A Sprig of Mint

Sometimes, you think you know people, and then they reveal a side of themselves you hadn’t suspected. I wandered into the tavern part of the castle, only to find Aoibheann in a fight with Nadya.  The former had managed to draw blood (I hope she didn’t manage to ingest any of it) and both were on the floor, largely being lectured by Cristofr about not fighting in the tavern.  It is probably fortunate that I missed the cause of the fight, which was Nadya, presumably still upset about the brief meeting the night before, having just called Isabella a “mannerless whore”.  Much as I want to like the girl; that I would not have tolerated.  Few things spur me into violence, but that might have crossed the line.  It was largely over by the time I got there, so I got to do little more than stand by Isabella looking threatening.  Well, as much as I can ever look threatening.   Mitternacht seemed to have gotten involved somewhere along the line in casting magic and calling Nadya a Paahiinaa, which I recalled meant not-herd. Well, that was what she told me the word meant when she last used it.  The explanation she gave Nadya made it sound a lot less complimentary.  In fact, I was quite impressed with the level of invective she got into the explanation.  For some reason, people were calling her “Pash” or something like that.  I don’t know if that is another of her “equine” words, a title, perhaps, or if she has decided to change her name after her experience meeting the presence of Star Chaser.  I would have asked, but she seemed more intent on obtaining a job as keeper of the tavern.

Isabella seemed to find it mildly amusing and even offered to help Nadya heal her wound, but Nadya did not seem interested.  The party, as it were, broke up somewhat after that.  I had no news for Isabella, and she had no immediate tasks for me, beyond that which I had already chosen to undertake.  Gwyn was watching, with her usual amused smile, but also cursing because her hair kept changing from short to long, to none.  Isabella told her that this was a result of her glamour not being under control and offered to help her out with it.  That brief conversation did clarify one thing.  Isabella definitely stated that this place was faerie, though she wasn’t too sure about inside the castle.  That would agree with my assessment.  Some day, I shall have to talk with Isabella about that, and about Greyson.  I am human, and then vampire, so why do I find the fae realms so fascinating and why do they feel like home?

There was one other peculiar aspect to the evening.  I noticed a small, feline-looking woman in the corner, watching the fight with amusement.  As she left, she looked at me and purred, “Well, if it isn’t Nathaniel Ballard.”  This confused me slightly, as I did not think I had been here long enough for my fame to precede me.  When I confessed that she had the advantage of me, she just laughed, making some comment about how easily men forget those they have kissed. Then she stuck something in my hair, kissed my cheek and disappeared off into the courtyard, chasing a chicken. I was about to protest that I had not had the chance to kiss anybody, save the welcoming hug and kiss from Sophia the previous evening, but she was gone.  I reached up for what she had stuck in my hair and found it was a sprig of mint.  That floored me.  Then I sniffed it and memories came flooding back, of another feline friend who often smelled of mint. My most dear friend, Valene, once of Fiendish Pleasures, often had mint about her person, but the appearance was somewhat different.  Surely this could not be the same, could it? I have already encountered one former resident of London. That will be a reunion to relish, if it is.



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