Tie A Yellow Ribbon*

Sometimes I think that Aoibheann is the most baffling person I know, and almost the most exasperating, although it’s a close run thing between her and Brigitte on the latter. On the face of it, she is what she appears; a simple peasant girl from several hundred years in my past who spent much of her life running from dragons and people who blamed her for various ills, or was it for being a witch? She did show me her diary once, but I cannot remember if they thought her a witch or thought her to be fae. For all that she lacks education and sophistication; I know she has a good mind, when she chooses to use it. Yet, despite that, she seems tragically attracted to trouble. All that business with Daimon and the White Hart, losing the princesses, and, of course, the weird fascination she seems to have with the Huntsman.

I had a very strange conversation with Aoibheann about the Huntsman. I was returning from being out in the woods and almost ran into her at the castle gate. She seemed to have something on her mind, asking me if I had encountered anything unusual outside the castle. For an unsophisticated woman, she sure has a knack of asking complicated questions. In a land full of dryads, ravens, sluagh, fae cats and more, what could be considered unusual?  I had a brief internal debate as to whether bathing in a pool with a dryad and then spending the night discussing comparative biology counted as unusual and decided it would be too complicated to explain, quite apart from possibly offending her sensibilities. When I told her I had not seen anything unusual, she pushed it, wanting to know if I had seen or heard anything to do with the Huntsman. She was fidgeting a lot, seemingly more nervous about asking the question than about the Huntsman himself.  I assured her that my time outside had been blessedly free of dark clouds, thunder and lightning, howling doggies and excessive antlers.  Oddly, this did not seem to be the answer she wanted.  After much shuffling of her feet, she reluctantly admitted she might need to find him.

This struck me as one of the less bright ideas she has had, but I bit my tongue and confined myself to commenting on the wisdom of the idea while trying to make some positive suggestions.  I didn’t know where the Seelie Court was based, and so far as I knew, had no contacts therein. Then I thought of the tree, Ardan, which was a gift to her from the Huntsman. I asked if there was some way she could contact him through that. She had not thought of that, but confessed she did not know how or even if it was possible.  Her reluctance started to show, saying she did not want to interrupt him during a hunt, and perhaps it would be better to wait. Personally, I would have thought never seeing the bastard again was the better option, but, if she had to find him…  I suggested that he was fairly unlikely to interrupt the hunt to answer her call, but would presumably come find her when he had a moment. As to how, I could only suggest tying a message to the tree in the hope that he would come by and see it. I was reminded of a song I had heard on the box of jukes back in Jasper Cove in which tying a yellow ribbon around an oak tree conveyed some sort of message.  Aoibheann was not sure how this would work since she could not be sure that he knew where the tree was, or even if he could read.

For some reason, I thought of Catt and asked if Aoibheann had anything else that connected her to the Huntsman, any other possession or even a scar.  When she asked what I meant, I showed her the scar from my Raven oath and explained how it still somehow connected me to Catt. I am not entirely sure that she understood that, but even if she had, she did not have any such scar.  All the while she was talking, she was fidgeting nervously, as if there was something she wasn’t saying. I told her that it was none of my business what she wanted with the Huntsman but whatever it was, if she wanted me to accompany her, I would do so, as her approved escort.  She finally admitted that she needed to deliver a message, which I had sort of assumed anyway, but declined to explain further.  She thanked me for my offer and then decided that it was getting too dark to venture out anyway.  With that, she shuffled off to wherever it is she stays. Somewhere behind the tavern, I think, but I do not know where. She is probably happier with me not knowing.

Back at the hut, I tried tackling Dee’s journal again, but concentration eluded me. Images of my dryad friend and our encounter in the pool distracted me and eventually, I gave up and opted to try for some sleep. Since it is now the next day, I can only assume I succeeded.


* For those too young to remember… If you do remember, I recommend not clicking unless you like earworms.


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