I would appear to have an admirer. Either that or somebody wants to convey a message of some sort.
I woke early this morning, nearly falling out of bed. That nice big one I had in the apartment in Jasper Cove must have spoiled me. After so many years on board ship, you’d think I could sleep in something narrow without falling out. Anyway, as I stepped out of the door of the hut to take in the morning air and see what was happening about the castle, I found a rose. I didn’t see it at first, but as I took a lungful of the air, I detected a floral note among the usual smells of the castle, the bakery and the middens. And there it was, on the step. A single white rose. Possibly the most perfect single bloom I have ever seen. Even Mother, with her love of roses, never produced one like this. I could not see a note anywhere, or any indication as to who it was from. I rescued a small glass from my baggage – the one I used when cleaning my teeth while travelling, and put some water in it to keep the rose fresh.
I must admit I was somewhat flummoxed. Who would have given me such a thing? I have not been here long enough to embark on any romantic relationships. Well, I should perhaps qualify that; I have not embarked upon any. Given my apparently innate inability to notice when somebody is interested in me, I cannot rule out the possibility that somebody may have romantic inclinations towards me. A white rose on the doorstep might well be considered evidence that this is so. It would not be the first time I have failed to notice. But whom?
Valene is here on this island somewhere. While she and I always had a semi-serious thing going on, I can’t see her leaving a white rose. A sprig of mint would be her token. Gwyn sometimes jokingly flirts, though it is so hard to tell with her, hiding, as she does, behind her wall of banter. I doubt she would do anything like leaving a rose. A bawdy limerick perhaps or a suggestive joke, but not a rose.
I somehow doubt it is anything to do with Aoibheann. Even if she did decide she wanted to apologise or make peace, she would do so in person, or with a badly-spelled note. Nadya, while definitely owing me, is almost certainly still in torpor, and anyway, will have no memory of what happened.
Sophia? Well, we have developed a warm relationship, but I don’t think I have noticed any romantic inclinations there. Of course, that’s no guide, as I am usually the last to notice. Even so, a gift from her would more likely be red and liquid.
I did briefly consider it could be from Rachel, as a thank you for rescuing her from being beheaded the previous afternoon. The white rose is the symbol of the house of York, and her accent betrays her as being from that lovely county. However, that did not feel right. She did not strike me as the romantic sort.
I picked up the rose again, taking another sniff of the wonderful scent. As I did so, I pricked myself slightly on one of the thorns. Not enough to draw blood, but as I did so, I felt a slightly familiar sense of something I could not quite explain. An energy that felt strange, yet known to me. I have only experienced that before outside the castle, in the areas that feel fae to me. Could the gift be from somebody fae? I had already dismissed Gwyn and I doubted that Isabella would do such a thing.
I looked again outside and noticed that a patch of earth by the door had been disturbed, as though something had been planted there and was now gone. I felt that same, vaguely fae tingle as I ran my fingers through the loose earth. Then I remembered there was another fae-like creature of my acquaintance; the dryad I had encountered while out at the standing stone. The way she moved on and in the earth might have left a mark like that. Given what she had said, I did not think that she would approach the castle, but I had to allow it was possible. A bloom of some sort would make sense as a message from such as she, even if I do not know why. Perhaps I shall go to the stone again soon. I had been meaning to do so anyway, as I find it a most pleasing and restful spot. But what could I leave as a message? My only creative skills are in writing, which I do not know if she could read, and making a gift out of wood might seem a little, well, offensive. What could be a good gift to a tree? I remember once, when I was caught short in the woods with Mother, she told me it was ok to pee against a tree. Sadly, I lack that ability now. Should I take a bucket of horse shit? I shall have to think on this some more.
I am most perplexed, dear journal, most perplexed.