I slept, I woke, I cried, I slept again, in the shadow of the tree. And then I felt the disturbance in the land and flew to Mysthaven, where there was a monster outside the gates. Huge and fanged, he seemed to be protecting Mysthaven from a torrent of sluagh and the gods know what else. I asked Galyanna how I could help, and she told me that once again she needed me to get the people of the village to safety. I was only too glad to leave the fray (I’m no warrior) and flee inside the village gate, where I worked with Hal to get everyone inside the castle and down into the cellars. Nathaniel was there, helping people find their way.
In the cellars, all was chaos. It was a maze of passageways and locked rooms, and there was little news from above until Orie and Galyanna finally arrived, dripping with sluagh guts I might add (*ew*), to tell us what a massacre it had been.
Poor Aoibheann was beside herself, because she could not feel her bond with Maric. Nathaniel was able to tell her he was not dead, but I sensed he was holding something back. We none of us knew what was going on—none of us except Nathaniel and Galyanna, who headed swiftly down the corridor, speaking in quiet voices.
I was still so full of the fae energy from earlier I almost dared not touch anybody, even though Aoibheann came to me for a hug, and Nathaniel, and then Hal, of all people! Finally she ended up hugging a bow in one of the weapons racks. I will have to ask her about that later….
Whoever planned the cellars of Castle Mysthaven must have been some kind of a madman, or Lord Maric himself, though I’m pretty sure one term applies to the other most of the time.
Orie looked even more shellshocked than usual, and that’s saying something: he wandered away from the crowd and sat staring at a wall for the longest time, poor guy.
Long, white hair flowed behind Galyanna—I wonder if that’s some kind of warrior thing? I will have to ask a lot of people a lot of things after this is all over. I’m afraid at the time I was so confused I didn’t realise Nathaniel and Galy were beckoning me to follow them; by the time I realised I had to go blind, just feeling Nathaniel’s energy as I walked. We arrived in a little room which I guess is Maric’s study: it was full of Ye Olde Books O Arcane Knowledgye and Gramarye. Galyanna stood before a large mirror in one corner of the room, apparently attempting to contact Vedis, her mistress.
The crowd of villagers outside grew louder, then soft again as we waited: I hoped they’d found the beds and settled in for the night, or at least the ale store. We trusted Hal and the other lieutenants would take good care of them.
Nathaniel and I offered Galyanna a place to stay: we were both so tired by this point. Well. I still had all that energy buzzing around inside me, so if there’d been a soft place and some privacy I probably could have found my strength, but I know Nathaniel was wrecked.
Reluctantly, we left Galyanna in the study and found our way into another chamber, which stank of burning blood. We discovered Aoibheann asleep beside a coffin, where, Nathaniel assured me, Maric lay in torpor, trying to recover from his wounds. I didn’t see him in the battle, but I’m sure he must have been there.
Nathaniel told me of his encounter with Gwythyr, and with Faermorn, Vedis, and Valene. And I told him what had happened to me.
How did I get so lucky, to know a man like this, who loves me even when I feel so broken?
Finally, we lay down to rest, and exhaustion overtook us both. I have never had such a thirty-six hours. I knew we’d be aching in the morning from the narrow couch and the damp that lives inside places like castle cellars (whose idea were they, anyway?), but for the moment, there was safety.
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