I am convinced that Aoibheann has a death wish. A serious death wish. OK, I am glad that she feels relaxed enough to try a practical joke on me, but her choice could have had fatal consequences. It is probably fortunate that my inexperience with the use of the sword prompts me to evaluate the situation before using it. As I have noted here in my journal, I have taken to wearing the thing until such time as the cŵn issue is resolved, even if my expertise is limited to holding the blunt end and sticking the pointy end into the enemy.
I was sitting, quite peacefully, in the garden; my mind on nothing more than the adventures of Jefferson and Ralph in Black Friars. Aoibheann took it into her head, unknown to me, to creep up on me from behind and roar loudly. I am not quite sure what tactical approach came to my mind, or even if one did. All I know is that I somehow ended up sitting in the pond with the sword in my hand. She seemed to find this amusing, while claiming that I wouldn’t last five minutes in her country, because you can’t jump out of a dragon’s mouth. All sorts of retorts came to mind, but I restrained myself, still trying to keep the peace that Mitternacht wished us to keep, and by the time I managed to get to my feet, trying hard not to get the sword wet for fear of washing off the “wood-faeries’ magic”, I was laughing at myself. Aoibheann expressed her surprise that I had the strength to even draw the sword, being as how I was so scrawny. Me? Scrawny? OK, I may not be built like an all-in wrestler, but the years of hauling crates and barrels around have given me a respectable figure. Maybe the men in her country are hulking great rugby players or some such.
At least mentioning wrestling got her off the subject of my lacking, in her eyes, physique. It seems that Alec, some while ago, asked her to organise a wrestling tournament, but she had forgotten about it, and didn’t know much about it anyway. She asked if I knew much about it. I told her what little I knew, having been to the occasional match, and watched a few of the make-shift tournaments the crewman on board ship used to have sometimes. That, apparently, was enough for me to get the job. Well, that’s fair, she is the boss, after all; even if I am not sure she could even spell delegation. So, while she touts for possible entrants, I need to organise a ring, which should be simple enough, even I could probably build one of those – we have timber, and I am sure that rope & canvas can be obtained down at the docks. Then I guess I need to work out the rules, and how to run the tournament – probably a round-robin with elimination finals – since I seem to have been elected referee.
In the meanwhile, up turns Riley, clutching some strange shiny gadget that looked a little like the thing that Brigitte is sometimes so intent on reading. There seemed to be moving images on one surface, so perhaps it is a kind of tee vee, or some variation on that thing in the infirmary that thinks that people are freezing. We both paused our discussion to say hello to Riley and ask how she was. She didn’t respond immediately, but stroked some image on the surface of the gadget, causing it to speak. It said, in a somewhat stilted, approximately female voice, “Hello Aoibheann”. I was somewhat surprised, but surmised that it was some kind of machine like the box of jukes, only with spoken phrases in it instead of songs. Aoibheann, however was horrified, and screamed as though she had encountered the cŵn again. By the time Riley had made the gadget say “How are you?” she had fainted on the grass. This alarmed Riley somewhat, who backed away, and then left a few moments later. I hauled Aoibheann into an approximately upright position and tried to revive her. This led, of course, to her usual screaming “What are you doing?” at me. Seeing as how she was now awake, and apparently undamaged beyond a grass stain or two, I decided to take the simplest course and left her to it. Watching from the balcony window a few moments later, she seemed to recover herself and get on with whatever else she had to do.
I do hope the effect of the vitae wears off soon. This hostility is getting wearing, and it is getting harder and harder to resist slapping the girl. And, I think I am justified in using the word girl, having learned yesterday that she is not yet 21 years of age. I knew she was young, but hadn’t realised how young. But, for the sake of peace, and not really being inclined to violence, I shall continue to bite my tongue. Maybe this will be something we can talk about, if we ever get to talk.