Catching Up

Sometimes, dear diary, I do not feel inclined to writing.  After the excitement of the chance meeting with the Huntsman and the weight of responsibility I felt while lying in Val’s den after with my dearest love and my dearest friend wrapped in my protective arms, the events of the days following seemed scarcely worth recording. But, as I have noted before, I should at least note the major points, lest I forget in the future.

I had a strange conversation with Rachel in the sithen, over a cup of mead. I was trying to be nice, complimenting her on her hair and clothing, but she did not receive my compliments well, maybe finding them strange after the hostility that had been between us.  That led to a discussion about my former life, my late wife and my embrace.  She affected concern about my upbringing, my inexperience with the vampiric powers and whether or not I was a thin-blood.  This was the phrase that Gwyn had mentioned before her visit to the Seelie sithen. So far as I could make out from what Rachel, it seemed to imply that my transition to vampire was not as complete as it might have been. It was hard to tell, what with her talking in the same level, reasonably, polite manner, but it still felt like an insult. I do not know what kind of vampires she associated with before, but she found it very strange that the vampires I knew, including myself, were passionate creatures. To her mind, those who indulged in love or carnal matters would have been considered deviants. It sounded odd to me, but maybe there are different cultures among vampires, just as there are among humans. Each to their own was my view, but I couldn’t help thinking that I was being told I was doing it wrong, for all her politeness.

Later that day, I found Rachel outside the door to the King’s chamber, talking to what appeared to be a lioness.  It was not obviously aggressive, but clearly wary, watching us for any sign of danger.  From the way it moved, it was possibly injured, though there was no obvious wound visible.  We approached it carefully, in the hope of seeing if we could find what was hurting it. Of course, I remembered the old fable of Androcles and the Lion, wondering if this lioness had taken a thorn to the paw.  Rachel got close enough to see that there was what looked like a burn on the creature’s back.  I was not sure what we could do to help, but Rachel suggested using her blood, claiming it had healing properties.  I found that highly dubious, but lent her my penknife so she could cut herself.  The lioness was not impressed, reacting as though it had been burned or stung. It swatted at us both, fortunately with claws retracted, and disappeared off into the undergrowth.

The following day, I met a new refugee to this island. A pretty young lady by the name of Maeve.  She was wandering around near the Unseelie cave, lost and looking for some mansion called Holkham Hall where she had been celebrating the feast of Lughnasadh. After some delicate questioning, we determined that said Holkham Hall was in Norfolk, she had been hired to provide singing for the Lughnasadh celebrations on August the first – 1925.  And I had thought that Jasper Cove was disconnected from the normal streams of time. I had dealt with this before, in Jasper Cove except in those cases, they had all encountered the Boatman on their journey.  This one had just blundered in following a twinkling light in the mist. I suggested we go somewhere to sit down, namely the sithen.  I tried to explain her situation as gently as I could, but she was not convinced, believing this to either be some elaborate ruse, or the result of too much drink.  Aoibheann came in, wondering where Gwyn was, so I assured her she was safe back at Val’s.  I made introductions and then told Aoibheann about the meeting with the Huntsman. Maeve wanted to know what we were talking about, so I explained about the Wild Hunt.  That, she had heard of, which was perhaps not too surprising since she had come from a Lughnasadh festival. Even so, to her it was still just a story.

Until Braeden came in.  Braeden is hard to ignore. Even harder to explain away as somebody in a grotesque costume. I’ll give Maeve her due; she may have shrieked at first, but she didn’t faint away or run. In fact, she recovered her composure quite quickly.  Braeden himself claimed he was only here for a drink and not to cause strife. However, he kept pestering Aoibheann for another kiss, which she persistently denied him. She told him point blank that while the Huntsman may eventually claim her, Braeden would never have her.  Eventually, he departed, grumbling about betraying people.  I left Maeve in Aoibheann’s care and went off to make sure Gwyn was safely hidden still.



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