It’s been a day or two of fragmentary conversations, mostly with Gywn & Aoibheann. We’ve been like ships that pass in the night, or spaceships if Gywn was to be believed.
I found Aoibheann standing outside the tavern at one point, nervously fiddling with her broom. We exchanged cordial greetings, enquired after each other’s health etc. She admitted to being nervous, but wouldn’t let on about what. I empathised and told her she had every right to be, so long as it wasn’t about me. I pointed out that I wasn’t her boss, her father, her brother etc, just her friend, adding that I knew that things had been difficult, but wanted to put that behind us. She accepted that, and promptly changed the subject, saying that she probably needed to eat and disappeared off in the direction of the vegetable stall. More cabbage stew, I guess. Maybe some day she will open up to me.
Later, I ran into Gwyn, looking very pretty in a skirt and some kind of hair-net. As usual, she brushed off the compliment and asked if something had happened, like a spaceship visiting, because she had heard a strange noise, a popping noise, and something seemed different. I hadn’t heard anything, but then, I have previously slept through severe storms and Huntsman visits, so that was no guide. I told her I hadn’t seen any spaceships, so far as I knew, making it a question. She went on to tell me that spaceships usually look like two saucers stuck together, only big enough for people to be inside. I didn’t really know what to say to that, other than I hadn’t seen any such. I only knew a little of spacecraft from my readings of the likes of Mr Verne and Mr Wells. Oh, and the inside of Kzzz’ ship, but I only really knew the insides of that from the shared dream.
She wondered if maybe there had been a riot of some sort. Again, I could not recall any such thing, but I did say that I had felt like punching Cristof after the stunt he had pulled a day or so beforehand. She was in agreement with that sentiment, saying that she was almost tempted to run off and join the Unseelie, because, as she put it, “fuck him.” I laughed and said that it had probably been several centuries since anybody had fucked Cristof. Then, thinking about it, it was minus several centuries since I had fucked anyone, so I wasn’t one to talk. I told her that I could probably arrange an introduction to the Unseelie through Valene, which I had been intending to do anyway. She said that she’d think about it, since she wasn’t sure she needed to go right to the top. She continued on to the tavern while I continued my perambulations outside the castle, just for a breath of non-midden air.
Later still, well, the next day, even, I ran into Aoibheann, who was in a very agitated state. She fired a whole string of questions at me, asking if Gwyn was awake, how she was and how angry she was with Aoibheann. I tried to get her to calm down to try to elicit the story. It seemed that the two of them had gone for a walk, which they had thought safe enough, until they ran into the Captain of the Unseelie Ravens. I had a brief moment of hope that this might mean that Catt had returned, but since I had had no tingles from my scar, it was only a vain hope; or, as it turned out, no hope at all. This Raven turned out to be a huge crow-like being who had challenged them for being out of their territory. Naturally, Gwyn’s attitude had kicked in and Aoibheann was convinced that this was why Gwyn had gotten stabbed and probably now hated her. And the only reason she was still alive was because Nualla had protected them. She was also convinced that Nualla hated her and thought she was too stupid to live, so now, the Unseelie court would hate her too and everybody would turn against her. She was also convinced that Valene was only protecting her because of Vedis… She ran out of breath, so I took the opportunity to speak. I tried to reassure her that Gwyn was very much her own person, and would probably have gone into the woods on her own anyway, so was very unlikely to blame anybody, apart, possibly, from her attacker. I assured her that it was unlikely that the cats hated her – they were just being like cats, mentioning the nicest thing that Royce had said about me was that I was ok for a bloody outsider. As for Vedis, I told her I would see if I could intervene, having some previous experience with said demon. And, I said, no matter what else, I would not turn against her.
She was not to be convinced. No matter how hard I try to explain how I value personal loyalties compared to, for want of a better word, political ones, she could not understand. Maybe loyalty/fealty etc is all or nothing to her. My country, right or wrong, being a phrase I had once heard, but that is not how I think. The problem is how to explain it to her. To her, if I joined with the Unseelie, which she seems to think I might, given my previous associations, and she joins with the Seelie, she could not see how I could still be loyal to her. I thought of my discussions with Sophia, regarding Tory and myself back in London, and related how the kindred had opposing factions, yet I was still friends with one of the supposed opposition. I would have mentioned the Montagus and Capulets, but I doubted her reading included the Bard. She still didn’t get it. While she admitted that factions could occasionally form alliances, she could not see how I could be loyal to a friend and to a faction at the same time. In the end, I gave up, saying it was my way, and maybe some day she would understand, when she knew me better. I bade her farewell and promised that I would never harm her if I could possibly avoid it.
Later, I wondered if I might have given her another example – say, if we did find ourselves in opposite courts and I was told to kill her as an enemy, how I would refuse that order. Maybe that would work. I don’t know. Would she regard that as disloyalty? Maybe I should ask her what she would do if Isabella ordered her to kill me. I don’t know, I really don’t know. Maybe some day, she’ll work it out.