I sometimes wake up and think I don’t like being Queen. I remember being a little girl and thinking there here would be nothing finer than being a Princess in a castle. But the weight of responsibility is a heavy thing. Even though I have not had much of a taste of leadership, I fear it. Janus is so capable, and I feel insignificant next to him. Even in my season. How will it be, come autumn, when his power is on the rise and mine will wane with the land? I know there’s no answer to that, and no amount of scrying lets me see my own future: that is as it should be.
Sometimes, I just want to run away. That’s why Alec and Isabella helped me with the move to Cranberry Cove, and I’ve thought of travelling to other places as well. But Cranberry Cove is not as welcoming a community as I believed it was, and besides, people keep disappearing.
So I suppose I lost my mind, or that’s what it felt like. I woke up one morning, one of my first in the Residence in the summerlands, and it was so empty,so cavernously empty. I just wanted to cry. I missed what I’d never really had: the feeling of being a part of a bustling sithen, with lots of sidhe around to help bear things up and sort things out struggle against what mundane forces might try to destroy us. I missed my Father. I hated the thought of having lived so close to my mother for so long and not knowing her. Then, I started missing Castle Shithole and the bustle of life there. I even missed self-important Cristof and his violent life lessons. Of course I could have found Nathaniel and cried on his shoulder. I might even have been able to lean on Janus. But what I wanted was busy-ness. People. The bustle of a crowd. A packed pub. And New York wouldn’t have done. London might have done, but I can’t go there in my own time and I don’t think I want to go there in any other time. I missed all the things I’d been before that moment. I got up and walked past the throne tree to the waterfall, and I bathed in the pool and watched the fish, and it was so beautiful, and I hated it a little, hated the things we’d made and the Land we are growing, and I missed Jasper Cove as well. I walked into the waterfall. I asked the goddess to choose a place for me, somewhere bustling, somewhere full of life. I might have asked her to fix my life as well, but I know she doesn’t do that.
I walked through the waterfall, and I found myself in a thick swamp with a path running all through it. People were bustling everywhere; the whole place was heaving! And they we’re dressed in all kinds of clothing, from all kinds of backgrounds. I say “people”. There were elves and dwarves and fae and combinations of all, and some tiny koala bears who talked up a storm.
I stopped to catch my breath at one point where the path had a little hook in it, and I glanced down at my face in hue he water. There I was– but I looked as I had done when I arrived in Jasper Cove. I don’t think I thought I looked all that young back then, but I felt old, looking at myself.
Amidst all the bustle, I overheard conversations, some buzzing about a Faire. As I was stopped on the side of the path, I asked a burly looking warrior, “which way to the Faire?” in hopes of finding out a little more about the event. All I received in reply was a grunt, a rude gesture, and one words about couldn’t I see where all the people were going, and get out of the way if I couldn’t move along.
Fine. I followed the crowd through the swamp. When the road finally widened out, I found myself in a little village that looked to be held together with rope and bamboo. Well, I say it was a little village, but in fact it was just that the buildings looked kind of small. They seemed to stretch on for miles, each one a stall or a shop selling everything from clothing and furs to what looked to be entire houses on spec.
Signs everywhere proclaimed that I was in Wiggenstead Mooring, but I didn’t really see any boats until I reached a part of the village that seemed to be a staircase down to the sandy ground. Then I realised that all along I’d been walking on a series of bridges suspended high above a beach. And there were some boats, and an island, and so etching that looked suspiciously like it might have been the clubhouse for Peter Pan’s lost boys.
I explored for a little while, and as it was a Faire, and I found my purse full of gold, I bought a few things. Such things!