I have come across another old face here. It was a one-time Mayor of London, a gentleman by the name of Padishar Ishtar. Curiously, here, he holds the position of Raven to her Unseelie Majesty. A title I once held, as I told him. I doubt it will be any queen I knew, but I am curious. He also claimed some title I did not recognise to Clan Seid. I suspected that this might mean that Vedis was here. This was something I found later to be so. I could only claim allegiance to that clan in the form of my old Forbidden Pleasures membership card. This, for some reason, seemed to annoy Aoibheann, who was standing nearby with a basket of mushrooms. Perhaps she is still afraid of Vedis.
He had a companion, Nadya, who I suspect may be kindred, from her comment about foraging for food before her embrace. She was explaining to Aoibheann about which mushrooms were edible and which were not. I had to suppress a chuckle, well remembering Aoibheann’s previous adventures in incorrect identification of foodstuffs. I also had to laugh when Nadya protested Padishar’s advice to study more, since she claimed she already knew all about science. This science, it turned out was at the level of the theory of spontaneous generation, and of miasma spreading diseases, which places her at least a generation before my own, if not more. I commented upon it and I think I engaged her interest with the suggestion that there was learning to be gained without books, and further still with Mr Faraday’s comment that experiment was the best test. I will defer to her in the matter of educating Aoibheann about foodstuffs, but I think I can teach her, Nadya, that is, a thing or two about science, even if it was never the main focus of my studies. Perhaps that will help in my quest, since that also involves one who was researching the fundamentals of existence.
Vedis appeared later, but she did not look well. I have never seen her in this very serpentine shape before, nor heard her voice so close to being little more than a hiss. For all that I somehow trust her, I placed myself between her and Aoibheann, just in case, since her attitude, her look, seemed very much that of predator looking at prey. I know that my kind can become somewhat bestial when deprived of our nourishment; perhaps the same applies to Vedis’ kind.
Later, there was another reunion. I found Mitternacht among the market stalls where I had first encountered Aoibheann. She had changed her garb somewhat, wearing a leather breastplate and her hat looked darker, somehow newer. The same could be said of her. She sounded stronger and looked somewhat younger. She had no memory of how she had arrived here, knowing only that she woke up in the woods with her newer looking hat and the breastplate. All she could tell me was that she had seen, met in some unknown way, her erstwhile stallion, Star Chaser, felt his presence, his wings around her, supporting her. She made no mention of the boatman, but her experience, in a way, mirrored mine. I did not know how to explain that to her, so complimented her instead on her renewed appearance.
Across the courtyard, outside the tavern, there was other discussion going on. Padishar and Nadya were there, discussing foraging again, and Aoibheann was standing nearby. I took the opportunity to point her out to Mitternacht and waved to Aoibheann to indicate who was standing beside me. The obvious excitement and joy of that reunion was interrupted by a commotion emanating from the roof of the tavern. There was a woman on the roof, very much fae in appearance, who had apparently decided to drop a lump of ice on Padishar. I hurried over because this looked to have knocked him out, but he soon recovered and started a fight with the woman. While it looked highly dangerous to me, and indeed was to a chicken that was unfortunate enough to get in the way, it had the manner of a playful altercarion between friends. The woman, Gwen, I think Padishar called her, sobered up somewhat when Padishar complained that it wasn’t on, assaulting a Raven. Clearly the title impressed her. Such danger as I had thought might be there dissipated and Aoibheann, unusually, did not appear to be afraid of anybody, so I took the opportunity to let her and Mitternacht make their re-acquaintance while I availed myself of a drink in the tavern.