I do not normally know fear. This is not to say that I am particularly brave; far from it, so much as being too busy at the time. Whenever I have been faced with peril, I am usually doing something about it; helping my shipmates secure the vessel against the storm, being ready to draw my weapon and defend myself or those I care about. I am more apt to turn into a gibbering heap afterwards, as I did that time that the execrable Jasper Black threatened Brigitte or McTaggart threatened Elizabeth, back in London. Even when the Bold Admiral was taken from under me in the storm that eventually brought me here; I was too busy trying to survive to be afraid.
Tonight was different. There is a tension all over the island, much as one might feel before a big storm. The air was sticky with fear and anticipation. Strange noises echoed in the distance and there was something strange about the light. I was uncomfortably reminded of the last days of London, when I set out on that fateful voyage. Something was wrong, but if it was magic, or fae powers, or something else, I could not tell
The fear was palpable in the tavern. I found Aoibheann in a heap behind the counter, gibbering in fear, worrying about Wren and Kale and Jada. I tried to soothe her, pointing out that Kale was right there in the bar. She was still mumbling that she didn’t want to die, which was frightening the child. She started clawing at herself, digging her nails into her own flesh. Perhaps it helped drag her out of her waking nightmare, for she got up and started taking care of the child. I have to give the girl her due, no matter how scared she was, her first thoughts were for the children, as were mine. She grabbed a bowl and filled it with oatmeal and salt, telling Kale to get upstairs with his sister and then to spread the mixture in a line across the doorway and across the window. Evidently I was not the only one who feared something related to the fae was going to happen. Whether it was Llwyd or the Huntsman, that I could not tell, nor did she say. She hugged the child closely, more closely than I have ever seen her hold anybody, promising that she would keep them safe, and telling them how much she loved them. Her devotion was a warming thing in itself and made me smile despite the feeling of fear. After telling her he loved her too, Kale retreated upstairs, closing the door, and I presume, spreading the barrier as he had been told. Before he went, he asked how Aoibheann and I would be safe and she promised him that we would be, because I had my sword and could fight off anything that attacked. I mentally blessed her for that thought, even though I knew she doubted my ability with the sword. It seemed to reassure the child, which was the main thing.
Once he was upstairs, I heard him speaking, but could not quite tell what was going on. There was a girl’s voice that may or may not have been Jada.
Aoibheann and I had few words for each other, just waiting and watching. After a while, the strange noises faded and shortly before dawn, I judged it to be safe enough for both of us to go and get some sleep.
Sleep proved elusive, and I found myself gathering my possessions together, taking comfort in those small things I have left of my life before. I fear for the children, of whom I have become more find that I might have thought possible. I fear for Aoibheann and all my friends here, especially Sophia, who I know to be sensitive to such things and who must surely have noticed. Eventually, I nodded off even if it was only for a couple of hours.