It was, as they say, later the same day. Or possibly it was the next day. I tend to lose track of days lately. I was in the tavern again, as usual, scribbling in one of my notebooks, trying to make sense of the little lost rabbit quip. I thought I saw something moving outside the window and went to look. There I found Aerodine in her tree-woman shape. I was pleased to see her as I hadn’t done so in quite some time. She told me that the king, the Unseelie one I found out later, had asked her to seek out the Forest God. I was a little confused by that, wondering if she meant somebody like Cernunnos, Pan, Herne etc. She wasn’t too sure, only that she had been asked to seek him.
Gwyn turned up as we were talking and Aerodine asked after her health and how the art was going. I wasn’t too sure about that question, but I remembered I had seen something that looked like her out of the corner of my eye as Gwyn and I walked back to the cottage, so maybe she had overheard part of the conversation the previous evening. Gwyn just said that the project was doing fine, and that she was hoping to get back to it later.
Aerodine could not say what the king wanted with the Forest God, but between us, we did not really have any idea how to contact him. I did suggest Ardan, but apparently, she is not welcome there. Gwyn said that the tree didn’t seem to like anybody much, apart from Aoibheann. Which was, of course, her cue to turn up from the tavern. She must have been upstairs, maybe doing her spinning. She had asked me, the night before, if I had a copy of Alice in Wonderland she could borrow, and I had managed to find my copy in my bag, along with Through the Looking Glass, about which she had not heard. I gave it to her and she seemed quite pleased with it.
And then Helene turned up. Gwyn told her about her scrying lessons, which largely seemed to have consisted of scrying what Nualla would do next. Aerodine asked about the ‘visitor’ at the tree, so I had to assume she had encountered the Boatman. Aoibheann said he had been being a bit of a nuisance and offered to have a word with him, or possibly read Alice to him. I didn’t say anything, but for a moment did speculate that Mr Carroll might have been one of Dee’s incarnations. Anything was possible with that guy. Gwyn explained that she had been using a mirror for scrying, and the mention of Alice had reminded her. She also said that I was to poke her if I found her staring into any reflection. She wasn’t supposed to scry without supervision and the poking was to stop her doing it by accident.
Helene wanted to know if she could get something else to wear, so I directed her to the tailor’s shop above the tavern again, saying I would cover the cost until she got her shop up and running.
Since we had been speaking of other things, Gwyn mentioned some other news. It seems that the powers that be in Blaise’s homeland of Ronáofa had sent a missive, pretty much ordering Blaise and Aislyn to be official consorts. It sounded pretty much like they had also been ordered to have another child, or at least that was the subtext. I told her that if things got too fractious, she was always welcome to stay with me in the cottage. She said that she might take me up on that if it was a serious offer. As if it might be otherwise. Aerodine was of the opinion that whatever Blaise and Aislyn’s opinion, what was being asked of them was needed. With that cryptic remark, she departed into the woods.
Just to add to the party, Maric turned up as well. We spoke about Helen’s idea for a shop, which he approved of. Aoibheann thanked him for the healing potion for her hands. He then offered to talk about it some more over a drink, which he would buy for all of us. And so, we retired to the table in the tavern. He asked if there was news of anything, in the village or elsewhere. Gwyn told him about Aislyn and Blaise and a little about Renata. She asked if it was ok for her to stay with me in the cottage. I wasn’t able to offer much in the way of news, apologising for having been very sleepy of late. I vaguely remember Maric asking me about helping Ose with the accounting, but that was all.
Mentioning sleep was a mistake, as soon after, I fell asleep at the table, despite the chat going on around me. When I awoke in the morning, they were all gone, but somebody had seen to take care of me, as I had a blanket on when I woke up. If anything of importance passed while I was asleep, I am sure Gwyn will tell me when I next see her.