Last night, la fée verte became much closer to me than before, as we became joined as one, though not in a manner that Rev. Elverson would have approved. Not THE Green Fairy of absinthe fame, but my darling Gwyn.
We were down at the shore again. She was wearing an outfit, or perhaps it was a glamour, which looked much like the illustrations in some of the books I remembered as a child – of faeries dressed in leaves and flowers. Of course, she had to make the leaf much bigger, since she is not sized as the faeries on my books were. I saw her and smiled, joking about just needing the sugar cube, the slotted spoon and some water. Maybe the drink isn’t as popular in her day, for I ended up having to explain about drinking absinthe and the connection with la fée verte. I asked if Aoibheann had recovered. Given that Gwyn had been unable to find her in the morning, it was a fair assumption that she had, and if she had wandered off, we both knew there was no point in trying to dissuade her. We were in an amorous mood, but Gwyn had something on her mind that she needed to tell me, and wanted to tell me privately, suggesting we go to Val’s den for fear of being overheard.
Tegan interjected at this point, claiming she was not spying. Neither of us had noticed her because she was the size of a demi-fae and lurking in the undergrowth. I thought it was a minor miracle I had not trodden on her when I arrived. The interruption drew our attention to the figure circling overhead, most likely Braeden. Gwyn told her about Aoibheann being a statue and Tegan rather curiously replied asking if somebody had been annoying Padishar, because he had once punished the other her by turning her into a statue. That was, to me, a curious way of putting things. When I queried, she replied that she had all of Nadya’s memories from before she (Tegan) was created, and Nadya had once been turned to stone for stealing Padishar’s furniture. At least, it was something like that. Intriguing though this story sounded, I felt my priority was to listen to Gwyn’s tale that she had to tell. I promised Tegan I would listen to her tale over some mead and then we made our excuses and left her to whatever she was planning on doing that wasn’t spying.
A few minutes saw us safely inside Val’s den. I pulled together the pallets and blankets and made ourselves a comfortable nest for the telling of tales. And so she began. After I had left the previous evening, the cave had been visited by a somewhat blood-spattered and battered creature, demonic in appearance, who seemed to know both of them. It turned out this was Padishar. I understood the confusion. Even I had never seen him in his demonic shape. Indeed, I had only recently discovered he was a demon. I told Gwyn about this and speculated that he might have been attacked by the Crow and gave her the brief background about Nemaine being the creator of the Roads and Mother to Valene’s people. I explained how it had been Nemaine that night in the tavern, possessing Val’s body and about the grudge with Padishar. She nodded, those events making more sense now and continued her tale.
Padishar was not alone, he was accompanied by some weird being that she could best describe as being like a demonic angel who seemed to have some control over Padishar. I thought this might have possibly been Nemaine, but Gwyn said that the creature was almost nurturing to Padishar. Aoibheann, by that point, was starting to regain her fleshly form and said angel appeared to be most interested in her.
Padishar had behaved aggressively, trapping Gwyn in her chair by resting his hands on both arms. She told me proudly that she had managed to not appear scared, pulling the brave face on just like a glamour. Instead, she asked him, almost cheekily, if the mess on his chest was Rachel, which prompted him to ask how well she and Rachel knew each other. I grinned and kissed her, asking how many times she used the F-word in answering that. She was quite proud, rightly so, that she hadn’t, and that she had even almost enjoyed being brave in the face of what could have been a serious threat. Padishar made her a somewhat strange offer – of giving Rachel to her. It sounded like he was weary of Rachel and wasn’t even sure he wanted to bring her back from hell as she still had much to learn.
I suppressed my opinion that she could stay there so far as I was concerned and suggested it didn’t sound like a good idea. “Gratifying though it would be to be able to order her around, I’m sure the novelty would pall after a while. Besides, don’t you have to feed a pet demon, take it for walks and such like?” She agreed and told me she had asked instead for information, for Rachel’s true name. That made sense to me, given her fear about having blurted out her own true name, because knowing Rachel’s would give her leverage in the case of any problem. I kissed her again and told her she was beautiful, smart and courageous, that the real Gwyn was starting to come out. She may have thought it was glamour, but I felt otherwise.
She continued her tale, telling me that Padishar kept going on about how ‘beautiful’ the payment would be for that information, at which point, the demon angel had stepped in and told him not to bite her, because she didn’t want him to become an addict. Did that mean he was a vampire? I told her it was unlikely, but some demons did consume blood. She was a little confused about the differences in blood, so I explained how the blood of other races, were’s, elves, fae had more – life energy – how fae blood was like the finest brandy mixed up with 20 cups of coffee. Padishar, she said, told her that he would give her the answer the following day, but would not say what the price would be. I warned her to be careful, very careful; even though I was sure she was well aware of that.
After that, conversation faltered as we became wrapped up in each other and forgot about demons and crows and all the travails of life outside the little cocoon we had made of ourselves. What passed thereafter is not for memories made of paper and ink, only for memories and joys of our minds and bodies. Save, perhaps, for a portion of poetry Gwyn quoted, before we fell to communicating without words. It was from a poem called Four Quartets, by the Mr T.S. Eliot that she has often quoted before.
The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre-
To be redeemed from fire by fire.
Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.”
Four Quartets, TS Eliot