to spare you, Gwyneth. There is no time left for me except what I want to take right now…”
Gwyneth’s gentle energy has no counter to the Unseelie King’s assault. She simply lets it bite over her surface, calming each ripple with another breath, another miniscule adjustment, a blip in the ecosystem. “I am bound to a goddess, one sovereign being to another. While I am curious about my future, I know it does not lie with you.” There is suddenly the image of a golden tree, beneath a dark moon, a growth of goodness that seems tapped into Gwyneth’s energy more firmly than even she knows now. “It is not I who have nothing to offer you,” she says. “It is you who has nothing to offer me.” All around her, the tree flowers into an unimaginable summer, blooming through snow, blooming over every visible part of Gwyneth’s construction. “I don’t want any future you could show me.” Like a willow, she bends away from his voice and twines into the tree that is somehow greater than Gwyneth herself, but part of her as truly as the water that flows through every word she speaks.
Gwythyr laughs, dark sound spreading like sharp frost, yet he moves no closer as of yet. “I am not offering you anything. I am taking. I shall not be in your future regardless, youngling. You have much to learn. When next we meet, I shall see how sovereign you really are, unless you wish to hide in the skirts of your absent goddess…” The sense of his smothering presence fades away as the Unseelie King’s attention shifts suddenly elsewhere.