I have never really given much thought to my ‘condition’, as it were. My life changed and I had to adapt. I am given to the occasional bout of introspection, but, looking back through my journal, I don’t seem to spend much time contemplating the nature of my new life, or regretting what I have left behind. Sure, there have been the occasional entries where I mourn the lack of sunlight, and only a few days ago, I mourned the barrier that my extended life span puts between me and developing relationships, but for the most part, I tend not to think about it.
Sophia asked me that question today. Did I miss being human? I had gone down to the woods to bag some bunnies for the kitchen, and to satisfy my personal restricted diet. I bagged a couple of brace and was on the prowl for more when I came across her sitting on the hill near the bay, just enjoying the outdoors. Having managed to scare most of the rabbits away by sending an arrow into a tree, I gave up on my hunting and joined her. I thanked her for her gift and she reminded me that she always had more if I needed it, which for some reason, made me feel embarrassed and I pretended to ignore it. Why, I wonder, am I so shy when it comes to feeding from Sophia? Is it because of the association with her mother? Am I harbouring deeper feelings than I am prepared to admit to? I wish I knew the answer to that. We conversed a while about sunny days and roses and gardens and such like, and then she asked me. Did I miss being human?
For all that I am rarely at a loss for words; I found I did not have much of an answer for her. I extemporised for a few moments, mentioning eating solid food, having a real sleep schedule and such, until one thought came to me – not having to pretend. I hadn’t really thought of it much until that point, but it is true. I am tired of hiding my nature, of having to be so careful what I speak about, of making excuses for my finicky diet, of scanning every utterance before I make it so that I don’t accidentally reveal myself in some way. Of course, I don’t need to when I am with Brigitte, but among the others… Perhaps that is one reason I enjoy Sophia’s company so much, I don’t have to pretend. I told her so and she returned the compliment. Then she asked me; if it were possible, would I become human again?
That question, I had even less answer for. While I may have occasionally regretted those things that are denied me now, I have never really given much thought to regaining my mortality. Again, I extemporised, mentioning those methods I had heard rumour about – finding and killing my sire, drinking from a supposed chalice made from Judas Iscariot’s 30 pieces of silver and such like. I thought also of Catt, and what I could remember of what she had undergone in order to become fae. Though I am not entirely sure that counts as becoming mortal, much less human. Sophia opined that she would, for she thought that we were meant to die; that limited time making life more precious. She likened immortality to having more money than you could ever possibly spend; having everything you want and having nothing to strive for.
I was not sure I agreed with the last part. I still have ambition and things to strive for, such as my writing, but I appreciated much of what she said. I told her honestly, that I did not know. That it would depend on circumstances. My life in Jasper Cove, much like back in London, is not much restricted by my circumstances; however, in what I might once have called the ‘real world’, those strictures might be too much for me and cause me to long for my humanity. I told her also of my diary musings of a few nights previous; how I had somehow put my extended life as a barrier between me and relationships, knowing that those people will age and die. The thought occurred to me that this wasn’t necessarily the case, as I could potentially turn somebody, or at least, feed them my vitae, but I forebore to mention that, since Sophia knows well of those things and it did not seem an appropriate gesture to mention them at the time.
We spoke then of Tory, her mother; how even Sophia had found her a little cold when it came to relationships with others, and had wondered what she had been like before the change. I could offer little insight, as we had only really had one encounter while she was mortal and that under the influence of laudanum. I related how Tory had seemed cold and business-like when she was acting officially, but I had found her warmer and more approachable when it was just the two of us, discussing our mutual love of music. I recalled how she had once even offered to teach me to play, something that Mother had not managed, for all her efforts.
The discussion of music was interrupted by Wren, wandering around picking flowers. I was glad of the interruption for the discussion of the past had made Sophia a bit melancholy. I saluted Wren and asked her if she played piano. She did not, although she wanted to learn, because moving around a lot when she was younger had made that difficult. Sophia commented on the flowers and then left us, claiming errands to run at home, but with a promise of dinner sometime soon. I must admit, I found the idea of Wren picking flowers a little incongruous. Most of the time, she seems such a tomboy. Nevertheless, she had come into the woods to pick flowers, and had then been distracted following some bird. I told her I was out hunting for food for the tavern, indicating the rabbits I had bagged.
Looking over Wren’s shoulder, I could see that the tables were still left out after the spring feast, which reminded me of the winged visitor. I asked Wren what she could tell me of Llwyd, reasoning that she probably knew more of courtly matters. As I suspected, he is one of the consorts that keep the world together, but for some reason, he had to go away, which is why we ended up with the huntsman. I asked if this was to do with the war with Maebh, which she did not know about. I realised as soon as I had said it that she would not know about that, because that was the reason Artur & Katarina left London. Of course, I then had to explain about Maebh, which got Wren interested in looking her up in the palace library. We talked about Aoibheann and her reactions to Llwyd; Wren hinting that they ‘liked’ each other, but that she wasn’t sure that he was genuine, suspecting that he might be using Aoibheann in some way. There, I had to agree with her, explaining that I had found that the fae, in general, could be very tricky and manipulative, adding – no offence to her mother. No offence was taken. Wren agreed that even her mother could be tricky at times. We also came to the agreement that we would do our best to look out for Aoibheann, even though she doesn’t like people helping her.
By now, we were wandering back to the tavern, where we found Aoibheann ankle-deep in the fountain, apparently playing pirates with Kale. She looked a little uncomfortable, but then, I get the impression she isn’t really comfortable with any kind of pretending. I’ll applaud her for the effort though, showing enthusiasm for the pebbles that comprised the pirate’s treasure. I went into the tavern to make drinks for everybody while they went upstairs and got dried off and changed. I noticed on the way in that the balcony rail above the entrance had a piece missing and two of the uprights were broken off. When I asked Aoibheann about this later, she would only whisper quietly that it was something to do with Llwyd. I sensed there might have been more to this, but she clearly didn’t want to talk about it in front of the kids. I assured her that I would fix it the following day; the skills my father taught me have to be useful for something.
Kale was now changed and in dry clothing, so I took the opportunity to present him with the notebook he ad asked for, along with a pen and some ink. He was highly delighted with these gifts and promised to write in it as often as he could. There was a slightly awkward moment when he made reference to his mommies telling him he should… which he quickly corrected to saying that heroes need to be able to write. I suspect I may be right in my theory about his coping mechanisms. I shall have to find a way to explore this with him, but probably not until I learn more from Jada, since she appears to understand it.
Aoibheann was busy setting up for Kale to do some homework, which looked to include painting. I made sure he was not going to get paint on his diary and then I left them to it. A part of me wanted to join him and have a go at making a mess with paints, remembering how much fun it was when I was his age. Kale, I am sure would have been ok with me doing so, but I can’t see Aoibheann understanding.