I am not alone! It seems rather strange to write that, when I know that there are a few of my kind around; Brigitte, Cristof, Meridiana and so forth, but I am only close to one of those, and that in a somewhat distant way of late. Yet, I have felt alone until this past evening, when I finally admitted my nature to another. It was a cathartic experience, even if the person concerned might not have necessarily been my first choice of confidant. And yet, maybe she was the best choice after all.
I had not intended today to be my confessional, though my activities in the afternoon may have brought my nature to the fore of my mind. I went hunting in the forest, mostly so I could feed off of my catch, but also, to top up my reserves after forking out for Lalla’s business license. I had a successful outing and for the first time in days, felt replete. I passed Enizo on the way back to the tavern and was able to direct him in the direction of the best places for foraging and mining.
The tavern was quiet when I got back, so I busied myself with stock-taking and tidying up for a while. Meridiana came in and spoke briefly of the excitement of the past few days, expressing her concern for the children. In some ways, I am glad she cares, but, knowing her nature, I sometimes doubt her motivations even if she has not shown any sign of treating them with anything other than kindness. She also wanted to know if her room booking had been properly cancelled as she had found alternative accommodation. I was able to reassure her on that point at least.
Gwyn came in, dressed casually, in what I assume was appropriate clothing for her day. She sat herself at the bar with a couple of books and asked if she could just be a customer for the while. Since her arrival had doubled the number of customers I had to deal with, I assured her I could manage and poured her a large whisky. Her two books were both on the subject of faeries and the fae in general. She even commented that she wanted to know more about this ‘fae shit’, as she put it. I did not know the titles concerned, but from their appearance, I doubted that they held much useful information, any more than similar books of my day. I even said as much, citing my experience as Raven to Katarina & Artur and to Winter as direct knowledge. Oddly, Meridiana seemed almost as interested as Gwyn, and Meridiana seemed to know something of the Seelie and Unseelie courts, and of the Sidhe. I told them as much as I could from my experiences. Gywn’s questions were harder, being largely concerned with how the fae know that they are fae, what happens if they are brought up by humans, whether or not they are magic and such like. I answered as best I could, but, not having been fae myself, I could not really help on what it was like to be so. She clearly had more questions, but I got the impression that she would prefer to discuss them in private, or so I assumed from her suggestion that we should ‘get coffee sometime’.
We were interrupted by a gentleman by the name of Allen, who only stopped long enough to check that his room booking had been received. Meridiana must have been there at the time, since she appeared to have met him already. Enizo came in for a bit, but did not order any food or drink, and left again soon after, as did Meridiana. Finally, Gwyn and I had the place to ourselves.
She had questions. First, she told me that Aoibheann had woken up. Damion had also been in the infirmary and had behaved quite decently to Gwyn, at least, until Aoibheann regained consciousness, whereupon he reverted to his ‘usual asshholery’. Then she told me more about the earlier night, and her fears that what happened to Aoibheann might be partly her fault. Alec had come down to the tavern, to set up protections – iron and oatmeal and such like. However, for some reason, this appeared to affect Gwyn badly, preventing her from leaving the tavern. Also, she had burned her hands trying to bring the cast iron pot down from the kitchen. Now, Alec seems to think that Gwyn may be fae, and possibly of the Unseelie Court. This might fit in with some of the strange things from her childhood, the things her parents had told her, the strange mix of aluminium and plastic for household items and such like. This was the reason for the research.
She was particularly worried that being Unseelie would affect her nature and asked if all Unseelie were considered bad. I assured her that all the Unseelie I had dealt with were decent folk. I said that there was no particular reason that she should turn out to be bad – as a reasoning being with free will, she had the choice to behave as she chose to, and having been separated from the Unseelie Court, she would not have been influenced by their nature. I also told her that, whether she was human, fae, or changeling, it would not make any difference to our friendship. I think she appreciated that.
I wanted to reassure her further, to somehow tell her I empathised, that I knew what it was like to have a change of nature, even if, in her case, it was learning something about herself, rather than an actual change, as it was in my case. I decided that maybe now was a good time to come clean, as an expression of trust, as well as perhaps making her feel less alone. I asked her if she was ready for some surprising news, and she assented.
And so, I told her my story. I told of how I had been somewhat of a philanderer, and a heavy drinker. I told her how it had become my tradition to ‘go on a bender’ on my first night in a new port. I told her about how I came to meet Katarina and how I became her lover. I told her about Alexandra’s pregnancy, and how she died in childbirth. I told her how I came to be back in Bremerhaven and how I sought out comfort in Katarina’s arms. And finally, I told her what had transpired when I did, and how I became what I am now.
She was the perfect listener, encouraging me to speak, asking only brief questions. She took it much better than I had thought, or even dared hope. I assured her that she was in no danger, but she already knew that. She told me that she was not afraid, because I had not taken advantage of her when she first arrived, and had never shown any sign of aggression towards her. Besides, she said, once you have been a victim of the wild hunt, what more was there to be afraid of?
By now, we had consumed a fair amount of the whisky. Since there were no other customers, we agreed that it was time to shut up shop. I asked her not to tell Aoibheann just yet, which she agreed was a good idea, and said I would do what I could to help her adjust to her new status, if it proved to be true. Alec had told her to speak to the queen, which made sense, since Isabella, I now knew, was of fae stock herself. If she wishes, I would go with her to that meeting, just so she has somebody there who understands.
So, as I said at the start of this entry, I am no longer alone. Perhaps soon, I can tell Aoibheann and others, such as Lalla, and no longer have to hide my nature, no longer have to lie about my eating habits. That, in itself, would be a great relief, and perhaps the greatest gift I could expect at this time of year.