Oh dear, I may have taken my teasing of Aoibheann a little too far this last night. The evening started well enough, with her asking if there was a way to find out how to spell words, other than asking me. So, at last I got an opportunity to give her the dictionary. Later, however, I may have teased her about the bird man, Damion; I think she said his name was, a bit too much. Gwyn and I both made jokes about it and she went off in a bit of a huff. We tried to explain that we were just being protective and teasing, but this did not seem to lighten her mood. I have to admit, that I have felt occasionally that my jokes about her cooking and other things were a bit too much for her. I will leave her a note of apology later, if I do not see her. Gwyn, at least, did enjoy my suggestion that if he trespassed with her, we would introduce him to sage and onion stuffing. Fortunately, that remark went over Aoibheann’s head.
The chained man, Bound, was there, as was Cristof. Bound made comment about birdmen being something different from shape-shifters who change into birds. The former, apparently, being rather unpleasant creatures who do not like men, except as food, with a preference for eyeballs as snacks. Cristof agreed, so I guess they have met creatures I have not. We agreed that Damion, whatever he was, was a shifter or were-creature, rather than one of these birdmen.
The child, Luna, turned up. From observation, she appears to be talking to her mother all the time, even in the absence of said mother. Who knows quite what tragedy befell her to bring this about. She sat herself down at the bar and demanded strawberry pudding, various other things and carrots carved with angry faces. Eventually, we persuaded her to settle for a plate of Aoibheann’s magic potatoes, without face carvings. She proceeded to take these to a table and eat them one at a time, after naming each one. I swear she named one after me, but I could have mis-heard. I don’t know if she actually knew my name. She ate her food and left, still chatting to the invisible mother.
The child seemed to provoke some reaction in Bound, maybe some memory he has of children. I heard him mention a name – Leanna. I wonder if that is some child of his, from his past. He did venture a small portion of his story. I had referred to him as Mr Bound at one point, and he disclaimed that title as being something he was not worthy of. I told him that so far as I was concerned, although he appeared to not have received much in the way of dignified treatment before he came to Jasper Cove, I was prepared to afford him the dignity of that title. I also suggested that perhaps Gwyn and I could come up with a more dignified name, rather than the descriptive one of Bound.
He thanked me and then went on to explain a little of his situation. He was, he told us, the victim of a curse from some goddess of death. He did not explain how she was related to the Imperials that he seems to fear so much. He had been selected for a sacrifice but escaped, and as a punishment, was doomed to live each life in sin, and be reborn, in yet another chain, to be punished again. Both Gwyn and I ventured the opinion that the need for human sacrifice was long past, and was certainly not acceptable here in Jasper Cove. We also ventured the idea that perhaps this goddess of death held no sway here. He stated that it did not matter what he believed; only that she believed in him and she would punish him for his life of sin. Gwyn and I were in agreement again, that whatever sins he had committed; he had committed none in Jasper Cove. He said that his life itself was sin and he was therefore doomed to be punished.
Eventually, I came up with an argument that he would accept. I said that IF it did not matter what he did with this life, then he might as well enjoy it, enjoy the chance that the ferryman gave him and live the life of a free man. I said that IF he was right, i.e. that he was doomed anyway, at least when this goddess of death caught up with him, he would have enjoyed a brief period of a better life until that point. IF, however, Gwyn and I were right, i.e. said goddess held no sway here, then he would continue to have that free life for as long as he chose. Either way, he might as well grasp the opportunity to live the life of a free man while he could. That argument seemed to sink in and he accepted our toast to his new life. I suggested he go make use of the bath house (while smirking a little at what Brigitte might make if she found him in the bath), take a well-earned rest, and get up early to greet the sunrise as the start of his new, better life. He took that on board, finished his drink and went off to enjoy the waters.
Lacking any other customers, and with Gwyn heading off to her bed, I retired to the corner, there to live again in the world of Uther, Igraine and Merlin, thus neatly avoiding working on the world of Edmund Cussons. Aoibheann did not return, so I left her an apologetic note inside a small volume of Blake poems. I do hope I have not upset her.