I have searched the island, so far as is possible. I dare not guess where the doorway in the stone might lead, and there other places that may be portals of some sort. I lack the skill and knowledge to find out and have no idea how I might acquire that knowledge. Making a piece of unicorn horn glow is all very well, but I don’t know that flavour of magic will help. I am not convinced that I have explored all of the island anyway. Some parts, I fear, I have missed, simply in not knowing my way around and getting lost in the denser parts of the forest. I have seen no sign, as yet, of Wren and her sisters. I cannot believe that they are lost. For Isabella’s sake and, I have to confess, my own. I saw one of the castle guards salute another and that brought a lump to my throat, realising that I missed those conversations with my favourite patrolman. I have to believe that she, and the others, are safe somewhere. I can not, and will not, believe that Alec/Greyson/John did not make arrangements for them to be safe. Perhaps there were other ways off the island that led elsewhere. Or, given the fractured nature of the timelines in my old home, perhaps they led elsewhen, and they will turn up at some future time. I have to hope that.
I did not otherwise go out and about much yesterday. The castle and the rest of the island, much like Jasper Cove, have many places where a man can hide away if he so chooses. And yesterday, I did so choose. For the most part, I rested, sleeping the sleep of the dead, ha ha; as I sometimes did back in the Cove, as the excitement of the past few days caught up with me. And, in truth, I did not want to be out and about, seeking solitude rather than company. Much of what formed the foundations of my grasp on reality has been severely shaken and tested of late. The place I have called home for the past nine months is gone, and with it, possibly, some of the people that made up my world. A person that I thought I knew has turned out to be… to be other people, one of whom I knew before. And now, here in the shelter of this rude hut, I can admit to myself, a man that I had loved. A love that, in my time, would have been considered scandalous and a crime, had we acted upon it. Now, I no longer care for society’s mores or opinions, yet that chance is lost to me, so far as I know.
I find myself confused and conflicted, having also, last night, had other feelings reawakened by the mysterious cat-lady who may possibly be my old, beloved Valene; feelings that we never quite got as far as acting upon, though not for want of trying. The realisation that it may have been her last night reminded my how much I had cared for her too. Perhaps I am one who is capable of love for both man and woman. I know that such a thing is possible, even if the society of my time would deny it and decry it. I have even written of such, in the character of Edmund, in my Serendipity Island story. And now, I can admit that this is true of me and find peace with that. I know not who I could talk to about his, save perhaps Gwyn, in whose time such things were accepted, or so she once told me.
There is another division within me that perhaps reflects an apparent division on this island; that which seems to exist between the environs of the castle and the rest of the island. Logic dictates that I belong in the castle, where there are humans and other kindred; a place where there is a semblance of the towns and cities in which I was raised. Yet, logic can be wrong, its reasoning faulty or incomplete. Logic may not be in possession of all the facts. Part of me has always been fond of the countryside and woodlands. Many of my happiest memories are of walking with Alexandra, barefoot, as I told the dryad, in quiet groves. I did not tell her that once or twice, in the very quietest and most private of places, we were barefoot because we were naked, making love in communion with nature. Since meeting with the dryad, I have thought much on those times, and the more innocent, childhood memories of walking in the woodlands near our home with Mother. Looking back, I realise there were many times when she bade me to listen to the trees, to the woodlands, to the cries of the birds and woodland creatures. Sometimes, then, we went barefoot also, though she entreated me never to tell Father of this, for he would not understand or approve. She was always happiest at those times, when it was just the two of us, for Gilbert rarely liked to go outside. Freed from the need for the proper behaviour expected from a woman of her place in society, she would run and gambol and dance. There was a time when she plaited a ring of daisies for her hair and danced gaily in a clearing. I remember joking with her that she looked like a faerie. She looked so surprised, then hugged me close and told me how much she loved me. I remember there being a tear on her face, even though she was smiling. I had always wondered why that made her so happy.
And now, here on this island, I am rediscovering that joy in nature, especially since my meeting with Aerodine. Perhaps that conflicts with the world in the castle, but I hope that I, at least, can exist in both worlds. Back in London, I was deputed, with others of my kind, to act as ambassadors with the various factions among the fae. Maybe I can do that again. Maybe I can be a man of two worlds in that sense too.